You Can't Make Work That Isn't Problematic

There's an inevitable moment of tension after you share an opinion or something you've created with the world. The moment when someone points out how what you've said or made is problematic. Trying to write more I've realized this was one of my biggest fears. "I can't write about that, people will take issue with it." But noticing that everything is problematic helped lessen that fear.

Nothing is safe. Even donating to a charity is problematic. Choosing to donate to one cause means you are not donating to one of a thousand other causes. People have different values. A donation supporting abused animals is, to some, wasted money that could have been spent on humans. Any donation could be seen as ignoring a greater need.

The real question is if your opinions and creations are redeemable despite their problems. A donation is still helping a cause despite not helping infinite other causes. Here are some questions I try to ask myself before making anything: Do I recognize the elements of the work that are problematic? Is what I'm doing coming from a place of kindness? Am I okay creating a work with these specific problems? And most importantly, do I think that the work is redeemable despite its problems?

In the end all you can do is think about the problems in your work. How can you reduce those problems to include more people? And if you can't mitigate the issues, are you okay with making that decision? Everything is problematic, just make sure you're okay with that.


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