Wednesday, August 8, 2007


just read an email that describes children in public hospitals as "the most vulnerable in our society". There's a link between (perceptions of) vulnerability and paternalism - the word clearly comes from the idea of "fathering", today has elements of treating someone as if they need protection. i was thinking about the links between "Muslim women" and "Aboriginal women and children" and "disabled people" and "children dying of AIDS in Africa" in the progressive imagination. I think they are united in vulnerability, and a sense that "we" can "help" "them", even that "they" "need" "our" "help". Of course, it isn't just progressives who frame these Others in this way, it's fairly common for the enlightened privileged, but I want to problematise how we (privileged progressives) do this framing, because I think we don't get that we are colonising and degrading.

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