Social Media and the Rise of Fake Outrage

cokeadIt seems to follow a predictable pattern:  there is some example of diversity that takes place; a commercial with an interracial family, another one features to the rich multiculturalism of America, an Indian American woman wins Miss America, a young boy of Mexican heritage sings the national anthem at an NBA game.  Shortly thereafter someone says something rather ignorant and racist about the event.  This then bring a counterattack on the trolls which is usually far louder than the original tweet.

This seems to be happening a lot lately.  It has me bugged.  But I’m not bugged about the bigots.  I’m bugged about all the fake outrage out there.

More often than not, a lot of people with good hearts take to  social media to denounce the racist tweet or Facebook post.  The news media then takes the racist tweets and post them up on an article or talk about them on television.  Everyone is very concerned about this behavior and very. very upset.  All the while, the original event, the example of diversity gets pushed aside while the idiot that decided to say something from the safety of his (or her) laptop gets an audience.

I just wish it would all stop.

Yes, it’s sad to see people say mean things on social media.  But folks, in the scheme of things, this is not that important.  We seem to be shocked, shocked that someone, somewhere would take to social media to say something really bad about someone.

Really?  Are we really that shocked?

Social media is full of people saying stupid, mean and abusive things.  The tenor of debate on social media can wait for another post.  Yes, someone saying something racist is bad.

But let’s put this into perspective.  There was no physical harm done.  It was someone saying something foolish.  Do we all really need to get so upset about this?  Do we really expect that no one will ever say a mean thing about someone, even when it says racist things?

There are times we need to stand up against meanness and abuse.  But we have to pick our battles and we have to look at the current situation.  The fact that major corporations and cultural institutions are becoming more diverse and willing to cater to that diverse populace is a wonderful thing.  I am happy to see an interrracial couple with their biracial child on TV.  I like seeing ads where we see two men in love parenting their child.  We would not have seen such things a generation or so ago.  This is a major step forward in the history of our country; where corporate America is wanting to focus on how we look now.  THAT is what we should be focusing on, not a few people who sent a mean tweet.

Of course there are times we need to challenge people.  But not every event is a Supreme Court case.  We don’t have to fight every fight.

Some of the outrage over such events are more about wanting to look good than it is about facing an issue.  Most people want to identify with the winners, not the losers.  Our outrage makes us feel good and makes us superior to the racists.  Thank God we aren’t like those bigots, we think.

Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount talks about how we should not make a big noise when we do things. He says:

“Be careful that you don’t practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Whenever you give to the poor, don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that you may give to the poor in secret. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.

I will be thankful for the day that something sparks some racist tweets and the response is…nothing.  That, and we will talk more about the accomplishment than about the response.

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