The Democratic Socialists of America held their annual convention in Atlanta over the weekend. Fresh off the success of electing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the group brought a large crowd and a lot of energy to the event. They also brought heightened sensitivities, as objections were lodged against talking among the delegates because they distracted focus for some and the use of gendered pronouns, specifically the use of “guys” to address the whole crowd.
After a speaker declared, “If we want to defeat capitalism, we are going to need a party that will organize working people to fight for the demands that we want, and to win socialism,” an audience member approached the microphone to admonish attendees for talking among themselves.
Offering a “quick point of personal privilege,” the speaker, who identified himself as James Jackson from Sacramento and said his preferred pronouns were “he/him,” addressed the crowd with “Guys” to get attention. He then continued and asked “can we please keep the chatter to a minimum? I’m one of the people who’s very prone to sensory overload. There’s a lot of whispering and chatter going on, it’s making it very difficult for me to focus. Please, can we just … I know we’re all fresh and ready to go, but can we please just keep the chatter to a minimum?”
The moderator replied, “Thank you, comrade.”
An attendee with bright red hair can be seen in the video in the lower righthand corner making their way hurriedly to the microphone to object to the use of the word “guys” to address the crowd.
“Point of personal privilege,” the person said. “Please do not use gendered language to address everyone!”
“Ok,” the moderator replied.