Social justice warrior (SJW) is a pejorative term used for an individual who promotes socially progressive and liberal views, including feminism, civil rights, gay and transgender rights, and multiculturalism. The accusation that somebody is an SJW carries implications that they are pursuing personal validation rather than any deep-seated conviction, and engaging in disingenuous arguments.
The phrase originated in the late 20th century as a neutral or positive term for people engaged in social justice activism. In 2011, when the term first appeared on Twitter, it changed from a primarily positive term to an overwhelmingly negative one. During the Gamergate controversy these negative connotations had increased usage which overshadowed its origins.
At this point, the social justice warrior’s ego has become more important than the actual topic at hand, and no amount of reasoning will change their mind. In fact, it only makes them dig their heels in more. ‘Social Justice Warriors’ Deface Statues Of Actual Social Justice Warriors. June 11, 2020 By Tristan Justice. While self-proclaimed antifascists deface literal antifascists.
Dating back to 1824, the term social justice refers to justice on a societal level. From the early 1990s to the early 2000s, social-justice warrior was used as a neutral or complimentary phrase, as when a 1991 Montreal Gazette article describes union activist Michel Chartrand as a 'Quebec nationalist and social-justice warrior'.
Katherine Martin, the head of U.S. dictionaries at Oxford University Press, said in 2015 that '[a]ll of the examples I've seen until quite recently are lionizing the person'. As of 2015, the Oxford English Dictionary had not done a full search for the earliest usage.
According to Martin, the term switched from primarily positive to negative around 2011, when it was first used as an insult on Twitter. The negative connotation has primarily been aimed at those espousing views adhering to social progressivism, cultural inclusivity, or feminism. Scott Selisker, writes in New Literary History that the SJW is often criticised as the 'stereotype of the feminist as unreasonable, sanctimonious, biased, and self-aggrandizing'. Use of the term has also been described as attempting to degrade the motivations of the person accused of being an SJW, implying that their motives are 'for personal validation rather than out of any deep-seated conviction'. Allegra Ringo in Vice writes that 'in other words, SJWs don't hold strong principles, but they pretend to. The problem is, that's not a real category of people. It's simply a way to dismiss anyone who brings up social justice.'
The term's negative use became mainstream due to the 2014 Gamergate controversy where it emerged as the favored term of Gamergate proponents and was popularized on websites such as Reddit, 4chan, and Twitter. Gamergate supporters used the term to criticise what they saw as unwanted external influences in video game media from progressive sources. Martin states that 'the perceived orthodoxy [of progressive politics] has prompted a backlash among people who feel their speech is being policed'. In Internet and video game culture the phrase is broadly associated with a wider culture war that also included the 2015 Sad Puppies campaign that affected the Hugo Awards.
In August 2015, social justice warrior was one of several new words and phrases added to Oxford Dictionaries.
- ^ abcdefghijklOhlheiser, Abby (October 7, 2015). 'Why 'social justice warrior,' a Gamergate insult, is now a dictionary entry'. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 26, 2017.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- ^ abcdJohnson, Eric (October 10, 2014). 'Understanding the Jargon of Gamergate'. Re/code. Archived from the original on January 2, 2016.
A Social Justice Warrior, or SJW, is any person, female or male, who argues online for political correctness or feminism. 'Social justice' may sound like a good thing to many of our readers, but the people who use this term only use it pejoratively.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- ^ abcHeron, Michael James; Belford, Pauline; Goker, Ayse (2014). 'Sexism in the circuitry: female participation in male-dominated popular computer culture'. ACM SIGCAS Computers and Society. 44 (4): 18–29. doi:10.1145/2695577.2695582. S2CID18004724.
- ^Stack, Liam (August 15, 2017). 'Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist Language'. The New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
- ^ abcRingo, Allegra (August 28, 2014). 'Meet the Female Gamer Mascot Born of Anti-Feminist Internet Drama'. Vice. Archived from the original on January 14, 2016.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- ^'social justice'. The Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.
- ^ abSelisker, Scott (2015). 'The Bechdel Test and the Social Form of Character Networks'. New Literary History. 46 (3): 505–523. doi:10.1353/nlh.2015.0024. ISSN0028-6087. OCLC1296558. S2CID146326736.
- ^Jeong, Sarah (2015). The Internet of Garbage. Forbes Media. ISBN9781508018865.
- ^Barnett, David (April 26, 2016). 'Hugo awards shortlist dominated by rightwing campaign'. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- ^Wagner, Laura (August 27, 2015). 'Can You Use That In A Sentence? Dictionary Adds New Words'. NPR. Archived from the original on March 20, 2016.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- ^Steinmetz, Katy (August 26, 2015). 'Oxford Dictionaries Adds 'Fat-Shame,' 'Butthurt' and 'Redditor''. Time. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Stack, Liam (August 15, 2017). 'Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist Language'. The New York Times.
- The dictionary definition of social justice warrior at Wiktionary
- The definition of social justice warrior from Oxford Dictionaries
Actual Justice Warrior Reddit
Panelists in a recent Christianity Today webinar examined issues of the church and race at the cornerstone of identity, faith, and the pursuit of justice. The conversation on race in the United States has centered around the quest for social justice since the national uproar after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer last May. Despite this, some panelists questioned whether the meaning of social justice, and term itself, reflect actual Biblical justice.
The webinar took place as part of a broader Christianity Today initiative focusing on identity, faith, and the future of the church. Ed Gilbreath, director of CT’s “Big Tent Initiative,” an initiative to better represent the diversity of the North American church, delivered welcoming remarks.
Earlier this year, the publication released a collection of essays titled Pursuing Racial Justice. The book can be downloaded here. Each of the panelists, Walter Kim, Jamal-Dominique Hopkins, Sheila Caldwell, and Michelle Reyes, along with moderator Vincent Bacote, penned essays for the book.
Although the webinar was not focused solely upon the etymology and meaning of the term “social justice,” panelists often brought it up in their remarks.
“Social is not really a term in the Bible,” stated Dr. Sheila Caldwell, chief intercultural engagement officer at Wheaton College. “[Social justice] can really take away from the word ‘justice’ in the Bible.”
“The Bible really focuses more so on justice and where we administer justice,” Caldwell continued. “It’s really a connection of ‘how do we be a Christian’ and justice.” She further asserted that “a misunderstanding of justice is not ‘how can you get on the diversity train,’ it’s ‘how can you be a Christian.”
Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), insisted that “We are all committed to justice. Every human has a profound need for justice.” “How do we build solidarity with others… it requires a deep level of curiosity and listening and relationship building,” he continued.
Kim and the NAE have also addressed the theology of race and racism and the church extensively since last summer.
“Solidarity is what we see as the Gospel. This is the practices of Jesus,” stated Rev. Dr. Jamal-Dominique Hopkins. “I think we need to start using the term ‘social righteousness’ in place of ‘social justice,’” he asserted.
“Social righteousness” encapsulates imago dei, that all humans are created in the image and likeness of God, according to Hopkins.
Actual Justice Warrior
Michelle Reyes, scholar in residence at Hope Community Church, a minority-led multicultural church in East Austin, agreed with Hopkins that church leaders need to live in the community and be part of the community for the church to best serve on these issues. Reyes’s husband also serves as lead pastor at Hope Community Church.
In terms of moving forward with reconciliation and the church, panelists agreed that Christians can — and are called to — bring unique political witness to the public square.
“The more we listen to each other and engage with one another, the more we can get to truth. And the solution I see to that is the Bible,” asserted Caldwell. “The ‘isms’… these are all man-made schemes we don’t see in the Bible,” she continued.
Christians must “have a critical eye” when consuming news, “especially for conspiracies, blanket statements, or false dichotomies,” stated Reyes.
Panelists also focused on the supremacy of God and the fact that Christians are called to put nothing before him. “Anything that sets itself up against the supremacy of God… it is our duty as Christians to destroy it,” stated Caldwell about the prevailing topic of Christian nationalism in wake of the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
“We can’t think our way out of it. We can’t be activists of our way out of it… There is victory in Jesus,” concluded Kim.
More writings from the Christianity Today seminaron identity, race, faith, and the future of the church can be found in their “Race Set Before Us” archives.
I wasn’t aware that the police officer involved in the Floyd overdose was convicted if murder.
Good point, Mr. Ehrhardt.
In fact, when one takes the time to actually *watch* the body cam footage of the officers, and *examine* the Minneapolis PD training materials on handling a drugged-out dude like George Floyd, and *review* the actual coroner’s report as to the cause of death — all of which are public information — it becomes apparent that to call Floyd’s death a “murder by a police officer” is wanton slander.
But Social Justice Warriors, bless their hearts, tend to ignore actual facts and believe whatever fits the narrative — whatever CNN/MSNBC/BLM tells them to believe.
Whereas we who are blessed with eyes to see, open our eyes and see the evident truth. There is freedom in that. 🙂
Minneapolis will be a very interesting place immediately after the upcoming trial and acquittal of Officer Derek Chauvin. And, later in the year, the acquittals of the other officers.