Do activists have to use profanity? - Commentaries | NTV

Do activists have to use profanity?

By JOSEPH TUMWESIGYE

Wednesday November 6, 2019

Dr Stella Nyanzi in court 

On Monday, an American television station, ABC hosted Mona Eltahawy an Egyptian-American Journalist and activist on their QandA programme. On the show, while talking about Former US President, Barack Obama’s stand on the “WOKE” movement, Eltahawy praised Ugandan Activist Dr Stella Nyanzi for her use of profanity as a form of activism against oppression.

“Woke” as a political term of African American origin refers to a perceived awareness of issues concerning social justice and racial justice. Recently, at the third Obama Foundation summit on Tuesday, former US President Barack Obama called out this political culture of awareness saying that it is filled with judgemental types always casting stones even for small errors like using a wrong verb to refer to somebody.


'That is not activism, that is not bringing about change. If all you're doing is casting stones, you are probably not going to get that far,' the 44th US president said .


Take for example international musician Sam Smith. This great singer identifies as a non-binary person, genderwise (I should point out that the world is taking on more and more genders. Last I checked they were over 100). Some say non-binary as a term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’.’ The verbs used to refer to such a person are ‘They’, ‘their’ and “them”, and not ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘his’, ‘him’, ‘hers’ or even ‘here.

So, if you referred to Sam Smith as “he, him, his”, it would offend him. Doesn't matter that you did not know how he identifies. On social media, the WOKE people will be quick to shut you down sometimes with a judgmental statement or a profanity.

This is basically what is happening with the ‘WOKE” movement. It all starts out alright with people voicing their concerns as much as possible until some extreme individuals join the club. Remember the big-time feminist movement on social media? All was good until some “feminists” started saying things like breastfeeding a male baby is enabling him to become a sexual predator when he grows. These are judgmental types who in many cases use profanity to show off their “WOKEness”.

Obama’s wife Michelle also spoke out about activism asking the WOKE community to go “High” when conservatives that do not agree with them go “Low.” In other words, be the better person and do not stoop to their level. This used to be good advice but the “WOKE” movement that Mona Eltahawy subscribes too seems to think that it is not anymore.

Eltahawy wants to fight fire with Magical Fiendfyre.

“This idea of respectability, this idea of civility, this idea of unity. All of these words…(decorum). Who invented these words? They were invented by white men for the benefit of other white men in systems of institutions that were designed to be for white men,” Eltahawy pressed to prove her point.

In her argument, it was pointless for activists like her or even people different from white men to be civil and talk on a round table. To her, it is better to attack and aggressively fight against the system the white men, the villains of the WOKE movement, created. She went ahead to point out how important profanity is in changing the political climate of the world.

Profanity is simply blasphemous or obscene language. It is not exactly a good thing but the Mona Eltahawy thinks it is the best way to promote political change mostly for the betterment of Girls and Women. In her book, “The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls” she has a chapter where she talks about our very own activist Stella Nyanzi using profanity to push her political agenda ahead.

“I disagree with Barack Obama, I agree with Stella Nyanzi,” Eltahawy closed her argument.

So tell me, was Stella Nyanzi right to use that kind of profanity against the President and even more so an innocent victim, his mother? Eltahawy praised Nyanzi’s actions on American television with even some laughter radiating out of the small audience. The comments on the twitter post by @QandA have tweeps (who I’ll admit are not qualified) calling her crazy. Here in Uganda, many, including those against President Museveni and his NRM government still think that Stella Nyanzi has a few unsolved mental issues.

Even though you do not care about the moral aspect of it all, using such forms of activism has produced nothing. They only do well to anger bigots who in turn become arrogant on their end. Interestingly, a lot of WOKE people have become bigots in their own right. I have done my usual perusing through social media only to find the so-called activists who do not care to listen to what other people have to say. Even answering queries from those who show interest in understanding their issues.

I agree with Michelle Obama. When they go low, we go high. The WOKE movement aligns itself as the good guys fighting for the betterment of those that identify themselves differently from the conservatives who choose to keep doing outdated things. So, let the WOKE movement remain the good guys. Profanity is an excess that will never yield peace between two or more factions. As long as one feels offended, more violence is expected to ensue. What are our children and their children after them going to learn from us if we fill our mouths with foul substance?