We are fortunate in the USA that our 20th century civil rights movement cemented dialectics of diversity into our culture. It’s a great resource. I cannot imagine that the same is not also true in India, South Africa and to a certain extent, Australia.
Long story short, there is almost nothing for which I have more scorn than a coward. And when he told me that his father and his father’s father also were cowards, and that in spite of/because of being a coward, his grandfather lived to the age of 99 until he was hit by a truck somewhere in New Jersey.
I have had to be too brave to be able to understand/empathize with cowardice – so, the engagement was off. I have no regrets (neither does he); and in fact, I’m glad to have had that moment to remember and eventually put into enough perspective to appreciate that, yes, cowardice is a very effective survival mechanism if a man is still walking about at the age of 99 and might have lived who knows how much longer if not for that truck.
One thing is sure (and my ex-fiancé) made sure that the distinction was made: Grandpa was a coward but he was not a victim until he met that truck.
There is absolutely nothing I despise more, have more scorn for, than a person who sees him/herself as a victim; and who goes about the world that way – truck of doom or no truck of doom. If you have seen my profile picture and are surprised that I would say that because I am a black woman in America (or probably just about anywhere, for that matter); well, we are not in the same room and you should count your lucky stars that we are not.
I am not not-a-victim because I’m intelligent, smart, pretty, not-that-dark-anyway. I am not a victim because it is my choice not to be. I could not look myself in the eye if I saw a victim looking back at me. And I would despise myself.
Long ago, a very stupid (and probably drunk, probably also self-victimizing) young white man tried to convince me that I am a victim simply by virtue of being a black woman. In other words, drunk and stupid as he was, he tried to convince me that I was less than him.
The moral of that story is that being a victim is a state of mind – nobody can go inside your head and make you one. You have a choice whether or not to self-victimize.