First of all, sorry if this is rambly or doesn’t make much sense. It’s how my brain is currently trying to process and it’s not all packaged neatly in a linear way unfortunately.
The internet can be unhealthy, not just in oneself but how it’s affecting society.
Cancel culture isn’t real (literally name one person who has been canceled) but mass harassment over something as simple as different opinions is.
And there’s conflict over even what constitutes an “opinion.” Someone liking black coffee vs milk coffee is definitely an opinion, but is “they should build a wall” an opinion, bigotry, or both? Is it worthy of respect?
If you ask me, no, it’s not a respectable opinion. For reasons other than the social, like the fact that’s it’s unrealistic.
I would say people who believe that are living in a fantasy land. But then… aren’t we all?
I recently watched a talk where the speaker claimed we were all living in a hallucination because all we have to go on is our sensual perceptions and those are distorted like a mother so we don’t know if our perceptions match up.
Going back to the internet, having a large audience hanging on your every word like influencers do, is like having a crowd of hallucinators around you, and in some cases they put the responsibility of their hallucinations on you.
When people say the ones at the top have us all fighting each other instead of them, this is what they mean.
Think about it. When your racist aunt says some BS, the internet wants you to confront and maybe attack her views.
But is your aunt really hurting anyone? Oh wait—she might be. For example, she might be the retail worker following a teen around the store because they happen to be brown. Or she might be the CEO of a company that doesn’t hire black people, just because they always feel iffy about the job candidate, no other reason than that.
Here’s something else though: that’s not your table. Don’t believe the internet, you are not required to be a recruit for this fight. It’s not your responsibility to save anybody or change anybody’s worldview.
At this point I’m waffling around in my chair. But—solidarity! Human rights! Social justice!
Your aunt, dude. She’s a person that’s RIGHT in front of you, not an archetypal victim you’re thinking up in your head. She’s not the one who causes mass racism like say certain pundits or high-level politicians. She’s just one lady, who likely loves you. Charity begins in the home, dontcha know.
I think the internet has gotten us used to instant results. We want to have one (heated) discussion with bigots and get them to change their minds. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Change is a slow grind, a long game if you will, and you won’t get it by alienating the person who doesn’t want to change. That just makes them dig their boots deeper in the ground and alienate you back.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve changed my ways more often because a person or three gave me a disapproving look or just told me I did something wrong. That gave me an off feeling that I had to explore later on my own and find that I knew full well why what I did was wrong. And then I changed. Not instantly maybe but it was one step in front of the other.
We need to be kinder to the people around us. The way I am trying to think of it is, if they are around me and we’re meeting in the same place in space & time, they are more like me than not. They’re not the enemy, save your resources.
Sometimes what people need to change is space and a good example. If you come at someone, all cylinders ready to fire, you’re gonna shock their system. And as you shock their system, they can’t “digest” what you’re saying. They may be able to later once they’ve recovered from the shock, but maybe all they’ll remember is feeling attacked.
It’s probably the hardest thing for me to do, to let go of (what I think is justified) anger, but I’m trying it. I’m gonna try to give people a safe space to express themselves and if they say something bigoted, I will say something small, like “Hey, I don’t agree with that” and hope for the best.
Note to self: You cannot instantly change anyone, they all have their own full life experience that they’re drawing beliefs from and they’re not even looking to change. The only thing you can control is the person in the mirror. Have patience, and faith that the little things will add up.