Do The Right Thing on Social Media

I’ve tried to remain Switzerland on this issue for as long as I could, but enough is enough, y’all; We need to improve how we utilize social media during periods of unrest.

Earlier this week, riots broke out in Baltimore after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a man who died April 12 from severe injuries he sustained while in police custody. As with any prevalent social issue happening within our country, people took to the internet to voice their opinions and, as expected, things started to get a tad out of hand.

Example: The other day I came across a picture shared on Facebook of a muscular, bearded man in a flak jacket clutching an assault rifle while kneeling behind a burning bucket of fried chicken in front of an American flag.

“This photo is in response to all those un-American black punks in Baltimore, chanting ‘F**k America’ while burning the U.S. flag,” the caption read.

The text goes on to explain how much the man respects the flag (despite the fact that it was displayed backwards, which is a blatant violation of the Flag Code), how he’s “not racist” and how he has “black friends and co-workers” who don’t agree with the riots.

Now, it’s one thing to disagree with the unnecessary amount of violence, destruction and disrespect that we’ve seen take place these past few days, but to generalize an entire race of people because of the actions of a select few is ridiculous.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that not everybody in Baltimore is a so-called “thug” or “looter,” but if that’s news to you, then you might need to start focusing on changing your skewed perspective rather than posting inflammatory comments on your personal profiles.

The same can apply during any similar social conflict that may occur down the road. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but using your voice to make offensive or threatening statements towards a race, a group such as the police or anyone else is only going to create more discord between us.

Honestly, how can you promote peace and understanding if you’re not willing to demonstrate those virtues towards others? In order to convince your peers to walk down the halcyon path, you must set the example and walk it yourself.

Keep that in mind before you press “send” next time. I’m not saying to hold back from being honest; by all means, keep it real with one another, but keep it civil as well.

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