Editor’s Note: Today, Finding Delight is thrilled to welcome Adam to our weekly round-up for the second time. (Here’s his first visit to the Mid-Week Round-Up.) I hope his post and links resonate as much with you as they did with me.
Over the weekend I was cyberbullied. It wasn’t the standard “you’re a liberal snowflake asshole” attack you might expect. It was more vicious this time and quickly escalated from some guy making veiled homophobic comments to likes and retweets of an emerging chorus of “queer” and “glory hole sucker” posts aimed directly at me. A couple of the attack tweeters lifted my profile picture and began using it in their posts. Clicking onto their profiles, I saw them having separate conversations about me, using my picture and saying things like I was a “disgusting queer” and “probably have AIDS.”
Full disclosure: I’ve written a few loud and arguably ignorant comments on some crazy-pants Facebook posts. I usually give social media attacks directed at me a pass, thinking “I, too, have posted things that 20 minutes later made me shameful.”
This time though, after resisting the desire to fight back and simply reporting them, I tried to go on with my day. But hours later, I had to keep checking on the tightness in my chest.
I wondered how women and female journalists continue to endure this on a daily basis.
The attack made me think back to one of my 2017 New Year’s resolutions: Get off social media. Why didn’t I stick with it? Why am I even on here?
Perhaps I’ve just accepted that virtual bullying comes with the territory? In truth, it’s easy for me to accept that reality; I’ve lived most my life knowing there’s a strong likelihood that a passing stranger will call me a fag.
So many people face vicious onslaughts of degradation simply by being present in both virtual and real-world spaces. Social media and internet links, so often, seem to be a product used to push shame; an evolving technology dedicated to tearing people down in ways that transcend virtual space with real life implications.
But looking over stories about the Muslim travel ban protests at airports all over the country, I realized the reason I’m still here—present in the shit hole that is social media—because it’s the links… Our links to one another are important.
It was the Instagram post from a friend that helped me stop feeling bad about the bullying I faced. The hate is not normal—and I do not have to tolerate it.
Seeing this tweet of a nun jamming at the airport protest in San Francisco made me laugh. Hard. The link was important. The Stanger Things’ SAG award acceptance and Wynona Ryder’s face made me take in the fact that America is already great.
I am benefiting from the resistance and the “personalized act[s] of labor dedicated to communal protest,” which are so often being transmitted through links—nudging me to recognize that now is not the right time to leave social media.
The link-driven resistance is not a bunch of “liberal lawyers,” as the New York Times might argue. It’s about sharing stories to bend the arch of justice toward a shared sense of ethical humanity.
I will continue to actively link with the resistance by writing personal op-eds and showing up at town halls.
I will continue finding Finding Delight’s Wednesday links post through social media. It’s important to be connected these days.
So, for the sake of theme and the goal of promoting a shared sanity in these harsh times, here are some other, more specific hyperlinks that you might also find helpful:
Anyway, with that, I hope you “like” this Wednesday’s links post. And I hope you “like” other peoples’ links too—it’s critical for us to lift up and recognize individuals and institutions when they’re focused on promoting truth.