pseudomonas: (Default)
[personal profile] pseudomonas
Please, please. It's fine and good for you to promote your cause, and appeal for help. But please don't say1 things like If you're not taking [action] on [insert cause here] then you're [the problem|a terrible person|why we can't have nice things]. (sometimes seen as If you're [demographic group] and not taking action…).

Three reasons:
1) Salience bias. While you're very upset about X injustice, there are (sadly!) many many many problems in the world, and it's not OK to berate people for working on things that aren't the one that has your attention at the moment. It's definitely OK to hope that people are working/donating/campaigning to make the world a better place, but not to slag strangers off because they're focussing on (say) economic inequality rather than (say) antibiotic resistance2.

2) Not everyone is in a position to help. Some people have disabilities, physical and mental. Some people aren't economically placed to give up money or time. Making these people feel bad about it is what is technically known as "a dick move".

3) It's really not a nice look. Yes, this is "the tone argument", aka "concern trolling", well done, you have sussed me out. But it's pretty dispiriting to see people promoting causes I care about by making people feel awful for very little gain. And yes, it's quite likely that the cause is more important than not hurting people's feelings. But one can urge action without gleefully slagging off people who may have very good reasons that they can't get involved

Sadly I've not got a concrete example to hand - but this isn't in reference to a particular thing, but it's something I've seen from time to time and only recently learned not to take as personally as I have in the past.

1 Or, preferably, share/retweet/reblog/promulgate
2 Or vice versa, naturally. I think both of these are pressing concerns for the world.

Date: 2015-12-09 01:03 pm (UTC)
lilysea: Serious (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
Yes.

Charities are the worst offenders. I once heard a charity collector telling a passerby "there are two types of people in the world - those that HELP people and those that HURT people - which are you?".

Another times, a charity collector from Amnesty rang up and tried to guilt-trip my unemployed, not receiving benefits, massively depressed boyfriend into donating to Syrian refugees by going into great details about their suffering and strongly implying that SO was a horrible person if he didn't donate $$$ or $$$$. Thanks, random Amnesty person, you *INCREASED* the amount of suffering in the world that day, because you made SO's depression SO MUCH WORSE (and I suffered from that as well, so yay, charity collector, you made TWO people suffer with ONE phone call.) Why yes, I am still angry at Amnesty about it, four years later, it took weeks for SO to recover.

Date: 2015-12-09 01:15 pm (UTC)
lilysea: Serious (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
There was an article recently about how a lot of the major charities pull this shit. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/11/the-life-of-the-charity-cold-caller

Including a cancer charity who told a woman with cancer that having active cancer was no excuse not to donate, because she more than anyone should know how important cancer charity's work was!

I used to support Amnesty, but after they upset SO that badly, I don't see myself EVER donating to them again for the rest of my life.

Date: 2015-12-09 01:16 pm (UTC)
lilysea: Serious (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
Oh, and I forgot to say - he told the cold caller he wasn't working at all, didn't have any income coming in, and she still kept wanting a $$$ donation.

Date: 2015-12-09 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] pfy
Re: point 3, it strikes me that anyone manipulative enough to use "Do what I say or you're a horrible awful problematic person" will also be manipulative enough to use "Pointing out my emotional manipulation is tone policing!"

There's some kind of point (4) in this, along the lines of "Doing this muddies and devalues social justice as a whole, although those willing to do so may consider this an acceptable external cost of getting their way".

Date: 2015-12-09 04:01 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] pfy
OK, yes, I'm probably assuming too much self-awareness there.

Date: 2015-12-10 10:36 am (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
I was writing a comment, and then realised it didn't really go anywhere... I realise that if something makes me feel awful, I can't sensibly judge if it's necessary or not -- so I tend to default to assuming it MIGHT be necessary so I shouldn't object. Which may not really help...

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