I’d Listen to Them if They Weren’t So Angry

“Rage, in this country, is not something everyone is entitled to feel . . . Minority groups constantly have to evaluate how their rage reflects poorly on their race, their ethnicity, their religious group or affiliation . . . ” – Sarah Moawad

Class debates usually pass by as just participation marks, until your identity is up for debate. Participation in an activist group is usually not remarked upon, until that group makes themselves known and seen in the public eye. Sharing a Facebook article in support of a movement might get a few likes; the angry comments don’t start until they’ve begun to organize and protest.

The disenfranchised are only ever applauded for demanding their rights when it is not inconvenient to the majority. And yet their rights have only ever been secured when the issue is forced into the consciousness of the oblivious public.

People who get to play devil’s advocate and make debates hypothetical do it from a place of privilege, since usually core activism happens from people within the affected demographic.

To these activists though, it’s not just theoretical; it’s a fight for their personal treatments and rights and status. In the same token, belittling movements and individuals for being ‘reactionary’ or ‘emotional’ is overlooking the fact that being objective isn’t a position you get to take unless the issue isn’t a part of your own identity.

All outlets of trying to effect change that are criticized are usually without constructive suggestion, because the intention is to undermine rather than streamline.

That doesn’t discount legitimate criticisms, and of course there are greater likelihoods of success when the responding party isn’t immediately on the defensive, but the emotion or chosen method or other factors behind the intended change don’t undermine the need for that change.


Your “hypothetical” conversation is the other person’s reality.



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About ISNA Canada

ISNA Canada is an Islamic organization committed to the mission and movement of Islam: nurturing a way of life in the light of the guidance from the Qur’an and Sunnah for establishing a vibrant presence of Muslims in Canada. ISNA exists as a platform for all Muslims who share its mission and are dedicated to serving the needs of Muslims and Muslim communities.