From the Book: “Fight for people & against ideas”

I selected the phrases for my coloring book to say what I thought might be most important to others within the activist community.  But because the coloring book simply has the coloring pages without commentary, I thought I might use this venue to elaborate a bit on why I chose to include what I did.

“Fight for people & against ideas.”

This is one of those things I think we easily lose track of when we’re passionate about something, but we should never be fighting against people.  That’s not a productive way to look at activism.  When we focus on defeating people, we start doing things which are vengeful or vindictive but not productive.

For instance, I may oppose a politician because of the views they hold and the type of legislation they support.  Focusing on defeating that politician, putting them as a person at the center of my efforts, takes the focus away from the larger underlying problems.  Defeating that one politician can’t be the goal, because the larger problem doesn’t end there.

Furthermore, if we try to put all our focus on convincing people to believe what we believe, we undertake a task we can never achieve.  Our efforts should never be about conversion or persuasion, but about helping those who suffer from injustice.

For instance, fighting for the rights of LGBT people doesn’t mean changing everyone’s minds.  It is, however, about ensuring that LGBT people are given full protection under the law and access to the same resources and opportunities as everyone else.  It has to be about fighting for LGBT people rather than fighting to promote an idea.

Fighting against people and for ideas simply doesn’t produce results.

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