It started like this – a tweet by New Zealand journalist appears on my Twitter newsfeed:
If you don’t know, Brian Tamaki is a relatively fundamentalist preacher in New Zealand who follows the ‘megachurch’ model of collecting donations from his parishioners and living a lavish style.
From context, we can see that he’s said something offensive, and here we go we’ve got a reaction going from people outraged by it.
Let’s look at Brian Tamiki’s twitter:
Who does he sound like? Rich, has a large following, says hateful things, believes there’s a media conspiracy against him?
And it looks like he’s a fan too!
I would argue that a huge part of Donald Trump’s success was that he would say controversial things – which would then get air time, and he grew in popularity.
I would say the best way to combat this kind of hate speech is to not give it the air of attention.
Let’s think about it – what’s actually wrong with what Brian Tamaki, or Donald Trump said? It disrespects people? It encourages hate?
Ultimately it comes down to words hurt.
If that’s the case – then repeating those words further perpetuates the hurt. It reminds me of a joke – where a man walks in to a bar holding some dog shit and says ‘Look what I almost stepped in!’.
What seems to happen is that some hateful person says some hateful thing – people see that – get outraged, and repeat the hateful thing to express their opposition to it – more people see it and they become outraged!
This twitter flurry does highlight the pervasive spread of hate though:
Step 1. Someone initially says something hateful (hate).
Step 2. People respond with outrage. (outrage).
Step 3. People like myself respond with outrage to the outrage. (meta-outrage).
Step 4. No doubt there’s somebody out there annoyed that I’m complaining about this. (hyper-meta-outrage).
And in the end we’re all feeling agitated. Ffs.