Like many progressives, the early days of Trump's presidency have left me angry, exhausted, and fighting with strangers on Facebook. I can’t seem to stop myself from taking the bait when someone posts inflammatory content online. Part of it is because I’m often in a poor state of self-care, but another part of it is because I enjoy engaging with Trump supporters in a very certain way.
Instead of becoming impassioned in my responses, I'm making a point to keep my cool and not give in to the stereotype of the "hysterical liberal."
Is my blood boiling when white men tell me to "simmer down" and read up on the facts? Damn straight. But yelling about all the reasons why they should be enraged and pointing out their hypocrisy is only going to fall on deaf ears. Beating them at their own game by debunking their bullshit, however? That will settle in under their skin.
I can play into people’s tone policing, because I don’t have my life on the line. I can play by their rules and still beat them. Fielding ignorance is not the job of POC, LGBTQ, and other marginalized groups — it’s mine.
You want to tell me that everyone is “freaking out” and “being babies” because we’re protesting? Let me lay the groundwork for you and explain exactly what is being protested, spelling out in great detail the executive order that you did not read quite carefully enough, and ask you some tough questions about the vetting process you find so problematic. Also, isn’t your support for this based on a false sense of security that will ultimately hurt national security in the long run?
You want to make sure we stay on this topic, and this topic only? No problem. I’ve got facts for days. I’m a journalist — speed reading on the internet to find relevant information is sort of my thang.
You want to tone police me and make sure I don’t curse because it offends your sensitive system? You’ve got it. Just the facts for you. Probably a sprinkling of pointed questions you’re unprepared to answer too.
Do I think I’m going to change your mind? Hell no. But making your ignorance a public spectacle is something I like to think of as a public service.
And hopefully the little bit of “education” I put out there will give others fuel to fight facism with facts too.
As a white woman, I have tremendous privilege that allows me to enter into these conversations without risking direct harm. The lack of basic knowledge and decency presented, while infuriating, does not endanger me or my family. I can play into people’s tone policing, because I don’t have my life on the line. I can play by their rules and still beat them. Fielding ignorance is not the job of POC, LGBTQ, and other marginalized groups — it’s mine.
I'm choosing to fight fascism with just the facts — leaving insults and condescension off the table because I can. I am able to give information in a way that the other side is forced to respect.
I know it’s not right that I have this luxury, but if I’m going to leverage my privilege I want to do so in a way that undermines the other side — and maybe, just maybe, educate those watching from the sidelines.