Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Challenging bigotry in social media

There is a famous quote from Edmund Burke that goes something like this:
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"
and this is someting that often comes to BFTF's mind when confronted by bigotry and hate speech in the news or social media. Surprisingly, BFTF has found that when one challenges people making these kind of comments, pointing out that they are portraying grossly unfair stereotypes and that they would not like it if they were themselves protrayed in such a negative manner, they often back down very quickly, sometimes deleting their comments. It is as though they suddenly realise the arrogance, unfairness and damaging nature of what they have written. Indeed this happended earlier today, when a Facebooker posted a stereotypical image of a Jewish person along with the following words :
"Look at this conniving face! These fools exude arrogance and ignorance in equal proportion and theirs is asinking ship, whomsoever who boarded it would surely drown, whomsoever jumps deck is saved!"
BFTF responded with this :
"I don't think it is acceptable to post pictures that portray Jews as having bad characters. It is a grossly unfair stereotype. You would not like it if someone portrayed Muslims in similarly negative terms."
Another Facebooker backed up this comment, and within a few minutes the whole post had been deleted by the original poster. So you see - we can ALL make a difference.

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