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Choosing Ignorance: People Against Activism

Updated on April 14, 2015
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I have a B.A. in English with a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies. I have been a goth since I was fourteen, and pagan since fifteen.

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people doing the oppressing."

Malcolm X

Photograph by Rowland Scherman for USIA 28 August 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.
Photograph by Rowland Scherman for USIA 28 August 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. | Source

I have been told, many times, "We could have used you in the sixties." I would have loved to have been there during a time when young people were involved in things that matter. Now, the most common topic of conversation is "Did you see that show, last night?" Who cares? When I am getting to know someone, I want to know how they feel about important issues. I want to know I am talking with someone who has done their research, and that they have a passion to make this a better planet; unfortunately, it is difficult when many think any media source is the same, and will tell the truth. That is usually when they name Fox News as their primary source; that tells me everything I need to know--that they are being mislead by a political agenda.

Are you an activist?

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Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mathew Ahmann in a crowd.] 28 August 1963 By Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mathew Ahmann in a crowd.] 28 August 1963 By Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

Race

Martin Luther King was not promoting that blacks fight against whites nor was he creating the concept of racial inequality because what he spoke about in speeches was happening every day. He was telling us that he wanted racism to stop. Had it not been for the countless protests by blacks and whites, racism would be more legalized than it is right now. Many young people are unwilling to read history because it has already past. They do not notice how the events repeat themselves; instead, racism is seen as nonexistent because there isn't segregation in schools. According to them, the powers that changed the laws waved their magic wand, and hate was replaced with peace, but non-whites know it's far from over.

"Racism is there and it is constant. You're tired of hearing it? Imagine how fucking exhausting it is living it."

Jon Stewart

Political satirist, Jon Stewart brings light to the situation by exposing how racism is the source of events such as the one in Ferguson. Furthermore, he brings up local examples of racism in New York. The clips he shows from Fox News are examples of how the show misinforms its viewers by making them believe racism is no longer a problem. The reality that many watch the program to inform themselves about world events is frightening considering its extremely biased and dangerously warped perspective.

Women's Suffrage Parade in New York City, May 6, 1912.
Women's Suffrage Parade in New York City, May 6, 1912. | Source

Why do you think so many young people refuse to be involved in activism?

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Gender

Feminism is responsible for women having the option to vote, decide who they want to marry—as well as get divorced, go to college, be employed where they want, and so on; unfortunately, many young women today do not understand this reality. They believe that feminism is about hating men, being emotionally unbalanced, and lesbian. Thankfully, anti-feminism activists are rarely knowledgeable enough in feminism to have an educational debate to defend their own views. Meanwhile, their freedom to speak against anything came from the very thing they protest against. Without feminism, they would be stuck going along with whatever the men in charge want.

While the self-identified anti-men “feminists” of today are largely to blame for why society believes the movement is actually about overpowering men, it is important to know these women are just as bad for the movement's original goal as the ones who condemn it. First wave feminists were fighting for the right to vote, and won. The second wave brought more gendered social issues into the spotlight such as how race impacts any woman's experience, and fighting things like domestic violence, sexual harassment and marital rape.

We are currently in the third wave of feminism. For those under the impression that women have gained enough rights and believe feminism is useless, don't forget the recent times laws have been threatened and/or changed as a backlash for the rights women were given. For example, laws making abortion and birth control illegal, laws redefining rape, and so on. These are the current issues of the movement that outsiders believe is about hating men.

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net | Source

LGBT

Due to the growing approval of same-sex marriage laws, the younger generations may not know how much has changed, or why pride is still vital to the LGBT community. Gay pride week marks the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. On June 28th 1969, the police department raided the Stonewall Inn because it was filled with homosexuals. Gays have been fighting for the right to be themselves in public for a long time. Simple acts of affection or suspicion that someone may be gay has lead to brutal attacks.

An example of a recent event was in a Texas airport. One man assumed another man was gay because he was wearing pink. The pink shirt was used as a reason for the other man to verbally and physically attack him. You can find the video here. As much as it is a dream come true to have so many states approving same-sex marriage and adoption, gays are still not entirely safe.

Critics

A form of anti-activism comes from some snobby observers. Personally, I have been asked, “Why do you call yourself a feminist? One group isn't more important than another; so, why not call yourself a human rights activist?" Well, of course, one group is not more important than another; however, this know-it-all tone rejects the proof that feminism is about all groups. This question mocks the very reason for feminism to exist. Being a feminist is not just about women; it is about being involved in all social issues to create equality regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

What do you think of activism?

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Blaming Activism

Many anti-activists paint activism as nothing more than a way to promote inequality when in fact it is about bringing light to genuine injustices that occur every day. Uneducated observers look at activist protests as crazy people on a mission. The point of these protests is to bring attention to ignored problems. It is easy to assume all activists are out of control and illogical because they're passionate, but there's a high chance these observers are in some way impacted by what is being protested against; therefore, it is worth listening to what each protest is about, and how it may be for your benefit. We are all members of the same society. If we work together to end suffering, where ever it is, we won't have so many laws legalizing inequality.

© 2015 social thoughts

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  • social thoughts profile image
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    social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

    Pagesvoice, that is so true! Thank you for your comment!

  • pagesvoice profile image

    Dennis L. Page 2 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

    Activism is not a dirty word or deed. Activism means we are not accepting of the old guard way of doing/accepting things. Activism means, "NO!" Activism is what this country was founded on. I am proud to be an advocate on a myriad of causes and quite frankly, I think complacency is a lazy way out of fighting for what is right and wrong.

  • social thoughts profile image
    Author

    social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

    Thank you for your comment. Nicely put!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

    This country was founded on activism, but for whatever reason, activism has become a "bad thing" now, and I don't really understand why. I know more and more people are complacent...apathy is growing rapidly....but I think bottom line...people are afraid to speak out, and they just don't feel like they are meaningful. I happen to know...not think, but know...they are wrong in thinking that. I've lived activism for almost five decades now, and it is possible to make a difference.

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