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

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