I’m beginning to understand that a big barrier some privileged people have is a deep misunderstanding of what it takes for real change. While I applaud the sentiment, some of us understand that just being “nicer” to each other is unlikely to effect real change. The people fighting for social justice understand that this fight isn’t about being polite, or getting your feelings hurt. Not at all.
We are talking about oppression. We are talking about constant and lasting harm that is being done to a whole class of people. If you think this is about feelings then of course it looks like overreaction to you. The challenge for you is to see that there’s more. The challenge for you is to really understand that other people’s experiences and context are significantly different from yours. If you can do that, you’ll be able to start empathizing with how someone could come up with such a different response than yours. You’ll start to understand where all the passionate anger comes from instead of assuming it’s just “politics” or “man-hating”.
The only question you need to answer in order to start on this journey is “Do I really care to understand?” If you do, you must start by listening. There is no fast track. And you don’t set all of the rules of discourse. This may be a hard pill to swallow. But this is the shape of the movement.