When did we agree that arguing against hate with hate was the way to resolve differences?
This week I have seen people accuse Muslims of all being terrorists, followed with comments that agree with the sentiment like:
“We should shoot them all.”
“Ban the Rag Heads.”
I have also seen the comments that disagree which use similar language.
“You f*#king idiots.”
“F*#k you, racist idiots like you ruin the country.”
I have seen people on welfare abused this week, called bludgers and seen them ripped on in status updates and in papers, the news and on social media.
“I pay my taxes, and these f*#king dole bludgers do nothing and just cruise on my dollar.”
“There shouldn’t be any welfare for these losers, if they don’t go to work they shouldn’t get paid.”
And so on, and so forth. Anger, finger pointing, abuse, name calling, death threats, jokes about killing, deportation, locking them up and condemning people to lives without help dominate the conversation about political affiliation, race, gender, abuse, welfare, sexuality etc etc.
People who don’t agree with you, are simply that. People who don’t agree with you. Now I have had plenty of face-palm moments, I disagree wholeheartedly with many of the bigoted statements that I see in the media and on the internet daily. The path out of ignorance however is not paved with abuse, it is paved with information and understanding.
The bigot who is scared of Muslims is as misinformed as the Muslim who thinks all non-Muslims hate those of the Islamic faith.
The young man or woman of privilege who believes that all people on the dole are simply lazy dole bludgers is as misinformed as the person of disadvantage who believes that all ‘rich’ people are greedy and don’t care about them.
The problem is not necessarily in having differences in opinion. It is in the way we collectively address them.
So in the interest of practicality, if you are going to engage in a discussion in person or online, let’s try and establish some conventions that might help move conversations forward.
Which leaves me with point 8
It is a privilege and a right for us to have our opinions heard and discussed. Let’s make sure that we keep it that way. Be proud of what you have done and said because of how logical it is, not how emotive and mean it was. Spend more time looking for solutions rather than looking for problems, and look at ways to help before you look for ways to condemn. But don’t stop speaking up for those who can’t, we need more informed discussion and less abuse everywhere.As always, remember.
Just Be Nice.
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports