Some of the Biggest Lies Told About Activism and Activists

There has always been a sort of negative stigma attached to the phrase “I am an Activist”. Therefore today we will be taking a look at some of the biggest lies ever told about activism and activists.

All activists are violent

This is, by far, the most common lie that is usually spread about activists. They punctuate this claim with the photos of angry picket lines and clashes that somehow turn into riots. If there was anyone who was to see the implied correlation, we would not blame them for thinking that all activists are violent. However the truth is, they are not.

While there are violent activists out there, it is simply unfair and silly to lump them all as one unit. This is like saying when one doctor botched an operation then all doctors botch operations. Or saying that just because one man is a bigot then it automatically follows that all men are bigots—it is just plain ridiculous. Activists come in varying flavors just like any other societal group out there.

While there is no denying that some rallies end up with violence, it is important to take note of the context of that violence. It is not just about who threw the first punch. If that was the case, then the stonewall riots would have just been labeled off as violent acts with no positive aftereffect for the rights of a particularly marginalized group of people.

Activists are all liars

This is actually one of the annoying lies as there are groups out there that lie in order to shock or scandalize people into joining their cause. Lately, there has been so much negative press about PETA and their unethical actions and treatment of animals (which is honestly just rich given they are supposed to be the champions of animals).

PETA is more of a rabid guerilla operation that is high on its own myth that they are saving animals. This does not mean to say that all activist organizations are this way. Much like you do not lump all organizations fighting for a cause as a single unit, other activists and their groups should not have to suffer simply because of a group who has been known to kidnap pets in order to euthanize them.

Activists, the responsible ones, aim to stimulate change for the better. You cannot do that by peddling falsehoods or scaring people into believing your cause.

Activists are in it to profit

Most activist organizations and charities are non-profit. By saying that activists are in it to make money, is just plain ridiculous. Activists put in time, effort, and skills, to raise money for donation. There are established financial institutions that do trace where the money goes. Laws are in place to keep charities from being fronts for money laundering. There are strict measures set in by the organizations themselves to ensure that everything is written in the books and they pass audit year after year.

Hopefully, these truths have helped opened your eyes a bit more.

Activism in 2017: How to Be an Effective yet Responsible Fighter for Your Cause

It seems that you cannot turn on the television without seeing another group with their clashing ideas. It is one thing to express and fight for your beliefs but it is something entirely different to physically hurt others. It is the year 2017 and you would have thought that people would have learned this lesson by now. However, what is evidenced whenever we tune in to the news, this is hardly the case.

This is why it is important to take the time and learn on how you can be an effective yet responsible fighter for your cause. We are not naming any specific cause simply because these tips apply to any cause out there. Everyone has something they believe in, after all. Here are some tips to carry with you when you are thinking of being an activist:

Grieve first

Whenever there is a cause that needs to be fought for, it comes standard that something was offensive to begin with. Feelings are a pretty powerful thing—this is what primarily manages to propel people from their homes into the streets. However, as useful and driving emotions are you need to grieve first. It is completely fine to be in shock but you should not use it as a stick to beat other people with.

You need to sort out your shock and your anger before you start going out into the world. While it is fine to be angry, you should not carry it with you. This is what causes the clashes and unfortunate injuries and casualties. Your cause will suffer if your actions do not back up what you are fighting for. Remember, before you go out, you need to grieve first.

Get organized

Before you start to make your placards and signs, it would be foolish to simply go out where “a gathering is going to be”. You need to establish an actual support system. Find groups that are legitimate and share the same values as you. It would not be healthy or ethical to join a group that advocates for violence or further hatred.

This is something that must be done with care. There are, sadly, fake groups that seek to malign you once you share your opinions and use your social media to get in touch. Visit public groups and read old posts. See how certain groups respond to hatred. This can help give you a standard to uphold.

Know your limits and capability

You do not have to support your cause in the same way that others do. There is simply no sense in forcing people to do so. However, there are a lot of ways in which you can support your cause. Find out what you are able to do: coordinate, offer legal advice, be an interpreter, etc.

Do not give into pressure of doing more for the cause than what you are comfortable with. Keep these pointers in mind and you can truly be an asset to your cause instead of a liability.

Is it “Slacktivism” or a New Platform for Justice?

Since the revolution of social media, more and more people are able to express their views about certain societal issues from the comfort of their homes. This has given rise to the concept of “slacktivism”. Just what is it, really?

What is Slacktivism?

This is the term that is used to refer to the new way of activism in where people say that they are supporting a certain cause or are appalled at a recent political cause yet do not do beyond sharing or liking an article or link on their social media website.

At this light, it does sound rather deplorable. However, is that all there is to it? Like everything in social media, it is all just there on the surface and no one really know what happens beyond the likes or the posts. “Back in the day”, as they like to commonly say, if people had a cause, they would be fighting it out in the street. From our point of view, there seems to be a massive disconnect between the naysayers and what the people that they dismiss as slacktivists.

Now commonly thrown around as a derogatory term, this is a title that is given to most people who “like” or “share” articles on their social media platforms. People cannot deny that social media is one of the fastest ways to get news and express opinions. This is something that most of the established people like politicians did not count on. Social media has made it easier to make informed choices and hold our supposed leaders accountable for their words and their actions.

Technology has evolved, so why should it not follow that the way people fight the good fight was to change as well? More and more of today’s youth are indeed quick to jump on issues—why is that a bad thing? If anything else, this should tell everyone that we all need to be more responsible with our actions and words. The information that the younger generations digest must be better. The world is better connected now—digitally, at least—so why is there so much division around?

Slacktivism as they like to call it is only something that is said by those who do not bother to see the aftereffect of every “share”. The more people who are better aware that there is an issue, the better! You never now when the right person in someone’s network or “friend list” is just the right one to turn an issue around!

Also, it is through social media “slacktivists” that more people actually end up showing up for rallies and gatherings. This is an aftereffect that most people do not like connecting to the very people who they dismiss as slacktivists. After all, how could something that is derogatory have a positive impact in the world?

This is another form of hypocrisy that must be torn down. When you see another cause being shared on a social media platform, it would be wise to not dismiss it.