I need to address something serious that has been on my mind lately: My being an intersectional activist (of sorts) and the reactions that have arisen because of it.
I try to combat various issues including homophobia, racism, islamophobia, transphobia & misogyny. Usually if I see something on Facebook/Twitter/wherever that I know is problematic, I will comment (as one with a social conscience will tend to do) and I have received some backlash that I never, ever expected.
Some of my favourite insults directed at me include that I’m a “sand nigger”, that they wanted to defile “my book” (the Quran), that I deserve to be murdered for being a Muslim, that I support terrorism and some implication that I fornicate with goats because I look Middle Eastern – you gotta laugh, right? For the record, I’m an Atheist – a militant one at that, and for those of you who’re unaware, I’m South African – but evidently because I’m of Indian descent and have a beard in my profile picture, that means I’m an Iraqi Muslim or something – the kind of brilliant reasoning one can expect from some internet users.
My issue here lies with the lawless nature of the internet – people can say what they want to who they want, whenever they want with absolutely no consequences. You can log onto social media, call someone a moffie/faggot/kaffir/nigger/tranny/etc. all from the comfort of your own home and then log off and go watch TV or something while completely ruining someone else’s day, isn’t technology wonderful?
I hate the fact that some anonymous asshole can spew vitriol from behind a keyboard and get away with it and think they’re some kind of hero – and the worst part is that there are so many people who will “like” comments which are bigoted and derogatory so the person saying it doesn’t realise just how wrong what they’re promoting is.
Then those of us who speak out against ignorance get targeted and called “social justice warriors” and “feminazis” in an attempt to belittle our efforts and cause. Just FYI: trying to diminish our fight against bigotry doesn’t make you a person of strong moral fiber, it makes you look like a narrow-minded, knuckle-dragger who is terrified of progression of ideology.
In case you’re confused, I’m not writing this for myself – as anyone who knows me personally will attest – I don’t give two shits about what anyone says or thinks about me – never have and certainly never will (unless you’re Beyoncé. PLEASE LOVE ME LIKE I LOVE YOU QUEEN B!!!!! *sobs*). But the reality is that there are people in the world for whom such derogatory words have a great impact and I’m tired of people flinging them about as easily as they do.
To those of you who behave repugnantly on the internet because you know that it’s more than likely that you’ll never have to deal with the consequences of your actions: next time, think before you type. Sitting behind your computer, gleefully typing up derogatory comments does not make you cool, it does not make you macho, it does not make you edgy and it damn sure doesn’t make you a hero to the people – what it makes you is a coward because I guarantee majority of you would not say the things you do hiding behind the mask of anonymity if the people you were saying it to were standing in front of you.
To the rest of my “social justice warriors”, “white knights” and “feminazis”, keep fighting the good fight because even if you manage to educate ONE moronic bigot in your entire life, that is a victory.