Name this conversation pattern

There’s an annoying conversational anti-pattern for which I’d like to have a name. It goes like this:

  • Person A makes an argument.
  • Person B disagrees with the argument.
  • Person A assumes that person B simply didn’t understand the argument properly and re-states it more elaborately.

The crux is that it does not occur to person A that person B could legitimately disagree with them. This leads to frustrating discussions for both sides. Sometimes this is done deliberately to derail conversations, but I’ve seen people do it in good faith.

I associate this pattern with highly-privileged people arguing with marginalized people, especially if the highly-privileged person is committed to the status quo but at the same time wants to be seen as an ally. You can see this happening on Twitter every now and then.

I can’t believe I’m the only one noticing this pattern. If you know a good name for it, please let me know (e-mail me or tweet at me).


Comments or questions? Tweet to me or send me an e-mail.