- 1 day ago
- 2 days ago
A relatively famous person posted a screen shot of a private Facebook conversation he had with one of my former professors. That former professor messaged him about how she disagreed with one of his views, and he replied rather bluntly. It could have ended right then and there and it would’ve been okay, but he made it public for all to see along with a degrading caption. Soon, his fans/friends started ganging up on my former professor and publicly shamed her.
In response to this, my former professor posted the conversation and what that guy did. In response to that, with the consent of my former professor, I made my own post with the screen shot of the guy’s post. I did it to point out how wrong it was, but I felt reluctant in posting it. Something didn’t sit right. I let it stay for a few hours but after talking to a few people about it, I decided to take it down. Which is good, because people started sharing it and it had my name on it, and I didn’t want to get involved in a full-scale social media war like in the movie Chef. Taking a step back, here’s what I realized:
In the first place, the conversation should never have been made public. At the very least, the name should have been blurred. And even when it was made public with the full name of my former professor exposed, it wasn’t right to gang up on her and her beliefs.
But it wasn’t right for me to do the same in revenge.
My post just created a vicious cycle so common in social media. We villainize people we don’t even know, and we treat them like garbage based on their reactions when we don’t even know what they’re going through. It wouldn’t be any different from “Amalayer” or “I Should’ve Been Informed” or that tweet with terrible English that turned out to be the tweet of a deaf student who had a different way of translating words.
As for the relatively famous guy, it’s really up to him if he’ll apologize. I was just convicted by my roommate when he told me you can’t right a wrong with another wrong. Yes, there are instances when you can turn to social media to point out certain social injustices, and it all really depends on our individual discretion on a case-to-case basis, but for me, now is not the time.
He acted like a jerk, but we’ve all been a jerk at one point in our life, and there will be more times. Also, in a lot of those times we don’t even intend it to happen. But in the instances when we have a clear and level head, let’s choose not to be jerks, even when responding to other people acting like jerks.
I had to edit that last part. It didn’t sit right again to just say “he was/is a jerk” and I had to replace it with “he acted like a jerk.”
I realized that, especially when we reduce others to mere labels, it’s so easy to forget that we’re all just people, and that in itself makes each of us qualified for respect and dignity.
Note: This is not to put down my former professor’s response or her side of the story, but to raise the idea that public shaming in response to public shaming just creates a vicious cycle (something my brother mentioned in a comment) and that there are better ways to respond, though that’s something I haven’t totally figured out yet, but I have peace with my decision to take down my post.
- 4 weeks ago
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