On victimhood – real and imaginary 5

Today we post a new article among those we permanently display in our margin list of Pages.

It is an essay dealing with the subject of envy – not of those who are rich, successful, privileged, or powerful, but of the opposite: those who have been, or are, deprived, oppressed, humiliated, tormented and persecuted. 

It is titled The Envy of Suffering, and is written by Jillian Becker.

Here are two quotations from it.

The first is an example of victim envy:

In the early 1970s an American student told me that after being enrolled as a student in a Californian university in 1968, she had suddenly left and gone to Calcutta “in order to share the suffering” of the multitudes who had to live on the streets. I asked her how she had thought this would help them. She replied that the whole point was not to help them but to save herself from being “one of the privileged of the earth”. She “stuck it out”, she said, for three weeks, after which the American embassy had arranged for her to fly home.

The second is an observation on whole movements that have come into existence to remedy unreal victimization:

It can reasonably be supposed that there are few if any who actually want to be victimized. (Genuine victims are outside the scope of this essay and beside the point.) They want the role of victim, identifying themselves with a group that they claim is oppressed, or has been oppressed in the past. In America there are manifestly large numbers of women and blacks, for instance, who make this claim and choose this role.

The essay can be found here.

Posted under Articles, Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 30, 2013

Tagged with , ,

This post has 5 comments.

  • Frank

    Fundamentalist Christians living the United States are a perfect example of that mindset. When told that they must respect the Separation of Church and State they become absolutely orgasmic thinking they are being persecuted.


    The victim mentality is created and modeled to all observers through example. It is warmly received inside those who have never learned responsibility for their own pain, since personal accountability isn’t a mandatory requirement from our children. These folks then stagnate inside, remaining adolescents, only with adult bodies.

    The victim habit can be observed among the members of the groups given in the essay, but it also shows up in mainstream folks from all walks of life who’ve never learned to do their own inner work, the work of the responsible adult.

    Unfortunately it continues to remain rampant, as our representatives in government unwittingly encourage it through the various programs such as the present workings of our education system, welfare system, and affirmative action, and through the entertainment media of television.

    Victimization has also been extremely popular with the religious organizations, as it is an exceptional recruiting tool.

  • WmarkW

    Reminds me of the mini-essay “Environmentalism: Merely a fashion statement?” by Heather MacDonald at sister-blog Secular Right,

    >Environmentalists (and I consider myself one) pretend to embrace the virtues of self-abnegation, but do so only up to the borders of their consumption comfort zone. If truly “caring for the environment”
    required anyone to give up his core lifestyle, the response would be:
    “Sorry, no can do.” The lifestyle changes
    that people are willing to embrace—recycling; driving a cool Prius;
    possibly, in a few cases, taking one’s own bags to the farmer’s
    market—are things that we are already willing to do. If saving the
    planet required us to turn off our computers and wireless devices, or
    running the electricity just 8 hours a day, no one would do it.

    >>The breathtaking hypocrisy of an Al Gore and the entire
    Hollywood elite, voracious consumers of every energy-hogging
    transportation, communication, and labor-saving device evolved by human
    ingenuity, or the wealthy’s resistance to unsightly “renewable energy”
    infrastructure in such prized backyards as Nantucket Island, are simply
    larger-than-life examples of the gap between rhetoric and conduct which
    we all suffer from.
    WMarkW adds: “Doing Without” has an entirely different meaning, depending on whether you can create your own limits of sacrifice.

  • Ian Kummer

    I’ll admit I rolled my eyes when the author started complaining about “the blacks” claiming victim status.

    • rogerinflorida

      Regardless of “eye-rolling” could you take a minute to explain WTF you are talking about?