What it is: Making a rhetorical argument against an argument you have made or otherwise believe in, in order to further discuss the weaknesses of your argument so that you may strengthen it.
What it is not: Going into a space where your personal viewpoint is specifically the opposite of the viewpoint of regular members and proceeding to argue, without regard to etiquette or basic rules of rhetoric, that they are wrong.
If you are going to do the latter, then do not say you are playing devil’s advocate. You are, at best, going to annoy the shit out of someone. (Of course, in my experience, those playing “devil’s advocate” in such a way are overwhelmingly trying to use the phrase as a smokescreen for the fact that they are trolling with intent to cause maximum harm to any given community.)
Here’s the deal.
Bigotry is systemic. By definition. This means that one person doing one bad thing against another person is not bigotry. One person doing one bad thing against another person as part of a larger cultural pattern is bigotry.
A female teacher telling a male student to not pursue a career in writing is not bigotry. It’s not a very nice thing to do, and I personally believe that teachers should encourage all students to go into any field they have an interest in pursuing, but it’s not bigotry.
A teacher telling a female student not to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (henceforth referred to as STEM), however, is bigotry. This is because of the larger social structure in which women are told they can’t do math or science — they are taught that the female brain is somehow inherently incapable of understanding logic, at least to the degree that it would be required to succeed in those fields.
Women are taught this as part of an even larger context in which women are thought to be less intelligent than men, period. For an excellent example of stupid, feel free to look up anything about wandering uterus or the Victorian era.
Bigotry is a one way street. This is due to the fact that bigotry, which is innately systemic, causes social hierarchies in which one status is valued as more important, or default, than another status. In the case of race, Caucasian is obviously the high status, whereas ethnic minorities are considered low status. In the case of gender, men have the higher, default status. In the case of sexuality, heterosexual has the higher, default status. Etc. etc. etc.
It is not physically possible for two groups of the same identity marker to have bigotry against one another. There is no reverse racism, sexism, or anything resembling heterophobia.
That’s what’s up.
Since trolls like to repeat each other, I think it’d be nice to have a handy, linkable place that addresses their concerns (by which I mean, proves what a bunch of reality-denying information-ignoring illogical asshats they are…..).
Comments may or may not be moderated, depending on whether or not I like you, and whether or not you threaten someone. Yes, this is completely arbitrary. No, this is not a violation of free speech. Someday I might be arsed to explain why.
I also observe the right to post pictures of brain bleach at random.