Willy, I think you’ve hit upon the exact spot where I and most of the senior Linux kernel developers disagree. I believe you can be technically brutal without being personally brutal and still get your message through. In fact, most times, your explanation of the issues will be clearer, because you’ll focus on expressing what they did wrong, rather than your own emotions.
As for your comments about the emotional mapping of Europeans to what they say, we will have to respectfully disagree. If you saying “I wish someone would kill you” is equivalent to feeling disappointment over someone’s skills as a maintainer, that mapping is just broken.
What do you say when you’re past disappointment into anger at a larger broken system? Well, in Linus’ case, it seems that he slips into homophobic slurs. That means he thinks that being gay is worse than being dead. What kind of message does that send LGBTQ developers who want to get involved with your kernel community? (I almost said “our community” there but it’s no longer my community.)
The most frustrating thing for me is that as a woman, I don’t get to participate in the same skewed emotional spectrum without harming myself professionally. I have had other kernel developers imply that I’m being “too emotional” and that I should “calm down” when I raise my voice even in the slightest. Women are socially trained to care about the community around them and other people’s feelings, and they get called nasty sexist slurs when they don’t have empathy.
From reading articles and talking to other minorities, they also feel the awful double standard here. Black men and women get labeled as violent or deviant when they speak in anger. Or get shot by police if they attempt to assert their rights. If they express anger at a system that oppresses them, they get told to pay attention to white men’s feelings. They can’t win.
When you say Europeans have a habit of exaggerating their emotions, to the point of tearing down other people, what minorities hear is “I have the privilege to not be able to care about other people’s emotions."
I would highly recommend checking out Scalzi’s post on privilege, “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is”. It explains privilege with as gaming metaphor that I think most people can connect to.