the unexpectant consequences of words

Words do amazing things, sometimes these things are good and sometimes these things are bad. Whatever the case, it is always important to make sure your point is made clear, and that you are not creating and unknowingly harboring the very things that you do not want to exist or to have power over and in the world and its people. It is important to make sure that you are creating what you intended to create.

Yesterday I intended to create a better world through the use of the written word, but instead I created everything that was not intended. I created intolerance.

Thinking about how I could help in making the world a better place I wrote up a Facebook status. This status update was one of those statuses that I thought was awe inspiring and would offer some light into its readers hearts about how to make the world a better place. For every person who read my status update, this was probably the case. However, a friend called me out and proved me wrong.

My status said, “Always do what is right, even if people think it is stupid.” My friend responded in a private message and reminded me that “…once upon a time being a slave owner was the right thing to do.”

I was numb for a bit as what the words *I* had written a few minutes prior could have possibly done! The first thing I asked myself was if Hitler had gained his views and persectives on the world and its people from something that resembled the status update I had posted. I then realized how many different “right things” actually exist.  Every person has his or her own view on “what-is-right,” and our world has suffered over-and-over again because what “was right” was actually wrong.

We see this every day in how people reject and judge others based upon how they perceive the people they see and talk with. Consequently these judgements and perceptions create more hate and injustice to occur. So, in reality, what this status did was encourage hate and unequal treatment of those I love and fight daily to protect. *I* inadvertently allowed hate and intolerance to grow stronger in the hearts of those who use these tools to “do what is right.”

Through giving the fire food, I created a bigger problem than what I intended to create, and in a way I reversed the equality that I have fought hard to protect.

Realizing this, I looked at my Facebook friends and saw how diversified my friends list is. I have conservative friends, liberal friends, and friends who are everywhere in between. Almost every person on this list of 670 different people saw my status update. That is 670 different versions of “what is right” that I helped to keep influencing the cultures of the world. I helped to create and grow both hate and love.

In ending, I am human, I do not always remember how my words can create things I do not intend. In this case I most likely did exactly this. I helped to create both a more equal and a more unequal world. I intended for this Facebook status to show that through doing the right thing while experiencing prejudice the right thing had been done, but what the right thing is is not what occurred. Instead, what occurred was a reinforcement of both the bad and the good in our society. Did I encourage slavery, hopefully not. I do know that I encouraged viewpoints which harm the ability for our world to exist in a manner that allows everyone to live equally. Instead of creating good, I spread the distance that exists between those who create a better world and those who do not. I did not build any bridges between these worlds, instead I separated these bridges farther apart than they were before.

Peace!

-LeRoy

Advertisements