, 26 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Just had an interesting exchange on Twitter, one of so many similar exchanges over the past several years. The other person, let's call him Bob for simplicity, insists that the right wing has nothing to do with hate speech online or people committing hate crimes... 1/
Bob insists it is the "alt-left" who foment division in our society. First, there is no "alt-left", not in the way Bob means it. There are people who are unhappy with the economic inequalities in our society... 2/
They are unhappy with the callous way workers are often treated, they are unhappy with the way some people are discriminated against, they are unhappy with cruelty and hoarding of wealth and violations of human rights...3/
Contrary to what Bob thinks, that does not make them bad people. There is a trend towards trying to equalise blame lately. Trump saying "on both sides" regarding Charlottesville hurried this trend along. 4/
That's sort of like saying a mosque shooter was wrong but the people who died probably did wrong things in their lives too. No. Just no. 5/
I know, it can feel sort of icky to be identified as a group that a lot of people disapprove of, to have your people blamed for putting murderous ideas in people's heads. It's awkward. I get it. 6/
But that doesn't change the fact that more and more research is revealing that many of these hate crimes do not occur in a vacuum. People are exposed to a type of communication and, over time, they respond to it. 7/
It gets into their heads. It changes how they think and how they view the world. Some may have grown up with a lot of racism and misogyny and biases and the messaging just takes it to a deadlier level. 8/
But others are more gradually moved from ambivalence, to strong opinions, to reposting and wearing shirts that suggest hanging the PM, to actually doing something... 9/
There is considerable academic literature, large longitudinal studies that examine the media people consume and their attitudes. What we put into our brains makes a difference. It can change us. 10/
If the shooter leaves a manifesto, as some do, they often mention right-wing sources as an inspiration. Even if they don't leave anything written down, and don't live to tell us why, police look at their browsing history. Guess what? 12/
They generally have been looking at a lot of right-wing sites. Sorry, Bob. It is a for-real thing. They generally have not been spending a lot of time in NDP chatrooms, or reading about saving the whales. Nope. 13/
And I know, it's hard. You think you are a really good person. And you think there is truth to the opinions you read or hear on the media of your choice. You don't think there's anything wrong with the way Ford/Kenney/Scheer/Trump talk and behave. 14/
After all, they are really in it to help out the regular people, right? Jobs. Cash in the bank. And those people who aren't going to do well, they probably don't deserve to live comfortably. They haven't worked as hard as you, right, Bob? 15/
They're lazy. They're probably addicted to something, or they're part of a religion that want to kill us all in our beds.... And who the hell are they to come to our country and take our jobs anyway!?!? 16/
Oh. Wait. That's sounding a little bit racist, isn't it Bob? Awkward. Because you're not a racist, are you? No, it's the lefties who are racists. They hate white people, isn't that right, Bob? 17/
No. Actually, they don't hate white people. They hate what white people have done to others over the history of there being white people. They would like white people to behave better and be decent human beings to people who don't look like them. 18/
"But, aren't Antifa an awful, violent terrorist organisation?" Suggests Bob. No. Antifa is an abbreviation for "anti-fascist". Which, incidentally, should be every human's default position. If anyone you know served in WWII, you know an anti-fascist. Your Grampa is Antifa. 19/
Anti-fascists only need to identify themselves and do things like protest, when their antithesis, actual fascists, show up and start doing stuff. Anti-fascists are not trying to seize control anywhere. They are strictly resistance. 20/
"But, Lefties are Nazis. Nazis were socialists." Offers Bob. Well, no. Nope. Just because the Nazis had the word "socialist" in their party name, they were no more socialist than North Korea is democratic. 21/
"But the left is trying to indoctrinate our children." Counters Bob. In what, exactly? Treating people equally? Wanting facts instead of authoritative assertions? Understanding their bodies and science and geopolitics? 22/
I can see how that sort of education would benefit an authoritarian regime. An education that omits certain parts of the facts that conflict with ideology. Things like "climate change is real", or "you are allowed to decide what happens with your body. It's called consent." 23/
People are up in arms about climate change being taught in schools. "It's too frightening for the children!" but they are ok with kids being bussed from school to attend anti-abortion rallies, with graphic gory posters? OK, then. 24/
"But they're sexualising children and making them join perverse clubs where they convince them they are gay or trans or whatever." No. They don't. Did you know if you were a boy or a girl by the time you were in school?
No. When confronted by facts, the things you believe fall short, Bob. But, by all means, you do you. Just don't try to blame anyone else. 26/26
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