“It’s Not My Job to Educate You!”

“It’s Not My Job to Educate You!”

Personally, I think effective communication is essential in order to gain sympathizers to your cause. This is why most successful movements have notable and memorable leaders who communicated the message in a way that was accessible by a large variety of people. In my view effective communication is, among other things, assertive and stern, but also civil and thoughtful. On the internet, you often encounter very combative and dismissive language coming out of movements, and I believe this hurts the cause more than anything. However, while I think it’s important for people to be thoughtful about how they present their message, it’s also necessary for people to take it upon themselves to attempt to understand where people are coming from. Discourse does not consist of one speaker and one listener. Ideally it should be a respectful exchange of ideas where both parties are being reflective about the context of the messages being sent.

So, in discussions of social media, it’s common to hear the exasperated cry, “I’m not obligated to educate you!” from activists when pressed by those skeptical of their ideas. At first glance this seems to be a very counter-productive notion. One would think that people who want their message to be spread and heard would jump at the chance to educate others. But we must ask ourselves why would someone deny that opportunity? The cynic would argue that this happens because there is in fact, nothing to be educated about, which kind of exhibits the issue altogether. 

It’s common, if not usual, for the people who approach activists demanding “education” to not be true seekers of information. They ask basic questions in an attempt to trip up the speaker or find flaws in the arguments. Debating is fine, of course, but when you go into a discussion with the express purpose of being combative, it’s no wonder why people are hesitant to entertain that.

Beyond that, it’s always imperative to do your own research in general and be informed about the subjects you’re interested in. To me, refusing to educate yourself unless someone else does it for you shows a lack of actual concern for the topic at hand.

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