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Sara Gibbs @Sara_Rose_G
, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
“Others have it worse” is *never* an appropriate response to someone sharing a difficult experience. Neither is “oh, so you don’t care about this other thing, then?” It’s a way to silence people who are expressing diverse experiences & struggles. 1/
Both set impossible standards. By this logic you may only speak if you have suffered more than anyone else on the planet & you must first qualify that you care about every other issue someone might accuse you of ignoring because it’s not what you happened to be talking about. 2/
Care & empathy are not finite resources reserved only for the most deserving. It’s possible to listen widely & learn more about how different people experience the world without making it into some counterproductive competitive victimhood. 3/
It’s also unhelpful to point out that someone who speaks for their own marginalised group talks about those issues disproportionately. That’s because it’s an area of expertise. I talk about antisemitism & autism because my lived experience qualifies me to. 4/
That’s how advocacy works - otherwise your voice gets drowned out by people outside of your community speaking for you & doing more damage. It is completely appropriate for me to campaign effectively for things I know well, rather than ignorantly trying to fix the whole world. 5/
I shouldn’t have to qualify that I care deeply about others in order for my own words to be given weight. I shouldn’t have to perform my world view or my heart. I shouldn’t have to virtue signal all the times I’ve listened & shared others’ experiences before mine are valid. 6/
And I say this because these accusations hurt. Even though I know they’re tactical, even though I know they’re levelled at me by people who don’t know the first thing about me - I am one person doing my best with what I know & it’s tough to be told that’s not enough. 7/
No one person can be responsible for constantly raising awareness of all the ills of the world. The best we can do is take care of our little patch, speak with authority when appropriate, shut our mouths & listen when it’s not & support & believe others doing the same. 8/
Also because other people have it worse, I have to suffer in silence? If I get sick, to I first have to check that nobody in the world is sicker before I see a doctor or take medicine? Other people having it worse doesn’t negate the need to change my own situation. 9/
Final thought on this, I promise: I don’t expect my allies to be constantly talking about antisemitism & autism on my behalf. My only request is to be heard & believed. It’s lovely when people share, it’s more important to me that they’re educated. Again, that’s advocacy. 10/
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