“Be careful not to dehumanize those you disagree with. In our self-righteousness, we can become the very things we criticize in others.” –Eugene Cho
From people vs. the virus, the fight has turned into an entanglement of people vs. people vs. the virus vs. the government.
Disagreement is inevitable
It’s all right to disagree on a subject. With billions of people on earth, it cannot be avoided. As a matter of fact, conflict is an essential part of our growth as a society. Through problems that arise, we get to find resolutions that hone our collective decision-making. However, when people start to use their differences as an excuse to degrade someone, we are creating more problems than solutions.
Especially now, that we need to work with each other more than ever. We all want to get out of this pandemic crisis alive, but we have differing views on how we should handle it. As a result, the social media– our main medium of communication– has become a toxic place overflowing with anger and negativity. It would be too naive to wish for a perfect society whose members have exactly the same way of thinking– that’s too far-fetched. But can we, at least, take it easy on how we express ourselves?
It may be true that someone can’t step out of his privilege bubble, hence his outcry, “Sumunod na lang tayo sa gobyerno kesa magreklamo.” It’s insensitive. It’s coming from a privileged standpoint. It gives no consideration to the marginalized sectors of society, whose starving tummies have driven them to violate certain measures.
And you, a socially aware citizen who would go to great lengths just to help the needy and poor, started calling the first person a stray dog, or a walking turd, or a fart in human form. What does this say about you in return? It’s terribly frustrating that some people don’t see the situation the same way we do, but is degrading them the ONLY option?
Online hate goes beyond mere political disagreement. It’s an issue of ethics. There’s always the option to remain calm and talk in a civilized manner. You always have a choice to disengage, especially when dealing with someone you think is not mentally equipped to consider other’s points of view. If the opposing side initiates the trash-talking game by calling you R-rated names, it reflects their own way of thinking, not you. But if you return the violent attacks and even attempt to outwit them, it means you’re no different. You’re fuelling the wheel of hate.
Rise above it
Chances are, you would not speak ill of someone right in front of them (unless you’re that evil). You know that words cut deep, so you wouldn’t call someone ugly right into their face because you couldn’t afford to witness the pain that would manifest on their facial expression. That would fill you with guilt.
Sadly, there’s something about social media that’s making us forget the simple rule of being kind to others. In front of our laptops and cellphone screens, we tend to be reckless and irresponsible beings when provoked.
We are aware of what’s right and wrong. Let’s turn this awareness into action, whether we are in real life or in the digital world. Rise above the digital hate culture. We know better. We should know better.
How are you coping with the COVID-19 situation?