Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Publicly shame your family

There are certain people one does not want to meet on the internet.

Bhaswati might be one of them.

She tweeted:

The conversation quoted, presumably in a private IM exchange, is the following:

<context cut out>
David: I also focused on postcolonial studies 
David: It's amazing how everything went so downhill after we left. 100 more years of colonialism would have malfunctioning countries like Zimbabwe and India actually okay. 
Bhaswati: I know! After a hundred years, you could have murdered the rest of my ancestors. Awesome! 
David: Of course we wouldn't have. We still needed the expendable military manpower obviously.

We don't have the full context of the chat, but it's rather entertaining to think this exchange is what now qualifies as one that you immediately publish to Twitter to name and shame. (Who needs context?)

All it takes is one sarcastic reply to a sarcastic comment and voila, you have enough to go on to link the person's details and label them evil.

Nobody needed any more context than what was given, as the target already qualified as an elitist oppressor:

Yikes. Is it possible that social justice warriors hate the educated elite more than the Republicans are said to?

The school apparently did not respond but nonetheless the Google-bomb was effective:

When pressed on the matter, social justice warriors insist they are consistent in their treatment of people:

Given this magnifying glass on what David-at-Harvard said in what he likely expected was a private conversation, let's imagine for a moment that SJWs actually played this ballgame consistently.

Enter Grimalkin:

Grimalkin, for those that don't know, may indeed be the same Grimalkin that posts over in the Atheism Plus forums. She seems to like Jen M, hates the HRC and loves f-bombs. (Update: It was mentioned by a kind anonymous person that A+ Grimalkin is actually @Grrmalkin. In this case, @GrimalkinRN is innocent of all A+ related charges, and her impact at this point seems limited to being one of Bhaswati's Twitter pals)

Grimalkin's social justice problem right now is her grandmother. Many of us closely following social justice can be forgiven for being confused as to why Grimalkin did not drop a direct link to her grandmother's Facebook profile.

That is how things are done on Twitter, is it not?

But not to focus on this one example - this is just one small indicator of a much wider problem.

Why aren't people publicly shaming their family members on social media?

Why is the target of a shaming merely a passing acquaintance?

Nobody is actually fighting the real "oppressive" actors in their lives. Despite it being the weak sort of social justice "activism" that is ultimately accessible, it would actually be personally and professionally costly.

If it were to come to openly discussing a high school teacher, a college professor, a condescending aunt or uncle, an ultraconservative mother, things might be real. Or they may get real, real fast.

It is much easier to pick fights with a random student at Harvard, as one can be so narcissistic as to believe their privilege is entirely stolen and undeserved. As a rule, white people at Harvard cannot have stores that would cast themselves in a sympathetic light.

It is also simple to wage war on shallow offenses on late night comedy television or take pictures of strangers in public places. Or focus on whether or not rape jokes are or are not acceptable.

Here is a grand challenge to people who think "name and shame" works - actually go name and shame someone!

And by "someone" we don't mean some pop culture icon that Tumblr is preoccupied with. Nobody needs another dissection of Macklemore.

Get out there and shame someone you know. Are your cousins being bullied into patriarchal marriage arrangements by their traditionalist parents? Did your father say something homophobic at the dinner table? Is your mother being a poor role model? Did your brother join the army?

Shame them all. Tweet LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, call their employers, write a tell-all book and most importantly start a hashtag.

It might actually change society at large. If everybody stood a chance of becoming a minor celebrity at the hands of their own family members, it's a sure thing that behavior would change at a rapid pace.

Alas, don't expect too much from this "shame your family" revolution. If it were to happen, many questions would need to be resolved.

Shaming your family does not pay the rent.