When should we say ‘if you don’t like it, then be quiet!’

This whole week I’ve been wondering when should we respond to people’s ‘dislikes’ by saying ‘if you don’t like it, then be quiet!’. I think a line should be drawn here.

1. ‘I don’t like K-pop/coffee/reading/cake/fried food/rock music.’
2. ‘I don’t like narcissists/misogyny/misandry/patriarchy/emotional manipulation/racism/white feminism, etc.’

What are the differences between the two dislikes?

No. 1 is related to preferences. Of course we can have an opinion on them, but we can’t force people to either like or dislike them. It’s a part of an individual’s lifestyle. Nobody gets hurt when you indulge in them (except maybe the individuals themselves – that’s if they eat too much of fried food and cake. For example. LOL). It helps individuals to have an enriched and quality way of life. 

No. 2 is related to how an individual functions in a society or practices/ideologies that can be toxic to individuals and society. Such behavior/practices will continue to perpetuate when there is a lack of effort in educating the public. If such things perpetuate, there will be individuals that are prone to be physically, mentally, and emotionally abused. No. 2 is an example expression that could spark a discussion which can be a part of a process to educate the public. However, the difficult part is that like with most ideologies, some appeal to certain groups or individuals and some don’t. Whatever side of the ideology that they are on, to tell people to be quiet will only make matters worst as there should be debates going on about it. 

So, we need to discern when is it valid or invalid to say ‘if you don’t like it, then be quiet!’ or to express it in Sabahan Malay, ‘kalau ko nda suka, diam-diam saja la bah!’. We can say it when it’s related to expression no. 1 as it could annoy those who indulge in those preferences or interests. However, to tell people to be quiet when it comes to human rights, such as expression no. 2, it’s just toxic and it will affect the future generation if we don’t voice out against it.

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