[Discussion] Men talking to men about Feminism

This thread is for people who believe that when it comes to feminism it's important for men to listen to women and to talk to men.

In this thread we assume Feminism is something you wholeheartedly support or want to support. Questions about the validity of Feminism are for somewhere else.

I agree that we are firmly off topic here, but in order to continue any kind of meaningful conversation, the concept of “tone policing” really needs to be addressed. Or more specifically, how it is being misused in this thread. It’s my opinion that brother Larry has hit upon the crux of the problem. For emphasis, please take a look at how Larry sums it up.

LarryC wrote:

Tone Policing

"It’s simple, really. Tone policing describes a diversionary tactic used when a person purposely turns away from the message behind her interlocutor’s argument in order to focus solely on the delivery of it.

Still confused? Well, allow me to elaborate…with an example!

White person: Wow, you are surprisingly well spoken!

Person of color: For a black person, you mean? That’s really insensitive and I can’t believe you thought you had the right to say that to me.

WP: Why are you so upset? I just gave you a compliment.

POC: Do you not even realize what you said and how racist it is for white folks to pat black folks on the head for ‘speaking so well’? Seriously, think before you say things to people.

WP: You need to calm down. No one is going to listen to what you have to say if you’re this angry about it. There’s no reason to attack me over nothing. Have you considered the fact that you could be overreacting to this?"

I'm specifically commenting on this because of the nature of the thread. It's mainly men talking to other men about feminist practices and thought, and when we're defending the positions and rights of women, WE are NOT the ones under attack or who bear the brunt of the injury nor the burden. So what's wrong with saying to cool down the rhetoric in that situation?

That term should not be used here because it simply doesn’t apply.

There is a logical fallacy where one person attacks the other for HOW they’ve said something rather than WHAT the person said. It’s an unfair tactic used to derail the conversation when one person gets angry, (usually because the other person has been using unfair and non-logical tactics to derail the conversation because their position is so weak that they have to resort to douchebaggery to seem relevant). But that is not the same thing as “tone policing”.

Up to this point, every accusation of tone policing in this thread has been inaccurate, for exactly the reasons that Larry has laid out. Specifically, as men we are not the ones being oppressed. This conversation will flow much more smoothly if we stop using that term and say what we really mean.

Please, stop using that term here.

edit: I was very slow in writing that post. Zero and Stengah beat me to the punch while I was considering my words and tone. Pun intended, to the nth degree.

LastSurprise wrote:

I'm posting this here, rather than in the politics thread, because I was reflecting on law school and thinking about how I don't know enough about Justice Ginsburg. Just due to my profession, I probably know more about her than many laypeople in the US, but when we talked (in school) about people who shaped Supreme Court jurisprudence, her name was not necessarily considered in the same way as, say, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Earl Warren, Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black, or even then-current Justices Scalia and Kennedy[1]. Some of that could be implicit gender bias in teaching, or in the academy's thinking about whose opinions count most, but I also wonder if Justice Ginsburg had to go about her job in a way that made sure she was taken seriously, and thus was less able than her male colleagues to bloviate.

I would bet the farm that the reason RBG is not fully recognized for her contributions to the world is due to gender bias. I wish I could provide evidence to back up that statement. As time goes on she will probably be appreciated more and more.

RawkGWJ wrote:

I agree that we are firmly off topic here, but in order to continue any kind of meaningful conversation, the concept of “tone policing” really needs to be addressed. Or more specifically, how it is being misused in this thread.
(snip)
Up to this point, every accusation of tone policing in this thread has been inaccurate, for exactly the reasons that Larry has laid out. Specifically, as men we are not the ones being oppressed. This conversation will flow much more smoothly if we stop using that term and say what we really mean.

Please, stop using that term here.

I think it has a very important place in this thread and should continue to be used here. It's serves as a check on whether you're upset about what you're being told or how you're being told it. Calling accusations of tone policing completely invalid works as poorly as treating them as a cover for abuse.

Of course the flipside of "we're all on the same side here and should give one another the benefit of the doubt" is that when someone is rude/forceful/curt. They should also be given the benefit of the doubt, take them as being blunt or direct but not rude so you can look past the language to the message.

We're all on side here. As best I can tell no one commenting actually dislikes one another so with that knowledge in hand perhaps we should read "rude language" as an indication of a strongly held opinion and not as a lack of civility.

I really must insist that the term tone policing does not have any place here. It doesn’t apply to white men talking to white men about marginalized people who are being oppressed. Go ahead and continue to use it. That’s your choice. But we will continue to stay stuck in this pattern for the unforeseeable future.

Would you like to continue to argue about what tone policing means, or would you like to have a meaningful discussion about feminism? Just stop using that term here.

How about this. Instead of saying tone policing just say what you really mean. It’s a convoluted term and it’s causing chaos in the thread.

Jonman wrote:

This entire thread is 95% litigating what people said, 3% jokes and 2% discussion about feminism.

I'm just staying in my lane.

RawkGWJ wrote:

I have a suggestion. We should all assume that a poster in this or any other thread, but especially this thread, has good intentions.

We should all endeavor to live up to the example of the thread's banner image.

Your working definition of it (the example LarryC used) is the concept at its most pure and most easily recognizable. In reality it's often messier than that because it's people talking, usually passionately. White men can totally tone police white men. It's only real requirement is that someone is focusing on tone in order to avoid facing unpleasant content. They don't even have to be aware that that's what they're doing. That happens, and it happens here.

Where I stand is that people can acknowledge unpleasant content and still be concerned about tone without it being tone policing. If Step 1 of being a better male feminist is to stop looking for women to do emotional labor for you, Step 2 is to start taking on some of that labor yourself by trying to help other men work through things. To do that effectively requires being aware of how your tone can affect how someone will receive unpleasant content. If you stop at Step 1, you're at least not personally adding to the emotional labor women do, but you're not lessening it either. That doesnt mean that politeness is always the right tone to use, or that harsh, angry, hostile, or even furious tones are never called for either. Sometimes they're exactly what's called for so the person can see just how wrong what they've said was or so that you can properly express yourself.

Regardless, banning the use of the phrase tone policing would be naive and unecessarilly limiting.

It was kinda nailed it a page or two back when it was stated by our mods/overlords that this thread is for discussion and not for debate. On that basis, it's pretty fair to say everyone here is posting (ordinarily) in good faith. So I think we can expect a level of civility amongst the participants as everybody is an ally of justice. I still think jumping on each other for perceived slights and burnout is not a pleasant way to interact with allies. I understand some might feel that is tone policing, but for my part, I think I've articulated it clearly that I think it comes down to framing and effective communication not involving inflammatory language. Well, in this thread, anyway.

I know many may feel as Jonman as to the circularity of discussion in the last 10 or so pages, but it's worth deconstructing the reasons for why it refuses to die. Reflecting on it this morning, I think it goes back to the male need to respond to everything and be heard and have the last say. So perhaps it's worth everyone again stepping back for a bit to consider this point before diving back in.

Now, I'd like to turn the discussion back to Cheeze's question around male participation in feminism.

Some here have posited that it's our duty as men to take a back seat and let the women lead. I have to disagree.

Rather, I think it's our role as men to firstly acknowledge the female voices (not speak over and drown them out), take a stand against the things that perpetuate an anti-feminist society, and strive to make a difference by changing ourselves and those around us for the better.

Put another way, one should not expect a victim to right a wrong caused by a perpetrator. So too, we shouldn't expect women to be the ones to change men; we should be changing ourselves.

I'll point out that tone policing also implies that the content is being ignored. The last round of input about feminism was about jdzappa's stuff, and not only were there many substantive comments on it before anyone spoke about tone at all, there really was only one poster choosing to use aggressive language to no particularly good outcome - indeed, the outcome is this entire tone discussion.

And specifically in this case, jdzappa was engaging in good faith and took what other people said to heart, so the confrontational input did nothing other than rile people up for nothing.

Bfgp wrote:

Now, I'd like to turn the discussion back to Cheeze's question around male participation in feminism.

Some here have posited that it's our duty as men to take a back seat and let the women lead. I have to disagree.

Quick note in case it wasn't clear--I wasn't talking about taking a back seat. I was talking about no matter how active a participant you are, it's not that you figured something out on your own. You're always doing your best to communicate something someone else figured out.

I guess what I was trying to get at is that there's something beyond cookies or performance or those negative turns that one can take. I was thinking more along the lines of how it's human to want to be part of something larger than one's self that makes the world a better place. The standard is something good that's universal. Like, say, the rights of the elderly. We could all wind up there, so we've all got skin in that game. And sure, like other people pointed out there's a lot of overlap in feminism because (some smart person here I can't remember said something like this) patriarchy is not men vs. women, it's systems vs. people.

Still though, there's a point where we don't have skin in the game. At that point it's something larger than yourself that makes the world a better place, but the truth of what you speak doesn't come from inside you, it comes from someone else. I guess I keep going back to this image of a house where you're a guest, and the host can be very accommodating, but at the end of the day you're not family, so it's not your home. You're a good neighbor, if an image makes better sense of something I can't seem to put into words.

So if I start from the assumption everyone here wants equality for women and wants to improve the situation, then the conclusion I draw is that the vast lot of you will do and talk about ANYTHING to avoid actually facing internalized misogyny and uncomfortable truths. Pages and pages and pages of talking about yourselves, how to be talked to, how to talk about talking, etc and so little effort to actually show support for women, change behaviors, etc.

I absolutely get that too, it took me time to face reality and I still have wake up calls all the time. But at some point it becomes a useless endeavor to try and wake someone up who doesn't want to. And the fact that "we want the same thing" doesn't change anything.

SixteenBlue wrote:

So if I start from the assumption everyone here wants equality for women and wants to improve the situation, then the conclusion I draw is that the vast lot of you will do and talk about ANYTHING to avoid actually facing internalized misogyny and uncomfortable truths. Pages and pages and pages of talking about yourselves, how to be talked to, how to talk about talking, etc and so little effort to actually show support for women, change behaviors, etc.

However many pages, it's still just one thread, and it's not even the main thread for this discussion. When it comes to drawing conclusions, there's plenty of time and space for people to be doing lots more outside of this one thread.

Speaking of looking outside this thread, I don't see behavior inconsistent with any other P&C topic. This may just be the personalities of the people here. Especially after *years* of prior interactions on a whole range of topics.

Maybe we're all just too battle-scarred and in a place with a lot of baggage to do any better than what you're seeing here if all you're seeing is here. Maybe that means this is valueless. Then again, maybe not. Maybe this is as good as it gets, but that's still good enough.

cheeze_pavilion wrote:

Maybe this is as good as it gets, but that's still good enough.

This is exactly what I am talking about. This is a nice, comfortable alley to stay in. I'm trying my best and I can't possibly do any more or any better. I didn't mess up, I worked with the cards I was dealt, everything is as good as it can be and it's definitely good enough.

No. This is NOT as good as it gets and is not good enough. A forum where women are slowly leaving because they don't feel welcome is not as good as it gets. Endless rhetorical masturbation to protect men from feeling guilty about actual actions, let alone actually starting to actually feel for the women who have real problems, is not as good as it gets. We absolutely can do better and it will never happen without being uncomfortable.

SixteenBlue wrote:
cheeze_pavilion wrote:

Maybe this is as good as it gets, but that's still good enough.

This is exactly what I am talking about. This is a nice, comfortable alley to stay in. I'm trying my best and I can't possibly do any more or any better. I didn't mess up, I worked with the cards I was dealt, everything is as good as it can be and it's definitely good enough.

No, I said more than just that. I gave you an alternate conclusion to draw. If you don't think that conclusion is well-supported enough, then that's one thing. Don't just ignore everything else I said, though.

No. This is NOT as good as it gets and is not good enough. A forum where women are slowly leaving because they don't feel welcome is not as good as it gets. Endless rhetorical masturbation to protect men from feeling guilty about actual actions, let alone actually starting to actually feel for the women who have real problems, is not as good as it gets. We absolutely can do better and it will never happen without being uncomfortable.

Like I said, the alternate explanation is that if you think this is endless rhetorical masturbation, there has *always* been endless rhetorical masturbation in P&C, no matter what the topic. Like I also said, this is one place. Maybe this is as good as *this* place gets with its history. It doesn't mean this is the only place.

Thanks SixteenBlue, you said exactly what I was attempting to type the last dozen pages. Congrats to others in this thread, worrying about civility above all else makes this thread just like the rest of the men on the internet (or world). I see a lot of "pats on the back" in the future of this thread.

karmajay wrote:

Thanks SixteenBlue, you said exactly what I was attempting to type the last dozen pages. Congrats to others in this thread, worrying about civility above all else makes this thread just like the rest of the internet. I see a lot of "pats on the back" in the future of this thread.

Probably time to split the thread then. Otherwise it's just going to be dozen and dozen of pages of worrying about worrying about civility.

If you feel the topic of civility has been overplayed, maybe bring up a new topic foe reflection/discussion rather than dismiss the current one? It seems to me a lot of people are finding value in the discussion. It is a lot easier to criticize than create, especially you don't agree with the topic.

I haven't always been good about that but really am trying.

karmajay wrote:

Thanks SixteenBlue, you said exactly what I was attempting to type the last dozen pages. Congrats to others in this thread, worrying about civility above all else makes this thread just like the rest of the men on the internet (or world). I see a lot of "pats on the back" in the future of this thread.

Agreed... if that was the main point taken from the recent discussion then you (we) have failed. Better to nuke this whole thing to oblivion and go about your white privilege life knowing that you are the best you can be and if anyone suggests otherwise they better make sure they say it in the correct way.

karmajay wrote:

worrying about civility above all else

That's an extremely disingenuous reading of the current discussion.
Civility isn't an all-or-nothing endeavor. Calling people out is a completely valid and extremely useful tool, but if that's the only tool you know how to use to get men to reexamine their behavior you're the proverbial man with a hammer. It may get you the most activist points, but if they're your goal you're doing it wrong.

Some quotes from How Woke Became a Weapon to show that the question of civility is very much an appropriate topic.

Andi Zeisler, one of the co-founders of Bitch Media wrote:

There has to be room for well-meaning people to f*ck up and a dynamic that doesn’t ostracize them, but rather makes them realize that shutting up and listening is a great way to learn.

Natalie Patterson, a queer Black female poet, teaching artist, and activist and founder of Sister Support wrote:

There is no value in shame, only ego and belittling. I think shaming others is really evidence of a lack of leadership and maturity. We all have a place in these conversations because no one is an island. We have to do the emotional self-work so that we are prepared to be peacemakers, not just fire starters.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a Black female activist and author wrote:

We have to welcome those people and stop the arrogant and moralistic chastising of anyone who is not as ‘woke’… [movements] are built by actual people, with all their political questions, weaknesses, and strengths.

professors of psychology June Price Tangney, PhD, and Jessica Tracy, PhD wrote:

For most people, the rehabilitating, ego-threatening nature of shame makes such constructive outcomes difficult, if not impossible. There is a widely held assumption that because shame is so painful, at least it motivates people to avoid ‘doing wrong.’ As it turns out virtually no direct evidence supports this presumed adaptive function of shame. To the contrary, research suggests that shame may even make things worse.

TheGameguru wrote:

Agreed... if that was the main point taken from the recent discussion then you (we) have failed. Better to nuke this whole thing to oblivion and go about your white privilege life knowing that you are the best you can be and if anyone suggests otherwise they better make sure they say it in the correct way.

Don't have to nuke it, just like I said, split the threads, and then everyone complaining about the derail can get back to their serious business.

The ironic thing is that I think the 'uncivil' thread will eventually become the more popular one. People don't pledge fraternities in spite of the hazing, they pledge *because* of it. Heck, I don't even think the latest hand-wringing started over civility. It started over junior moderators getting junior moderated themselves, didn't it?

The most persuasive argument in favor of saying "screw civility" is that, well, people don't really want civility anyway. They want to inflict discomfort even at the expense of being uncomfortable themselves.

This doesn't mean I think it's all a sham or people don't believe in the cause. It just means I think people are not as uncomfortable with discomfort as they say they are. These causes are important. Too important to wait to improve humanity as a whole, even if there is a synergy between kindness and liberation. You go to Social Justice Warfare with the humanity you have, not the humanity you wish you had.

TheGameguru wrote:
karmajay wrote:

Thanks SixteenBlue, you said exactly what I was attempting to type the last dozen pages. Congrats to others in this thread, worrying about civility above all else makes this thread just like the rest of the men on the internet (or world). I see a lot of "pats on the back" in the future of this thread.

Agreed... if that was the main point taken from the recent discussion then you (we) have failed. Better to nuke this whole thing to oblivion and go about your white privilege life knowing that you are the best you can be and if anyone suggests otherwise they better make sure they say it in the correct way.

I wouldn't necessarily nuke the thread but this constant picking on Maq's wording and complete sidestepping of any real discussion of actual issues raised by *gasp* women in the other thread is pretty tiresome. Can't blame those who want to take a step back, I certainly have.

Stengah wrote:
karmajay wrote:

worrying about civility above all else

That's an extremely disingenuous reading of the current discussion.
Civility isn't an all-or-nothing endeavor. Calling people out is a completely valid and extremely useful tool, but if that's the only tool you know how to use to get men to reexamine their behavior you're the proverbial man with a hammer. It may get you the most activist points, but if they're your goal you're doing it wrong.

Some quotes from How Woke Became a Weapon to show that the question of civility is very much an appropriate topic.

Andi Zeisler, one of the co-founders of Bitch Media wrote:

There has to be room for well-meaning people to f*ck up and a dynamic that doesn’t ostracize them, but rather makes them realize that shutting up and listening is a great way to learn.

Natalie Patterson, a queer Black female poet, teaching artist, and activist and founder of Sister Support wrote:

There is no value in shame, only ego and belittling. I think shaming others is really evidence of a lack of leadership and maturity. We all have a place in these conversations because no one is an island. We have to do the emotional self-work so that we are prepared to be peacemakers, not just fire starters.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a Black female activist and author wrote:

We have to welcome those people and stop the arrogant and moralistic chastising of anyone who is not as ‘woke’… [movements] are built by actual people, with all their political questions, weaknesses, and strengths.

professors of psychology June Price Tangney, PhD, and Jessica Tracy, PhD wrote:

For most people, the rehabilitating, ego-threatening nature of shame makes such constructive outcomes difficult, if not impossible. There is a widely held assumption that because shame is so painful, at least it motivates people to avoid ‘doing wrong.’ As it turns out virtually no direct evidence supports this presumed adaptive function of shame. To the contrary, research suggests that shame may even make things worse.

Sure, sure but how about when people come in this thread for the 52nd time complaining about why their comments on the internet/real life wrt to being an ally failed?

"I was just sharing my similar experience and how we share the same worries"

Can't we call people out when it happens in a certain thread dozens of times and people ask the same question every time? EVERY TIME.

"I was just sharing my similar experience and how we share the same worries"

Instead, this thread just deflected why the call outs occurred and instead banded together to say "Those people should have called us out in a way that would not make us uncomfortable" instead of "Yikes maybe we should think about since this this the 52nd time it happened".

This is literally what happens to women and or POC every day in real life. Deflection to civility. Acting like every single question in this thread gets people called out is what is disingenuous. Plenty of discussions have been had or questions asked where people (especially maq) have answered in a supportive manner.

karmajay wrote:

Sure, sure but how about when people come in this thread for the 52nd time complaining about why their comments on the internet/real life wrt to being an ally failed?

"I was just sharing my similar experience and how we share the same worries"

Can't we call people out when it happens in a certain thread dozens of times and people ask the same question every time? EVERY TIME.

"I was just sharing my similar experience and how we share the same worries"

Instead, this thread just deflected why the call outs occurred and instead banded together to say "Those people should have called us out in a way that would not make us uncomfortable" instead of "Yikes maybe we should think about since this this the 52nd time it happened".

Eh, like I said, if we're talking about specific incidents, it reminds me of that voice over from Goodfellas when Joe Pesci gets clipped for whacking Frankie Vincent. It was among the junior moderators. It was real SJW sh*t. There's nothing we should do about it.

*mod*

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/OtWCeQn.jpg)
(Best part of the Muppet Show. Come at me.)

I think it'd be good, especially for folks who have focused entirely on the behavior of others, to get on the stage instead of solely critiquing the what's playing out. Otherwise this endless wheel spinning about HOW we discuss things and chewing over rules starts to feel less about growing and more about establishing bona fides.

What's your experience? Did you hit a turning point in your life where you woke up? Was it a specific thing? Who inspired you?

edit: eh, even though what I wrote here has stuck with me through the years and wasn't considered problematic at the time, I don't want to repeat exclusionary language, so maybe a better story: there was a women's rugby team starting up, and I encouraging my friend to go out for it, and she said she would if she could get a friend to go with her. When I wondered why, she was like, "I'm not going to go stand out in a field by myself just because a flyer said something was happening there." All of a sudden those jokes about women going to the bathroom together weren't so funny anymore.

I don't think it was one specific thing, but rather a collection of little experiences over time, and being old enough to reflect on some things that happened, or points of view that I held, while I was younger.

I think a part of that was seeing concrete ways that society has not come as far as I once thought it did. As a teenager, and in college, it was totally normal to see women as my peers academically, socially, etc. It made me feel about feminism like "why are we talking about this"? I felt that these people who were my peers would have the same sorts of opportunities in life that I would, that whatever disadvantages they might have faced in a prior generation didn't really exist any more, and that a lot of the discussion was feeling aggrieved for the sake of feeling aggrieved.

And I wish I could point to one specific example of a thing that helped me turn the corner, but it was a variety of little things over time. Like watching politics: as a teenager, I started off somewhat "New York Republican," but came to see that a lot of things conservatives claimed to believe were intellectually bankrupt, or were fig leafs for something more sinister. Or, my job: I'm a criminal prosecutor, and while I've never tried a sex crime case, my work means I put a lot of stock in (1) believing victims when they tell me about their experiences and (2) trying to understand other people's points of view. Or, being married: living with and taking seriously my wife's point of view, which necessarily (both as a woman and as a person of color) has been shaped by factors that have never been present in my own life.

Stengah wrote:
karmajay wrote:

worrying about civility above all else

That's an extremely disingenuous reading of the current discussion.
Civility isn't an all-or-nothing endeavor. Calling people out is a completely valid and extremely useful tool, but if that's the only tool you know how to use to get men to reexamine their behavior you're the proverbial man with a hammer. It may get you the most activist points, but if they're your goal you're doing it wrong.

Some quotes from How Woke Became a Weapon to show that the question of civility is very much an appropriate topic.

Andi Zeisler, one of the co-founders of Bitch Media wrote:

There has to be room for well-meaning people to f*ck up and a dynamic that doesn’t ostracize them, but rather makes them realize that shutting up and listening is a great way to learn.

Natalie Patterson, a queer Black female poet, teaching artist, and activist and founder of Sister Support wrote:

There is no value in shame, only ego and belittling. I think shaming others is really evidence of a lack of leadership and maturity. We all have a place in these conversations because no one is an island. We have to do the emotional self-work so that we are prepared to be peacemakers, not just fire starters.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a Black female activist and author wrote:

We have to welcome those people and stop the arrogant and moralistic chastising of anyone who is not as ‘woke’… [movements] are built by actual people, with all their political questions, weaknesses, and strengths.

professors of psychology June Price Tangney, PhD, and Jessica Tracy, PhD wrote:

For most people, the rehabilitating, ego-threatening nature of shame makes such constructive outcomes difficult, if not impossible. There is a widely held assumption that because shame is so painful, at least it motivates people to avoid ‘doing wrong.’ As it turns out virtually no direct evidence supports this presumed adaptive function of shame. To the contrary, research suggests that shame may even make things worse.

Thank you for posting this. These wise and articulate voices make the point much more eloquently than I’m able to.

-

And just to be clear, when I make a call for civility, I’m not telling anyone that their message is invalid because they deliver it with anger or fervor. I’m simply trying to point out that their message will be received much more clearly if it’s delivered with grace and dignity. If it’s delivered with insults and abuse, your most likely going to turn people off. To me it comes off as the type of toxic male behavior that I’m trying to steer clear of.

But hey, you do you.

I've always leaned feminist or at least thought I did, but there have been a couple of things that have really stuck with me:

* How *afraid* many women are. It's clicheish at this point, but "Men are afraid women will laugh at them; women are afraid men will kill them" is still entirely true.
* How many stories *every* woman has of having to put up with unacceptable harassment. Grab-ass on the subway. Being hit on in a job interview. Catcalling. Trying to figure out how to say no - about anything at all - to a guy without setting him off. (And corollary to that- has a woman ever agreed with me because they were uncertain if it would have been safe not to? That's a hard one to look back on.)
* And related to that; how much of this crap do men just overlook when they see other men do it, or how much do we not see things because other men don't do it while we're watching? (because society is still loaded with the eighteenth-century idea of a woman being "under a man's protection".)

Certis wrote:

What's your experience? Did you hit a turning point in your life where you woke up? Was it a specific thing? Who inspired you?

I have a friend who teaches a racism workshop to corporate types. It’s an intensive 3 day weekend workshop (Fri, Sat, Sun). It’s her own startup business and she wrote the entire curriculum. She’s a gay person of color and an immigrant to the U.S. She came here to attend university and then decided to make the U.S. her home.

A couple of years ago she created a special version of her workshop for our UU congregation. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend it. Up to that point, I felt that I was pretty woke. And for the most part I was, but her workshop led me down a dark rabbit hole where I very quickly discovered how sheltered and privileged I have been my whole life. It was heavy. And I don’t mean that in a quaint 1970s kind of “heavy”.

I already suffer from clinical depression, and that journey of discovery really weighed on me. I couldn’t turn away, though. I was compelled to keep searching the dark corners of American society. It became an unhealthy obsession to learn the truth about white male privilege and how it applies to me. Luckily my wife was able to let me know when it was time to come up for air. I don’t know what would have happened if she wasn’t there to pull me out every now and then.

For about ten years prior to attending my friend’s workshop I had been on a quest to change some of my core behaviors. There were some things about myself that I really wanted to change. I have been quick to anger my whole life. I sometimes got myself into trouble because of it. After years of trying and failing to make a change, then some years of moderate success and failure, I started to really get a handle on myself. If I had attended that workshop a few years earlier, I wouldn’t have been able to get as much out of it as I did.

One of my first revelations from the workshop had to do with my white male privilege. I was a bit of a hell raiser as a teen. I had a group of loyal friends who were very much like myself. We were a diverse group. Mostly white kids but also several people of color from different ethnicities. Some of those friends ended up in the prison system and never made it out of that lifestyle. I always silently patted myself on the back for not ending up in jail. “That’s because I was one of the more intelligent kids in our group.” is what I always told myself.

In the workshop, white privilege was one of the first topics we explored. It felt like I’d gotten sucker punched when I realized that of my teenage friends, the ones who ended up in jail were all people of color. Even Wayne, the most reckless of all of us, ended up as a successful IT tech. Wayne, of course, is white.

The reason I was able to narrowly avoid a cursed existence wasn’t because I was so damn smart, like I’d been telling myself. It was because I was white. If I had been black or Mexican things would have been very different for me.

RawkGWJ wrote:

And just to be clear, when I make a call for civility, I’m not telling anyone that their message is invalid because they deliver it with anger or fervor. I’m simply trying to point out that their message will be received much more clearly if it’s delivered with grace and dignity. If it’s delivered with insults and abuse, your most likely going to turn people off. To me it comes off as the type of toxic male behavior that I’m trying to steer clear of.

But hey, you do you.

The quotes are supporting the idea that attacking people for missteps isn't always the best route to take, not that it's never the an appropriate route to take. Don't make the mistake of dismissing everything posted in anger as invalid or ineffective because of how it might be received; often times being able to express that anger is more important than how effective it was.

Outrage has a valuable place; it is the natural reaction to injustice, to a severe moral breach that must offend every nerve ending of one’s sensibilities. To look at our world at present there’s much to be angry about, and there’s some wisdom to the idea that outrage is better than a placid acceptance of our present condition, better than becoming desensitized to the cavalcade of moral crimes that litter the daily newspapers. But like any emotion or tool, there are right and wrong ways to deploy it, and when we uncritically suggest that all rage is valid so long as it is expressed by activists we thereby foreclose all strategic discussion of the utility of rage.