More on "Evidence"

[Content Note: Auditing; silencing.]

Last week, Jessica Luther published a Storify about the ubiquitous habit of privileged people demanding that marginalized people provide objective "evidence" of their claims of oppression, alienation, and/or harm, and I followed that up with this piece.

This morning, we were talking about the subject some more, and I noted that demands for "evidence" is not merely silencing, but a way of justifying one's own indifference. Jess said, "Tweet that!" and so I did, and here are the tweets for those who aren't on Twitter and/or missed them.

screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'Demands for 'evidence' with an impossible threshold are not just silencing, but a way of justifying one's own indifference.'

screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'It puts the onus for responsibility of caring about harm on oppressed people. 'You must convince me there's reason for me to care.''

screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'And then it's our failure when our own stories of our own lived experiences aren't sufficiently compelling.'

screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'So that's a neat little circle, innit? We are responsible for providing 'evidence' of harm while denied authority on our own lives.'

The next time I am met with a demand for "evidence" when I report incidents of harm as a result of oppression, this is going to be my script: "I am giving you evidence in the form of my lived experience. In so doing, I am asking you to care. About me and about the other people to whom these things are also done. If you care, you will listen. If you don't, I am politely requesting you be honest enough to simply say that you do not care, instead of obliging me to engage with you in a mendacious argument designed to publicly justify why you won't."

I am tired of wasting my time in "debates" that have no purpose but to task me with the responsibility for the luxury of indifference conferred by privilege. And I am calling that shit out, every time I see it, starting now.

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