It may be a by-product of moral relativism, intellectual laziness, or plain old stupidity. Whatever the cause it is one of the most asinine tactics in argument, meant only to shut down debate.
Users of this tactic attempt to invalid an opinion if the person holding the opinion does not fit into the appropriate demographic. It may have a clever name, but I do not know it. It goes something like this, “you don’t know what its like to be [insert accepted victim group] so just shut up.”
I encounter this dumb tactic all too frequently. In my experience I have seen it used extensively in academia and politics.
In the academy opinions are regularly discarded because of the skin color of the speaker. For instance, if you are white you are not allowed to have an opinion on an extensive list of issues, like civil rights, effects of colonialism, and so forth. It is a device used regularly in the fever swamps of politically correct grievance studies.
Consider the logic. People who use this tactic evidently have not. By the logic of this argument who could be qualified to teach ancient history? By what right could astronomers talk about space? Take it further. Are students from suburban homes, be they black, white, brown, or purple, ever allowed to have an opinion on inner city crime rates? What would happen to the entire disciplines of literature and history?
In politics this bully-move is employed by both Left and Right. Farm policy? Big city Democrats don’t know what they’re talking about. No military experience? Don’t dare make policy that affects the troops.
Today, an allegedly educated person said until a man grows a vagina he should shut up whenever “women’s issues,” (like abortion, birth control, etc.) are discussed. Knowing the person to be quite liberal I interjected that I could hold to that rule as long as people who do not own guns stay out of any gun control conversation and people who don’t pay federal income taxes do not vote. The humor was not appreciated.
As non-slave holders, should abolitionists have stayed out of the antebellum debate? What of those men (who it should be remembered do not have uterus’) who helped advance the cause of suffrage? Should rich “1%ers” like Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Nancy Pelosi be banned from advocating for social service programs? Should Bono and George W. Bush mind their own business instead of campaigning for causes in Africa?
My point is simple. The line of argument is dumb. You sound stupid when you use it, and look like a bully. If attempting to shut up your opponent is the best you can do, maybe you should stay out of the way and let the grown-ups discuss.