Sometimes I do feel that my message can be mildly misinterpreted. I will do my best to write carefully about this next subject. Yesterday, I wrote the following sentence “ignoring the vile things that people say, it doesn’t make the vile things go away”. I was talking about the hate and bigotry that is spewed online and on various social media platforms. With connectivity invading our lives, more and more people have access to the worldwide web. That implies that more people can share their stories and thoughts on a myriad of subjects, from the simplest ones to the more sophisticated and touchy ones.

If you are on twitter especially, you probably already know how unforgiving and vile and mean and racist and sexist and violent twitter is, among other things. I cannot lie, as an avid twitter user, it is also a wonderful place to engage with others, but I am focusing on the task at hand, the negative stuff. I will try and get something positive out of this negative situation. Twitter can be such a hateful place that it is beyond anything that anyone could have ever imagined. I am sure the Zuckerbergs and the Dorseys of the world didn’t expect their tools to be used for such nefarious purposes. Or did they know? I doubt they expected their platforms to be what they are today. I sincerely doubt it but, you never know.

I am the biggest proponent of free and unaltered speech. I know. It sounds crazy, but I don’t care. Say whatever you need and want to say. I’d rather know how you think than believe you are just another guy/girl walking down the street with only good intentions and thoughts. I want to listen to those vile and violent things. I don’t enjoy them. I am human, I have feelings! They hurt my heart, soul and brain. Yet, I stand by the fact it is necessary for me to hear what people think, those who disagree with me and especially those with hateful rhetoric and who have money, power and influence. If you can combine money, power, influence and bigotry, then look no further than the 45th president of the United States. I am not going to talk about him, but he is a prime example of what free speech can do if it is channeled in a hateful way.

I would love to ignore what those degenerates and what they say, trust me. But ignoring their thoughts and wishes doesn’t make the world a better place. The thoughts, wishes and ideas don’t go away because the individuals saying them are silenced. Remember, ideas, whether virtuous or evil, cannot be killed. Ideas and thoughts can materialize, which is wonderful when you are creating a vaccine. But, when you are looking to hurt others, then ideas are dangerous, sometimes deadly. Those negative ideas can be put into the heads of unstable people or just plain psychopaths and they can end up hurting people.

I understand that not thinking about murder, rape, war, famine is a way of coping with all the disastrous things out there. Human beings are fragile. We don’t want to be distressed and who wouldn’t agree with that? Nevertheless, not thinking about those subjects doesn’t stop murder, rape, war or famine. I am not advocating that we should drown ourselves into that kind of negativity because those ideas exist. I am simply against ignoring them or dismissing them, or pretend they don’t exist, or being so far detached from the real world and end up not knowing what is going on.

So, which way is better? To not think about negative and hurtful things? Or acknowledge they exist and keep an eye on what is going on without being fully engaged all the time? Maybe help every now and then. Maybe consider giving one’s time, money and effort to the relief of people’s suffering. Maybe remember that racism exists, sexism exists, poverty exists, war still rages in different parts of the world, diseases and famine are still lurking and are decimating people.

I am not being negative, far form it. I simply don’t want us to ignore the fringe thinking and the hurtful speech and bigotry that is out there. Because, they are out there. Those idea prosper when ignored or marginalized. Those ideas gain followers when people start feeling victimized. Those ideas materialize when times are hard and especially if the economy is in recession. The negative ideas spread faster than wildfire or than the speed of light. Good news always takes longer for some weird and unexplained reason.

I am not advocating to go out there and start fighting like vigilantes. We are not Batman! No one is. Just keep an eye open, try not to be paranoid (I know it is hard after everything I just wrote!!!) but fight any type of injustice that you see, no matter how small and remember that if you do confront a racist or a sexist or a bigot, you would have made the world a better place. In the end, being a better person is all that matters. Do not despair. Do not let bigotry and hateful rhetoric win. Be alert, fight for justice and do not ignore those who are looking to hurt or marginalize others.

Just one man’s opinion…

Now smile and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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