How to talk to the Right, Part 2:

Lauren Shields
2 min readNov 18, 2016

Another Three-Point Guide for All You Weepy [White] Liberals with Feelings

You know what?

It’s not worth it.

Just walk away, at least right now while they’re gloating.

Instead:

1.Act.

In the meantime, donate to the ACLU. Give money to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence’s name. Join the Black Lives Matter movement. Register as a Muslim. Do whatever you can, but right now they have no reason to listen, because they feel they’ve won. Quit talking if you can, cause it’s a waste of your time.

2. Remember that it’s not about you.

If you must spend Thanksgiving with Racist Uncle Bob, be ready with your facts and figures, and expect him to laugh at your “childish” views. Set your own cap on what you will say ahead of time, and don’t exceed it. Remember that as a white person, if you’re calling your family out on their privilege, you’re threatening… well… their privilege. You’re not aligning the way they want you to, and that will make them mad. It’s their loss of privilege, not you personally, that’s making them so blindingly angry. Remember that.

3. Don’t let them “make” you talk about it.

It will seem to them that if they can upset you, they’re right. They don’t understand what your viewpoint actually is, so they can’t “win,” but they have, again, no reason not to bring this up because this is fun for them. Instead, perfect your Stepford Wife.

“You’re so right, dear. More bigotry?”

Just say, “You’re absolutely right,” wearing this face. They’ll know you’re lying, but what can they say? “Stop smiling and argue with me, you psycho”? As long as you stay calm, they can’t engage you. And here’s the fun part: you’ll know it’s working because they’ll just get angrier. If their anger goes up in inverse proportion to how calm you are, eventually you’ll really be smiling. Try it, and see if you don’t perversely enjoy it.

Save your sanity today, friends. You’ll need it in the years to come.

Side note: I am not saying that we should just shut up and not try to talk to other white folks about racism, privilege etc. It’s partially that lack of engagement with our own peers that’s helped to screw brown/noncis etc. folks.

I’m saying that right now, we need to marshal our resources, because the next four years will require us to actually step up in ways we have never had to before. This is a skill that nonprivileged folks already have, but that we need to learn: how to allocate our energy so we don’t just give up and curl up on the floor. Our fragility protects us and hurts others. Time to learn some new tactics.

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Lauren Shields

Comedian, Minister of Urban Outreach at Urban Sanctuary, San Jose. Author of The Beauty Suit (Beacon Press, 2018) www.laurenjshields.com