There are many things that make a good activist. However, I think the most important thing an activist can have is a strong belief that what they are fighting for will make a positive change for all of society. Without belief in oneself and in what cause one is fighting for it will be almost impossible to be an effective activist.
An effective and positive change agent should deal with fostering change, should have awareness, action and analysis, should be allies for all, and should also be accountable for their actions. As Barbara J. Love states in her article Developing a Liberatory Consciousness “all members of society play a role in keeping a dis-equal system in place, whether the system works to their benefit or disadvantage” (599). Thus, those who want to change this system need to be “committed to changing systems and institutions characterized by oppression to create greater equity and social justice” even if it means that the change could work to their disadvantage. In the end, the change for equality for will be a benefit for all.
When it comes to awareness, activists must pay attention to all aspects of society, including their “daily lives, their language, their behaviors, and even their own thoughts” because living with awareness means “noticing what happens in the world around you” (600). Not only should an effective activist notice what happens around them, but also taking action to eliminate oppression.
The attribute of action that an activist should have is important because it goes past just being aware and takes the next step to actually put all of the work to fight against oppression into life. Taking action can also include helping others take action and encouraging others that they can make a difference.
An activist should also hold oneself accountable for the lives that they lead and also for the actions they take in regards to discrimination. Barbara Love made an interest point in regards to accountability. She says that people who are “raised on one end of patterns of gender, race, class subordination or domination” can actually use those experiences to provide a different perspective for people raised on the other end” (602). I would never have though to look at accountability this way, but it really does make sense.
Those who choose to be an effective activist can truly help our society “reclaim choice in our values and attitudes” (603). We can all learn from each other and all go through the journey of creating a better and equal world for all.
One of the activists that I admire more and more after reading her work is Bell Hooks. When I first watched her for one of the very beginning assignment we had in this course I wasn’t sure how I felt about her. I think is because she pointed out a lot of privileges that I had in society. I didn’t realize how my unawareness was actually hurting many people in our society and I didn’t like the fact that she explained it so clearly. After listening to what she says though, I realize that she is an amazing woman and I am glad that I have been able to learn from her. I have a lot more learning to do, but this class has made me aware of many types of privilege that exists in our society and that for the world to be a better place we must all play a part to help end inequality, and by doing so we can take the steps to create equality for all.