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Saying “No. Just no.” to online arguments

Recently, I’ve opened myself up for arguments on Facebook or Instagram, and I realize they’re futile, but for some reason, I can’t help but want to fix people. But as a friend once told me, “it’s not my job to educate them.” In other words, I’ve finally learned to walk away from a fight.

It’s hard though, to just let people remain oblivious or ignorant of a specific subject. Even if they’re close friends, but sometimes you just know that a person is stuck in their ways and they don’t want to hear an opposing side. It sounds harsh but these individuals tend to be ones that just want to hear themselves talk or are skeptical of anything that may challenge their beliefs. Additionally, some of the things we disagree on are topics I feel particularly strong about. Therefore, I’m worried I’ll get too emotionally involved in the argument. Granted, I know what I’m talking about but after a while, you’ll lose your shit cause you’re like, “what?! How can you even say that?!”

At the same time, it can be frustrating because personally, I hate reading about or hearing people talk about things that they don’t have the credentials to back it up. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I avoid telling people about my own work or the things I’ve studied extensively. However, it can be frustrating when someone who has not read as much as I have (on a particular subject) or only has a general idea, wants to challenge me.

My epiphany though has been to not look for these challenges. In other words, if I see something that I know is completely wrong, I have finally learned to walk away from it. Where I might usually waste time typing up a cohesive and coherent argument to (hopefully) get through to someone, I just ignore it. I tell myself, “I’m not about to deal with this person, I have more important shit to work on, etc.”

Back in 2016, two white girls at Kansas State University sent a snapchat message where they were wearing face-mask makeup and the color of the facemask, happened to be black. The girls took that opportunity to send a message to their friends, where they were IN blackface saying, “feels good to be n*gga.” A friend of mine shared a Facebook post with this story and claimed the media had overhyped the story. “People are just too sensitive these days! They weren’t trying to be racist!” Other people commented agreeing with the post and said, “yeah, it was just a joke in bad taste!”

You don’t have to be a scholar of race and ethnicity to know this was such horse shit. I then spent nearly an hour on Facebook trying to explain to my friend how it was indeed racist, and it was not a joke in poor taste; it was blatant racism. I’m not going to go into details of how at this very moment, because I need to digress. If you honestly think those girls were being racist, you are exactly the type of person I am talking about when I say, trying to explain anything to you is futile.

The fact that I wasted a fucking hour to explain to someone, who was also a person of color, that something so in-your-face racist, could be so blind or oblivious to the fact, it made me lose respect for them. Don’t get me wrong, I still care about them, and they’re a dear friend. I’d be lying though, if I didn’t say that experience will be forever etched in my memory.

My ability to get this friend to finally see the mistake in their judgement, was great, because they walked away learning something and hopefully in the future will be more cautious. I’ve been in arguments where I was the wrong one and ended up realizing why I was wrong.

I want to point out also, there’s nothing wrong with not knowing something. It is perfectly okay to admit defeat, especially if there’s something you aren’t fully aware of. I don’t talk about climate change or abortion cause I’m not a scientist or a doctor that can determine when life begins. I admit it when I talk politics with people, “I don’t know anything on this subject, don’t ask me or take my word for it.” I also appreciate when there are instances where I’ll talk with a friend about a subject and they’ll go, “this is what I believe, but correct me if I’m wrong.”

My problem is only with people who don’t want to acknowledge they are capable of being wrong. Unless it’s something that THEY’VE read, which sometimes doesn’t count cause it’s like one article or one documentary they’ve watched. We pick our battles though, and it’s not about winning or losing an argument, it’s about learning. And if I continue wasting time with people who clearly don’t want to listen, then I clearly haven’t learned anything, have I?

-Mr. Writer

Written on the 29th of January, 2019 at 12:30 P.M.

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