Dear attack culture

Dear attack culture

April 02
12:51 2018

I believe in calling people out. As in, if someone does or says anything harmful to others, emotionally and/or physically, they should be confronted and corrected. The individual should be made aware of the effects of their behavior. This makes absolute sense to me.

What doesn’t is attack culture.

I hesitate to even call it that because things can be twisted so anything — even educational discourse — is deemed attack culture. But with all the talk about online bullying and my involvement in social media, true attack culture is glaring.

I define attack culture as the purposeful verbal and emotional harassment of an individual based off an action or statement deemed problematic by another individual or public. Attack culture makes the social media environment hostile for the individual deemed as biased, problematic or uneducated.

At the basis of this more brutal form of “conversation” is the idea that the individual initiating it is perfect. It is wrong to then totally and guiltlessly desecrate someone online without any thought to the circumstances that may have prevented them from having access to the same information and educational resources the individual themself has (because, if you truly think about it, it’s a privilege to be educated and have access to modern-day identity discourse). It is counterproductive. It is cruel. And, honestly, it becomes about something other than the issue at hand: it becomes about finding an outlet for rage, for frustration and for personal vendettas.

Even in saying this though, I am aware some people, even after being addressed on how their behavior or words are harmful, continue to engage in the same behavior. But I’m talking about people who are barely becoming aware of certain issues, even in the age of the internet and its free educational resources. Some people still are not aware these exist and that they’re even missing a larger aspect of their cultural awareness.

I agree this is not the time to be polite in the same way activists before us had to be in order to survive. This isn’t the time to avoid conversations for fear they will be offensive to a subset that has had the privilege of being catered to their whole lives. This is obvious and deserves to be acknowledged.

But to pounce on any little mistake that a person makes? It is wrong and makes no sense in the larger scheme of social justice and change. It becomes a personal thing: an outlet for personal gratification instead of for the good of the messages and movements those who perpetuate attack culture claim themselves to be all for.

Featured Image: Illustration by Austin Banzon

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Maritza Ramos

Maritza Ramos

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