Over the past few years, social justice warriors have become the target of mainstream ridicule. So why exactly do they frustrate us so much?
Social justice warriors have positioned themselves as the Christian purists for our new era. In the same sense that the church and its clergy shamed society for its lack of adherence to certain Christian principles in the 19th century, social justice warriors have stepped in with their own brand of moral posturing to remind white people to not wear sombreros on Cinco De Mayo.
In 2016, Breitbart News reported that Brown University hosted a safe space for students, fully stocked with “cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.” A survey taken in 2017 revealed that an astonishing 20 percent of college students believe the violence should be used to shut down controversial speakers.
Take the recent outrage over the Netflix show Insatiable. The show came under fire for “fat-shaming” because of an early moment in the show in which the overweight main character exacts revenge on her peers at school after she loses 70-pounds. Thousands of people have demanded that Netflix cancel the show. Ironically, later on in the series, the main character realizes that losing weight was not a real solution for her problems.
If there is a choice between taking action and complaining, social justice warriors typically opt for complaining. For example, there is a difference between making a career out of whining that American beauty standards don’t make room for overweight people and starting a plus-size clothing brand. Not everyone has the means nor is it practical to start a company in response to every social issue. But there are proactive ways to address social issues that don’t involve throwing tantrums or demanding the censorship of media that rubs them the wrong way.
Americans don’t want to be told their pain isn’t legitimate because it isn’t compatible with intersectional theory. Take for example the recent case of Sarah Jeong; the latest New York Times hire that came under fire for his history of anti-white bigoted tweets. Jeong is a graduate of Harvard Law School, a program that produces some of the wealthiest Americans. Despite her tremendous privilege, the Times public relations office portrayed her as a vulnerable Asian-American woman whose bigotry was motivated by her life of subordination and discrimination. As a graduate of arguably the most prestigious academic program in the country, Jeong is certainly able to counter trolls and discrimination in ways other than bigoted tweets. It is an insult to her agency to suggest otherwise.
Non-ideologues know that there are plenty of Americans who don’t fit into a traditional minority status that are far less privileged than Jeong. In fact, the case could be made with a spin on SJW logic that Jeong has been more privileged than 99 percent of Americans, and as a result, should be held to a much higher standard than the rest of us.
There is a significant opportunity on the American political landscape for true social justice warriors. Progressive figures like Kyle Kulinski address real issues like health care, gun control, foreign policy, and the presidency of Donald Trump without resorting to the type of hysteria and shaming that is characteristic of social justice warriors.
There are plenty of things to be angry about in this country. Channeling that anger into a hysteria that seeks to shame, censor, and divide us is a destructive path that has yet to yield results. For those interested in promoting progressive causes like access to health care and ending gun violence in an honest and productive manner, there is another path than that preached by social justice warriors.