Chris Stedman hands his Religion News Service column over to Sincere Kirabo, a board member of Black Nonbelievers, and he offered an important essay arguing that the fight for social justice is more important than ever in the wake of the disturbing situation in Ferguson, Missouri.
Take a look at the world, riddled with so many diverse disparities, and attune your social justice meter to it. Where do you invest your time and energy?
In such reflections, you may find the need to revise your positions in some way. It may also be possible that you see something that troubles you.
Many topics conflict with my sensibilities to the point that I’m motivated to say or do something. For example, I live in the U.S.—a country steeped in Christian privilege. This causes the nonbelieving sector to draw an especially short stick. I’m actually okay with people believing whatever they wish—but I am concerned when those beliefs support an attitude that’s sectarian in nature, causing the believer to unfairly discriminate or enforce prejudicial principles.
Similarly, I’m concerned with the plight of women and LGBTQ people. The hate is real, as are the gender and sexuality privileges of the majority. While I profit from being both male and heterosexual, I acknowledge my privilege and refuse to stand by while others are discriminated against.
This is why I campaign for inclusionary changes. I am what you would call an ally, or someone from one social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group—typically a member of a dominant group standing alongside members of a group being treated unjustly.
But what about the continued proliferation of racial disparity in a country whose national myth of equal opportunity is still believed by those who refuse to take a closer look? Just as Christian, heterosexual, and male privilege are real, so too is white privilege.
To avoid a never-ending list of examples, what has and is currently transpiring in Ferguson is a perfect microcosm of this nation’s prevalent problems resulting from implicit biases that hinge upon negative stereotypes and racial stratification…
Many likely cringe at the presence of such discrimination. However, on matters so significant, it isn’t enough to inwardly be opposed. We need more outward action.
We certainly do. It isn’t enough to just talk about this stuff, we have to get out there and protest. We have to rally for real change in public policy and support those who pledge such changes. We have to support organizations on the front lines. Talking about it isn’t enough. Social justice matters, more than almost anything else matters.
Oh, and for those of you out there bashing “social justice warriors,” let me take this opportunity to say: Fuck you.