Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Silent Majority is Against Us


Have you ever heard that quote by Desmond Tutu? Here's the extended version:

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."

Hi. Nice to meet you. I'm mouse.

At least, I am in the sense that I'm a woman. My whiteness also makes me an elephant, plus my straightness and cisness and my lack of disability, and other things. But when I hear that Anita Sarkeesian was forced to cancel a feminist lecture at Utah State University because there were multiple threats of a mass school shooting should she be allowed to speak, I feel like a mouse. I think about how I've planned my first lecture at a small college nearby and how I would like to do more in the future, and my metaphorical tail hurts.

One of the biggest pains in my tail is the people who will again and again, no matter how severe the violence or how severe the harassment or how severe the threats get, say that they come from a "small but vocal minority."


Animated gif of Aquaman opening his hands to reveal the words "FUCK YOU."

Fuck you, because that is not reassuring to me, and also it is not meant to be reassuring to me. It's meant to be reassuring to YOU, to assure yourself that you don't actually have to feel obligated to do anything about the massive tidal waves of threats and abuse, because no matter how effective it is in silencing the target, it's okay somehow because a small amount of people are doing it.

Well guess what? It sure as hell doesn't feel like a minority. When I see reports of vocal feminists getting so much harassment from this "small but vocal minority" that they can't even handle their Twitter accounts and email accounts because so much of it is drowned in awful, awful words, the idea that it's only hundreds instead of millions of men sending those messages doesn't make me feel any better.

Now, let's bring this back to Desmon Tutu's quote. "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." You know who's the majority in these situations? The neutral. The millions of people who either don't care, don't care enough to do a single thing about it, or care but are really only invested in distancing themselves from the bad people and so run around reminding women about the relatively small number of bad people in comparison to the entire human population of Planet Earth. The silence or the annoying useless self-reassurance of this majority only serves the small but vocal minority that would rather I be dead than speaking about my oppression.

So, NO, you fuckwads. It's not a "small but vocal minority." It's a large, mostly silent but sometimes vocal majority. And you're in it.


duckbunny said...

Yep, pretty much that

Tribalmind said...

It's a vast majority that ignoring the 'minority' that allows the 'minority' to get away with it. This happens in all areas, certain people are so vocal about their objection because they will never accept they are wrong and unfortunatly the violently aggressive tactics actually tend to convince some people that they are right.

The problem is many simply don't care, they don't want to get involved because they aren't sure which side they should be on. Others still will not speak up for fear of being cut down or them recieving such threats against themselves. Honestly we need people like you and Anita Sarkeesian to speak out as many are too afraid. Worse yet is the fact that allowing the pricks to have their say is only making it worse. Often these arguments will have to be fought for generations as it is often only the generational change that will actually allow for a new point of view. (it's sad that this has already been fought once yet never fully suceeded and has to bein all over again)

Speak up and go for it, you speaking out might convince a few more to, which might cause a few more again. This can be won but only through gradual work. I am sorry that these people exist, but unfortuately change is never easy, many have faced this and many more will, for whatever it is they are making a stand for.

The saddest thing is they are proving you right by doing this and don't even realise it. I can't undersand how they do not realise this...

Irving Zamudio said...

This is still absolutely disturbing, but thanks for some great view points. I would only comment about being the "neutral" because I believe I would fall in the category because this does not alarm me yet I have no connection with video games so let these oxymorons threaten each other daily as they do over their headset microphone. All this is a waste of time and energy to be sitting in front of a screen yelling and threatening people but we all know they really wouldn't do shit! (Come back to reality Deathslayer...) you could only do that in a video game.... But as for Anita Sarkeesian this is consequences for tell or trying to make changes in people's lives when this is there world and they'll defend it. You will have the same issue about everything. I understand no woman should be threaten and of course no university wants to be known for this speaker that got .... at there school. So as a neural what would you want me to do? When I tell you this is a lost community that hates reality runs to fiction cyber sify at that! And I don't see my part in it until they start knocking a certain perimeter we give them.

Lindsey Weedston said...

If you're not interested in video games in particular, there are plenty of other areas in which you can act as an ally. The point is to speak up in your own environment. Like you said, similar things happen in all kinds of subcultures.

However, I would caution you not to make the mistake of thinking that these are all empty threats. Women have died over things like this. Women have been murdered because of the underlying beliefs that lead to male gamers desperately trying to exclude women from gamer culture - that women are evil tricksters who only want to invade traditionally male spaces to take advantage of them. That women should only exist to please men. This is why Elliot Rodgers happened.

Mandemon said...

Minor note about Anita Sarkeesian.

She canceled the lecture, yes. Except that was all on her. Police and the campus investigated the threat and concluded, that the whole thing was cookie cutter "Trolls sending threats they never follow up":

In short, there was no real threat and any threat she was given can be summed up as "Trolls being trolls". You can't spend 10 minutes on internet without someone insulting and/or threatening you.

Lindsey Weedston said...

First of all, if you think I trust the police or college campuses, then you haven't read much of my blog. But you're also wrong. All the authorities found was that Anita had been sent similar threats and nothing had yet happened. The college then decided to hold the lecture, hoping that this wouldn't be the first time someone followed through on a threat.

Second, if I were in that situation and the campus said "eh, they probably won't follow up with this direct and specific threat, so we're not even going to disallow guns in the auditorium," I would not go. It wasn't just that they threatened Anita's life. She gets that all the time. The threat was to anyone who went to the lecture. They were going to shoot random college students unless she cancelled. She cancelled to protect other people's lives. Are you really going to criticize her for that? Yeah, I guess it's "all on her" that she was worried enough about the lives of strangers to back down.

And put away that "no real threat" bullshit. First of all, this was not your standard "I hope you die" comment and it certainly wasn't an insult. How you think it's appropriate to compare a simple insult to this kind of threat is beyond me. This person specifically said that he would shoot up the auditorium where Anita's lecture was to take place unless she cancelled. And you don't know if they would have followed up, do you? Because she cancelled just in case. You have no idea if this was just "trolls being trolls," and it's fucked up for you to say so when 1) Anita cancelled to protect OTHER PEOPLE when she's gone through with plenty of lectures and events when the threats only targeted her and 2) you are not a well-known feminist woman online and have no idea what it's like to receive direct threats like this.

This was a specific, direct threat that stated exactly where and the conditions in which the violent act would occur. He described the weapons he would use. Threats don't get any realer than that, bro.

And you entirely miss the point that why the fuck is she getting threats like this in the first place???? Are you seriously going to go "trolls will be trolls"?? That's worse than "small but vocal minority"! Fuck you!