Commentary and Criticism about the National Education Association
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Social Justice Warrior
On October 31, NEA Today reported on the previous week’s NEA Equity Leader’s Summit which was held in Chicago.
Get Uncomfortable: Talking About Race, Inequity, and Injustice – by Brenda Alvarez
I was surprised to read that one of the participants in the Summit, Maxine Mosley (a school counselor from New Hampshire), appeared to be suggesting that the NEA is in favor of making us all social justice warriors:
“Part of this learning is to lean into comfortableness and learn to be OK with that and to do something with it because you don’t build social justice warriors from just saying ‘we have a problem,’”
Now, someone might claim that I am unfairly picking just one line out of a long article and making a big deal out of nothing.
This is possible, I admit.
But the line quoted above was also placed as a block quote on the side of the article page so at least the author, Brenda Alvarez, thought it was important enough to highlight it.
THE PROBLEM WITH “SOCIAL JUSTICE”
Social justice sounds good in theory – everyone wants justice in society, right? And what better way to achieve this laudable goal than having “warriors” to fight against any injustice which they might come across.
But is it really as simple as that?
The problem is that not everyone agrees exactly what qualifies as an “injustice.”
Here is a really simple example. Social justice warriors choose to use the term “undocumented immigrants” to describe individuals who improperly cross US borders as opposed to using the term “illegal immigrant.”
They have every right to do this, by the way.
But because they are “warriors,” they go further than this. When they encounter someone who chooses to use the term “illegal immigrant” to describe these same individuals, they vilify these people as racist. Social justice warriors would consider “improper” terminology an injustice toward illegal immigrants.
So when the NEA publishes an article which give tacit approval to the concept of a social justice warrior, it is taking a position which is antithetical to the views of many of its members.
How long are we going to continue letting the NEA take money out of our paychecks when they hold positions like this?