One of the very best things to come out of social media (in my humble opinion) is the fact it has given voices to anyone who chooses to use the format. That is also one of the very worst things to come out of social media. Everyone has a voice and a right to be heard, I get it. But some people should keep their big yaps shut unless they have something constructive to say. I don’t know the techno-savvy jargon for them be it trollers, spammers, or whatever. I just call them assholes and get on with it. People that use the ‘net to be incendiary and ugly do so without any regard to what their parents taught them growing up. If I offended you post-mortem Jeffrey Dahmer, I don’t apologize. I would think that if your voice is so important, you would want to represent yourself in the best fashion possible. Just my humble opinion.
Let me give you an old-school example of speaking up, or more accurately, NOT speaking up. I was attending a high school football game in the humid South Carolina night in 1970. We were not a big school. We did not have a stadium. Or press box. The coaches were responsible for cutting the grass. Only a couple of those old wooden bleachers on either side of the football field. One of the bleachers contained our school’s followers and fans. Everyone was happy and having fun when one of the black kids in the stands turned on his “boom-box” and some of the kids were singing and dancing and having a blast. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a little old white guy (probably my age now) walk up to the front of the bleachers. He shouted up to the black kid with the music machine.
“Boy! Boy, you turn that off. Now!” Dead silence. I figured the guy was toast. But the strangest thing happened. The kid reluctantly turned his boom-box off, and all the other black kids just kind of bowed their heads, avoiding all eye-contact. Here was this little shit of a man, all of a hundred and twenty-five pounds, backing down an entire bleacher section of young, strong black high-schoolers with just his bony little finger (oh, and the entire history of slavery behind him). He was the scariest figure I had ever seen up to that point in my life. Racism and the division it promotes is about as scary as it gets. I am the idiot who spoke up.
“What’s your problem? They’re just playing some music. The game hasn’t even started yet,” I said. Dead silence. I would like to say I stood up to the fleshy fellows that accompanied this little old racist, but that was not the case. My friend Greg and I weren’t even touching grass as we hauled ass out of there. The sad part is that the kids probably kept quiet for the remainder of the football game.
I didn’t see it, but at least I said something.