Don’t punch down

Racists punch down.  Misogynists punch down.  Bullies punch down.

If you’re in the majority, if you’re protected by privilege, even if you’re not as protected as a tall, wealthy, Christian, white male would be… don’t punch down to the people worse off than  you.

Don’t blame an entire group for the failings of a few members if that group is lower than you on life’s difficulty setting.  It’s not their job to police everybody who shares the discriminated against characteristic.  (Whereas you might be able to make an argument that there is nobody else to police the wealthy tall white male “Christians” but wealthy tall white male “Christians” themselves.)

If you’re going to punch a group, then punch up.

If you find the action of a single person or small group of people to be despicable, then call out that action.  Call out those people.  Don’t blame the entire group.  Don’t do things that are racist just because a black guy killed a cop or because a small group of terrorists killed a group of comic strip writers.  Extend the same courtesy to less privileged groups that you do to the most privileged groups, because without doing that, the patriarchy will never be defeated.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , . 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Don’t punch down”

  1. CG Says:

    I had a bad situation at work this past year where I requested that a third person get involved to arbitrate. One of the reasons I wanted some outside help was because of the bad power dynamic involved (tenured/non-tenured, male/female, you get the picture). Although the person (not at my institution) agreed, he refused to concede that there was an unequal power dynamic. For him, I guess that was true.

    • Perpetua Says:

      Yes it’s very easy not to recognize an uneven power dynamic when you’re benefiting from it! “We’re all equal here!” is a line spoken only by the powerful.

  2. Leah Says:

    Yes, I often found myself saying similar in my town when working in the racially tense schools here. We have a large immigrant population, and I frequently reminded students to say that X person is a jerk and not cast the entire population in light of X’s actions. Just like we can have jerky white people, we can have jerky people from any culture.

  3. Mel Says:

    Hells yeah: “Extend the same courtesy to less privileged groups that you do to the most privileged groups.”


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