Great Definition of How Oppression Works

This is the best definition I’ve ever read of how oppression, especially transphobia, works. Please go read it and let’s talk about it, especially the awesome motorcycle illustration which comes over from Uppity Brown Woman:

A dramatic metaphor:

Imagine you’re riding your motorcycle down the street. The car in front of you slams on their breaks to meet a stop light, and you swerve to avoid smashing into them, only to end up hitting a telephone pole. It’s your bike that’s a goner, but thankfully the other vehicles have no significant damage. You’re also the one bleeding internally from faceplanting. Only one ambulance has arrived so far. The paramedics are trying to help you in whatever way they can. The other person involved in the accident walks over and demands medical attention because they could be bleeding internally as well. They stopped really suddenly! Their airbag went off!

No doubt, they could be injured. Although it is a possibility, the biker is visibly in pain. The driver makes the point, “but sie must have known the hazards of motorcycles!” In this metaphor, the paramedics stop paying attention to the biker and start looking after the driver. The biker uses up a ton of energy just trying to say, “hey, wait a fucking minute! This is supposed to be about me!” and is only met with “when we’re done here, we’ll get to you. Just calm down and quit being so angry.”


3 thoughts on “Great Definition of How Oppression Works

  1. Heavy stuff. It makes me ache. Why are people so mean to each other? Why can’t we just live and let live? (referring to your post and the linked posts.)

  2. Wow! Well said and kudos to you for brining it in. It’s a post that should be made into a sermon for a lot of UU congregations and could certainly be taught to some of the more racially insensitive bloggers!

    An understanding of that definition would go a long way to achieving anti-racism.

  3. Thank you for the kind words, Reverend. I didn’t set out to write something quite so definitive, and I especially didn’t expect something fueled by my own raw anger to connect with people like it apparently has.

    Chuch, I learned how to write about this stuff from reading PoC bloggers as well as trans writers who came before me. Not specifically the oppression, but how people protect their “right” to oppress.

    Most specifically, Uppity Brown Woman’s quoted post and the conversation we had about it.

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