Social Justice “Advocate” vs “Warrior”

By Adam Schalke

As a young, college-educated member of the LGBT community who is chair of a College Democrats chapter here at Roosevelt, you can refer to me as a liberal, a progressive, or a Democrat.  But please, do not call me a social justice warrior, the dreaded term for anyone who overzealously advocates for “liberal” principles.

In all fairness, conservatives calling left-leaners names is nothing new. We were “pinkos” in the fifties, “bleeding-hearts” in the eighties, and right now we’re “social justice warriors” (often abbreviated as “SJW”). The only difference is that this time, it can be taken offense by being called one of those, because that implies laziness.

MSNBC and websites associated with SJW’s like Salon, Tumblr and Mic strike me as some of the laziest people to have the term “liberal” inappropriately attached to them. Instead of building diverse coalitions to combat injustice, they shrink deeper into identity politics, demonizing others based on their relationship with dominant social groups.

social justice

Graphic By: Megan Schuller

Rather than trying to display their ideas by having articulate debates with the other side, they dispense jargon and “reasoning” that only they can decipher. They sometimes have forgon debate and just shut down opposing points of view, like they did at DePaul this May when Milo Yiannapoulos came to campus, giving an otherwise deplorable person the moral high ground.

So please, don’t call me a social justice warrior, and call me what I am instead: a social justice advocate.  A social justice advocate checks their privilege, listens to others, and actually works to make a better society. There is a difference between a social justice advocate and warrior so be mindful of that when using the two terms.

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