The All Too Common Hypocrisy Of Modern Social Justice

Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.
Napoleon Bonaparte
Those who have been following me for a while or know me personally know how involved and passionate I am about social justice, equality, and empowerment. Even when I started writing online articles, they focused on discussing some of our social ills. This is the very least anyone should do. Yet, if you look as of late, my contributions as a SJW (Social Justice Warrior) have drastically lessened.

The reasons aren’t that I no longer believe in social justice or I no longer believe that what’s wrong within society shouldn’t be called out. The reason is that the current Social Justice trend of online warriors, in their crusade to condemn what’s ‘bad,’ have become just as oppressive as those they fight, and just as blind to the damage they cause.

As we fight sexism, racism, homophobia, religious intolerance, bigotry, or just simply prejudice, there are way too many who do so by being sexist, racist, homophobic, intolerant, and plain old fashion bigots. If this is a minority, as is stated over and over within the SWJ groups, wouldn’t be a problem. The problem is that it ISN’T a minority as people cheer on such actions, showing how their true intentions aren’t social justice, but rather power hunger or vengeance.

While fighting oppression, they get drunk on the power of oppressing.

We see this as we excuse inexcusable actions, simply because they are done under the flag of what’s right. We rationalize such abuse constantly. The best explanation I have heard to date explaining how this mental Kung Fu is done was given by a fellow blogger within a writer’s group as he was calling out this behavior in a post.

You are THIS and if you get mad, it proves my point. And because you're emotionally compromised because you're THIS, you don't have a say. You're the problem and someone else will be the solution, so shut up, sit down, and wait for it.
We speak of having freedom of expression by openly shaming anyone who has an opinion different from ours. Body shaming if fought by calling models “skinny bitches” or defend the right of women not to use makeup by attacking any woman who uses makeup. Gender discrimination and sexism against women because they are women is fought by making sexist and gender specific attacks against men because they are men. Racial and ethnic discrimination against minorities if fought by making racist remarks against the majority. Even religious intolerance if fought by being intolerant with any faith (or lack of faith) different from our own. We stopped using our ideals as a means for empowerment. Instead we turned them into weapon to excuse attacking the ideals of others.

This type of debate doesn't offer conversation nor has the intention of finding a solution. It’s a way to oppress while feeling good about yourself as an oppressor, as other like-minded SJW will applaud you for it. It’s a way to be a bigot without the fear of backlash. If anyone dares to call you out on it, you are then given the entire backup needed to unleash your “righteous fury” against said person.

I should know as I have been on the receiving end of this equation enough times to realize that I no longer want to be a part of this kind of social justice. Just because you assume you’re right, doesn’t excuse you when you do wrong.

If you are unsure if your actions and comments are wrong, here’s a simple mental exercise. Before posting up that righteous attack, replace the people you are attacking with the group you are defending. If you would consider that comment hate speech, it probably is. Before posting that defense of your group, replace it with the group you fight against. Are you giving them special privileges over the rest of society? If so, then you probably are doing that for your own group.

Social justice shouldn’t be about everyone being equally discriminated or oppressed. It should be about everyone being equally empowered. It should be about using our diversity as a way to expand our ideals and our understanding.  Instead of focusing on how to knock someone down to the lowest position as a solution, we should on how to raise everyone up to the highest denominator. Instead of calling out privilege as a bad thing, we should view privilege as what should be fair for everyone, and work in that direction. And above all, we really need to stop expecting equality to happen because we are all the same, but expect it because being different is no reason for inequality.


The Most Important Questions A Husband Can Ask

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.
Andre Maurois
Let me start by saying how surprised I was with some of the results of the ongoing survey about social skills, specifically the fact that most of our readers are actually married. I was surprised mainly because most of the gentlemen I work with are either young men looking to define themselves or men looking to redefine themselves after a divorce. The survey is already bearing fruits.

That said, one of the main issues most spouses have, or at least the most common complaint about husbands, is the lack of communication and openness with their partner. This is perfectly understandable considering the work focused generation that came before us, men who closed themselves out, working from sun up to sun down while becoming absentee members of a family whose main purpose was that of a provider. Anyone who grew up within that environment knows what I’m talking about, a husband and a father figure who was more symbolic than in actual participation. The irony was most of these same husbands would then feel unappreciated or disconnected from the very family they shut out. If there is any question as to how much damage this lifestyle does to a man, consider that the highest rate of alcoholism and suicide within our society are men between 40-60 years old.

Society has changed as both men and women share the financial burden and the household chores. They both participate in raising children as men become every day more and more involved with their kid’s life. Yet, this defensive “shelling in” attitude that most men have, especially when speaking with their spouse, is still alive and well.

Considering that your significant other is basically your partner, the person whom you trust enough to spend your life with, how can you start opening up those channels of communications in an honest manner? You and your spouse should trust each other enough to be able to talk to each other, yet for some men it’s easier for them to deal with medieval torture than it is to deal with talking to their partner. Keep in mind that if you don’t trust your spouse to be open with them or your spouse doesn’t trust you, you have bigger issues than just communication.

So, how do you break that cycle of the "recluse man" society has ingrained into our psyche? It’s not easy, so I am not going to lie to you. Opening up to someone after so many years of shutting people out based on a self-preservation instinct is a challenge. Showing “weakness” (society has told men that openness IS weakness) to the very person you have to show how strong you are for them isn’t a simple task. There is a rather simple hack you can do to get the ball rolling, a trick you can try today if you want to.

At some point when you see your spouse today, place everything on hold. Make sure the kids are in bed (if you have kids), there is no impending crisis to be dealt with, and no other random interruption to pop up. Look at the person and ask them a simple question.
How was your day?
Then, listen. Listen intently at the person who you promised to spend the rest of your days with. Listen as if your relationship depended on it. Listen as if they were the only person in the world for that moment. Because the reality is, that your relationship depends on it. It depends on the fact that you care enough to actually care how they feel, what they go through every day, no matter how inconsequential anyone else might think it is.

“I love you” simply lets the other person know something. You are telling them about you. But a true sign of love isn’t about telling something to someone, but about caring enough to listen to someone.

While listening, DON’T try to give solutions. This isn’t about giving your opinion or trying to fix a problem. It’s about a person sharing who they are, opening up, to the person they will spend the rest of their days with.  And sooner than later, you will notice how you will be able to stand in front of your spouse and actually answer that question yourself.


The Soulful Gentleman

(Note: This post will deal with spirituality and soulfulness from a creative point of view. I am not going to deal with actual religions or faith, but rather mention the soul as the core of the creative process and beauty as a source of inspiration to the soul. With that clear, let’s start.)

Beauty awakens the soul to act.
Dante Alighieri
We have heard time and time again about the importance of having a balance between the mind and the body. You strengthen your body and educate your mind, pretty simple. Yet some other philosophies add a third element to the equation, the spirit. Yet this is a topic most people would rather avoid to avoid the dangerous waters of a conversation about religion or having your beliefs questioned when considering the aspects of spirituality in a world that prizes “practicality.” Yet, by avoiding this important conversation and by prizing practicality we set ourselves up for an unfulfilling and soulless existence that we simply can’t understand.

We can’t understand it simply because we forgot to learn that beauty is the food for the soul. Men are told to be practical, to the point of almost vulgar. Since our birth, we are told over and over how being inspired, being creative, or simply being in awe of the world we live in is a weakness that must be purged from our body.

Be strong, be tough. Art? That’s for wimps. Delicate beauty? You’re tough and you must only like tough things. Sit down, have a drink and wait till that shit passes.

This makes no sense when you consider how every warrior of old would balance his ability to destroy with his ability to create. He would balance all the horrors he saw in the battle field with all the beauty he found in the world. A samurai would spend hours on end simply searching for the perfect blossom. The knight would spend days searching for the right words to express his emotions in a prose. So at what point was being inspired by greatness an unmanly thing? How this came about, I have yet to figure it out.

Since ancient times, creativity was when man would let his gods speak through him and beauty was his gods speaking to him. Even if you don’t believe in a spiritual being, beauty has the ability to stir even the sternest of men, rattle their emotions and remind them they are alive!

At some moment during our lives we forgot to be alive. We work hard, make money, have a family, have success, yet there is an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and emptiness that eats you from your core. Why do you think the starving artist wouldn’t give up his art for that steady paycheck? Why do you think the misunderstood musician spends so many hours polishing his craft? They might not be able to pay your rent with art, but you can feed your soul with it.

So what do you do? Do you have to pick one or the other? No. That’s why balance is so important. It’s amusing how many older gentlemen pick up art, or develop their music, or start writing, or simply head out to find explore the world after they retire. They realized how their lives were missing a very important aspect, the ability to see beauty.

What can you to avoid having to wait so long? What can you do to fill that gaping hole within yourself? Learn to view beauty and learn to speak beauty. Look at the world and how wondrous it actually is. Be in awe, not only of nature, but of everything. Amaze at the intricacies of an engine just as you would of a blossom. Listen to music and all its levels and harmonies. Learn to look at a person and see how all their imperfections simply add to their beauty. Because beauty is imperfection. It’s those imperfections that make every experience unique.

Here’s the secret. Force to look at what the beauty within the world. Force yourself to write, to paint, to draw, to pick up that guitar you gave up so long ago when you went to work. Force yourself to be inspired, to feel, to express. Dive head first into that pool of unbridled emotions and learn to sail that storm. Dare to be inspired and tell someone they are beautiful. Gentlemen, never give up an opportunity to see beauty and create beauty, as that is your soul talking to you.


Talk To Us. The First Of Several Social Skills Surveys.

Asking the right question is more important than knowing the right answer.
Being Caballero
As I mentioned in a previous post, living within any society means that personal interaction is a necessary part of life. Our ability to communicate with each other, to understand other, and to make ourselves understood is vital to living a full life. Some of us however find such interactions challenging or stressful. For some people, navigating within the social nuances becomes as challenging as navigating within a real storm. Their personal mannerisms turn even the most casual interactions into a battle with social norms and individual misunderstandings. In many cases, the characteristics that make a person different from the rest of society or their inability to fully express themselves becomes a source of frustration that lead to feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth. These feelings, so often, manifest in an anti-social attitude or even  into actual violent behavior so common today. 

Previously I had mentioned how we might think we understand a problem, but it’s our own preconceptions that keep us from fully understanding its reality and finding a useful solution. Instead, we assume we understand the problem without really looking at it and end up developing a catch-all solution that only works to make us feel better about how smart we are. The actual results? Those are pretty questionable. 

I want to look at social skills from as many perspectives as possible. Posting up an article or making a workshop based solely on a personal bias or developing a generic solution would be a disservice to all who read our posts. (Not to mention how doing it this way is a pretty arrogant attitude.) So instead of thinking I know what you go through, why not ask? I want to listen to what you have to say and consider how you feel. 

To be able to do this, we are devising a series of surveys based on several aspects on the topic of social skills. We want you to become part of our team; in a way we ask you to become our focus group. These surveys will help us better understand what social challenges our readers go through and how we can best provide advice and service.

The first survey we developed focuses on the general concepts of social skills and its general challenges. Your identity and answers are completely confidential, but will help us develop a better understanding and a clearer image of what others go through. and helping us to produce better content. 

Please, talk to us. We are here to listen. Head over to the first of several surveys and let’s create this path together.