MCM 472 – Editorial and Critical Writing: Commentary
We are currently witnessing an alarming evolution in e-activism, a subunit of activists incorporating aspects of ‘dragging culture’ through the adoption of bullying and humiliation as a means to fight prejudice. But it is evident now that social media activism is characterized by a surge of unhealthy habits, which create more harm than good. Networking sites such as, Twitter, which were once utilized as a tool to facilitate the flow of ideas, are now home to something ugly.
Discussions have transformed into battlefields. Hate and anger are the only viable weapons. This trend features highly offensive and discriminatory behavior in the form of racial slurs, sexual bashing, and even death threats. When adopted by self-proclaimed activists, networking sites take on a new and dangerous role; namely a platform for aggressive manifestations under the pretense of activism. Consequently, rather than connectedness, we are becoming unnecessarily divided.
I remain astonished by the inability of this subunit of ‘progressive’ advocates for tolerance to forgive and their refusal to listen to opposing opinions, as well as their failure to debate, persuade or discuss matters objectively in a manner that may result in positive outcomes. Their anger deems them incompetent. Further, the need to guide or explain why one’s words are damaging is nonexistent; rather, people are obsessed with ‘canceling’ each other. Once one is viewed as the enemy, it is justifiable to humiliate them. Apologies are ignored and questioned. It does not matter if you say something in 2009 or 2019, your words are forever held against you, but is this rational? Do you believe that humans can no longer grow, learn and evolve? Has it become unreasonable to make mistakes and mature from them?
Indeed, it is necessary to address discrimination and call out people who promote toxic ideas; however, it must be done with the intention to raise awareness and educate rather than fight. Certain steps have to be taken in order to create an online community, wherein people opt for peaceful measures rather than straight-up bullying. First, it is necessary to cultivate tolerance by acknowledging that opposing views do exist; however, they do not necessarily have to be a basis for division. Second, programs focused on online activism, and active debate (e.g., what it entails and how to use it effectively) should be made available primarily to young adults, children, and aspiring activists. Most importantly, efforts towards educating people about the dangers of desensitizing ourselves towards dragging culture are crucial. After all, online bullying takes place in real life.
15 thoughts on “Bullying: A viable solution to address discrimination?”
I’m on Twitter. I’m debating deactivating my account or deleting my account altogether. Too much venom.
It’s so important that critique doesn’t turn into vengeance. Thank you for writing this.
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There seems a general inability to even try to see others’ points of view. You don’t have to agree, or even accept. If you can put yourself in your opposer’s head you might see how you can influence their opinion.
Or you might just be grateful you don’t have to live in there.
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Hear, hear! A voice of sanity.
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You are right, we all need to listen to each other. But right now climate change is the greatest threat to this planet so we must somehow convince the deniers the fastest way possible.
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These wise and precious words of yours proved to be the last nail in the coffin of a recent conflict online with someone dear to me. And you inspired me to write this;
That’s great to hear.
Most of the time people respond to the person who is harming them but if we apply what the Bible says at Romans 12:17 “return for evil to no one” we can reduce the amount of bullying by not doing it ourselves.
This is good for sure and I have received the worst of bullying throughout my life, so I have permanent PTSD (other terrible things happened too) but luckily I have kept my wits about me, and I am an anti-bullying advocate and activist. I remember the first time I encountered road rage. It is as though people do these things because they feel as though they are invisible like the little child who says that you can’t see them because they believe that you cannot. Thank you for the powerful statement. Sorry I have not answered sooner; lots of illness and hospitals. It is called old age and it is better than the alternative.
I am also distressed by the amount of “dragging” going on via social media and online – it seems that every disagreement turns into an opportunity to air the “dirty linen” of a relationship. Past, present and even future disagreement that hasn’t happened yet turn into fodder for a vicious tweet or post, and it’s not getting much better. I would hope that we could listen to our better angels and deal with the conflict more judiciously, but people are so disconnected nowadays that real discussion doesn’t happen much anymore. Instead of immediately leaping to the “drag” we should endeavor to have a conversation first – and preferably in real-time via the phone or in person.
It’s harder to communicate nuance and feeling online – even with the petty memes and emojis and animated gifs. We need to return to REAL communication when there’s an issue, and we also need to stop “cheerleading” the dragging when it happens. It’s like an auto accident – many people are recording the incident on their phones instead of calling for help or actually helping. We should, as fellow netizens, discourage the “dragging” by NOT reacting. When the unfollows, no comments (crickets) stop giving people the attention they are soliciting, perhaps the “dragging” will stop as well.
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I completely agree with you. Watching people applaud such toxic behaviors is saddening. It is terrifying to watch how this culture is unfolding and becoming more acceptable day by day. It is also funny how platforms of communication have become tools for people who lack basic communication skills with no real understanding of how to approach different subjects. Not to mention, trival things are becoming magnified. There is no focus on real issues that matter. All that for what? A like and follow.
I agree totally. Well written
I’ve written about this on more than one occasion, my self. To be able to ” light a fire” using social media without having to bear up to the heat afterwards seems to bring out the worst in people. Frankly, pretending to communicate without bothering to hear someone else’s voice or see their face is something unpleasantly close to selective autism, in my opinion.