Last year around this time, I wrote a post entitled “Fuck Your Ego” with a follow-up post called “Benefit the Community, Not Yourself.” Sadly, as with many topics like this one, it bears revisiting and rediscussing again and again.
These days, if you’ve been paying any sort of attention to the blogosphere or the online Pagan community in general, you’re aware of the term “privilege” and the various ways people respond to it. In essence, for those unaware, “privilege” is a term utilized to indicate ways that an individual or group in modern Western societies is benefited for certain things they are born to, such as socio-economic standing, educational background, race, gender, sex, and so forth. These days, in the Pagosphere, it is being discussed in terms of “Wiccanate privilege” and the fact that Wicca and Wiccanate practices are the de facto default assumption for any so-called pan-Pagan event, festival, etc. This debate has been getting more and more popular in the last several weeks, finally coming to the general Pagan blogs and communities after being argued over on Tumblr for the last two years (and longer).
I’ve made my stance on Wicca pretty clear in the past, I believe: it’s not for me and I prefer not to be assumed as Wiccan in any way, shape, or form. But this post is not about that. Instead, it is intended as a request for those getting bent out of shape regarding the use of the term “privilege” to refer to any group that is benefited by their social standing in a group or in modern Western society to take a step back, take a deep breath, and take their head out of the sand and look around.
Humanity is, sadly, inherently selfish or self-absorbed I’ve found in my twenty-five years here on this planet. Some of you reading may assume me a jaded Millennial, but predominately I have found this to be true. It is sad that at nearly twenty-five I am jaded enough to have little faith in humanity as a whole. But that does not mean I do not have faith in individuals on a small-scale.
When I wrote “Fuck Your Ego,” I was angry and frustrated after spending several hours reading about and ranting over the various problems in the Pagan community. It saddens me that a year later, we are still having all of these issues without a speck of progress. The fact that our PPRW communities are unable to reconcile our differences and aim for benefiting our community rather than ourselves is emotionally distressing and exhausting.
So, again, I ask you to take a step back when you begin to get angry over being accused of being “privileged” or you believe you have been slighted in some way despite being in a privileged position, whatever that may be. Listen to what those around you are saying. No, really listen. Don’t just hear what they are telling you. Listen to them; digest it in your mind; think on it before you respond. If we all took a few more moments to listen rather than waiting for our chance to speak, mayhaps we would have made a step forward in the last 365+ days, rather than seem like we are slowly sliding off the edge of a cliff created by our own desires for power and position in our various social spheres.
The amount of argument and fighting in the PPRW communities over the last several years is a turn-off. The fact that people are afraid to voice their concerns with even the smallest things is a problem. The amount of bullying, beleaguering, and bashing that goes on is appalling. The fact that many are driven out of their various social spheres because they didn’t get along with someone “popular” or disagreed with someone who held some sort of position of power is shameful. The number of people who have given up on causing any sort of change or progress in our various communities is staggering. They are silencing themselves not necessarily out of fear of repercussions but, rather, wondering what the point is. Why should they exhaust themselves with fighting for equality if the wheel of progress has been rusted still?