Fair enough.

If you had stopped after your initial response, I would have been in total agreement with you. The fact you couldn’t let it go, got pissed off at the end, and then justified it by saying your experience as a gay man wouldn’t allow you to back off, is precisely why I included you in my rant.

Danna’s emotional reaction to that abortion article had just as much emotional validity for her as you bristling against being called a coward.* Mike’s experience as a Viet Nam vet with some PTSD was even more reason to ignore his reactions.

I have learned to understand the difference between racism and racial prejudice. I have also learned to see some of my own blind spots with regard to sexism. And I know the difference between someone saying an idea or perspective sounds sexist, versus calling the individual a sexist. But I also know that not everybody can hear those nuanced differences. It took me months to figure out that I wasn’t being personally attacked every time I read an angry article written by a black person or a woman, and that I needed to sit with the message and find their truth.

In my opinion, you could have chosen to cut Danna and Mike some slack, instead of writing thousands of words to try to reason with them or taking on the role of the expert who should hold people accountable for their bullish*t.

The inmates are running the asylum at Medium, and none of us can be a facilitator to this combination of group therapy and WWE.

Regardless of your training and certifications, you make a choice to perform a role that no one elected you to perform. While your motivation is admirable, the road to hell can be paved with good intentions. Being an advocate for tolerance and equality can sometimes veer off and become almost evangelical in its execution. (Which gets back to one of Elliot’s original points about how the term Political Correctness has changed its nature.)

When people get really upset, the expectation that you are going to straighten them out, or that they will listen to you because you’re an “expert” is not far removed in the scale of craziness from the irrational people you’re trying to instruct.

I apologize if you feel I’m coming down on you unfairly. But if something I wrote helps you, then it was worth speaking out. If not, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.


*If you had read her stories about her own past experiences, you might have treated her differently. Because I know her a little, I approached her in an even less confrontational way than you tried to do.

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Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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