A really wise friend and classmate stood infront of my class and shared a quote that will forever impact my life:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” – Desmond Tutu
It is because of this quote that I feel slacktivism, is better than no “vism” at all.
I have to be completely honest, I did not know what slacktivism was until recently and have been guilty of it in my past. Though I do not agree that the concept of slacktivism is enough, I do believe it is a starting point for people to leap into full social activism online. If we shame people for sharing a post, liking a page, participating in a movement, or sharing their concern, we will silence their voice and pull down their confidence before they even begin.
I read an article on Maclean’s titled “The Problem with Slacktivism” by Scott Gilmore that ended with this quote:
“Don’t embarrass yourself by demonstrating you need a gimmick to give. If you want to help, just give money or time. Anything else is only about you.”
Now I don’t know about you, but this rubbed me the wrong way. Every voice in a social activism movement is crucial. Everyone needs to start somewhere and not everyone has the money or time to give, their next option might be to share, like, or comment. Dampening anyone’s contribution, big or small, is counteracting the idea of coming together for a cause – why judge another person for what they are able to provide for a social movement?
Using Priviledge for the Better Good
Though I think slacktivism isn’t all that bad, I do believe that people who hold a power of priviledge need to use and take advantage of their priviledge for those who cannot or donnot have the same social power. In reading Katia’s blog, check it out here, my thoughts on priviledge and voice versus silence were reinforced. Again, for me it comes down to a sense of community and support. Speak when you have a voice – and you always have some form of a voice. Give when you have time or money – there will always be more money and time that is given is never time wasted. Social justice can be successful online when the community comes together, when the goals and morals of the movment are shared, obvious and followed, and when everyone commits to doing and giving what they can to help make the social movement successful. It is important to bring awareness, to come together, and to fight for justice in all situations.
If you have a voice, share it.
If you have a platform, use it.
Slacktivism, if anything, is better than staying silent. It is a starting point to do and be more. It is not enough, but again, it is better than nothing at all. Speak up and speak out. Injustice is nothing to accept – especially as educators who stand for inclusion, equality, and respect.