We Should Be Meaner to Racists
Erika Heidewald
761187

This whole election was nothing but the media insisting that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist.

You are way to eager to call out what most would consider ignorance or insensitivity as full blown racism. The right and the rural parts of the country think KKK when you say racist. Your view of racism ignores intent. Many good decent people with different backgrounds say something stupid and don’t deserve to be shouted down as a racist by you.

That is the biggest problem I have with Identity Politics. These all or nothing labels and the horrible ‘action plan’ to deal with -isms. Either you’re a feminist or a sexist. The absolute worst way to accomplish anything towards ending sexism, racism, etc is to call it out immediately every time you see it in the loudest most public way possible. That does way more harm than good.

Ignoring the most blatant and obvious displays of -isms (which I think warrant immediate attention) if you go around labeling and denouncing every action, no matter how slight, as a clear case of an -ism, you put people on the defensive. Most people don’t think of themselves as actively perpetuating -isms. To quote Avenue Q , “ Everyone’s a little bit racist.” Everyone is a little every -ism.

That is why there is backlash against PC, safe spaces, etc. If you can’t find a way to politely and privately point out that something was insensitive; you are doing more harm than good. Reserve the public shaming for people that ‘don’t see the problem’ or refuse to change.

Lobbing accusations will get a defence. Pointing out that something might be problematic is more likely to cause reflection. People need to start to try and assume good intentions and make that evident if they insist on calling people out. eg. “I’m sure you weren’t trying to be sexist, but the way that came out was problematic”

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