The social justice narrative is often overlooked, ignored, or even condemned, as a liberal sap-fast fueled by kids with too much time on their hands. The buzz worthy phrase, “social justice,” hardly holds momentum anymore, because now it seems to come loosely attached to any human rights issue. We often forget that at the heart of everything beneath the vast umbrella of civil and social issues is the desire for someone, somewhere, to live a better life.
People often take the defensive when dealing with questions of racism, sexism, or any other sort of -ism, really. But social justice isn’t about blaming anyone. It’s about having empathy.
There is a distinction between acknowledging the existence of systematic racism and violence against marginalized identities and being responsible for such things.
There is a way to condemn the terrorism done by radicalized people without vilifying an entire religion of people who are overwhelmingly peaceful.
There is a way to feel a deep sadness that weighs heavily on the heart without blindly assigning blame to another group of people who have fundamentally different beliefs than you.
There is a way to grieve for the fallen without propagating a moral war against an ideology you disagree with.
There is a way to notice the demands and disapprovals of a group you don’t support without resorting to violence and school-yard insult logic.
There is a way to admit you don’t know all of the facts without falling victim to your own biases.
There is a way to say, “I have privilege” without feeling a guilt that is both unnecessary and unproductive.
Don’t let your lens become blurred by what you believe, because most people in the world think differently than you. Diversity creates a better narrative, but it’s only achieved if we all have empathy for each other.
Believe in autonomy. Believe in goodwill, kindness, and most of all, believe in love. It is the most powerful defense we have against any weapon of metal or man.
Racism, sexism, terrorism, violence, and oppression may not be your fault. Failing to acknowledge and understand and act on such things is your fault. Refusing to take notice of issues because they don’t affect you is your responsibility.