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"day Of Silence"

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So here's what it is for those of you that don't know... www.dayofsilence.org

what do you all think? Personally i think that it's morally good, but functionally not productive. I think that having a voice is key to agency, and deliberately failing to exercise your agency does nothing to help your cause. Several kids at my school participated, and it seems like if they really cared, they would be actively speaking out about the issue instead of portraying this group as victims by not speaking. I think that the voice is a much more powerful tool than silence. 

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There were two girls in my math class who did it. Problem is, they're normally really quiet, so it wasn't very noticeable. Also, nothing really happened and they couldn't really spread the message, seeing as they had to be silent. Having a few kids in a school speak out for their cause would be a lot more useful than having them just be silent for a day. So yeah, I agree with you. 

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I think he means ignore his post. He posted something about the topic, then edited it out. I don't know why

It was about something else. Apparently this gimmick is used for a variety of causes and not just LGBTQ.

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It was about something else. Apparently this gimmick is used for a variety of causes and not just LGBTQ.

i was unaware... but still, i feel as though the means is ineffective. 

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The thing about these kinda of events is the practical-ness of them.  Not trying to sound rude, but, at my school, the effect of these types of acts are minimal seeing as how these type of issues need to be actively voiced as Bannister said in OP.  By being silent, I do not feel that the point they are trying to make is being put across in the right manner- they should be voicing their opinions to make this issue known.  

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Having a voice aka the logo of the National Forensics league is key to any agency and action, I guess this is like the restaurant boycott that the SCLC planned in the 1960s to desegregate restraurants but for that to work, you need people repressing you to gain attention. For the LGBT community, it doesn't do the movement any better to say silent because sure, it's symbolic, but nothing happens as a result of your silence. People need to speak out instead of being silent so people can be aware of these things

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being silent is a way of speaking out and rebelling.

 

you can hand out flyers, put up posters, make signs, talk to people before and after the event to get your message out. 

 

tape your mouths shut, write a message on the tape, let others know.

 

being silent is the ultimate practical option - it's accessible to everyone

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being silent is the ultimate practical option - it's accessible to everyone

its also, quite literally, the most easily ignored. If the symbolic 'back' is turned in an oppressive fashion upon any given community, silence doesn't respond to the issues within society. Activism is key to making a difference and while silence can be a form of activism, it is easily interpreted as nothing more than the status-quo

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Silence is better than nothing, which is what would happen without this. It's a way of making people anxious (which then makes others talk about it), making people publicly "commit" to LGBTQ support, that sort of thing. It's hardly revolutionary, but I don't think it does any real harm.

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 It's hardly revolutionary, but I don't think it does any real harm.

i totally agree with the fact that it does no harm, but I think that if people who didn't talk at all actually cared, they'd speak out and make people aware. Which they don't. 

 

 

 

you can hand out flyers, put up posters, make signs, talk to people before and after the event to get your message out. 

 

tape your mouths shut, write a message on the tape, let others know.

 

nobody did any of this- they just didn't talk. And the most that happened as a result of that was...

"You doing that thing?"

*nods head

"Cool, i wanted to but I talk way too much"

 

Maybe making posters and writing things on tape would be good, but at that point doing these things isn't mutually exclusive with a world in which you actually speak out and raise awareness while doing it. 

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If people who do the day of silence are so quiet, victimized, and anti-agency, how do you even know what this protest is? Did they communicate something without saying any words? If so... that sounds like an effective act of speaking out.

 

There is little that will change the mind of a dedicated bigot. Events like these attempt to convey broad empathy and solidarity with people who are silenced into the closet. A lot of people I know have felt more comfortable with coming out and feeling accepted in a heteronormative world when they see a bunch of people make a visible, conscious gesture like this. I suppose speaking out can do that as well... but I don't see most of y'all whining about how silent this makes people doing that either. It's really hard to organize and popularize big activist events that lots of people across the country can get down with, so exerting effort arguing against them when you 1) agree with their goals and 2) don't think it does any harm seems like a profound waste of time. If you really are bothered by the lack of agency you think this promotes, organize a new event? If you have a day of speaking or whatever you think is better, I'll sign right up... 

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If people who do the day of silence are so quiet, victimized, and anti-agency, how do you even know what this protest is? Did they communicate something without saying any words? If so... that sounds like an effective act of speaking out.

This does make sense, however really all we learned was that it exists. I didn't hear anything about why this is important, or anything that mentioned the daily struggle that these people have to endure. Yeah, it worked to get attention... if you had a class with them. But it didn't spur any provocative thinking.... because i don't know anyone at my school who is openly anti-LGBTQ people. At best, it just made people agree even more strongly with the cause, but it coerced them into thinking that doing literally nothing is okay. 

 

 

 

There is little that will change the mind of a dedicated bigot. Events like these attempt to convey broad empathy and solidarity with people who are silenced into the closet. A lot of people I know have felt more comfortable with coming out and feeling accepted in a heteronormative world when they see a bunch of people make a visible, conscious gesture like this. I suppose speaking out can do that as well... but I don't see most of y'all whining about how silent this makes people doing that either. It's really hard to organize and popularize big activist events that lots of people across the country can get down with, so exerting effort arguing against them when you 1) agree with their goals and 2) don't think it does any harm seems like a profound waste of time. If you really are bothered by the lack of agency you think this promotes, organize a new event? If you have a day of speaking or whatever you think is better, I'll sign right up... 

It seems like your main problem here is the fact that we have a problem with this. Yes, it's good that this is getting attention nationwide and yes, i definitely agree with their goals. I'm not advocating anything, I'm simply saying that though this is good, it's not productive in creating change. Obviously it's good that this has gotten visibility, but I don't think this is really doing much to challenge things.  

 

It's just my outside commentary. Obviously they're doing more than I am to try and solve, I'm just discussing whether or not it's a good strategy. 

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This does make sense, however really all we learned was that it exists. I didn't hear anything about why this is important, or anything that mentioned the daily struggle that these people have to endure. Yeah, it worked to get attention... if you had a class with them. But it didn't spur any provocative thinking.... because i don't know anyone at my school who is openly anti-LGBTQ people. At best, it just made people agree even more strongly with the cause, but it coerced them into thinking that doing literally nothing is okay. 

 

It seems like your main problem here is the fact that we have a problem with this. Yes, it's good that this is getting attention nationwide and yes, i definitely agree with their goals. I'm not advocating anything, I'm simply saying that though this is good, it's not productive in creating change. Obviously it's good that this has gotten visibility, but I don't think this is really doing much to challenge things.  

 

It's just my outside commentary. Obviously they're doing more than I am to try and solve, I'm just discussing whether or not it's a good strategy. 

 

Do you really think people who do day of silence stuff "[think] that doing literally nothing is okay"? Who has "coerced" them? Themselves? Can you point to one person in the history of queer activism - a single person who isn't a figment of your imaginary strawperson - who seriously thinks that the Day of Silence is a such sufficent strategy to remedy homophobia that "doing literally nothing else is okay"? Day of Silence isn't a macro-political strategy. Not every meaningful or worthwhile queer activist strategy has to result in legislative or litigational approaches challenging heteronormativity.

 

My problem isn't just that you have a problem with this: it's that I don't think you understand one of the reasons for why this approach could be viable, and you're opposing something that could help people without understanding it. What Day of Silence can do is show queer or questioning people (who are very frequently ostracized or marginalized growing up and going through school) that there are a lot of people who are willing to mark themselves as allies and attempt to empathize with their experience of being publicly silenced in a public space. It's no coincidence that lots and lots of people come out on the Day of Silence: days and events like give people confidence that they're not going to get excluded, insulted, or beaten up if they publicly express their sexuality, and that even if they will, they have a lot of people who are willing to back them up and support them. Have you talked to any queer people about the Day of Silence? Have you thought about what it's like to come out and the environments in which one would or would not want to?

 

I'm glad you find your high school so progressive, but do you really think every queer or questioning individual feels that same comfort all the time? I find the phrase "openly anti-gay" interesting. It's like you're already admitting that there's hidden undercurrent of homophobia (but not so hidden that there's anyone who hasn't caught onto it). It's easy to not have to think about what it's like to be queer when you're not queer, but homophobia is about much more than avoiding "openly anti-gay" bigots spouting hate speech. The people who hate you behind your back, but aren't "open" about their bigotry and pretend to like you to your face are in some ways more difficult to confront, because they hide more easily. Although this line is very blurry: even in the very liberal places I've lived, like Ann Arbor and Chicago, I've seen friends and family members come home from bars or clubs with bruised and bloody faces because they were interested in someone of the same sex.

 

One last comment: one of your (and this applies to lots of people in the thread) common themes is "oh, I agree with your message, I just disagree with your means". This reminds me of a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

 

First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

 

It's fun to comment on everyone else's political struggles and strategies, but when you accuse people of "deliberately failing" or acting "as if they don't care" you are making borderline character indictments of people trying (which you admit you're not) to foment change for marginalized and oppressed people. Why trust your honest intentions as an ally, when you respond to my argument of 'this is something makes some people around you feel more comfortable' with 'but but but this isn't productive in creating change.' Why trust that you care when you admit you don't do anything? The reason queer (and many other marginalized groups of) people often feel like the world is against them is because there are so, so, so many people that don't do anything to show they care about and acknowledge the injustices they face, other than occasionally giving them empty words and having politeness of avoiding insulting them when they're in the same room. In fact, these people make every excuse they can to get other people not to do anything under the guise of "well, I'm not involved in the situation, I don't even have an advocacy, I just don't get what this produces or what this does." You are being one of these people. I would invite you to think about what it's like to not be in a position where you can be an agent, where your agency will be acknowledged and recognized by people around you, and where you are silenced by a sea of benign-but-uncaring people. Maybe not speaking for a day can help with that, maybe not. But I don't think you've said a damn thing that's "productive", and if you really do care about that, I make the suggestion as a friend that you should try to change that.

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I used the phrase "openly anti-gay" just because people still use "gay" as a derogatory term, but I don't think any of them are actually against homosexuality. 

 

In the end, i think that you're right. I was looking at a separate end goal, and it seems that if the goal is to show LGBTQ people that they're not alone, then it served it's purpose. 

 

i shouldn't have said that they "don't care" that's probably unfair. I'm just saying that I believe that there are more effective ways in challenging heteronormativity, because I think that's one thing that this doesn't do. It makes people feel safe, but the problem is that we're making it so they have to be "safe" in our version of society. I feel as though integration and making people feel safe in our society isn't enough. 

 

But all in all it did accomplish its goal. 

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