*This is a growing article. It will be updated to improve its comprehensiveness.*
Silencing tactics are just what the name says - ways to shut down the voices of others. Silencing tactics are not acceptable here. Bear in mind that in many cases whether or not something is a silencing tactic is situational, e.g. a statement that is an ST when employed by an oppressor-group member against an oppressed-group member may not qualify as such when employed in the opposite direction. Some common types and examples of such are given below:
- Criticizing Tone:
"If you didn't sound so angry, more people would listen to you."
Criticizing the tone of voice used by an oppressed-group member in discussing hir oppression is a silencing tactic. It essentially admonishes the oppressed to be quiet, to be polite, and to ask for the oppression to be removed, presumably at the whim of the oppressors. Change has never come about in this way, nor will it. Anger, fear, bitterness, passion, etc. are all reasonable emotional reactions to the state of oppression and any attempts to erase those emotions from a discussion are inherently disingenuous.
If you in earnest and are concerned that you may be engaging in this silencing tactic, you can try one of two things. 1) Simple: don't mention tone of voice at all, because chances are you're making a mistake. 2) More complicated: imagine yourself in a situation which you consider inherently unfair (perhaps a blatant case of favoritism in the workplace or the classroom) and ask yourself if you would appreciate the tone argument you're trying to make if it were applied to you.
"My teacher gave an A to Person X even though hir paper was riddled with grammar mistakes and it wasn't even in the format outlined in the syllabus. I got a C, even though my argument was of a much higher quality! I am going to take this to the dean. It's been going on all semester! It's not right!" [Pretend to yourself that this impression of the situation is somehow objectively true, even to the outside observer to whom you are voicing your complaint.]
"Whoa, whoa. Yeah, your paper is better but getting pissed off about it won't help. Maybe you should talk to your teacher and ask hir nicely to reconsider the grade. Just because ze said no the first time you asked, doesn't mean ze will say no this time, I'm sure."
Reading an example like this will seem to be a case of a straw-argument. An example set up specifically to be simple to counter. Yet situations like this do happen in academia, and you will be hard-pressed to find someone who would make the foolish argument of the second person. We accept that being upset is a reasonable response to such a situation. Accepting that it is also a reasonable response in cases of oppression will go a long way towards avoiding this silencing tactic.
- Making Threats:
I won't give a specific example of this particular tactic, as such statements are usually quite disturbing. If you are interested in examples, you can read this Guardian article by Melissa McEwan about her prominent but not-unique experience. The silencing nature of this tactic is quite obvious. Attempting to instill fear in someone, such that they cease advocating for themselves, perhaps leave the internet community, or even restrict their movements in the non-digital world (all examples of the effects of threats that have occurred and continue to occur in the anti-oppression online community), is silencing. Full stop. Don't make threats!
- Trolling: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29
- Making Offensive "Jokes"
- Using Slurs