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The Tone Police


Nothing makes me grind my teeth faster than seeing a cishet white man post about "civility" in society.

 I saw this misattributed gem on Facebook today:

So, first of all, this quote is not from Morgan Freeman, but you can tell that the desire to attribute it to him is quite strong. Why? Because it's very similar to those memes using pictures from All in the Family to tell us that we've lost the ability to see racism and homophobia as a valid source for jokes. They want you to think that this isn't coming from cishet white patriarchy when it truly is.

Secondly, this is 100% tone policing. The reason that those in a position of societal power want to control your voice is to ensure it is not heard. At the extreme end it is the violence being levelled at the trans community, a violence very much intended to make us afraid to be visible and to speak. At the soft end it is posts like this that push you to think that these are all just polite disagreements when they truly are not.

There is no space for civility when human rights are at stake. It was civility that let the Democrats pretend to stand for something as they let the Republicans roll back the rights of women by decades. That same civility allowed them to also roll back the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and we're going to see more of this. I feel it is inevitable that trans people are going to be sacrificed, by the Democrats, on the altar of civility very shortly in the US Congress.

Here's the deal: the smiling bigots causing all this harm do hate us. These aren't disagreements about pizza toppings or ice cream flavours, these are people doing very deliberate and direct harm to marginalized communities so as to build and maintain power. 

In a nutshell, if we need to relearn anything it's that you don't stop facism by being friendly with it.

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