A question that a lot of us get while being passionate about social justice is, “Okay, but why do you have to be so emotional about it?”
Well, it must be nice to be able to say that from your obvious place of privilege, which allows you to separate yourself from these issues! Unfortunately, those of us who experience them on a daily basis can’t.
And while it’s all fine and good to talk about the rampant racism, sexism and phobias that plague our society today, you can’t act like they’re abstract concepts that don’t affect anyone — even if they don’t affect you.
For instance, if a same-sex couple planning to start a family talks about the fact that only 14 states in the U.S. explicitly allow them to adopt a child, would you expect them not to have some kind of emotional reaction to it?
And it goes beyond an issue just being “personal” — when your entire life is shaped by the injustices dealt to you by outside forces, it’s impossible not to have a stake in its debate.
Now, that’s not to say that someone who has no experience with a certain topic should act like they do in order to talk about it. But that’s where a very simple thing called “sympathy” comes into play.
I know it might sound crazy to some but — believe it or not — you can actually try to understand the feelings and perspectives of others without having had those feelings and perspectives yourself! Wild, right?
Acting like social justice is just a game we play we for funsies only speaks to how truly disconnected and apathetic you are to the plight of others.
So, next time, instead of asking someone why they’re getting so worked up about North Carolina passing discrimination laws against its LGBT citizens, consider why you aren’t. Is it because those issues aren’t worth getting upset over or is it because you’re privileged enough not to have to worry about being discriminated against?
Your puzzled Sawdust Editor,