Some time ago I wrote about how I can classify people into one of three groups: Idiots, Assholes, and Heroes. I’ll link to it if I ever find it in the great web-page nullification of 2018. Today I was thinking about that and trying to think of Male Privilege and other general empathy-awareness situations and I realized these buckets are missing something, and that missing something is a key to my own white male cis-gendered privilege.
None of these three things are threats.
Idiots aren’t a threat because I can work around them, ignore them, or acknowledge them as I see fit in each situation.
Assholes aren’t threats because I simple ignore them. The closest thing to a threat they pose is getting under my skin, and if I’m in control of my thoughts and feelings (which I should be on a good day) then they aren’t threats. They’re irritants.
Heroes aren’t threats except for tempting me to blind faith. Luckily some of my heroes (Leonard Pitts Jr for example) have recently written things that challenged me and that knocks blind faith away (which is a good thing).
But people don’t fall into a Threat category. Some Assholes in serious power are threats but not in a direct way. They’re not going to come crashing into me, physically assaulting me. They’re more likely to tax me into poverty or make it illegal to call them assholes.
In a society where I don’t have any categorical direct physical threats, I have privilege.