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Is there a fine line between bullying and standing up for what you believe in?

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Reflective_Joy
As many of you know, social media of late has been a mine field of posts and tweets about politics, war, misogyny and human rights violations. Ever since the American election -both pre and post inauguration- has seen everyone from J.K Rowling, to celebrities, musicians and even the International Space Station (They offered a place for Trump on the ISS) are tweeting about equality and lambasting xenophobia and racism and any form of hatred which oppresses or silences another human being. It's pretty awesome-yet equally questionable. Both sides - those that spew hatred and those that stand up for the vulnerable and oppressed- are inexorable in their beliefs. As people continue to engage back and forth do they risk coming out the bully themselves and can we tell the difference? By sticking to our beliefs and how we choose to argue them- do we risk alienating others and potential dialogue?

I am definitely on the side of standing up for equality. I have definitely made the odd joke about President Trump and shared witty posts from others that have equally done the same. But where do we draw the line whether it be making jokes or responding to someone who is posting hateful vitriol? When do we, the champion of human rights, become the bully ourselves?

Where do you draw the line when you see oppression, misogyny and hatred online?
Do you think posting or sharing jokes can help us collectively deal with the above or do we risk being as bad as the those that spew hate?

What can we do to stand up for the oppressed without resorting to playing the same games as those that oppress?

Is staying silent best and what are your boundaries in determining when that should be?

Please share your thoughts below!
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Jazz
This is an interesting point.
I would reach out to someone that I thought may be in some kind of trouble or being targeted online but I would not make it public or immediately assume that the person being targeted wants me to fight a battle that they don't want or need?

You use Trump as an example of when 'standing up' could be seen as bullying. He is probably the most targeted figure online at the moment!

I think it is not a question of, should I stand up for what I believe in, or not. I think it is more a question of how I choose to do stand up.
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Reflective_Joy
JAZZ- Thanks for your thoughts on this. I really like what you wrote, " I think it is more a question of how I choose to stand up" Definitely. We have to weight in the pros and cons. Perhaps asking ourselves questions like " Is it helpful, Is is necessary and is it kind?" Furthermore, even if we do follow those points, are we potentially still making ourselves a target of harassment by standing up for a belief or a person?

Cybersmilers, what are your thoughts? What are some things we can do or not do- to minimize risk of us coming off as the bully or instigating someone who is?
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heidilynnrussell
My response is determined by three things:

1. If the comments are directed specifically at ME, I usually block without comment (probably 95 percent of the time). I have specific reasons for responding to the 5 percent, but that's another thread.

2. If it's a discussion about how a policy or person (oh heck, let's use Trump as an example) is harming innocent people, children or animals, I will weigh in aggressively.

3. And lastly, if I see that an individual is being "ganged up on" by trolls, first I will send that person a private message to see how I can help them and give them suggestions about their responses. If they ask me for help on the public thread, I go after the bullies. And I take off the gloves. I used to engage in a lot of arguments on Twitter, but I've become extremely selective. That said, I have absolutely no problem giving a bully a thorough tongue lashing when I see that they are targeting a person who is having difficulty defending themselves. I liken it to stepping in on a schoolyard fight.

Call me a Twitter Vigilante, but I absolutely detest bullying behavior. When blocking is ineffective and when someone needs assistance, I am extremely aggressive with trolls (to a fault).

Great post, Reflective Joy -- I hope more people weigh in.

Heidi