Amidst a clash of opinions recently, my sister and I began chatting about how people throw a lot of cards on the table when they run out of legitimate things to argue about. It’s dubbed the “Privilege Olympics,” a competition of who really has it the “hardest” in an attempt to win sympathy, and therefore, the conflict. But the people who play these games don’t understand that kind of shit is immature and extremely irrelevant. I don’t care if you think it pertains to the issue, it doesn’t. Why? Because everyone’s fighting a battle.
This particular instance of PO involved discussing academic freedom. We were all there to support one teacher from my alma mater who appears to have had her rights infringed upon. We were all there for the same cause, to come together and fight for what’s right. But as always, there’s one person who has to ruin a good thing.
A belligerent contributor to the conversation kept talking about her personal experiences, and her impending switch of college, and her race, and her issues with everyone on campus, and her deep and OBVIOUS struggles that SO eclipsed the rest of ours. Not only was she hostile, egocentric, and unhealthy to the conversation, she didn’t make a damn word of sense. I politely asked her to come back when she had coherent thoughts, and it opened up the gates to the aforementioned Privilege Olympics, the nasty details of which I’ll spare you.
This deluge of irrelevant information left my sister and I astounded. This chick assumed not only my race, but my struggles throughout life. I may have plenty of privilege – more than I could ever hope for – but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. That doesn’t mean I’ve been without suffering and pain, perhaps comparable to, if not more so, than this girl’s.
It got the two of us thinking about the people who are just flat out dicks to the rest of us. Some to win a case (above), some for no god damn reason. Neither situation is okay because the aggressor presumes to know the struggles we have all faced. They presume to know everything about us, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
So many people, including friends of mine, grapple day in and day out with invisible issues. Be that a “disability,” an illness, or simply a compilation of their past experiences threatening to overwhelm, these issues are all real. They are all painful. Despite the weight they carry, I never hear these folks complain or use their struggles to their advantage.
That’s when my sis and I stumbled upon this idea of The Everything Card. Why not carry around a card with your baggage clearly listed? That way the next time you’re in line at a coffee shop and someone calls you a “slutty bitch,” you can pull out your card. Let them mull it over, and smile at them when they hand it back to you. Say “Everyone’s fighting a battle,” and walk out of their life. I guarantee it will change someone. I guarantee it will spread.