Saturday, 23 July 2016

"No, you're the racist/sexist/homophobe!"

Over the past few months, possibly longer, I've observed a particularly noteworthy and troubling deflection tactic when calling someone out for their bigotry. It goes like this:

1. Person A says something bigoted; for an example, they've been racist.
2. Person B argues that Person A has been racist and explains why, then says Person A should take back their comment and apologise.
3. Person A declares that they're not racist and that Person B is the "real racist" because Person B, by speaking up, is assuming that the ethnic group in the discussion cannot defend themselves and that they never asked Person B for help, anyway.

As a result, Person B ends up going on the defensive, so even though Person A makes the racist comment, Person B walks away as the "real racist".

It's a completely nonsense defence and it's abhorrent that it's advanced as much as it has. Speaking up for a particular person or group does not imply you think said person or group cannot speak up for themselves; provided that your motives are genuine and you're defending them because you're a decent human being, you've done nothing wrong and it doesn't demean them. You're just an extra voice and someone who has come to them in a time of need; if anything, we should be encouraging each other to help more rather than let the naysayers and trolls dominate the discussion.

Oh, and "they never asked for your help" is nonsense, too - you can still lend a helping hand even if someone doesn't ask and they can always decline your offer.

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