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SocialJustice

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You can also view this article at https://medium.com/non-monetized-together/it-should-not-be-an-insult-to-call-somone-unfair-8ae3d6711085

One of the biggest blows to the battle for social justice is that all the “-ism” and “-phobic” words have become insults. You can’t have a serious discussion about racism, sexism, classism, or homophobia anymore because so many people will feel personally attacked if anybody suggests to them ways they could work towards a fairer society. These used to be movements focused on equity and transformative conflict, yet they are now often used to spread moral superiority and petty conflict.

It’s important to instead discuss inequity as what it truly is, a social issue caused when people express viewpoints that accidentally contain logical gaps which overlook human rights. As a socially conscious provider of information, I can’t be sparking public fear by accusing all these statements of having malicious intent. Instead, I will have to acknowledge the possibility that the person may have simply forgotten to consider what their viewpoint means for other demographic groups.

In this article, I will demonstrate how I approach the topic of inequality. I will do this by presenting an example where the discrimination is easy to miss if you aren’t paying close attention. I will explain how it’s discriminatory, speaking for the benefit of the people who may fall for it and the people who are targeted by it. I will describe these examples as logical fallacies, not as rage bait.

I’ll discuss the comments on this r/worstof thread shaming a person who asked r/TrueChristian how to explain Christian reasoning against same-sex relationships to a Christian coworker who was already in one. I can see how at first glance, the comments can seem like fair criticism directed to someone behaving petty, unnecessary, and judgemental. So while I’ll assume the r/worstof commenters had good intentions, they failed to recognize an important piece of context, which resulted in their comments actually being discriminatory against Christians. (By the way, attacks against people for their faith do not have an “-ism” or “-phobic” word associated with them, at least not to my knowledge, but as long as they attack the people and not the religion, they can be placed in the same category).

What the commenters missed out on was the fact that Christians, like anyone else, have the responsibility to love and respect people they disagree with. The r/TrueChristian user never actually said anything judgemental, but since they view same-sex relationships as a sin, the commenters jumped to the accusation that the Christian was filled with resentment for this person, despite the fact that the Christian even says, “I’ll be praying and keep treating her the best I was already treating: with love and kindness.” Maybe they could have been a kind, supportive, empathetic friend with their coworker. But by that point, the commenters dismissed any such possibilities on the grounds of their religious views.

Some commenters also assumed that these comments would hurt their friendship. These users have forgotten that respectfully sharing advice is a common attribute of relationships among all people, Christians included. Now, it’s fine to disagree with Christian advice or to even be offended by the advice itself, and if a respectful Christian encounters that response from someone, they will know not to bring it up to that person anymore. The difference is that the r/worstof commenters aren’t personally involved in the Christian’s situation, so the commenters are saying that they don’t have to know the coworker to know that the Christian’s suggestions would poison the relationship. By assuming that nobody would take Christian advice well, the perhaps unintentional effect of their comments is that Christians should not share advice with anybody, even if they’re respectful about it, which is a double standard because that’s what everybody else does.

Now I’m not trying to get anybody outraged by a “Christian hate panic” or whatever — this is only one Reddit post after all. I’m instead here to show an example of where inequity can come from, how it can easily go unspotted, and what you can do to prevent it from happening. Christians such as I believe that intolerance against Christians is inevitable and that it will never go away completely. Instead of creating rage bait, we are supposed to consider these obstacles to be like puzzles to navigate. How we handle these puzzles will reveal our level of faith.

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What doesn’t solve the problem is when you insult people. This is the problem when words that should be used to describe unfairness become insults. It doesn’t people to the knowledge they need to treat people equitably. Instead, people believe that when they are called racist or homophobic or ableist or whatever, then the other person must hate them, and that they must respond not by considering the impact of their words, but by repairing their bruised ego.

Every time inequality is viewed in this way, the opportunity for resolution goes out the window, adding up to a staggering amount of lost potential over the years. Millions of missed opportunities. That’s the problem right there.

And Internet discussions are our big ticket to solving it.

Now you can give it a try in the comment section below. Feel free to use this new method of describing examples of discrimination.

#Inequity #SocialJustice #Religion #Reddit #ConflictResolution

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This article was originally published to Medium on February 22, 2022 (https://medium.com/illumination/6-simple-strategies-for-becoming-unprejudiced-e0243c2a7bfa).

Just wanted to mention that I noticed this story does not match the egalitarian tone that my blog is meant to express. It was written shortly after I joined Medium, back when I didn’t have as clear of a plan for the types of articles I wanted to write about. However, I felt the article was important enough that it should be kept online anyways.

When the article was posted to Medium, the article was originally published on the ILLUMINATION publication, not Nonmonetized Together. Now, by posting it to write.as, this article can finally be published to Nonmonetized Together. Even though I try to make sure my Nonmonetized Together articles do not speak from authority as much as the article you’re about to read, I felt it should be saved onto write.as because defeating prejudice is a critical component of Nonmonetized Together.

Here are some tips you can use to help yourself treat people fairly and avoid double standards.

1. Question your environment

Sometimes I hear people defend someone’s actions by pointing out that they are a product of their environment. While this may be an accurate explanation, it’s not an excuse. Neglecting critical reflection should not be normalized. It can be all too easy to take what you have grown up with for granted and assume that it is the right way of doing things. Questioning it can help you realize its areas for improvement, keeping you humble while working toward a better future.

2. Don’t reduce individuals to a low number of descriptors

Microsoft Office stock image

Remember that people are complex. Don’t let your entire understanding of a person be limited to a few characteristics — or worse, just one characteristic. If you don’t know someone well, remember that there is a lot about them that you haven’t learned yet, so it’s too early to jump to conclusions about who they are as a person. Some people have done very bad things, but if you define the person by those actions, you will end up forgetting about good things they have done.

3. Don’t describe groups as if they’re individuals

The only exception to this is if you are referring to a requirement of being in a group. Otherwise, you promote prejudice by applying an attribute to an entire group. It’s not even good enough to add that there are some exceptions among the group, as you already manufactured an association between the group and a concept. Negatively depicting a group fosters prejudice against them, but positively depicting a group runs the risk of double standards in the group’s favour.

4. Always try to help people, no matter who they are

Microsoft Office stock image

Obviously, don’t do anything to let yourself get manipulated, but helping people improve is very important. It will allow you to realize that everybody has challenges and that we are all just trying to get by. It’s awful how poorly some people treat abusers, for example. Imagine where society could be if they helped the abuser realize that they are not worthless and decided to help them get over their problems instead of harassing them. Abuser or not, if you do a good job at helping someone, they will appreciate that, which may result in building positive social bonds with them.

5. If you respect others, they will act more respectable to you

It’s that simple.

6. Don’t call out people as hypocrites

You know, not everybody someone will say will be 100% consistent. They may forget other things they said, they may change their mind, or they may struggle to be as motivated as much as they once were. It makes more sense to gently mention the thing that is making the person’s words seem a bit “off,” and ask for some sort of clarification.

#Discrimination #Equality #Prejudice #SocialJustice #Philosophy #Equity #Acceptance #Peace

Medium comments:

Don’t describe groups as if they’re individuals

I agree with you here Kevin.

But I believe that the reverse is also true, in that one shouldn't do it.

To prescribe charateristics (real or imagined) of a group to an individual is, I believe, just as destructive.

Thanks for the read.

Michael Zwierzanski

Yes, that’s true

Kevin the Nonmonetized


You have a point. Like actually people and the world is complicated yet our attitudes have the great responsibility of making the world a better place! Thank you for the amazing article, Kevin! :)

Darian

Glad you enjoyed it

Kevin the Nonmonetized

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This was originally published to Medium on May 25, 2022 (https://medium.com/@non-monetized_together/identifying-cheap-activism-51d43ddb109?source=friends_link&sk=d2c321ed5e4da3251c65cdac97196fb5)

#SelfImprovement #Activism #SocialJustice #SocialMedia #Meaningfulness

Clay Banks/Unsplash

Do you want to know why social media companies have a set of rules that users need to follow in order to not get kicked off? Let me tell you, it’s not to create social justice. Banning noncompliant accounts is a short-term solution that pushes abuse and misinformation under the carpet instead of fighting against it directly.

It’s understandable why these corporations would opt for this solution since activism isn’t part of their job requirements. Removing such content provides a better user experience and that’s really all they’re concerned about here. I can’t blame the corporations for dealing with things in this manner.

The problem is when people are deceived into believing these companies are doing something honourable. Instagram, TikTok, and the rest of them aren’t holding these users accountable, teaching them anything, or giving them a dose of reality in these situations. All they are doing is choosing not to associate with these people.

Clay Banks/Unsplash

Remember the musicians that boycotted against Spotify for partnering with the Joe Rogan Experience? It’s the same situation.

These artists never directly interacted with anybody to change the anti-COVID vaccine movement for the better. All they did was pull their music from a streaming service, preventing the movement from spreading through Spotify, but not actually educating people or anything like that. Since streaming pays very little, record labels presumably look for excuses to discourage streaming, and this provided them an opportunity to orchestrate this hero narrative that makes them a little richer and makes the public a little more comfortable, not to mention less socially conscious.

Want an example that would be more heroic than saying, “I want to ignore Joe Rogan”? Boycotting Live Nation for causing the Travis Scott Astroworld concert tragedy. Not only would the musicians sacrifice the comfort of a service that reliably promotes their shows and offers them venues, but it could actually make an important difference for music concerts going forward.

Jack Skinner/Unsplash

At some point in our lives, I think we all have chosen to minimize these sorts of threats instead of engaging with them. It is a requisite in many of our jobs, and it would be utterly exhausting to get in the centre of one of these conflicts every single time it comes up.

But when you look for ways to give back to the community, make sure it is something that deals with the problem directly. Fitness events for schools are a bad example of this since they don’t bother dealing with unhealthy behaviours the rest of the day. Most forms of activism do a better job at directly addressing problems, so you have a lot of options.

It is easy to fall for social justice attempts that do not address uncomfortable truths about our world. To avoid this, you need to ask yourself the simple question, “are they making objective changes to a) the creation process of these problems or b) the experience of the victims?” If the answer is no, then it’s a worthless initiative. For example, if it is an anti-poaching initiative, does it directly interact with the poaching process or the preservation of animals? If not, then it is not worth your time. Shortcuts and community service do not mix.

(July 2023 update) Also, is nobody considering that when a powerful person gets banned from social media, they can take that and push a narrative that their right to free speech is being attacked, which can draw in their fanbase even more? People who set limits on free speech aren’t actually trying to reduce the spread of hatred and misinformation, they’re just trying to separate people.

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