Thursday, June 24, 2010

How do you diffuse a standoff?

Alright so we're chatting things out over at Feminists Critics when something that's been on my mind for a while came up again.

How, when there are people on all sides of the debate are carrying wounds from interactions with people from other sides, can we really get together and hammer things out so that everyone has a fair say?

You got men and women harmed by sexism. You got gays and Lesbians harmed by homophobia. You got transgender people harmed by transphobia. You have people of all races harmed by racism. You have people with disabilities harmed by disablism. You have people of different classes treating people treating people of other classes in elitist ways. And the list goes on, and on, and on, and on, etc.....

When you have that much going on people on all sides are bound to get hurt by others. Just as sure as you are reading this now I'll bet you can think of some instance(s) in which someone hurt you (and not just physically either) or tried to hurt you because of some characteristic of you person. Those wounds are hard to forget and they don't fade easily, if ever in some cases.

Now on one hand I firmly agree that no one group or set of groups should be expected to just put their pain aside in order to accommodate others. I think that only leads to resentment which will lead to grudges which will lead to the continuation of the cycle of hatred. However on the other hand with the belief that everyone has a right to have their pain acknowledged and brought to the table to be dealt with how can prevent the human rights equivalent of World War 5? How can we help each other without it devolving into a shouting match over whose wounds should be addressed first or people on one side declaring that the wounds carried by people on another side don't matter?

Maybe its something that will just have to wear itself out over time. But traveling that path may lead to no resolution of hurt feelings. Perhaps the people carrying the wounds will have to resolve them some other way before coming to the table. But that seems like telling someone, "Go deal with your problems elsewhere because I don't want to hear them."

I'm just lost on this. The stalemate is getting boring. Well I'm saying this as I look at mudslinging matches I've seen and engaged in (got into a particularly nasty one a few weeks ago, even though I still stand by my statement that that vile and disgusting woman is not worth the internet space she takes up) with 20/20 hindsight but its true nonetheless.

All I can say is that the stalemates and shouting matches, while feeling good, won't bring final resolution to our issues.


Toysoldier said...

How can we help each other without it devolving into a shouting match over whose wounds should be addressed first or people on one side declaring that the wounds carried by people on another side don't matter?

I do not think anyone can. It is going to happen because people tend to view their pain and their issues as more important than everyone else's. This is particularly true if the other person belongs to the group that hurt the first. I do think we can lessen the impact of those reactions by asking people to consider the other person's perspective. That takes patience and it takes respect, which unfortunately does not come easily.

Danny said...

Hey what's up TS.

Yeah I thought about that as well. I admit that I have a hard time working with feminists because of the way I've been treated by them. And while I don't mean to speak for you I'll bet you feel the same way and chava and Renee(a feminist and womanist, respectively, who visits here sometime) may feel the same way about men (although I can't speak for them either).

Such respect does not come easily for that reason but I do think that your simple advice of being mindful of the feelings and perspectives of other people would be a great start.

Toysoldier said...

I think the reason this stuff happens a lot online (seemingly more than it does offline) is because people tend to group with others who share their opinions. They are not used to directly dealing with people who disagree with them, and certainly not in a civil manner. So the moment someone says something or does something a person finds offensive, the person cuts loose.

The other thing is that I do not think people take the time to think about what they have written before they click submit. They write in anger, post it, and then have to defend it because they do not want to lose face.

Danny said...


I'm not bitter, not at all said...

The feminist blogosphere environment reminds me a lot of high school girl politics. That's not a compliment.

Another problem is that you give women this great theory, say "here's all the ways that you are oppressed! here's power! be loud! talk about your issues!" and forget to mention the part where, not everyone has the same issues. And about how sometimes, you have to put others before yourself.

In other words, somehow this protracted second wave of feminism (third wave my ass) forgot a basic principle of morality.

(But hey, I'm just a girl who always thought she was a feminist...until she met some actual feminists.)

Danny said...

As far as I'm concerned they can have the title. I'll keep going on trying to do the right thing while they spend more time arguing over their image than the issues.