Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Shift in Ideology or a Continuation of Instilling Fear?

To continue the trend of Dan Savage posts that Liz started, here are my questions after our evening with Dan Savage. I was not familiar with Dan Savage’s column or work but he is a very captivating speaker. His “It Gets Better” campaign is very original and thought provoking. However, after our time with Dan Savage I had two main, interlinked questions.

Essentially Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign is about standing up for the violence and injustice against gay, bi, trans, and lesbian students. Hence, Savage is trying to reestablish those students’ human rights through his campaign. I am wondering if this campaign needs to try to further impact the ideology of the students who are the bullies. Because the campaign has grown so fast and effectively it might be beneficial for an even more powerful change to occur by creating a part of the campaign that understands and attempts to change the bullies’ mindset in order to rework this unjust system of continuous wrongdoings. Thus, my first questions stemming from Dan Savage’s campaign are do you think that the campaign should be gearing some small portion of its efforts into influencing those bullies who cause all the injustices? Also, do you think this will actually bring about a different and lasting, peaceful change in the lives of the GLBT students?

Dan Savage’s campaign’s and talk’s provocative quality made me wonder what exactly we are fighting when we are correcting any human rights violations? By this I mean, when we advocate and begin to fight for change in regards to human rights violations, the point is definitely to defend the victims and punish the violators. I completely agree with this method because of the level of immorality that comes along with human rights violations. However, by applying my previous questions to a bigger scale I further inquire by asking, should there be more of an effort made to influence the mindset of the violators? Would trying to influence the ideology of the violators transform the way violations of human rights are globally handled?

It is very easy to write about influencing the violators than it is to actually execute this theory; however, I wonder if the purpose of fighting human rights violations is to bring about a systemic change through shirting the ideologies of the violators or continuing to instill a sense of fear in the violators through means of punishment so that such actions will not be repeated? Perhaps, the point of challenging human rights violations is a combination of both of these purposes?

1 comment:

  1. Manali, your questions are similar in nature to the ones I would pose to Dan Savage. In response to your questions (should the bullies be more influenced/punished), I would venture to say that it would be nearly impossible to be heard among that crowd. That is not to say that nothing should be done, but as Savage said himself, the people who need lecturing aren't the ones who willfully attend his lectures. He may very well challenge viewpoints of those with the same ultimate goal, but I would be hard pressed to admit that those who need to be changed completely were in attendance. So does that mean there needs to be a more active approach than his already very active campaign? Perhaps. He has the podium, he has the voice, and he has the attention (good or bad) of the media, so yes, I do agree that something more should be done to address the bullies.

    I had one other question for Dan Savage though. His response to the question about language (using "gay" or "fag" in common discourse to replace "lame" or "stupid") surprised and made me uneasy. As a student here, as a visiting student elsewhere, and as an adolescent in the world we live in, to me language is one of the most passively aggressive ways that belittles and troubles the GLBT community. While it may be something that can be "sloughed off", the issue is that anyone and EVERYONE can use language in this way, making it a readily available weapon whether you realize it or not.


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