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Thread by @cricketcrocker: "Briefly breaking hiatus because I've been noticing a really dangerous reframing of the world. It's been coming at me from several entirely i […]"

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Briefly breaking hiatus because I've been noticing a really dangerous reframing of the world. It's been coming at me from several entirely independent directions, and so I think it's worth mentioning.

Let me start by saying, I believe that compassion is the way forward.
If you check out my big threads (some of which are in my profile as moments) you'll notice that pretty much every time, I come back to the idea that regardless of our personal feelings, we need to consider the feelings of other humans, if we want to make any kind of progress.
As I've grown, I've come to believe this more strongly.

We can decry behaviors without forever condemning the people doing them (people can change. But they have to actually change to get that credit). It is an effective strategy because it's both kind and politically expedient.
So I never thought I'd be logging back into a social media platform

to write a thread best named summarized as

"Against Empathy".

But here we are.
I've noticed an uptick in people (especially liberal white women from wealthy/financially stable backgrounds) talking about how we need to rekindle, reawaken, rediscover....empathy.

They seem to honestly believe that a lack of empathy has gotten us to where we are, today.
And certainly, there isn't a bunch of empathy in US policy right now.

But there never has been.

It's just easier for those people (wealthy white women) to notice because POTUS doesn't use a Harvard Law vocabulary in an inspirational tone to dodge questions about, say, ICE.
(Yes, I see you all hollering "BUT CHILD PRISONS?????" and let me just shush you now with the comment that I didn't see any of you storming the castle when Obama let police pepper spray Native kids day in, day out, or when HRC advocated bombing towns full of brown foreigners.)
We have a lot of problems. We have more problems than most of you want to acknowledge, so I think we can agree that yes, there are a lot.

But the problem is not a lack of empathy.
White liberals have this giant fetish for performative empathy that results in you all rebuilding the GOP a playhouse when someone burned it down.

You feel, I think, that doing this stuff shows what a class act you are. Good form, and all the rest.

I don't know how to say this.
I really don't know how to tell you, but

You're not gonna get points for good form. It makes you look like children.

Fascists know this weakness of yours, that you need to think well of yourselves while actually not taking much of a stand, so they exploit you.
They DO NOT secretly respect classiness. Classy is for upper crust British boarding schools. They don't respect you for your obsession with "classy".

Because they can see that you really just want them to like and respect you, which makes you just so incredibly easy to lie to.
Partly they have disdain for you because what you claim you want (justice, freedom, equality) isn't what you show up for (the appearance of those things).

Partly they hate you because they think, like children, you're just too selfish and distractible to play Real Ball.
And you know what?

They're right.

Like small children, if there's a slippery slope--you fall right down it, all the way to the bottom.

Which is how you end up supporting "free speech" when it applies to Nazis but not racial justice activists.
Which is how you end up mistaking asylum seekers for "illegal immigrants", and never mind that most of your ancestors showed up here to commit genocide in order to get whatever the English translation is of "Lebensraum".
Which is how you think that men who stand to lose considerable power have no more reason to lie, than women whose careers and lives those men have already ruined--and then manage somehow to not question why those men would've tried to ruin those women in the first place.
In short, as long as you think that there's a vanishing possibility that "the system" might fix the problems it has built itself to create, you're going to go along with almost whatever atrocity happens.

Because you're scared of what a revolution would mean.
I'm with you--the idea of revolution terrifies me, although for slightly different reasons.

My point is, though, if you can empathize your way into understanding fascists?

That makes you a fascist.
And you cannot -- I can't believe we are still going over this -- you cannot convert a fascist to a nonfascist by appealing to their empathy.

No atrocity ever was stopped by a victim standing up and saying "please, understand, I'm just a human like you"
So much for why empathy is irrelevant. But here is why it is dangerous.

Empathy is a way of meeting in the middle. It's powerful for coalition building, precisely because in order to meet a common goal, we have to establish common ground.

Empathy is how we do that.
But fascists are not going to budge.

So the more you cultivate empathy for "the people we don't agree with" (which, when white liberals use it, is a dogwhistle for (a) fascists or (b) pre-fascist racists), the closer they draw you to them.
This is a great tool for them, because your guilt. Your desire to be respected. To be seen as classy and "reasonable". This will drive you to push yourSELF right into their arms.

You're going to do all the work, and all they have to do is be there to stoke your insecurity.
Then, once you're traumatized--because of course they'll never love you, no matter how much you empathize with them--they'll teach you how to turn that into anger. Because empathy didn't work.

And they'll teach you to turn that anger back on the rest of us.
You'll forget that you're angry because empathy didn't work, and you won't be angry at those of us who didn't bother to try empathizing with the fascists.

You'll be angry at us because you'll think that WE are the reason it didn't work.
You'll keep telling yourself that you're on the good side of history, all while seeking approval and respect from people who know that as long as they withhold it, you will continue to be off-balance and refuse to take a position against them.
And the longer you refuse to take a position against them, the more of their platforms they can advance.

Which will be so normalized to you, that you won't push against it. Because that wouldn't be classy.
So please, don't try to "cultivate empathy" for fascists, racists, and other intersectionally and by-policy bigoted people. That's playing into their hands.

Because oh, here's the other thing--long as you assume you are smarter than they are, you're underestimating them a LOT.
Instead, cultivate belief.

Cultivate believing victims, who you have been enculturated to believe "probably deserved it".

Believe Black men--who are not super predators, but humans who are more likely than not to be victims.
Believe Native women--who are not costumes or the past, but both most likely to be harmed by any man, and still here, working for justice for EVERYONE.

Believe Black women--actually believe them, don't just use them as a hashtag.
Believe Native men, who are probably the most likely to be killed by police.

Believe trans people. Believe queer people. Believe ace people when they tell you they are queer.

Believe disabled people, who are whole entire humans, no matter what we have been socialized to think.
Believe children.

Believe victims.

Stop believing the police. Stop believing men over women, whites over everyone, straight people over queer people, abled people above all.

Start tearing down injustice, and do that by tearing down the injustices inside you. Your assumptions.
Stop giving power to the warlords of hatred, by believing them that only their good opinion will set the rest of us free.

Give yourself permission to be a snotnose guttersnipe--that's much more effective than being classy, and bonus, you'll have the respect of people who matter.
Stop pretending that if you could only empathize enough, the fascists would stop convincing you to let them kill us while you wear a safety pin and wring your hands.

It's not going to be easy.

But you're going to sleep a lot better at night.
And that's honestly the only way anyone is going to respect you.

Cultivate empathy, fine, okay, do it.

But do it for the people who have less power than you do.

And stop telling us that we should empathize more. That's a fairytale for children.

And that ain't us.
Hey, also--if this was useful to you and you have spare $, toss it in my tip jar and I'll make sure it gets to young indigenous families who need some financial help.

And because what's a call to awareness without a little bit of fun:

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