Perhaps the most destructive force that has undermined our American culture and the American dream is the concept of “Victimhood”. It pervades all aspects of our society and unfortunately it is permeating even our youngest citizens, deteriorating their outlook on life and diminishing their ability to thrive and strive for excellence. I’m against victimhood for two reasons; (1) it discourages people who have talent and ability to move forward in their lives and (2) it fosters unproductive governmental interference in the personal lives of our citizens.
As a College Professor I try to inspire my students to be optimistic and examine the wonderful possibilities that await them. It breaks my heart to see 18-22 year olds, in the prime of their lives, continually exposed to Victimhood. Above is a photo of a poster advertising a two day event on March 5th and 6th at Winona State University. This poster was widely disseminated on campus, both in printed form and on many large screen monitors. To get a larger image of the poster, just click on it.
Frankly, this poster makes me sick. In a dark tunnel is a hapless image of some sort of humanoid with the following words plastered on the ceiling: racism, violence, hazing, anti-Semitism, ableism, sexual assault, poverty, hate, access to education, homophobia, mental health stigma, hate crimes, inequality, intolerance, oppression, sexism, and lookism. My goodness, after reading the ceiling of this tunnel one wants to just walk off a cliff!
Let’s examine one of the “discriminatory” words on the ceiling of the tunnel. I had to look this one up. “Lookism” is when handsome or beautiful people are treated with preference over average-looking or ugly people. I can see the future now, where the Federal Government will have a data bank of the photos of every person in the United States. Computers will scan the photos and assign a “federal beauty index” (FBI) number to every person. To insure “lookism equality” job descriptions will have to contain language that people will not be discriminated against on the basis of beauty or personal attractiveness. Perhaps those with low “FBI” numbers will receive extra points on civil service exams or on collegiate entry exams. Of course those who feel “lookism” exploited may file a lawsuit or lodge a formal complaint with the Federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, where 1,000 government lawyers will be employed to investigate such horrible injustices.
Looking at the above poster, one would think that we were living in North Korea! In reality, while nothing can completely stop some people from discriminating against other people, the United States of America is as free from discriminatory influences as any nation on earth. The amount of discrimination (racial, gender, ethnic…you name it) that exists today is a fraction of the degree if discrimination that existed even 50 years ago in this country.
As a teacher of young people (I despise the word “educator”) it is my job to inspire them to reach their highest and most noble goals; not to give them excuses for failure. The students at Winona State University who look at this poster live in a country that provides them with virtually unlimited opportunities if they want to work to achieve them.
Condaleeza Rice once said, “If you are taught bitterness and anger, then you will believe you are a victim. You will feel aggrieved and the twin brother of aggrievement is entitlement. So now you think you are owed something and you don’t have to work for it and now you’re on a really bad road to nowhere because there are people who will play to that sense of victimhood, aggrievement, and entitlement….”
If you want to be a victim there are many who will enable you and encourage you to feel sorry for yourself. They will also provide you with limitless excuses why you cannot succeed. The cure for “Victimhood” disease is to personally dismiss all “victim-encouraging” messages as hogwash.
As I tell my students, “Don’t let the prophets of “victimhood” get you down. They will tell you that you can’t succeed and that you will inevitably lose in the game of life. That’s because they are losers and they want you to be a loser as well. You were born to a higher purpose; to thrive, to achieve and to inspire others with your goodness”. No government program or entitlement will ever make you happy. Get on with your life and chase your dreams.”