With so many people playing their victim cards, it’s almost impossible to know whether everyone’s a victim, none are, or only some are. The current claimants include Blacks, Latinos, Arabs, Muslims in general, indigenous, Jews, women, LGBT+, trans-people … Those currently deemed ineligible – but their day in the sun is no doubt coming – include heterosexual white men, the involuntarily celibate, pedophiles …
Adding them all up, there are certainly more victims than perpetrators, and this has had the effect of drastically diluting the sympathy pool. How so? Because virtue-signalling is exhausting. And because every victim wants her story to be special. For example, I had a ‘native’ student once who was whinging about his relatives being abused at a residential school, to which I answered, “Yeah, and mine were gassed there!”
Worse yet, not unlike in Bridge, what trumps is whatever’s called as trump, and that depends on what movie happens to be trending on Netflix. If it’s Schindler’s List I have a strong hand. If it’s Soldier Blue you do.
The latest strategy is to try to double up, or even triple up, by claiming an intersection of victimizations. So a Black lesbian woman is thought to trump a mere trans-gendered Muslim. But not everyone accepts the intersectionality card. I don’t. What matters, at least by my lights, is how much one suffers, not how many vectors comspire to effect that suffering.
The problem, of course, is that there’s no way to quantify another’s suffering. So we can all sing, and we all do, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen. Nobody knows my sorrow.” You want to bitch about childbirth, honey? Try passing a zagged-edged breached astroid the size of football after nine days of postoperative ileus!
That said, much of our peenging – love that word! – is less about physical suffering than about social standing. And at that less about treatment than regard. It’s the psychological pain of being thought of as somehow of less intrinsic value than others.
Of course this supposes that the concept of ‘intrinsic value’ has a referent, which in all likelihood it does not. Value requires a valuer. So what claim could I have on you that you value me, or you on me that I value you? Sorry, Virginia, but intrinsic value is patter. “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, [but] signifying nothing.”
Too quick. As partial as I might be to me, and you might be to you, we’re all equally beloved of our Creator, are we not? Well perhaps, putting aside His slaughter of the first-born of Egypt. But how is God’s indiscriminating love incumbent upon me? Let God love who He will, and leave me to love who I will. That’s why I support same-sex marriage. It’s love and let love, all the way down.
Now don’t get me wrong, which of course you will. The fact that we’re all victims – or at least most of us are – doesn’t mean it’s a vacuous concept. People do do nasty things to each other. I have, and so have you. I think we should try to minimize our victimizing others, if only in exchange for their minimizing their victimizing us. So yes, I’m a racist ableist misogynous homophobe, and I’m deeply sorry about that, honest I am. And, well, sorry, but that pretty much exhausts my capacity to vice signal.
But now that that’s off my chest, partiality as such, be it personal or racial, is not an injustice. Pace my mother, may she rest in peace, I left home at the age of seventeen in search of something I was told was called flavour. And admit it, in my culinary anti-Semitism I’m hardly alone. So yes, there are aspects of every culture that are not worth preserving. There’s a reason why no one speaks Pig Latin anymore.
Was Ahmaud Arbery murdered because he was black? I have no doubt. Is that the kind of injustice we crackers have to do something about? Absolutely. But as I’ve been arguing, playing our V-cards is not that something. Maybe – and this is only a maybe – we could consider trading them in for an H-card. It’s easier to develop empathy for humans than those damn fill-in-the-blanks.