History is filled with the political turmoil created by groups engaging in collective actions in an attempt to bring about social change. In fact, the historical record is so teeming with such instances that it seems eminently reasonable to posit movements and conflict as rooted in the very nature of social order itself. To paraphrase Hobbes: “Society is the war of group against group.”
Socio-political movements have been sparking up for varying reasons over the recent decades, and as Thomas Hobbes alluded; “society is the war of group against group.” We in all of our unique differences, perspectives and experiences make up what we know to be our society. We as a collective hold in our hands the keys to turn over the engine of our society to bring about understanding, unity and abundance for the many, but at the same time, we have the ability to bring about friction, animosity, misunderstanding, conflict. In almost any large scale group/society, we will find an abundance of ignorance. (and in using the word ignorance, I simply mean individuals that are lacking in a specified area of knowledge). Wait, don’t be offended, because we all are ignorant to numerous issues under the sun and will forever remain ignorant of said issues. The thing is though, there are those who are intentionally ignorant to situations. They do not desire to truly gain an objective view of the situation and only desire to look at it from a singular, uneducated viewpoint. It is not smart of us to throw our perspective onto another group of ignorant individuals if we have not educated ourselves on the matter. We simply breed more ignorance. Again, I use the word “ignorant” simply to define individuals that are lacking in a specified area of knowledge.
Believe it or not, there are people in your network or at least in earshot of your voice and in sight of your writing who have a completely different perspective of life than you do. ‘Who woulda thunk?’ Their perspective of life has and will continue to mold their outlook on how the socio-political world is impacting their lives. They see the world, opportunities, potential, expectations and so much more, through a lense completely different than the lense that you see them through. There may be a large number of things that they agree with you on, but at the same time, there may be a few things that they see completely different than you. It doesn’t mean that they are against you. It simply means that they see life from a completely different perspective than you and some of them actually want to see something done to being about change. If we disagree with one’s viewpoint it can be easy to develop a desire to pushback on how they are expressing themselves through certain movements that they start in order to seek a better path forward in life.
I propose that we stop getting up in arms against these movements and first educate ourselves. We need to educate ourselves on the why and stop focusing so closely on the what. We need to first empathize, and seek clarity as to where and how the message began. Then we need to actually lead through actions and not just words. We need to go into the communities and have conversations with those taking part in the movement. We need to get them to articulate to us what their movement means to them, then we need to help them to start initiatives and we need to actually take part in those initiatives; initiatives to bring about change through action from ground zero and not simply through chants and marches. There are lots of movements created where the purpose becomes ambiguous and we never know what the initial meaning/hurt/trauma was behind the initiation of the movement.
Some people try to bring about action or change as an individual, yet as an individual their voice is silenced by the many that are benefiting from their hurt/trauma/etc in one fashion or another. So the movement starts after those with a louder voice have joined in on the message and sometimes those with the louder voice will distort the message due to alterior motives and in turn, completely change the initial purpose behind the message. We then identify all of those affiliated with this message that has sparked a movement as ignorant people because the loudest of them are ignorant and simply desire to being about conflict and mayhem. So, in effort to not be ignorant, the ones who started it with a good and honest purpose, have to separate themselves so they don’t look like the jerks that have distorted the message.
The thing is, we never will understand the true reason behind the beginning of any movement when we only view it through lenses with which we individually view the world ourselves.
So let’s start/continue to bring about collective action that is directed from educated sources and willing to put boots to the pavement and do the footwork instead of chanting and marching. For those criticizing the movements…seek the why before criticizing the what. It’s all perspective.
Jenkins J.C. (1981) Sociopolitical Movements. In: Long S.L. (eds) The Handbook of Political Behavior. Springer, Boston, MA