Confession: I’m weary to the bone of negativity and name-calling on social media — from both sides of the political chasm. So I’m working out how to navigate social media in a constructive way in this new year.
How do we interrupt — and stand up to — the gross ignorance and intolerance of racism without falling into the trap of name-calling, snark, shaming, and tit-for-tat exchanges that too often dominate social media?
Shaming doesn’t work, and we can’t just wish it away — and snark is so tempting, especially when you’re good at it.
In response to me reflecting on how to stay positive in the face of trolling on social media, my Facebook friend, Arlene Mackey had this to say on the subject:
“I actually try just countering them with the opposite non shaming message. If they say, liberals are stupid sheep, I say liberals are giving, loving, informed, beautiful, kind people. It pisses them off but I keep it up. They say I follow the bias, I say I follow articles and information from good, reputable, tolerant sources that look at many different views and cite lots of sources. They say where, I say lots of places. I sometimes get specific but generally don’t have to. Eventually I’ve said: You shaming others does not make your points more valid. Then I wish them well, even have wished them lives and friendships full of laughter and joy and goodness. They usually either implode or say thank you. It takes time but some have become friends. We are all more than the vile we spew.”
Excellent advice, Arlene.
There are even times when allies disrespect each other for expressing sadness, distress, or a sense of being overwhelmed at our new, and may I say, distasteful, reality.
People need a safe place to vent, and scolding each other for moments of sadness or despondency is not productive. A small act of kindness or words of support are often all that’s needed for someone to shift gears. For most of us, it’s cyclical. If I have a bum day today, I generally bounce back tomorrow, especially when I feel supported or validated.
There are days when I’m filled with hope, and days when hope abandons me. We are going through an excruciating time in our nation, so if hope leaves you, understand that you’re human, you’re not alone, and know that hope will return.
View the world with cautious openness, and never give up. If you’re a snowflake, be one that doesn’t melt.
I refuse to walk on eggshells, but “poking the bear” is also not an option.
Awakening to truth is painful for those clinging to a lie.
We all own a piece of this mess. Bickering and name-calling are not going to fix it.
Ridicule is NOT resistance. Use your wit and anger to organize, subvert, and take action.