July 31, 2009

Get Loud!

The other day, a man repeatedly dismissed my position on racism (I believe that it is very common and needs to be fought at all levels - even in the racism found in Disney movies) by calling me paranoid. I felt this was a personal attack. After about twenty minutes of this debate, I proceeded to get personal too. Knowing that this guy is not the world's most accomplished student in his own field, I responded, "Get an distinction in your own discipline before you lecture me on mine." Was I being the bigger person, no! Was I being any worse than him? Of course not! But that's not what he thought. He proceeded to lecture me about how I had gotten "personal" and that was wrong. I'm sorry, but telling someone their perspective on the world is paranoid and irrational to discredit them is just as personal as discrediting them with their academic ability. Let's just say, I was not impressed. I basically felt this was a whiney case of him expecting me as a woman to take his abuse and be disciplined by it. Here was a man who wanted to "put me in my place" and was outraged that I had the nerve to fight back, and to fight back well.

At the end of our altercation, said young man lectured me about "how to be persuasive," and informed me that I will never persuade people to change the world - that this won't happen. That I am arrogant to think I could try somehow to affect change because people never change their minds - this is just stupid. People change all the time because discourse motivates them to change. When Suffragettes got angry and loudly demanded the right to vote, they got the fucking right to vote in many Western countries. When people of colour had rallies and demanded to be heard in the US Civil Rights Movement, they got civil rights. When many queer people started refusing to hide anymore post-Stonewall, a generation later, queer rights aren't perfect, but many feel they are much improved. Sure, sexism, racism and homophobia all still exist, but the point is that getting loud and even getting angry can get results - it can change people's minds.

Ultimately, if you're not angry, I think you're lazy. If you're not angry, it's an excuse. Loud activism has historically been very effective in many cases. I do understand, however, that many people have a fear of speaking out. This is why I am starting a charitable organization to offer public speaking workshops to feminists for free. These workshops will be a safe and friendly-environment when feminists can practice public speaking with each other and learn some valuable skills that will help them engage vocally in public discourse. I'm hoping people will help me. I can't do this alone. It's still only an idea. I need a place to have monthly workshops and a method of advertising. I think the organization might be based out of universities, and it is my goal one day to have several chapters all across Canada. Who is with me? Let's help women speak up so many like the one who just lectured me can't avoid us. If enough of us get loud, sooner or later, we'll be impossible to ignore...

1 comment:

Lux said...

Count me in! However, I'll certainly have to start as a student...