I think we can all agree that the summer of 2020 has been a time of unprecedented chaos and ambiguity for all of us. Besides the great financial, emotional and physical obstacles simmered by COVID-19, the lid to a boiling pot of interminable social and political injustice finally flew open across the globe. Following the death of George Floyd, the anger that the world had suppressed for so long erupted into protests and heated debates over the movement #Blacklivesmatter.
I sat at home and tried my best to stay updated, as well as to educate myself, on the best solution to tackle one of the most deeply rooted issues of the world. However, I decided to take a break from social media a while ago and I did not post or voice my opinions on the matter. One day, a friend of mine mentioned how disrespectful and strange it is that people don’t use their voice on social media to draw attention to important and serious issues. She spoke very angrily about a friend who had not posted anything regarding the #Blacklivesmatter movement. As she said this, I tried to think long and hard before explaining to her why I thought differently.
While there are many reasons why voicing our opinions can be beneficial, I find that it can also be a bit destructive. On one hand, social media allows us to openly voice our opinions and pour out our creativity onto public websites where we can receive feedback or set trends. On the other hand, if someone is not careful or well-educated, the trends they set or the posts they make, could end up being inaccurate or even more offensive to other groups of people at a time of emotional distress.
Here is the thing: I think that having different platforms where we can share our thoughts and judgements can be a very good thing, as long as people do not abuse the power of free speech or underestimate how much their words could have a negative impact on others. Of course, I understand the temptation, but if the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world cannot stop himself from impulsively tweeting his thoughts, how can we expect normal people, with little or no social media exposure, to do the same?
While I do believe that sharing, liking and commenting in this day and age actually has the power to create more awareness, it needs to be done in the right way. Unfortunately, I do not believe a lot of people take notice of this. Celebrities and idols that use their fame for a good cause can also do harm if they do not first educate themselves about the matter at hand. For this reason, I do not think staying silent is necessarily a sign of disrespect, but potentially an implication that someone wishes to know more before they decide to voice their opinion for the entire world to see.