News & Politics

Margaret Cho/Tilda Swinton Controversy Another Example of 'Oppression Olympics'

Photo from Flickr, by Strevo

On Monday, PJ Media published a story about a college conference that broke down into what one person described as “oppression Olympics,” as various groups tried to compete for most-oppressed status.  The thing to remember is that this isn’t the only instance of this happening recently.

There’s been some controversy of late between so-called comedian Margaret Cho and actress Tilda Swinton over the latter’s role in Dr. Strange. The character, the Ancient One, was an Asian male in the comics but turned into a white female in the film.  The two celebrities emailed for a bit to discuss the subject, but Cho reported on a podcast that she felt like her concerns weren’t taken seriously.

In response, Swinton released the full text of the emails to show that she actively sought a discussion on the topic. After all, aren’t SJWs all about starting conversations?

Apparently, conversations only go one way, as the Huffington Post unintentionally implied in a piece bashing Swinton and “white feminism.”

Swinton’s release of the emails has the appearance of perhaps wanting to abscond from the backlash in a scrupulous way. A cursory read through the exchange paints Swinton as responsibly conscious in asking the hard questions about race. And critics have pointed out that white people should, of course, determinedly be talking about these issues. But a white person asking a person of color to do the emotional labor of explaining race relations is inherently problematic and privileged. It shouldn’t be on minority communities to do the work of turning white people into race scholars.

The other issue is that Swinton said she wanted to listen to Cho, but it appears that she did not. Instead, she took a white feminist approach ― which is not a label that has anything to do with her being a feminist who also happens to be white ― but has everything to do with blatantly leaving out concerns people of color might have. (emphasis added)

Of course, this is unsurprising.  Anyone who has dealt with SJWs knows how this plays out. The onus is on white people to not just admit their own racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia/LMNOphobia/WTFBBQ, but also to understand every aspect of it like an ethnic studies professor.

What’s particularly interesting is how Swinton’s argument is basically: “Hey, this is a step forward.  Can’t we celebrate that?” Meanwhile, her detractors can’t accept anything less than an all-or-nothing approach.  Killing the sausage party that makes up much of Marvel’s casting decisions is fine, so long as you stick with the source material. Unless it’s a white character getting a race change (see Heimdall in Thor. Idris Elba rocked the role, but Heimdall in the movies doesn’t look a thing like him).

This, however, is the ultimate result of all social justice crusaders. Eventually, they all devolve into “oppression Olympics” as each group jockeys for control and power. That’s because SJWs aren’t about equality so much as getting even for things that happened long before any of them were born.

Whether it’s “students of color” arguing they’re each more oppressed than the other, or a minority complaining that a role written for a minority male went to a female who has the wrong skin tone, it’s inevitable that after they have beaten down their true enemy–white males– they’ll be at each other’s throats within a week.