Recently my friend and I were in a bar playing pinball and telling a giant straight white male why he should stop yelling the N word (because hey, it was a Friday), and the rapscallion kept defending himself, saying, "I was being funny. I was totally kidding. You just don't get jokes." Um, the word you're looking for is "irony," don't mansplain my own core belief system to me.
Then my friend's eyes welled up with tears. And the guy. Kept. Arguing. Um, can I get a Skywalkeresque "NOOOOOOOO!!" from the crowd? Even if he had been completely correct (which he wasn't, about anything, including his hair), if your words are clearly hurting someone, back the fuck up and think about what is happening. Sticks and stones might break our bones, but rhetoric has an intense power rooted in our deepest emotions that may or may not enforce institutionalized power structures for better or worse. Don't be a dick! Unless you are a prince that was enchanted by an evil wizard who transmogrified you into a dildo. Then be a dick as much as you want, and good luck breaking that curse.
My friend turned away from the fratty loud stranger, shook her beautiful brilliant head, and said, "We'll never convince him." I almost laughed. Yeah, duh, I know we'll never convince him. But if we yell at five racists before the new moon's fog settles, we'll unlock the portal to fairyland and be able to return home.
We can't change a bigot's mind, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't make some noise. I think a lot of people who identify as allies don't stand up to assholes because it feels like we can't convince them. One of my best friends is always like, "Why cause a scene? Why raise a conflict? Why can't we all just be chill and have fun?" Standing up for persecuted groups won't convince our enemies, but it does validate our allies, giving people a sense that even though some people suck, there are other people out there who care about making a difference. We're not alone, Agent Scully. The world is a dark, weird, confusing, surreal place, but so are vaginas and everyone loves them! That's been the pick of the week, tune in next week to help me fish some of these pinball quarters out of this magick wishing well!