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Guilty for being white, Western, privileged? Drop that crap, you idiot! You're being duped...

We seem to be in the midst of the largest ever recorded "guilt-culture".

And this guilt-culture is disempowering you.

I don't think ever before any society has been inundated by messages of all the things that we as humans, or we as a group of humans, have done wrong.

  • Guilty for polluting
  • Guilty for having exterminated this or that species of animals
  • Guilty for global warming -you know, you drive, fly, eat too much meat, etc.-

And some of the most popular group-specific ones:

  • Guilty for being white -all the bad things white people have done, you know-
  • Guilty for being men -all those privileges-
  • Guilty for being heterosexual -you didn't have to endure all the difficulties of being gay-
  • Guilty for being American -all that land they stole from the Indians-

It might be true that gays, women, and some minorities might have had fewer opportunities. But that still does not justify a feeling of guilt, because it's unhealthy for individuals to feel guilty for things that are either natural, or that they didn't commit.

It's natural for example that, as we go about life, we do pollute some.
Now we should aim to pollute less, but not feel guilty for a minimum amount of pollution.

And it's natural that the species that becomes the most dominant will drive a few other species to extinction. That might not sound "nice", but at a certain point, you need to get real. Being emotionally mature also means accepting that there are certain trade-offs.
And it's either lions, bears and tigers have less space to live, or you go back living in a cave.
Go back living in a cave, or stop complaining.

You Can't Be Guilty for Stuff You Have No Control Over

And for many of those items in the list, you bear no direct responsibility.

And the most dangerous type of guilt is for stuff you have no control over.

Things like:

  • Being born in the West
  • Being born in the middle class or above
  • Being attractive

These all fall under "being privileged".
In these cases, the group most liable to self-harming guilt are white, progressive women.

White, beautiful model Cameron Russell amassed 24 million views on a speech that she should have had at a shrink's office.

She says she is the beneficiary of a culture that makes her privileged. Instead, I see the emotional pain of a woman under the yoke of guilt-tripping:

Cameron Russel: I'm on the stage because I'm a pretty white woman.
(...)
But mostly, it was difficult to unpack the legacy of gender and racial oppression when I am one of the base beneficiaries.

To begin with, she is selling herself short by saying she is only pretty (and white).
And most of all, she is blaming herself for all the pain of "gender and racial oppression", which is pure nonsense.

The Emotional Harm of Guilt-Inducing Messages

To people who are not much prone to guilt for things they are not guilty of, guilt-inducing messages are annoying.

But to people who are prone to guilt, these messages are emotionally harmful.

An interesting case example are Germans nationals
Nazism is history, it's done and dusted. But decades later, many Germans still feel awkward towards national pride as that reminds them of nazism. My ex-girlfriend and a bunch of her leftist progressive friends always felt bad for being German for things that she had no control over.
They had this big emotional burden they were carrying over, and always a feeling that needed to repent and make it up... But there was no way to make it up, of course. So they were trapped in their feelings of guilt, which is the definition of emotional abuse.

Guilt-Inducing is Emotional Manipulation

I feel that a good chunk guilt-inducing messages are tantamount to systemic manipulation.

I've already discussed a few instances of systemic manipulation, like feminism for example.

In this case, guilt-inducers are on a subconscious power trip to disempower others.
How does this work?
The more you make others feel bad, the more those others will act submissive and give up their rights. And the more competitive advantage the guilt-inducers will enjoy.

You make that white, pretty woman feel guilty about being white and pretty?
She will be less assertive in going after that executive suite because she feels "she already got enough privileges". So now it's easier for all the rest to get into that executive suit.
Make that man feel bad for his "toxic masculinity" and he will not defend himself when he needs to defend his rights.

And if the privileged ones can do little to make up for the supposed wrongdoing, all the better: they are going to be victims -and submissive- for life.

The Antidotes to Guilt

There are three easy antidotes to guilt:

  1. A healthy sense of entitlement
  2. A focus on how you're going to use your privileges in service of a bigger goal
  3. Accepting responsiblity only for what you have done (not your group, your tribe, you ancestors, etc.)

I was reminded of the importance of healthy entitlement when I read a post on Facebook.

Someone asked to a group of digital nomads if they felt a national belonging, or if they felt world citizen.
Look at some of the comments:

She feels privileged for having a strong passport.
And the comments pour in with crying faces, likely from other guilt self-harmers.

And the other guy says he's a "guest".
How cute of him.

I think a much healthier attitude is to feel entitled to all the "privileges" not because you're great, which might be narcisstic, but because you are a value-adding human, who's doing nothing wrong -and every value-adding human being should be entitled to that-.

You're not a thief, you're not a scumbag, and you're bringing money while respecting the locals. So you should be entitled to travel to whenever and whichever country you want. Without feeling a guest.

And about all the privileges you were supposedly born with, you shouldn't even think of them as privileges.
If you're a driven man who adds value to the people around, you should strive for more no matter what you were given and no matter what you started with.
Strong passport? Great, how can I use it. Poor passport? Too bad, how can I change it.
Rich family? Great, how can I leverage these resources. Poor family? Too bad, how can I change it.

If you were not given privileges, stop complaining: it's your opportunity to show you can overcome the privileges.

You got privileges?
Great.
But if you don't use it, it's wasted opportunity: the ultimate sin.
Leave the tears behind, and start focusing on doing something good with them.
Then you will see, your guilty feelings will soon disappear.

 

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I thought this was a rather important topic for just a forum post.

So instead of 1h of feverish writing, I put together a few more hours and wrote a proper post about:

 

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?