Know Thine Enemy

Kylie at Podblack asks, for the next Scientiae,

“A voice in the crowd” – are you heard? How are you heard? Are you one of a team that works as a choir or does discordance rule the roost?…who really has control of the megaphone?

Heh. How am I heard? Depends greatly upon the listener, and how far they’ve come in examining their own types of unearned privilege.


Cranky, irritable misogynistic Rethuglicans hear me as a shrill, whiny, petulant, hairy-legged, man-hating, castrating feminazi. Yes, Gerard Harbison, you can think of that as an homage to you! You are a cranky irritable misogynistic Rethuglican! Among other things. (Warning: Harbison’s political views may cause you to blow chunks. If you are in range of his shoes, though, go right ahead.)
The less cranky, or those cranky for good reasons – like economic injustice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and the ills they all contribute to – are more likely to possess the ability to access rationality and logic, and to see the world before their eyes for what it is, and therefore are more likely to hear and understand what I am saying. In other words, they are less likely to blame the powerless for their problems, less likely to think that economic policies that funnel ever more money from the hands of the poor, working, and middle class to the very rich and corporations are a good idea, less likely to think that biology is destiny. Such people are able to take note that one of the very few economic opportunities our society provides to and sanctions for young black men is excellence in professional sports. They are then unsurprised to find young black men over-represented in professional basketball and under-represented in, say, mechanical engineering. They are unlikely to view the inevitable outcome of economic injustice coupled with racism as evidence that diversity is unnecessary, nay, undesirable, in society at large. ( I apologize that I cannot here provide you with a link for Mr. Harbison sour post “A sad night for diversity” from June 18, 2008, for he seems not to partake of that thing we know as the “link”.)
What’s the difference between me calling someone a cranky, irritable misogynistic Rethuglican and them calling me a shrill, whiny, petulant, hairy-legged, man-hating, castrating feminazi? Well, my terms are descriptive. I want to give you an idea what to expect if and when you choose to read what someone like Mr. Harbison has to say. For indeed I think it is important to attend to what our enemies are saying and doing. Mr. Harbison seems to be very involved in the effort to curtail civil rights in Nebraska, disguised as the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative. (again, alas, no link – June 27 post.) What is our side doing? Where are our voices in fights like these? Are we being heard? I hope so.
Mr. Harbison and people like him wish to control the megaphone, to curtail the discourse. Words like shrill, petulant, feminazi are intended to mean “nothing you have to say is worth listening to.” Those words are meant to shut us up and keep others from listening to us.
When I say Mr. Harbison is a cranky, irritable, misogynistic Rethuglican, I am giving you some important information that I actually want you to attend to. I want you to know who the enemy is and what they’re up to. It’s important to know how they craft their twisted logic against social justice. Not because we are ever going to convince them not to be cranky, irritable, misogynistic Rethuglicans. It’s a free country, and they are welcome to spend their short existence on this planet in constant bitter, angry warfare against the downtrodden if they so choose. But because we need to know how to argue better with those people who are able to be persuaded, and more effectively detoxify the poisonous rhetoric that the Harbisons of the word must spew.
That is, of course, when you are in that mode. Which happens occasionally on this blog, but don’t confuse that with this blog’s main purpose.

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