Some people I have interacted with despise the concept of punching up and down. They believe everyone deserves to be criticised, regardless of how truly marginalised they are. This concept, they believe, is just an excuse to silence those with unpopular opinions.
I partially agree with the sentiment.
I do believe everyone deserves to be constructively criticised. But, the thing is I don’t know how others define punching up and down. In my mind, they are all about destructive criticism. I mean, the word “punch” is used here.
There are ways to “punch” people. You can either satirise them or straight up mean-spiritedly insult them. Doing either or both means you insinuate that they are the number one source of problems in our societies.
I am comfortable about targetting certain groups like white Christians in the west, Muslims of indigenous lineage in Indonesia or cishet people in every country. They have two things in common: they are the demographic majorities and they dominate the ruling classes.
If both traits apply to your group, then you directly or indirectly shape your societies inside out. Inevitably, just like how you can take some credits (SOME) in your societies’ achievements, you are also directly or indirectly to blame for their problems.
Of course, because humans don’t live in vacuums, marginalised minorities also have their share of blame. But, because they are numerically smaller and politically weaker, their share is far smaller.
If anything, due to their small share of power, they are often among the biggest casualties of the societal problems.
To sum it up, be careful when you criticise groups of people. Make sure to not depict them as more powerful than they really are.
Unless, of course, you are idiotic or bigoted enough to believe the persecution complex narratives.
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