Social Justice and Language
July 8, 2014 11:56 AM Subscribe
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory (143 comments total)
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Several recent articles draw attention to the power of demonisation, outrage and weaponised language within contemporary activist culture - and question whether this focus is doing more harm than good.
Jack Halberstam, director of the Center for Feminist Research at University of Southern California: When groups that share common cause, utopian dreams and a joined mission find fault with each other instead of tearing down the banks and the bankers, the politicians and the parliaments, the university presidents and the CEOs? Instead of realizing, as Moten and Hearny put it in The Undercommons, that “we owe each other everything,” we enact punishments on one another and stalk away from projects that should unite us, and huddle in small groups feeling erotically bonded through our self-righteousness.Scott Alexander: the debate is about whether trans women are more privileged than cis women, because they have residual male privilege from the period when they presented as men, or less privileged than cis women, because they are transsexual – plus a more or less symmetrical debate on the trans man side. The important thing to notice is that every group considers it existentially important to prove that they are less privileged than the others, and they do it with arguments like (from last link) “all examples of cis privilege are really male privileges that are not afforded to women, or are instances of resistance to trans politics. I call it patriarchy privilege when something like an unwillingness to redefine one’s own sexuality to include males is seen is labeled as offensive.”
The New York Times:Mobs breed a sense of anonymity, and in the midst of trending Twitter outrage, Professor Martin said, “you may feel anonymous, even if you’re not really.” Such perceived anonymity encourages people — even seemingly sensitive readers of “The Fault in Our Stars” — to say things they likely would not in person.