I have a friend who liked to debate difficult subjects on facebook. Often it led to fiery disputes among his friends in the forum that was his facebook comments.
It is now with mild chagrin that I inform you, that he feels silenced by hate.
“Well I admit defeat. I have tried hard to open debate and discussion about various topics. Granted Facebook might not have been the best platform for it but I found it was a platform in which people would actually respond with their view. I have been utterly overwhelmed with the responses I have received. Some of you have been great and offered different opinions that I could use to enhance my own and I appreciate it greatly. However I am too weak a person to deal with all the daily hate I receive for expressing opinions contrary to current popular belief. Iv’e always loved Socrates and his search for knowledge and truth and I always tried to channel him but I am not as strong a man as he was. I cannot deal with all the social shaming I receive. It makes me go to a place I do not like to go. So anyway I will not be posting anymore opinions on topics. I’ve accepted that as the minority opinion I have to just keep my mouth shut. Ultimately I value friends and social standing over my search for truth and knowledge. I’ve let you down Socky old buddy. Please forgive me.”
Here is my response:
” I’m not trying to start an argument here, but your opinions are popular with plenty of people, just not necessarily the people you are Facebook friends with.
Another thing to consider is that certain arguments that you have made have suggested that you‘re on the side of those who your Facebook friends consider “systematic oppressors.” Even if your statements where intended as, “let us debate the merit of this position!” They were often understood to be your personal opinions. Appearing to be an opinionated, white, cisgendered male, complaining about your right to free speech or (intentionally or unintentionally) marginalizing/undermining the struggles of those that are not your demographic… Has implications. To a person of color or a feminist or a socialist living in a left-leaning liberal part of the country, you can appear to represent the members of the current establishment who do not understand their positions or care to. This can lead to a feeling that you as an individual could be without sympathy or even empathy for someone whom you refer to as a Facebook friend, or people like them that you don’t know.
“This person is sitting here comparing what I view to be two unequal injustices as though they are equivalent– does that mean they believe that just because everyone struggles, inequities in those struggles are irrelevant/invalid?”
In short. I think what you interpret to be hate is actually just resentment of what people fear you represent.
I’ll leave you with this. Next time someone attacks what you believe, ask yourself if logic is defending your idea or if you are defending the logic of your idea.
“Feminists are oppressive.”
This is a decades old “dogma”, that truly needs to be supported with facts in order to have any merit. Arguments over what oppression is, what feminism is… Are those perceived as not being empowered capable of oppression? Is oppression a state that exists because of a feeling it evokes or can it be defined independently-… Et al.
The speaker presents potentially as opposition to feminism and provides nothing of intentional value to the “feminists.”
“If self-proclaimed feminists allow themselves to present a misandrous agenda, and care only about dismantling the oppression of women, then this is not only hypocrisy but they’ve failed to provide a mutually beneficial replacement to the system in place.”
This statement points out an understanding that feminism is about changing the status quo… but the speaker cares about what it will cost the other parties. Whether the change will be a true improvement or simply an endless power struggle.
The speaker presents potentially as ally to the “feminists” and provides constructive criticism.
Sometimes people care so much about things, they forget to show they care about each other.”
It’s nice to hear what those who disagree with you think about your views. And whether or not your views can stand the crucible of criticism.
It is not, however, nice to have your character attacked because of what you believe. And so I want to make sure that is never the way in which I engage another human being.