Time to Stop Tone Policing Black Women

Because speaking nicely doesn’t solve injustice

Hello friends,

I was in an ARLA meeting a while back. We were talking about tone policing and I said this:

“Black women get tone policed by EVERYONE: white men, white women, Black men, other Global Majority men and women. It's how I experience the world and I know many can relate.”

For me, tone policing of Black folx, and Black women, is racism and it's anti-Blackness. It's also misogynoir and it exists in both dominating culture spaces and Global Majority spaces.

As a woman, and especially as a Black woman, I'm expected to make myself smaller and more palatable to people from the dominating classes, no matter what my own feelings are. When I don't, there is ALWAYS someone ready with a version of "if you had said it more nicely, maybe people would listen".

I keep wondering why I have to be nice for others to hear and act on my words about inequity and injustice. And why is this more the case for Black women than for anyone else. I have lost count of the times when my tone or approach has been used as an excuse to discount my words or the validity of my point.

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