I've been thinking a lot about oppression lately, and how it hi-jacks subconscious thought. It's like a computer virus that has worked its way into people's brains. It parks there and silently works against humanity...that is, until you're made aware of it. It operates inside the oppressed every bit as much as it does among the privileged. (See this Twitter thread.) Anyway, pardon me while I ramble a bit.
Imagine a water balloon, only instead of it being filled with water it's filled with systemic oppression. The thing is heavy--so heavy that the weight of all the force inside stresses weak spots in the balloon's barriers. Those weak places are specific forms of bigotry: racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ablism, religious bigotry, and so on. The more you squeeze the oppression water balloon--that is, the more you attempt to crush it, the more the internal pressure increases and the more force is concentrated on those weak spots. Bulges occur. (At this point, it may be helpful to visualize one of those squeeze-y stress toys.
Normally, I'd use something w/out a pale skin tone, but in this case I feel it's appropriate. Symbolism + You.
Okay, each one of those bulges grows when the pressure inside the oppression balloon grows. In the past, various rights groups struggled with their individual problems--that is, until Feminism. With the Third Wave Feminism, women took on the issues that developed when Second Wave Feminism focused too singularly upon the problems of white women due to a lack of awareness. In other words, Second Wave Feminism was, in fact, racist. However, those who went to 'we don't need Feminism, we need Humanism' went too far the other direction. (And then Ta-da! Fourth Wave Feminism.) See, here's the deal: we have to work on all the issues around oppression at once--equally. That is, every group needs to be working on their unique problems both as an individual identity and while being inclusive within their group at the same time. Otherwise, oppression just transforms into other oppressions. It stays with you. When Feminist activists stop focusing on Women's Rights and start placing other groups ahead in their thinking--a hostess mindset begins to creep in. It's a balancing act, this keeping one's concerns intersectional while not abandoning one's own interests, but it's totally possible. Every group needs to do this all at once. We have to make a concerted effort. That's what makes combatting it so fucking hard. Pushing your group ahead at the expense of another does not work.
Just ask those poor, white Trump voters who felt they were being passed over by blacks and other minority groups in a few years. Maybe even now.
Time to wake up, y'all. We can't afford to leave anyone behind any longer. Listen to your inner self. If it's freaked out about losing a place "in line" to someone less privileged? That's the systemic oppression virus speaking. Push past the bullshit. We're all in this together.
 I know, I know...that's more than one. But I liked the rainbow colors.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.