Author Topic: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting  (Read 1635 times)

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« on: September 06, 2016, 03:34:57 pm »
I've been thinking a lot lately about willful ignorance as it relates to gaslighting and oppression. One incredibly common tactic that I have seen over and over and over again is the "I just don't understand, teach me" tactic, which makes sense when you are literally the only available expert, but no sense in the context of a thread in which it has already been explained and hashed out countless times, or there are information and articles readily available in a simple web search.

In these cases, particularly, the person requesting information is using it as a stalling or diversion tactic. They aren't interested in learning; they are interested in eating up your time and nitpicking your attempts at explanation until you give up. In many cases, it's also a power play; by maintaining ignorance and asking you to "teach" them, they are not only making you serve them, they are also making you responsible for whether they learn, and how much. It is a form of passive-aggressive bullying, it is manipulative, it is abusive, and in my opinion the only constructive response is to walk away from people who use this tactic.

This article really breaks it down well, in my opinion: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/why-do-white-people-think-people-color-are-obligated-teach-them-about-race

And this classic piece from the generally unimpressive Huff Po is quality: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amelia-shroyer/white-fragility-is-racial_b_8151054.html?utm_source=everydayfeminism.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange_article

If you don't know what gaslighting is, it's an abusive manipulation tactic: http://counsellingresource.com/features/2011/11/08/gaslighting/

Of course, there is also genuine, simple ignorance; the inability to know where to start. It's easy to tell the difference between simple ignorance and willful ignorance. With simple ignorance, if you point the person in the right general direction, they'll take the hint and run with it. These are the people who, when told to look something up or to just read the damn thread, just do. If they are sincerely interested in learning and are pointed toward learning tools, they use them. With willful ignorance, if you point them toward learning tools they protest that they just don't have time, that you're being rude, and continue arguing while simultaneously playing innocent and claiming that they just don't understand and why won't you just teach them.

If you use this tactic, whether you think you are deliberately gaslighting or not, you may want to reconsider whether it's really something you want in your debate repertoire. Being deliberately clueless is no way to win respect, or anything else.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2016, 05:52:18 pm »
There was a recent exchange somewhere that went "Give me one example!" several examples are given "Those are just anecdotes!"
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Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2016, 06:13:37 pm »
There was a recent exchange somewhere that went "Give me one example!" several examples are given "Those are just anecdotes!"

That is just maddening. People who do this are paying lip service to learning, but really their agenda is to justify remaining exactly the same.

These tend to often be the same people who "don't understand" trigger warnings, and to make dire predictions about how women and minorities are "alienating potential allies" by not being pleasant and compliant enough. They feign enlightenment in order to undermine it.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2016, 06:18:10 pm »
They also tend to be, as one of the articles mentions, artful derailers, turning the conversation from one about something that is not-them (sexual harassment, racism) into one that is about them (their struggle as an outsider trying to comprehend, the "responsibility" of others to turn their energy toward educating them).
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2016, 06:25:06 pm »
I done has one Libertarian on my FB feed that does this, fairly well.

Every response of substance is responded to with a dodge and a new topic or goalpost, only tangentially related to the previous. 

However, it is very amusing to stubbornly refuse to change playing fields, and insist he stays on topic.

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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2016, 06:31:34 pm »
I done has one Libertarian on my FB feed that does this, fairly well.

Every response of substance is responded to with a dodge and a new topic or goalpost, only tangentially related to the previous. 

However, it is very amusing to stubbornly refuse to change playing fields, and insist he stays on topic.

It gives me visions of grinding them up for fertilizer.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2016, 07:03:15 pm »
I think I can more strongly relate to your tales of conversations with philosophy and/or law majors.

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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2016, 10:43:34 pm »
Sounds like a fairly effective trolling tactic actually.  One that has been mostly used for evil, in your experience.  I kind of enjoy making Libertarians endlessly explain what just property is (mostly because they aren't very good at it)

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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2016, 11:01:30 pm »
Sounds like a fairly effective trolling tactic actually.  One that has been mostly used for evil, in your experience.  I kind of enjoy making Libertarians endlessly explain what just property is (mostly because they aren't very good at it)

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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2016, 09:48:49 pm »
I think I can more strongly relate to your tales of conversations with philosophy and/or law majors.

Oh. Oh yes. That is exactly what it's like.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2016, 09:50:33 pm »
Sounds like a fairly effective trolling tactic actually.  One that has been mostly used for evil, in your experience.  I kind of enjoy making Libertarians endlessly explain what just property is (mostly because they aren't very good at it)

Good old Socratic questioning is truly the best trolling.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2016, 09:51:26 pm »
It's different from gaslighting in that it doesn't lead in a circle unless the person fails to answer the questions, though.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 12:28:02 am »
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


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Re: Ignorance, oppression, and gaslighting
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2017, 09:00:27 pm »
Bumping because this thread is suddenly relevant to another conversation I'm having, and I want to add to it.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.