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Don’t be a jerk

March 29, 2018

 

STARLA GATSON
Editor-In-Chief | sjg021@latech.edu

 

GATSON

 

What if I told you it was possible to express your beliefs on social media without name calling or belittlement?

 

A far-fetched idea, I know, but believe it or not, some people are actually able to speak their minds without tearing others down.

 

Everytime I log on to social networking sites, especially Facebook or Twitter, I get a little more disgusted. Posts of memes and funny cat videos are a rarity and status updates spewing hate are becoming the norm. This has to stop.

 

Everyone has different opinions that range from heavy topics, like religion and politics, to lighter subjects, like art and entertainment. I think it is 100 percent OK to share those beliefs with others. In fact, I encourage it; it is so important for us to be familiar with what other people believe, whether we agree with them or not. Knowledge helps us solidify our own convictions, and having proper conversations about them can truly be beneficial.

 

The problem, however, lies in how we debate.

 

Instead of using knowledge to support our beliefs, we resort to personal attack. This argumentative approach, known as the ad hominem fallacy, is the root of many of our problems. It is a fallacy because the person is irrelevant to the substance or soundness of the belief, and resorting to this approach hinders genuine discussion of the topic at hand.

 

To put it simply, nobody wins by personal attack.

 

This is a fact I feel we are all aware of, yet for some reason, it continues to be the primary approach to argument. But why are we so threatened by anything that differs from us? Why are we afraid to ask questions, and why do we get so defensive when others get the courage to inquire? Do not misunderstand me; I am not naïve. I do not expect every conversation to be peaceful, and I do not expect us all to sit in a circle, hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” around a campfire. I know sometimes, when one is particularly passionate about a subject, emotions can get involved and things can get intense.

 

I do, however, expect us all to know why we believe what we do. Instead of arming ourselves with insults, we can be equipped with knowledge to support our convictions. Facts allow us to learn from one another and grow together as a society. Knowledge is powerful; hate is nothing but a hindrance.

 

Starla Gatson is a senior communication major from Farmerville who serves as editor-in-chief for The Tech Talk.

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