JUNE 29, 2018 BY MORGAN GUYTON
There’s nothing civil about taking up your cross, and there’s nothing more dangerous in the world that we’ve created today than civility.
- Civility means not creating a disturbance (e.g. “letting people eat in peace”).
- It means minding your own business and
- being pleasant and good-natured in your interactions with others.
- It means keeping your conversation safe and vanilla with people you don’t know well.
- It means being compliant and agreeable when authority figures demand something of you.
- If you’re pleasant,
- mind your own business, and
- don’t burden other people, then you have performed your moral duties to the world entirely.
Civility is basically the moral code of suburban white culture.
In the law and order version of morality, this understanding of civility is the definition of citizenship.
- raise your voice or
- say anything that deviates from the autopilot banter of generic, interchangeable capitalist transactions, because as long as you trust the authorities and say yes sir and yes ma’am, everything will be fine.
when we are socialized to make civility our highest virtue, it’s very hard to break out of that civility when great evils require us to respond by doing or saying something unpleasant.
when we are socialized to make civility our highest virtue…
To be disciplined means that my behavior is intentional and strategic.
Sometimes discipline means smiling and shaking hands with someone who has done tremendous harm and forging a mutually beneficial temporary alliance.
Discipline can also mean shouting “Shame!” at a government official in a Mexican restaurant as a strategic means of political pressure.
there are people who think that civil disobedience is supposed to be polite.
A certain kind of white pacifist goes to political events where getting handcuffed is a prearranged photo op.
Pleasant photo op “civil disobedience” doesn’t apply any political pressure; it’s simply a means of performing for oneself.
Jesus didn’t get crucified for having impassioned scholarly debates with religious leaders.
It’s being disruptive and disagreeable as part of a strategic expression of solidarity with people whom the civil folks feel fine ignoring.
So be merciful. See the humanity in everyone.
Offend. Resist. And do it all in love.