A Lack Of Accountability Is The Greatest Enemy To Social Change

A lack of accountability is perhaps the greatest enemy to social change. Arguably humans are wired to try and shift the blame for our hiccups onto someone or something else. Anything to save our own proverbial necks. Maybe before we had evolved past the point of scrambling for survival in a paleolithic wilderness that trait was beneficial. Now it’s just annoying.

The truth is that none of us want to be photographed with our head in the lion’s mouth even if we climbed down into the den. We want to shift the definitions of isms until we ourselves are completely absolved of guilt. We want the ability to say and do damaging and horrible things without paying the social repercussions of them.

The truth is that a bigot’s favorite deflection is “That’s just my opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion”. Which is to say you can’t blame me for thinking these things. You probably have messed up thoughts too sometimes. Opinions are holy and sacred they can’t be wrong. Contrary to popular belief: they can. Or to be more precise hate is not an opinion. Harmful ideas that perpetuate systems of oppression are not opinions. Lemon pepper wings are better than teriyaki is an opinion. I mean a wrong one but still. Racist/misogynistic/homophobic/transphobic/Islamophobic ideals cannot be justified by saying that’s just my opinion. Racist thoughts make you a racist. Misogynistic thoughts make you a misogynist. Homophobic thoughts make you homophobic. It’s really not rocket science.

Prejudice is a small seed that exists in everyone. We all have biases, some subconscious, that we take on due to evironmental factors/upbringing/life experiences/etc. Once you identify that something in you is hateful it’s up to you to take accountability for your own thoughts and feelings and unlearn the prejudices that have somehow wormed their way into your psyche. Writing something off as “just your opinion” might help you sleep better at night but it won’t change the fact that you’re feeding into all the pre-existing divisive structures that keep marginalized groups marginalized.

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