Advocates in a Movement for the Wrong Reasons
Many people understandably assume that someone who’s chosen to become involved in a worthy cause is unlikely to engage in harmful, disrespectful behaviors. But advocates are people and some people have psychological problems, such as narcissism, or are unable for other reasons to relate to others in a way that’s healthy.
While many people are drawn to a cause because they truly want to support it, others may be attracted to it for less admirable reasons. It may provide them with an opportunity to have someone or something to fight against or with a way to feel morally superior to others. Or they may see it as a means of gaining power and recognition.
These individuals may use their platforms like populist leaders do, rallying supporters and admirers by promising liberation or abolition if their particular brand of advocacy is followed, while disparaging and demonizing those in their group or movement who don’t agree with them.
This kind of rhetoric stirs up divisions and waters the seeds of infighting. And when someone argues that their behavior is in the service of a worthy cause, they can get away with almost anything because the subtext is that if you don’t agree, you’re immoral and you’re harming that cause.
Not all advocates who act in these ways necessarily started out with problematic intentions. Some may have become burned out or traumatized. In any case, it’s important to be aware of these kinds of behaviors so as not to provide them with a platform.