“Social justice blogging. It can be a clusterfuck. Say one thing wrong when you were 18, and you’ll start receiving death threats because you were once young, didn’t know any better, and used a word that marginalizes certain groups. Being older, you apologized, but social justice doesn’t know how to forgive and really doesn’t know how to forget.
This, in large part, is due to a very underdeveloped idea of the term “justice.” I doubt few have ever really sat down to think about what they mean when they write that. Nor, I doubt, have they really sat down to think about the word “oppression” and how it intersects with justice.
Privilege, on the other hand, is a word social justice bloggers know very well. White and blogging about people of color? Check your privilege. Cis and blogging about transgender people? Watch your privilege. If you slip up and say something silly, well, your privilege is showing, and you shall be banned. Indeed, it’s almost as if one can only be a social justice blogger if one is completely and utterly lacking in privilege. The perfect social justice blogger almost must be trans, female, a person of color, lacking in at least one limb, carrying at least 50 extra pounds, and possibly suffering from some sort of learning disability to be allowed to even think about social justice.”
(Read more at link)
“…Many people are oppressed in some way. And you’re going to be stirring some unnecessary shit by claiming your oppression is worse than someone else’s or that someone is not respectful enough of your oppression. Oppression must not be reduced to one thing, such as class or even gender, it must be painted with broad strokes to encompass its many faces. Young defines five (exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence), and I won’t go into whether or not I think those are the best criteria, but I will say that her fundamental argument that oppression is everywhere, rampant, and expressed in many different groups is what is particularly critical. What’s more, her idea that we can’t go arguing about which is the worst oppression is important because we’re wasting our time in making the world a more just place by trying to arrive at a monolithic concept or a rigid hierarchy.”
- Avoid thinking of justice as one thing that you created. You are not a special snowflake and nor is your concept of justice. No one owns justice and your idea of what justice means may very well hinder someone else’s idea of justice.
- Let’s listen to each other. Let’s stop this bad habit of writing, “I didn’t really read what you said, I’m just so offended that you said that earlier thing so I’m going to skip over everything else you said and tell you what I think about that other thing.”
- When we listen, let’s allow people to change their vocabulary. Because justice cannot be just if it is a finite concept, we need to make room for people redefining their idea of justice.
- Be accepting of other people’s oppression and don’t try to one-up it. I will foreverquote Flavia Dzodenon this, “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” Oppression happens to many different types of people, and some people who are oppressed in one way may be privileged in another way. This does not mean they are not oppressed and deserving of social justice.
- This should go without saying, but as recent tumblr events have born out, we have to say it: if someone upset you with something they said. If someone trod on your oppression or your idea of justice, don’t issue them with death threats. That is not listening. That is not justice. That achieves nothing. And yes, I am well-aware that PoC and trans people receive death threats everyday and being upset about some white lady receiving a death threat seems insensitive to that, but you know what? Issuing death threats against ANYONE is problematic, and it is especially problematic when that person is trying to be an advocate, and occasionally failing.”
Above anything, social justice requires the empathy to see another’s oppression in addition to your own. It also requires the empathy to know that we live in a fucked up society that has put a burden of violent, oppressive systems in place that marginalize many different types of people and because of that, we often use language that is problematic, but we don’t get anywhere by shooting the messenger of messed up structures. We get someplace by investigating the systems, working to parse out that language, and listening to everyone else in this debate.”
cos i absolutely hate it when people use “social justice blogger” as a “dirty” term or talk about how people on tumblr are “too sensitive” or “can’t take a joke.”
the people who issue death threats and drag up things a person said years ago as “proof” of their “bigotry” are giving the online social justice movement as a whole a terrible name.
but it’s also easy to fall into the trap of “you said a bad thing, so everything you say after this is invalid” or the “you participate in a binary/social group/minority group that is problematic, therefore you are scum” idea.
in the end, we all say and do awful shit. the important thing is that we get good dialogues going with each other so that we can reduce the bad things we say and do and become more aware of the systems of privilege and oppression that exist in our daily lives.