- You have a right to be angry at people who are hateful to you.
- You do not have to engage with haters.
- You have a right to make fun of hypocrisy and people who you think are doing the wrong thing. You need some comic relief. But it defeats your purpose to do this publicly. Keep your disrespectful humor within your like-minded networks.
Attempts to silence people:
“Fake news” rhetoric is both propaganda and gaslighting. The current administration frequently says that events did not happen, even when reputable news sources say that they did. The lie being told to America is that people who believe things reported in major newspapers are out of touch with reality.
Just as people who read the New York Times believe what they read, people who watch Fox News believe what they’ve been watching. Calling their news “fake news” and calling them out of touch with reality will get you nowhere.
Gaslighting refers to denying another person’s reality. It comes from a movie about a gigolo who is trying to steal from an aging actress. He was kind and doting. At the same time, he was going through all of her things looking for her valuable jewelry. When she suspected that someone is in the house when he not there, he convinces her that it is not true and encourages her to believe she is losing her mind. In fact, he was leaving, then going into the attic to search her things. The gaslight dimmed when he turned on the attic light, thus the movie title and the term.
According to Psychology Today gaslighting involves tactics that warp someone’s sense of reality to the point where they doubt their own memory of events they experienced. It is more psychologically dangerous and is often associated with abuse in personal relationships.
Recently, I saw his meme:
What I think the meme above is saying is that it is gaslighting when the false equivalency is made between being mad at injustice and being, for example, an “anti-men”. I contend that this is not gaslighting. It is propaganda. It is a way of discrediting the person who is speaking for the way they express themselves. Here’s a definition of a propaganda tactic:
Personal attack or deflection. The argument is answered with criticism of the person speaking or style of the comment instead of the topic. Source
Self-defense moves. How to defeat people who try to silence you:
- That may be so, AND.
If someone says something along these lines, “You are too upset and angry to have a civil conversation, so it is clear to me that you don’t really have a good argument.”
You can answer with something along these lines, “That may be so, I am angry and upset. I have good reason to be. AND, my point is that…”
If someone says something along these lines, “You are affected by this, so you are taking it personally. You can’t see the big picture.”
You can answer with something along these lines, “That may be so, I am affected by this. AND, it is still an issue of social and economic justice that…whether I was affected by this or not.”
- Standing for a social value does not mean I hate (fill in the blank). I object to (fill in the blank) social or economic structure.
If someone says something along these lines, “You care about poor Mexicans and you hate poor white people.”
You can answer with something along these lines, “I can care about poor Mexicans and also care about the ways that the same economic conditions make some white people poor as well.”
If someone says something along these lines, “You stand for ‘me, too’ because you hate men.”
You can answer with something along these lines, “I stand for ‘me, too’ because so many women have bad experiences with men who bully them into sex. I hate that behavior and the social acceptance of it.”
If someone says something along these lines, “You care so much about mentally ill people, why do you have so little compassion for that shooter who was bullied?”
You can answer with something along these lines, “Mental illness has many symptoms. Most mentally ill people do no harm to others. I hope this shooter gets treatment. What I am against is how easily he got an automatic weapon. This puts everyone at risk. What I also object to is blaming the victim who (repeat the circumstances told to you); that is not an offense that a person should die for. “
And another (this one near and dear to my heart):
If someone says something along these lines, “If you were a truly fair-minded person, you’d be willing to sit down with a Nazi.”
You can answer with something along these lines, “I attempt to understand other points of view. However, I choose not to engage with someone who believes that Jews are not human. The gulf between us is too deep for my liking. Some Jews can have those conversations; I choose not to.”