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Uncomfortable Silences

Aydasara Ortega Torres is a Faculty Member of Psychology, Research Methods and Statistics.

Uncomfortable Silences

"Don't you hate that?"
"Hate what?"
"Uncomfortable silences." - Pulp Fiction

Despite the positive outcomes derived from political activism, many psychologists have struggled with how to advocate for social justice while maintaining their professional responsibilities and ethical boundaries.

Not Surprising

That the word activism generates some kind of “struggle” - even if only as an “image problem” - is not new and certainly not surprising:

The commonly held stereotype of an activist is partly responsible for the sluggishness of social change. Large sections of the public agree with activists’ messages, but are put off by not wanting to affiliate themselves with the kind of person they think makes an activist.



Uncomfortable Guilt

Interestingly, cyber-activists - who we know are not a group of "newbies" generated by this pandemic - have utilized cyberspace to make problems visible, but not themselves. Triggering “uncomfortable” guilt without having to be “in-your-face” to activate reactions. And particularly now when cyberspace is one of the safest options:

Coronavirus has shut down public demonstrations for social and political change. With the threat of high fines, jail time, police brutality, and now illness looming, activists are adapting and innovating to continue building movements in an unprecedented era of social distancing.

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It’s not about replacing activism “front-and-center”. It’s about knowing how to keep “silent”.

"That's when you know you found somebody really special. When you can just ________________ for a minute and comfortably share silence." - Pulp Fiction


© 2020 Aydasara Ortega Torres

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