Aggressive activism can be harmful

Opinions Columnist | Mass communication sophomore

While social justice activists may mean well, the way many promote their views online is ineffective toward the causes they claim to support and often harmful to other people.

It is easy for people to get caught up in supporting a cause or to get passionate about a certain issue.  While it is great that people want to help society make changes for the better, it can sometimes get a little out of hand, especially when those fighting for a certain cause think they can change the world by simply reblogging a Tumblr post. It is one thing to support and form educated opinions about a cause and quite another to share uneducated opinions on the Internet in an attempt to sound more intelligent, informed and interesting.

Often Internet users make the mistake of maintaining the same level of absurd passion for every topic they come across, often taking someone else’s opinions as the gospel truth, making those opinions their own and then moving on to the next subject. Maintaining this outrageous level of passion for so many different subjects may cause others to wonder about their sanity.

This issue-hopping behavior often makes self-proclaimed Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) look ingenuous—like they cannot actually be passionate about anything and are only trying to impress people or keep up to date with the latest trend. This borderline bandwagon behavior is ridiculous and downright annoying for those who are truly passionate about an issue and dedicate their time to it rather than simply jumping from cause to cause depending on their mood or the latest trending topic on Tumblr or Facebook.

It gets even worse when SJWs go on lengthy rants about topics on their social media sites. Such rants often end up turning readers off to causes rather than opening their minds to something that truly needs to be brought to light. This is worsened when SJWs get so aggressively passionate about something that they threaten to rip to shreds any and all others who may hold a different opinion from their own. No one wants to argue with someone who is unwilling to try and understand different points of view, let alone listen one-sidedly to aggressive rants that can come off as attacks.

I can, to a certain degree, understand where SJWs are coming from. SJWs and others like them are immensely passionate and have an intense drive to get things accomplished, and I can admire that—but that is where the admiration ends.

It is not for me to say whether the level of passion SJWs seem to maintain for so many different issues is genuine or not, but I can speak on how it appears and how their tactics come off to me and others. My admiration for a person’s passion is quickly overtaken by annoyance when they try to shove their strongly worded opinions onto other people who do not want to hear them. When passion turns to aggression, the message trying to be conveyed is swiftly lost and in the end, more bad than good is done. Furthermore, I rarely see or hear SJWs voicing their opinions anywhere but online, which, combined with the sheer volume of topics they seem to care about, makes these people look extremely insincere.

People just need to calm down and focus on what they can personally do to support the issues they care about rather than simply ranting and attacking others online. Additionally, people should try to narrow the scope of their activism—focusing one’s attention on too many things can quickly burn a person out on actual physical activism. Most of the issues young Americans are interested in are not life or death— there is no reason such topics cannot be calmly and rationally brought to the attention of others in a way that does not make them feel attacked. Even if the issue is life or death, I guarantee there is still a rational manner to bring attention to the matter rather than ranting, raving and yelling until someone listens.