The Problem With Social Justice Today -- Dividing Rather than Unifying

This article about pronouns on campus embodies all that is wrong with social justice warriors today, but perhaps not for the reason you might guess.

I personally have no particular problem if you want to identify as a male or a female or gender 6 or a zebra.  But here is the real problem:  When I write about you, I don't know how you self-identify.  And when I write about a random hypothetical person, gender is effectively meaningless.  I want one simple third person pronoun that can be applied to everyone.  I currently use "they" even for the singular, rather than the more awkward "he or she" or just picking a random one each time, though this usage is still controversial.  I don't care what the damn word is, just let's agree on one.   The shift in the 1970's from using Mrs. and Miss to just using Ms. was awesome -- if you have ever struggled with trying to guess gender from a name like "pat", think about what a pain in the butt it was to try to guess marital status before addressing someone.   The only thing that would be an improvement would be to just go to M. for everyone, male or female.

But the proposal in the article has, at my count, 11 different third-person pronouns.  Ack.  This is going in exactly the wrong direction.  It is the same thing that social justice warriors have done on race.  Twenty years ago, perhaps even 10, most everyone would have agreed the ideal goal was to have post-racial or race-blind society.   Sure, celebrate your ethnicity and cultural uniqueness, but when dealing with each other we should think of each other first and second and third as humans, with race being as relevant to how we react to people as hair color.   But of course we have gone in the opposite directly, with Progressives actually arguing for more and more separation and barriers between the races.  So now we are doing the same thing on gender.

The whole point of the pronoun things seems to be not to get us to some sort of harmony but just the opposite, to create new opportunities to shame and abuse people.  After all, if we launch tidal waves of outrage at people for picking the wrong pronoun out of two choices, imagine how much vitriol we can vent with 11 choices to get wrong.


  1. Agammamon:


    How about its the whole point of social justice since even before the concept went mainstream here. How many Russians or Cambodians were killed for 'social justice'?

    Its not about justice - social or otherwise. Its about *power* - and the ability to rationalize doing horrible things to people to get and maintain that power. That's what its always been about.

  2. The_Big_W:

    Dividing people gives the dividers political power. That's the whole point. I personally am actually very shook by the fact that the Melting Pot idea of America was systematically derided and dismantled by the left (in favor of the abysmal idea of Multiculturalism) in order to divide people for the sole purpose of gaining political power. They have no care for the damage that has been done, they just wanted to rule.

    Lately I have nothing but pure, absolute, contempt for those who want to destroy the greatest nation conceived and built because "microagressions". They are like a two year old playing with matches, but the house they're going to burn down is all of Western Civilization.

  3. Bistro:

    I put vents at the elbows up my sleeves so I could laugh at this.
    You want to send the 'movement' up? Just quote MLK jr at them. They really really hate that. Character is less than nothing to the people who elect the stupidist people on earth to represent them in a democracy. Contrast with the great liberators of England's Parliament. Those guys were woke and way smart. Oh, and they haven't had one since Winston died. Most of the current crop would have done well licking Hitler's boots. They only strive becasue they're not quite advanced enough for that pinnacle of social achievement.

  4. Jaedo Drax:

    You could just use the existing 3rd person, singular, neutral pronoun, the English language already has one of those. Of course, the SJWs and their fellow travelers are more interested in forcing you to submit to their subjective irrational dogma that changes on a weekly basis, than abiding by what already exists.

  5. Not Sure:

    "Its about *power*"

    Before I even opened the comments, this is the thought that came to mind.

  6. Mercury:

    "The Problem With Social Justice Today -- Dividing Rather than Unifying"

    Because it's Marxism, which is primarily about resentment and destruction with whatever strain of social justice running a distant third.

  7. John Moore:

    Progressivism, these days, is all about discarding lessons of the past. English evolved, as did other languages, to have gender because it was very useful. It still is - as Coyote's confusion demonstrates.

    And, the current transexual craze demonstrates that progressives are trying to throw off the leash of biology, and refuse to accept its reality. While some people clearly have some gender dysphoria, the creation of this movement is going to lead a lot of people into that disorder, to their great harm.

    We only need two pronouns: he and she.

  8. Kevin Hales:

    The idea that we get to pick our identity is a pernicious lie. If I identity myself as an artist, but when I lay chisel to stone all I can produce is blood-stained rubble, no one is going to call me an artist. If someone had to write an article about me they would refer to me as a "so-called artist", or as a "self-described artist", but never as an artist.

    In the movie "Cool Hand Luke", why was the main character called Cool Hand Luke? It wasn't an identity he picked for himself.

    Our identity is set by the social group we interact with, not by ourselves. Our character and our actions will influence our identity, but we do not get to pick it.

    "I identify as a kumquat, and my pronoun is thbbthbbthbb." This will simply result in me being identified as an asshole.

  9. NeoWayland:

    After about the third one or so, I just start using "it."

    For some strange unknown reason, that upsets people.

  10. Max Lybbert:

    The book "Style: Toward Clarity and Grace" includes a section with Chaucer, Shakespeare and others using "incorrect grammar." I don't remember what they used for "singular they," but it was enough to get me to stop worrying about it.

  11. Dan Wendlick:

    I think it may be a bit more subtle than that.. First of all, the movement is based on the idea of group identity, which is a non-starter for me, personally. But more specifically, the thought seems to be that if the problem is that Group A has unjust power over Group B, then the solution is to five Group B power over Group A. This does not remove the problem; it only reverses it. The thought that the actual solution to the problem is to create a structure where no one individual has power over anyone else on an involuntary basis is utterly foreign to them and rejected out of hand.

  12. cc:

    In the case of gender, one almost always lacks the information to use the right pronoun. At a college can you possibly know the pronoun preference of 40,000 students and 20,000 faculty/staff? No. Further, pronouns are only used when talking about someone. When introducing someone, you say "This is Mr. (or Ms.) Smith" --Mr & Ms are titles and there are no other titles (besides honorifics like Dr. and Judge) so their argument is incoherent. Even if you use "Xe" when referring to them you only have Mr etc to introduce them.

    The desire to generate oppressed minorities is also incoherent. It is leading back to the 1-drop custom of discrimination: if you have any known ancestors who are black you are black but having white ancestors doesn't make you white (or chinese ancestors make you chinese). It is a contamination theory of race. All this is predicated on a belief that if you have any brown in you then society oppresses you, evidence to the contrary be damned. Shall we follow the practice of Brazil and start making official distinctions (Mestizo, Mullatto, etc) of how much black or Indian you are and give out identity cards? It is insane.
    The claims about women being oppressed are equally incoherent. Married women are the safest of any class in terms of risk of murder or death at work, and often do not even have to work. That is oppressed?

  13. CapnRusty:

    If the problem is that Group A has "unjust" power over Group B, then the
    solution is to convince the members of Group B that they can have power over Group A . . . but only if they elect you to lead them . . . and give you absolute power to make everything "just," With the majority behind you, you can take away power from Group B. But since Group A has already given you absolute power, you don't have to give any of that power to Group B. Instead, you keep it all for yourself.

    Ask the Venezuelans how that worked for them.

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