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There's no point in being a victim


There's no point in being a victim
Rita Panahi

Where do you rank in the Oppression Olympics? Are you floundering at
the bottom of the table among the privileged white, Christian,
heteronormative cisgender males with no moral authority to speak on
any issue? Or are you going for gold as a transgendered pansexual
Muslim woman of colour?

There was a time when a personâ??s status was determined by their birth;
those fortunate enough to belong to the aristocracy were judged to be
our moral and intellectual superiors.

Now thereâ??s a new and even more toxic pecking order that determines
oneâ??s acceptability and authority to speak on a range of issues. The
new aristocracy is determined by oneâ??s victimhood status; the more
grievance points you accumulate, the greater your mandate to preach.

Of course, if you donâ??t identify as a victim then your oppression
ranking plummets to Anglo-male depths, but if you play the game right,
you can use your grievance status to score plum roles as well as dodge
all responsibility if you happen to fail miserably. One popular tactic
among the victimhood brigade is the refusal to accept any criticism
that comes from those who are of a different race, religion, gender,
sexuality or whatever else differentiates you.

Men should not speak about feminism, whites should butt out of black
or ethnic debates, and non-Muslims should never pass judgment on

Last week soon-to-be-retired Senator Nova Peris rejected the opinions
of those who donâ??t share her oppression ranking.

â??Until you are an Aboriginal person, donâ??t criticise me,â?? she said.

Really? Can I play that card the next time I receive unhinged abuse
from the always bitter and outraged feminist frightbats who are
invariably middle-class white women? From now on my standard response
to any and all criticism will be: â??Unless you are an American-born
Persian Australian, donâ??t judge me.â??

Let's remember that Peris isn't some disempowered victim; indeed she's
been treated better than most in her short political career.

Allegations that Peris used taxpayer money to carry out an
extramarital affair would have ended most political careers but she
survived and earned a few extra grievance points by painting herself
as the victim.

While working for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Studies, Peris was involved in a decision to bring her
lover, Olympian Ato Boldon, to Australia for a 10-day tryst
interrupted by a few athletic workshops.

However when the scandal was revealed, and again last week, there was
no shortage of media pundits eager to characterise any criticism of
Peris as racially motivated.

We see the same simplistic arguments put forward claiming only
indigenous people are entitled to an opinion on Australia Day, or
Invasion Day, or whenever matters concerning  the indigenous community
are debated.

How absurd to think that all people of a particular race or religion
share the same values and viewpoints and will have their â??sideâ??
adequately covered by an ethnically-appropriate representative.

Those who demand that every member of a particular minority group
think and vote the same way are guilty of the sort of closeminded
prejudice that the Left used to rail against.

It's not just a local phenomenon - Egyptian feminist Mona Hathaway, a
favourite of the Q&A set, recently demanded that only Muslim women
speak about the religion's many problems, particularly with veiling.

â??If you're white/ not a Muslim woman: shut up and listen to us, Muslim
women,â?? she tweeted.

Victimhood does not equal moral superiority, particularly when in your
eagerness to establish your victimhood status you ignore real victims.

Western feminists who turn their back on oppressed women while getting
worked up about non-issues such as gendered toys and â??sexist air
conditionersâ?? are not noble warriors, merely trolls.

Ordinarily I'd be the type of minority the average Leftie would be
delighted to embrace given my many oppression points: woman of colour,
Middle Eastern refugee, atheist, single mother - if I was also a
lesbian with a disability I'd have hit the diversity jackpot.

And that's part of the problem. Many progressives consider diversity a
disability to be overcome. The victimhood they seek signifies for them
a struggle that is often entirely in their own minds.

My failure to see my ethnic origin as some sort of handicap is deemed

The fact that I don't view Australia as an inherently racist country
ruled by monstrous patriarchy riles them even more.

Unlike most Western feminists who have abandoned their sisters in the
Muslim world, I won't stay silent about the systematic subjugation of
women in the name of Islam.

That I won't frame my opinions in a manner that pushes daft social
justice agendas that are short on justice and high on propagating
falsehoods is the final deal breaker.

All of that combines to negate any oppresion points I've accumulated
and casts me as an enemy of your average Leftist, or progressive as
they prefer to be called. Those people believe that if you don't
subscribe to their dippy worldview you're suffering from internal
misogyny and racism. That's intellectually vacuous and it's at the
heart of the social justice activism that's taken hold of much of

Is it any surprise universities are increasingly banning free speech
and creating â??safe spacesâ?? to spare their delicate student populations
from the only diversity they hate - the diversity of opinion?

Identity politics that portrays victimhood as something to be lauded
is counter-productive and divisive.

Only a bigot would dismiss someone's opinion based on their race,
religion, gender or sexuality.
rita DOT panahi AT news.com.au