Originally Posted by redpepper
This whole topic really weighs me down. Do I ever get to feel that I am not oppressive? So what if I am privileged in some areas of my life? I am in that I can buy clothes from Bangledesh at Old Navy for instance. That makes me an oppressor by supporting their store and therefore those that oppress them. If clothing stores such as that only offer clothes from oppressed countries then how and when do I get to not feel like shit for buying them when that is all that is offered. Sure there is so much we can do and I do as much as I can but the burden can be SOooo heavy and it piles guilt and shame onto me that is also oppressive. Much of the way our culture is set up is around oppression in one way or another. What do we do, add everything up and see who comes out as the most oppressed and then sit with that.... what is the point in that? What do we do next?
Is this making sense?
I'm sorry, I don't feel it relates to poly, but I feel as if it needs to just be for me at the moment before I can find the way that it does relate... as I know it does.
This is always a tough one. And the answers are certainly not easy.
Ok, the next thing I'm about to say will often raise people's hackles so please be aware that there is no intent to attack or put anyone down as I go into this. But this is a common issue for many many people. The answer is a hard and difficult answer to live with.
How do you deal with all the weight of this? By realizing that it's not about you.
It's about developing an understanding of the world that has more truth than shelter in it and learning to redefine what choices are right and wrong in the context of that understanding. Its about understanding my role in the oppressive systems we live in. I'm not responsible for those systems, but I am responsible for my choices that I make within those systems.
Yes, each of us can only do so much. But that "so much" isn't about making a list of things you can't do because they're oppressive. The more you keep the awareness of that oppression in you, the more your choices will be informed by that understanding. I make my choices based on honoring that understanding, not based on alleviating my guilt, because those choices aren't about me, they're about trying to be a good human being.
If I were to take the approach of choosing one thing or "cause" to alleviate the oppression and move on, I'm only making choices to alleviate my guilt, and in many ways is a very privileged way to approach the situation.
I firmly believe that people in the world are basically of good conscience. The more people understand about the realities of others created by the privileges we have (even though we didn't create that situation), the more people will make choices that help to undue it.