It has been a recurring theme lately, that every time someone decides to block an instance that’s harbouring racists, Nazis, far-right (whichever title you prefer), where “freeze peaches” come to their defense. These are people who put Free Speech of SOME people higher than anything else, instead of viewing it from the holistic perspective of who does this “free speech” oppresses or kills by extension? Note that their first thought is to defend Nazis, not to defend the people under attack by Nazis.
“They want me dead. I can’t speak at all if I’m dead. So they’re not REALLY in favor of free speech, they just don’t want to have to acknowledge that other people’s views are valid.”
The argument eventually comes down to “But they have to keep interacting with you, even if they want to kill you, so that YOU can work to de-radicalize them”…
Just let these words sit in your mouth for a bit.
You’re asking people who are hounded, assaulted, killed, to do the work to de-radicalize the people who want to kill them. You’re not asking yourself “what can I do to help de-radicalize them, while this vulnerable group of people protects itself?” This is always where we end up, you tell the most vulnerable: Why don’t you just de-radicalize them. Why don’t you, who are fearing for your life just debate your existence and right to exist to these people? Why don’t you?
And yeah, that’s the question isn’t it? Why don’t you, especially if you’re a man, probably cisgender, most definitely white (or feel like you’re at least not not-white), and heterosexual, why don’t you put in the labour to de-radicalize these people who are constantly attacking the people who are everything that you are not? Why don’t you take the time to sit down and talk with them and untag us from that conversation? Who don’t you protect us?
You are the only person for whom it’s safe to have this conversation, for whom it’s safe to actively work towards helping us. And it doesn’t have to be helping everyone, it can just be one person at the time. Or simply decide that every time you see someone in your group of peers being attacked by these people you donate $1 to Life after Hate to help them do the work they are doing to de-radicalize people.
You don’t really want to de-radicalize them though, do you? All this jabbering about “JUST DE-RADICALIZE THEM” and it doesn’t seem like you’ve even put 5minutes thought into what that means. Rather you’re just using that as an excuse to attack us further, attack us for reaching for self-defense instead of debating our existence… over and over again.
So here we are: Next time you’re tempted to argue de-radicalization, ask yourself, why ain’t I?