Danny Brown wrote an interesting article (after reading various other articles from Chris Brogan, amongst others) and I just felt the need to get my two cents in on the subject. The topic is being critical of others on your blog, and yet still remembering that they are someone’s child or spouse or parent or sibling or cousin, etc. For a blog like mine, where I must remain critical of people and practices, I must walk a fine line between remembering that yes, those I am critical of are still people, but also holding them accountable for their actions.
The article in question is on Danny Brown’s blog right here. It’s a lovely post and Danny Brown is an equally lovely person. I agree, on the basic principle of what he is saying, but I also must keep in mind that this blog (Dominick Evans Online) is about equality and activism. Therefore, I must point out instances where people are acting uncivilly or unfairly to those who fit into certain minority groups and hold them to the same standards I would all other people.
For example, the LGBT bashers who claim those of us within the LGBT communities do not need to receive fair or equal treatment as human beings, are often being criticized for their words/actions on this blog. Yes, I know these people also have families, but I also know they must be called out on what they say, so in this instance, I must implore that while remembering, “Everyone is someone’s child…” we also remember that their parents should have taught them about responsibility for their own actions and words. As much as they deserve the right to free speech, even if it is not in favor of equality, I deserve the right to call them out on what they say or do, holding them responsible for their words/actions and expressing how their views are not cohesive with maintaining the rights of other people.
Another great example is Kentucky senator-elect, Rand Paul. Paul has expressed his desire in repealing the ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act). The ADA, while not perfect was the stepping stone the disability community needed and STILL needs as we fight for equal and fair treatment in public, as well as in the business sector and/or workplace. Contrary to popular belief, PWDs (persons with disabilities) still have a LONG road to true freedom and equality in the U.S. Repealing the ADA would be a TRAGIC, misguided step back. It has taken the disability community years of fighting to even get the ADA passed, and Rand Paul’s comments about its unfairness to employers who have to accommodate employees with disabilities (which was also technically wrong since he obviously does not understand ADA law) sets the precedence that PWDs deserve to have less access to jobs and buildings where potential jobs might be hosted.
With over 80% of PWDs unemployed in the U.S. alone, the largest minority group in the world deserves better, and I do not believe calling Rand Paul out on this is against the standards we as bloggers need to set for ourselves and our blogs. Yes, I know that Rand Paul is someone’s son. He is the son of Ron Paul, for starters, but Ron must also have taught him that what he says in public has the potential to be scrutinized. Therefore, if he does not want what he says up for public debate, he should keep it out of the public forum. Rand must be called out on this issue, because, it is not right for PWDs to be denied access, in what few areas we actual have it.
Am I going to say Rand Paul is a disguising sloth though? No, because it defeats my point, whether I believe it or not (honestly I care so little for Paul, I do not even really think about him as much more than another politician – sloth was just for example’s sake). It lowers me to HIS level and makes me look bad, ensuring that what I say is less valid. People see me as just another whiny PWD who has to call names in order to get my point across. The real issue should be focused on what Paul said and claims he wants to do to limit the freedoms on PWDs and not a stupid name I might call him, in the heat of the moment. Of course, if I were to call him a sloth or any other name, my argument loses all validity and I look petty, as I, too, am responsible for my words.
Essentially, the point I am making is this. Yes, we need to realize that those we criticize are people, too. Therefore, we must use the same decorum we hope is used when we ourselves are criticized. Being professional is the key. Avoiding name calling helps. I understand what it is like, in the heat of the moment, when you are all flared up about a topic you find passionate, but sometimes it is best to take a few steps back and make sure that passion is controlled and tunneled in the right way and for the right reasons.
I admit I have said things in anger fueled by passion, but as a blogger, I vow to attempt to keep those passions fueled in a more productive way. As much as I plan to hold those critical to the causes I support accountable for their words and actions, I also vow to hold myself accountable. I, as a blogger, must be as critical of myself and my own actions, in order to get my message across and hopefully change the thoughts and perceptions on those who read what I have to say. Otherwise, I am no better than those I am critical of and no more willing to view them as a person than they are me.