As Critical Social Justice (CSJ) ideology spreads in workplaces, universities and schools, people are finding themselves, often for the first time, confronted with obscure terminology and sweeping assertions that serve to vilify entire groups of people, institutions, and society at large. For many, it has become obvious that the current “Social Justice” movement has little in common with the ethos of the civil rights movement. However, a lack of understanding and knowledge on the intricacies of this new form of Social Justice is preventing people from being able to take a principled stand against something they may sense, but are unable to fully articulate, is leading us in the wrong direction.
This is where the Counterweight content team comes in. We produce accessible and principled media content for the average person. We understand that not everyone has the necessary time, energy, or academic inclination to spend hours researching and learning about what is essentially an obscure branch of philosophy. We also understand that many people simply need the relief that comes with shared experience and identification; that is, they need to know that they are not alone, that other principled and ethical people have rejected CSJ and that this does not, despite the dominant narrative, mean that they are bigoted, racist or sexist. In fact, the racist and sexist sentiments in CSJ ideology and activism are often what cause people to reject CSJ in the first place.
Consequently, the Counterweight content team, which originally consisted of just Harriet and Issy, began from a desire to help people quickly and easily understand the problems they were facing. The hope was that the short videos they wrote and produced could be circulated around businesses and institutions so that the differences between liberal and critical approaches to social justice could be easily communicated and understood. Their goal was to create nuanced, liberal and accessible educational resources which would not reject social justice in its entirety because of the excesses of some;instead, they wished to encourage people to see the complexity of social problems, and the dangers of blindly following anything simply on the basis that it proclaims to bring about “social justice”.
After our launch, this small content team rapidly expanded with an influx of incredibly talented and courageous volunteers offering their time and energy. This included designers, videographers, researchers, editors, podcasters, voiceover artists and writers from all walks of life, each with their own unique experiences of and perspectives on Critical Social Justice.
Over the past year, this dedicated team has helped us to produce a broad range of educational resources that are making a real difference in people’s day to day lives – from explainer videos that help to decode Critical Social Justice theory, to editable presentations which employees can use to persuade their employers and HR teams to embrace a liberal approach to diversity and inclusion. For example, one employee used our resources to educate themselves on how best to approach their employer and their colleagues about the implementation of Critical Race Theory (CRT) based anti-racism training at their workplace, whilst a parent used the example letters and walkthroughs found in the Counterweight toolkit to successfully push back against the emergence of CRT at their child’s school.
We’ve also received a range of article submissions from people outside our content team who come from all across the political spectrum and hold differing views about the problems with CSJ and how best to approach them. The importance of viewpoint diversity and open dialogue – principles that underpin the mission of Counterweight – means that we welcome and publish views that are different to our own. However, in all the content we produce, we begin with the principle of charity and encourage our contributors to do the same.
At Counterweight, we offer a platform for those who wish to share their encounters with Critical Social Justice and highlight the impact this ideology has had on their lives. We regularly publish personal experience essays, which not only emphasize the serious impact CSJ can have on an individual’s mental, emotional and financial health, but also demonstrates that those who oppose this ideology do not belong to any one ideological or identity-based group.
Our goal has been and continues to be to produce the resources that everyday people need right now. That’s why we work closely with our case working team to determine the specific problems that employees, students, parents and teachers are struggling with. We then workshop how best to deliver resources that will arm those in need with the knowledge and skills necessary to carefully and quietly resolve the conflicts they face.
Over the next twelve months we intend to raise more funds so we can undertake a variety of new projects, including the development of an educational platform for businesses, employees, parents and university and school-aged students. We believe this platform will be instrumental in helping people to not only identify, understand and critique Critical Social Justice Theory in the real world, but also to strengthen their liberal values and critical thinking skills. Moving forward, we also plan on conducting interviews with the public, undertaking new research projects and developing a number of books, documentaries and educational video series.
The kind words and positive feedback we receive affirms the hopes we held when we first started out: that Counterweight could have the power to facilitate tangible and concrete change in the lives of those who are struggling. We receive evidence every day that our practical and principled goals are being fulfilled. At the practical end, our resources have been used to spark conversations and ease communication between employers and employees, helping those who dissent to retain job security. Our principled aims, that is our hope that pushing back against CSJ can be done in a charitable, liberal and consistently ethical way, are similarly being met. We hear from people who, after watching our videos or reading our content, tell us that we helped them from becoming too polarised or too quick to put anything regarding diversity in the “bad” Critical Social Justice category.
We will continue to provide people with the information they need and remind them to keep manifesting the liberal values that are often lacking in CSJ, for as long as there is a need for us to do so. Knowledge and truth are the bedrocks of a functioning and progressing society; by pursuing them at all costs and sharing what we find with the world at large, we hope to reduce the number of people compelled to assent to unverifiable sweeping statements, pejorative labels or dubious (some might add: cynical) theories.
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