By LUBNA AKHTAR
With the internet timelines of our friends, family, and peers directly at our fingertips, it is crucial for us to have a political voice on social media, even if it is a voice that makes other people uncomfortable. Given the recent events like the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville and the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, we cannot afford to remain silent. Being silent and using social media solely to post cat videos will not suffice in this time of such great social turmoil. Keeping silent in the wake of these events is essentially condoning the cruelty in the world around us.
Social media gives people the power to express themselves, and not using that power to speak out against injustice is inherently selfish and careless. If one is willing to use a social media platform, they should not be hesitant to voice an act of cruelty. People who remain neutral on social media claim to do so because they do not want to cause conflict and argument. With that mindset, they are implying that they would be comfortable with being a passive bystander. Being passive on social media nowadays can be compared to witnessing an act of injustice at the grocery store and just continuing to pick out the best apples and peaches, as though an act of racism is not taking place.
A lot of people use social media as a form of escape from their everyday stresses since it allows them to scroll endlessly through a mass amount of information. Speaking out against injustices may seem like a heavy task for someone to take on especially if they are trying to get away from the realities of the world, but sharing an article or an image that helps their cause will not hurt their platform. If anything, sharing that article on Facebook may even serve as an eye-opening moment for someone on their friend list. It is important to consider that not everyone has the same level of involvement with the news and current events, so if someone is not reading the news, they will be able to have some level of direct access to a news piece through social media. The article might spark a discussion or argument that will allow for self-reflection and critical thought.
Cultivating a voice against injustice on social media is also an important responsibility because we are constantly bombarded with ignorance on the internet. It is not necessarily our job to educate the ignorant, but it is definitely our job to speak out against that ignorance. Ignorance breeds injustice and being passive towards that ignorance is compliance.
It is never too late to start developing a voice against injustice on social media. It may seem daunting, but once we share that first post, it becomes easier to become more involved and it allows us to become more aware of the events happening around us. Our involvement and expression may even serve as encouragement for others to express their politics on social media.