Some people collectively spend more time seeking others’ weaknesses, searching for the soft under-belly of vulnerability that might grant them a sense of improvement in stature or station (illusory and fleeting though it might be). In so doing, they waste the precious energy that might be better used and suited to healing the wounds that divide them from others and their truest selves.
It’s not about “social justice warriors”. It’s not even about being “right”, for whatever the definition of right is. It’s about the level of discourse.
What continually separates some people from the rest of the world as it moves inexorably forward are arguably many-and-varied. Some believe that mistaken, outdated belief structures hold them as intellectual hostages. Others still believe it to be the fault of parents and authority figures, ones who were completely and utterly unable to bestow a sense of shame or understanding that words carry as much weight as a martial blow. Even fewer condemn them as simple insensitive reprobates (I find myself among that number more and more often).
The truth of the matter is this: your words and actions carry weight. Regardless of a “right” to say something, the social repercussions can-and-should strike the person like the blow from a titan’s hammer — merciless, unyielding. If we as a species in all of our supposed “wisdom” and “compassion” cannot police each other and guide our discourse toward a heightened state, an elevated place of awareness and reasoning, then we are well-and-truly doomed.
Simply allowing intolerant behavior in the interest of “peace-keeping” or “comedic value” is not only reprehensible, in the long-term it is as indefensible as that racist, bigoted, sexist uncle that ruins Christmas dinner for everyone. The difference here being that there are individuals who somehow find the temerity to defend the reprobate’s statements on the basis that they somehow have a “right” to say it while the rest of the table looks on in incredulous horror.
Just because you have “the right” to doesn’t mean you should. Just because it’s someone else saying it doesn’t mean it’s valid or justified. Just because it’s your partner, a family member, a politician, an authority figure, or even a religious text doesn’t excuse you or anyone else from taking the immediate and necessary step of correcting facts or remaining staunchly intolerant of injustice. To do so would be to shirk one’s responsibility as a human being and would be doing a disservice to the millions of ancestors who came before us.
Step-up and do the right thing or shut-up. Your choice.