In the last three or four years there have been a swarm of social justice movements in the center stage: #blacklivesmatter and #notallwomen have become something of big things in the world of journalism and news and there doesn’t seem to be much sign of it slowing down or an end to the harassment and issues that these things stem from.
One of the most interesting parts of all of this has been the response of law enforcement when it comes to dealing with threats. One need to just look online to discover countless people talking about how they don’t feel safe in the social circles and spaces that they used to occupy. They don’t trust those on the street that they walk past. Back in October actress Felicia Day spoke out about how she didn’t feel comfortable approaching and bonding with other nerds and in the same day she had her personal information spread all over the internet. Brianna Wu talks about how she’s kept files on all of the harassment that she’s face only to have it pretty much ignored by police.
With all of this going on, and with the way things have been recently in general, couldn’t we at least agree that when it comes to death threats and rape threats and just threats to certain people in general we need to step up and do something.
When a group in Texas took it upon themselves to hold their own Draw Mohammad Day complete with a gallery-style art show a man with a gun took it upon himself to try and silence them. Luckily, he was stopped before he could do too much damage, but the shocking thing is that the people out there having discussion about this and women like Wu and Day seem to be singing the same tune.
What did you expect when you opened yourself up like that?
What do you think people are going to do when you’re backing them into a corner?
What do you think people are going to do when you’re attacking something they love, their way of life?
Take it as seriously as you want, but nerdom isn’t something I would call a way of life. And religion is a choice, it’s a choice that some people make to stay with, myself included. But it’s not something that we should force on others—this isn’t the Middle Ages—we’re not going door to door asking people to find God at the tip of sword.
And there are police and prosecutors and authorities for a reason.
We decided to step out of the darkness and put our adult pants on as a society. We stopped trying to force others to do our bidding and stopped trying to use the force of the majority to make the minority lie down to our will just because we don’t like what they like.
Or at least we’ve said that we have. Truth is we haven’t grown a lot in the past fifty years. Some of the problems that Martin Luther King marched for in the sixties are still plaguing blacks and other races today and while Susan B. Anthony might be talked about as a pioneering figure in the women’s suffrage movement there are women out there still facing some of the same prejudices she did in the late eighteen hundreds.
Human civil rights can’t be left up to a vote and they can’t be negotiable. People deserve to be treated like people and to have choices of their own so long as those choices don’t hurt others. That’s not something that our Founding Fathers would recognize, but we need to stop looking at the deeds and quotes of men who lived long before we grew up as a society.
We need to treat justice like it’s blind and treat criminals, whether they be threatening someone we agree with or don’t the same—like criminals. A slow progression isn’t enough anymore, we need to leap forward and leave those who want to stay in the dark behind.