Tone policing

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A tone argument (also called tone policing) is a type of ad hominem aimed at the tone of an argument instead of its factual or logical content. Ignoring the truth or falsity of a statement, a tone argument instead focuses on the emotion with which it is expressed. This is a logical fallacy because a person can be angry while still being rational.[1] Nonetheless, a tone argument may be useful when responding to a statement that itself does not have rational content, such as an appeal to emotion.[citation needed]

The notion of tone policing became widespread in U.S. social activist circles by the mid-2010s. It was widely disseminated in a 2015 comic issued by the Everyday Feminism website. Many activists[2][3][4][5] argued that tone policing was regularly employed against feminist and anti-racism advocates, criticizing the way that they presented their arguments rather than engaging with the arguments themselves.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chhokra, Shubhankar (8 April 2016). "The Myth of Tone Policing". The Harvard Crimson.
  2. ^ "Infographic: What Is Tone Policing And Why Is It Wrong?". Feminism In India. Archived from the original on 2022-08-22. Retrieved 2022-09-14.
  3. ^ "How Tone Policing Is Used to Silence Black Women". Blackburn Center. Archived from the original on 2022-06-15. Retrieved 2022-09-14.
  4. ^ "Tone-Policing and the Assertion of Authority". Blog of the APA. Archived from the original on 2022-05-27. Retrieved 2022-09-14.
  5. ^ Oluo, Ijeoma (January 2018). So you want to talk about race. Seal Press. p. 201. ISBN 9781580058827.