Racist and bigoted rants have been going viral regularly in America on almost a daily occurrence since the time of the most recent presidential campaign. The dissemination of these hate-based incidents via social media are paramount to American civility. Maintaining a social structure symmetrical to constitutional core values requires a continuous repudiation of incidents rooted in hatred for humanity, the effects of which, we are still recovering from.
While there is a temptation to ignore hatred for the sake of refusing it a platform of public display, the exponential increase in courageous bigotry puts our American Worldview at risk of being desensitized while losing ground on a journey of healing we have yet to complete. Some say these events are only outliers, but social outliers that go unconfronted, anesthetize societal defenses meant to prevent the integration and normalization of toxic values.
What are these societal defenses?
Artistic platforms get a lot flack as of late for their assumed lack of reliability and trustworthiness; however, they are platforms that can and should be leveraged for good. When people come together collectively, the artistic platforms respond to the capital of American consumption. It our job as a society to consume only content whether journalistic, entertainment, literary, social, etc. that promotes the basic moral agreements of our society. Reward artistic platforms that contribute to a healthy American society with support and punish those in power who degrade our values by disengaging.
Community will always be the greatest defense against hate that seeks to erode at the basic moral agreements that people of all walks of life can agree on. Regardless of one’s race, economic stature, religion or political ideology, there are certain humanizing principles that are universally accepted and defended in every community of family and friends. Compassion within a community empowers regional activism, while apathy leads to the acceptance of diminishing values
As an individual, your major responsibility is the maintenance of your own integrity. Not merely for self-gratification but for the immeasurable legacy that a single life can leave. Even in a world of billions, science suggests that we are only 6 points of separation from having a personal interaction with anyone in the world. The butterfly effect is a concept used to explain how small causes, like the movement of a butterfly’s wings can have large impacts, like the altering of a tornado’s course. This affirms that every interaction should be intentional, keeping in mind that your acceptance or rejection of hate could shape the course of a nation.
How we respond.
Every artistic platform, community, and individual must do their part to make certain that hate-based incidents are linked to their sponsors. Determining the common themes that undergird these occurrences are necessary in the fight against bigotry, otherwise we waste time and energy fighting the symptoms of a condition that continues to spread. We must determine and confront the things perpetrators of hate have in common. As we commit to this fight, we should reflect on our individual responsibilities. The following are things we can all do as we advance the fight against hate.
Be honest. Your truth and your experience belongs to you. No one can take it from you. When you observe hate in American society, it becomes your responsibility to reject it. Your legacy can be one of abdication, or history can speak kindly of the good fight you fought, regardless of whether you ever live to see the fruits of your resistance.
Be authentic. What makes doing your part so necessary is that it is a role that only you can fill. Maybe you’re a writer, or an activist, a volunteer, a marcher, an advocate, an encourager, or all the above. What is most essential about who you are, is that you put the tools you have, to use for good.
Be loud. Your participation in the fight against hate will at some point require you to step outside the comforts of silence. Your voice is powerful and your words bare the burden of moral authority. A common cultural misconception inaccurately advises that the presence of more people relinquishes the value of your voice, but the truth is, our expanding society increases the number of people in need of your voice.
Give hate a platform, expose it, put it on display, isolate it, crucify it, and until the worst parts of this world catch up to the best part of this world, resist.