It’s no secret that I tend to view the claims of self-professed Social Justice Warriors with a critical eye. While it’s apparent that I will agree with them on certain subjects, such as the notion that racism and sexism is unacceptable behavior, in recent years, I’ve discovered that while we may stand in agreement on the statement itself, the understanding of the statement differs vastly. So, for that reason, among others, I feel I must distance myself from them. Not because I don’t care about justice, but rather because the common thread of their idea of justice is rather… well, one-sided.
Many so-called champions of social justice are heralded by progressive media as heroes and media darlings. Their stories are spread across the media, in everything from major news networks to small niche blogs dedicated to, it would seem at first glance, gaming and geek culture.
An example of this began last year, when, in the wake of the now-infamous Zoe Post, the subject of that expose, Zoe Quinn, received headline after headline after headline telling her side of the story.
But interestingly, not one major headline ever thought to cover the other side of the tale. The side of the story that prompted the now much-maligned GamerGate hashtag ‘movement’ to rise from all corners of the internet, from the anonymous messages boards to social media users to professional journalists, game developers and even academic professors. The side that, at first recognized Eron Gjoni, the author of the Zoe Post as a victim of abuse. The side that later rose in unison to speak out against what they perceive as corrupt, unethical and ideologically-driven journalistic practices.
And, I have to say that, if I had not been privy to this information since the first day it was made public, I might even have believed the media. But I read the Zoe Post and felt sympathy for Gjoni because I had been through the exact same thing in the past, and I recognized how cathartic it was to simply vent.
But I also recognized something else entirely in that Zoe Quinn was a self-professed Social Justice Warrior, a particular type of progressive that I’d had experience with in the past.
I feel it’s important to note that there’s a vast difference between a social justice warrior and an advocate against discrimination.
Social Justice Warriors, by and large, claim to stand against racism. And this is true… somewhat. Allow me the chance to explain.
Racism, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, states that it means:
“A belief that one’s own racial or ethnic group is superior, or that other such groups represent a threat to one’s cultural identity, racial integrity, or economic well-being; (also) a belief that the members of different racial or ethnic groups possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities, which can be compared and evaluated.”
How I interpret this, as I’m sure many others do, is that it means that racism is indiscriminately discriminate. Anyone can find an ideology within racism, so long as they believe that one race is any more inferior or superior than another, no matter what that race is.
Now Social Justice Warriors, as you encounter them in some university classrooms, social media or, God forbid, tumblr, tend to by and large adopt a slightly different definition of racism, one that adds a particular caveat. That in order to be racist, the aggressor must have a position of power over their victims. A very similar definition is also applied to sexism, and discrimination against LGBT. I made a video on the topic not too long ago.
It might seem like a benign redefinition to many, and as such, people still offer their support to social justice warriors who happen to be on the receiving end of criticism and scrutiny for their opinions.
I feel that defending them is silly, because the revised definition isn’t as benign as they would like to believe.
Case in point: I’d like to introduce you to Goldsmiths, University of London’s Student Welfare and Diversity Officer, Bahar Mustafa.
Bahar was recently put under the spotlight for some ‘controversial’ social media activity, which included, among other things, disinviting men and whites from an event about racism, calling someone ‘white trash’ over the university’s Twitter account and utilizing the hashtag #killallwhitemen.
There was a significant amount of backlash over her antics from all over the racial and gender spectrum. It wasn’t just white men putting her under scrutiny, it was women and racial minorities as well. Basically, anyone who believed that her role as Welfare and Diversity Officer should have come with some level of professionalism and less discrimination.
In response to the backlash, Bahar made a prepared statement refuting the accusations of racism, surrounded by a gaggle of her supporters, who all the while patted her on the back and told her she was doing the right thing.
It’s important to note that, by her own admission, Bahar is a proponent of the revisionist definition of racism and sexism. And at one point during her statement, she said:
“There have been charges made against me, that I am racist and sexist to white men. I want to explain why this is false. I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist to white men, because racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender.
And therefore women of colour and non-binary genders cannot be racist or sexist as we do not stand to benefit from such a system.”
“In order for our actions to have been deemed racist or sexist, the current system would have to be one which enables only women and people of colour to benefit economically and socially on such a large scale and to the systematic exclusion of white people and men who for the past 400 years would have had to have been subjected to colonisation.
Reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real.”
For what it’s worth, I agree with her last statement. Reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real. The reason they’re not real is because they simply describe regular old racism and sexism.
But as for the rest of it? In my opinion, it’s little more than a foolhardy over-justification. I’m of the opinion that Bahar literally cannot conceive that her words could be construed as hateful, because in her eyes, it’s ‘justice.’
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
I don’t think anyone with their finger on the pulse of history is going to deny that racism in the past never happened, or that it still doesn’t, even on an institutional level. But those of us who are capable of looking forward recognize that the proper response to discrimination is not to discriminate more.
Because even if she were correct in her assessment that, because she is an ‘ethnic minority woman’, she cannot be ‘racist or sexist’, that still doesn’t excuse her from practicing prejudice and discrimination.
Bahar is twenty-eight years old, and she seems to be lacking in one of the most fundamental truths conferred to us in elementary school: Two wrongs do not make a right.
But the concerning part is that Bahar isn’t alone in this. Rather, she is merely a cog in a much, much larger machine that has been pushing since 1970 for a redefinition to racism and sexism. A machine that has been working harder and stronger in recent years to justify discrimination against whites and males the world over. Whether this was meant as some sort of misguided revenge disguised as justice or not, who can tell?
But ultimately, it’s a machine that’s been noticed by a growing number of people every day. People from all walks of life. Men and women, black and white, gay and straight, trans and cis alike are taking a stand against this sort of immature justification for poor behavior, despite Goldsmiths’ Student Union offering her their implicit support.
And that shows in the response to a petition demanding she be removed from her position as Goldsmiths’ Welfare and Diversity Officer and that her degree be revoked, currently standing at just under twelve thousand signatures at the time of this writing, from all over the world.
In short, the machine has been noticed, and it’s not the system standing against it… it’s the people. A line has been drawn in the sand, and people are willing to defend it against the aggressive ‘progressive’ march.