In the new ‘victimocracy,’ claiming grievances yields power

After my family and I immigrated to Canada from India in 2004, we faced several obstacles to success. We weren’t acculturated to Western norms and conventions, my mom couldn’t transfer her college credits and we struggled to make ends meet for a long period of time. 

On top of the many economic hurdles we faced, I was consistently tormented in elementary school for looking different. I vividly recall my peers mocking me with caricatured Indian accents (despite my own westernized tongue) and telling me to “go back to where you came from.” 

The combination of being dark-skinned, an immigrant, economically poor, subject to racist bullying and belonging to a minority religion (Sikhism) ranks highly on current tests for intersectionality, which attempt to “calculate oppression.” 

Because of my identity and experiences, I would have been the perfect student for today’s “anti-racist” programs that have become pervasive in schools in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death last year. 

At R.I. Meyerholz Elementary School in California, for example, third-graders are instructed to deconstruct their racial identities and reflect on which identity traits “hold power and privilege” and which do not. Students also learn the “dominant culture” is upheld and perpetuated by “white, middle class, cisgender, educated, able-bodied, Christian, English speaker[s].” 

I could have easily adopted a perpetual victimhood mindset and considered myself a member of the “oppressed class,” railing against white supremacy and systemic racism. But a victim outlook was completely antithetical to everything my mom taught me as a child. 

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