North Texas Daily

We need to cancel social media identity politics

We need to cancel social media identity politics

We need to cancel social media identity politics
February 18
11:37 2020

The old saying “you are what you eat” can apply to most things in life, but the specific political issues and stances you post over the internet don’t define you. Today’s political climate makes it tough to speak out on any given issue without facing backlash on social media by your peers. Chances are you know quite a few people who disagree with you on Facebook or Twitter, but don’t let those arguments obstruct you from having good relationships with friends and family.

Social media tribalism in the United States between different political affiliations has existed since each social media platform’s launch, but has grown since the 2016 presidential election where smartphones and internet use became much more available in households, according to a report by infodocket.com. Today, millions of people engage in political content through the internet which can lead to arguments and disputes.

It’s OK to confront someone on their political beliefs, but labeling one as racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic or misogynistic over the internet is a bold claim to make just because the other person said something you didn’t like. For instance, if someone shares a pro-life post, that doesn’t mean he or she wants to see all women suffer.

The same can be said for calling someone “libtard’” or “owning the libs” on social media because they don’t hold the same values. If someone shares a Medicare-for-all post, that doesn’t mean they want to see a socialist dictatorship rise. Assuming the worst about someone’s political views divides people even more and won’t solve any issue.

Most people will avoid discussing politics in person to eliminate awkward situations with friends and family because nothing can be worse than a room falling silent when seeing family/friends who have opposing views disagreeing. Losing friendships and diminishing family affection is not worth a small disagreement strictly from policy.

Unfortunately people do spread hate, racism, bigotry and negativity on social media regarding politics on a daily basis. This makes it our obligation to ignore the accounts and block/report if it does become a continuous problem. The moment a person feels the need to control a political view through anger and insults clearly shows they have lost both the argument and their own humanity.

Because people share their personal beliefs on social media platforms, try your best to give healthy feedback and avoid bringing outrage to a post. At times you’ll see memes, conspiracies and biased sourcing in posts in regards to news stories, so never feel discouraged to call it out when you see it. For example, the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy went viral in 2016 by alt-right Twitter accounts and made its way to become one of the most engaging stories of the year through social media.

The best way to approach someone you disagree with that is sharing their personal political beliefs over the internet is to respect the other person and avoid conflicts. No matter where you lean politically, you can always learn something by an opposing side by keeping an open mind and listening.

Let’s be clear, the Democratic and Republican parties have done a bad job of representing a country that is in dire need of leadership and guidance from Washington. Both parties accept millions of dollars from special interest groups and individual donors. Politicians won’t change their rhetoric and divisiveness, but the people can.

Social media applications make it easy to join groups, movements and clubs if you do feel like your voice needs to be heard. Let’s say you personally feel victimized towards a certain policy. Contacting your local representative and becoming an activist on the issue is always a good start. It’s your right to exercise your opinion to local officials and persuade others on your stance towards the policy’s progression.

Featured Illustration: Olivia Varnell 

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Preston Rios

Preston Rios

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