You Just Enjoy Being Offended
Closely related to the above point, it’s another critical element of a successful derailing You really need to make sure the marginalized person knows you consider their issues to be completely trivial. It’s insensitive in the extreme – it also exemplifies your lack of awareness and empathy. By demonstrating you have absolutely no concept of what a particular issue or point may mean to them both within their conversation with you and beyond it, you get to show off just how cocooned and protected in Privilege® you really are. Remember how maddening this is for a marginalized person – it’s a privilege they do not share and will probably never know so to witness it being so blithely owned and used to diminish their experience is bound to get their blood pumping.But absolutely best of all, you are being obnoxious and hurtful enough to tell them outright that they enjoy facing discrimination and prejudice Enjoy it so much, in fact, that they “look” for reasons to be hurt and offended! Wow. This one is almost breathtakingly perfect as a derailment tactic, it lacks any sort of conceivable class and humility and goes straight to smug viciousness. The very idea that anyone enjoys being hurt and discriminated against as a daily practice is so preposterous it could only be believed by a Privileged Person® who’s never really experienced or known what it’s like.
The fact is, many marginalized person go out of their way to avoid these sorts of debates and confrontations because it’s such a painful and unpleasant experience. Those you are encountering in this circumstance have likely made a conscious choice to do so, even knowing it will probably go bad. For you to spit in the face of their choice in putting themselves on the line by suggesting it’s all fun and games for them just adds a particularly piquant insult to injury.
Being Offended Is Great For You!
A follow-on from “You Just Enjoy Being Offended”, this one has a particularly nasty flavor sure to make any marginalized person recoil in horror.This is specifically for those marginalized people who work at agencies and organisations with a focus on services catering to their marginalized group. Remember that working in such positions means they are actively trying to effect change that will benefit their marginalized group. This means they are obliged to deal with discrimination and opposition from the Privileged® whilst maintaining professionalism and being severely confronted with the degree of resistance to their efforts to eliminate oppression. This process would be extremely exhausting and even depressing. Keep all that in mind, because this tactic is especially sleazy and you want to be able to appreciate its derailing hurtfulness on all levels.Suggest that the marginalized people who work at these services must go crazy with ecstasy every time a new hate-crime is reported, or another example of discrimination is brought to attention, because, get ready for it, it justifies their existence.
Yup. Because obviously, all the marginalized service providers care about is staying in business There’s no way there could possibly be a personal imperative for them involved, or that they would be in any way adversely affected by dealing constantly with acts of violence or oppression against them and their fellows. So, clearly, they must thrive on being “offended”.
Even when being “offended” means having been bashed to within an inch of their life. Well. Done. You.
I Don’t Think You’re As Marginalized As You Claim
This tactic is related to Your Experience Is Not Representative Of Everyone but is a far more hurtful and therefore effective weapon.If the marginalized person is gaining steam in the conversation, beginning to persuade others to their point of view, even getting a few Privileged People® around you to apologize and concede their “mistakes”, then is when you drop this bomb: call into question their marginalized ™ status.It allows you to once more diminish their experience by disbelieving it, as well as reinforces that “othering” we’ve already discussed.
If you’re in a situation with a person from a non-English speaking country who speaks, reads and writes in fluid English (particularly if so much so you assumed at first they were native English speakers) you must insist this means they received a special sort of education (probably in an English-speaking country) that is denied to their country folk and this means they’re simply not qualified to talk about life in their home country – they’re too Privileged® to really understand.
Or if you’re talking to a Person with Disabilities, you must derisively claim they can’t be all “that” disabled because, if they were, they simply wouldn’t be able to communicate so well with you. Or, you know, think at all.
It’s great to whip this one out on sex workers too – if a sex worker is making the claim that sex work can be a positive and empowering choice or the issue isn’t the work but the stigma leveled at it, you absolutely must say they are obviously a very Privileged® sex worker because “real” sex workers are always degraded, hate their jobs and are forced into it.
The really important thing is to establish some sort of false marginalization hierarchy where the person you’re speaking to couldn’t possibly experience anywhere near the sort of stigma and discrimination everyone else from their group does. This way you can force them to provide “evidence” of what they’ve dealt with which you can just disregard and further dismiss as more “proof” they are actually really privileged examples and therefore have no right at all to be speaking.
Do be sure you strike a careful balance though – whilst you must make it clear you consider this marginalized person to be privileged you must be sure you nonetheless indicate they still are Less Than You, so be as disdainful and contemptuous as possible.
This step is just outright sleazy, which is what makes it so fantastic to use: it will have an effect rather like a punch to the gut on the marginalized person, causing them to sharply inhale as they reel from your sheer arrogance and cruelty. Denying their experience must never be underestimated as a strategy – remember: being dehumanized is exhausting and this will increase your capacity to win!
But You’re Different To The Others
Backhanded insults are a fantastic way to trip up and flummox a marginalized person. This step is often used when you’ve said something discriminatory either forgetting or being oblivious to the fact a person from the marginalized group you’re targeting is right there and has seen/heard it.
They will be offended of course, and that’s when you try to mollify them by reassuring them that they’re “different” to the others. “Oh, you’re not like all those other bitchy women” perhaps, or maybe: “Yes, but you’re an attractive fat man!”Other suggestions include: “I wasn’t talking about you when I was saying most trans women are ugly. You pass pretty well!”; “Yes, but you’re not like those other black people who won’t better themselves, you’re very educated!”. Maybe even: “It’s so good that you stay away from drugs, unlike those other sex workers”. Perhaps even: “Sure, but most mentally ill people are very selfish and self-obsessed. You’re a really nice person!”
Not only do you get to reinforce commonly held stereotypes about various marginalized group revealing that you truly believe them, you get to deliver a double-edged compliment to the marginalized person involved. By using this tactic you’re hoping to play on their emotions, connect with their usual experience of being marginalized for being “other” and turn it around by now “flattering” them for it and how they are differentiated from the “others” because they’re “special” and (almost) worthy of a place in the ranks of the Privileged® (almost) because they are better at conforming to standards set by the privileged.
So deeply ingrained can many insulting preconceptions of their marginalized group be that they may be torturously flattered – we all like to feel the sun on our faces after all! And so, in this way, you also get to reinforce the internalized stigma they may carry.
Finally, you will invoke rage on behalf of their fellows whom you have sweepingly and summarily dismissed and degraded. A conflicting swirl of emotions is very useful to work with!
And finally, of course, you once again imply it is your right as a privileged person to pass judgement or cast approval of them. However be warned if you’re using this tactic to try and halt the conversation before it goes any further: the marginalized person may very well be further provoked into confronting you with your ignorance. Use it with caution.
You’re As Bad As They Are!
Definitely one of the last tactics you should bring out if you’re finding that the marginalized person is simply relentless and you are running out of options.This one is an outright insult. By now they have probably ripped all your prejudices apart and harshly criticized both your attitudes and the privileged system you reside within. You are probably taking it very personally because it’s shaking the foundations of your beliefs and making you confront aspects of your own behavior and nature that you would rather not.That’s when you say to them: you are just as bad as the people who oppress you!
Because they’re angry about the treatment they undergo and because they are aggressive and persistent in wanting to see change happen, you can target this behavior (remembering that it is unseemly for marginalized people – they’re supposed to set an example at all times by being humble and long-suffering) by suggesting it puts them on a par with the people and system that stigmatize ostracize and target them every second of every day of their lives. This also suggests that reacting to such discrimination is totally unreasonable and out of proportion (they should just take their knocks!) and that has the benefit of indicating your ignorance to just how pervasive and constant this discrimination truly is.
This one is important if you really want to demonstrate what a scumbag you are so do be careful to whip it out at precisely the right moment. Used correctly and it can be something of a slam dunk!