“All social change begins with a conversation”– Margaret J. Wheatley
Think about the above quote for a moment.
Simply with a conversation, we can provoke change in others. Sometimes, that is all it takes. All you need to do is spark an idea in someone’s mind.
But when you stay silent, you miss that opportunity.
There are people who stay silent because of fear of judgement, rejection and for the pure sake of avoiding an argument. But, there are also those who stay silent because they simply don’t feel like “wasting” their time. Many of the latter also claim to support the many oppressed communities, yet they do not stand up for them when the time comes.
The bottom line is:
If you say that you are for human rights, women, minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, and a number of other oppressed communities, then why aren’t you standing up for those communities when your friends speak ill of them?
Actions speak louder than words.
You cannot claim to support those communities when you associate yourself with people who make it clear that they do not, especially when you do nothing about it.
All it takes is a sentence. Even just the word “no”. Let your friends know that their discriminatory behavior is not acceptable. Tell them it’s cruel. Tell them the truth.
When you stay silent, you are giving them permission.
You are feeding them the idea that what they are saying is okay; that it’s normal. You are normalizing their hatred of other people.
Risk those arguments, risk those fights between you and your friends. If you care about your friends who are minorities, women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, then let your friends who are ignorant know that they are wrong. Don’t be afraid to spell it out for them. Stop letting your fear of being judged get in the way of doing what’s right.