But there has always been and continues to be issues of perceptions of unapproachable activists, the gulf between the executive types personalities versus the frontline street based grass roots individual and whether who is more valid, credible or qualified to speak on in this case homophobia and related matters. The insulated operative just by virtue of class continue to lead the pack which is understandable to an extent as they can place themselves above the earthy homophobia and not engage the issues directly but from reportage out there but there is a way in which a kind of essentialism if not territorialism or elitism with bouts of condescending tones have set in; they can bring a higher visibility to the issues but my lord!. One blogger on his Facebook page for example recently lamented that he is not a paper pusher sitting at a desk embroiled in preparing studies of the lower classes for intellectual sporting but gets a better feeling by being on the street. Then there is the ongoing but old rift between the newcomer or newer generation of activists, bloggers and volunteers of NGOs versus the still active older far more experienced functionaries; and the appearing resistance from the latter to the former with the latter being somewhat brash and impatient with the former dismissing those valuable sometimes real world experiences as a learning template.
A disturbing report suggested that a present day advocacy officer recently suggested that former operatives who live abroad especially should not comment on local issues; suggesting thus that they do not qualify to do speak on such matters despite their numerous years of real world experience versus the more precky administration restricted advocate. I want someone to directly try that stunt with me and some folks need to remember that they are still on a learning curve. It took a lifetime for some persons to learn and have a grasp of the issues and are still learning as nothing remains constant; but such persons are in a far better position to address some issues with authority than others bearing in mind this is not a competition but more about continuity a virtue that has been starving for some time.
A 2014 article from Big Think spoke to the issue of social media activism and related matters excerpted in part:
Every now and again present day realities just slaps one in the face as Miss Diana Ross in her song “The Boss” said ‘...stood right up in my face ....’ and such was the case that I was forced again to look at this business of social media to include adulation seeking bordering on a kind of narcissistic complex, persons presenting false bettered images and perfect philosophical positions of themselves than who they are in actual reality, camouflaging reality and an ever increasing patting on the back slaps in the face (in the minds of some onlookers) or applauding activists or activism from just mere announcements, lovely photos at a workshop or conference and such. To put it bluntly one lesbian said it quite boldly in words to the effect as to why some gay rights people inna Jamaica a move so like dem a foreen and a show off so .....? (why are some gay rights activists operating as if they are abroad and being boastful or showing off?)
I think what that lesbian’s comment was alluding to is that human rights activists have become so self absorbed and do not know how to celebrate success or achievement or highlight work done without making it into a song and dance, or without hubris and vain imagery. Such perceptions of bragadociousness/arrogance seems to be rubbing some persons the wrong way an already old challenge of under-reporting issues was another lesbian’s comment that made me take a look at the aforementioned issues more seriously barring mistrust as to where to turn, she reached out to someone regarding an issue she had that individual in turn reached out to me, in our conversation it was clear very quickly that the issues were out of my league in as far as expertise; I suggested to her to make a report at one of the leading NGOs to which she paused as we spoke over the phone; the hesitation was so real to me one could cut it with a knife. The exchange recommenced but she was politely resistant to my suggestion when it was repeated, when I pressed her as to why, then came the bombshell where she said she did not feel that some NGOs or operatives are approachable and indeed would not be able to identify with her issues on the basis of class and perceived lack of experience in other words too young in her eyes to understand matters. I was stunned but I should have expected it as that perception is as old as I can recall; but here I also thought with the myriad of avenues available for reaching out it seems said avenues are occupied by gate blockers (if you will) indeed gate keepers more so than facilitators in terms of perception by those seeking redress or just a listening ear.
How does one celebrate genuine success while sharing them publicly and use it as motivation without it being seen as arrogance is a thin line to me. That is why I am a little selective as to what goes on my wall; filtering who sees what is also practice I use with regards to my Facebook page in particular.
There seems to be some unsupervised social media management on the part of the NGOs and their staff etc even with regards to operatives personal pages; it is also tedious in the line between personal and the professional regarding online personas; the recent tiff between two particular persons though passed for some time has left bitter butter memories in the minds of some I was also told by the respondent as she like many others including myself read the tweets and Facebook battle in shock and some dismay; image is everything and if said operatives are busy suring up professional profiles whilst forgetting that their very actions online and persona can be linked to the organizations they are attached. I never use my personal Facebook page to throw barbs at anyone or group and if I have something to comment on or critique I do so with my blogs and identify for the most part specifics via quotes and related media. I do not even have a personal Twitter page but the GLBTQ Jamaica account where my entries are filtered coupled with my DJ stuff. Owing to the fact that the posts and such are public operatives need to remember ones online mannerisms and behaviour can be scrutinized and seen and help to form impressions from the very populations they are sometimes tasked to engage. One needs to be very circumspect even with one’s personal page, Twitter or Instagram accounts.
A word to the wise is sufficient I guess I am going to hear that bloggers (as said to others as well) are telling others what to do but those who are irked by years of experience brought to bear may have a prickly experience henceforth as such advice, suggestions etc. will continue I imagine.
Peace & tolerance