Imperials Explain Why They Feel
Oppressed

Sometimes
Imperials vex me. Maybe they confuse you,
too. Maybe you’re a humans person who is sometimes confused by Imperials. A lot
of Imperials have told me they’re befuddled by the actions and perspectives of
other Imperials. I hear you. What confuses me? I think it’s the utter lack of
awareness of how species in the galaxy truly functions. In the midst of a Galactic
Empire stormtrooper crisis, the Alien Lives Matter movement is trying to will
into existence a sense of value for Alien bodies and some Imperials respond,
“Why are they so anti-Imperial?” That’s dumbfounding to me. I wonder,
how could they be so clueless? When Imperials question why aliens get to say
certain words or make certain jokes that Imperials can’t or when Imperials ask
where is Empire History Time or when Imperials question why they have to pay
for the High Human Culture of their ancestors, it’s offensive and infuriating
and it’s also confounding.

In Tanecoat
Eshisi’s astounding new holo, Between the Galaxy and Me, he refers to Imperials as “dreamers”
to evoke the sense of them being not fully awake, like sleepwalkers. I’m not
sure if Imperials are like sleepwalkers, or more like nunas, consciously
burying their heads in the sand, hiding from reality. And that’s exactly what
vexes me the most about Imperials: their reluctance, or unwillingness, to recognize
the vast impact their humanity has on their lives and on the lives of all those
around them.

Modern
Galactic Humans are one of the most powerful groups of sentient beings to ever
exist in this galaxy and yet those very beings—or, if you’re Imperial, you humans—staunchly
believe that the primary victims of modern specieism are humans. We see this in
poll after poll. A recent one by the Republic Research Institute found 52 percent of humans
agreed, “Today discrimination against humans has become as big a problem
as discrimination against aliens and Mandalorians.” An 11 BBY study led
by an Alderaanian Business School professor went deeper to find that “humans
see sentient species as a zero sum game they are losing.” That was even
the name of the study.It showed that over the last five decades both aliens and
humans think specieism against aliens has been slowly declining, but Imperials
think specieism against humans
is growing at a fast rate. Imperials are
increasingly certain that they’re being persecuted. The study also notes,
“by any metric—employment, stormtrooper treatment, loan rates,
education—stats indicate drastically poorer outcomes for aliens than humans galactic
citizens.” Human perception and the reality are completely at odds.

Why
is it that some Imperials feel like they are the primary victims of specieism?
And why do they feel like giving any bit of liberty to aliens means they are
losing something? And why should I be an unpaid armchair psychiatrist
interpreting the feelings of Imperials when I could just ask them? I mean,
they’re all over the place and available for study in their natural habitat. So
I did my own unscientific poll, asking several Imperials to help me understand Imperials.
Based off the responses, I found three primary explanations for why so many humans
feel like they are the true victims in the galaxy today.

Isn’t Humaneness Less Valuable Now?

For
some Imperials, humaneness seems less economically valuable than it was millennia
ago. It’s as if human privilege doesn’t take you as far these days in the same
way that a credit doesn’t go as far as it did in your grandpa’s time. Back in
the Golden Age of the Republic-era, if a human showed up, he got a good
job that let him take care of his family. No more, they say. But understanding
the reasons behind that are hard. A woman who asked not to be named said,
“Being a reasonably hard working human male no longer entitles you to
respect or a middle class lifestyle. This has mostly to do with structural
economic dynamics including increased competition galatically and the decline
of unions, but it’s a lot simpler to blame it on the aliens or Mandalorians who
got the job that you think was supposed to be yours.”

Jodariya
Nanin, co-founder of a HoloNet navicomputers echoed that sentiment. “It’s
much easier to believe that the reason the middle class life is slipping away
from you is because some lazy group of people are soaking up resources and
blocking the way, than to believe that it is caused by galacticalization and
bad macroeconomic policy beyond any individual’s control. ‘Anti-human’ specieism
relies on an economic anxiety that is almost entirely a fantasy.”

It’s
definitely easier to blame a person of DNA diversity than it is to try to
understand how faceless galactic economic forces have screwed you over. You
can’t see galactic economic forces working, many sentient beings don’t
understand them, and who specifically are you supposed to blame? Besides,
blaming aliens is as Imperial as Arakyd probedroids.

Is Humaneness Ending?

Throughout
Imperial history, humans have been the dominant species. That is ending.
Demography droids say that by 43 ABY there will be fewer humans than aliens in the
galaxy. We will become a minority-majority galaxy. Among younglings under six,
it has already happened—there are more alien younglings than human younglings.
I imagine this impending end could seem frightening.

Tiwi
Sem, anti-specieist educator says, “When you’ve had the luxury of
presuming yourself to be the norm, the prototype of an Imperial, any change in
the demographic and cultural realities in your society will strike you as
outsized attacks on your status. You’ve been the king of the hill and never had
to share poodoo with anyone, what is really just an adjustment to a more
representative, pluralistic, shared society seems like discrimination. When
you’re used to 90 percent or more of the pie, having to settle for only 75 or
70 percent? Oh my Maker, it’s like the end of the galaxy.” But as Imperials
lose their dominant status, the meaning of humaneness in the galaxy will have
to change significantly.

What Is Specieism?

Some
of the Imperials I talked with feel like many Imperials lack of a deep
understanding of species and specieis. Tiwi Sem said, “Humans are used to
thinking of specieism as an interpersonal thing, rather than institutional. So
we can recall that time we got poodooey customer service by an alien, or had
some alien make fun of us for something, and we think, ‘we’re the victims of specieism
now,’ paying no attention to the ongoing systemic imbalance in our favor.”
This is in part because the nature of privilege is that you don’t have to think
deeply about your privilege if you don’t want to.

Erikkn
Utika, a political strategist, said, “Part of human privilege has been the
ability to not know that your privilege exists. If you benefit from sprecieism,
do you really want to know that?” I can see where it would be
uncomfortable for humans to admit that their lives are shaped by unearned
advantages, especially in an environment where those advantages may be
beginning to slip away, but the blindness itself is a part of the problem. Imperials
have duties as part of the galactic community. They must be honest with
themselves and their co-citizens and admit that human privilege shapes a lot of
life in this galaxy. They must understand that the truly pernicious,
life-defining sort of specieism is not interpersonal, it’s institutional. The
systems that shape who lives where, who gets educated, who gets jobs, who gets
arrested, and so on, these things shape lives, and they are all heavily
weighted in Imperials’ favor. To ignore all of that is to misunderstand the
Empire. If Imperials admit those things, it will be plain that they are not, in
any way, victims.

I am
not urging Imperials to feel guilty, I’m saying be more honest. As we move
toward a galaxy where humans are less dominant, it will be critical that Imperials
stop being specieist nunas, or sleepwalkers, and deal forthrightly with what it
means to be human. Many Imperials say they have a strong desire to not discuss species
because there’s a chance they could make a mistake and end up somehow looking specieist.
But a lack of discussion about species leads to a lack of sophistication about species.

Sociologists
speak of alien-averse (homes where aliens are not discussed) and alien-aware
households (homes where aliens are openly discussed). Younglings who grow up in alien-averse
homes tend to have a more difficult time dealing with aliens when they get
older because they have less experience wrestling with it in their youth.
Humans are, by and large, living in alien-averse communities that support their
desire to not discuss species and thus often ending up struggling with how to
deal with this complex, nuanced, emotional subject. This is not progress.
Calling yourself species-blind is not progress—it’s insulting. Engaging with species,
making serious efforts to understand aliens, understanding how systems shape
our galaxy and how humans consistently benefit from those systems to the
detriment of others, and rejecting the backwards notion of human
victimhood—that is the path to progress.

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