valleyofwind: Princess Nausicaa with her face dirtied from battle, looking determined.  (Default)
2010-04-08 04:21 pm

Bullying in social justice communities

Meloukhia says here: "This thing is something which is never named. Never addressed. It is allowed to continue and we are all complicit in it. We all tolerate it when we turn our backs and say nothing."

I think there's an obvious reason why nobody addresses it. If people are trying to convince someone else that 'yes, that thing you just said was racist/sexist/ableist/etc.', they really don't want to be seen disagreeing with each other. It would make them look less right. They may actually be right, rationally speaking, but if the person they're trying to contradict is not in a rational frame of mind (as is often the case -- people being called out on their *isms are usually upset about it), the disagreement might be seen as weakness or division.

Plus, there's a dogmatic attachment to the idea of toning in many social justice communities. If someone were to say 'hey, you don't have to be mean to this person', that's taken as toning, i.e. telling the speaker that they need to play nicey-nice. Any time you accuse someone of being inappropriately harsh or rude, that's taken as toning. (In some people's minds there is no such thing as inappropriately harsh, but that's a different issue, and everyone should probably ask themselves 'how much punishment is fair, and where will I stop?' It's good to have limits even when you're rightfully furious.)

There is also no distinction made between criticizing someone's words and slamming the person who said the words, and I think that's what makes people just give up on a community -- it's one thing to have your words corrected or criticized (even angrily) and it's another thing entirely to be made to feel like you aren't wanted even if you do shape up.