Oppose injustice, don’t look for ideal victims

Ekaterina Shulman, aka Catherine Schulmann, explains the basics on her Russian blog (translated by me, not quite literally):

Here’s a fact well known to anyone who has dealt with disabled persons, or prisoners, or sick children and their parents, or any other people in need of help. If you have taken up somebody’s fight, in any way, remember the object of your care will inevitably:

– express weird political views;

– simply say stupid things in public;

– dress up – at some point – in a way you’d never dream of;

– refuse your help; listen to someone else and spoil everything by that, in your opinion;

– odd and ugly facts from his/her past will surface;

– ungrateful to you; grateful to someone completely different, not related to this effort.

If these things make you uneasy, get yourself a Tamagotchi and practice your charity on it. You can wait all your life for the ideal victim, someone you can pity to your heart’s content, a person no one can find fault with. People who take up social activism for a “thank you” or out of personal sympathy to the victim don’t last long in this business. This is a vocation for those who are concerned not about the victim’s virtues but the injustice she is being made to suffer.

I’m sure people have said this time and again and yet victims of injustice are often required to conform to a higher standard than those accused of perpetrating or facilitating the injustice. It’s a persistent perversity.

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