This is one of the most accurate things I have ever seen.
There are two core effects in play here:
First, there’s microaggression. Basically, this is the fact that minor shit adds up to major shit if you’re constantly experiencing it from pretty much everyone around you.
Second, there’s the fact that something which seems minor to someone in a position of privilege is often very much not minor from the perspective of the actual victim.
“Tumblr overreaction” is a function of people having a reasonably safe space to sincerely vent from the net result of all the shit they’re experiencing in their lives, not people who “want to be offended by everything”.
Anyone ever consider that the second graph is in fact accurate, but not because “lol sjws get mad at everything” but instead because EVERYTHING REALLY IS THAT APPALLING?
i feel like “tumblr” is codeword for “marginalized people speaking openly about oppression” so the dichotomy is “normal people” and “oppressed people who don’t know their place” so literally if you agree with the original post i have nothing to say to you except you’re garbage
And possibly, a lot of “I can let it slide” for a marginalized person is really “after weighing the benefits of speaking up for myself vs. the risks of speaking up for myself (which I am aware of because I experience them regularly and see them constantly), I unfortunately determined that the safer choice is to remain silent in the face of this oppression.”
That’s one of the ways marginalization silences: somebody doesn’t point out that you’re hurting them because they’re afraid they’ll be hurt more.
And surprise, surprise! When those risks are ameliorated by an online platform that reduces that threat, marginalized people aren’t as afraid of being terrorized for defending themselves and are more free to react to those microaggressions. The equation of risk vs. benefit is altered.
Another factor is the assumption that because in your every day life you don’t encounter something means that it doesn’t exist. I always say that the thing about the internet (and even more so with social media sites like Twitter or Tumblr) is that it’s like being able to hear every single coffee shop conversation in the world. Like, creators or celebrities who google their names and then attack the bloggers or tweeters they see criticizing their work and then complaining about “haters” as if criticism of them didn’t exist until Twitter came along. Previous to the internet, people thought exactly the same things, nitpicked exactly the same things, and felt exactly the same about their writing, or their acting, as before, it’s just now you can see when they talk about it. You can see the conversations people used to have in book clubs or in coffee shops with their friends. Nothing’s changed, it’s just now you know something about what people think and how they feel that you didn’t before.
The whole “tumblr people” thing is exactly the same. Just because people you take coffee break with at work, or sit with in the cafeteria at school don’t talk about something, don’t express anger about stuff, doesn’t mean they don’t feel it or think it or wouldn’t express it in a different context. It’d be like saying “tumblr people” are more horny than “normal people” because tumblr people share slash and your co-workers don’t tell you their sexual fantasies during coffee break. Or that “tumblr people” like movies more than “normal people” because they share gifsets, and the person walking their dog you see every morning doesn’t tell you all about how much they loved the detail on the robots in Pacific Rim.
Tumblr posts and reblog chains are the internet equivalent of many different kinds of conversations and interactions. Some are diary posts, where people talk about something specific that bothers them, or thrills them, that’s happened to them that they’re angry about, or happy about. Some are more like support groups, where multiple people build upon an experience, talking about how similar things have happened to them, commiserating about things they’ve had to deal with. Some are coffee shop conversations, some are book club discussions. Some are debates, and others are speeches. The point is, these types of dialogues happen EVERY DAY in “real” life with “normal people”, you just don’t hear them, but they exist, and these same thoughts are expressed, and the same micro aggressions are talked about, and experienced shared, and anger vented. All of this are feelings “normal people” you run into in your every day life feel, and express in some way or form.
Tumblr allows 2 more things to happen: 1) it allows people to connect with each other in ways they weren’t able to in the past. It allows communities to form that would be more difficult in real life where low population, geography, transportation, social anxiety, and other issues make it difficult for people with similar experiences, especially marginalized people, to connect, share their experiences and build on them.
And 2) it allows people to see conversations and debate and dialogue they’ve never been able to in the past. They can see the pain that’s been all around them but they’ve been able to ignore, or never had a chance to really witness. It let’s them hear the experiences and frustrations and happiness and yes, anger, that people all around them have felt and expressed, but they’ve never heard, or been in a context to hear.
It’s not “tumblr people” who are different, it’s us, and what we are now aware of. All of these feelings and thoughts have always existed, it’s just now we know about them. Now we can hear them, and read them, and learn about the experiences of different kinds of people and the feelings that those experiences evoke. Reality hasn’t changed, it’s just now we know more about what’s around us. The question is, are we going to learn from it, or are we going to deny it, and claim it’s all the internet’s fault?
Check it out. Somebody got offended by the original post, and this extremely thoughtful conversation unfolded, deconstructing the issue. As posters above pointed out: that’s a luxury sorely lacking in day-to-day, water-cooler, walk-your-dog conversation. It doesn’t mean that those offended feelings don’t exist, simply because they don’t get addressed. 80% of the time, when someone on Tumblr gets offended, I learn something new. I become more aware of and educated about other people’s experiences the more I hang around this joint.