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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY WILLIAM HARVEY, King High
The website tumblr.com, which allows users to create personal blogs to showcase their own and other users’ content, has evolved to include a more righteous purpose than just the simple exchange of animated cat images. While members of fan communities reblog fanfiction and food bloggers post Instagrams of their latest favorite taco creation, a subcommunity is emerging, that of the Social Justice Warrior. On the prowl for equality and awareness, the average Social Justice Warrior’s blog focuses on enlightening fellow tumblr users about social castes, oppression, racism and other injustices.
Jessica Wu, King High junior, has been using tumblr for a year, and began reblogging content relating to feminism about eight months ago.
“I started following people who would occasionally post items relating to political activism, and I grew interested in it because these things effect me. I am a minority woman, and I changed my behavior as I realized some of the very things I did were removing my own rights,” Wu said.
“Before I was into social justice, I really did not care about which presidential candidate won or not . . . but now I hope to really involve myself in politics and use my vote to help disadvantaged groups and by extension, myself.”
However, Social Justice Warriors have come under attack from other tumblr users because some SJWs use their mission as an opportunity to bully other groups of people and majorities. In a movement with the intention of bringing equality, some radical members resort to verbal attacks to enforce their gospel.
“I think the term ‘warrior’ is just the dumbest thing, because it’s not some kind of physical battleground. It’s activism; it’s political in nature,” Wu said. “Some radicalized Social Justice ‘Warriors’ portray the movement as brutal and give it a bad name.
“The case of Laci Green being a good example,” she said. Green, who is known on tumblr for her work in sex education and sex positivity through blogging, was viciously harassed online after an unintentional remark against Islam. “To the point of death threats, suicide suggestions and images of her apartment building being posted online,” Wu said.
For those looking to embark on the path to becoming a Social Justice Warrior, Wu has some tips for being a good warrior.
No one exists to please you
The way someone dresses, the way they talk, the way they look — it’s all irrelevant. If it pleases them and gives them confidence, it’s not any of your business to judge or criticize the way they do anything. If it’s not hurting you or your life, stay away.
Don’t lecture people about their own culture
Just because you heard something briefly in a geography class does not mean you are entitled to lead someone away from their own culture to “liberate” them. Don’t generalize or stereotype someone’s culture. Cultures are intricate things, and you have to live one to experience it.
Don’t assume sexuality
It’s 2013 and we should be past sexual classification by now. Someone’s behavior does not indicate whether they are straight, gay or transgender. Predefined gender roles have no place in modern society. A girl can wear overalls and a guy can wear skinny jeans. The conception of beauty should also be unaffected by gender or their stereotypes; you don’t see many heavy women on television or as models. We only idolize women who have thin waists and toothpick anatomy.
Pay attention to injustice around you
While some companies and organizations may tout equal representation, it isn’t always there. Be a watchdog and make your opinion heard. Having a single minority or woman in a show with an all white male cast is not true representation. Inclusion is important; media portrayals are symbolic of values. If the only thing we see are racist caricatures, it appears that people of that race are inferior and not worthy of equal representation.
Create a safe environment
Obviously, don’t tell jokes or make comments that are racist, homophobic or sexist. And never go along with those jokes if someone else posts them; it’s your job to stand up to make-me-a-sandwich humor. While sexist, rape or other offensive jokes may seem innocent, they create a “rape culture” that makes these topics seem socially acceptable. It objectifies and demeans rape victims and women as a whole. If we can’t embrace such a simple concept, we’ll never live in a truly equal world.
Check your privilege
Be true about your motive. Some Social Justice warriors may just shout “Check your privilege!” to attack someone who is not of the race or sexuality they are defending. There’s also “White Knighting,” a term for voicing support for a group you aren’t a part of without actually doing something to make a difference. It’s like trying to score good guy points instead of actually pushing for a cause, and it makes the movement all about the white-knighter instead of the actual issue.
‘Ranting not the answer’
Wylder Heard, Jesuit High senior
I think the causes these people are trying to address do exist, but there is a time and place for every argument. Very rarely does ranting about things on the Internet serve any real cause. I think that if they truly cared about all the topics they harass other people about, they would go out into the world and actually do something about it. These so-called “Social Justice Warriors” use arguments as hypocritical and generalizing as the people they attack. Hating and criticizing others is no way to be an activist about a situation. Social justice and equality are goals we should be striving for, but there’s no way rude comments on the Internet will do anything to rectify inequality.
Reported by Jackie Lawson, Gaither High