Monday, March 30, 2009

Different voices for different needs

From time to time I run into criticisms in causes, especially in Human Rights/Civil Rights causes of particular people and their views.

Some are accussed of being too strong, of being to vitriolic or angry etc and likely to turn the average folk against the cause. Some are accussed of being too soft, of pandering to the comfort zones of the oppressive forces and of putting their needs ahead of the needs of the real victims.

But really are these not simply different voices fulfilling different needs? The oppressed usually need an angry and inspiring voice to shake them out of fear or complacency and to give them courage and motivation to act. The mainstream need sympathetic images to help undermine the hate-images built up of the victimised groups and calm and clear voices to help them come round to the side of justice.

One voice alone can only give a false representation of a group. Whether within or without the group itself we should not expect a single lone representation can be valuable nor condemn there being a variety of voices for a group. Instead we need to support there being a variety of voices as well as helping get the right voices to the right audiences and meet the right needs.

Groups need the angry voices, the calls to act, the fierce and strong calls to stop hiding, the motivating force. They need the charismatic positive and/or sympathetic figures too for the effect they have upon the privileged in disarming them of their illussions.

Both are essential.

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