Too Many Activists Fail to Comprehend Difference or Disagreement

Onyx Contributor:  Johnny Silvercloud (@JohnnySilverclo)

DID YOU KNOW each time social activists, writers and speakers become bitter or divide from each other, white supremacy kills a kitten?

Not a lot of people know that.

One thing I’ve noticed a lot as an abolitionist writer/speaker is a lot of disagreement.  Don’t get me wrong; disagreements are healthy.  Disagreements are usually a good thing; black people (or whoever else fighting as abolitionists) are not a monolith.  It would be categorically absurd to figure that disagreements shall never happen.  Anti-racism people (on the internet especially) tend to be very passionate folks who debate well.  A lot of times, we let these passions inflame us to the point where we totally wish to remove other people who actually should be teammates, allies and partners.  I’ve observed more than a few disagreements make people (or select folk out of that group) totally operate on hate mode to the point where passive/aggressive threats are issued.  Some people practically attempt to become smear hustlers.  Some of these quarrels are so ridiculous, folks will leave you scratching your head baffled.

There are two types of disagreements abolitionists end up having:

  1. Disagreement on an issue concerning the movement, and;
  2. Disagreement that has NOTHING to do with the movement.

Let that marinate for a moment — some stuff has NOTHING to do with the movement.  Anyway…

Using myself in this example, there’s a lot of racism-aware speakers out there who say things I vehemently disagree with.  Big names too.  I’m not in total agreement with Dr. Umar Johnson in regards to interracial relationships, for example.  I’m not in agreement with a lot of racism-aware speakers who insist that integration is “worse” than American slavery.

I also have elements others would find disagreeable:  I tend to dodge using emotional-appeal arguments and prefer things grounded in science, logic and reason.  I consider secondary and tertiary effects.  I prefer foresight over hindsight.  I consider things people might not be thinking about or know of; blind spots.  I dodge making off-end conspiracies a part of my whole package.

In regards to what I’ve been seeing, most disagreements fall under anti-racism issues, but the total fact of difference is negligible.  Rachel Dolezal is a fine example of something that’s racism-related, but far too minor to provoke the type of beef between socially aware writers/speakers that would rival Marvel’s Civil War storyline.  Some black writers think she’s amazing.  Others black writers, like myself, see that she’s a very flawed, pathological liar type trying to occupy black spaces.  Check this out though: I know I’m more correct than my Dolezal-romanticizing friends, but one thing I don’t do is let their differing opinion shatter our friendships, allies, and coalitions.  With a factual basis on my side, I may tease my friends, poke fun at my friends, mock them a little… but I never let these petty issues break up our coalitions.  In short, I allow them to exist as is.  I still accept, appreciate, and approve of them as a person, while not necessarily approving of the said claim at hand.

I have paranoid conspiracy theorist friends who I disagree with, much to their dismay.  I may challenge their claims or accusations, but I never pick a beef over these things.  It’s a bit absurd to do so.

In regards to people I never met, Like Dr. Umar Johnson, I tend to never forget the points that I do agree with.  While the person might not deliver a total package for me to appreciate, in regards to the fight against racism and black empowerment, I treat it like a fast food burger — pick the pickle out, throw it away and then enjoy the damn burger (yeah, I hate pickles).

I think it’s important to always remember why you have a greater commonality in the first place.  Why did the stars align to cross you among each other in the first place?  Another question I would ask, is this: Are you more powerful as a team than by yourself?

If you answer “by yourself”, then you obviously are not a leader.  That’s okay that you are not, but yeah you aren’t.  If you fail to comprehend the skill, talent of others and also lack the capability to bring that together, then you are not a leader.  Cool.  It’s okay to exist as a follower.  Everyone isn’t made to be the facilitator of other’s talents.  But you don’t have to be a leader to understand how to comprehend difference and manage disagreement.

And lastly, white supremacy is laughing in our faces when we fall apart.  So remember this, if you remember anything at all:

Each time social activists, writers and speakers become bitter or beef with each other, white supremacy kills a kitten.  Stop helping white supremacy kill kittens.

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