Warning: unpopular opinion ahead.
A few days ago, I engaged in a Facebook discussion (I know, a contradiction in terms). A person complained at how boycotting businesses for a thing-that-shall-not-be-named could potentially hurt her job. I jumped in as I’m often wont to do. As expected, she was a bit offended, and basically said my life was likely unaffected by said thing-that-shall-not-be-named—unlike hers.
I started to respond with my own hardships, but stopped halfway through. I ended up deleting it. This wasn’t a contest about who’s the bigger victim. For me, it’s always about truth, facts, and consequences, and as Ben Shapiro likes to say, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” Nor does truth or consequences. At the beginning of my last comment, I instead wrote, “Read my comments with the head, not the heart.”
That little exchange is an example of where we are as a society. Not that we approach everything based on our feelings (although that’s part of it), but we’ve chosen to treat some victims as heroes.
Oprah’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is another example. I only saw excerpts, but what I did see was nothing but a “woe-is-me” session, and an expectation that Meghan deserves our adoration and respect because royal life is apparently harder than she expected.
Let me add something before I go any further. This is not to minimize or mock anyone’s pain or true victimization. Victims do need their voices heard, especially in a court of law, so the perpetrator of those crimes will be stripped of their ability to victimize others.
This isn’t about victims, either, but how society demands that in order to be heard, a person must be a victim.
The Facebook conversation above highlights that tendency: my opponent tried to silence me by basically saying, “You’re not a victim of the thing-that-shall-not-be-named, so you have no right to speak about it.”
One need not be a victim of an injustice or crime to opine on it. We all have a conscience, and most have an innate knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil. We not only have the right to say something, but the duty.
Being a victim does not make one an expert on a particular subject. It’d be like me saying that since I lost a tire hitting a pothole while crossing a bridge, I’m now an expert on road and bridge engineering.
I applaud everyone who’s risen above their hardships with grace and determination—and humility. What I won’t do is bow before them (figuratively or literally), or be expected to shut up because I’ve not faced the same hardship.
And neither should you or anyone else.