I have been seeing a lot of people on tumblr in recent days being justly infuriated with police in the United States. I’ve seen countless posts with the message of: cops are despicable, even if individual cops aren’t committing atrocities they are complicit in an institution that does.
I agree and I understand. Trust me I do.
Here’s the thing though. Taking all that outrage and screaming about how awful this system is really doesn’t help without the added intellectual, physical, and social work of trying to come up with solutions. So here’s Amy Sarah’s Three-Step Guide to Turning Discussions About Outrage into Discussions About Change:
- Identify the problem. Tumblr has this one down pat. We see injustice in the world and we become angry, sad, driven, disgusted, outraged, etc. If I were to ask somebody why they were so upset over Ferguson, MO, I think they’d be able to give me a heartfelt and passionate answer.
- Justify action. Whether it’s speaking out about something, taking to the streets in non-violent protests, or participating in violent uprising, some form of action is always required to solve a major social problem. Which actions or aspects of the system you are protesting are problematic? Is the system broken beyond repair, or can it be fixed? What measures are needed to bring about justice?
- Propose a solution. This is the most important part. I’ll repeat that: this is the most important part. It’s easy to know what you are fighting against, it’s far more challenging, and essential, to understand what you are fighting for. Why have you decided to join this battle? Awareness and visibility are totally fine motives—maybe you want to spread the word in the odds that somebody will notice and come up with a good solution. It is also more productive to debate solutions than it is to debate interpretations of the problem.