I’ve wanted to say this for a while now.
I’m not meaning to jump on any sort of bandwagon (especially since my post concerns more than what’s happening YouTube), but considering the conversation is buzzing in in web now seems like a better time than any to give my two pence on the issues we’re facing in society today. And by issues I mean the racism, the accusations and the general disrespect and discrimination of other’s opinions.
Now, I know the voice of one person on a fairly young blog with a small readership won’t make much of a dent on society’s way of thinking, but it’s good to get the conversation out there in these turbulent times if we’re going to have any chance of resolving it.
Respect is something that every human being is capable of producing and if you want it, you should give it.
Opinions are something else everyone has the right to posses and you don’t have to agree with everybody’s opinion. But you should respect it. Whilst it can be argued that facts are formed from an agreed set of opinions at the time of definition, the terminology isn’t reversible. Opinions are not fact, so (in my opinion) you should never force them down each others throats as if they were.
It seems surrounding (but not accusing them directly) the recent world events of the conflict in the east, to Brexit in the UK and the inauguration of President Trump’s Administration it seems these basic rules have been forgotten and the concept of “labels” has turned from adjectives to describe the interests and personality of people to nouns to define a class of people on the basis of their beliefs and opinions.
This is wrong.
Just because somebody has a particular opinion or happens to have a little more melanin in their skin, doesn’t mean they can be associated with a stereotype. Just because someone has black skin doesn’t make them a gang member, nor does a women wearing a burqa mean she belongs to a family of terrorists. When you have no solid evidence on your personal claim, it sounds pretty obvious right? So does that make it OK to call a Brexiter or Rupublican a racist? Or a guy that happens to wear Burberry, but whom is just stood in the street a chav? or perhaps a videographer makes a poor choice of subject matter to mock a particular issue an anti-semite?
Of course it doesn’t!
We are all human beings at the end of the day. We might come from different backgrounds and sometimes we make mistakes in hurting each other through ignorance, poor judgement or misunderstanding, but that doesn’t mean we can be put into a box and assume that our entire personality aligns to that one belief.
If you have read any Dystopian fiction in your time or even high fantasy, you should already well know that these labels don’t last and the people who follow the association are often made to look like fools. Just because Slytherins were described as “cunning folk [that] use any means, To achieve their ends”, doesn’t mean everyone in that house in Harry Potter were automatically evil. As Harry explains to his son Albus in the film adaption of the Deathly Hallows, “You were named after two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was the bravest man I’d ever known.” If you’ve not read the story yet, I won’t spoil it for you by explaining, but if you have – you know. Other popular stories long prior and following this have tried to show the same message such as Katniss Everdeen of the poor District 12 in the Hunger Games, Tris in Divergent trilogy whom transformed from her Abnegation beginnings or even the actions of History Wiping Winston of Minitrue in Nighteen Eighty Four.
There’s nothing wrong with people being a little different to yourself. So somebody you meet is a vegetarian and you’re a meat loving omnivore. That doesn’t mean you two can’t be friends, just respect each other’s boundries and values and don’t try to convert each other to your side. I myself am a Linux user on computers after changing to it from a couple of years ago. That doesn’t mean I think any less of Windows users (considering I still use it 5 days a week at work). I’ve never been a fan of Apple’s interfaces on iPhones, iPads and macOS and yes I have a bit of friendly banter and joke with the 5 people in the office that use a Mac in one way or another and most of them being iPhone users too or possessing an iPad, but we never ridicule each other for our choices, nor do we seek to prevent each other from having these experiences in our lives. So why is it okay for others to do that on a larger scale in politics?
Why is it okay to stop people coming into our country? For women to discriminate men for things and say it’s not sexist because they were like that in the past? To attack people because they don’t follow the same lifestyle nor pray everyday to the same god you do? Because it’s not.
It still makes me wonder with many people living off and referencing fiction, even in the digital age through watching TV or on demand services like Now TV or Netflix how people were happy to apply some of the principles of these into pop culture, but never quite grasped the message.
For those that are happy to preach and label others, let me ask you 3 questions. What are you achieving? Where’s your evidence the person you’re labelling is who you say they are? And does this mean we can label you as a ‘moron’ if it turns out you’re wrong? I really hope for your sakes your answers will be along the lines of ‘nothing’, ‘none’ and ‘no’. Because as YouTubers such as Boogie2988, Markiplier, Jacksepticeye and Philip DeFranco all state, we aren’t the identities and labels people are putting on us. We are humans, with feelings and opinions and if we all want to get on in this world, we have to realise we don’t all agree all the time. But with respect for each other’s opinions without agression or hate and malice, you might just get some back next time you say something that’s against the grain.
And if you’re really not sure about a something, don’t just follow the crowd or blindly back the source that’s telling you. Do some research of your own and form your own opinion from purely that. For instance if you want to tell me terrorism is formed as an Islamic order based on what all Muslims read in the Qu’ran, show me the verse(es) that explicitly say that. If you believe that all chavs rob houses and people as well as deal drugs, show me all the CCTV evidence you can get your hands on. If you think Pewdiepie is anti-semite that’s publishing this in his videos, show me the specific source videos in full.
Disagree with anything I said? Cool, Let me know calmly in the comments below why and what your own opinions are and, if required, some source evidence to back up anything you claim as fact.
And next time you want to raise an issue or opinion about someone or something, as John Agard would put it:
come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu min
…then tell me the other half of the story.
Finally, I’ll leave you with the English version of a Danish TV network advert I discovered through FBE’s REACT series (which I then sourced and watched in it’s full original form) that sums up my long-winded opinion on all of this:
Respect isn’t a right some of us are born with. It’s something we can all give out and something we can all earn. But we can only all earn it, if we all learn to give it out.