I was introduced today as a peace activist and once again it struck me as strange. I know the image I used to have of peace activists, and I kind of don’t like being shoved into that image…plus, it just struck me as something people use to stereotype or pidgeonhole others. I felt a bit like saying, “No, I’m a Christian. The ‘peace activist’ should be implied.”
I mean, sometimes I might use that tag of myself just because it kind of denotes someone who cares about peace, and who isn’t passive about it…but mainly I find it increasingly difficult that some people see it as a choice, or just one of many ways to be concerned about the world, or just one of many identities. In that sense, the apathetic middle ground worries me far more than those who are actually actively opposed to pacifism. Now that justice is considered ‘cool’, it’s become yet another form of consumerism…
The whole word ‘peace’ is so co-opted I mostly refuse to use it at all…everyone’s for peace. George Bush, John Howard, even Hitler was for peace. Even though I think it’s not the best word (sounds too negative, defined by what it’s not rather than what it is), nonviolence is yet to be co-opted.
Dorothy Day used to say “Don’t call me a saint…I won’t be dismissed that easily.” I kind of feel a bit the same about “peace activist”.