There is a difference between being polite to people and being polite about ideas. Too often, calls to be polite about ideas lead to oppression (see here and here). At the same time, civility can provide one of the paths to actually changing someone’s mind.
Yes, silence can be read as consent. And we strive to create spaces where all people feel safe enough to speak freely.
But remember: We do NOT have the right to demand why, when, or how someone speaks up about bigotry.
We do not have the right to demand minorities react a specific way about racism. We do not have the right to demand that LGBTQ folks react a specific way about homophobia. We do not have the right to demand that woman react a specific way about sexism or sexual assault.
When we demand that others react the same way we do – especially when we have elements of privilege they may not – we are not helping.
That was true before this election, and it’s true afterward.
If you have the resources and energy, be angry. Be vocal. Bear witness.
But do not shame or condemn those who do not have the same resources you do.
(I reserve the right to be wrong about the above; as always, I’m interested in critique if my own privilege is showing.)