The hashtags are there for a reason.
I’m not saying gender and racial equality isn’t important. Both are valuable and necessary for any society to function and flourish. When all members of a community are given equal opportunities and treated with the same amount of respect, everyone’s a winner.
#Feminism and #BlackLivesMatter are the labels I’m giving to feminism and the movement to end racism in a post-2015 context. From major headlines to normal conversations to observations in culture, social commentary, media, and unfettered online reactions and arguments, it seems that both social movements have strayed far from their original goals, and have devolved into megaphones to cry out for attention rather than enact and encourage positive change.
-someone gets offended when a guy makes a joke and says his name is Hugh Mungus
–The Huffington Post believes a room of 99% white female editors is a statement about diversity
-Rolling Stone published a false article that accused innocent males of a heinous act
-people regularly bring in the gender pay gap as an argument for feminism, when that whole issue isn’t even motivated by gender discrimination
All of these things, and many more incidents of a similar nature, all come from a good place. Yes, for a long time in human history women were treated unfairly. They were neither encouraged nor allowed to speak, and that is what feminism should be fighting for: a voice. But now, with the Internet enabling any and everyone to speak their voice, it has become a regular occurrence that anything relating to feminism also features false accusations, hate-mongering, and close-minded thinking (“I am a woman so I am right and you are wrong”).
I know, I know, it’s the idiots who shout the loudest, and so they are heard most often, but the sentiments trickle down and are echoed in less extreme situations, but are nonetheless ridiculous and serve as examples of faulty reasoning. The next time you read an article purporting “feminist principles”, or talking to an extreme feminist, see if you can’t add the following to the end of their statements: “And I’m right because my feelings got hurt” or “if you disagree with me, you’re wrong.”
In trying to balance the scales of social, workplace, and human equality, #feminists have overloaded their side. No social movement that calls for inclusiveness will work when it brazenly excludes others and relies on libel. Women and men are more alike than they are unalike, but right now, the crazy #feminists are trying to prove otherwise, and they won’t win, because truth ultimately prevails. Truth is what enabled the feminist movement in the first place, and that truth was and is: no one deserves to be persecuted or favoured based on their gender.
The usual criticisms against #BlackLivesMatter are familiar and intuitive. Why doesn’t #BlackLivesMatter speak up when black people hurt/murder other black people? What would happen to society if the police weren’t allowed to do their jobs? Despite these criticisms, I believe the movement was necessary to initiate positive change in our communities. There is no denying black people were and are being treated unfairly within the justice system, and something had to be done.
But what I wanted to talk about was the disappointing direction #BlackLivesMatter has taken in my home city. Earlier this year, Pride Toronto voted to exclude police officers from this year’s Pride parade, giving in to a list of demands from #BlackLivesMatter.
It’s impossible to describe how disappointing and misguided all of this is.
Isn’t the goal of Black Lives Matter to mend and fix the relationship between black people and law enforcers? By excluding the police, the answer is clear. #BlackLivesMatter is not about communication, inclusion, or repairing a social relationship, but rather a statement that says “We are above any of those things.” And that is not how any social movement will ever succeed. By invading the prerogatives of another historically discriminated group and by excluding a party that needs to be present in order resolve the underlying social problem, #BlackLivesMatter has shot themselves in the foot.
Whatever you’re fighting against, whether it be the patriarchy or systemic racism, you cannot win by instigating division and exclusion. No communication + no participation = no resolution.
I wrote this because I’m angry. I believe in what’s right and what’s just, and what feminism and Black Lives Matter originally wanted to achieve is something I’m willing to stand behind. The old saying goes, however, that power corrupts, and both social movements have fallen from grace. Due to recent events, both of them have gained traction and they also have the Internet as a way to scream and shout their demands.
And so it seems they are losing their way, and I am frustrated by this. I haven’t lost faith, however, as Truth always wins in the end. We know that skin colour does not determine character, that is why slavery was abolished. We know women play a huge role at every level of society, and that they are human; that is why the women’s suffrage movement succeeded.
It is a plain and evident Truth that misandry and irrational thinking will not help even the playing field for women. It is obvious that excluding the police in a movement that’s all about your relationship with the police does not solve anything at all. Because these are Truths, I have faith we will pull through, and that common sense will reign again once the loudmouths go away.
But for now: please use your judgement. Anyone telling a group to get out of the way is only in it for themselves.