Monday, 30 May 2016

Thinking Out Loud: Hate Mail

Hate mail, hate messages, we've seen them all before. Usually they are directed to others, but some times, they are directed to us.

Today, I have received quite a bit of....disrespectful messages concerning my comment on a YouTube video, "your English accents are awful! I love it! Haha!" In that video, someone had asked the vloggers to put on an English accent and I, having an English accent and living in England found it quite funny because no one here sounds like the accent they were putting on and they were mixing up Australian phrases with English ones which was also rather funny. Do you see anything wrong with my comment?

Let's highlight a particular word in my comment, "your." This word means that I am directing my comment to a particular person/people. However, people, who were not the people my comment was directed at were replying in unasked for ways.

Yesterday, I watched a video where a guy was reacting to a girl's video where she was apologising to him because she made a funny video saying she was dating him. It was like the DaveDays and Miley Cyrus thing (you know, with Dave acting like he's in love with Miley and dating her only that his Miley is a cut out picture of the actual Miley?). The guy had seen her initial video and found it funny and actually commented on it, but his fans saw the video and started sending the girl hate messages. They told her to drink bleach, go kill herself, et cetera. Little did they know that this has been girl battling with depression for over a decade. In her apology video, she was in front of the camera with her friend, she apologised to the guy she made the video of and she and her friend talked about how the comments affected her and opened up about her depression and how she had been trying to use YouTube to help her with that (if you don't understand what I mean, look up iiSuperwomanii, YouTube helped her in that way). When the guy watched her apology video whilst recording his reactions, he was shocked that people sent her such comments and didn't care if they knew/didn't know about her situation because hate speech is just wrong!

If you know me personally, you would know that I am someone who doesn't get offended easily neither do I get annoyed or angry easily. However, I was eating when I got another disrespectful message today and I felt my appetite go away. The first set of messages arrived at midnight and then the next arrived at around 3am (and a few more after that), but I didn't let it bother me. These messages are coming from different people. They accused me of things I never said, made assumptions and were just downright disrespectful and making uncalled for remarks. I'm still not letting if get to me, but I am thinking about it because I am wondering when it ever became okay for people to make hate speech about or towards others.

What do you gain by telling someone to drink bleach?

What do you gain by telling someone to kill themselves?

What do you gain by putting others down?

If you disagree with someone, let it be that - a disagreement. Don't let it become a war.

We don't agree with everything everyone says. Let's face that. There are comments I have seen on YouTube and other social media that I don't agree with, but that doesn't mean I should send hate speech to someone. Where is the love?

As some of you know, I'm a vegetarian (but I am usually mistaken for a vegan because 99% of the time, I eat vegan foods). Us plant-based eaters have a stereotype over our heads that we are hateful and force our beliefs on others (although I became a vegetarian due to not liking the taste of meat and not because of the animals). Lately, I have realised that I would actually prefer for animals to be treated better as I love them (domestic and wild animals) and won't want them to be in harms way.

A few months ago, a friend of mine shared a picture on Facebook that said, "will you step on this puppy for 18 million dollars?" above a picture of a cute little puppy. My friend commented on it with, "I'd cripwalk all over it bruhhh." Being the plant-based person I am, I would have been expected to get so angry and send him threats, loads of hate speech, videos of dying animals, et cetera, (especially because I watched my puppy die) but I didn't. We had a nice, polite conversation about it and then left it at that. Did anyone gain anything from it? Yes. Did anyone lose anything from it? No.

What I'm trying to say with all of this is to just show love and compassion to one another. Stop hating each other and sending awful, awful messages to others. You do not know everyone's backstory. You do not know what people are going through personally and you have an even slimmer chance of knowing that over the internet.

Be kind to one another.

I'm okay. I reported some of the messages I received, but let's face it, some people don't report these messages, some people take them to heart and end up beating themselves over it. Some people don't end up reading hate speech and being okay.

Do not be the reason or be involved with the reason someone ends their life.

Do not be the reason or be involved with the reason someone harms themselves.

We need more love and less hate.

"Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything."
1 Peter 4:8

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