So I got into a conversation with someone on LJ who was determined to pretend that they knew how to be a real American. For a whole host of reasons that schtick gets on my nerves. When it comes from someone who is willfully ignoring social and historical context it really annoys me. But, this post isn’t about that person. I know, not what you expected right? No, this post is about their friend who ran to not only defend their bigotry, but to tell me all the ways I was getting being black wrong.
Not just in the actual post (which was stupid enough for three lifetimes), he also decided to private message me and went on for some time despite me saying repeatedly that I wasn’t interested in his BS. Cited credentials for telling me to change my approach to life included knowing POC and having sex with at least one at some point in the past. The exchange (which is long and kind of creepy) can be found in my Livejournal if you want to hurt yourself. But really, it doesn’t include anything new. It’s more of the same old patriarchal imperialistic BS encased in concern trolling (no, the perpetrator is not who you just thought of) and only upsetting in that way that happens when there’s someone creepy talking to you and they won’t go away, but you’re not in the mood to make a scene.
In other words, not scary enough for screaming, but annoying enough to make you hostile. Pro tip: If you say something like “That’s not really (insert ‘ism here), this is really (‘ism) and people like you are just taking things too seriously/being professional victims/part of the problem because you’re living in the past” chances are excellent that the conversation isn’t going to go anywhere good. Now I know someone’s going to say “But I’m just trying to help. If we could all just look at these things logically and not get so emotional then we could solve the problem. There’s no reason for you to get so angry.” That’s just concern trolling 102. The mindset that lets you tell someone they should turn off their emotions in order to discuss an emotional issue is so privileged that it boggles my mind. Granted, I’ve noticed that such comments come most often from people who don’t have a dog in that particular hunt, and so they think they know everything about how to handle it. But as someone with a (metaphorical) dog? None of my hunts have room for bystanders. Whether I’m discussing, race, class, misogyny, or even the parenting issues that come hand in hand with having a special needs child I don’t have the time or the inclination to give up the emotions that have me so invested in fighting the good fight. I need that fuel to keep going, because otherwise wading through whatever hot mess is in front of me would wipe me out. When you’re a bystander it’s easy to turn away from the issue and rest, because it doesn’t affect your day to day life. But for the people it does affect? There is no rest from it (other than perhaps death) because it is a integral part of their life and they must deal with it every day in order to navigate the world. So you can either shut up and listen, or just shut up.
You’re certainly free to run your own experiments (elsewhere!), but don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting the rough side of someone’s tongue for saying stupid shit and not listening. I know if you try this on me, I’ll mock you, I’ll talk about you, heck I might even talk to you…but I’m not changing a thing. Not just because I’m stubborn (though I am) or even to prove a point (though it will) but simply because I already know that the source is a bad one and should be ignored. I learned a long time ago to distrust anyone who wanted me to ignore the reality of my life because it made them uncomfortable, or because they wanted me to join them in their fantasy world. I think we need a concern troll Bingo card in the worst way. Possibly one for each ‘ism though I suspect that we could just play find and replace with key words in these conversations and it would be the same basic set of invalidating lines. Someone commented elsewhere that my latest troll sounded like an abuser, and I had to laugh because I’d already drawn the comparison in my head, and then debated whether or not it was hyperbolic before pointing it out in one of the messages. Granted no one’s come to blows (yet), but it sure felt like that stage where the abuser tries to make you doubt yourself enough for them to weasel their way in and hurt you in the name of
ending racism love.