Martin Luther King Jr stood up for his rights and was shot. As we all are, I am very saddened by his loss. However I think that this brings up a very important point. If you stand up for an unpopular belief, you can expect abuse.
Should you expect abuse? Should you be forced to endure unpleasantries because you expect the same rights as any one else? No, but you will receive it. And if you are really committed to your cause you will stand up for yourself anyway. Reading about the protests of the past. When people stood up against the war in Vietnam and participated in legal protests they were beaten by police. By police. I would like to let that sink in for a moment.
So forgive me for expressing my disappointment when an activist decides to back down from their cause. And not because she was beaten by police or because she was beaten by people with opposing viewpoints. Not because she was shot. But because she was receiving emails, comments on a blog, and prank phone calls.
Maybe I am a hypocrite because I have done nothing. I am. But I still look at something like this and say to myself "I wish someone would stand up for those rights." I mean really stand up for them. Not just run away because of a few bad eggs. I don't think we can expect change otherwise.
Oy. I beg to differ.
I have a medical condition. Doctors told me "people like you don't get well". I got well. Stating that fact is enormously controversial. Since people think you can't get well, stating that you have done so is frequently taken as proof you either don't have the condition or are otherwise a teller of tall tales. I handle controversy fairly well. But being a lightening rod for controversy doesn't get people to think or try new things. I've worked hard at backing away from the controversy and have left a lot of the online forums I used to participate in. I leave my website up and reply privately to some of the questions that come up on the email lists I remain on. Replying publicly makes it about fighting with groupthink and about my ego, when that is not what I want. So it's proven to be mostly counterproductive to take a public stand. Replying privately makes it about trying to help people who are suffering and dying and might be willing to try something new because they are all out of options. One by one, people are trying new things. And this is gradually changing the conversation in group settings.
I plan to win the war. For my cause, the fewer public "heroic" battles, the better. Winning hearts and minds and making real change does not require all kinds of sturm and drang. I'm also a woman and post on Hacker News as very openly female. In my experience, "the battle of the sexes" is equally counterproductive. I'd rather "dance" with men than fight, so to speak. Learning to do this dance without stepping on too many toes is a more humane and productive pursuit in my experience.
I will also add that she is "standing up" for herself in much the same way I am standing up for myself: By looking out for our own best interests and concluding that subjecting ourselves to abuse is not in our best interests.
Standing up for what is right is not something that we weaker mortals should leave to the heroes. We have a breaking point, a point above which we can't take it. That does not mean we should not take risks to do what we find right. You should not be "disappointed" with the victim, but supportive, and we should be encouraging others to take these risks to do what is right as well. The more of us there are, the more we achieve.
It's because the post is more than 2(?) hours old, not because it was downvoted.