Damage Control

We watched the latest John Oliver last night and I noticed a couple things. First, he was making “Obama is a war criminal too” jokes, which means Obama must’ve turned down a guest appearance. It’s “good,” though way too late. I also noticed, in this first “Trump” season, Oliver’s use of intersectionalists’ work to fuel the jokes and details—but without advocating for intersectionalism—is kind of pissing me off. Not a lot (yet), but enough it’s been bugging me.

Another thing bugging me—and has been for a couple weeks at least—is a conversation I had with a fellow white liberal who I guess I was giving too much credit. And I wasn’t giving them a lot of credit, I just didn’t think they’d say anything awful. In this case, the awful thing was, paraphrased, “I’m here for the white women first.” We had been talking about something awful, either something awful happening or something awful threatened, and I said it was about damage control at this point. The progressive—even slowly progressive—societal changes weren’t just in danger of stopping, they are in danger of being violently destroyed. Marginalized people in danger—let’s not even get into how many black transwomen have been murdered in the first two months of this year—and we (as middle and upper middle class white people) need to use our privilege to help these people in danger.

And I got a “nope” in response. This person wants to take care of theirs first. Theirs, they had just said, weren’t in any actual danger.

I try to avoid these conversations. I try to avoid them because I’m not in a position to say, “fuck you,” to everyone I want. If only I had the fine motor skills to become a surgeon. I feel like surgeons are about the only people who get to say fuck you to whoever they want because their distinct skills are so in marketplace demand. i.e. Ben Carson exists. But I also try to avoid them because I don’t like having to look at people and know their awful thoughts. Well, some awful thoughts are probably fine; these ones aren’t.

This person said, following the election, they’d never give up again, never become complacent again. And, I suppose if all you’re invested in is white supremacy, it’s not really any more difficult than it was before. You just make your echo chamber smaller, you just listen to fewer people.

The tl;dr version? People suck. And they disappoint.

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