Lately, this has become my mantra and it shouldn't be. The persistence of ignorance, negativity and the general oppression of nearly everybody I know in some way or other is driving me away from social media and news platforms in general. This is discouraging and entirely unnecessary.
A few weeks ago I conducted a challenge on my Facebook page (#spreadthehope) challenging everybody to post ONLY positive things for twenty-four hours. It sparked a lively discussion much to my surprise. I explained my rationale for putting forth such a challenge but it was not as well received as I'd hoped but I will reiterate it here.
When a story is pushed out into the media about somebody or other doing something born of ignorance said story is proliferated by supporters and non-supporters alike. This leads to the ignorant statements being warped and spread to even more people, especially those who believe that all things published in/on news platforms must be truths. This means that opponents of the initial story are actually HELPING the cause they despise. This has been our way of life for far too long and though I am but one voice I hope to change that. Therefore I proposed that instead of reposting an article you fervently disagree with, find an article supporting the opposite side of the issue and post that instead. Here are two examples I used:
1. Some conservative religious groups are apparently disseminating hate-filled propaganda against Katy Perry indicating that her music is about witchcraft and performing black magic. I learned of this from an associate who chastised me for admitting I like a Katy Perry song (I actually like several) because her music is devil's speak. I asked where he got this from and of course he cited conservative religious articles. I explained that this is definitely not the case. He argued that Dark Horse could not be more about black magic. I laughed. A lot. I proceeded to pull up articles explaining the lyrics of Dark Horse but he refused to hear what they said because it was contrary to what he already had read. This led to an interesting (and at times heated) discussion.
2. There are several politicians and news anchors who seem to want women back in their 1950s era roles and make no bones about stating such ideas. Why continue to give them media coverage when you could post articles about politicians, anchors and celebrities who are working to even the gender roles? Emma Watson's #heforshe campaign jumps to the front of my mind whenever I see articles wanting to push women backward. Or what about Patricia Arquette's moving speech at the Oscars?
I am asking everybody to consider what they are posting before hitting that almighty "post" button. What is your purpose for posting this article, picture or rant? Do you wish to fight it? Do you support it? What would happen if we only posted things of a positive nature, things that were meant to uplift instead of tear down? As with my first example, this associate of mine is never going to agree with me on the meanings of Katy Perry's music nor will I ever agree with him but rather than posting one of the articles he cites and ranting about why it's wrong I will choose to post something that explains Ms. Perry's interpretation of her lyrics. This allows people to see both sides of the issue and make up their own minds. I feel that much more is accomplished by putting positive articles, pictures, memes and more into the world as opposed to giving more time to the negativity that is becoming so ingrained in our world.
Simply put, tearing other people down is not a viable option for pushing your perspective. For example, posting a political article denouncing Planned Parenthood with an added rant about how the writer of the article is an idiot is not as productive as posting an article about Planned Parenthood providing cervical cancer screens for women who cannot otherwise afford it.
Of course, I realize that this blog post has brought to light some of my personal opinions on some heated topics but I am not ashamed of how I feel about things like equality for women and Planned Parenthood. I admit that I have very liberal views. Maybe that makes me a hippie of sorts but I have this crazy notion that generally people should be given the freedoms to live life as they see fit. I respect various religious and political beliefs/systems and ask only the same respect in turn. While I see things that make very angry I no longer see the point in adding more fuel to the fire. From now on, I intend to #postpositive in hopes that others will do the same.