miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Tone policing is when someone says "you would have a good point, if only you would sound less angry and more reasonable when you say it". It is generally used as a tactic to shut up people who are talking about how they are being oppressed or exploited by various systems, by those who support and benefit from those systems. Sometimes those who are (or claim to be) on the side of those who are oppressed and exploited by a system will use tone policing because they genuinely think that if only everyone was nice then the oppressors would listen.

Such is the case with Iain Roberts' recent article about "demonising the rich" on Lib Dem Voice. I've met Iain, several times, & he's a genuinely nice, well-meaning, conscientious Councillor. And yet in that article, and more so in the comments to it, he comes across as a smug, self-satisfied, arrogant, patronising arsehole. I am dead set certain that he isn't any of those things, and also that this is not the tone he was going for when he complains about the tone of people on the left, but it's an inherent problem when you tone police people who already feel like you are not on their side.

His article has a germ of a point: in order to stem the rising tide of inequality "the rich", however you define them, need to be brought onside. Where I differ from Iain is that I don't think if we all just ask nicely it'll magically happen. History shows that asking nicely is all well and good, but a big legislative stick is the only thing that actually works.

So to those who say "you may have a point, but you'd be more persuasive if you were less angry" I say this:

You may have a point, but you'd be more persuasive if you sounded less like an apologist for oppression.

How about maybe we ALL think about our tone when speaking? I'll try to be less angry and sweary if you stop using a tone that's guaranteed to MAKE me angry and sweary?

Date: Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 11:30 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thamesynne
Indeed. It's especially hard to be calm and reasonable and dispassionate about something when you're directly suffering its effects. Of course, then you're just accused of self-interest as well (because supporting your own oppression is the altruistic thing to do?) - or you get told you're a troll and ignored, which is frankly dehumanising for people in genuine anguish.

As for getting the rich on-side - as far as I can tell right now, the only course of action possible is to lie your arses off to them before getting elected and then turn round and bit them in theirs immediately after. Works for the Tories on the middle class, every single time...

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