7 min read

Why should anyone targeted by violent people calm down? Let's get real.

Blue gradient with fist in water tank; fist is lit up bright red.
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

People in power positions: don't miss this memo.

I have seen a lot of debate amongst well meaning people on the need for us to temper language when it comes to calling out privilege, sexism, racism or White Supremacy. Truthfully, whenever I see this I want to poke my eyeballs out. Not as badly as when I read the comments on a post about reparations–but close. (Btw, did you know believing in white privilege is a fantasy land? JK. We are not stuck in this reality.)

When I hear people say, [they, she] sound anry, mean, harsh, brusk, or blunt in a derogatory way, I always question the source. Men tell me I am being mean if I am sharing facts about my experience in the patriarchy. Who's sensitive again?!

If I try and explain my thinking, they respond with "Whoa there, don't get so worked up." Even when I am angry about something in the news or some injustice I am told to chillout–to not be so worked up; stop spiralling. "Calm down." Is anything quite as frustrating?

What I hear is "Soften what you say about the abuse you experienced to ease my conscious." This is the most obvious trick in the oppressor's handbook.

Being polite in the face of police brutality, rape, poverty, workplace harassment, gun violence, and mass extinction? WHY? Nice white people is how we got here.

We're still telling people who are targets of violence to be nicer? WHY are we (you) not demandng the same for those inflicting violence that make people be "uncalm"? Who's telling who that cooler heads should prevail?

Polite: asking a mass murderer to "please get down on your knees"? Where were their manners when an unarmed Black man was shot before turning around fully. Why aren't more cops asking their colleagues to calm down?

Protester in hat holding a cardboard sign "If you were peaceful, we wouldn't have to protest"
Photo by Artic Qu on Unsplash

Tempting as it may be to call for peaceful protests, don't. If you want to ask people to use more palatable, banal language, please do not fucking do it. I will not listen to the "you catch more bees with honey" crowd when it comes to my outrage about systemic inequality, racial or gender descrimination and patriarchal. capitalist violence.

No one owes you "common courtesy"–many of us are hanging on by a thread. Rape culture, misogyny, wage and wealth gaps, police still killing thousands of Americans each year.

Tweet from @bluegirlpdx calling out silence over fascism

Telling people to temper their language is oppressive and controlling, not to mention entitled as hell. When you say, don't use the word privilege as it could drive away a wouldbe ally, you are aligning with the side that says CRT should not be taught in schools (which it never was). The same people saying don't use that language turn around and call people seeking or performing abortion "baby killers."

Bros tell us to be nicer and be careful when we share frustration or anger, as if we have never considered the words or thoughts that come out. We are just impulsive, simple women; meanwhile they send unsolicited dick pics and selfies, finding plenty of ways to make us anything but calm.

YOU are smart. YOU want to get it? Then get it. YES, there is privilege. Period. Privilige is when you have unearned power or rights and others do not have the same rights, simply because of your birthplace, identity, and zipcode.

Yes, all men.
Yes, all Christians.
Yes, all white women.
Yes, all wealthy people.
Yes, all able bodied people.
Yes, all cis-gender straight people.

If you are any of the above, you have benefits just because of the way you exist. You didn't choose to be born that way or live that way because you can oppress but you are still part of that dominant class. Being on the side of the oppressor is not a fait accompli. You can actively work against that every day. And you can still just deal with the words, especially when they are truthful.

Stop crumbling everytime someone calls you privileged. Stop freaking out when people say white women suck. On the whole, we do. Stop saying "I'm one of the nice guys." If you're a good guy, where were you when Roe was overturned? As we spent the day shaking and in shock, were you politely tweeting, attending meetings without saying a word, or working with a throwaway: "It's so bad but what can I do?"

Don't say sorry.

As George Constanza says, "Stuff your sorries in a sack." Why spend your time convincing people you care? First of all, we are not buying it. Intention < Impact and your empty words are noticable. Second, convince those who assault to cut the crap and not the assaulted. It's (mostly) men who are full of shit, violent, mean and moody.

You want to help? Stop arguing with those who are actually hurt by their marginalized identies. Spend time arguing alongside people against their oppressors instead.

Stop being polite and start getting real. Yes Gen X, I am looking at you. Fellow white women: we cannot both sides this. No one needs to make their rage more palatable to violent, oppressive, controlling, entitled people.

Nice white people on both sides? That's how the fascists marching in Charlotte were characterized by the Ex Orange Toilet in Chief. Nice white people leads to insisting there are "both sides" of the Holocaust or that slavery wasn't really that bad.

YES, it's important to find common ground, but we do not owe kindness to those who would kill us or take away our civil liberties.

No one owes a damn thing to those who abuse or dehumanize them. If you are not willing to get angry, ask yourself what allows you to stay calm 24/7 and never feel outrage.

I am not saying we should all be punching walls, or punching nazis (though you do you.) I detest all violence but I will never judge those who spray paint a wall mural in George Floyd's honor. That is art, not overreacting.

If you are not disgusted with police brutality, gender based violence, capital punishment, mass incarceration, and child poverty, has your life ever been in imminent danger from oppression? I have visceral reactions to human suffering and I don't need to have gone through it to get it. We all deserve safety and dignity.

Have you ever had your heart quicken with fear that another HUMAN was going to assault, rape, or kill you? If not, then maybe you can stop calling for patience or peace from protesters and prosecutors. Stop defending the indefensible. Call for police, rapists, and SCOTUS to be "nice."

Tell men to be peaceful, because last I checked, forced pregnancy is goddamn violent. Mass shooters need to calm the fuck down instead of killing our kids in schools. It's police who need to give up their guns and power. Not us. We need to take some power back.

We have been calm, and more than patient but white people, men, cops, teachers, bosses...they keep terrorizing people.

Who wouldn't runaway from cops? They are emotional in all the wrong ways, strongarming with American military might. Fight or flight is real-hello people? What are these cops trained in that they can't be ready for those who would run in fear when they feel threatened?

Toxic masculinity won't just go away with a few deep breaths. How about we all keep our eye on the fucking ball...ending patriarchal violence, exploitative capitalism. If we peacefully accept religious evangelicals deciding our healthcare rights and ruling our bodis, and white supremacist ruling over our country, we know what comes next. For those of us that see this clearly—we are terrified.

The Powers That Be staying calm when we are losing our shit is The Game. It was invented by wealthy white men to paint everyone else as unhinged and irrational.

Any reaction from a women is hysteria; it's why hysterical preganancy is a thing–because dads can be calm. It's not their bodies or lives on the line. Don't tell mother earth to calm the eff down. Upset by rising tides and rising temps? Stop treading on her like she's yours to use, abuse, then toss away! Their raci$t, religious ideology is killing our planet. Why do we owe them grace?

Unafraid is privilege.

A social post of #FlipTheScript with copy "You’re not emotional enough."

Our fear is not only protection from PTSD and trauma; it's a blessing in disguise. "The Economy" was not designed to lead you to passion or purpose or upsetting the status quo; you are a cog. Inertia, not intention, drive your life forward.

The privilege to be unafraid and to inflict fear kills others, but it's also not giving you any kind of life. Your mind is controlled by someone else. Your path is not your own. Being unafraid means you're calm and complacent, going through the motions of a fabricated life.

If you live a life with zero risk, unafraid, you go through life in a haze. You are missing what is really going on, what is so. If you have no fear and take no risks, aren't you basically plugged into the matrix and missing what is right in front of you?

Fear is real and justified. So is anger. It's the burying of feelings, dismissing them, denying the fuckery that is so, that is more harmful. You gotta feel to heal they say. Toxic positivity, keeoing your head down, and just doing the job is not living. It leads to pain and violence, suffering in silence, and more oppression.

Avoidance and stonewalling is ALSO a protective coping mechanism, used more often by those with some perceived power they do not want to share or cannot relinquish. Deny you feel rather than have a goddamn conversation...Because emotional labor IS THE HARDEST WORK.

As my pediatrician (bless her) taught my kid (and me for our disregulation and heightened sense of injustice): all feelings are welcome here.

So do the goddamn work. Unpack your shit. Stop telling people to be calm. As far as I am concerned, people are too fucking calm. The world is a Dumpster Fire and frankly, you're not emotional enough.