Monday, August 04, 2008

The Justice of Turnabout

The job of empowering oppressed groups is too often ignored as a practical goal by claiming that the job is too big or that there are too many pathological issues facing each individual person to help them to understand and be responsible for their liberties once they are granted.

In this way the liberties of individuals who are a part of an oppressed category are categorically ignored as victims of too big of a problem to solve. This societal illness doesn't just claim the lives of those who are perceived as weak but it prevents those who are considered strong from realizing the aspects of themselves that are considered weak but are actually strengths that few people ever recognize. Oppression serves no one.

With very little equality and fairness, there are very few ways to fairly judge anyone. Still people are judged as if there was. Turnabout can't be considered fair play and people can't be accurately evaluated that way until there is a better way of judging what fairness really is.

One of the things that I find often occurs within group dynamics, societal reforms, and governmental justice departments is how people attempt to view things from the standpoint of all things being equal as how things are rather than this being the ideal of how they should be. To me this seems to come from the group of viewers seeking to make the ideal of personal responsibility more important than social responsibility because it serves to maintain a system that benefits them. This can and does create more advantages for those who already have them at the expense of those they (the advantaged) find less favorable being given more of the burden.

The ways I see this as being a problem is that social responsibilities are often not met because there is too much focusing on the unrealistic and unattainable goal of creating judgmental divisions based on perceived effort, inborn ability, and severity of symptoms. While each person is an individual, to attempt to overly define that for purposes that determine which so-called liberties should be withdrawn from those who have the fewest creates the opposite of justice. This perpetuates a negative cycle.

It would be great if everyone could and did act assertively based on how and when they felt assertively against oppression rather than the needing to be careful of the consequences of challenging those with perceived power but that has never been the case with very many people in any environment where I have been. Those who were challenging were usually punished for doing so if their station in life was known to be less influential or found to be that way.

Oppressed populations often act in the very ways they are taught as well as how they are understanding themselves as being viewed. This does not mean that they don't have individual wills or are incapable or unreasonably afraid to assert them. The belief that this is the case is one of the biggest contributors to maintaining an already oppressive situation.

Many other countries have very few people asserting themselves against oppression at all. In the United States, some have been granted this privilege of doing so (often from an already favorable position) and claim that others who don't assert what they arrogantly refer to as their "right" are less informed and/or are less courageous.

Fortunately, we do have people that are strong and willful and who do fight assertively for what prevents the liberties of themselves and others like them with less means to do so. However, that doesn't mean that those who don't challenge the current oppressive system are weaker.

Teaching people to be strong needs to include not only teaching them how they are capable of this strength but also what kinds of stereotypes and misinformation has been spread to the general public (often for generations) about the less than favorable category which they find themselves defined as being in and how this affects how they as a group have learned to behave.

To claim that someone who is in a category of already oppressed people is strong and another is weak based on how the one considered strong is personally overcoming their plight may serve to encourage others to do the same, but it can also remind some people to believe that they need that extra something that they have been taught that they don't have. Without learning comprehensive steps for how to assert themselves against oppressive forces, the ideal that they should but aren't assertive enough often serves as a reminder of what they have been taught they can't do and this can prevent them from trying.

Maintaining the oppressive governing of people has strong and deep roots in how generations of people have learned about who they are and what their worth to society is in relation to others.

Turning that around has to involve the ways that society changes their system of justice and their societal norms. Attempting to create equality based solely on individualism can be used to create strife within one oppressed group or between one oppressed group and another oppressed group.

Instead these groups need to support each other in ways that create more equality and less strife for everyone. This can't be done at too much abrupt risk to those who are favored without also causing misappropriations of privileges for all.... Instead favoritism for groups and classifications of people need to be better understood for what they have to offer so individuals within those classifications can be evaluated more appropriately.

A group that has been oppressed needs to have some solidarity of purpose and learn to work with others who are in the same or similar situations, and we need to stop oppressing our own in the way the favored within our society do. This only perpetuates the oppression and creates a victory for those who oppose us.

Every form of government has been infected with the corruption of power. To claim that capitalism has not fallen prey to the same type of corruption as communism is to ignore the so many who are suffering due to how this system is abused. Individual rights and responsibilities can be achieved but not as long as oppressive officials, oppressive laws, and oppressive forms of government are supported.

One example that shows me the way those who govern the experiment known as the United States respond to their public in ways that are contrary to equal rights and equal responsibilities are the ways that we maintain our system of warehousing people.

In the State within the United States where a large percentage of people were found to be innocent of their crime after they were executed for that crime has also provided the nation with their governor. Now that he is president, I have watched him act in the same corrupt manner.

The are an alarming percentage of wrongful executions in the U.S. that are the result of the accused being unable to secure what is considered adequate counsel. What is considered adequate council has been completely misrepresented to the public in similar ways that the nation has also been taught to believe in a nonexistent middle class. The poverty line is drawn to include the majority of residents in this nation of wealth. If adequate counsel can't be secured by the majority of people how can we say that our council does anything other than provide us with the privilege of buying our way out of unfair treatment.

How can our justice system evaluate individuals and individual situations when our very laws and justice system are some of the biggest contributors to that nations lack of justice? How can societal norms not also be affected by this level of official miscarriage of justice?

The US is reported to warehouse a larger percentage of people than any other nation. Because so many in the United States are not factored into any statistic we also have a lot of people who are in extremely bad situations that may be placed in one of these human warehouses if their conditions become no longer tolerable and they seek better provisions.

The freedoms that people within the United States claim to have can only be seen as bought privileges by those who can't afford them.

Not affording these so-called rights financially is very similar to not being able to afford them with the freedom to act, speak, and assert oneself in the ways that those who are more favored do.

As an autistic person, I have been in many situations where autistic people are not only given less opportunities to assert themselves due to the differences in the ways that we communicate and how that can be misunderstood, but we are also stereotyped as being aggressive and/or violent when we are not at all that way as a group. This mischaracterization often conveniently can and does lead to some of the worst types of unfair judgements.

The warehouses that have been defined by the U.S. justice system as correctional institutions have become an extension of how minority races are housed in the worst part of cities and talked about as this being their "place". Autistics along with those who have many neurological disorders, psychiatric and psychological diagnosis's, learning disabilities, and people who are homeless and considered to be unable to care for themselves (which includes people who have never been taught differently or are seen as being unworthy of such teaching) are all being warehoused in mental institutions and the like that have worse conditions than jails.

These institutions are considered correctional facilities for many who have committed no crime and pose no threat. These institutions are in no way hospitals other than the fact that they can collect money from Medicare and Medicaid, and they may be required to employ more medical staff. Our nations luxurious conveniences won't stay hidden.

My personal philosophy includes seeing turnabout as an unethical means of governing individuals or groups. I also don't think that the phrase "Turnabout is fair play" can be practically used as a method of creating justice with individuals until there is a lot more fairness for how groups or categories of people are treated.

Revised and edited at 5:45 P.M. Eastern Standard U.S. time Monday 8/7/'08


At 12:18 PM , Anonymous Thomas D. Taylor said...

Many thanks for this outstanding commentary.

Educating folks about autism is one of the ways in which we can reduce societal mistreatment of people on the spectrum.

As one of the creators of the Autism Spectrum podcasts at, it pleases me to see that others hold similar viewpoints to my own.

At 4:17 PM , Blogger Ed said...

Thanks for linking your podcast.

I enjoyed listening to it.


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