A couple of days ago, I talked about how we must be very careful about the kind of content we choose to put out there through our social media platforms. Today, it is very easy to label people as ‘problematic’ for the slightest of errors on their side. I understand the need to maintain a distance from people we don’t necessarily vibe with. But it is also important that we give people the space to learn and be better people instead of calling them out for mistakes they didn’t even intend to make. We can’t assume that people know everything.
And, I wouldn’t call it a sign, but today, I saw this particular Tweet by one of my favourite authors ever, Rick Riordan, and I realized that sometimes, all we need to do is to give people a second chance. We don’t necessarily have to forgive anybody for their mistakes, but we can always make sure that we don’t rule out the possibility that they can still turn around and do better. Be better. Going around trying to uproot people’s identities because something they did was a little ‘problematic’ is also problematic, in case you all needed a friendly reminder.
Nobody is “unproblematic.” Lord knows I’m not. I often say & do stupid things. It’s not realistic to expect anyone to be perceived as unproblematic by everyone all the time. Best we can do is try to be kind, learn to do better by each other & admit when we mess up. Still trying! pic.twitter.com/mQDE7WG0dh
— Rick Riordan (@rickriordan) May 23, 2020
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but calling someone out just because they were associated with somebody, forcing them to take a stand, ganging up on them and pushing them to an extent where they simply don’t see another option but to make a statement is also problematic behaviour. I know you probably think that you’re doing people a favour by forcing people to apologize, but guess what? Stuff like that isn’t up to you. It never was and it never will be unless you’re directly concerned or offended. This is one of the reasons I respect people who can admit that they aren’t unproblematic.
It’s very important to understand here that we are all humans and we have all made mistakes in the past, either knowingly or unknowingly. So taking a page out of Rick Riordan’s book, I think we can indeed try to be better people instead of believing that we can never exhibit any kind of problematic behaviour. Remember that the first step to fixing something is to admit that there is something that needs to be fixed, in the first place. Unless we admit to ourselves that we need to be better, we can’t really be.
It’s not like the world isn’t going through its fair share of trouble already. The last thing we need is more people stirring up drama simply because they thought something taken out of context was problematic. We definitely need to call out what needs to be called out. Problematic issues do open up a very important dialogue. But that doesn’t give anybody the right or permission to go ahead and label people as inherently problematic to an extent where they are publicly ostracized and shamed. A lot of people often end up doing this in the name of justice.
So, let’s just focus on being kinder human beings, maybe? I don’t think that it is going to solve anything that is already happening, but at least this way we can make sure that we stay on the right side of things, and if not, at least we’ll know how to be better people to prevent any slip-ups in the future.
Just try and give it a thought, okay? Maybe things don’t always have to be tooth and nail all the time.
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