Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why Acceptance Versus Awareness?

Photo © Danny Hope | Creative Commons / Flickr
[image: Small blue flag with lighter blue text reading, "YAY!"]
Richard Davis

I see lots of campaigns to raise "awareness," but very few to raise "acceptance."

Some issues you may just want to raise awareness about, like signs and symptoms of certain diseases, when to see a doctor, etc. When people become "aware" of something, it is not an act or a choice. They just get information and become "aware" of it.

"Acceptance," on the other hand, is more personal. People may be "aware" of autism, but may not be "accepting" of Autistic people for who they are (hence, assuming the need to "cure" them). People may be "aware" of LGBT/Queer people, but they may not "accept" them, especially being "openly gay" in public spaces. (Guess how many times I've been called a 'faggot' just for holding hands on a date??)

"Acceptance" involves a choice, and leads to action. Do you "accept" people for who they are, or are you simply "aware" of them?

Acceptance campaigns also involve risks. Typically those advocating for "acceptance" are having to do so because they are NOT accepted, and are met with hostility for seeking acceptance.

On issues relating to people's lives, it's time to start moving beyond awareness, and start raising acceptance.

Awareness campaigns are for concepts.
Acceptance campaigns are for people.