Activism: What can’t you handle?


In UCD a few weeks ago, Patricia Hill Collins spoke of how the US state is one topic that she would never tackle as an activist and a critic. It is too big, too powerful, and she said that she has seen people lose themselves entirely in trying to change it. She knew she wouldn’t be able to cope. So she stays away, and does her best to support people who do try to tackle it.

I feel that way about climate change. I can deal with most of the usual -isms. I know that influencing one person at a time and making spaces for small groups of people to feel safe is worthwhile. I feel like the small difference I can make is real and rewarding. It feels okay. But climate change? It’s too big. It terrifies me in its immensity, and I feel tiny and inadequate to make even the tiniest difference. And like Patricia Hill Collins with the state, I know that if I tried to tackle it, it would eat me alive. So I stay away, and I do my best to support people who do try to tackle it.

How about you? What topics do you find easier to handle when it comes to making the world a better place, and what’s harder for you? Is there a particular topic that, for you, is just too damn big and terrifying for you to handle engaging with?