Saturday, September 09, 2017

Saturday & Sundry Thoughts on Social Justice Warriors

I've recently been wandering around Quora, it can be a strange place at times, absorbing and interesting at other times - in common with the rest of cyber-land. One question which kept coming up in my "feed" thingie, day after day was: Why are there so many people now openly hostile toward “Social Justice Warriors”?

The term Social Justice Warriors (SJW) hadn't, until Quora, joined my personal vocabulary. I'd have referred to the kinds of people involved as being mainly interested in, and advocating on behalf of, identity politics. SJW is an easier mouthful. Anyway, I trundled through well over 100 answers to the question. Many were long, detailed and fell into the tl;dr category (too long didn't read). From others I've picked out a few which made some good points, earning an "upvote" from yours truly.

From Desmond Ng

Because of the negative connotations to the word.

Borrowing from Ryan J Farrick’s answer, an SJW is an individual who promotes socially progressive views, such as “feminism, civil rights, multiculturalism, political correctness, and identity politics.”. This is a good thing, hoping to make every human being equal, and in fact the term used to be used positively.

Sadly, the word has negative connotations due to the so “extremists” of the bunch. There are three types of SJWs. The first are the ones who fight to make a difference, the ones who hold rallies, get beaten up by police, who confront presidents with petitions demanding change. The ones who brave firehoses, tanks, chemical weapons and more to ensure that group A is treated like group B. These are people like Martin Luther King Jr, who stake a lot to change the world. The second are the passive types, the ones who sit at home and click on online petitions, who share Facebook posts and whatnot. These are the people who, while not making much of a difference, are not doing the world any harm. (other than spamming up Facebook pages)

But the third are the extremists. These are the ones who call critics ‘misogynists’ for not liking Ghostbusters 2016, the ones who complain about movie posters not displaying at least three different races, the ones who look at the X-Men Apocalypse poster and say it is oppression. These are the ones who harass those with even slightly different views, the people who insult everyone and accuse anyone who insults them back as hating all of their cause.

From Caelan Casa with a response from Richard Warner:

Social justice activist: Wow, the city forgot to place a ramp next to this staircase. Those poor handicapped people will have to go around. Let's build a ramp or start a fundraiser for one!

Social justice warrior: Wow, this xenophobic city didn't even try to put a ramp on this staircase! Those poor handicapped people will have to go around! Let's shame everyone who has legs and assault them if they don't boycott the stairs.

I try so hard not to roll my eyes. They'll beat me if I do.


Don’t forget that after the Social Justice Activist builds the ramp, the Social Justice Warrior who works in the government fines the Activist for building a ramp without the proper permits or union labor, then tears down the perfectly good $550 ramp and replaces it with one that will cost about $65,000 to $150,000 and will take about a year or two to complete. (This actually happened in Toronto, Canada: City says steps will cost $65,000-$150,000; man builds them for $550). (Richard Warner)

Peter Hand said:

I have only one thing against Social Justice Warriors.

They lose elections.

The issues that concern them most are of no interest to the majority of voters. In fact, a good percentage of the electorate is opposed to much of what they stand for. The SJWs are aware of this, but instead of holding their peace at election time and keeping their contentious issues out of the public face, they become louder and more strident, incidentally (and perhaps deliberately) getting more air time on television and more in the faces of people who just don’t fecking care about their issues and don’t want to hear about them. It doesn’t change anyone’s mind - the result is that independents, conservatives and (I suspect) many liberals are motivated to vote against the party associated with SJWs.

The SJWs, in which group I include the “Hillary’s Turn” feminists in the DNC, gave us Donald Trump.

Last of this nap selection, Zbigniew Łobocki said (counting the ways):

Let’s see:

Arrogant, “holier than thou” attitude
Cherrypicking facts, using false information as basis
Blowing things out of proportion
No sense of humor, sterile political correctness
Inquistorial zeal, witch hunts
Seeing only one side of the coin (amazingly, ALL people are discriminated against in some places and in some ways. For example - in many countries guy in divorce proceedings + child custody battle is a lost cause. Wife cheats on you -> court awards her custody of your children -> you have to pay her money (on top of child support). I know stories of people who loved their children dearly, and lost custody pretty much ended their lives, either literally or just by derailing them)
Totalitarian mentality, want to control words, thoughts, gestures, etc.
Failing to notice reality if it does not support their views
Doing actual damage to the progressive cause with their obnoxious, caricatural stances and behaviors

My own thoughts are in line with what James A. Baker III and Andrew Young wrote in the Wall St. Journal on 30 August in a piece headed:
Identity Politics Are Tearing America Apart

A brief snip:
The divisions in society are real. So are national legacies of injustice. All can and must be addressed. Those who preach hatred should be called out for their odious beliefs. But even as extremism is condemned, Americans of good will need to keep up lines of civil, constructive conversation.

The country faces a stark choice. Its citizens can continue screaming at each other, sometimes over largely symbolic issues. Or they can again do what the citizens of this country have done best in the past—work together on the real problems that confront everyone.

Another, more direct way of saying it as commenter "Suzie Bee" did, in one of the threads I've been perusing:
Good God, y'all, get over yourselves!


R J Adams said...

"Social Justice Warriors?" Good God, another pigeonhole! We've so many pigeonholes to choose from, and they're all getting filled up so fast there's no room for the real pigeons anymore. Before you leap into yet another, just remember you're forcing some poor bird to sleep in the cold. These sad people don't have enough to occupy their time. Bring back conscription, that'll sort them out - a good dose of square-bashing and a few fifty mile hikes will strengthen their characters and stop them squabbling over inane trivialities. The problem is their pigeonhole is more important to them than the issues they rail about. They're all lonely, sad, young people who spend too much time on Facebook and Twitter. They're desperate to join a club, hang out with similar lonesome saddys and pretend they're really someone. Unfortunately, they're not - and never will be.
As for Baker and Young - they were absolutely wrong. There's never been a time when Americans have truly pulled together. It's always been a 'them and us' society. The whole concept of the 'happy society with its family values' is a myth, along with the so-called 'American Dream'. Knife everyone in the back till you reach the top isn't a dream, it's a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

SJWs are considered leftists, but aren't their opposites in the same category, in the opposite direction to the right? The left-SJWs' rationale for keeping DACA has been met with the right-SJWs' rationale for deportation. The identification of a SJW depends on qualifiers, not quantifiers, similar to moral-immoral. Whose ideology of moral do we use to identify the immoral? I remember the days of smoking anywhere one pleased and those that were opposed to cigarette smoke were SJWs (allergies be damned!) and referred to as bitches. I hope the global-warming SJWs prevail, not the anti-global-warming SJWs.

Public debate, polarized or not, has been around since humans communicated among ourselves. There are generalized rules of debate, which will always stand the test of time, but most people feel threatened with logical debate, as the emotions intervene.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ The internet has a lot to answer for, not all bad, but neither is it all good!

Re Americans pulling together: Well, I suppose there has to be something horrendously catastrophic for that to happen, and even then, there will be splits. The USA, I've noticed, and probably blogged about it in the past, seems to have some inbuilt need to divid, within its DNA - and more so than most other nations. Republicans and Democrats front the great political divide, but Democrats are already divided within themselves, and now those divisions are dividing. Brings to mind early elementary science lessons about amoeba!

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ I see what you're saying. Though it's really the difference between a Warrior and an Activist that becomes key here, and I guess that also would apply to both sides politically - whatever the issue.

By the way, I did use that 10 commandments link as part of my post on Tuesday - :-)