So we’ve all heard the complaints that the Social Marxist Feminist Language Police or the Bureau for Ideological Purity, Intersectionality, and Social Justice or the Witch of the Week Perpetual Outrage Machine has over-reacted recently. Due to their over-reaction, discussion is impossible. Nobody can talk about anything without due punishment. Everyone is trash. Nuance has been killed. The end is nigh.

So, that’s bullshit, right?

What they really mean, ironically, is that they DO NOT WANT TO HAVE A DISCUSSION! Instead of dealing with what someone is saying, they plaster the speaker with labels associated with being unreasonable. Complaining about the “SJW” is almost certainly just a defensive way of saying, “Shut up, you’re not telling me what I want to hear.”

Right?!

I’m going to tell you a secret. It’s a deep dark hidden secret. Something nobody else will admit, ever! So, listen carefully.

Sometimes we’re actually being unreasonable.

I know! I know! Such a horrifying revelation! For telling you this secret, I will certainly face banishment, censure, and my cookies will be burned!

So, what do you do if someone is actually being unreasonable? How do you react if someone, for example, points out a microaggression and then goes on a tirade about how you are the reason people are murdered. Yep you – the one who just said “Calm your tits”! Do you care nothing for the lives of women as you willfully participate in their oppression by using the word “tits” and implying that women are prone to be upset for no reason! Fuck you sexist asshole!!

So, what do you do?

Well, first – calm your tits.

It usually doesn’t feel good when someone is angry at you, so you might want to take a deep breath before you respond. Reacting strongly due to someone being angry at you is not required. In fact, it’s the opposite of required.

If someone is extremely upset at you while accusing you of being complicit in the oppression of a group, there are a few possibilities (not all of which are mutual exclusive).

1) Your particular brand of bullshit at this particular moment is actually grossly horrid, hateful and harmful. Somebody happen to notice.

2) Whatever you said represents the ever-present pervasive din of societal oppression that may be invisible to you only because you do not recognize it. Somebody decided to point that out.

3) Whatever you said gave someone an excuse to be a self-righteous jackass. You just happen to be in the blast radius of their misplaced angst.

So, how do you tell the difference? Well, a lot of the time you can’t. You can try, but nobody can possibly understand all the complex issues in the world perfectly, so what do you do?

Well, lucky for you, the best way to gauge your response is to consider how their anger makes you feel. If what they say makes you pissed off as hell – they are not the right person to discuss this issue with. Whether they are being a jackass or you’re just not ready to hear what they have to say and you’re being a shit, who knows? Engaging with them is not going to be fruitful, so don’t.

Don’t go on some huge lecture about how this person ought to behave, threaten them with withdrawing your likely non-existent support, or act like they don’t have a right to question you or express themselves. Don’t recite your resume or credentials or act like you’re on trial. You are not on trial. Someone is annoyed at something you did or said or is making a demand. Attempting to prop yourself up as someone better than them, more authentic than them or more experienced than them is unneeded and unwanted.

Do not take shit personally. Even personal shit, do not take personally.

Realize that if someone makes a request of you, you don’t have to do it. You can say no. You can say you’ll think about it.

So, as I said, calm down.

Do not panic and try to appease them at all costs. Don’t say you’re sorry if you aren’t. Don’t fall over yourself trying to smooth everything over and pat yourself on the back for “growing as a person” by lock-stepping with whomever happens to be the loudest. Remember, they could be full of shit.

It happens. SSshhhhhh! Our secret!

Don’t be the “bigger person” by “agreeing to disagree” or appealing to a mythical and false balance where all opinions are equally valid. That’s patronizing bullshit. Have some integrity.

Listen to what they have to say. Reread. Ask for clarification. Think about it sincerely but do not hesitate to put up your own personal boundaries.

Be honest.

And if someone does not respect your personal boundaries or your honesty? Fuck ’em. Do not be so frightened or offended that your first reaction is to try to shut them up. Their speech does not require your retaliation or your tears.

They get to speak. If there is nothing to be learned by you in that moment? Leave it.

And as much as I realize the should-be-fucking-obviously “secret” that not everyone is reasonable about everything all the time, I don’t buy into the vast majority of rhetoric surrounding the complaint that speaking on social justice issues causes mass silencing and shuts down discussion due to the over-sensitivity of the “social justice warrior” crew.

Often, I witness exchanges where a person who is being criticized through a social justice lens, regardless of how the issue is broached, loses their goddamn shit while ironically decrying the “over sensitivity” of those speaking their truth. Then they write about how they have been “silenced” in a major media outlet.

Often.

Yes, I do mean major media outlets literally.

It’s a thing.

I mean, do I really have to say, “Y’all don’t do that.”? Nah – I’ll say “Calm your tits” and own the fact that it’s sexist as fuck. That’s an option I have. Really. It is. Honest.

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