Saturday, 26 March 2016

If You Can't Say Something Nice

With all the terrible events that are happening around the world, is it naive to hope that people might actually pull together and be nicer to each other?  After all, this is the Easter weekend and the teachings of Jesus Christ supposedly included missives to be kind to one's neighbours.

Yet more and more, the media erupts with stories of people being downright horrible.  Yesterday a tweet was sent by a British man:

"I confronted a Muslim women yesterday in Croydon. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said "Nothing to do with me". A mealy mouthed reply."

Many folks immediately reacted in a truly British manner by lampooning that tweet to the point of ridicule.  Eventually the man deleted his original tweet and sort-of apologized, but then he was arrested and held until hearing on the charge of "inciting racial hatred" under UK law.

Americans who were following the story had their own take on it:

"Too bad the U.S. doesn't have that or Drumpf would be behind bars."

"It's good that the U.S. doesn't have that stupid law. Some of us here enjoy our right to free speech."

"Umm, no. Freedom of speech doesn't mean you can go up to people and be a dick to them.  I think you guys need to reread the Bill of Rights."

"Hate speech isn't covered under Freedom of Speech.  Sorry, you'll have to spew your hatred of other races and genders in the privacy of your own homes.  FYI Freedom of Speech doesn't cover death threats for the President either, just so you know."

When I was in grade school, one of the things I was taught was "If you can't say something nice, say nothing."  The world would be a better place if people were able to swallow their pride, move past their prejudices, and just get along.


  1. Don't entirely agree. It isn't completely prejudice because Muslims are bombing places across Europe. That's just the truth. Whatever different groups might have done in history, right now it is the Muslims causing the problems. If Muslims have an issue with people saying that, maybe they should get their people in line rather than trying to tape the mouths shut of the people who were in these countries first. They don't riot in the streets when their fellow Muslims bomb "the infidels" and kill them, but will pick up signs and start hollering real fast if anyone says anything about them.

    I think that under free speech people should be able to say anything they want, political, religious, or otherwise.

    Americans should be aware though that we've lost most of our freedom of speech and the government can come after them too for speaking their minds. The British sound extreme because they are, but we aren't far behind.

    1. <<"I confronted a Christian man the other day. I asked him to explain Charleston. He said it was nothing to do with him."

      But if Christians have a problem with people saying this, maybe they should get their people in line. >>

      See... this only sounds good if it's not your own "group." We are not the groups we are lumped into- we are individuals and make individual choices. As a Christian, I can choose to practice kindness and compassion or hatred and violence. That's my choice. Others may be able to have a small impact on that, but only if they know me and even then I have the choice in the end. It is the same thing with police officers (and other professions) which is why there's so much of a push for change. ALL police officers are not good. MOST are. But we need to hold the individuals accountable as appropriate- not the group. One police officer in Maryland can't control the actions of one in Chicago. And he/she certainly shouldn't be judged by that other person's actions.

      We keep hitting on the SAME issues in America recently. We've got this push to give an entire group either way too much freedom or way too little. Instead, we need to realize individuals are responsible for their behavior BUT that we should try to impact others to make good choices, as much as we can.

    2. I disagree. I think holding groups accountable matters. When Christians bomb abortion clinics Christians as a whole, and as individuals, do get asked to offer an explanation.

      We vote according to the interests of our groups that we are in, therefore the actions of the group should be monitored by the group itself.

      You mention police violence and that most police are good. Well, most police are good - but the good ones should be the first to grab the bad ones by the collar and beat the crap out of them. If they don't maintain order and standards among their own, they'll become widely hated and have more problems.

  2. "Freedom of speech" is overrated when people use it to incite violence and hatred. In Canada, hate speech is very much illegal and some American speakers have been barred from Canada because they're known to incite hate speech. (And no, we don't have any protected "freedom of speech" because Canada understands that no one should have the right to spew every bit of prejudicial garbage that comes to their minds.)

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of people willing to jump on the Hate bandwagon.

    1. Agree. The problem is that speech can be a powerful tool. And when we use hateful speech, then we reinforce and state that it's okay to talk like that. And others learn to be like that too.

      The best way to oppose hatred is to calmly and firmly state that we aren't okay with that type of talk. We can reinforce that it's not okay WITHOUT acting hateful ourselves. And also, we can shut down a conversation (hopefully) that might spiral out of control. I always want to send the message to my children (and everyone else) that hate speech is not something I want in my life. Love, love, love. That's why I'm really appreciating Bernie right now... even though I don't 100% agree with him politically, I think I can get behind him overall because it seems that's what he stands for. (not to get political, lol).

    2. Also I think the USA has too fine a line for "freedom of speech" because there are times when it's not okay- like in some areas, kids get in trouble for bullying. I don't understand why kids can get in legal trouble for bullying but adults can't.

    3. But Muslims are acting out these terror attacks. It isn't hateful to speak the truth. And as I said in my response to Danielle, I do think groups should be held accountable and should hold one another accountable (from within the group).

  3. don't have much to add to this debate but I do think people should be kind to one another. That's just basic decency.