The Victimhood Games

Christina Hoff Sommer explains the theory behind the victimhood movement that dominates U.S. campuses.

Related: The U.K.’s national student union tells LGBT societies to remove gay men’s reps as they “don’t face oppression.”

17 Comments for “The Victimhood Games”

  1. posted by Houndentenor on April 1, 2016

    I like her. And I see the problems, but I wouldn’t say it dominates most campuses. It’s a real problem in the humanities, but even looking for this on the two campuses were I teach and am finishing my doctorate, it was pretty hard to find. This is more a problem at elite schools full of spoiled rich kids who have been coddled their whole lives. My students are too busy with school and part time jobs to be worried about safe spaces and microaggression.

  2. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    I agree with Houndentenor’s comments.

    I note that many on the left are aware of the problem and speaking about it, and that a number of colleges and universities, are following the lead of the University of Chicago in taking steps to insure that a robust diversity of opinion is preserved and protected.

    I assume, without having specific examples at hand, Stephen and others on the right are addressing the issue as it occurs on conservative campuses, specifically conservative Christian campuses like Wheaton College, Liberty University, Regent University and similar.

    • posted by Mike in Houston on

      Not to mention Stephen’s continual drumbeat about the poor victims of the lack of “religious liberty” protections promulgated by Progressive Overmasters bent on enslaving cake bakers, florists, DJ’s & photographers.

      • posted by Houndentenor on

        Stephen champions the right wing version of the Victimhood Game but denounces the leftist one.

        • posted by Lori Heine on

          It is becoming increasingly, inescapably obvious that the social right is nothing but a mirror image of the very worst of the far left.

          Whininess, victimhood, perpetual butthurt, identity politics and all the rest of it are every bit as common on the social right. The difference is that at least many on the left recognize that these are faults and not virtues, and consider them problematic. The right simply lies and pretends that only the left is guilty of them.

  3. posted by Wilberforce on

    I think there have been examples of this. And I mostly think it’s funny, much like the laugh I get from PETA.
    I used to be a feminist, until I learned how the real world works. Now I think that when women stop using sexual power to control men I will listen to what they have to say about oppression.

  4. posted by JohnInCA on

    In unrelated news, there’s a gay Republican running for office! In Oregon! name of Ben West or something.

    It’d be nice to hear about actual efforts to change the Republican party for once, rather then just the constant drumbeat of how progressives/liberals/Democrats/cat-owners are bad.

  5. posted by Tom Jefferson 3rd on

    I suspect that a great many students – left, right and center – are too busy with work, academics and partying to get seriously involved in much else .

    I doubt that any cult of victimhood has taken over students focused on the three things i just mentioned.

  6. posted by Jorge on

    Is *that* what intersectionality means?

    When I had a training with that word in the title not too long ago, the trainer basically lined up every category where you could put an oppressed vs. non-oppressed group, and opined that one has power and the other does, period. None of this “gay men aren’t oppressed” BS. I took it very personally.

    “And beneath this veneer of freedom and opportunity there lies a rigid system of privilege and domination.”

    Oh, yeah, that sounds familiar, *sigh!*.

    “Well, according to the theory, those who are most oppressed have access to a deeper more authentic knowledge about life and society.”

    No, no, no, no, no, the exact opposite is true. Bl…..ind people think weird. That’s why people thought OJ Simpson was innocent when, uh, dur, his ****in’ blood was at the scene. The reason that happened is because in their historical experience, science has been the enemy. Because they have been discouraged from mastering certain fields, they have closed themselves off from those sources of both truth and falsehood that have done them harm

    The exact same thing is true of wh…icked people.

    It is not that the experience of oppressed people is more authentic than the experience of privileged people. But when you are subject to anti-discrimination laws and ethics, you must make an effort to treat all views and realities equally. Making an extra effort to validate devalued experiences creates a more authentic and objective mixture of views.

    “Problem 1: It’s a conspiracy theory.”
    “Problem 3: Bullying.”

    This was a fun one. It’s really too bad Rick Foamy Butt Santorum keeps losing.

  7. posted by Jorge on

    I used to be a feminist, until I learned how the real world works. Now I think that when women stop using sexual power to control men I will listen to what they have to say about oppression.

    I object. Most women who control men do not use sexual power to do so.

    By my count I’ve had 9 women bosses, 9 women bosses of bosses, 5 male bosses, 2 male bosses of bosses, and many substitutes for each.

    A large minority of them have used the power of their personhood to make inferences, including as a factor in instruction and decision-making, as befits a class of social service professionals.

    And of course, they almost all controlled men (plural). But they did not control through the broadside of their demographics.

    Gender differences exist in leadership, as is well-known. So well-known, that since leaders read from textbooks and teach each other, you see a lot of “masculine” qualities in the typical female boss, and a lot of “feminine” qualities in the typical male boss.

  8. posted by Mike in Houston on

    I’m having a hard time understanding this focus on what some college-age kids are doing… sure there’s a stereotype of millennial snowflakes (although you would be hard pressed to see Stephen blathering on about the whining coming from “oppressed” right-wing students the way he does about lunatic left-wingers with their trigger warnings) BUT reality does have a way of equalizing things as people venture outside their self-made bubbles.

    I work in the oil industry — yes, I’m an evil hypocritical progressive — and our sector is undergoing massive layoffs. Some of the younger workers are having a tough time with this because even though they have this notion that they would never work for the same company forever (like some of us seasoned workers), they always thought that they would leave on their own terms. Most shocking to them is that they’re being let go even after having been told that “they were the future of the company” since before they were hired. Reality bites.

  9. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    I’m having a hard time understanding this focus on what some college-age kids are doing …

    You aren’t the only one. As I write, in Wisconsin, Republicans are making a choice between Caligula and Cromwell, and we have the time to worry about what a bunch of kids in a few small, elite, liberal arts colleges are doing? We think that’s more important than the fact that a national political party has gone over the edge, and that Caligula and/or Cromwell might be our next President? Yeah, right.

  10. posted by Tom Jefferson III on

    Hmm. I dated a guy who use to be a libertarian, in high school until he learned how the real world worked. People’s assumptions and attitudes about philosophy and politics can and do change, especially when you see more of life, and pursue a post-K12 education.

    I was a feminist in high school, and I would still consider myself one now — largely because of how the real world works and seeing the uglier side of life — but “feminism” can be a loaded term, or a term with lots of assumptions and baggage surrounding it, so I understand why lots of people who agree with most (if not all) of feminist ideas, do not like to be associated with the label.

    Some people believe that men cannot be feminists. I read a very good book titled Manhood In America, which is written by a man who is involved with the pro-feminist, pro-civil rights, men’s group; NOMAS

    • posted by Lori Heine on

      Nobody “used to be” anything in high school that can be taken terribly seriously by anybody who has lived for decades since. I was a progressive–until I grew up and discovered how the real world works. Funny how that goes.

      I believe in principles, rather than bumper-sticker shibboleths. So I believe in the fundamental equality of all. Can men be feminists? Why not?

      We are what we behave, in the real world, like we are. Actions speak louder than words. I care less whether a man says he’s a feminist than I do how he lives his life.

      • posted by Houndentenor on

        Interesting because I was a conservative until I learned how the real world works. Of course I don’t buy into the silly binaries that plague both left and right these days. The world is messy and complicated and sadly our politics has become black and white.

  11. posted by Jorge on

    I work in the oil industry — yes, I’m an evil hypocritical progressive

    Evil White Knights are awesome.

  12. posted by Tom Jefferson 3rd on

    The Bakken Oil Boon brought a lot of people into very small towns. In North Dakota and the like.

    Lots of problems with housing, crime, infrastructure, etc. Most of which the State government didnt plan for or have any sort plan for.

    Now the boon is winding down.

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