Dear internet, this is how you gently and thoughtfully change people’s minds. No shaming, no yelling, just a nice nudge to, “Aha!”
I will aspire to use classy same tone next time I try to educate someone about something!
in before someone screams “TONE POLICING” at you
It’s also a lot harder to change minds when you aren’t talking to Felicia freaking Day.
I do not understand why all these people that I look up to are being really ignorant of this. Anger over this sort of thing is justified and understandable. Why don’t people get this?
Anger is justified… acting like a belligerent jerk isn’t. They can be angry, they just shouldn’t attempt to shove their emotions down someones throat in the hopes of getting things to change or getting people to understand. We can’t just grump everything in order.
Wow. Again, if someone is using language, either out of ignorance or malice, responding angrily or like a “belligerent jerk” as you put it is entirely justified. When the oppressed are still getting marginalized, hurt, raped, murdered, etc. that is entirely justified. None of this happens in a vacuum, and the fact that it is so normalized in society to use ableist language (as an example) means that sometimes anger is the only way to get people to listen.
As someone who used to use problematic language and I thought ignorantly (and sometimes still do, it can be hard to unlearn but you gotta do it) it took seeing people’s anger, and people calling me out with anger for me to address my privilege.
It is never the burden of the oppressed to make sure that the oppressor’s feelings aren’t hurt.
I don’t think you get it… not really. It has nothing to do with making sure that “the oppressor’s feelings aren’t hurt” as much as it’s about skill and how you carry yourself. You can be angry and even vocalise that anger without being tactless. Tactful action and speech is a showcase of skill and I would much rather be effective and showcase my skill as a reasonable person than devalue my own words or even my own dignity with D-grade insults just because I’m really, really angry right now. If you’re willing to use belligerence as a form of response; it shows that you do not have enough faith in your words being valuable.
It’s one thing to call someone a “fucking idiot” but it’s another thing to get under a person’s skin and into a person’s thoughts with wit and wordplay. It’s another thing entirely to use their negative energy against them and actually make them look like a fool. If you can’t manage to do that, then you kind of lose in the grander scheme of things. Even I as a marginalised person prefer this angle because it shows that in my fight to be regarded as a human being, I am not above treating someone else like they are also a human being. I don’t and shouldn’t get a pass for acting like a belligerent jerk. The world is not our hugbox and no one is above getting skilled at communicating a point properly.
It is pointless to attempt to communicate when your signal to noise ratio is almost all noise. Does that make sense at all?
Well, first of all, sometimes people AREN’T super witty or whatever. Yeah sometimes I can throw some zingers but when I get pissed right the fuck off and when my hands start to shake with rage it is very difficult for myself and potentially others to sit back and think of ways to bamboozle the assface they’re dealing with. Oppressors like to insult someone’s use of language from an intelligence POV and it can be very ableist. Oppressors love to assign rules and regulations when it comes to communicating with the oppressed, and that includes policing how they express their anger.
In addition, I do not devalue my dignity by calling an ignorant asshole…well, an ignorant asshole. I don’t owe them some fancyass wordplay. And I have a great deal of value in my words so I would appreciate it if you didn’t assume things about me and how I think about my words. My dignity is my own and it is not defined with how I verbalize my anger against those who oppress me and who oppress others.
Second of all, I wouldn’t call someone a “fucking idiot” because THAT is ableist. I would however call someone a “fucking douchebag” because I find that such language is actually a very good outlet for anger, and you can’t tell me or any person who experiences marginalization because of that. If they want to cry their sweet ally tears of not-being included, they are being douchebags and I will say so. Again, I don’t give a shit about their feelings, because for too long they haven’t cared about the feelings of those they hold privilege over.
People who complain about marginalized people who are being mean to them don’t care about communication in the sense that they are not interested in a dialogue that doesn’t pander to their own feelings.
Oppressed people don’t have to be nice, or articulate, or witty, in order to be angry. If they want to express their anger in a series of keyboard smashes and swears, that is their goddamn RIGHT and no one can tell them any different. They deserve to be listened to, and the REASON they are “belligerent jerks,” as you say, at times does not mean that they don’t have the right to be listened to.
So that’s what I have to say about that. If you have a particular way of communicating your anger that works for you, well then you do that. But don’t tell other people that the way that they express their justifiable anger isn’t valid or useful.
This is a really interesting discussion. I would say that in my personal experience, oppressors do seem to respond better to the more tactful approach.
BUT I also completely agree that the oppressed are completely justified in being angry at their oppressors and expressing that anger directly to those people. It’s not a very nice thing to do, but neither is contributing to systematic oppression of a marginalised group. Plus the oppressor already has certain advantages by virtue of not being in that group, so hurting oppressors’ feelings does not come under the same scale as when it’s the other way around.
ADDITIONALLY, I became feminist by virtue of repeat exposure to angry - not tactful - posts on tumblr. And here’s the big catch; it didn’t happen straight away, and I did not respond well to it at first. But that anger did get me thinking, and seeing so much anger opened me up to the idea that I might be wrong. Now I’m not saying that this approach would work with everyone, but for those that it does work for, it might not look like it’s working from the outside. But just because you don’t immediately change somebody’s outlook doesn’t mean you haven’t got under their skin and got them thinking, which is a valuable first step.
In conclusion, I agree with both posters to an extent :P I think that anger at your oppressors is completely justified, even if you’re not trying to change their mind, and just want to express your anger. I certainly think that nobody has the right to tell a marginalised person how they are and are not allowed to express their anger. I also think that in some cases, angry and tactless responses to oppression can actually get people thinking. On the other hand, just because something’s justified doesn’t mean that it’s actually a nice thing to do, and in my experience, when trying to change people’s minds, tact is generally better. But I think that both approaches are entirely valid, and both are useful.