Kehlani is you: Empathy in the online community
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Sometimes, it seems as though social media brings out the worst in all of us — the vengeful part that asks why we should care about someone else's problems when it has felt as though our problems haven't received care. Why shouldn't we laugh at the misfortune of others when we've been laughed at, too? It's exactly that question that should make us take care to show someone else the love that we wish we'd had. I remember coming to my nephew's aid who was relentlessly bullied in middle school because the other boys considered him effeminate. I never said, "Oh well — they called me fat." I just stood up for him. When my homegirl's guy tried to holler at another girl in front of me, I never said, "Well, we all get played." I just stood up for her. Real life situations should inform the way we behave online, instead of allowing the protection of a screen to play up our insecurities and excuse our misbehavior. Don't demonize or dismiss Kehlani. Stand up for her. Unless we plan to change the phrase "online community," to something else, we should reconsider the damaging ethos we've created in places built to share both our struggles and triumphs in a global setting. We know it's not all wedding announcements, graduations and baby showers. That's not the totality of real life, yet the autonomy that online profiles provide allows us to shape the world's perception of us. We'd rather leave out the breakups, the bankruptcies and the blinding moments when we make terrible life decisions
We've almost all been depressed or down in the dumps before. We've almost all had messy love lives. We've all made mistakes. But it's our community, friends and advocates who keep us privately grounded.
Let's do better.
Have you or anyone you known ever been bullied online? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below.