I am a proud Nerdfighter and generally agree with the musings of both great leaders and brothers, John and Hank Green. Frankly, they are intriguing individuals who tend to be far more eloquent and intelligent in their presentation and thought than I seem capable of. Accordingly, whenever any major issue comes up, I go to their various channels and social media feeds for a quick informative recap and jumping off point for future research and inquiry. Doing so a few days ago, I came across some of Hank’s posts on responding to ongoing events and how he chooses which to engage with and why. You can find the initial post here and Hank’s response clarifying his original post.
Now, I respect and understand where Hank Green is coming from, but, in this case, I sincerely believe it is a large pile of bullshit. Here’s the thing: Hank admits that he does not want to speak on particular issues (Ferguson, GamerGate, gun violence, etc.) as he has a personal stake and considers himself a member of some of the groups involved in the confrontations. While Hank might be considered to be as members of some of the groups he mentions in his post, he is not affected in any meaningful way by the harassment and violence that those involved in the issues he mentions are. In a sense, he has a certain level of privilege (I just threw up a little in my mouth writing that but there really is no better term available) because he can speak on these issues without accusations of self-interest or bias that accompany POC and female activists, protesters, writers, etc. It is one of the major reasons why allies, particularly cis, white, male allies, have been so important in the past as they are seen as somehow authorities or worthy of attention. (Sometimes people really piss me off)
Beyond this, Green mentions how he and his group try to research and show both sides in an equally reasonable manner. I applaud Mr. Green’s efforts, but there is not always multiple sides to an issue. Hell, many times there are not even two sides to an issue. It is possible for their to be reasonable ideas on two sides that have nothing to do with each other hence you have people arguing over two completely different things, but that is a rare exception. Just because you cannot find reasonable oppositions to an issue or position does not mean you should address it. After all, it’s completely possible that there is just nothing of value in the opposition.
When you have created a career off of having a platform and bullhorn to discuss major events and issues, current and historical, you pretty much have an obligation to use that bullhorn even when you believe there might be some unfair criticism thrown your way. Others have done it and have faced the consequences because it was the right thing to do. I can only hope that others can follow their brave lead.