“It’s very easy to be an advocate…”

…which is why I suppose so very many social scientists, especially anthropologists, militate alongside those at the heart of their studies?

The irony of this statement is that it was voiced by a Nigerian professor of history, made as a criticism against my presentation at a conference at Harvard University in August of 2005. Ironic, because as a Nigerian, and as a historian, he should have known better: after all, who were all these activist, advocate anthropologists he had encountered? Having met few or none, why would he assume the most counterintuitive position, that it is “easy” to be an advocate?

Is it “harder” (and thus “better”) to be indifferent, and to wallow in one’s position as an outsider?