Dangers of bandwagon activism

Continued from last week

IT is a fact that human beings are social creatures with an inbuilt mechanism that tends to conform and belong to a majority. The urge for validation is strong and normal until one takes a stand to be his person. The urge to relate is what makes the society evolve and foster peaceful coexistence. However, this natural feeling is also responsible for why many people are exploited and pushed into a line of reasoning without them asking fundamental questions to form their own opinion.

The major demerit of this innate feeling is that it makes people conform to the wrong beliefs or take the wrong actions because that is what everyone says especially on social media platforms; few people are comfortable being the lone voice. And this is the basis of group thinking or what I call bandwagon activism.

Each person needs to look inwards, especially our acclaimed feminists, and ask some major questions: am I an advocate or activist or am I a confused bandwagon clout chaser and social media noise maker? What forms my beliefs? What are my core values? Why am I doing this? Am I benefiting the next person or running after human validation and personal gains? The answers to these questions, if answered truthfully and in sincerity, tell you if you are just using other people to fight personal demons or whether you are a selfish opinionated person or just a noise maker following the crowd. It also lets you know if you are truthfully or an advocate and if you are doing it right.

Jumping on causes and group activism is not a good step because it sacrifices objectivity and logical reasoning; you find it difficult to think for yourself and take a decision that you can stand by when the chips are down. Bandwagon activism is a biased trap that exploits people’s emotions to make them arrive at a conclusion the activist wants and usually, it is a decision aimed at condemning someone and accepting they are guilty of an offence based on an activist’s narrative.

Bandwagon activism is based on a kind of group belief and cognitive bias that influences people to believe something because other people believe it; it is the kind of bias that makes you think something is right even when it is wrong because many people believe so. It makes us pass judgment in issues even when we don’t have facts and makes us believe that the general narrative is the fact because that is what the multitude is saying.

This is dangerous; it destroys lives, brands and the health of victims of such bias. It is therefore important for every woman who wants to go into advocacy to eradicate the spirit of bandwagon bias. You must as a matter of importance rid yourself of all forms of bias so that you do the right thing and you know your thoughts are your own based on what you find out about individual cases.

Every individual suffers from bandwagon bias at some point in life and how it is handled determines the effect. Bad handling of such bias can lead to subjective and false stance on issues. Bandwagon bias limits our ability to carry out work effectively. It is important to challenge and eradicate our biases by examining them in context. This helps to understand issues and make informed decisions that are made from a place of commitment and personal conviction.

Engaging in destructive bandwagon activism can be destructive to humans and also to the cause itself because it reduces the respect people have for such, especially when it is found that the advocacy is not based on incontrovertible facts but on what people say and embellished lies.

Don’t muddy the waters of advocacy for passionate people with genuine causes with bandwagon activism.




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