I learned a new word today.
Kyriarchy (“rule by a lord”; from the Greek ??????/kyrios “lord or master” and ????/arche “authority, leadership”) is a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission. The word itself is a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza to describe interconnected, interacting, and self-extending systems of domination and submission, in which a single individual might be oppressed in some relationships and privileged in others.(subscription required) It is an intersectional extension of the idea of patriarchy(subscription required) beyond gender. Kyriarchy encompasses sexism, racism, homophobia, economic injustice, and other forms of dominating hierarchies in which the subordination of one person or group to another is internalized and institutionalized.[dead link]
Schüssler Fiorenza (2009) describes interdependent “stratifications of gender, race, class, religion, heterosexualism, and age” as structural positions assigned at birth. She suggests that people inhabit several positions, and that positions with privilege become nodal points through which other positions are experienced. For example, in a context where gender is the primary privileged position (e.g., patriarchy), gender becomes the nodal point through which sexuality, race, and class are experienced. In a context where class is the primary privileged position (i.e., classism), gender and race are experienced through class dynamics.
Schüssler Fiorenza writes about the interaction between kyriarchy and critical theories as such:
[T]he universalist kyriocentric rhetoric of Euro-American elite men does not simply reinforce the dominance of the male sex, but it legitimates the imperial “White Father” or, in black idiom, the enslaving “Boss-Man” as the universal subject. By implication, any critical theory — be it critical race, feminist, liberationist, or Marxist theory — that articulates gender, class, or race difference as a primary and originary difference masks the complex interstructuring of kyriarchal dominations inscribed in the subject positions of individual wo/men and in the status positions of dominance and subordination between wo/men. It also masks the participation of white elite wo/men, or better “ladies,” and of Christian religion in kyriarchal oppression, insofar as both have served as civilizing colonialist conduits of kyriarchal knowledges, values, and culture.
In essence, all peoples are in some form or another ‘oppressors’ to some group of people while simultaneously being oppressed by some other group of people. In an effort to end their oppression, they increase the oppression they inflict, thus creating a vicious circle of sorts.
Got that? In other words, everyone is oppressing everyone!
As to the oppressed, not only do they have every right to be rude and confrontive, but the very act of questioning their rudeness is considered another form of oppression, known as “tone policing.”
When you tone police, you automatically shift the focus of the conversation away from what you or someone else did that was wrong, and onto the other person and their reaction. Tone policing is a way of not taking responsibility for fucking up, and it dismisses the other person’s position by framing it as being emotional and therefore irrational. The conflation of emotionality with irrationality is often used to silence women and people who are read as women, when they are trying to speak about anything at all. It’s also used against all marginalized people when they attempt to speak about their very personal experiences with oppression. But being emotional does not make one’s points any less valid. It’s also important to note that, by tone policing, you not only refuse to examine your own oppressive behavior, but you also can blame that on the other person, because they were not “nice enough” to be listened to or taken seriously.
Third, the implications: Tone policing assumes that the oppressive act is not an act of aggression, when it very much is. The person who was oppressed by the action, suddenly is no longer a victim, but is “victimizing” the other person by calling them out. Now, I’m not saying it’s okay to be abusive, or oppressive in response to a person who fucks up. But anger is valid. Anger is valid, anger is important, anger brings social change, anger makes people listen, anger is threatening, and anger is passion. Anger is NOT counterproductive; being “nice” is counterproductive. Nobody was ever given rights by politely asking for them. Politeness is nothing but a set of behavioral expectations that is enforced upon marginalized people.
In case you didn’t realize it already, the reason for attacking politeness while advocating rudeness is to achieve the goal of “dismantling the kyriarchy.”
What a foul and ugly world these people want to bring about. With these tactics, they have completely insulated themselves from all forms of argument and debate, as anyone who disagrees becomes oppressive no matter what.
You are oppressive if you are insulting, and oppressive if you remain polite. According to the “rules” of this Orwellian game, you cannot win.
Interestingly, I’m one of those people who has always tried to be polite. While I am not always successful, I never knew until today that my politeness is just a way of oppressing people.
Am I supposed to care?
Is polite the new rude?
What kind of insane society do these crackpots want?
And more importantly, why do they steadily gain power and influence even though the vast majority of ordinary people think they are nuts?