I remember this one time, a girl on here made a post about how she didn’t believe in gay marriage because civil unions were good enough, or something like that.
I saw the post because people I followed were reblogging it and calling her really horrible names, like homophobic cunt or bigoted piece of shit, and telling her to go fuck herself or throw herself off a bridge and die, and stuff like that. It was pretty vicious.
So I went to her page and those same type of things were being sent to her askbox and she seemed really overwhelmed, and most of all, utterly confused.
I went to her askbox and instead of telling her to kill herself, I calmly explained to her the difference between a civil union and a marriage, and why it’s not fair for gay people to be denied marriage equality. And - shocker - she had previously not known any of that! After a few more questions, she understood, and completely changed her position on the matter. She promptly made a post apologizing to people she’d offended and stated that she now understood why gay people should be allowed to get married.
But still, people kept harassing her, saying she only changed her position because people got mad at her, and that she was still homophobic and terrible and a bad person and all sorts of other really awful things that I don’t want to repeat.
I was so confused, because I saw some social justice bloggers, people who purport to desire this kind of social change, ignoring her shift in position; ignoring the great change that had taken place when someone, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one, had bothered to try and educate her. What I saw then, and what I still see all the time, makes it clear that some so-called social justice bloggers don’t actually care about educating the uninformed and bringing about social change. They just want someone to scream at.
And while it’s not your duty, or anyone’s duty, to educate the uninformed, as a person privileged with education and information, doesn’t that seem like a more productive thing to do than berating the ignorant? Doesn’t that seem like the right thing to do?
This is why Tumblr frustrates me. It’s something I like to call “hipster justice” because the way Tumblr understands social justice is a way to make themselves feel superior to others rather than a tool for education. Congratulations, I’m glad you understand how to use the word “privilege” but do you really understand the meaning of the word? Because there’s a certain privilege that comes with the fact that you are able to have more opportunity to be educated in these humanitarian philosophies than someone, say, who has only grown up in a super fundamentalist family in the midland United States and has been taught all these ideas are part of an evil socialist propaganda. Social Justice is to preach equality and love and a faith in your fellow man to help them understand what’s right, but people are using it as a tool to hate on others in exactly the way they hate being hated on. It’s perverting it.
Yes, you can be angry. Yes, you don’t have to explain shit to anyone. But if you care about the “justice” in “Social Justice” you’ll understand it also takes a willingness to be compassionate and understanding, enough to try to change minds—not make war.