3 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF ABOUT CRUELTY
We know that you know that threats, blackmail, and hateful speech are weak ways to express yourself. So, we'll skip the Q & A and just give you the facts about dealing with it if it's happening to you or a friend.
- Yes, words on a screen CAN really hurt someone.
Words ARE power. Posting, forwarding, or messaging any kind of hateful or discriminatory speech about a person's race, color, creed, sexual orientation, etc. is insulting, embarrassing, and hurtful. If you or a friend are suffering because of something posted online, remember that you're not weak or a victim—just a person with feelings. It would be weird if this stuff didn't make you feel bad. Unless you're a robot. Assuming you're not a robot... keep reading.
- If you're the one getting hurt, you're not alone.
First off, remember that nobody is immune. No matter what your race, creed, color, or preference (in partner, hairstyle, clothes, music, or anything else)—someone can always find something to hate on. Talking about it with someone instead of bottling it up will relieve some of the frustration (cause you can't control or confront the person spewing the stuff). Vent! Online cruelty hurts. And if a friend is upset by hateful or cruel posts or messages, practice good listening. They need you. Finally, be part of the solution by reporting this kind of stuff when you read/receive it.
- Practice zero tolerance.
You don't need special glasses to recognize when words cross the line. Instead of ignoring them, playing along, or responding (it doesn't help, usually it just makes it worse), practice zero tolerance. Whether it's hate speech or threats, report it and hug someone. Haters hate hugs.