Mindsets People Social Web

A story about leaving life-long extremism

Megan Phelps-Roper related her story about leaving life-long extremism as a member of the Westboro Baptist Church that is worth watching and listening to.

She credits Twitter for exposing her to very different perspectives on the extremist positions she championed since childhood as a member of this church and her ultimate decision to make a break with these ideologies.

You may also want to read a 2015 article in the New Yorker about her too. I have saved it to read later and only just glanced at it. It should be a very interesting read.

Twitter has been under fire for some time now as an enabler for trolls and its failure to protect people targeted by those trolls. This story touches on Twitter’s positive influences and while Twitter has a lot of work to do, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that so many of its users have benefited positively from the service.


Howling sexism and feminist exaggeration

If you haven’t read “Ramphele et al: The world according to angry feminists” in Daily Maverick, do yourself a favour and read it.

Crying wolf would not matter if the wolf did not actually exist. The problem is that it does. That is why, when feminist activists pounce on the most flimsy evidence and strained comparisons to support the claim that criticism of female politicians is driven by sexism, the cause of gender equality is undermined. By exaggerating about Ramphele, they devalue and trivialise allegations of sexism.

Discrimination on various grounds persists and should be challenged. That said, I have this nagging thought that constantly pulling the race and gender cards keeps us anchored because these accusations paralyse the groups accused of discriminating or enrage the groups apparently being discriminated against without creating an opportunity for meaningful progress.

Gender activists, just like activists campaigning against various forms of discrimination, are important voices. They seem extreme at times but perhaps we need extremists to counteract apathy. At the same time –

A hair-trigger on the rhetorical weapon of sexism is as destructive as lightly crediting someone’s success to affirmative action. It is as corrosive as blaming failure on racist discrimination.