Is Incivility Necessary?

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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby cmsellers » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:22 pm

@Asami
From what you say in most of your post, it sounds like we don't really have huge differences in what we believe, then. I think that we may have two main points of contention. First, I think that persuasion should always be the goal of activism and letting off steam is pointless if it doesn't change minds and ill-advised if it changes them in the wrong direction or hardens opposition, while you seem to think that oppressed people being able to vent in the way their oppressors can is sometimes a worthwhile end in itself? Secondly, I believe that it is worth trying to persuade every person who might be persuaded, because you never know what the margins might be, while you seem to think that winning over people who are so wishy-washy they'd turn against you for behavior they'd excuse in the other side isn't worthwhile?

I almost thumbed your post because I thought you explained your position well, but I am really bothered by this bit at the end.

AsamiSato wrote:2) I have to be honest, throughout this conversation I have felt like Nate Silver's tweet the other day where he expresses frustration about people who spend 15 minutes on something and think they are savants when he has spent the last 10 years studying it. That is me with race and social movements. I have a PhD on this exact topic, my life's goal/work has been to understand the dynamics of social change. You can disagree with me, but honestly so many of the arguments people are making about why incivility doesn't "work" just don't hold up to basic scrutiny from my perspective because they are clearly based on only a surface-level understanding of the topic. I'm not trying to be mean or rude, but it's just where I'm coming from.

I read the Nate Silver Twitter exchange with Bret Stephens, read the shitty op-ed piece in question, and have read almost everything Silver has written on politics. You don't need to be a savant to see what was wrong with Stephens' op-ed. I can sum up the problem with Bret Stephens' op-ed in one (compound) sentence: Stephens' main error was that he picked metrics for the success of the Democrats persuading people which didn't measure how many people Democrats persuaded; he looked only at House and Senate seats won and ignored the numbers of actual voters. He also called Nate Silver a troll on Twitter after Silver called him out on it, showing that he is not arguing in good faith.

It seems to me like you are making an appeal to authority here. You are saying I am wrong and you know it based on your experience, but you have yet to offer a single study, much less a meta study. You haven't even given me a summary of sociological research to explain why I am wrong. Nate Silver makes his points with numbers, but you can refute them with numbers or by challenging the underlying assumptions in his inputs. He doesn't object to people who do that and even incorporated some of their projections into his "Deluxe" model. However Bret Stephens either made a category error or deliberately pulled a bait-and-switch, and then resorted to ad hominem when called on it.

Bret Stephens is an idiot who was arguing in obvious bad faith and I'm a bit offended by the comparison, but since I'm pretty sure you didn't mean to suggest I'm an idiot arguing in bad faith, and given your whole complaint is based around people focusing on feelings instead of substantive issues, I will try not to take it personally. However if you really think the cases are analogous, can you please tell me what fundamental error I am making in one sentence, or even one paragraph?
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby AsamiSato » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:22 pm

cmsellers wrote:@Asami
First, I think that persuasion should always be the goal of activism and letting off steam is pointless if it doesn't change minds and ill-advised if it changes them in the wrong direction or hardens opposition, while you seem to think that oppressed people being able to vent in the way their oppressors can is sometimes a worthwhile end in itself?


I think that is a gross mischaracterization of what i am saying. I firmly believe that persuasion is NOT always the goal. I feel like I have clearly articulated why that is in previous posts. The idea that I think 'venting' an end in itself is a strawman argument. Sometimes what people in the majority group view as pointless venting from their vantage point is actually moving power in ways that they don't see. Here's a study if that helps: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/1 ... 2415574328

cmsellers wrote: Secondly, I believe that it is worth trying to persuade every person who might be persuaded, because you never know what the margins might be, while you seem to think that winning over people who are so wishy-washy they'd turn against you for behavior they'd excuse in the other side isn't worthwhile?


Not exactly the way I would put it, but basically yes. I often question (with good reason) whether the people who are "wishy-washy" aren't just actually on the side of racists deep down but don't want to admit it.


cmsellers wrote: It seems to me like you are making an appeal to authority here. You are saying I am wrong and you know it based on your experience, but you have yet to offer a single study, much less a meta study. You haven't even given me a summary of sociological research to explain why I am wrong. Nate Silver makes his points with numbers, but you can refute them with numbers or by challenging the underlying assumptions in his inputs. He doesn't object to people who do that and even incorporated some of their projections into his "Deluxe" model. However Bret Stephens either made a category error or deliberately pulled a bait-and-switch, and then resorted to ad hominem when called on it.


I am not familiar with the Bret Stephens/Nate Silver exchange. I am referring to the tweet where he says: "The one thing I have no patience for is dudes (it's almost *always* dudes) who spend 15 minutes on something you've been studying for 10+ years and act like they've solved Fermat's Last Theorm" - not trying to start a fight with that, just trying to articulate how it can feel to talk to people about a topic that you are an expert on. Probably a bad example in terms of being open to misreading.

Here's a (short) reading list of works that are relevant to the particular topic of why "incivility" is part of social movements:

Books:
- Poor People's Movements by Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward
- Why David Sometimes Wins by Marshall Ganz
- The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement by Aldon Morris
- From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement by Luke Cole and Sheila Foster
- Political Process and the Development of the Black Insurgency 1930-1970 by Doug McAdam
- The Strategy of Social Protest by William Gamson

Articles:
- Historical Events as Transformations of Structures: Inventing Revolution at the Bastille by William Sewell
- The Outcomes of Homeless Mobilization: The Influence of Organization, Disruption, Political Mediation and Framing by Cress and Snow (this one finds that disruptive tactics in combination with having allies on city council was one path to success)
- Social Movements and Policy Implementation: The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty, 1965 to 1971 by Andy Andrews

Documentary:
- How to Survive a Plague
- The Civil Rights episode of Drunk History (ok not a documentary, but good examples of "incivility" told in an entertaining way)
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby gisambards » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:50 pm

Asami, I think a lot of your argument rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of what MLK meant by a 'white moderate', and how the Civil Rights Movement actually achieved its goals. The Civil Rights Movement that accomplished so much was astonishing in its civility. There's a reason MLK is so greatly remembered, and it's not just because of what he did but how he did it. The civil rights protesters under his policy of Gandhian satyagraha could be intentionally disruptive, but they were rarely as a group "uncivil", and none of the effective moments of protest from that movement could really be considered as such.

So when he was talking about white moderates who expressed support but had qualms about "how it was being done", he was talking about people who thought peaceful, civil protest with clearly defined reasoning and goals was too disruptive, and thus clearly can't have been as supportive of what those protests were for as they claimed.
That's a very different situation to today.

Today's "white moderates" (many of whom are not white - there are a lot of minorities who just want things to calm down - and frankly your earlier assertion that it's only white upper-class students that might take issue with a more militant left-wing teaching of race or gender issues is unbelievably out-of-touch) are taking issue with something very different when they reject how today's left-wingers carry out protest. America is in the position it is in today because of how partisan its politics has been allowed to become, and a major part of that is in the incivility coming from both sides. It doesn't matter if one side is actually worse than the other, as I do agree the current Republican Party is, because if both sides are being uncivil then it is both sides contributing equally to maintaining the state of modern American politics. The left being uncivil ensures the right does what it can to refuse to listen, and vice versa. Politics becomes more partisan. And a lot of people get left in the middle, and then accused by both sides of being just as bad as their opponents because they won't pick a side.

Martin Luther King was criticising people who paid lip service to supporting civil rights but admonished any attempt to do something about it. What you are criticising is people who do support the things you're accusing them of paying lip service to, but actually want to push for something that might accomplish that, rather than just uselessly shouting about it.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby cmsellers » Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:08 am

AsamiSato wrote:I think that is a gross mischaracterization of what i am saying. I firmly believe that persuasion is NOT always the goal. I feel like I have clearly articulated why that is in previous posts. The idea that I think 'venting' an end in itself is a strawman argument. Sometimes what people in the majority group view as pointless venting from their vantage point is actually moving power in ways that they don't see. Here's a study if that helps: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/1 ... 2415574328

OK, sorry, that's why I tried to clarify. It appears we disagree on persuasion not always being the goal, agree on the idea that protest opposed by moderates may sometimes be effective, and disagree on when that is.

I read the paper you linked (pdf here if anyone else wants to read it), and it looks like the main argument that they are making is that protest can be effective against its direct targets when it targets economic actors. I fully agree with that, but I'm not sure what the connection is to anything I've said.

AsamiSato wrote:I am not familiar with the Bret Stephens/Nate Silver exchange. I am referring to the tweet where he says: "The one thing I have no patience for is dudes (it's almost *always* dudes) who spend 15 minutes on something you've been studying for 10+ years and act like they've solved Fermat's Last Theorm"

I thought that you were talking about this:



I feel like that is actually worse, because it basically says "I have no patience for mansplaining," and your use of it suggests that that is what I am doing.

I appreciate the suggested reading list, but dropping titles largely without explanation (with the exception of the homeless mobilization one) feels like a slightly fancier version of "educate yourself." Nate Silver doesn't tell people to read half a dozen books in order to argue with him; when he cites other people he summarizes their work as well.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby ftl » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:38 am

gisambards wrote:So when he was talking about white moderates who expressed support but had qualms about "how it was being done", he was talking about people who thought peaceful, civil protest with clearly defined reasoning and goals was too disruptive, and thus clearly can't have been as supportive of what those protests were for as they claimed.
That's a very different situation to today.


In that respect, it seems basically the same as the situation today. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/spo ... 2f02dbe44e

Kaepernick taking a knee to protest police brutality was about as minimally disruptive as you can possibly make a protest. And yet it still drew a chorus of "not like that!" Seems like the conclusion there is that the claims of "don't protest like that, it's disruptive!" are disingenuous - there's no possible protest that's civil enough, except being out of sight and out of mind.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby cmsellers » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:07 am

As I've said before, I am entirely for Kapernick's protest, however blocking streets and disrupting politicians at dinner is a different matter. I don't know a single person who complained about Kapernick who wasn't already very conservative, so I think those complaints absolutely were disingenuous. However they unfortunately engaged in an economic counterprotest to boycott the NFL, making him toxic.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby Windy » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:17 am

There seems to be a persistent meme that if you copy the same actions as someone else a long time ago you'll get the same results, and sadly the only lesson this generation learned from studying the Civil Rights era was apparently "protest shit until you get what you want".
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby Crimson847 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:09 am

This thread is getting uncivil again.

Excellent.

Image

Now maybe we can get to the root of the problem.

@Asami: Got a question. The purpose of incivility as it relates to change movements is to draw attention and authentically demonstrate commitment, right? In a world where everyone complains about stuff all the time, there has to be a way for the public to filter others' grievances by severity/importance as well as simple truthfulness or validity. In personal interactions you can do it with nonverbal cues that communicate how much something is bothering you, but in impersonal situations (often the only context where disadvantaged people can approach society's elites) those are typically too subtle. So, lacking better options, being disruptive and making people's lives more difficult is an option for getting people's attention so you can persuade those who can be persuaded and mobilize those already on your side. In other words, it's not a replacement for persuasion or civil dialogue, it's a shiny object to wave in front of a crowd to get their attention so you can speak to them. Am I on the mark here?
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"If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them; but the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby ftl » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:35 am

cmsellers wrote: I don't know a single person who complained about Kapernick who wasn't already very conservative, so I think those complaints absolutely were disingenuous.


According to that same article, 87% of white republicans didn't approve. Not exactly a rare demographic. Unless you knew that and are implicitly agreeing that republicans are all "very conservative"?
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby cmsellers » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:46 am

I'm talking about people who brought it up unsolicited. I generally don't ask people their opinions on Black Lives Matter.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby gisambards » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:21 am

ftl wrote:
gisambards wrote:So when he was talking about white moderates who expressed support but had qualms about "how it was being done", he was talking about people who thought peaceful, civil protest with clearly defined reasoning and goals was too disruptive, and thus clearly can't have been as supportive of what those protests were for as they claimed.
That's a very different situation to today.


In that respect, it seems basically the same as the situation today. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/spo ... 2f02dbe44e

Kaepernick taking a knee to protest police brutality was about as minimally disruptive as you can possibly make a protest. And yet it still drew a chorus of "not like that!" Seems like the conclusion there is that the claims of "don't protest like that, it's disruptive!" are disingenuous - there's no possible protest that's civil enough, except being out of sight and out of mind.


But that's not remotely representative of all white moderates. What we're discussing isn't all or nothing. Just because someone takes issue with the more uncivil behaviour that is the focus of this thread doesn't mean they oppose what Kaepernick did.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby AsamiSato » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:21 pm

cmsellers wrote:
I feel like that is actually worse, because it basically says "I have no patience for mansplaining," and your use of it suggests that that is what I am doing.

I appreciate the suggested reading list, but dropping titles largely without explanation (with the exception of the homeless mobilization one) feels like a slightly fancier version of "educate yourself." Nate Silver doesn't tell people to read half a dozen books in order to argue with him; when he cites other people he summarizes their work as well.


The book list is more of a 'works cited' for all of my responses to this question/topic thus far. If anyone wants to know why the question of "Is incivility necessary?" is basically nonsensical from the perspective of poor/POC movements in this country just read one of those books and you will have a better idea of what I mean. I am a busy person and it is not my responsibility to give you an annotated bibliography of an entire literature. I have been summarizing all the work listed above throughout my responses. It seems to me that people are not listening to what I am saying (but it is also possible that I am not communicating as clearly as I could).

I didn't want to say 'mansplaining' (I don't even know anyone's gender here for sure, I'm assuming mostly male but I don't actually know). But this conversation is like having novices on a topic condescendingly explaining notions that I considered and discarded based on a pile of disconfirming evidence in undergrad.

Crimson847 wrote: @Asami: Got a question. The purpose of incivility as it relates to change movements is to draw attention and authentically demonstrate commitment, right?


Good question. The answer to that is sometimes. It really depends. Different movements have different goals. Different moments in movements call for different tactics.

Sometimes the goal is attention. In which case, what you are saying is kind of true... although I think people here in general waaaay overestimate how much the authorities are willing to even listen to marginalized groups. Like, the issues of minorities are often studiously ignored by white moderates and authorities and literally the only thing that will get people to pay attention AT ALL is to be disruptive in some way. Cops have been harassing and killing black people since as long as there have been cops, and over the years there have been LOTS of peaceful marches, speeches, public meetings, art, etc about the issue in black communities. People in middle class white communities just never hear about it... which makes it so stupid-sounding (to me) when people complain about being stuck in traffic or having their football game interrupted saying things like 'why can't they express themselves some other way?' It's like, they have been doing other things for years and years YOU JUST DON'T LISTEN (and don't want to listen... I think it is willful not listening in many cases). So yes, you are right that disruption or 'incivility' is often necessary to get the attention of authorities and observers, to even start a dialogue. And then those observers are like, "But your deaths aren't sympathetic enough because I was annoyed by having to wait in traffic." Which definitely makes me think that the side labeled "uncivil" is unfairly getting a bad rap. Anyways.

Sometimes the goal is not 'attention.' Sometimes the goal is to force the authorities to stop what they're doing and negotiate. One example that comes to mind here is when residents of Chester PA were trying to fight waste incinerators being cited in their community and they tried a ton of different things to get the city and the corporation to listen (there are some truly ridiculous stories coming out of that one, like community members showed photo and video evidence of an explosion at the plant and the company and government lied and denied it to their faces). At one point no decisionmakers would even meet with community members. So they started blocking the road so the trucks of waste couldn't get to the plant. They got a meeting with a higher-up the next day. (more info about this situation here, the incident I described above is outlined in the book From the Ground Up: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/t ... pollution/). I would say the conflict at Standing Rock is also an example of this type of dynamic.

Reading case studies of the environmental justice movement is one really good way to start to understand how government often works to protect corporate interests at the expense of people... our "democratic" processes are often set up in ways that are intentionally obtuse or inaccessible, especially for people who lack education and resources. So like the idea that civil dialogue is always the goal is based on a set of faulty assumptions about what civil dialogue alone can achieve for people. Sometimes you just want an entity to gtfo of your neighborhood (like a waste management company with a track record of environmental disasters) and civil dialogue alone is not sufficient to make that happen. You sometimes need disruption to even get them to the table in the first place and then the threat of continued disruption is sometimes the only leverage people have in negotiation.

Also, sometimes incivility is about a group claiming its' own power. The Stonewall riots are a good example of that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots So like, what observers think in that instance does not matter at all. The reason Stonewall is remembered is because it was a moment where LGBT people were like, ok, we are DONE putting up with this shit and they started to understand, recognize and wield their own power.

Sometimes incivility is just an understandable/inevitable side effect of being put under an insane amount of pressure and oppression. Like sometimes it's not the result of a movement group strategizing but just a spontaneous expression that honestly I am surprised doesn't happen more often with the level of shit some people have to put up with on a daily basis in this country. That sort of thing can backfire and make a movement look 'bad' to people but it can also put authorities on edge and make them more willing to support and negotiate with moderate parts of the movement (people call this the 'radical flank' effect).

:)

Edited to add:
gisambards wrote: your earlier assertion that it's only white upper-class students that might take issue with a more militant left-wing teaching of race or gender issues is unbelievably out-of-touch


That is not at all what I said. I said that I tailor my teaching to be accessible for the majority of my students who are from white upper middle class backgrounds. That is not the same thing as saying that "only white upper class students" would react negatively to a more forceful message. I have been teaching for years (also, I am a human person living in the world); so I am quite familiar with the concept of minorities who are conservative/moderate.

gisambards wrote: Asami, I think a lot of your argument rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of what MLK meant by a 'white moderate', and how the Civil Rights Movement actually achieved its goals. The Civil Rights Movement that accomplished so much was astonishing in its civility. There's a reason MLK is so greatly remembered, and it's not just because of what he did but how he did it. The civil rights protesters under his policy of Gandhian satyagraha could be intentionally disruptive, but they were rarely as a group "uncivil", and none of the effective moments of protest from that movement could really be considered as such.


No, I do not misunderstand the Civil Rights Movement. You are looking at it from the perspective of today. Now the Civil Rights Act is the law of the land, we have a holiday dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and exalt the CRM movement nonviolent methods as clearly morally superior. But back when the Civil Rights Movement was happening, many white people thought that what MLK Jr. was doing was 'uncivil' and most thought that the methods of Civil Rights protesters were hurting, not helping, their cause. What is defined as 'civility' versus 'incivility' often has more to do with the perspective of the person making the distinction than the actual actions that are undertaken (see: white people who think that protesting at NFL games is uncivil while also believing that cops shooting black people is not 'uncivil' but rather a legitimate expression of the law). Also, my general argument does not rest only on the Civil Rights Movement.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby gisambards » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:19 pm

AsamiSato wrote:No, I do not misunderstand the Civil Rights Movement. You are looking at it from the perspective of today. Now the Civil Rights Act is the law of the land, we have a holiday dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and exalt the CRM movement nonviolent methods as clearly morally superior. But back when the Civil Rights Movement was happening, many white people thought that what MLK Jr. was doing was 'uncivil' and most thought that the methods of Civil Rights protesters were hurting, not helping, their cause.

This is what I said. You've just repeated what I said back to me as if it supports what you're saying. It does not. At the time, "white moderates", as referred to by MLK, thought that the peaceful protests were "uncivil", but they were not, by any rational standards. The people MLK was criticising were those that had convinced themselves that such clearly peaceful protest was worthy of condemnation. This isn't a question of differences of opinion between then and now - the Civil Rights protests were peaceful and rational, whilst today's protests frequently are not.
AsamiSato wrote:Also, my general argument does not rest only on the Civil Rights Movement.

No, but it's a pretty major example of a civil protest movement that achieved a lot, rather undermining your false assertion that any successful social movement requires incivility, and you've been using the term white moderates frequently, as if to suggest modern moderates are at all like those MLK was criticising, which is not the case by any reasonable interpretation of the situation. As I said: Martin Luther King was criticising people who paid lip service to supporting civil rights but admonished any attempt to do something about it. What you are criticising is people who do support the things you're accusing them of paying lip service to, but actually want to push for something that might accomplish that, rather than just uselessly shouting about it.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby Fun With Mr. Fudge » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:46 pm

gisambards wrote:
AsamiSato wrote: I see a LOT of evidence regularly that white people/privileged people in general prioritize their comfort and sense of moral superiority over the actual suffering of people without power.

This is something I agree with, but I find the issue that stems from this far more is the amount of people who pay lip service to the idea that they're on the side of good while actually contributing nothing to the conversation.


I don't think it contributes much to a conversation about discrimination or some other injustice to constantly criticize the messenger without adequately addressing the underlying message. Spending a bunch of time saying, "yeah, your position is technically right, but you act like a jerk, so why should people care about your message?" also gives "the other side" a justification to ignore the message they didn't want to hear in the first place. They can simply say, "look, even moderates (or people who say they support you) think you're wrong." Do I think all white moderates have this issue? No. Do I think a lot do? Absolutely.

A genuine outpouring of emotion that comes from not being listened to by the people in power from those who are victimised by those in power is one thing. But what we see overwhelmingly in left-wing American political protests at the moment is more an attitude of "we're not being listened to, so let's just be really annoying", which is an attitude that only really makes sense to (and thus, let's be honest, you only ever see being carried out by) someone who isn't actually any sort of victim of what they're protesting against. The people who are actually suffering surely want their situation to change, and will want anything that might accomplish that. A bunch of privileged people deciding that change isn't happening so we'll just be dicks isn't helping anyone but themselves.


This doesn't sound all that different to me from when Trump suggested that the NFL players who kneeled during the National Anthem don't have "a real issue" because they're wealthy. He argued that instead of kneeling, they could ask him to pardon specific people they felt were wrongly incarcerated. I get that the criticisms you have for "privileged" protesters are superficially different, but the underlying message feels the same: Somehow their anger over injustice is less legitimate if they don't suffer it as directly or extremely as someone else.

You might object that you don't see kneeling as uncivil or unjustified, but that's the point. When someone wants to dismiss your cause or actually thinks it's illegetimate, any amount of protest, no matter how civil, will be treated as an extreme overreaction to small or non-existent problem.

Looking at this whole discussion is frustrating because it feels like the emphasis on civility seems like it matters more to people when someone is trying to combat perceived oppression. But let's look at it a different way. If someone politely supports racially segregating schools or something equally/more egregious, should I be more willing to take them seriously or care about their agenda than if they shouted? If you think that's a stupid question, that's the point. (If you say, nobody suggested anything of the sort, that's not my point, nor did I suggest that anyone here said that).

If you truly believe something is right or wrong, a person supporting the opposite position in a "nice way" shouldn't actually change your mind. And the support will still come off as wrong or unnecessary for some reason. That's why I sometimes find it preposterous when people argue that the extremes of a side will use hostile actors on the other side as an excuse not to listen. They weren't going to listen anyway. So all that leaves are the people in the middle, and if they're easily swayed by whether someone seems too angry when they protest, then obviously they don't care about the message that much or haven't really thought about it. We can discuss what's strategically useful or what isn't, but to me that's only truly useful when people also focus on building up the side they think is right. People going out and doing the the things they claim protesters should be doing would be even more useful. But constantly tearing them down for their tactics in the absence of meaningful support adds nothing. Instead of being helpful, it just seems like another version of self-satisfying complaining that the protesters themselves get accused of.
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Re: Is Incivility Necessary?

Postby gisambards » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:06 pm

Fun With Mr. Fudge wrote: I get that the criticisms you have for "privileged" protesters are superficially different, but the underlying message feels the same: Somehow their anger over injustice is less legitimate if they don't suffer it as directly or extremely as someone else.

They're completely different. I don't think not experiencing what you're protesting about personally inherently devalues what you're saying. The issue is when they're dominating the protests - and being uncivil in how they're doing it - whilst actually not just having not experienced but not really even understanding the situation of the people they say they're speaking on behalf of. Another key point is that, as I mentioned, I doubt the anger. I don't think it's less legitimate because it's come from someone who's not experienced it, because if the anger is genuine then it's genuine. But I do personally believe a lot more people support social justice causes that don't affect them purely out of self-gratification than people realise - the left-leaning white middle-class is absolutely full of these people - and it's often those people that are the most unhelpful to the conversation.
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