A recent social media post finished with an angry demand that white cis males ask permission before they commented. I know it was angry because it was written in capital letters with exclamation marks. I see that more often. An instant assumption that all straight white men are the problem. It’s a stick to beat all straight white guys with and any protest against that dismissed as a privileged point of view. It’s not working.
At least it’s not working for me. This generalised sweep of me and others like me being part of the problem no matter what we do doesn’t work. It’s the twin of the “I’m not racist BUT,’ the cousin of “ALL lives matter.’ It’s more hatred, anger, and division.
The angry path of least resistance
I get it. There are a lot of dicks in the world acting dickish, but I’m sick of all the fighting fire with fire. It’s constant, it’s every day, and it’s generalised because that’s what seems to be easy. It’s easier to attack all Muslims than to learn about the complexities of the Middle-East, its influence on the rest of the world and how and why a small group of bastards are killing people under a false claim of religious conviction. It’s easier to condemn all the police as racist thugs with guns instead of actively supporting groups working for change. It’s easier to abuse immigrants for taking jobs than to ask your local elected officials making that claim what they and their party are doing to increase economic stability for everyone and while you’re there ask what they are doing about the lack of affordable housing and a declining health care system.
The more I type, the more it feels like I’m a twelve-year-old wishing his parents would stop screaming at each other, grow up, and help make things better.
All we seem to do is go online and yell about events and groups. If we can’t react and respond to something in 30 seconds or less using an emoji, we’ll scroll past it. Gods forbid we even think of doing some background reading and reflection before contributing. Even when we do, even if it’s an elegant, insightful post; so what? It’s a disposable text forgotten by everyone but you 5 seconds after it’s read.
There has to be a better way
Social media commentary on its own doesn’t do a damn thing. Raging online against the latest parliamentary gaff, signing a petition.org, sharing a news video on the most recent tragedy, or changing your profile picture with a handy app doesn’t do anything. Hammering your keyboard to tell me I’m a privileged white ass won’t do a damn thing except make you angry when you fail, yet again, to change the world to the one you want.
You, me, all of us have to get out there and demonstrate the benefits of the world we want to see and do it without attacking everyone. I’m not saying don’t protest. If you have cause and reason, then do it, hoist up those placards, make some noise and demands. Show the real and virtual worlds how what you believe can make things better. Don’t just sit on the sofa ranting at strangers online thinking it’ll make it a difference. It won’t.
Telling someone they are wrong, lesser, or part of some collective evil purely because of their race, gender, or beliefs is hate generating bullshit, and it changes nothing.
Making a positive change
Being active in a political party with values and principles, you believe. That’s what changes things. Helping a charitable organisation in your local community changes things. Getting out in the real world and supporting the things you believe in with action changes things.
Attacking people does nothing but make everything worse. Getting out, doing good, and sharing that with others changes things.