Anyone who uses SJW as an actual sincere insult is a moron. And I would say, though not as liberal as I was at 20, I'm still an absolutely committed progressive, particularly on the subject of civil rights. There are things I think are so far-fetched as to be non-starters in my mind (eg prison abolition) but lefty to the grave here.

(Note: Data suggests that young people around 14-18 have their views solidified by the popularity of the current president in their social circles. And, well, NYCers sure didn't like GWB in 2000-2004.)

But I will admit, I think our marketing is kind of awful sometimes. We're right, you know, we are. We should treat everyone with respect! We shouldn't harm or hurt people!

What's the knock against us, though? That people can't just live and let live without being called out, essentially.

And most of those arguments are nonsense, of course, because it's really not hard to avoid saying bigoted words, for example. You can fight with that all you want, but that's on you.

I think, however, our biggest PR problem is the impression we're mealymouthed and terrified. That we have to preface everything with six disclaimers and warnings and that we think doing so makes us "warriors." I mean, they derisively call us warriors because they think we can't actually fight and stick to tumblr.

We have to change this perception.

I don't know how.

Because the other side is led by a man who isn't afraid to say anything and never apologizes. And people respond to that perceived frankness, despite most of it being dishonest, let alone abusive and cruel.

Some folks are going to disagree with this. I'm not talking about changing our ideals. But they've painted us as weak-willed cowards and we need to flip the script on them.

You see these fools making ungrammatical declarations in all caps and you respond with kindness and they laugh. How do you overcome that? It seems impossible, and it kind of can be.

I don't know how to fix our public perception. But it's crucial to actually achieving success on such social issues.

I am not at all saying we're more cowardly than they are. Indeed quite the opposite. But are painted that way and we need to (metaphorically) plant our feet and address the crowd with no disclaimers while holding true to our ideals.


Justin Gerald

Age: 28 Hometown: NYC Location: NYC Career: Education Undergrad: Princeton Grad: New School Likes: Cooking, Baseball, Socializing, Parks, Pop Culture, Feminism Loves: Traveling, Running, Lifting, Trivia, Teaching, Equality