In this media nation, many have formed two separate personas (one online and one off) and behaviors between the two are rarely constant. Openness and liberalism have become it behaviors online, allowing social media users to become “slacktivists”, or stay-at-home activists, people who present themselves as progressive online, but fail to take those values to the streets. Slacktivism includes sharing articles or posting online promoting certain candidates, scolding others, and above all, representing themselves as accepting and receptive citizens of the world. The question is whether these champions of integrity would be so willing to fight those same battles offline. Below are 7 ways to make sure your article-sharing matches up to your in-person performance.
1. Become aware of micro-aggressions
Start to notice infractions against identities, especially ones that don’t apply to you. Understand that it is a privilege to be neutral toward words and actions that destroy and hurt the lives of others.
2. Change your verbal tendencies
Consider your word choice!
If you walk into a room of mixed genders, is it appropriate to say “Hi, guys”?
Think about the last time you talked about that “girl” from work. Is she really a little girl? Or is she a grown or growing woman? Calling a WOMAN a “girl” is denying them qualities of womanhood by failing to acknowledge them as a developed human person.
Reference people the way they ask to be referenced. “He” “she” and “they” are all valid pronouns to use for any human being you encounter, regardless of which you think they should identify as.
Educate yourself on terms like “gypped”, and recognize the history and weight that comes with them. Usage is not passive.
3. Be vocal
Refuse to accept any socially destructive words and actions you may see.
Be loud about what you know is right! Bosses, coworkers, friends and relatives must not be excluded! Remember the just way is the right way.
4. Don’t worry about making (or keeping) friends
If you experience opposition....
Or do your best to inform people that their words may be harmful.
Do not forget that you are a student as well as a teacher. Learn from mistakes, both your own and the ones of those around you. The goal of this mission is patient and accepting. It takes time and effort to change your habits and find the courage to ask others to change theirs.
7. Be loving
This is not always the easiest step, but it is the most important. Love everyone and everything, especially those with whom you disagree. You will be questioned and you will be ignored. Remember the value of the work you do and look to your allies for support.
As a community, and as a united people of justice, we have the power to change the social energy to one of unconditional acceptance. Apply these rules to every situation! To form a functional resistance movement, this position must be omnipresent. By checking our own privilege we are better suited to be accept the condition of others, motivating us to extend help, hope and love. Let your true self stand strong against oppression everywhere you walk. Head to the streets (or work, or school or family dinner) and take your stand!