Of late, my children have come home from school exhibiting symptoms of the pandemic. I’m not referring to Coronavirus, I’m referring to the pervasive victimhood disease that has become so commonplace in American Society. It usually presents in the form of a complaint that someone else did or said something that hurt their feelings, and typically that which was done or said can be chalked up to the innocuous. i.e. “We were playing pretend and they wouldn’t let me pretend to be what I want, and that’s not nice!” This is a regular occurrence. As a response I have adopted the retort, “you are not a victim.” When my kids register valid complaints I hope to instill some coping skills that will allow them to navigate through adversity, but I also hope to instill some discernment of what does and does not qualify as adversity.
This default to victimhood likely finds its roots in the postmodern philosophy permeating American culture. This neo-Marxist philosophy places society squarely into a victim or victimizer bucket, and nobody wants to be seen as a victimizer. This same philosophy ensures that regardless of the circumstances, at no point is attribution given to the individual, but rather to the system. Whether it’s Barrack Obama claiming that you didn’t build your own business or Critical Theorists chalking up individual crimes to centuries of oppression, you are never responsible for the worst or the best of your choices. Your choices are merely the byproduct of systems to be overthrown. In the end, you are only responsible for your intentional acts to abdicate your victimizer status.
The division of society into the victim or victimizer complex fully explains the rash of fake hate that has increasingly filled the press headlines over the last half-decade or more. An entire database was created to keep track of these growing instances. While many commonplace occurrences of fake hate can be interpreted as purely attention-seeking, still others highlight the allure of the victim status for those who have already achieved notoriety. Two recent examples include the lynching of actor Jesse Smollet and the intimidation of Nascar’s Bubba Wallace. Perhaps achieving a low level of success and the resulting cheap high left them wanting more without the ardor and patience required for career achievement?
Politicians have found that there is influence to be acquired in wielding victim status as a weapon. In the last few years, Asian American’s have been on the losing end of discriminatory government practice in job placement and school recruitment. Under neo-Marxist philosophy, meritocracies are discriminatory against the under-achieving. Thus, those that achieve at a high rate (Asian Americans) are tantamount to victimizers and must be brought to heel. This creates quite a predicament in the intersectional minority accord, and Asian Americans must be brought back in realignment opposing the victimizers. It is no coincidence that a recent spate of violence against Asian Americans, largely perpetrated by young black males, has been implied a byproduct of white supremacy. Resulting “Stop Asian Hate” campaigns bestow the coveted victim status to the Asian American community that supplants the personal achievement they are stripped of.
They say that adversity builds character, and that certainly rings true in my own life. A short review of my most challenging experiences elicits two truths: 1. I am here today, so I overcame. 2. These moments of adversity taught lessons that shape who I have become and prepare me for future adversity. I understand the temptation to shield my children from adversity because some of these life experiences are also those that I wouldn’t want to relive. However, a mature response also demands that I allow my children the satisfaction that comes from accomplishment. It is far greater a high than that which is conferred in victim status and not achieved.
“When your victimhood is your empowerment, recovery is the enemy, and working on individual change becomes counterproductive, even dangerous to your identity.” – Tammy Bruce