Social justice, social justice warrior, taking proper action

"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept."

These famous words, spoken by Dr. Angela Davis, made for the perfect senior quote my final semester of high school. I was so grateful to have found this quote just in time for senior year, a year of many changes, both personal and political. For my senior quote, I knew I wanted to use a quotation that reflected my worldview without dipping into the territory of cliché. So, I chose this one, which, to me, represented my desire to, like many to my classmates, invoke change. I knew mine was a bit serious in comparison to the other quotes, but I found myself surprised when someone said that my quote was stupid and made me look like an SJW (short for Social Justice Warrior) for picking the senior quote that I did.

The low-down on the term SJW, or Social Justice Warrior, is essentially as unflattering as it sounds. According to our good friend, the Urban Dictionary, a Social Justice Warrior is "A person who uses the fight for civil rights as an excuse to be rude, condescending, and sometimes violent for the purpose of relieving their frustrations or validating their sense of unwarranted moral superiority."

Although being called an SJW is often a relatively harmless joke (as it was in this instance), I couldn't help but wonder why something only vaguely allusive to social justice even brought up the term. In light of the tumultuous political environment of the time, this seemed odd. Why would it seem silly to quote a famous activist? I now realize that it is not only in spite of, bit because of the time we live in that resembling an "SJW" is more irritating than ever. In a political era in which we are, for better or for worse, forced to take a stance, the "SJW" flavoring of certain interactions or statements is intensified. We feel compelled to vocalize our beliefs with more bluntness than we used to.

Although I hardly think my senior quote qualified as SJW behavior, I realize now that my peers' opinions of it could have easily been colored by other actions of mine. I admit it-- I did engage in some mild SJW behavior in high school, particularly on social media (i.e. arguing about politics with relatives with relative ease). And though, for the vast majority of the time, I didn't voice my opinions obnoxiously, inappropriately, or out of self-indulgence, it only took a few SJW slips to put a dent in my credibility and respectability.

It's become clear that there are two sides to inadvertent SJW-ing. On one hand, many individuals truly aren't tolerant of social justice related conversations, which results in falsely accusing any average Joe with an opinion of being an SJW. On the other hand, however, some individuals may project their voices with tones of pretentiousness or patronization despite having good intentions. This results in falsely portraying one's self, and by extension, other like-minded individuals, as SJW kin.

At the end of the day, it's apparent that some of us argue our beliefs, however noble, out of a perceived social obligation rather than out of true passion and altruism. When this happens, our intended activism becomes flimsy, inauthentic, and ineffective. Everyone's task, then, is not only to respect those who defend and voice their beliefs but to understand for ourselves where we draw the line between progression and self-indulgence. It's only then that we can expect others to take our opinions seriously and stop labeling genuinely valid arguments (or just senior quotes) as SJW material.

So, whether you're the giver or recipient of the old SJW attitude, let's all agree to speak to one another respectfully, deliberately, and rationally. Maybe then we'll finally put the term SJW to rest.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Nordstrom's Biggest Sale Has The Most Legendary Deals On Luxury Beauty Brands We've Ever Seen

Counting down the days to the Chanel box set gracing my front door.

I oftentimes (excessively) use the excuse of my job as a writer to justify my excessive spending habits.

I needed the new Huda Beauty palette before anyone else in the name of journalistic integrity. It was my job to test out the new Francis Kurkdjian fragrance to make sure I could tell people whether or not it was truly worth the splurge (it was).

Keep Reading... Show less

Listen, you can do whatever you want with your free time. It's yours to spend and you have free range. However, I hope you recognize that there are a ton of proactive things you can do right now instead of stalking your man's ex – yes, I know you do it becuase we are all guilty of it.

Take this time to research your privilege. There are always new things to learn and ways to deepen your understanding of yourself, this world, and your surroundings. We live in a multi-dimensional, ever-changing society that needs your help and your time. By that, I mean there are so many layers to each and every one of us, and with our physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional selves, we can create real, positive change.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Preview These Top Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2020 Picks — From Luxury Purses To Skincare

Currently 3 million people viewing the Stella McCartney purse I absolutely must have.

Online shopping has been a guilty pleasure of ours for years, but now more than ever it's been a shopping lover's outlet for all our home redecorating projects and resort wear we're purchasing for that trip we had to cancel.

One of my favorite places to (virtually) window shop has always been Nordstrom. I admittedly can't afford to go on sprees there often, but I still get a high off of adding things to my cart I know I'll never actually end up buying. But sometimes, that's not enough — that's when I, like the masses of luxury-, beauty-, fashion-, and decor-lovers around the world count the days down to the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Keep Reading... Show less

I remember the days where closet drinking before going to a party or bar was part of the night's itinerary. It was a requirement to have a good buzz flowing before calling the Uber to take you to that bar where you see everyone from your high school at. The pregames were the best part of the night, but it wasn't ever because of the alcohol, it was because of the atmosphere and those who were in it. The number of times I've heard "Wait, why aren't you drinking tonight? C'mon, get drunk with us" is endless, but think about it. Where were you when you were asked that? You were at the goddamn pregame and being there doesn't mean you need to be ripping shots. Being social doesn't require alcohol.

I asked 20 people how they cut back on alcohol while still being social.

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you are quarantining away from your significant other because of coronavirus or separated by the country lines at this time, it's fair to say that long-distance relationships are tough no matter what. However, there are ways to show love from a distance whether that's through daily FaceTime calls, cute Snapchats, or sexy pics sent to them on their phone. You can brighten up their day even more with some of these unique gifts that can fit any price range and a variety of interests.

Keep Reading... Show less

Rihanna is known for many things: her music, fashion, makeup, and now skincare. As a makeup artist myself, I can confidently say that she rocked the makeup world when she released her makeup line in 2017 and has been influencing the beauty world ever since.

Trying some of her makeup products myself, I know that she doesn't skimp on quality, and even though some of her products may be a little pricey, trust me, you get what you pay for.

Keep Reading... Show less

Friends, no one needs to be reminded that the COVID-19 pandemic rages on in the U.S. Frankly, this is because we have all collectively decided not to do the one simple thing that was asked of us and wear a mask.

I could make this a very boring article, and berate you with facts and statistics and the importance of wearing a mask, but I have opted against that for both of our sakes. Instead, I will attempt to reach you in another way. You might not care about a disapproving look from me, but from Nick Miller? Maybe that will be enough to change your mind.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments