Friday, April 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

The SJWs of the World

            In the midst of this year’s relentless bid for becoming one of the most disheartening in living memory, it’s safe to say that there is a lot wrong with the world. I don’t need to digress on all the issues, I just need to vent over one particular group of petulant individuals who thrive on these problems facing society; the Social Justice Warrior. The term has been used to describe virtually anyone speaking out in the name of promoting progressive issues that we all have to face at some point in our lives, namely feminism, civil rights, and political correctness. The ideologies behind the movement itself aren’t exactly anything new, we’ve been seeing pressure groups form equally divisive barriers between themselves and the rest of society for decades now; but the whole Social Justice Warrior ideal has kicked off in a big way within the past couple of years.

I don’t doubt that the vast majority of people protesting or speaking out against the blatant forms of oppression and inequality that somehow still exist in our society are decent, well-meaning people. But when you consider recent examples of just how deluded some of these loud-mouthed individuals can be, it brings into question what the movement is really about for them. Take the case earlier this year of Zarna Joshi, an activist who, during a city council meeting in Seattle, claimed she had been sexually harassed by a man who, after asking for his name, had jokingly identified himself as ‘Hugh Mungus’. As ‘hilarious’ as that reply was, the issue lies not within his comedic timing, but in Joshi’s reaction to the man’s response. Despite there being no hint of malice within his response, no hidden meaning whatsoever, and most importantly, no evidence of sexual harassment, Joshi’s vicious claims represent a great deal of what is wrong with the idea of the Social Justice Warrior in my view.

The modern day protestor will refuse to even acknowledge an argument that challenges theirs. They will attack those whose opinions differ from theirs, and even begin to breach upon the universal principle of free speech by attempting to silence opposition. What occurs is a serious distortion of matters when we hear of a mounted attack against an issue that these individuals disagree with. The sentiment is still there, that is to say the fundamental cause that form their grievances still exists, be it at a Black Lives Matter protest or a rally for equal pay. But it’s buried deep within a storm of seething rhetoric, that serves only to perpetuate the negative stereotype set against these ‘Warriors’ who seem to believe that they might actually achieve something.

I should state that this is not a generalisation, clearly protests can be a good thing. But the loudest voices of the minority that overwhelm the well-meaning efforts of the majority of activists in today’s world generate more spite and hatred than anything else.