Why Invalidating Marginalized Members' Experience Is Wrong
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Politics and Activism

Why Invalidating Marginalized Members' Experience Is Wrong

Invalidation of marginalized members

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Why Invalidating Marginalized Members' Experience Is Wrong
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(Trigger Warning: Native American Genocide mentioned in examples, Nazi Germany mentioned in examples, Racism, Gaslighting, Ableism)

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Have you ever opened up about your experience to someone as a marginalized member in society and have been told, "Oh, your anecdotal claims don't account for everyone, so therefore, you are in no way oppressed"? Have your ever been a victim of gaslighting and had your words twisted around? Have you been told, "Stop whining, you're not the only one who's discriminated against"? Have you ever been dismissed, simply because the other person has never witnessed it happening and simply doesn't believe you? Has someone derailed from your point to minimize your experience? Has someone brought up the laws or constitution to dismiss your claims because they believe that we truly live in a "free" society? Perhaps, you've been told, "Well, at least it isn't like olden times. Your people are treated way better today, compared to [insert time frame or a country where discrimination is overt here]"?

If you have encountered any of the above, your experience was invalidated, either by someone who holds more privilege than you in a certain area or another marginalized member from another group. Invalidating any marginalized member's experience is wrong on every level, no matter who you are. It hurts twice as much if it's from another fellow marginalized person, in my opinion, because with them being marginalized, they should know what it feels like to have their experiences overlooked. I'll give out a couple examples - one where a privileged person refutes a claim and another where a marginalized person refutes the same claim.

Person of color that's disabled

Ableism is a huge problem. Growing up, I was always picked on, because of physical disability and I was always called 'Red Boy', because I'm Native American. It's hard being disabled and being a person of color because I face both racism and ableism.

Person that's able-bodied and white

There is no such thing as ableism and racism anymore. There are laws in your favor now. Besides, it's not like you're being killed for your deformity like they did in Nazi Germany. At least you weren't around when Columbus came here. Your experience doesn't mean ableism and racism still happens. All you're doing is crying victimhood, when you're not a victim. You have just as much opportunity as anyone else.

Person that's disabled and white

Yeah, you're just crying victimhood. I swear everyone is "oppressed" nowadays. I've had use a wheelchair my entire life and have never faced discrimination for it. Your single experience is not factual on your false claim of ableism and racism.

Person of color that's able-bodied and LGBT+

Homophobia is a bigger issue than ableism. It happens on a much higher scale. I get discriminated against because I'm a homosexual person and I also face racism more than you.

You see how absurd it is to invalidate a marginalized member's experience, no matter who you are? Just because you have never seen it in action or experienced it, doesn't mean it isn't happening. Also, derailing and making it about you is just horrible. Don't do it.


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