Progressivism is an important goal for every society, and it’s why we have change. Technology and society progress hand in hand, and each is as important as the other. While technological progress is a matter of discovery and implementation, societal progress is a dirtier matter altogether.
The issue with societal progress is that we don’t always agree on how it should progress, making an evolving society a constant fight. Though fights are tough and messy, they’re sometimes worthwhile, and a better future for everyone is a noble goal to fight for.
Not everyone always has the same goal, however. Not everyone cares. The worst among these are those who pretend to care because it’s cool.
We’ve added the word “woke” to the dictionary to refer to someone who is alert to injustice in society. Anyone can claim to be woke regardless of their education on relevant topics.
As a result, there is an overwhelming amount of young people claiming “wokeness” in a bid to be cool or to claim moral high ground.
It’s important to remember all political views are valid, regardless of how much we agree. Bigotry should always be discouraged, but it’s a nasty side effect of free speech. This being the case, liberals, conservatives and everyone in between should be respected.
When we use our opinions as battering rams to shame or harm others, we’re creating a problem. Uneducated opinions must be as valid as others, but they’re certainly less helpful. When our opinions become founded solely on anecdote and identity politics, they begin to teeter over to the unhelpful category.
It’s strange to see primarily straight white people arguing with other white people about race politics when they claim straight white people’s opinions aren’t worth as much. Not only is this type of aggressive race-based gatekeeping hypocritical, it’s also racist.
“Woke” white people aggressively targeting other white people makes equality movements look bad. Activist Malcolm X famously spoke out against white people who feel the need to take charge and lead equality movements. Malcolm X suggested it’s more helpful for white people to support minorities and give them a voice rather than hog attention and speak for them.
Martin Luther King, Jr. also preached a message of unity. King recognized the plight of minorities but realized unity would carry them further than hatred.
The future is coming regardless of who is paving the way. The best thing we can do to make sure everyone has a say is to make sure we push forward together. Former President Abraham Lincoln warned us of the dangers of a divided society, and his advice applies even today.
Kyle Richoux is a 20-year-old sociology junior from LaPlace, Louisiana.