It’s important to be able to spot when certain phrases are silencing tactics. The concept of compromise can be used to make minorities look irrational, as if their demands to be treated respectfully are complicated and difficult to agree to.
Such tactics that evoke the same type of doubt in a minority’s claims :
- Gaslighting. Simple phrases such as “but I’ve never seen that happen,” or “that’s never happened to me” are meant to counter the oppressed’s credibility and make them seem unreliable.
- Demanding sources for lived experiences. Sometimes it isn’t enough to the oppressors that a person testifies to living through horrible injustices. Facts are demanded to support the oppressed’s experiences, which are dismissed as “anecdotal evidence.” Which leads to the next point:
- Framing human rights discussions as debates. No one should be able to debate whether or not someone deserves to live peacefully and happily. When oppressors try to engage in “debates” with the oppressed about their situations, the oppressor gets the upper hand, because suddenly the rules of debate apply, and emotions and anecdotal evidence are off limits. The oppressed are forced to discuss their own lives by the oppressor’s rules.
If you have experienced other silencing tactics when discussing racism, sexism, ableism, etc. please share to let others know what and who to be wary of.
I hear Green Day playing.. This feels like 2008
I hope you have the time of your life