an expansion on tone arguments
December 5, 2013
i”ve had cause to be reflecting on the tone argument
and, idk, i guess i want to… examine the scope. normally, when this particular derail is invoked it often is directed to those oppressed ppl percieved to be angry.
While it might, just might be more common that the tone police like to sniff out anger as their primary target, I”m beginning to think that tone arguments are better understood as a super-ordinate category, such that anger is a sub-category within the family of tone arguments.
i”m beginning to think that the basic motivation and purpose of the tone argument is about attempting to keep oppressed peoples as non-human entities. It is about policing our expressions of humanity, since it is ultimately about our emotional and, thus, human reactions to events in our lives. To our experiences of oppression.
other examples of tone policing that aren”t about anger…
if we are sad or devastated about a tragic occurence… they mock our grief and tells us not to be so ‘dramatic.” or, for those white liberals, they”ll tell us to ‘think positively” or ‘not to loose hope.”
this is a tone argument because they do not wish to hear our cries and lamentations. if we wail with grief, it reminds them of their evil and their own lack of humanity. this is especially true if, in our grief, we aren”t attempting to ‘do” anything other than grieve. if we take a moment to pause and feel this pain, we aren”t being ‘productive” or ‘constructive” or whatever the fuck. if we don”t turn our grief into theatre for our oppressors… then it is ugly and undesirable and we should stop right the fuck now.
when are being serious and sombre about something that really matters. when we don”t laugh at their jokes and they tell us to ‘lighten up” or ‘get a sense of humour.”
they don”t like us focused not only on how they”ve harmed us, but on what we can actually do to resist and make it better — for us. Our silence and seriousness makes them uncomfortable. It creates ‘tension” and, my god, can”t we just laugh and ease the mood? Take a fucking joke?
when we are mirthful and laughing because we need the release and catharsis. because, yes, we actually have senses of homour and iaopoc smiles are the most beautiful and precious things on earth. our laughter is literally the voice of god.
our joy disquiets them because it, above all, shows that despite their best efforts — we are still resisting, alive, and we will never be the oppressed, docile, cowed, and dispirited creatures they want us to be. not now. not ever.
but, my glob, don”t we know that there is this Serious Issue ™? Like. how can we laugh when there are ‘starving children in Africa”????? we are such callous and craven ppl.
i could name just about any and all emotions here, the point is, is that having any tone is bad. and we should get rid of it. and, yes, this is a silencing tactic, becauses the perfect tone, according to our oppressors is