This Is Today’s Test

I really hate that we’re even having this conversation because it’s so damn stupid, but no one is disrespecting the flag. That’s just a bald faced lie. Kneeling is not a gesture of disrespect. It’s a prayerful, reverent position. If Kapernick had said he was kneeling as an act of patriotic fervor, no one except the Jehovah’s witnesses and the Mennonites would have objected. But he’s kneeling to protest a pattern of violence by the state against citizens, particularly black citizens.

Let’s drill down to brass tacks about this issue. A 12 year old child named Tamir Rice was deliberately shot on sight, without warning, while playing in a park by the police. And nothing happened. His mom got some money because that’s all anyone cares to give her. The local cops ridicule her, sometimes openly. They knowingly lied about her son and what happened. They did not provide immediate first aid for Tamir’s wounds. They made his sister watch her 12 year brother dying on the ground while locked in the back of a squad car, after a full grown man tackled her to stop her from reaching him. They didn’t even follow their own rules. The local DA was forced by protests to convene a grand jury which he threw so flagrantly and deliberately that details of the proceedings were leaked to the public – something which simply does not happen with grand juries. Grand juries do not leak. From front to back, this case is as egregiously unjust and cruel as it is possible to be.

And, by all appearances, a lot of Americans are cool with that. They’ll repeat easily disproven lies smearing a 12 year old child before dealing with the obvious problem Kapernick and other athletes are protesting. To them, the most important thing is that we all agree that there is most certainly not a problem and further, that we are not allowed to talk openly about the problem outside of a few well-worn bromides that have always sufficed before. Unfortunately, there are people with really loud voices and a lot of power who fall into the category of people who just don’t give a shit about a 12 year old kid in a supposed “ghetto” that they won’t even drive through but know everything about. Where a 12 year old child was playing when he was shot by the police, no wilding gang members being available to do the job, apparently. The people who think like this are assholes. These are the people who need to be identified and kept away from positions of power and influence. Because they are literally sociopaths who are a danger to the rest of us.

So here’s what’s happening right now; as I warned y’all a couple of years back we’re going to be having a little test. And apparently God put Kapernick in charge of administering this part of it. The particular question we need to answer for this part of the test is simple:

What is more important to you: living in a country where it’s unthinkable for a 12 year old kid to be shot by a police officer while playing at the park or following protocol for interacting with national symbols?

That’s all you have to answer: which one matters more? A human being or the flag? Justice or a song? Will you kneel for justice and real human lives or will you refuse to on account of mere symbols? That’s the choice you get to make. It’s an easy enough question to answer. Which is more important – humans or symbols and protocols. Sociopaths will make one choice. Decent human beings will make another. So make your choice. What matters more to you? At the end of the day, what sort of person do you turn out to be? Choose. Let us all know. We’re watching.

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Sadly, Being Nice Rarely Changes Things

While I’m usually pretty nice and well behaved here on my blog, it has happened a time or two in real life and on social media that I have been criticized for being too harsh, too dramatic and too provocative. The way I communicate has been called vulgar, bombastic, hateful, angry and divisive. More than one person has tried to plead with me (or shame me) to tone it down. Typically they claim that no one will listen to me because I’m alienating people. Clearly, I have not found these arguments or criticisms particularly persuasive.

To demonstrate why, take a look at these fascinating charts:

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Between 2009 and 2014, the percentage of white people claiming that we have done enough to give blacks equal rights vs those who say that more needs to be done remained stable. Most white people had declared mission accomplished. But by 2015, the positions had completely reversed with most white people suddenly deciding that we needed to do more to give blacks equal rights. What happened? Well, Black Lives Matters happened. Conflict happened. Protests happened. Arguments happened. Roads were blocked, events were disrupted, people shouted and refused to back down. A few even set shit on fire.

Much like me, BLM was criticized for being too harsh, too dramatic, too provocative. They were called vulgar, bombastic, hateful, angry and divisive. They were told that all they were doing was alienating people.  Right wing media engage in a demonic smear campaign against them to make J. Edgar Hoover do a jig in his grave. The leaders of BLM, however, had studied the history of non-violent social change and they knew better than to give the calls to simmer down and be nice any credence. And for all the criticism and complaints, people’s eyes started to open and their minds began to change. Their denial became less sustainable. In a very short amount of time, opinions flipped quite dramatically.

You see, the idea that we can get people to change their minds about important issues, come out of denial and recognize the error of their ways through civility and dialogue sounds high minded and reasonable. Except reality doesn’t actually work like that. It could, if people were better at listening, less defensive and less invested in victim blaming. But they’re not.

Which is why it is both good and necessary that we have some people who are willing to be obnoxious, piss everyone off and refuse to back down. People who are willing to have people think that they’re a jerk and talk shit about them and say nasty things to them. And while not everyone can or should be that sort of person, I am quite happy to be one of those people at this moment in history. I get that at any given moment. I have a fair number of people mad at, disgusted by or appalled at me. That’s OK. I’m a mom; it’s not a novel experience for me.

Let’s Be Real, My White Peeps . . . 

I read a Facebook post this morning from a woman who has adoptive children from Africa. In it she shared the sort of evil, hateful messages she received about her family. Telling her that her small black son will rape her white daughter is the least offensive example she gave. Because my mixed race family is not as high profile as hers, I have not witnessed much of the open vitriol that she has, just the more pervasive, quiet examples of destructive racism. Like having my family’s future decided by a new boss who had a severe problem with the talented, hot-shot black guy who reported to him. The effects that working in extremely hostile environments for years on end sometimes had on my husband’s mental well being. The neighbors who refuse to socialize with us and sometimes even discouraged their kids from befriending our kids. The occasional bizarre reactions to my sons when they were little.

I could write books of examples of how my husband’s skin tone and nose have affected our lives. The time he almost died from incompetent medical care in an area with one of the highest discrepancies in outcomes between racial groups in the country. That he’s moved into our last 3 homes sight unseen as a way around pervasive housing discrimination. The difficulty getting a decent loan. Seriously-  it’s hard to stop giving examples. It pervades EVERYTHING. I don’t actually think about it much because what’s the point? It is what it is. And I’m not even the one bearing the full brunt of it.

But the woman whose post I link to above said something that we very much have in common; that she had previously been unaware that white supremacy and racism were still a thing. Just like this woman, prior to marrying my husband, I had no idea it was like this. None. My husband would get desperately frustrated with me early in our marriage because I was completely incapable of factoring racial discrimination into my decision making process. He’d say, “It’s different for black folks. It just is. Things don’t work the same for us as they do for white folks.”
And I’d kind of stare blankly at him, unable to process what he was saying because it was such melodramatic overreaction and not a healthy mindset to approach life with. When I would attempt to explain this to him, the desperate frustration would kick in. Because I was delusional. I really was. I had no idea how reality works. I just didn’t. And that worked for both the good and the bad in the end, but clearly my delusion didn’t last forever. Reality has a way of intruding.
See, I don’t think that white supremacy and racism are primarily heart issues as is commonly said. White supremacy and racism certainly corrupt our hearts, but primarily they are a set of false beliefs. The most obvious being that white people are self-evidently better than black people. We may not put it so crudely, of course. We’ll just point out differences in crime rates and out of wedlock births and style and lack of achievement and the experiences we’ve had with individual black people who rubbed us the wrong way. We’re not saying all black people are bad. If someone lives up to our standards, we’ll accept them regardless of their race. We don’t even care about color! Don’t even see it, in fact! Like Dr. King said – content of character, not color of skin.
I saw a picture of a girl holding a sign at a protest once which I think describes this kind of thinking pretty perfectly:

“You take away our daddy’s and then make fun of us for being fatherless”

Having been trained to think the world work very differently than it does in reality makes us white folks very hard of hearing. (And then we play victim and get mad that people are yelling at us, btw.) But here’s what white people need to hear: there is a very real problem and we can do an enormous amount to fix it. It starts with admitting we are wrong AND – even more important-  correcting that. People shouldn’t have to put their hate mail calling their small sons rapists on display to get your attention anymore. This is not news. We shouldn’t have to have tiki torch Nazis parading around a statue of General Lee for people to realize that there are racists among us. (And not just cordoned off somewhere in the boonies either.)
People have been telling us how bad it is and we don’t want to listen. We want to argue and explain. I had a guy on Twitter the other day try to convince me that racial problems came down to an issue of semantics and bad communication. No – racial problems come down to people being mistreated and their lives getting fucked up while very smart white folks want to talk semantics and demand the benefit of the doubt no matter what. To me, racial problems mean all kinds of real, practical things. To him, it’s all just words. Which is about as good an illustration of the problem as any.
We are the problem. We’ve been the problem. And if that hurts your feelings or makes you angry, too bad! Really. Grow the hell up. You’re not a toddler. You can handle some bad feelings. Ask black folks. They know more about bad feeling a than you do, that’s for damn sure. And no – I don’t need to know you to know that. Because if you really had suffered that much, you wouldn’t have hurt feelings or be mad right now because you know that depth of suffering is far too serious to be that petty about.
Anyways, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. It’s a thing that happens – the more you tell the truth, the more people who believe lies reject you. Oh well. But perhaps you can share this with someone who needs to read it. Because this has to stop. We white people need to accept reality and stop arguing/being defensive so that we can all get to work fixing it. Unless white people really do want to live in a world where skin color defines us. Because until we stop fighting, that’s what it looks like to everyone else.

This Makes No Sense to Me

There is this bizarre phenomena that I run into now and again where someone will respond to criticism of modern racism by pointing out that in the early to mid 20th century, the Democratic party, particularly in the south, was unabashedly racist and for a while even aligned itself with the Klan. Like I’ll bring up the fact that Trump was enthusiastically supported by white supremacists and someone will say, “the Democrats are the real racists. They were the ones who passed all the Jim Crow laws.” To which I respond . . . whaaaaaaa????

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the history, it is quite true that the Democrats were, in the past, active proponents of racism and segregation. That all changed after the passage of the civil rights and voting rights acts in the 60s, of course. By the late 70s, Republican Ronald Reagan was campaigning using rhetoric about states rights and racist tropes about “young bucks” and “welfare queens” while Democrat Jimmy Carter was campaigning in African American churches. In the 1980 election, the people who used to vote for the racist Democratic party of the mid 20th century now voted Republican.

So what in the world do people who insist on responding to criticism of current racism by pointing to the Democrat’s history of racism think they are doing? What point do they think they are making? How exactly do they think I’m supposed to respond? I am deeply confused when people do this.

Do they imagine that I will be so shocked to hear that Democrats used to embrace racism that I will refuse to have anything to do with them and run into the arms of the party currently supported by racists in order to maintain my purity? Am I supposed to go easy on today’s racists because in the past they would have been Democrats?

I mean, back in the day, the Democrats were a big proponent of maintaining an agrarian society and distrusted paper money. The Republicans used to believe in a strong federal government and opposed states rights. Should we be trying to hold the parties to their original standards? Should I bring that history up when a Republican advocates for more control for states and a weaker federal government? If in 50 years, the Republicans are staunchly secular and the Democrats are highly religious, would it matter that in the past the parties were reversed? Does the label of Democrat and Republican have magic juju bound to it that transcends whatever the party is about in real time?

Can someone help me out here? I’ve tried asking these questions of the people who do this and, strangely, none of them have been able to come up with an answer that makes sense. And yet they keep doing it. I’m just trying to understand the logic here. Which, now that I think of it, is probably a mistake on my part. Sometimes the answer really is “because they’re morons.” It happens.

All People Are Real

I’ve mentioned a couple of times now that I have a dissociative disorder. A derealization disorder, in fact. Which means that when my dissociative disorder is triggered, nothing around me seems real. Sometimes things literally look like movie sets and sound stages to me. I can’t even watch movies when it’s bad because when everything already looks fake, bad acting takes on a whole new meaning. When it comes to dealing with people, it’s like being locked inside a glass bubble where sounds can get through, but they’re muffled and removed from much of their meaning somehow. I read an article about it once which described disrealization as the loneliness disease. Obviously you can’t connect with anyone when you have a hard time even seeing them as real.

Because my dissociative disorder started by the time I was 17 months old, I grew up with no conscious experience of being able to consistently see other people as real. I just assumed that this was what it was like to be human. It certainly explained the way people treated each other; if the people around you feel like objects, then you’re going to treat them like objects, right? But I knew that other people actually are real, even when they don’t feel real. And I knew what it was like to be treated like objects. I didn’t want other people to feel like that, so I decided that part of growing up and being fully alive must include learning to see other people as real rather than as actors in my environment.

Probably around age 11 I started just watching people, trying to imagine what it must be like to be them. I would watch the way they reacted to things and think, “why did they have that reaction and not a different one?” After I became a committed Christian in early adolescence, I became more intentional about it. I’d pick out people who seemed the least real, the most scary or the least appealing and think about what it might be like to be them. I’d look for things to love about them. In the process, I learned to see people as real. And to this day, whenever I notice that they don’t seem real to me anymore, I make myself really look and think about and try to imagine loving them.

Of course, I wasn’t diagnosed with the dissociative disorder until the summer of 2014, so I didn’t know that the rest of y’all didn’t need to spend nearly so much time thinking about other people in order to remember that they are real. Apparently it’s happens instinctively and unconsciously for some people. Who knew? Thankfully, I was motivated by the teaching to love our enemies and the least to really work at dealing with the problem. And then some, because I am an American after all. If a little is good, more must be better. Continue reading

Treating the Least Poorly Will Come Back to Bite You

The treatment which we as a society will allow the least to be subjected to will eventually become the kind of treatment we allow anyone to be subjected to. So even if you are completely convinced that the least don’t matter or wouldn’t be the least if they didn’t deserve it, it is to your benefit – and the benefit of those you love – to make sure the least, nastiest human on the planet is treated the way you want to be treated. Because if they’ll let those people over there be treated poorly, what makes you think someone dangerous won’t eventually find an excuse to treat you just the same way and get away with it?

Yes, there are heart issues and theological concerns which should be our primary motivator to care for the least, but Jesus’ teachings also have a hard boiled, practical wisdom to them which people often miss. One of the things I have found very interesting in talking with people who opposed Obama or supported Trump is that they have a perception that the way they are treated has gotten worse. Their health insurance became too expensive, their employer treated them like a widget, their industry had suddenly been destroyed by a change in rules or markets, their communities were being decimated by drugs, they knew someone who got railroaded by the legal system, so on and so forth.

It’s maddening to listen to these people. I can totally empathize with their complaints and want to be compassionate towards people’s struggles, but where the hell were these people when this stuff was happening to the rest of us? None of this is new. Where were they during the crack epidemic? Oh that’s right – freaking out about crack heads and calling for more police and jail time even as our mental health infrastructure was actively being dismantled.

My health insurance went from $650/month in 1999 to $1600/month in 2008 – before Obamacare was even a thing. Where were they when that was happening for millions of us? Oh that’s right – fighting healthcare reform tooth and nail.

Back in the early 90’s when rap artists were talking about police brutality, where were these people who now feel violated going through airport security? Oh that’s right – they were busy condemning the rap artists as outrageous and evil.

I could go on and on, but I suppose you get the idea. The very things that many have been blaming Obama for and which they use as a reason for their support for conman Trump are things that they turned a deaf ear, a hard heart and condemnation in bucketfuls to when they were happening to other people. And now the treatment which was tolerated for the least in this country is starting to catch up with them. And they don’t like it.

These folks unhappiness with the way they are being treated is understandable, if overblown in comparison to what, for example, African Americans and Native peoples have been dealing with. As many people have been trying to point out for, you know, decades even centuries now, life in the real world sucks pretty hard pretty often. So, to all the folks who failed to head Jesus advice to care for the least and treat your neighbor as you’d like to be treated, welcome to America 2016. We’re all ni**as now. And y’all just decided that we get to experience the version of reality where George Bailey was never born. Excuse us if we’re a little salty about it. We’ll get over it. Eventually.

That Time A Racist Killed My Husband’s Career

Well, maybe not killed, but definitely maimed. So what happened is once upon a time, a little over a decade ago, my husband had landed the opportunity of a lifetime in the form of a upper middle management job with a Fortune 500 company. He was just past 30, but had worked his ass off, taught himself an unusually wide and deep set of skills and had a history of exceptional results for the complex projects he oversaw for his employers. Two different people who had worked with him had been contacted by the same recruiter for the position and they both told the recruiter about my husband. He was put through a battery of psychological testing, interviewed 6 times, including one interview with a panel comprised of the very highest levels of leadership at the company.

Within a reasonably shortish for these things amount of time, he was offered a position, despite not having the fancy degree it usually takes to land one of these spots. In this position, he would have the chance to orchestrate a drastic change in operating procedures and processes for the departments he was overseeing. (Complex administrative stuff which he had previously performed in much smaller, slightly less complex companies.) And do it in a way that was branched out seamlessly into every other department whose operations touched account management along the way.

He was put into a leadership development program the company ran, given a timeline for expected career development and asked to start and lead a new African American employee affinity group for the company. (They already had an affinity group for women, International and Hispanic employees, so they were running late on it. And my husband had just become the highest ranking African American man in their corporate history. So they were running behind.)

Anyways, it was a huge task with a huge potential for failure, but that’s also what huge opportunity looks like in real life. And my husband rose to it. He was able to implement a new data measurement program with help from IT within weeks and was showing demonstrable change in productivity shortly after that. He did everything he was tasked with doing, and beyond, in less time than they had planned on it taking. The results for the company included improved employee morale and retention, and saving them tens of millions of dollars within his first 18 months. His department went from being something intern and career development candidates avoided like the plague to one with a waiting list for the chance to rotate through. The restructuring he designed and implemented was repeated at another Fortune 500 company by someone who had been involved in the process. That implementation is now used as a case study in many Business School programs.

There were problems and setbacks, of course. And the environment wasn’t always great; women clutched their purses and backed away when he got on the elevator with them in the morning. The security guards would sometimes decided that they didn’t recognize him every day for a week in a row and stop him as he entered the building. (He got several reprimanded and at least one fired over this over the course of a couple years.) Some people were nasty. But it was a really good job and he was kicking much ass and taking many names.

On the home front, we were living modestly but comfortably in a cute little rental home in a nice area. I was homeschooling our two boys. They are both very smart, but they both had some unusual developmental issues along the way that made a normal school setting incredibly difficult for them. We finally had two working cars and would sometimes splurge to go to the theater or eat at restaurants with menus and cloth napkins. We took our first real family vacation together – a trip to the Black Hills. We had our third child, a little girl who, unlike her brothers, is the most normal child I know. Life wasn’t perfect, of course. Both of us were dealing with a lot of pressure and stress doesn’t often bring out the best in people. But we had a good life. And a good future.

Then one of the things which I can’t discuss owing to one of the confidentiality agreements I’ve signed over the years happened. And this employer became an ex-employer. I can’t go into details, but both of us fielded calls from people at all levels of leadership telling us that what happened was outrageous with a few saying, “I won’t say this if you put me on the stand, but just between you and me, this was the most racist shit I’ve ever seen.” Every phone call ended with the assurance that my husband was so talented and would be getting such good references from high level people in the company that he’d land on his feet in no time.

The incident ended the careers of everyone involved. There were demotions and removal of responsibilities and the whole 9. Except no one moved to undo the wrong. People were punished and I guess I’m supposed to find comfort in that. But nothing was set right for my husband or our family. These people’s actions were left standing.

And, as it turns out, when a 33 year old black man with 3 kids and another on the way leaves a really good job without having another lined up, it doesn’t really matter how great your skills are, how much you’ve accomplished or how gilded your references are, it’s not so easy to land on your feet. A few months after this happened, my husband took a contract position which required him to live first in Miami and then in Louisiana. Leaving me to care for three kids while pregnant with the 4th. We had been planning to buy our house when the lease was up that year, instead we ended up having to move because we could no longer get a mortgage. While I was pregnant and caring for three young children by myself. Two of whom were being homeschooled. It was great.

We paid to fly my husband all over the country to interview for jobs, but nothing ever pulled through. After his contract work ended, it took another 6 months to find his next job. In the 12 years since his employment with the Fortune 500 company ended, he’s gone through five employers and had a business go under. He’s worked very hard just to maintain a level of income similar to what he has making 12 years ago, but not been able move his career forward substantially. And of course, you can’t enjoy any financial stability when you are experiencing periods of unemployment that regularly. We went from splurging on the theater to heating bathwater on the stove because the gas had been turned off.

Thankfully, my husband’s been employed for the last 18 months by a company that I don’t want to fire bomb (that’s a first). They treat him well and openly value him as an employee and want him there. Like everything, it’s not perfect, but neither is it creating the sort of stress that is hard to shake at the end of the day. They’ve been good to him. And he’s skilled enough at playing the game that when someone tries to pull stuff with him, he can deal with it without exposing himself to blowback. And his boss notices when people aren’t listening or cooperating with him and addresses it from a performance stand point. So he actually has some protection. I am grateful for however long it ends up lasting.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very forgiving person. But if I were ever to run into the two men most responsible for what happened out in public, I would have a very hard time not spitting on them. I’ll keep working on it.

If you’re one of those people who believes that African Americans see racism as a serious issue because of the media, fuck you. And if you’re one of those people whose response to hearing about racism is to encourage people to let the past be the past and overcome your obstacles, just stfu, alright?

If God Wanted Trump In Office . . .

If you are one of those people going around claiming that Trump is God’s choice to run the country, you need to be crystal clear about what other people are hearing you say. You are telling people that God chose to stand shoulder to shoulder with white supremacists and against those who are subject to oppression, hatred and discrimination owing to who God created them to be. You are telling your minority neighbors that God cares more about American power than about their safety and well being. You are telling them that God picked sides and the side he picked is the same side that the KKK, Stormfront and other racist organizations stand on, not theirs. You are telling the world that God gave Trump a victory which was celebrated with Nazi salutes and calls of “Heil Trump” in a ballroom in D.C.

I totally get that most people who voted for Trump aren’t white supremacists. But the white supremacists believe that Trump speaks for them. They now believe that the country belongs to them and not to your neighbors who are not white Christians. One of their leaders is now advising the president elect. And you’re saying this is what God intended for this country. I mean, I’m sure that’s not how you see it. But you’re not the only one who matters around here, darlin’. You may have been able to write off and overlook the fact that white supremacists campaigned for Trump and view his win as a victory for them, but after surviving lynchings, torture, and oppression we can hardly imagine at the hands of white supremacists, your minority neighbors cannot be so sanguine about a white supremacists taking over our government.

Whatever reason you had for voting for Trump, you need to to know as absolute fact that you have contributed to causing the overwhelming majority of your minority neighbors and family to feel betrayed, unsafe and completely unloved right now. It doesn’t matter if you think this is valid or reasonable, it is reality. How you deal with that fact will reveal your heart, for good or ill. Do with it what you will. We’re watching. Don’t make it worse by pinning blame for your minority neighbor’s fears and feelings of betrayal on God. That’s evil from the pits of hell, pure and simple. Repent.

Just Define the Racism Away . . .

This morning on facebook, I commented on a post saying that we have not made nearly as much progress combating racism as we like to give ourselves credit for. One man responded by claiming (ie lying) that because of a disability, he had applied for government assistance. While there he saw a black family driving a luxury SUV get all the government assistance they needed but he was turned down for help because he is white. Another man included the phrase “ni**er loving ass” in his response to me. Both were arguing that my original claim was wrong. I’m 100% certain both would insist that they are not racist and have a special snowflake meltdown if you said otherwise.

Life in post-racial America; where you get rid of racism by simply defining it away.

The Fragility of Our Dominant Culture

True story: someone I’m connected with on facebook just posted an article claiming that “radical leftists” were guilty of shutting down discourse by insisting on trigger warnings, safe spaces and calling out micro-aggressions. I responded that this was bullshit. None of those things actually shut down discourse. People disagreed. I stood my ground. So the person who claimed that “radical leftists” were shutting down discourse decided that the conversation was too heated and deleted it. I believe that the word for this is irony.

15135763_10208953533409178_5817473775491816140_nOne of the things which has become abundantly clear is that there are a lot of people on the right, but also among neo-liberals who are engaging in heavy duty projection. They are the ones who can’t handle vigorous discourse and shut down at criticism or pushback, so they accuse others of doing so, for example. I mean, you will never find a bigger whiny special snowflake than someone who complains about political correctness. All you have to do is say the word “racism”  or call out intolerance and they melt down, claiming that you’ve make discussions impossible. Meanwhile, let a black person be told that they are pulling the race card or want to be given something for nothing and that same person will expect them to remain calm and composed.

What’s really happening here is that people who have previously been marginalized and whose concerns were ignored are gaining a voice. And it’s an uncomfortable, unfamiliar, challenging voice for those who are ensconced in the majority culture to hear. The impulse is to get them to shut up. To mock and marginalize their attempts to be heard and exert some influence on public discourse in ways that address their own needs. I’m sure that many of the people doing this have no idea that they are actually the ones who are trying to shut down public discourse because they’ve never considered that public discourse which includes and is mindful of everyone will look and sound different than public discourse they are used to.

The other dynamic which I think we’re seeing is that as those who have previously been marginalized push back against things which are hurtful and harmful to them, it exposes the fact that the dominant culture has been callous, cruel and completely unfair to many people. No one wants to think of themselves as callous, cruel and unfair, of course. But instead of recognizing that they haven’t done the work required to ensure that they aren’t actually callous, cruel and unfair, a lot of people just retreat into denial and scapegoating. They blame the person who brings their inadequacies to light for making them feel bad and become hostile towards them.

The discussion surrounding things like trigger warnings, political correctness, safe spaces, microaggressions and the like is extremely frustrating. People who oppose and complain about these things consistently show by their own words that they lack any actual understanding of the subject of their ire. But the good thing is that people who have been marginalized, far from being fragile children and special snowflakes are quite accustomed to dealing with and persevering through hostility and opposition. Once the dominant culture figures out that they are capable of doing likewise and actually engage with the issue like grown-ups, reality will win.