Thursday, July 29, 2010

black and feminist superiority myths, a note about hierarchy

People who feel inferior are susceptible to superiority myths. Basic versions say their group is superior and will rule everyone someday. Extreme versions claim they deserve to rule because they once ruled, but lost their power through treachery. To radical feminists, the traitors in the matriarchal prehistory myth are men. To the Nation of Islam, the traitor is Yakub, who created the evil white race. (I've long wondered if Yakub inspired L. Ron Hubbard to create Scientology's Xenu myth.)

The palmed card in all myths of a superior past: If the ancient rule was so wonderful, why did anyone revolt? The mythical answer is usually envy or evil or some personal flaw, but if you look at history, there's only one thing that drives people to overthrow their rulers: a desire to end tyranny. The myths of radical feminists and black nationalists are no different in kind than the white supremacist myth of a benevolent Confederacy in which the slaves were happy under the rule of enlightened masters, but Yankees were jealous.

I prefer egalitarian myths.


  1. One type of extremism feeds another. These superiority myths of the marginalized do not occur in a vacuum.

    If you have been told most of your life that the primary way people can coexist is with one group above the other, often implied by messages and media of the dominant group, when people try to imagine an alternative, some may only see the new situation as being diametrically opposed.

    What is interesting is the number of people in the privileged group who assume that most of the people who are marginalizd actually believe in the superiority myth. Usually this number is disproportionate with the amount of people who actually believe in it and seen as much bigger than it actually is, and helps maintain status quo out of fear.

  2. My bad: I completely agree that the marginalized folks who adopt superiority myths are in the minority. It's kind of like abused people who become abusers: that's not normal. If I write more about this, I'll be sure to mention that.

    I do wonder what percentage of privileged folks assume the majority of the oppressed have a superiority myth. I think (maybe because I'm an optimist) that they're also a minority. Though few of us know how to create an egalitarian society, most of us want one. (Alas, I have no evidence for the previous sentence, but I believe it. Capitalists and monarchists wouldn't give so much lip service to ideas of equality if they didn't know most of us crave it.)