People On The Internet Are Rude
If you ever doubt that racism still exists, just start reading the comments left on African-American YouTube channels. You’ll be appalled at the kind of trash you will read spewing from people’s fingers with little care for politeness or grammatical correctness. The truth of the matter is that people feel protected from behind their computer screens, completely unaccountable for their words and actions. While that can be true through the use of multiple proxies, people should not be led to believe that their words won’t follow them. I was taught when I was little that the written word is powerful – because others can find it and read it. One great example of this was my diary. I quickly learned after several arguments with my mother and subsequent angry diary entries – which were later read by Mom – that the written word can come back to haunt you long after the initial impetus for writing them strikes.
Facebook is a great example of where people are opening themselves to the world. You may think that all of your comments are only read by your 300+ friends, but think again. If you make a comment on a friend’s link, the friend sees that comment – your 300 friends see the comment – – AND your friend’s 300 friends also see the comment. When Your friends’ friends comment after you, their friends also have access to see the comment, and the chain reaction grows. Basically, don’t fool yourself into thinking that your snide remarks are only being shared with a handful of people, or that they aren’t searchable. It only takes one angry, crazy person to come to your place of work (which you’ve so prominently listed at the top of your FaceBook profile) and harass you – or worse.
Youtube has become the all-time low of rudeness. People make up pseudonyms and say the most hurtful, hateful things. There is definitely a trend to compliment young, attractive people (particularly teenage girls) for any videos they post – while openly ridiculing less attractive people. As a musician, I am often listening to music on YouTube, and in the musical arena of pop culture, there is much fighting and debate about the artists. Singers must “compete” with one another, and they are forced to do so by their fans – who listen to their music and make comments about who is the best/better singer. These comments aren’t just said to the artist, they are shared with the world. My biggest gripe is that people rarely tell us why one artist is better than another – unless they are pointing out that one artist is fatter/hotter/uglier/prettier, etc. We live in a very shallow, superficial world.
Of course, the most disturbing part of all this is the fact that people don’t just “become” rude when they log onto a computer. They are rude already, and being behind the shelter of a screen brings out that horrible quality. It is very much like the sense of protection one feels when driving an automobile and cursing the other drivers. You feel completely unaccountable for your actions. You will never see that person again in your life, and as a result all of the anger within comes out.
For the first time in my musical career, I have come to a point where I understand the feelings of Lauryn Hill, whom I always thought was crazy for her Malcolm-X-like approach to racism and her desire to slip out of the public eye and live her own private life. Why would she want to share her music with such a horrible world? A place filled with evil people who have such hurtful things to say? There are still some good people in the world – but not many.