Tone Policing

What is Tone Policing?

Because I was constantly being told that this was what I was doing, I had to go and look it up. In essence, it’s basically focusing on HOW something is said instead of the message being imparted by the other person.

So, yes, they were right. I was tone policing without even knowing it. I was hearing what they were saying and asking what they would rather have me say though. So many people were coming at me that I literally couldn’t address them all. So, my question to marginalized, disabled people is how can we communicate in a way that we can both learn and be heard? Yes, we need to “shut up” and listen but then what? There can’t be communication when only one group is talking. I was told to ask questions and, when I told them that I had been trying to ask questions (we had asked someone what “stimmy” meant to disabled people and got an answer. No issues with that) and was often met with anger instead of answers, I was tone policing.

Infographic: What Is Tone Policing And Why Is It Wrong?

So what questions are acceptable to ask as I was told that it wasn’t their responsibility to teach me anything. So then I can’t ask questions?

When I discuss things with people, I try to keep the communication civil. That’s how I do it and am I now to assume that no one owes me civility in discussing a topic that impacts them and me indirectly (my “autism card child”)?

I read in a blog that we should treat disabled people like everyone else. I couldn’t do that here because it would have been extremely disrespectful on my end and I don’t do that to people out of respect as I have a really bad temper. So I guess I really was being dismissive of feelings. I had apologized. I didn’t want to argue. I just wanted to understand. I stated that often and was told to shut up, was called names, and laughed at because of my ignorance. Was it intentional ignorance? No. Did they know that? No. So I get how they assumed that I was just being a jerk.

When talking to a person with autism and trying to reason, however, it can be a challenge. And I’m not trying to insult anyone but being rigid and stating facts without concern of how it comes off is a trait that many have. My friends with disabled kids have been told very mean things and we have to just suck it up because, they process the thoughts and feelings of others the way we do. I remember a friend telling me that her son told her that she was old and would never find a husband. Now, that had to hurt but, we have to look at where the statement came from and the person’s disability. My daughter states the obvious often. It used to annoy me but I had to learn to accept it because, it’s part of having autism. Literally, every morning, she wakes up and tells me what day it is and shows me her phone.

I am a marginalized person and I try to look at it from that view but it doesn’t match with theirs for some reason (and it shouldn’t). So I really don’t have the ability to really relate to them. When given the example, however, about a man saying “not all men” as if the women that were discussing men were too dumb to know that, it made sense.

But, my question is, why don’t the people asking the questions to get knowledge deserve to be talked to in a civil manner? I GET tone policing. I do but disabled people told ME that it was HOW I said things that made them mad. So I have to worry about how I say things but I can’t get the same treatment? And, as a non marginalized person in THIS instance, I don’t get to ask them to speak to me in a different tone.

It’s just so hard for me to understand and this is not a “woe is me” post but I’m really trying to wrap my brain around it. I sometimes over analyze things and I really don’t want to but being objective is also something that people don’t like about me. Looking outside of yourself and trying to see the whole picture is draining and I probably shouldn’t do it or care but I do.

Should I just stop caring, read books to answer my questions, and focus on my daughter? To me, that seems like the easy option. I like things easy but I also feel that books don’t really give you all the information and can’t answer certain questions for you.

Sorry to put it in the perspective of race again but one thing I had said in my post about white people was that I don’t mind helping people but don’t expect me to do all the work for you. So, if you have read some Black history and came back with a question, I will gladly answer it. But I can’t tell you all the history that I had to find because schools erased our history and we had to go and literally dig it up. Do I get mad about some of the ignorance that is out there? Of course I do. But I have to check my own tone.

I’m working through all this in my head right now, so bear with me. So the only tone you can check is your own. No one else owes you anything. You can either stay there, ask questions which might be answered or not, don’t retort, and literally shut up while literally getting cussed out or say “fuck it!” If I didn’t care so much, I would do the latter. I think I’m more mad at myself for caring but, for my own well being, I need to do that latter at this point.

This is all a learning experience and learning isn’t always easy. That fact has to be acknowledged. And sometimes we have to unlearn things to see things from the viewpoint of others which can be uncomfortable. It’s all a process. I can’t say I like this process but I have to respect it. I don’t think I will put myself in the position I was in again yesterday. I don’t think I can take it.

Published by tallgirl79

Blogging about life. Well, my life. As a black, bipolar, mom to a teenager with special needs, well, there is always a story to tell. From my aversion to having a man to my weird experiences while trying to avoid people, it's all there. Being me is.... different but it always makes for good blogs.

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