Want to really try to alter the tide?
I think we can start by not engaging with hateful comments, including to people who have posted hateful comments. There are posts out there simply intended to stir up heated, hateful, not productive (which differing opinion discussions CAN be) debates. There are partial truth anecdotes and doctrine, often miscommunicated. Gross generalizations. Inaccuracies. Myths posted as fact. Revisions and reasoning left un-noted, to see who will bite. Troll sites existing soley to infuriate anyone. Uninformed, or misinformed foundations for opinions. Twisted stories to help a cause.
Words filled with venom only serve to feed hate.
We are each entitled to our own opinions. We are each entitled to express them. We are each entitled to be angry. And we are each entitled to verbally express that anger with hate or with rational thought. Because we can be spiteful, doesn’t mean we need to be or should be.
We widen the gaps that bridged could heal hurt when we refuse to speak from a place of information.
This is not about any specific issue or coming from a specific side. I see it applied across topics, geography, faiths/denominations, backgrounds, political viewpoints, cultural economic statuses, races, etc. This is not a post about me disagreeing with or supporting any particular ideology.
It is everywhere.
I was somewhere with my kids last summer, where a “family” comedy routine included statements that made both my children feel sad. I have seen things posted on here that bring that back to me, that it’s considered “OK” to ridicule certain groups through humor, yet to criticize others for doing that. I see people presenting things in a way that is not true. One last week was particularly bothersome to me. I had responses in my head, even calm ones, that would point out the inaccuracies and to explain specifically the frustration for me. I decided to leave it alone, so as to not set up a thread for debate where nasty comments could come from all sides, as social media would allow mere split seconds for a thought to be shared.
No pausing before posting in many cases, just typing and hitting post as quickly as possible, to release the emotion.
I could get off of social media. I can choose what to read, so clearly I cannot and do NOT bemoan the status of an unchosen captive audience.
I hope to try to be a voice of hope, but I’d be lying if I said I have not also posted for attention, affirmation, discussion, and/or sympathy at times. Like a school girl who stares at her desk, waiting for “what’s wring?” I post to seek support. Most of us do at times, I imagine.
So I am no noble warrior of pure vigilance and selflessness. Selfies abound. My family paraded as my celebrities.
Yet, in it all, we can still be conscious of the impact of what and how we share and of what and how we respond. People may chuckle at how someone teases their spouse or reveals a parent’s faux pas. Was that the only result?
When hateful words are used as a counter-point, does the argument gain more merit…or less?
We talk of so much negativity and corruption, every side of every issue blamed at some point. We wish there was a solution.
I believe there is. I believe we can start by pausing before posting. We can use words of light and life, even when we disagree. We can send private messages with truth. We can refuse to feed hateful speech.