how silencing oppression and silencing the silencing of oppression are different

i recently finished the show about race episode where they were discussing the election, the press, and race. it reminded me of a point that meant to write about a while ago, but forgot.

there has been an obvious backlash in the country. the direction things have been going for the last 8+ years has been, for many marginalized people, a good one. i’m not saying that the government has been doing good things, but the political leadership has made it safer and more acceptable for some things (issues of being oppressed) to be heard and less acceptable for other things (oppressing) to be heard.

what’s happening in the backlash (or the white-lash as van jones put it), is that people who have felt like they’ve been silenced for the last few years are acting up and acting out. the most explicit version of this to me is the backlash against political correctness.

now, anyone with any sort of justice analysis is aware that pretty much anyone who is opposed to political correctness is usually covering (unconsciously or not) up some sort of oppression (chescaleigh nails this in her video: is pc culture anti-free speech?). people in positions of power were just used to saying shitty things and don’t particularly like being called out about it. lashing out against political correctness a tactic to preemptively shutdown getting shutdown themselves.

what i feel like is left out of many of these conversations is that the major difference in these two shifts is that in one of them, people are afraid of being silenced and not being allowed to say what they want to say… in the other one, people are afraid of being hurt or killed. we’re just not talking about lobbing ideas back and forth on an even playing field. one side of this table has been able to use words to disregard and dehumanize people. and i don’t think that it is actually important that we give equal credence to voices on that side of history. should we write them down? probably. but only so that we remember how to not let it happen again. 

imo, this is parallel to the gun conversation when obama was elected. many people who were pro-gun were worried about someone taking their gun away. people who are anti-gun are worried about people coming to kill them with a gun (citizen, neighbor, paramilitary, police, whoever) and there being no consequences.

there is a serious difference between these two sides of the table.


writing: 15:15
spell-check, link-finding, & formatting: 7:56