Silent Minority, or: Why I Don’t Speak Up

If person x has a problem with person or group y, especially if it’s a friend or friends, then x should speak up to y about it so that y understands and the two can work things out.

At least, that’s how it is in theory.

But I just imagine so many problems coming up when I’m in that sort of situation.

If it’s with one friend, the person may just play the give-no-fucks card and scold me for being offended, being bothered, or being a wuss about it, and I’ll get pegged as being unreasonable (and, if the issue is related to social justice, an “SJW”). If it’s with a group of people, I may also decline to state the issues I’m having because I’m worried I’ll get ignored because I’m just one person and it would seem unreasonable for a group to accomodate the requests of one person. “Majority rules”, if you will.

As an example, about a year and a half ago I went to a party with some friends and someone brought two games we could play that night: We Love Katamari and Silent Hill: Homecoming. Everyone else decided on Silent Hill because everyone loves horror games I guess. I chose not to speak up because I was worried of coming off as a coward who can’t handle brickshit-inducing games. It felt alienating being the one person who wanted to play something lighthearted and, as I’ve said time and again about horror fiction, I like getting sleep at night. (It didn’t matter anyway because I left the party before everyone else began playing any vidya.)

Another example was when a friend was using the term “trap” as a term for a crossdressing male, a term I have issues with because it (to me) carries the implication that MtFs and crossdressing/crossplaying men are objects of shock value and deceit rather than people who identify a certain way or dress as the gender opposite to them as a hobby. (If you want a more at-length discussion about this term, and are willing to understand my position even if you won’t agree with it, talk to me privately.) I tried to explain this to my friend, but said friend basically shut me out by insisting that the term was not being used in an offensive context, and I, being the sort of person who hates confrontation, decided to terminate that line of discussion because I didn’t want to raise a huge scene about it and potentially lose a frined, and felt that I might as well have not spoken up at all.

Yet another issue I face is the occasional jokes about those with autism or some form of it (e.g. Asperger’s). I’ve narrowly escaped being diagnosed with it, so those sorts of jokes hit too close to home for me. Yet the kind of people on my Twitter timeline making these jokes are the sort that I don’t want to express disagreement with, because I’ll just get dismissed for being offended at jokes targeted at a widely-acceptable-to-target demographic.

These concepts and sort of situations, it seems, motivate the reason why a lot of folks who are in positions of oppression don’t like to complain when they are in situations of harassment or such: Because they’re concerned that they’ll come off as whiny and “butthurt” to the offending party and that said offending party will make no attempt to understand the person’s point of view.

I do my best to understand when what I do hurts others–even if they get pretty lashout-y about it and I have to spend several minutes calming myself down lest I rain down a barrage of loud expletives or deck the person unconscious, I at least try to negotiate something with the person and find some sort of balance. Yet I assume the worst of others; if I have issue with someone I tend to keep quiet about it because being bothered by something seems like the better alternative to the person callously lashing out at me with a “you’re bad for feeling this way for something I did, and you should feel bad” speech for daring to point out that what one is doing may be wrong or hurtful. If it’s in a group, I just think to myself, “I’m one person out of however many are here, I’m not gonna make everyone bend over backwards for one person out of that many.”

Who cares about understanding the feelings and opinions of one person?


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