It’s been a tough couple of weeks (months? years?) on the social justice front, and my Facebook feed has been full of articles and calls to action – in Ferguson, in New York, in the Bay Area. I’ve been pretty stumped on how to take part in the dialogue, because while I do feel the need to show my support for people who are fighting for a more just society – and I feel like I’m part of that fight – I also feel stymied by the complexities of the issues. I’ve been gathering information, but I haven’t been dispensing it. I don’t know that my social media silence makes me a bad ally, but it does make me a quiet one.
So the online world is complicated, as we all know. As an almost pathologically conflict-averse person (not something I’m proud of, note), I have trouble with online dialogue and its tendency to get heated. Aside from the arguments about racism and inequality that have been populating my feeds lately, there have also been more micro-discussions, like this article on Wellesley’s online alum communities. These groups are strong, they are fierce, and they can occasionally get ugly. That’s where they lose me. But in most of my life I try to embrace the grey areas, and I appreciate that there are ways of fighting through things that can get people to the other side, whether that’s agreement or some kind of enlightenment. I just wish I felt more able to contribute to those discussions. But hopefully, at least for now, listening is enough.