There is a time and place for reasoned debate, for putting a point across politely but firmly. Such as when your meal at a restaurant isn’t what you ordered, or when you’re comparing favorite bands with a friend. Situations that really don’t affect your life very much: maybe a temporary disappointment at most.
But there are other times, other places, where the stakes are higher.
A matter of life or death.
There are many hate groups. They target individuals and groups that they perceive as different, as lesser people — sometimes not even people at all. They will spread disinformation, try to sow doubt and fear to stir up feelings against their targets. Ignorance breeds fear, which can lead to hatred and persecution. The purpose of these hate groups is simple: to drive out or eradicate their targets.
Who do they target? It might be you, your family, people like you, friends, neighbors, people a couple of blocks over, people in the next town, state, country. Where do you draw the line and say that somebody is no longer your concern? At what point do their differences make them undeserving of your support and compassion?
If you are the target of persecution, injustice, hate, are you going to respond calmly? Some might. I probably would. At first. But when that doesn’t work, what then? You have two choices: run away or stand and fight.
If somebody else is the target, what then? Do you walk on by, leaving them to their fate? What if it was a woman walking along the street and getting hassled by some guy? What if she was your daughter? Well, she is somebody’s daughter. Probably somebody a lot like you.
Does the thought of this happening to somebody close to you anger you? I know it angers me.
Those people on the receiving end of persecution: they’re a lot like you and me. They can try to run away or they can try to fight. If they run the haters win. If they fight the haters are likely to win: like most bullies they pick on the weak.
But if you and I stand with them… If we bring our friends… If we harness our righteous anger and direct it at the oppressors…
All of us standing together become strong. Stronger than those who would destroy others.
Be angry! Be passionate! Fight for what is right. Stand up against those who would harm the innocent and helpless. Because if you don’t, who will? And when your turn comes, who will stand by you?
Those people who are being targeted right now by various hate groups bent on their destruction are your brothers and sisters, your fellow people. And like these Muslims in Pakistan who banded together to protect Christians while they prayed, you can show that being fellow human beings gives a connexion that transcends any difference.
You can always recognize hate speech. Whenever a group is being singled out, portrayed as different to the speaker, as less than the speaker, that is hate speech. Whenever a group is denied a voice so you only hear one side, that is hate speech.
And when members of that group express their anger, instead of ignoring them or telling them to be quiet, think about why they feel angry. How they are being treated to provoke such a reaction. And listen to their voices. Understand them. And stand with them.
This post was inspired by the ongoing activism in the Autistic community against the hate speech of Autism Speaks, their tactics of portraying Autism as a disease to be feared and eradicated. But what I wrote applies everywhere there is hatred and fear. Please make the effort to reach out to those who are the targets of such hatred. Understand them. Support them. Be for what is right by standing and fighting against wrong.
7 thoughts on “Righteous Anger”
I wish I could write 1/10th as well as you do, Alex. Your words are spot on. So very, very true. I hope that our collective voices will be heard, but not just heard, actually listened to and taken into account. And you are right, this applies to anyone, any group of people being targeted by hatred. Thank you for your voice in all of this.
Thank you Bird. 🙂 But you do write well, and I have enjoyed reading your blog since I first encountered it.
Thank you. 🙂
It amazes me how, since around 9/11, in the Western world Muslims are being demonized. More recently in Western Europe it´s also about people from Eastern and Middle Europe. It’s the 30s all over again. And most people don’t see the parallel. We didn’t learn from World War 2.
Demonizing a group of people is horrible and can lead to atrocities. It wasn´t just the presence of a person like Hitler, it´s the fact that people can turn against a group of people who are somehow different. Hitler just used that very well. But it´s the rest of the population that made it possible. But somehow we still don’t get that.
Standing up against that is the only way to fight that. Every person standing up, is one person who may influence others to see this is not right.
The internet, like this blog, has a lot of potential there as well, for good and for bad.
When people are struggling to live day to day such as during recession, depression and austerity there are some who capitalize on the general dissatisfaction and anger by offering groups as scapegoats.
Since 9/11 in particular Muslims have been targeted. Here in the UK immigrants are blamed for all the country’s problems by hate groups like the EDL, and this situation is happening (as you say) across much of Western Europe.
It’s sometimes surprising to me that people don’t know that Hitler was voted into power as Chancellor by the German people who were suffering since their economy had been crippled by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles (obviously this is a simplification, but it was a major factor). By the time he had secured his position he was losing popular support but a totalitarian dictator is difficult to remove from power: too many people pay lip service to the party line, and lack the courage to take a stand against the wrongs because they see what how those who do stand up are persecuted.
I can understand that. I just don’t like it.
It is totally understandable.
At the same time that is why we all need to continually try to take a stand in any situation. 1 to (hopefully) make sure it doesn’t get that far and 2 to make sure we build up the courage to take a stand. All of us need to start small, very few of us are brave enough to suddenly stand up against evil when things have gone that far. But by trying to take a stand in smaller and bigger situations, as we find them, we can build that courage.
(side line: this is why I, and many with me, dislike certain changes in the films of Harry Potter. In the books you clearly see how such a situation gradually builds, and is so very diffuse. By the time the government is ‘clearly evil’ many people are caught in the system and are too afraid to move.
Many movies depict evil as a clear cut thing, making it an ‘easy’ choice to decide to act against it. But the reality is much more gradual and diffuse and many people don’t see that.)
Reblogged this on The Daily Advocate By Painspeaks.