Most anyone involved with issues of social justice will, at some point, deal with confrontation. In a society run by straight, white, Christian, cisgendered, able-bodied males, it is impossible to fight for equal rights for anyone not fitting that definition without encountering conflict, which can sometimes be quite vehement and hateful. I tend to be the type to fight my battles tooth and nail, sometimes damn unwisely in the face of danger and even violence. I recognize that not everyone is that spirited; however, there is a very distinct difference between a gentler approach to equality, and becoming part of the imbalance yourself.
It is so much easier to play neutral, to stay silent and avoid the confrontation. And there are times when this may be necessary, for your safety or sanity. But that time is not when a marginalized person is being trampled. That time is not when your voice could fight the din, let that person know that they are not alone, they are not ignored, they do not need to be frightened. It may not be your responsibility to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, but if you truly believe in equality, you must be willing to fight some tough battles. Silence may seem a small moral compromise, but it is a knife to the heart of the marginalized. You cannot avoid “choosing sides” when someone is being oppressed. Every time you stay silent in the face of bigotry and hatred, you choose a side: The side of the oppressor. It has been proven to every minority who has ever been silenced by the bleating of the privileged while their allies, their advocates, bit their tongues: In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.