Once Upon a Time, I was a Social Justice Warrior

I think I’ve made it relatively clear that I am on the left side of things in regards to politics. For those new to this, back in the olden days of Disorderly Politics, with my very first post about why I wasn’t a feminist, I mentioned rather offhandedly that I used to be far more entrenched in social-justice brand leftist politics than I am now. I decided to use this blog post to explain the reasoning behind why I was a part of that crowd and the reasoning behind why I left it. I think it’s important to have this kind of narrative out in the ether to combat the notion that anti-SJWs are inherently hateful borderline bigots, born and raised on conservative Reddit forums.

This’ll be a long one, and a lot of it’s background. So skip on down to the half-way point if you don’t want to deal with that. It’s about time that I ranted for 3,000 words again.

* * *

For some background, I am from the rural South. Southern Baptist church on every corner, sweet tea drinking, Confederate flag flying from the back of every other pickup truck-brand, Bible Belt South. I have many younger brothers, and my single mother and grandmother raised me in a trailer park. Most people around me were politically conservative, as is typical of the area. And the ones who weren’t politically conservative tended to be Southern Baptist Democrats–mostly African-American extended family who liked Billy Clinton and social safety nets and thought the gays were going to go to Hell.

My mother and grandmother are life-long Democrats out of habit. For the most part, like most poor working people, they are apolitical in the practical sense. We never talked about politics, and what they know about the political scene typically doesn’t go past what is gone over in mainstream ABC Channel news segments. There are things of more immediate concern in their lives.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been more socially liberal than most of my peers, something that can be significantly attributed to me realizing that I was an atheist at a very young age. Once you start thinking church is stupid and God doesn’t exist, it’s kind of hard to think that homosexuality or drugs or premarital sex or abortions or any number of other things are sinful. And being in some way “sinful” is the main argument you hear against most of those above topics when you live in the Bible Belt. There are other arguments, of course, but I didn’t hear those until much later.

So me and my small group of more liberal friends grew up with a bit of a chip on our collective shoulder regarding small-town conservatism. It’s to be expected. I’m of the opinion that small towns exist as a test to see if you leave when you get the chance to. I was desperate to pass that test, like many other small town kids are and forever will be. I’m sure that if my town was full of moralizing liberal hippies, I would have a knee-jerk negative reaction to that. But as it stands, my town was full of people who thought Obama was an evil Muslim socialist who wanted to take our guns, and by the time I was eighteen years old, I wanted to get as far away from that as humanly possible.

While I was looking for colleges, a liberal atmosphere was one of the main things I was after. Granted, I wasn’t gay save for a solitary girl-crush my senior year. My friends and I didn’t do any drugs, and we weren’t fans of drinking. I wasn’t promiscuous. But I already identified as a humanist at that point and was very concerned with not automatically judging anyone who indulged in any of those things as long as they weren’t harming themselves or others. I was tired of the hypocritical small town conservatism where they hated marijuana but didn’t seem to care about their neighbor being addicted to meth, and where God loved all His creations but still didn’t care much for the homosexuals. I wanted to be in a place that accepted gay people. I wanted to be in a place where I could talk about being okay with legalizing marijuana without getting yelled at about the inherent moral depravity of drugs. I wanted to be in a place where I wasn’t afraid to admit that I didn’t believe in God.

I wanted to be at a liberal arts college. So that’s where I went.

I took the ACT and a few subject tests, aced my advanced placement courses, got a full-ride to an impressive liberal arts college a 2-hour plane ride away, and I was ecstatic. Going to college was the first time I’d ever flown on a plane or taken a taxi. I was out of my element, to say the very least.

* * *

The title is a bit intentionally click-baity, as I don’t think that I was ever a full-blown SJW. I say that because the atmosphere of my new college was really great . . . for a week. Yes, this is truly one of those “the grass is always greener on the other side” stories, as cliched as that moral is.

I knew full-well about how hyper-liberal my chosen college was. This was not an example of my family being afraid of an evil Northern college rotting my brain and turning me into a Communist. My family highly values education in a very blanket sense. They don’t know what the Ivy League is, but they know college is important, and I showed them my school’s spot on the Forbe’s college list, and they were impressed. So as soon as they figured out that I got a full-ride, they had no qualms with it. They didn’t worry about the politics of the place at all.

No, all my warnings came from the internet. Like any nerdy high school senior with a home computer, I did ravenous amounts of research on the colleges I wanted to go to. I visited the official website and student blogs and web forums and Reddit pages all in an attempt to get the most accurate picture possible of my choices. The general consensus was this: Academics are A+, but its liberal politics are seriously out of hand. Like any nerdy high school senior with a serious case of Desperate-to-Leave-Her-Small-Town Syndrome, I ignored those warnings. I wrote them off as people with right-leaning politics who just didn’t do enough research before choosing their school. Of course it was a super-liberal place, why were they so bitter and surprised about it? They should’ve went to Georgetown or Notre Dame if they wanted a more conservative atmosphere.

I get it now.

* * *

As I said, my fabulous Liberal Wonderland that was everything I had hoped and dreamed of in a college lasted all of a week before I started to get tired with it all. That’s not to say that I missed the politics of my hometown, but I clued in very quickly to what I had previously thought was impossible. I associated conservatism with religiosity and repressive social practices, and I associated liberalism with live-and-let-live acceptance, and I didn’t think you could have too much acceptance. Turns out, I was wrong.

I was much more dedicated to social justice ideas upon entering college. This was mainly because of my fervent support of gay rights. I actually planned on being more of an activist for minority groups in college even though I hadn’t had much experience. Because of that interest, I was accepted into a week-long program that happened before official orientation that was all about social justice and activism and all that cool stuff.

The experience wasn’t awful, by any means. Some of my happiest memories of college–and in general–take place during this program. Despite my fervent support of gay rights, I was very ill-informed about transgender people and had a negative opinion of them that wasn’t all that warranted, and I genuinely do appreciate the program informing me more about what being trans actually meant. With that being said, it was during that seven-day program that I learned social justice wasn’t for me.

I was fine with telling people my preferred pronouns every time I introduced myself. I was fine with talking about gender identity. I was fine with acknowledging white privilege and male privilege, and I ascribed to feminism wholeheartedly. I find it important to note those things, because, on paper, it seems like I should have been all for stereotypical social justice warriorism. But I could never fully buy into it because, from day one, it came across as extremely cynical to me, and it wasn’t an atmosphere that I took kindly to even if I agreed with plenty of its points.

I distinctly remember doing a Privilege Walk on the second day of the program. For those of you who don’t know what that is: You stand in a line, and you close your eyes, and someone reads off a list, and every time a point pertains to you, you take a step forward. The idea is, the people who take the most steps have the most privilege, and vice versa. So there were questions like “My family owns our house,” “I’ve never been followed in a store,” “I’m a man,” etc. etc. I didn’t mind the walk itself as much as I minded the discussion afterwards, where we were all told to open our eyes and gaze upon our disparate amounts of privilege. It was all very somber and sad and self-pitying, and I eventually just had to make a comment about how I was actually very encouraged by what I saw because, no matter how far behind or ahead people were at the end of the Privilege Walk, we still all wound up in the same place: at a good college, with people who support us, and good prospects ahead of us. My optimism was apparently a surprising thing to hear.

The rest of the week was like that. It was lots and lots of encouraging people to navel-gaze about how bad they had it in the most cynical way possible. I remember going to a small caucus group for black students that could essentially be summed up as: “Tell us about all the even slightly racist things that have ever happened to you, and tell us about how awful they made you feel, and if you can’t think of anything or it didn’t make you feel bad, we’ll convince you otherwise.” At one point another girl, who has gone full SJW four years later, questioned the need for racial affinity groups on-campus, and she was essentially told never to question how necessary they were again because they obviously were, end of story.

I wasn’t a fan of the cynicism. I wasn’t a fan of the automatic disregarding of ideas that didn’t fit within our little liberal bubble. I wasn’t a fan of the superfluous social niceties that had you feeling like you were walking on eggshells whenever you were talking to a new person. I wasn’t a fan of the “intent vs. impact” idea they enforced that treated people’s intentions as irrelevant. So I couldn’t buy into it entirely, even back then.

* * *

 It still took me some time to become totally disillusioned, but I had already decided that the social justice activism scene just wasn’t for me. It came across as incredibly histrionic and exclusionary from the get-go. There was lots of internal drama, and lots of molehills being made into mountains for our brave campus activists to surpass, and it seemed like a very toxic environment that I didn’t want to be around. So I had to find some other way to be a good liberal.

Early in my college career, I decided to look into Democratic Socialism as a potential political label. I wound up taking a train to a four-day long Democratic Socialists of America conference in New York. I still have the pin they gave me, I still get DSA emails, and the conference convinced me that the DSA wasn’t for me either. It’s largely for the same reasons. I feel like I was privy to one genuinely productive discussion for the entirety of those four days (It was about helping the working class.), and the rest was once again a whole lot of overly-negative naval gazing about how bad we all had it for various reasons. I even mentioned to one of the friends I made there that I thought the conference’s habit of breaking up people into demographic groups to talk to them separately seemed really unhelpful, and I didn’t and still don’t think his justification for it was all that satisfactory.

In addition to that, though, there was a healthy dose of the casual straight white male hatred that is so common in SJW circles nowadays. Sitting in a room full of people having a hearty laugh about how disappointing it was that a good book was written by a straight white guy made me extremely uncomfortable, to say the very least. These were not bad people. And they weren’t stupid people. What I learned from that conference was that Democratic Socialists throw awesome house parties, and have very rousing conversations over dinner, and are willing to leave their house at 1am during a blizzard to find you after you accidentally get lost on the subway and wind up in Harlem. And their social politics are extremely off-putting when you put them all together in a room to talk about them.

* * *

My final disillusionment ultimately came during the two times when I genuinely tried to give social-justice-style community work and social activism its chance. I was already mainly against it. I thought it wasn’t nuanced. I thought it divided people more than it united them. But I was still willing to give it a chance if I thought it could do some good.

Since I care about education, I joined a tutoring program that tutored low-income, mainly minority students in their after-school programs. We helped with their homework, and went over their quizzes, did cool science experiments, all that jazz. I enjoyed doing it. I found one nerdy black elementary schooler and took him under my wing, and it was all going great. Then my location changed, and I no longer had my little mentee, and I had a new site coordinator–one of my classmates.

While going to my new location with her and the new batch of tutors I was working with, I witnessed the most ridiculously racist conversation on the face of the planet that made me drop the tutoring program entirely because there was no way I was going to work with a bunch of raging racists even if I did like helping kids study. Essentially, my Latina site coordinator thought that she’d go off on an unsolicited rant against two strangers who worked at the community center we were tutoring at. It was a rant about how she hates white people, and about how she’s so glad that all of us were people of color, and about how those horrible white boys need to get out of our way because they ruin everything and don’t care about minorities, and about how she wished white people just weren’t around. This is not paraphrased, by the way.

Those “horrible white boys” turned out to be locals in that low-income community who volunteered as coaches for a program that taught kids various sports in an attempt to keep them away from drugs and other illegal things. When she found out that they cared about minorities after all and weren’t just two white boys hogging the gym to shoot some hoops, she begrudgingly acknowledged that maybe they were okay but she still hates white people in general. That disgusted me. My fellow tutors’ reaction to it–to nod and agree–disgusted me. The fact that that racist cunt prided herself on how she was able to teach children disgusted me. And the fact that she felt perfectly comfortable telling me that she hated a race of people and wanted them gone all because my skin tone apparently dictates that I agree with that sentiment disgusted me.

Needless to say, I never talked to any of them again.

The final nail in the coffin was something very similar: me, trying to give a group with a good premise a chance and quickly becoming disillusioned with the entire thing because everyone around me was an asshole. I decided to join the new club that helped and advocated for low-income students. I’ve been very open about how I don’t think elite institutions care about class or the hardships being low-income places on students in those academic environments. I thought the club was a great idea. I signed up for it. I became a Big Sibling to an underclassmen. I participated in panels and talked to the administration about things they could do to help people who don’t have any money to spare.

Then, one night, I met the girls in charge of the group. We were sitting around a table putting candy in plastic bags and talking about the group dynamics of the club. It was at that point that the two girls who formed the group decided to–you guessed it–go on an unsolicited rant against a random person who had done nothing wrong. In this case, they overtly laughed at a white guy who didn’t appreciate people on campus constantly telling him that he had privilege because he was a straight white guy–and, as a side effect, providing him with less help and support than the “oppressed” people. This was a boy who was forced to go “home” every winter break to the backseat of a car, to live off of McDonald’s coupons for a month, whose parents abused him, who didn’t have a penny to his name. And apparently the very notion that he didn’t want to be treated like he was privileged when he so obviously wasn’t was laughable. His concerns were stupid and could be dismissed without a second thought.

And those were the people who apparently cared about low-income students. Those were the people who wanted to help, who wanted to make a group that wasn’t about racial demographics, who wanted to focus on class for fucking once. But apparently white men can still go fuck themselves. They don’t deserve any sympathy. They’re given enough of it from everyone else.

* * *

That was the point that I gave up on “social justice” and its very conditional sympathy for the downtrodden, rivaled only by the small town conservatism that cared about all of God’s creatures unless they were fags. That was when I gave up on the political ideology that kept trying to censor art and media, like it was the 1980s again and they were the pearl-clutching Christian mothers afraid that D&D and Frank Zappa would turn their children to Satan.

And maybe you could say that I’m throwing the baby out with the bathwater when I reject social justice as a concept. But I don’t think so. They had good ideas that were difficult to object to–acceptance and diversity and social support. I’m not denying that. And I’m not denying that there are many people who ascribe to social justice who are still holding onto that vague set of genuinely good ideas as principles to uphold. But social justice as a copyrighted, trademarked political institution with leaders and interest groups that lobby the government and speak on television and make course syllabi for college students . . . that social justice is ruined, in my opinion.

That bathwater is boiling, and that baby is dead.

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An Anti-SJW’s Response to Tori’s “Anti-SJW Rant”

Hey, guys! Look at me, I’m shaking it up. We have video links now! The budget for this blog is off the charts.

This is Tori. I usually like her channel. I find her an intelligent and well spoken person for the most part, though we disagree on many things. This is one of the things we disagree on apparently, and it baffles me because she delves into total irrationality that is not very characteristic of her in this video. I don’t want to act like this video is representative of her as a person, because I don’t think it is (she herself calls it a rant after all), but how someone whose usually so open-minded about things can just slam down a brick wall immediately like this is odd to me. So here’s my response to her lambasting me and my anti-sjw peeps for pretty much being sociopaths. ‘Cause you know that’s the case, right?


I want to talk about a criticism that people involved with social justice get a lot: That we care too much about people’s feelings. . . . This is an interesting criticism to me because it pretty blatantly reveals the priorities of our detractors. On the whole these people aren’t focused on making the world or people’s lives any better, they’re focused on themselves.

And right out of the gate, you totally missed the point! Yay! Now, I will be the first to say that social justice warriors care too much about people’s feelings because I think that that is the truth of the matter. When you have “safe spaces” set up with bubbles and stuffed animals and puppies for grown ass adults who don’t want to hear an opinion that they don’t agree with and go so far as to label it as harassment solely because they don’t agree with it, you care too much about people’s feelings. (I’m talking about an incident a while ago talked about in the New York Times where a college wanted to cancel a speech on gender in America that would be critical of the idea of rape culture because they saw it as harassment towards survivors of rape, and when that didn’t happen, they set up the aforementioned bubble party instead to help people who were traumatized by the horror of having to endure someone questioning their ideology.)

And I also would say that it blatantly reveals the priorities of your detractors, but I don’t see how “You care about feelings too much” blatantly points to “I’m a selfish dick who doesn’t care about you or your feelings!” I don’t see how that is the connection you made. If anything, the only blatant thing it says about the anti-sjw mentality is that it doesn’t see feelings as a valid means of criticism or a valid thing to found a movement on. As Chris Hitchens once was egregiously paraphrased: “When someone tells me ‘I’m offended!’ I say ‘I’m still waiting to hear what your point is.’ Being offended is not an argument.”

That’s what I think. It’s not that I don’t care about feelings, it’s just that I don’t think feelings should be what we base ideas around. A good example is all of the hullabaloo about rape cases in America where feminists started coming out of the woodwork to say that we should always believe a rape accusation no matter what and treat the accused person like a rapist before any proof comes out or even if proof comes out pointing to their innocence because, if we don’t do that, rape victims will feel bad. Well, I’m sorry if you feel bad, but that shouldn’t have some huge affect on how we make laws or how we societally perceive “justice.”

Another thing that I’m sure an sjw would actually agree with me on: I’m against the death penalty. I’m against the death penalty for the same reason that I’m against many an sjw antic: It’s all about feelings. It doesn’t deter violent crimes at all (just ask Texas), it hurts innocent people sometimes, and it costs a lot to maintain despite not being in any way effective at doing what it’s supposed to do. But fuck it! We feel bad because bad things happened, and someone’s gonna pay for it now! It’s all about people feeling bad.

I don’t go out of my way to hurt people’s feelings. It’s not like I’m anti-sjw because I just love getting under people’s skin and making them feel bad. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, and I’m not wholly apathetic to how people feel. Feelings are what distinguish us from lesser animals; I like them a lot. I’m anti-sjw not because I don’t care or am actively malicious but because I think that basing arguments around something as subjective as feelings doesn’t help objective reality. Feelings can be an element of your argument, of course, we’re not emotionless robots that should only be appealed to through reason and nothing else. But when they start dominating the majority of your rhetoric, that’s going too far. It’s like the whole “Women are afraid to walk by themselves at night.” thing that apparently proves we have a rape culture even though that fear in no way matches the reality of the situation that men are the ones more likely to be hurt walking by themselves at night than women. But since women feel like they’re less safe, it must be a problem. It’s like that faulty “1 in 6” college girls will be raped statistic that hits you right in the feels because it sounds bad, so they keep using it, even though it’s ridiculously overinflated and proven to be ridiculously overinflated. Feelings often do not coincide with the reality of the situation, and when you focus on them, you’re not focusing on the reality of the situation anymore.

And what’s with the whole “You don’t care about making the world a better place, you just care about you” talk? Where in the hell did that even come from? I genuinely do not understand how she made this leap in logic. If anything, our ideas of what helps society don’t line up. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about making the world a better place. That just means that we don’t agree on what things specifically will make the world better. I personally do not think that the social justice mentality will make the world a better place. I think it would make the world a worse place and turn us into a nanny-state that infantilizes its populace, and that’s why I don’t like it. If I thought it would make the world better, I wouldn’t be against it. What, do you think I’m actively against stuff that I know will make things better because I’m just that much of a dick? No. Of course not. I do not think that what social justice warriors are doing is a good thing. That’s not to say that I’m against social justice. That’s one of the problems with this argument. It equates the general idea with people, so if you’re against the people, well, you must be against the idea too. I’m all for social justice. I’m just against how the typical social justice warrior (which is a very particular breed of social justice activist–there are lots of activists who I like because they avoid the sjw pit fall) goes about trying to achieve social justice.

  But obviously we can’t always make sure that people aren’t offended by anything we say. And, in my opinion, sometimes people are offended by stupid things. So in my opinion, deciding what things are problematic based off of what offends people isn’t very helpful.

Yay, reasonableness!

But for me, being politically correct. And, let me just say, that I hate that term because it was invented by the right wing media as a means of trivializing people calling out bad behavior.

Doesn’t mean it’s not a useful term. Douchebags make helpful terminology all the time, and “politically correctness” may reek of right wing bigotry to you, but that in no way invalidates it as a term in of itself.

For me, being politically correct or non-problematic isn’t about not offending people, but it’s about not perpetuating bad ideas.

And . . . this is where you lose me. Well, you lost me way before this, but this is a very objectionable statement. “Political correctness” and “not perpetuating bad ideas” have the same relationship as “the law” and “what’s morally right.” They coincide sometimes, but definitely not all the time. It’s the Javert problem: To be lawful or to be right? It’s the social justice warrior problem: To be politically correct or to be right? “Political correctness,” definitionally would just mean “engaging in things with tact.” I’m all for tact. But, in practice, that’s not what political correctness entails. Political correctness often entails just not talking about stuff that should probably be talked about because talking about them “perpetuates bad ideas.” Political correctness makes it pretty much impossible for someone to say “Hey, I think you’re wrong about this.” or “I think you’re being hyperbolic.” or “I think you’re over-reacting.” because political correctness isn’t about intellectual integrity, it’s about making people feel good.

You’re not allowed to tell the black Harvard student who thinks that racism is rampant on her campus because people look at her weird sometimes, which must be because she’s black, that she’s over-reacting and seeing racism where maybe that isn’t the first conclusion she should be coming to. You’re not allowed to question whether or not rape culture is a valid idea. You’re not allowed to talk about the gray area of alcohol and sexual interaction. You’re not allowed to espouse pro-life sentiments. You’re not allowed to say that maybe black people have a few things that they can improve on as a cultural group too, and that it’s not just white people doing bad things. You’re not allowed to say, “Being gender queer and transexual at the same time is confusing because if gender is fluid why is gender also so important to you that you’re trans?” You’re not allowed to ask what transitioning is like for a trans person. You’re not allowed to do any of those things because those are all “problematic” and probably some kind of ____ist. And we’re not required to be educators, but sit down and stfu while we talk at you about our problems that you can’t question or comment on at all because it’s our turn to speak now.

That ^ is political correctness. How does wanting to actually talk about what constitutes rape perpetuate bad ideas again? Because I was told to my face by a teacher freshman year that asking questions about sexual consent when alcohol was involved was problematic and victim-blamey. (For the record, my question was: “It confuses me how you can say that after a girl has had X number of drinks than she’s incapable of giving consent, because lots of girls can hold their alcohol perfectly well, and lots of girls still give genuine sexual consent even when drunk. So saying that a drunk girl is incapable of giving consent is odd, especially in situations where the guy is also drunk.”) That was an unacceptable point to make, apparently.

Bad ideas are things like stereotypes that disproportionally increase the incarceration rates for certain groups of people. . . . Bad ideas are things like slurs that can perpetuate the marginalization of certain groups of people.

My response would be “Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.” And while, yes, it’s important to acknowledge that they are indeed generalizations that don’t apply to entire groups of people (which is where many people fail and become “problematic”), the stereotype in of itself can be helpful. The human ability to generalize has it’s downsides, but it’s ultimately there because it’s conductive to survival. Stereotyping is what tells you to not tell people that you’re gay when you go down to rural Appalachia and run out of gas on a back road. Stereotyping is what tells minorities to avoid people who look like skin heads. I also feel inclined to point out the social justice hypocrisy of preaching against stereotypes of minority groups even though social justice warriors seem to love to perpetuate the “violent male” and “helpless woman” stereotype or the “evil white person” and “ignorant minority who just don’t know no better” stereotype. Generalizations are awesome when they’re not about you/help you out, right?

Also, I don’t see how political correctness really helps with actual _____isms. You say it’s about not perpetuating bad ideas, but how is just not allowing certain things helping, really? If someone is racist, well they’re not going to say a slur around you because they know better, but that doesn’t stop them from being racist. If someone disagrees with an opinion that you hold but doesn’t give voice to what they think, they don’t stop disagreeing with you, you just aren’t given the chance to hear what they have to say. And if you’re going to say “Ah, but political correctness helps people to listen and learn, so they don’t have to speak.” As it turns out, it’s really hard to outright change someone’s mind when they’re not allowed to actually talk about stuff. If an idea can’t be debated, it’s hard to be swayed from it one way or the other. Also, as I pointed out before, I don’t understand how many “problematic” things are even problematic.

No one is going to single-handedly change the world, but by taking your single slice of the world seriously, you’re doing something pretty decent for it.

What makes you think that people who aren’t social justice warriors don’t take the world seriously? What, they don’t take it seriously because they don’t go out of their way to make sure that what they’re doing isn’t problematic? What makes you think that they don’t try to be good, nice people to those around them. What makes you think that they don’t try to contribute to something that they think is bad? I know that try to be one of the “lead by example” types by not doing what I spout on the internet about being bad. I stay away from “black events” on my campus because, if I’m going to hang out with you, it will be as a person, not as a black person. I refuse race and gender based scholarships even though many are offered to me and many would help me because I don’t think that they’re fair. I think scholarships should be based on merit and income.

More women go to college and teach at college, so it’s not like being a woman in academia is hard, and affirmative action officially disadvantages white people at this point. I at least think that, if we’re going to have them, we should have more arbitrary scholarships like “Green Eyes” and “Curly Hair.” I’ll happily take a scholarship for poor people though. I do take my world seriously and care very much about maintaining my personal integrity on the matters that I think are important. And the assumption that I don’t just because I don’t follow the same guidelines as you is ridiculous. It’s along the same lines as a fundamentalist Christian looking down their nose at Buddhist as someone who doesn’t take life seriously. Ivory tower much?

Here’s another criticism: the whole “why is this important when people are starving in [insert country here] argument.

I would agree. I hate this argument. I think it’s stupid and unhelpful. People can only care about so many things at one time, and it generally suits you better to care about things that are immediately relevant to you. The plights of people in a completely different country typically are not. If you do choose to care about those places, more power to you. It’s a difficult thing to do. I’m sure there are plenty of anti-sjw’s out there who use this argument like an ace in the hole, and I don’t think they’re helping. I don’t think many of them really care about the plight of other countries, just like most people don’t care about it. Even sjw’s don’t really care about it half the time. (Can you really tell me that you were deeply invested in Africa’s health care system before Ebola became relevant news in America, people who were shaming everyone for only caring about Africa when it was relevant?)

That being said, when bring up the plight of people in other countries, it’s not to ask “Why do you care about Z, when X is happening in India right now?” I bring up plights of other countries in order to shed light on something resembling relativity. I bring up the genuinely misogynistic ideals of many men in, say, Saudi Arabia, when talking about feminism in order to point out how they probably shouldn’t be throwing the word “misogyny” around to describe a homeless man calling a passing woman “Beautiful” when she walks down the street. I bring up the genuinely fascists government mandates of Egypt when talking about race riots in America to point out that maybe you shouldn’t be acting like you’re in a race war where you have no power at all even when your city is practically run by people of your race, voted in by you and supporting your actions (looking at you, Baltimore). I bring up the situation in Ukraine where people are actively disgusted by handicapped people to the point of not helping someone in a wheelchair onto a bus because “fuck that no-walking freak” in order to point out how maybe using the word “retarded” to mean “stupid” because word meanings change and depend upon context isn’t a slur the same way calling someone who is actually handicapped “retarded” is a slur.

I bring these foreign situations up not to ask you why you don’t do something about those things instead. I know you can’t do anything about something happening across the ocean. I bring them up as a means of pointing out how hyperbolic to the point of counter-productiveness your rhetoric has become. How hyperbolic to the point of insult your rhetoric has become. It diminishes your entire cause. It makes the larger problems seem less important. I’m not even saying the problems social justice warriors bring up aren’t bad. Maybe they are. Maybe they could stand to be fixed. Everything can be improved somehow. But to take a magazine ad that shows too much of a woman’s breasts and call that misogyny; to totally ignore that homeless people are the demographic most abused by police in America, not blacks, just so you can spout rhetoric about how we’re in a race war. Doing stuff like that diminishes your entire point because it makes those harsh, sounding scary words mean nothing after a while. If everything is racist. And if everything is misogynist. And everything is ableist. And everything is homophobic. And there’s no distinction made in how you talk about it, soon those words grow to mean nothing. They turn into simple buzz words that you can no longer use to gage the seriousness of a situation because they’re used o describe everything. It’s an insult to people who have experienced actual misogyny to take magazine ads you don’t like and treat them with your rhetoric like they’re commensurate to women not being able to go outside without a man. When you use hyperbolic rhetoric, that’s what you do. I’m not trying to “derail” the issue. I’m trying to get you to acknowledge that every issue falls on a gradient, and maybe if your issue is dark gray, you shouldn’t talk about it like it’s the deepest of blacks. Dark gray is still bad. But it’s not the same thing.

That’s not to say what you’re talking about isn’t an issue. That’s not to say that no improvement can be made. But you have to look at it with perspective. If the issue is not a mountain, don’t treat it like a fucking mountain. Regard the problems with the level of severity that they actually are. When you make it seem like a bigger problem than it is by using buzz words that don’t really fit but “get people talking,” you’re once again not dealing with the actual issue. You’re dealing with the shadowy ghost of the issue that you made yourself because the shadow is so often scarier than the real thing. You are not living in a misogynist totalitarian regime a-la The Handmaiden’s Tale, and acting like you are doesn’t do much to address the real problems that still exist. You are not living in 1930s Arkansas, and acting like you are doesn’t solve police brutality. As it turns out, when you make something into some huge Boogeyman of a problem, people expect a huge Boogeyman of a problem, and when that’s not what they find, they’re kind of at a loss of how to deal with it. And even worse, it makes the actual problems harder to solve because “Well, we didn’t find that huge Racist/Sexist Boogeyman that you said was looming over everyone all the time, so that must mean that there are no problems!”

I do think that there are issues that are non-issues. And it annoys me when people focus on things that are of no consequence.

Good.

That really is the bottom line here. These people who are so ardently opposed to social justice don’t care about making the world any better. They don’t care about issues that they use to derail conversations. These people don’t give a damn about other people. They don’t care about issues that matter, really. And that’s why you don’t see me giving them the benefit of the doubt. Because they don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. And it would be a waste of my time. A complete and utter lack of empathy is not to be respected, and I don’t respect it.

Well, that’s sad, because I respect you. I respect what you’re trying to do, even if I think the social justice warrior mindset in counter-productive and dogmatic at times. I listen to your points. I even agree with some of them. But my disagreeing with how to go about things apparently makes me an utter sociopath unworthy of even being heard out this one time.

I don’t ascribe to social justice warrior tenants because I think they’re harmful. I don’t think that they help those who need help. I think they perpetuate problems. I think the identity politics of social justice warrior-ism is utterly counter productive because it further divides people along race lines and gender lines and sexuality lines and what have you. It’s separatist, tells one group of people to sit down and shut up and not to question anything because they’re tainted by the original sin of having the same skin tone or genitalia as wrong-doers in the past. It makes it seem like arbitrary differences are insurmountable. It attaches identities to labels and ideologies so whenever that ideology is questioned people feel like it’s an attack on them. It infantalizes people. It has impossible, ever-changing standards that no one can live up to, and then turns around and says that those standards should only apply to certain groups. I don’t think it helps. I don’t.

And I do care about making the world better. You know how I try to make the world better? I try to treat people how they deserve to be treated. Hell, when I graduate, do you know what I want to do? I want to help develop low income communities by providing them with more opportunities for social growth and self-improvement. You know, college pamphlets next to the cash register in liquor stores, better job and school resources, bright murals to dissuade gang violence, educational resources to help people with mental illnesses so often ignored or stigmatized in low-income settings, helping people take classes in prison to discourage toxic prison cultures. Those kinds of things. But I don’t care about other people. I don’t want to make the world better. I’m just selfish and have no empathy for the plights of other human beings.

And if you think this whole not caring thing is cool, if you are into romanticizing apathy to be cool and edgy . . . I’m done with that. I am not wasting my time.

I guess I won’t waste my time either.

See you later, guys.

Kindly,

B