To the privileged, on trigger mechanisms

Posted: May 29, 2011 in Kyriarchy
Tags: , ,

Look at virtually any protest or protest movement, and you’ll find a trigger mechanism. That’s just the way things are.

It cannot, however, be said that the trigger mechanism is the cause of it. The cause is the long-running grievances that underly everything, that often underly every facet of life. Perhaps, say, a riot was triggered by a single arrogant authority figure’s action – but it could never have happened without, say, poverty being a grinding force in the rioters’ lives. Anything that looms large in the collective consciousness can be an underlying factor for a movement, a factor that is more a cause than the trigger.

And those factors are big issues in the lives of those they affect, and to see only the trigger and argue that the movement was an overreaction is an essentially privileged point of view.

Underlying causes are often oppressive in nature. The oppressions themselves and the way they manifest – that’s something big and meaty to form a movement against. But they can still be invisible to the people who are privileged along those particular axis, and so the privileged still argue that it was an overreaction. Let me tell you, it’s hard to overreact to a kyriarchal system that breaks and kills. It’s really fucking hard. It’s hard even to react, since the system delights in turning groups against each other and themselves.

To have a movement against those oppressions is not an overreaction. There’s a great danger in generalising the response to one trigger to other areas where it’s not as relevent, and in the heat of the moment the movement itself may – often does – become poisoned; but the response is not disproportionate. It’s just that a trigger mechanism is generally needed.

There is so much wrong with our damn kyriarchy, with our world. It doesn’t help that there’s many people who have been shielded from many or all oppressions from birth, and who are too afraid to push aside the curtain and thus react to those trying to broaden their worldview with hatred and bigotry. Sure, you might only see one little action – but that doesn’t mean there’s not a whole lot more awfulness going on outside your line of sight.

When you hold the blinkers on yourself, don’t complain when you don’t get the scale of the problem.


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