Invisible Privilege: On people caring for Jason Russell
Jason Russell runs a campaign that permits people to fund social awareness campaigns about a problem far from home in order to make it more visible. IT becomes popular. HE becomes more popular.
Jason Russell makes a lot films. Doesn’t do much to raise awareness about the reality of the situation far from home, but does succeed in raising the awareness of a poor representation of what is happening far from home.
Jason Russell becomes a celebrity and has a nervous breakdown. Whether a result of substance abuse or mental distress, or a combination of both, Russell’s breakdown and the response to it operates to hide the reality of his situation for thousands of people much in the same way Invisible Children hides the reality of the situation in Uganda.
When I think of Jason Russell’s visible problems, I’m reminded of the invisible tens of thousands of homeless in the United States who are routinely ignored and denigrated for their inability to handle their problems. I’m reminded that Jason Russell is going to find sympathy where tens of thousands won’t. I’m reminded of his privilege. It’s now more visible than ever, even as it hides the realities of so many less-privileged.
Don’t send me notes on tumblr and facebook about leaving this privileged douche bag alone, about how sad it is that he’s sick, and expect me to respond kindly to your requests. I’m not taking pleasure in Russell’s temporary fall from grace. I’m pointing out your liberal hypocrisy and willful ignorance.