Reversing the direction of our contempt is neither radical nor liberatory.
Supremacy thrives on contempt in all of its expressions, without regard for its target.
As long as someone is right and someone else is wrong, someone is good and someone else is bad, someone deserves grace (which is literally impossible, as grace is—by definition—undeserved) and someone else deserves punishment (which is relationally unsustainable), we continue in the same cycles of interpersonal and collective relational fuckery.
Contempt directed at oneself is equally effective at perpetuating supremacy as contempt directed at someone else.
To surrender our own sovereignty, knowing, and will is no more or less contemptuous than to demand that another surrender theirs.
Martyrdom, self-flagellation, or participation in own punishment does not free us or absolve us of our responsibility for our participation in or benefit from the oppression of another… it simply redirects our judgment and disregard from someone else to ourselves. It is punitive, self-centering, and a distraction from the radical decision to regard the humanity of everyone in the relationship, including ourselves.
Requiring someone else’s martyrdom, self-flagellation, or participation in their own punishment does not oppose oppression… it is simply one way to resist our own subjugation (I’m not judging resistance, btw). It is punitive, retaliatory, and a distraction from the radical decision to go after creating right relationship even in the wake of harm.
Fixing others or asking to be fixed, offering validation or chasing it, giving permission or begging for it, defining others or being defined—the only difference is the direction of our contempt.
Supremacy says it’s either/or. We’re good or we’re bad, perfect or problematic. Only one of us knows best. It’s you or me. Only one of us is responsible here. The pendulum swings while we give sovereignty the middle finger.
We come by it honestly, and we can choose something different. But the just & sustainable world we say we want requires room and regard for all of us—our sovereignty and our differences—whether or not we deserve it.
Grace is radical.