Yes it is important to pay attention to what is happening in the world… Not just your country. Not just your culture. Not just your life. Why? Because, if people around the globe are upset enough to protest about something, chances are these same issues may affect you.
For example, if LGBTQ rights are on the line, who is to say that your sexual freedom can’t also be at risk. Think of it in the way of the law. When a case comes to court, the ruling is now the standard for law. If we decide that sexual freedom can be limited, that who is to say how strict the limit will be?
Here are a couple of ways to be mindful when considering your stance on social movements.
Admit ones one bias and cultural relativism.
It is mentally restrictive to assume that an individuals life experience and culture does not ‘color’ the way one views new situations. It is psychologically clear that our brain relies on similar experiences of the past in order to judge a new one.
As we form arguments and interpret situations, it is vital to higher level thinking that we know how much we don’t know.
Allowing and accepting this truth invites growth in learning and understanding.
Research the topic equally on both sides. The support, and the rebuttal.
The only way to participate in critical discourse is to have a fair understanding of all perspectives on a topic. How can one deny the truth of one side, if they don’t understand the details surrounding it?
Never aggressively insert your opinion.
It is one thing to take a side in such an uncertain world, but if facts and bias allow we will quickly do so. When you decide to take a stance you must remain level-headed and kind. If you are truly passionate about your position on a given topic, you should want to communicate your stance in a way that your audience can understand. If you force feed your belief it will be rejected regardless of its validity and evidence.
Don’t give up.
As public opinion sways and changes (mostly due to the agenda setting demeanor of mass media) hold firm in your position. Have you ever heard the phrase ” if you don’t stand for anything, you will fall for anything”. ? I believe that applies here. To change your mind as the wind blows reduces credibility, and also a sense of well-being and integrity within ones self.
Support the cause.
If you truly believe human, animal, or environmental rights are being infringed on, you must stand against those forces. If not you than who? It is not safe or acceptable to assume someone else will pick up the slack or push through it. Without your sign at the march there would be one less post, and 100 less eyes would have seen that message, and 50 less people would have showed their friends or made a comment about the issue, and 25 of them would not have brought it up in class or looked it up and shared it with 100’s of others. Our impact, though it may seem small at times, can affect masses of people we would have never expected. If you don’t stand up for what you believe in you are risking your own safety ultimately. Like I mentioned before every time a negative thing comes onto the table, we can choose to address it and protect those affected and set that precedent, or ignore it and allow all affected at that time, and many to follow the same danger and harm.
Don’t just talk about it… be about it. If you say that harming animals is wrong and it must end, be a part of the change. Do your best not to be a double minded man, for that will cause sadness and identity issues. It is for your benefit, and that of all of the world that you are honest with yourself and through your actions all of the time.
If you’re on the east coast, I hope to see you at the March for Science in NYC this Earth Day April 22nd. Look out for my sign, ” The climate is changing, why aren’t we?”
As always I encourage any and all forms of feedback. You can reach me through the contact page!