Monday, October 15, 2007

V is for Victim

The other day I was at a seminar where we were being educated about the ills of sexism and racism, and which was supposed to educate us so as to behave properly in the workplace and treat everyone fairly and equally. An admirable persuit.

But one of the exercises was supposed to show us how the burdens of society and society's contempt fall unfairly on certain sectors based on sex, race, age and the like. They had a diverse group stand at one side of the floor, and every time they had suffered, or felt like they suffered a particular kind of abuse, they were to take one step across the floor. At the end, the 'winners' were the most abused, and had progressed the furthest across the floor. Funny thing was, it was middle-aged to young white guys. Job holders, who were the farthest across.

Then to add abuse to injury, the 'facilitator' went on to define sexism and racisim in terms of 'who had the social power', so that the white, male jobholders, being part of the patriarchy, could not claim to be 'victims'.

Oh but they were, they were. There they were well placed across the floor - the 'winners' in the victim race - one of them speaking about how he was marginalized by his divorce, ostracized from his social group, and faith, another about how he could barely make ends meet, and was viewed as damaged goods by women when he tried to date.

And this facilitator victimized them yet again, by denying them even the ability to be considered as victims. They weren't the right sex, or race.

Men, the invisible slaves; "It's what's for dinner!"

My best to you in your struggles.