I am writing this page as an explanation of why I am so critical about activist movements, even though I claim to be part of them myself, and why I think this is important. In a world in which everyone has an opinion, it is important to remember that yours is but one, and that there is no way to know for sure whether or not your views are actually the right ones. Therefore, being critical of yourself is vital.
A number of posts on this blog have been rather controversial. I have heavily criticised feminism and atheism, I have made fun of stereotypes and I have even written things that, upon first sight, seem to oppose all the equality ideals that I have been advocating.
But there’s a reason for it. See, in the end, if we truly want to abolish racism, sexism and homophobia and create a society where equality is a given rather than something which still has to be fought for, then we will have to convince those people who oppose us. And how do we do that? By bringing up decent arguments.
Simple, you might say, but the problem is that consequently, bringing up bad arguments works counter-productive. It will make people disregard whatever you believe, and that is exactly what has to be avoided.
For example, if we want to convince a racist that people of other races are not so bad at all, then we shouldn’t act irrationally. We should be convincing them with reason, and only play “the race card” (apologies for using that term) when it is absolutely certain that it applies. After all, every time it is suggested that race played a role in a certain decision while there is no reason to believe that that was actually the case, you will be alienating people away from the cause.
The same thing goes for feminism and gay rights. Using statistics in your own advantage when they can easily be turned around by the opposition won’t convince anyone. Marching along the streets shouting slurs isn’t going to convince anyone. To truly convince those who oppose your views, you’ll have to be extremely open-minded, think of what they might oppose or ridicule in your actions, and then fix it.
This has been the case in the past with posts I wrote about feminism and racism, and I expect it will be returning on this blog many more times, simply because it is important. Actions and thoughts need to be constantly adapted and reviewed as we learn more about our own activism, because in the end, we don’t want to convince ourselves, but we want to convince our opponents. And that requires some very, very solid arguments.