Weakening the Language of Empowerment

(Approximately a 3 min read.)

It’s not often that a single conversation thread online is enough to spawn a whole week’s worth of short essays, but this week has been exactly that. Starting with Author A’s assertion:

“Mods are asleep post X” is a pedophilia-normalizing meme and it will never be cool or ok

– User A [1]

and then the meltdown that happened when I asked for a source for their claim. That disturbed me enough. But as I wrote these last few posts, I got more and more disturbed.

Remember, this is because I asked for a source for the claim above.

Yeah, you should stop asking people of color to explain racism. Absolutely. Should you ask the person shouting accusations where they heard such a thing? Also absolutely.

You shouldn’t promote hate, absolutely. And in general, I do err on the side of caution. At the same time, saying “Hey, where is this claim coming from” is the due diligence we should be doing, even with people we trust.

And finally, questioning unverified statements is not the same thing as gaslighting; as someone who has been gaslit – that’s pretty damn offensive.

They co-opt the language and terms of empowerment to serve personal agendas.

And in their misuse, they weaken empowerment itself, and shove those once-strong terms right over the cliff “politically correct” went over years ago.

Postscript: I realized after I wrote this that the user in question then tried to report me for these public posts:

I just can’t even.

Featured Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

[1] Anonymized because it’s about the behaviors, not people.

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