The internet and morals

On Valentine’s Day this year a man shot his girlfriend, about five minutes after the incident came to be public knowledge, just about every form of social media was flooded with the usual comments, this time however people were joking about it. Joking about a woman who could have possibly been the victim of an abuse or about a poor man who could have made a mistake and shot the woman he loved. I’m not here to argue about whether or not he was guilty; I’m here to ponder about whether you or I are guilty.

Sometimes I like to be snarky when I’m on the internet, but not when it comes down to real life issues. Surely that’s where the buck stops, where we need to take responsibility for what we say and wonder if in ‘real life’ we would actually say it. If not, why is it okay to joke about it on the internet then?

I confronted a few of my Facebook associates on their statuses, some apologised some told me to get off my soap box and stop preaching. When did it become preaching to question joking about one of the big ‘do not’s’ in this world, don’t kill, and does the fact that he was a public figure make it okay to joke about? If a famous man had raped his wife or a famous woman had accidentally drowned her baby, would this be okay to laugh about? Are we so hardened to the ways of the world that the only thing left to do is laugh about it, or are we so detached from our fellow man to even care unless something has a direct impact on our lives.

With the dawn of Facebook and Twitter it has become easy to just mouth off about anything and everything without actually thinking about it, we have seen time and time again how people have made derogatory statements on one of the platforms and have gotten into ‘real life’ trouble for their words. We need to realise that in fact this cyber world we often immerse our lives in is directly related to the real world and at the essence of it who we are as people.

It’s not some distant far off land where we can say or do anything without any consequences or some confrontation regarding our views regardless of what they are or if they are deemed wrong or right. There are of course times when all of us have said something we regret, that’s just life I guess. But continued trolling really does shine some light in who we are as moral creatures. At what point do the morals we’ve been taught or innately have while we are on the internet.

When did it become okay to go onto News24 and put a blatantly racist sexist or truly evil comment up just because no one knows who you are? Would you scream “Afrikaaner’s are the route of all evil and scum of the earth,” at the top of your lungs in the middle of the next Park Acoustics? Or “All Black’s are criminals and should be shot,” at Faraday Station during rush hour? (Please note these are actual comments). The ability to be anonymous can free us up to express some things we would never openly express in public, but does this make it right? Why should anonymity matter though? Surely we are taught or inclined to be at least somewhat decent in our daily dealings in the real world? Why should the same not be true for the world of the Internet?

One of the first things we are taught in school is that with rights come responsibilities something that is seen throughout literature and history. We need to be responsible with our thoughts and actions even though we have the right to freedom of speech.

What are your thoughts? Comment below!

Racist smasist

“There is not a lot of mixing,” said Nokwanda Khanyile, 21, a business student from Durban. “The coloreds stick to themselves. The whites, too.”    ̶  By LYDIA POLGREEN, taken from New York Times.

 

So I have only recently (and by recently I mean 5 minutes ago) caught wind of the whole #capetownisracist vs #capetownisawesome* saga, which I will admit left me feeling very white and middle class as I generally like to keep updated on what’s going on around me, not only in South Africa but the world, something that sadly not very many middle class South Africans…or maybe human beings like to do…yes people there are a reason these stereotypes exist, and by Thor I will abuse them even if it is just to annoy some of you.

 *Just an aside…and I feel like this article may be full of them (was that just an aside to an aside), is that surely a better retort to #capetownisracist would have been #capetownisnotracist? You might as well of used #Cape Town admits it’s racist but gee wiz it’sawesome.

So about 7minutes ago now I was sitting in front of my computer, which is so old I might as well be sending out smoke signals to all of you, reading an article titled: In Cape Town, Many Black South Africans Feel Unwelcome . The article summed up rather well what the whole debate or controversy around Cape Town is at the moment rather well.

Basically a bunch of stupid people, that live in an amazing city that have found yet another thing to complain about.

BUT WAIT…step away from the comment button otherwise known as the ‘waste my time with stupid comments button’ …unless you agree with me then comment away. Okay let me stop screwing around.

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t racists in Cape Town, because let’s face it there are, we live in South Africa people, we made hating on people because of their colour the law, obviously there are going to be some racists hanging around clutching onto their old flags not having left their houses since 1994 in case ‘the blacks’ get them, and likewise there are still some racists clutching onto their MK uniforms…which have somehow morphed into ANCYL t-shirts screaming: Dubul ibhunu aka Shoot the Boer. Yes, I’m being dramatic but you get my point right?

There are racists, here…there…everywhere. I’m not pretending to know much about what the exact politics of Cape Town are and I’m sure there are some major issues, but really now, the article which is probably going to be seen by thousands of international readers paints South Africa in a really awful light and what’s more it doesn’t actually talk to those people who live outside of thecity centre and its mountainside inner suburbs, in the distant townships on the Cape Flats’. Interview a person in the Cape Flats get their views then I will listen, get what the actual sentiment is from the people who are actually affected then I will listen.

What’s more is that the spatial issues are highlighted as racial issues not only in the article but in the context of the whole argument. People are not bound to certain areas because of race but because of economic constraints and past relocation’s by the shitty shitty Apartheid government.

That brings me to another point, birds of a feather flock together. The feather could be race, culture, religion, choice of music, choice of political parties, for flips sake it could be choice of hair colour. But people who are similar stick together, perhaps its a defence mechanism or just because they like people who are similar to them. That’s a fact.

Those of you who attended WITS University can attest to this. The majority of Indians sat on the library lawn steps, Black students hung out in the Matrix, White students hung out on the lawns, Asian students hung out in the computer labs (bad joke?) and everyone used to hang out on the Great Hall steps. It’s not like there was racial tension, not like there weren’t for example Indian people sitting on the lawn. It’s just what happens, for whatever reason it’s what happens I don’t think it makes anyone racist!

Do we as South Africans not get confused between misunderstanding or not knowing ‘the other’ as racism because it is so prevalent in our history?

If the inner city of Cape Town is racist then surely the Cape Flats can be seen as racist to, as I’m sure if a skinny jean clad UCT student waltzed through there they would feel unwelcome?  According to the criteria set out in parts of the article the whole world is racist because people who are different feel unwelcome all the time. Is Tiger Tiger in Fourways racist? Because the times I have been there (and left with me ears bleeding and ready to set fire to the next girl who said OMG while drinking a bottle of Spin) I have felt very unwelcome, but that’s because I’m different not because I’m white.

Perhaps I’m just an idealist but I really don’t see this as a race issue, more of a people are retarded and bitchy issue.