July 14, 2024

If you have ever used the term “Social Justice Warrior” as an earnest insult…

The term “Social Justice Warrior” is often used as a pejorative by internet commenters to denigrate speech aimed at reducing gender, class, and racial inequality. To put this in perspective of the atheist microcosm of the larger community, atheists who criticize social justice advocates and who have large followings, often use this word liberally (meaning a lot, not politically liberal). For those who promote anti-social justice rhetoric with this term, have a look at what you may sound like:

  1.  It would be great if we all wear Guy Fawkes masks tomorrow. Take back
  2. >> Anonymous from the fucking SJW faggots and turn it back into our
  3. >> internet hate machine.

This is purported by Raw Story to be part of a 4Chan discussion called “Chimp Out”. Purportedly there was discussion on the forum about menacing Black Live Matters protesters to provoke them into anger, and then claiming a shooting in self defense.

As I just reported , 5 BLM protesters were shot in Minneapolis and 2 suspects were apprehended. Since then, the Hispanic suspect was released, and 2 other suspects have turned themselves in according to Dave Futrelle at “We Hunted the Mammoth.”

A word of caution: the information linking the shooting to 4Chan is preliminary and could be a hoax, because 4Chan is a troll site. This story is of particular interest to atheists as some of the people most targeted by anti-Social Justice trolls are atheists Rebecca Watson and Anita Sarkeesian. Prominent atheists have been making YouTube videos attacking these two women over feminism for years. It would come as no surprise if one or more of the suspects in the shootings are atheists, as much of the venom that is pumped out against social justice is by popular anti-Social Justice atheists. As Dave Futrelle says:

Online hate is not somehow magically separate from the real world; it’s part of it. If the shootings last night were connected to 4chan, and it seems likely they were, they also show that the line between hateful “trolling” and “real” hate is exceedingly thin if not nonexistent. The shootings last night are what happens when “trolls” carry guns.

I would hope that popular atheists who are social justice critics would at least dial their rhetoric down a bit. Use of the term social justice warrior is of course a matter of free speech, and no one should censor free speech. However, that doesn’t mean using the word as an insult won’t also make the user look hateful. Also, I have seen the most well-intentioned critics of critical race theory or feminism or income inequality have their comment sections inundated with people promoting hate and bigotry. I would think Freethinkers would want to encourage freethought free from bigoted bias.

Because why would anyone have a problem with Social Justice?
Because why would anyone have a problem with Social Justice?

Will atheists who have used “social justice warrior” as an insult drop the term and dissociate from the “internet hate machine”?

Perhaps we will find out that one or more of the perpetrators of these shootings is an atheist.  Will they disavow the people involved as they often demand Muslims disavow Islamist terrorism ?

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