“I Demand Your Platform.”



I’ve seen plenty of posts demanding that “public voices” speak up on relevant social issues, condemning the silence of celebrities, clergy, authors, and your average everyday “inspirational blogger”—as if that silence was tantamount to the injustice itself.

I absolutely agree that we must speak up. Silence and passivity only perpetuate the status quo. I believe in the right—the gritty necessity—of protest and picket signs, that we cannot sit idly within the isolated concerns of our own four walls. Yes, silence is the abetting accomplice to injustice, and I do expect more from bigger platforms, from those who have the golden reach of influence.

On the other hand, I wonder about the overly hasty speed in which we comment on issues which are still unfolding. I wonder how many half-informed people are writing too quickly to get clicks and views and attention and to catch the heat of the moment. I wonder if there’s a way we can both raise our voices while learning more from every side of our widening divide. I wonder how we can slow down in crisis to be with the hurting rather than continually superimpose a think-piece for yet another grand, eloquent, self-promoting manifesto. (The irony is not lost on me that I’m probably doing the same thing here.)

And I have to wonder why we demand so much from public voices to speak on these things, as if we are waiting to be told what to think, or to validate an already preprogrammed opinion. Maybe those voices indeed have the power to change things—but so do we, regardless of the size of our stage, starting with ourselves and the people in the room. Maybe those voices are more informed than us—but so we, too, can invest and saturate in the stories of others, and then think for ourselves on how to build bridges and dialogue.

It may be physically impossible to care about everything all the time, much less expect others to care about all the same things you do. We have room to be passionate for just a few crucial things in our short little time on earth, and to each their own, passionately, not with a flashy, trashy headline that’ll be forgotten in a week, but by the accumulative power of a trained marathon, learning as we go, listening to other voices as we find our own. I cannot speak for you, but with you. And if you and I are to be a voice for the voiceless, maybe this means stepping off the stage and passing the microphone to those who are not heard.
J.S.


Photo from Rob, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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3 thoughts on ““I Demand Your Platform.”

  1. Wow! Well said Mr. Park – well said. The only thing I might add (its probably implicit and I’m not awake enough to see it!) is not only hand the microphone to the voiceless but fix their car, weed their garden, find them a room to live in vs. underneath the bridge, make them a meal, invite them over to your place for Sunday dinner – in other words, give them a voice and at the same time help them with their own unique needs. Put feet to your faith, a.k.a. I need to get up, go to the people in my Jerusalem in need, listen to their stories, and then ask what they need, go get it, and return and give it to them: food, clothing, a job lead, a bottle of water. It’s amazing how precious to a homeless person a bottle of water is. I have purchased on various occasions a 24 count pack of bottled water from Aldi for under $3. Cheap investment in caring for our fellow human beings in need.

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  2. Love this! I think the fear of the voiceless is to be misunderstood, and they probably have so much more knowledge to share. While some of those outspoken users and speedy comments provide more instant gratification, generally they result in online disagreements and false information or accusations spreading beyond measures. Self control and meaningful thought is important online and offline.

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  3. I have tried for the past 10 years to be heard as one of the voiceless. Still trying even after speaking with the Icon of Domestic Violence in Australia. I completely agree for instance survivors are the most important voices to be heard, pertaining to this issue. They are the ones with first hand knowledge and insight into the issues. However, I also have found that those in positions of being heard on certain issues are so protective of their position they wont under any circumstances release the holds they have. We also need to never give up and believe it cannot be done. Change, of those currently listened to on any platform can come at any moment. I for one keep sitting in the wings with hope.

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