Recently, there has been a lot of progress concerning social issues and growing support for the progressive side of the issue, which I did not believe I would see when I was a child. However, it seems that the concept of equality has gotten misconstrued along the way as bringing down the other. Vocal minorities really are the most horrible things, aren’t they? If I was white and Christian I would honestly consider getting a little sign to hang around my neck that says “I’m Sorry”.  However, thanks to the melanin in my skin and the atheism I grew with and into, I can’t get completely crucified by Social Justice Warriors just by being who I am (which is really ironic if you ask me). Let’s be clear about one thing first: you can be vocal in your expression of your opinions without being vicious about it and people will still try and insult you by calling you a Social Justice Warrior. People are comfortable with boxes and binary choices but not all progressives are SJWs and not every conservative is racist: neither statement holds true. But you know what extremes all have in common? Poison.
Picture two reasonable humans (I swear they exist beyond you and your best friend) having a civil argument about things they disagree about. There will be no shouting, no escalation, and at the end of the day both parties learn something from each other. Here’s the beauty about arguments and discussions between reasonable people of dissenting opinions: they make people grow. However, now imagine a civil discussion on a public platform where no one uses their real names and spend great swathes of time only exposed to opinions they agree with and it won’t take long until you see the snakes lunge into the fray. It gets vicious, it gets personal, and it leads absolutely nowhere. Echo chambers, anonymity, and a general lack of repercussions turned pockets of the internet into poisoned wells. In these waters you’ll find the worst of each side of the spectrum who are both incapable of understanding the simple concept of nuance. Of course, it’s unfair to compare SJWs and racists/homophobes/misogynists beyond this point.
The goals of social justice movements are many but here are the most prominent today: achieving equality, reducing prejudice in general, advocating for the better treatment of animals. However, when one side advocates for the former yet goes straight into invalidating someone’s opinion outright because of their skin color, gender, or sexual orientation, that side became what it once hated. This is a very public time for everyone with an internet access, and yes some people have to be told to ‘check their privilege’ when they desperately need to do so, but can’t we say intelligently instead of throwing insults around?
  I did write ‘we’, because I’m all for LGBT causes, increased quality and quantity in terms of diverse racial representation, and gender equality. However, we aren’t getting anywhere with our hands clasped onto our ears and our throats hurting from all the yelling. I have confidence that a responsible socially progressive stance is the right one, but building an ‘Us vs Them’ dichotomy automatically kills any progress that a debate could bring to either side.  SJWs make it so hard to join in on the conversation that it can dissuade those who could agree with them. Before it seemed easy, all of the vehemence seemed to be concentrated on the other side, but now it seems like you can’t say feminism is necessary without having someone shouting over your shoulder to burn all the men.  It’s getting to a point where those who want to understand the debate only see two belligerent snakes hissing at each other, the floor covered in venom.
Tone and delivery is everything – especially in a public forum. Winning over a swaying audience is equal parts letting your opponent blaring out their opinions while you calmly lay out your own points. This isn’t a physical fight: you win with words strung together intelligently, not with your poor shift key bashed in all the time.  Misogyny is real, racism is real, homophobia and transphobia are real, but you are not going to change things for the better by sitting behind your keyboard breeding enmity. The worst thing you can do when meeting someone who disagrees with you is treat them as an enemy from the get go – there’s no growth there, and most importantly there’s no progress. Any debate fought in a public space is not fought against the opposition but for the approval of the audience—and the smart ones will never side with the rabid. Being calm and composed is not a matter of being on a high horse or arrogance: calm and composed is how you win.