Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Fuck Tone Policing
[Tweet text - Respectability politics: Disallowing anger as a form of expression. The oldest trick in the book to neutralize protest against oppression.]
Interesting fact: What I often refer to as "tone policing" is quite similar to what is called "respectability politics" in the black activist community. Respectability politics is the idea that black people have to conduct themselves in ways that white people will "respect" in order to be taken seriously, no matter how serious and truthful the issue they're speaking about is.
This extends to the way black people dress, walk, stand, wear their hair, use grammar, etc. etc. to infinity. Basically, it means that black people have to act just like white people, or everything they say and do is dismissed. But at the same time, they can't do certain things that white people do all the time, like get angry, yell, interrupt people, or show any kind of passion. The ideal condition for black people who want to talk about oppression is to be doing so scrunched up in a corner, whispering while doing everything they can not to be noticed.
It's oppression at its finest. And you'll find very similar rules for every oppressed group. Going back through the decades, you will find that it is a incredibly old oppressive tactic.
And that is why I say again and forever: Fuck tone policing.