Watch Your TONE!

I’m back, and the first thing I’m talking about is tone? Has Ruthless gone soft? Not on your life. I’m being very deliberate here. Let’s get to it.

During the break I unleashed a bit of back and forth in the groups I frequent online by dropping some admittedly loaded discussion on them. How did I do this? Well I didn’t go personally provoking people so calm down. I linked up two videos, one per group, where the speaker presented a highly controversial opinion. Did I necessarily agree with the two speakers? Come on people that’s  a softball, I’m rather non-committal about most people’s opinions other than my own. So each speaker was chosen for one reason. They didn’t yell. Why no yelling? Because as we often hear, it isn’t about what you say, but how you say it. But here’s the beautiful notion of this experiment. Them yelling didn’t stop that criticism.

Without divulging the group names we’ll just say that each one was used with their full awareness I was using the discussion for a piece here and were warned that the point of the discussion, was both their reactions and the discussion about them. One of the goals was to challenge some long-standing opinions and beliefs that existed. And see how such a challenge, despite coming with a warning would be perceived. Even my own reactions were a calculated set of responses to keep from turning the discussion into my posting the material and how wrong or right I was. And outside two noted examples where I had to defend myself(1 oddly enough was to someone who’s known me for the last 6 years), the process was flawless. So let’s get back to that general tenor of the discussion bomb I dropped.

Yes despite both speakers(1 male, 1 female), speaking in very calm and rational voices, they were perceived as having turned off people due to their “tone.” A common response to the female speaker being “I’d respect her if she hadn’t said it like that.” But remember, neither speaker was yelling, very few curse words appear, and most of the time anything I would consider inflammatory was combined with study results as evidence. But here’s what I wanted to wait until now to tell you. Both videos lacked the person’s face. And that choice I made to test not only the initial perceptions, but to see if anyone would jump at the chance to take a personal shot at them for not showing their face. And of course they did. Because if this is the test of how welcoming of change American society is, you lot have so many failures among you that we are all in trouble.

So let’s talk about the subject matter. The first was a topic in a group that often talks about relationships. And here I dropped a video from a white woman, who explained why she makes it a point to say she doesn’t date non-white men in her dating profile, despite actually being okay with it. For about 11 minutes, she explains everything from the perception of women who date interracially, to the filtering effect of saying it, to some points which dealt with the kind of black men she and women like her want to avoid. At no point does she yell or otherwise get angry-voiced in the video, but like a good speaker she uses voice inflection at times to differentiate her points. So of course the first thing she got called was a racist slut. And then the group started in on how mean she was, and then when asked most said it wasn’t what she was saying but how she said it. And of course when some group members appeared later on and started defending her points, discussion slowed down as people clearly were either tired of the anger that had ben stirred up, or could not retort in the face of more logic. It should be noted that I don’t really agree with most of what she was doing or her reasoning for it. But I will admit that I see some of the logic. Filter out the people you don’t want to talk to, so you can more easily connect with the ones you do. She’s sneaky, and I of course got called more than a few names for posting it(Which I responded to in trademark fashion), but what I did and didn’t agree with wasn’t a tone issue.

That being said, the second video was a much more tense discussion. Why? Well it was another skirmish in the ongoing tensions between black men and women. Never let it be said I’m uncontroversial. So how was this video different? Well the discussion immediately started with a comment that the unseen speaker may not be black. Seeing that, I knew I was in for a ride I didn’t get the first time. What do I mean by that? Well during the first discussion, most of the people resorted to calling the woman all manner of sexually dismissive names. Even the women who commented aimed at me and her on a level that was F**ked to be sure, but not quite all out. The second video turned into a rage fest so fast I had to ask if people were actually watching the video before commenting. And guess what. They weren’t. Of the people with the most negative comments of both videos, most hadn’t gotten beyond 3 to 5 minutes of the videos. That’s about half of the first video, but only a third at best of the second, which was  15 minutes long.

So what conclusions did we find? Well 1, I’m going to be so much more emotionless and cold in discussion in both groups. But that’s more of an annoyance at my personal treatment when I warn people ahead of time. But more importantly I learned exactly how bullshit that watch your tone statement is. Think about this a bit deeper. To mask their disagreement with the speakers, and their unwillingness to accept the facts presented, they said the person’s tone was off-putting. But their tone wasn’t the real problem. We tell people more flies with honey than vinegar. But clearly that isn’t true. Each speaker took a calm, rational, reasonable, and logical approach. But what was the common complaint? They shouldn’t have said it like that. Now if you’re reading this blog, you know I’m not exactly a fan of subduing any part of my points, much less my tone. But in the face of this I was even more sure of myself. Why? Because contrary information should inform the opinion and update the perceptions. And just because I don’t like what the facts show doesn’t mean I get to ignore them.

And that’s where this post on tone wraps up. If a person is giving you facts, and you have only emotional responses, you lost already. Facts in fact DO trump your feelings. And both of these speakers gave nothing but facts. Do they apply to every single person? Of course not, the white woman didn’t really account for professional black men while deriding most other races(including the racist white guys), and the black man didn’t really get into other subsets of black women in his arguments. But both accounted for this more than once by saying this wasn’t about all of the groups they spoke on. Apparently that wasn’t enough. You will get no such warning from me though. You and I know by now I’m a self styled Super Villain. I embrace the viciousness of my Ruthlessness. And that’s why you read this blog. So to put it bluntly, take your tone comments and shove them right back up where you got them from. I’m back from the bar prep cave. I have a long hit list of people on my shit list, and first up next week are…ah ah ah no spoilers. Get your eyes back on the blog next week for Wrath of Ruthless Part 3. I’d tell you more but…Words Don’t Do It Justice.

– THE Ruthless Wonder

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