Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I'm Madder Than Hell and I'm Not Going to Take it Anymore...

If you don't stand up for an injustice, then you're allowing it to continue. Silence is acceptance.

Why are people so afraid of upsetting the status quo? Why do so many people blindly accept what should be changed?

I'm appalled by passivity, just as I'm appalled by unfairness. Unfortunately, the two often go hand-in-hand. In fact, people often tell me to not "make waves." They give me varying reasons--not unfounded reasons, I'll admit--relating how my actions now will affect my future. This is true, but it also goes against my nature and what I believe: If something is unacceptable, if someone is treating you (and/or someone else) in an unacceptable manner, I think it's one's right--nay, one's duty--to stand up for oneself (and for those who may not have a voice). Doing so also affects one's future, but it affects one's present well-being, too. In the grand scheme of things, there is more at stake than, say, just a job reference. Change doesn't happen unless people "make waves," unless they disrupt the status quo.

Think of all the news stories and social media memes regarding people affected by bullying. While it's an overused word (in my estimation), it's a very real act. And it happens everywhere--not just in cyberspace or in schools. It happens in the workplace: Corporation as bully, management as pawns, silence as approval.

In ninth grade science class (and in homeroom), due to abhorrent alphabetical seating, an annoying kid sat behind me kicking and shaking my desk all class period, all semester (and, in homeroom, all year; but for as little time as was spent in homeroom, that was inconsequential). At first, I was fairly passive. I'd get to the class early and move his desk several feet away from mine. But as soon as he came to class, he'd either sit down and ram his desk into the back of mine or he'd slowly inch his way toward me (which was preferable--sometimes I'd have almost two-thirds of the class period free from his idiocy). Trying to reason with him didn't work either (as one might expect); instead, he added poking me with a pencil to his repertoire. Ultimately, I went to the teacher and asked if I could change seats. He wouldn't let me. (I did anyway, without permission, but my tormentor occasionally followed me.) Speaking up doesn't always make a difference, but at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that you've done something.
If you don't speak up at all, though, the bully--be it a person, a company, an organization, or a general unjust act or rule--wins. Triumphs, in fact.

Don't accept the unacceptable. Question. Speak. Act.