When you talk about oppression, there are a lot of derailing techniques people use to try and silence you. One of these tactics is trying to guilt or shame you into silence by accusing you of “playing the victim.” The idea is that you should feel embarrassed to be a victim, and should be striving for something better. Problem is, this ignores the realities of oppression.
Minorities are actively victimized by society, that’s what oppression is. It’s a system by which privileged people take advantage of minorities, both passively and actively victimizing them. Passive victimization is what happens simply by not challenging privilege and benefiting off of it in blissful ignorance. Active attacks are those actions which directly victimize minorities, such as using slurs or arguing in favor of minority oppression. All of this is at the expense of the minority, making them the victim of prejudice.
Admitting that you have been victimized is not weakness, it’s strength, because it is the first step necessary in demanding equality, and that takes bravery. But privileged people don’t want you to obtain that equality, so they paint victimhood as something to be ashamed of. It’s easier to throw out what’s seen as an insult than it is to self-reflect and examine the abuse they’re inflicting on others.
There’s something deeply disturbing about people who use the term “victim” as an insult. It negatively frames that victim, while not placing any responsibility on the aggressor. Defining victims by what’s been done to them but not aggressors by what they do is an extremely backwards sort of logic. Equality demands that privileged people challenge their privilege, but letting them skate on their bullying behavior does exactly the opposite. It allows them to continue victimizing minorities, to continue being oppressive.
The truly ironic thing is that anti-SJers are the ones who truly “play the victim” because that’s what they’re doing: Playing. Oppressed people are legitimately victimized, whereas privileged people are pretending they experience victimization at the hands of minorities. They whine about “reverse prejudice,” complaining that they are victimized by those with absolutely zero social power to actually do such a thing.
It’s not the victim’s job to stop being victimized; it’s the aggressor’s job to stop abusing. And until privileged people do that, they are creating victims out of us. And admitting that is nothing to be ashamed of. Admitting that is what makes us survivors.