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Tom’s Opinion: The Rising Tide of Hate In America

Actress Stacey Dash, vilified for advising voters to go with Romney for President.
Actress Stacey Dash, vilified for advising voters to go with Romney for President. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

One of the unintended consequences of social media like Facebook and Twitter is the ability to say hateful things to thousands rather than a handful of acquaintances. And this hate is not limited to just one group or organization. It seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. Unfortunately, we’ve always had a level of racism in America, but coupled with the increase in instant communication, it’s now on a verbal level much worse than anything experienced since the 1950’s.

Long gone is the rational discussion of issues and points of view in a civil manner. In today’s culture the common course of action is the personal attack. I don’t have the time to find out why you feel that way, or try to understand your point of view. I’m going straight for your jugular. Your age, weight, race, social status, religion, wealth, education, anything I can use to make you feel inferior is fair game in today’s political discourse. If I can make you feel bad enough about yourself maybe you’ll shut up. And whoever starts those personal attacks emboldens those with similar hateful viewpoints that are more than happy to jump into an already overly filled pool. And sadly we allow it and just move on to the next post. But the damage is done.

You Are Not Allowed To Have An Opinion

You are only allowed to have an opinion if it’s the right opinion. What makes it right? That depends on who you are. Case in point, Stacey Dash. Stacey Dash is a Hollywood actress of Mexican and Afro-Bajan descent. Why do I bring up her race? Because she recently tweeted, “vote for Romney. The only choice for your future,” on her Twitter page. That was all it took for the floodgates of hatred to open up.

How to Play The Hate Card

Two Twitter members felt the need to play the slave card. “She’s an indoor slave, you know that,” and “You ready to head back the fields, jig—oo.” Another compassionate Twitter poster thought attacking her marital status and race would be helpful to the conversation, “This hurts but you a Romney lover and you slutting yourself to the white man only proves why no black man married u.”

Dash starred with Alicia Silverstone in the movie “Clueless.” So the hatemongers lost no time tying the title of the movie to her political beliefs. No less than the Huffington Post went with the salacious headline, ‘Clueless’ Actress Stacey Dash Endorses Mitt Romney, Critics Bring Race Into The Issue.” Does the HP mean to infer that Dash is ‘Clueless’ in their headline for expressing her beliefs? You make the call. The wording is arguably suspicious when compared to the NY Daily News headline, “Stacey Dash met with racist tweets after endorsing Romney.”

One surprising tweet of support for Dash came from women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke, who recently spoke at the Democratic Convention. She wrote, “So disappointed to see people attacking Stacey Dash for voicing her opinion.” “Disagree politically, but racist attacks are unacceptable.” Probably the only thing Sandra and I fully agree on.

Some Final Thoughts

When did America take a wrong turn? There is a nationwide effort to eliminate bullying in schools, yet on the net it’s a green light. Not only is it permitted; it’s encouraged. This behavior goes way beyond political correctness or even good manners. Why are we so lax in permitting this unhelpful negativity to enter our computers? It’s time to call people out on all sides of the political spectrum. If you can’t stick to the issues, or defend your position without personally attacking someone, then your opinion carries little weight.

Words to live by, Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

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