, 32 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
#LiamNeeson admits "years ago" he was in grips of a racist &/or primal tribalist drive for vengeance for abt a week following a loved one's rape. He's clearly been horrified by it since he realized what the hell he was doing.
independent.co.uk/arts-entertain… 1/
He admitted to being animated by an incredibly ugly racism-informed primal tribal instinct & being damn lucky he didn't encounter anyone who inadvertently gave him a pretext to vent his rage during that time. 2/
His admission cd encourage others to more honestly examine how racist ideas & impulses hv influenced their own perceptions & behavior so they can consciously endeavor to do better in the future. Encouraging more such reflection could have a lot of social benefit. 3/
As an A-list celebrity who's generally believed to be likeable & fundamentally decent, it's a shocking admission from his past. But it also opens space for others to more honestly examine their own attitudes & actions. Unless we all decide he needs to be "cancelled" over it. 4/
#Cancelled #LiamNeeson says: if you ever engaged in racist thoughts, beliefs, or behavior - even if you recognized error & tried to be a better neighbor & human since - you best keep it to yourself. Neither grace nor redemption are possible or available. 5/
It reenforces idea that racist label must be avoided & fought against at all costs becs once it attaches, "good people" will shun you, direct hate at you, demand you lose your livelihood, etc. So if another charges you with racial insensitivity, you deny &/or counter-attack 6/
This has been common in American racism discussions becs majority culture has for ~30+yrs deemed overtly racist words/acts/thoughts ignorant, evil, immoral. Many Boomers were raised with that understanding (or came to it despite familial racism), as were most Gen Xers. 7/
Ppl tend to strenuously dispute suggestions they're evil. It shd be obvs why. Humans are social animals - we need to cooperate to survive & thrive. We fear shame, exile, loss of livelihood, friends, community. And in 21st c US, being tagged racist = being IDed as evil. 8/
Sidenote: Contemporary race relations are further complicated by decades-old US tribalist partisan frames for perceiving & assessing claims of racism-motivated wrong-doing, but that's a whole nother essay or twenty. 9/
So "antiracist" activists narrow defn of racist (prejudice +power) & expand it to incld unconscious bias, disparate outcomes, microaggressions, cultural appropriation, insufficient awareness of racism's impacts... All & more are declared "racist." 10/
White ppl who truly want to be decent, moral, & not racist - & hv been trying - get confused. Woke scolds say wearing a cheongsam to celebrate another culture's beautiful art or asking a new friend abt ethnic background to show interest in learning abt them are racist acts. 11/
Then white savior complex jerks like R DiAngelo attribute to "white fragility" what anyone w basic understanding of behavioral psych & a modicum of intellectual honesty can see is a fundamentally human existential threat response triggered by accusations of evil behavior. 12/
"They refuse to listen and learn! They center their own discomfort!" Ofc they do. Becs you first centered their behavior (& shame/fear of poor character they attribute to racists) & triggered defense mechanisms. 13/
If you want to give ppl new insight, you can't blithely trigger fight or flight then berate/demean their involuntary/autonomic reactions. It's counterproductive. You can't first render ppl temporarily incapable of processing new info then attribute inability to bad character. 14/
This is why "tone policing" is a garbage claim. Certainly, ppl dealing w too-common discrimination/barriers that limit or derail life options in significant ways need to vent frustrations & shd be able to do so in civ rts activist spaces, with or without allies present. 15/
But you can't demand everyone give such things audience out in public & then get mad when ppl take you literally & express fear that your apparent hatred might result in malevolent acts directed at whatever demographic took the generalized brunt of your frustration. 15/
If we feminists publicly rant about goddamn men sexually harassing women as if all men have done it, condoned it, &/or intentionally turned a blind eye to it, *we* have centered all men r/t survivors (who can be male, female, or GNC.) So we can expect the following to happen: 16/
1) Some number of men & women cry "misandry!" & debate turns into one of whether all men deserve condemnation, r/t focusing on identifying what is & is not sexual harassment & how it impacts victims so more ppl of all genders can ID it, help stop it & not do it themselves, 17/
2) Ppl argue about over if it's reasonable to say 2010's American culture is toxically masculine, misogynist, oppressive, patriarchal. Abt if it's truer now than in past or here than elsewhere. R/t doing things to actually help reduce incidence of sex harassment (see above), 18/
I've done 1 & 2. We get totally sidetracked w tribal flare-ups - IDing them, defending against them being directed at us or others, noting inherent tendency of class-based generalizations to beget more class-based generalizations, promoting bias, fear, mistrust of difference 19/
3) Some co-indentitarians & allies will adopt your venting & hyperbole as "evidence" to deploy during debates. So they'll keep derailing us/themselves by angering or offending ppl who cd be helpful allies in countering the social phenomenon we're supposedly concerned abt. 20/
4) Some will feel increasingly fearful, suspicious, dismissive, disdainful, resentful, hostile to, even repulsed by, strangers of rage-venting-target demo. In time, some will also turn on friends, fam, neighbors, coworkers who are of bad demo or "complicit in our oppression" 21/
5) Some "oppressor demo" ppl also become more apprehensive around "oppressed demo" ppl for fear of doing or saying wrong thing, unwittingly running afoul of some new norm of behavior they've yet to hear abt when it seems literally any minor thing can be deemed #problematic, 22/
6) Ofc, oppressor class ppl acting uncomfortable around you can be read all sorts of ways. Contempo #IdentityStudies gives us a variety of possible explanations, most of which are thoroughly uncharitable. So this further justifies our antipathy toward oppressor demo ppl, 23/
Sure, maybe they're virulent woman-hating patriarchy-defenders & at any moment cd decide to sexually assault us becs toxic masculinity. But more likely they don't want to offend us by stereotyping OR refusing to appreciate/value/accommodate our demo's differences, 24/
Note inherent tension here. "Oppressors" are condemned for thinking the oppressed class hv certain things in common that differ from oppressor class. But they're also condemned for failing to adequately provide for such differences. This is what we like to call a Catch-22. 25/
This is esp vibrant in current feminist rhetoric. The same ppl will condemn "oppressor" for acknowledging or referring to women's on avg greater emotional sensitivity in one context, then decry misogyny of biz/culture valuing masculine competition over feminine cooperation. 26/
7) Catch-22 only increases "oppressors" discomfort, anxiety around "oppressed." Acknowledging or referring to difference cd be bad. But so cd failing to acknowledge & accommodate same diff. Some will avoid prolonged convos w "oppressed" for fear of accidentally causing offense 27
8) Increase in difference-based anxiety among ppl w/in oppressor & oppressed classes alike creates a feedback loop that magnifies, reinforces, & expands tribalist apprehension w/in each group. Previously unbiased "oppressors" may discrim v oppressed to avoid risk of conflict 28/
This dynamic, if not interrupted now, risks eroding women's recent gains in access to any & all professional opportunities we are well-qualified for given our individual skills & training. That outcome is antithetical to goals of feminism as I understand them. And so I object 29/
So no, your public venting of class-based outrage at some entire demo isn't morally laudatory or even neutral. It's socially poisonous, self-indulgent, juvenile, sadomasochistic sabotage of rights & needs of ppl you claim to represent. And it shd be IDed & rejected as such. 30/
Finally, American women are incredibly diverse. Vast majority of us never authorized #IDStudies, writers or activist orgs to determine what is or isn't in our best collective interests. So if you threaten those interests by acting a fool, expect to get called on it by others. /31
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