Before starting this blog, I debated the merits of publicizing thoughts on feminism and social policy, especially in an uncertain job market. So I started posting anonymously, and I loved it. I felt safe, like I could post anything, argue for what I believed in, and have a meaningful dialogue. I knew the dangers of blogging about feminism under your real name; I saw what happened to Rebecca Watson, and Anita Sarkeesian. Therefore, I decided to blog under cafeaulait, instead of my real name.
But in my youthful blog enthusiasm, I told a few friends that I had a blog and showed it to them. When I showed a friend who works on Wall Street, he laughed. He pointed out that the Ghandi quotation is overused to the point of cliche. He’s right, but his valid criticism stung, and made me feel like a walking stereotype.
The truth is that I do believe in social justice. And that involves believing in people, believing in their innate goodness, and believing that you can make a difference. I believe in social justice because I have seen it work.
I have seen health clinics manifest from nothing out of sheer determination and hard work. I have seen the offering of video games available expand to more female-friendly games. I believe that one broke college graduate can change the perception of teaching in the United States, starting with nothing but a tiny apartment and a big idea, like Wendy Kopp, the CEO of TFA.But to those who don’t see the world like I do, I’m just an idealistic fool.
I am a latte liberal because I believe in social justice and because I have seen it work. Not because I’m still too young or too naive to know better.
His words inspired a moment of doubt, and then a realization. Speaking like I would to like-minded friends is not going to change conservative hearts. My liberal roommate and my liberal coworkers will be inspired by the Ghandi quotation. Unfortunately, those who don’t believe in the power of activism will dismiss the quotation as trite, overplayed pretty words.
He reminded me that portraying myself as a stereotypical latte-drinking liberal isn’t helping me spread the message that social justice matters.
I learned through my friend’s assessment, that I need to improve my communication skills. Because he is happy with the status quo, and I believe that things can and should be better, I have to take the responsibility to learn how to better communicate with him and others like him. After all, if I want change, I have to work for it, or else I’m not living up to my own mantras.
For now, I will try to reach to those who think similarly. I will continue to blog as cafeaulait, and I will separate my blog life and my personal life. In the meantime, I will work on improving my ability to communicate the importance of social justice and activism to more conservative family and friends, sharing techniques along the way.
If you have any advice on how to communicate with more conservative family and friends, leave tips in the comments!