Playing the Victim Game

A big problem I see with identity politics is that it encourages communities to indulge in rival victim narratives. Everyone wants to present themselves as the victim, as the underdog, irrespective of their comparative experience. Indeed it’s probably true to say everyone has experienced victimisation in some ways, even victimisers, so it’s a tempting game to play. But what if there’s a better way, that acknowledges our common humanity beyond our various tribalism? I think if we’re going to get there we need to focus less on “who” and more on “what”; less on personalities and more on principles. Are there behaviours we can agree on are unacceptable irrespective of the being engaging in them? Behaviours like  slander, dehumanising speech, and incitement to violence? I think the real test is whether we can call it out for what it is when committed by members of our own tribe. If we’re always finding fault in other tribes but never in our own it’s a strong sign you’re captive to identity politics and failing to take a principled stance.

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