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Stop ignoring social justice | The Triangle

Stop ignoring social justice

Flickr: Takver
Flickr: Takver

‘Social justice’ has become a contentious term over the past two years. It referred to the original social justice movement at first, but then its meaning shifted to that of the ‘unreasonably angry social justice warrior’ archetype. ‘Social Justice Warrior’ seems to have become the new ‘Feminist’ in that respect. The ‘stupid SJW who hates white men for no reason’ does not actually exist any more than the ‘man-hating feminazi’ that people loved to hate; there are always technical exceptions, usually resulting in strife within the movement, but in terms of statistical relevance those stereotypes are caricatures made up to discredit perfectly valid movements.

Sexual harassment is a real issue that women deal with daily. So are infantilization, devaluation, and generally receiving the short end of every possible stick, with the exception that white women get to be white. I think it’s reasonable to be angry about those things and push for them to change.

Social justice is not a new movement. It is an intersection of several previous movements including race, gender, sexuality, physical and mental disability, and other personal characteristics that push people into minority groups. There are examples of fanatical ‘activists’ who don’t understand their own arguments — largely teenagers online who haven’t grown into their own voices yet — but the movement as a whole is based in solid reasoning. Society is not fair and there is no reason it should be unfair. There is no reason not to make a new society that is inclusive and treats everyone equally.

Exactly one group is not disenfranchised in any way by the current social structure. Cisgender, straight, able, white men as a group are in fact responsible for most of the disenfranchisement, regardless of the intent of any given individual. If society were made equal then they would lose the significant social and political power that they should never have had in the first place, making them the only group with any incentive whatsoever to maintain the status quo. What a fascinating coincidence it is, that the social justice movement is usually painted as irrationally hating that exact demographic. One might suspect that such a characterization is part of a reactionary movement to discredit criticism without ever having to deal with the actual problems being criticized.

Instantly rejecting a movement for change is easier than evaluating one’s habits and actions and wondering whether the movement might have a point. It is easier to say “They’re probably just crazy,” than “Maybe I really am contributing to a serious problem.” It is significantly more convenient to continue ignoring the disenfranchised than it is to step up and push for equality, but the struggle, if successful, will result in a better world.