At what point does freedom of speech begin to infringe upon the rights of others? Social media is great place to ask this question, however the answer is still elusive. We live in a time where information can be accessed with the push of a power button, and the world as you view it is made known to the universe by simply mashing a few keys together. There are very little safe-guards in place to protect ourselves from individuals who choose to use this forum as a place to spread hate.
Living in Saskatchewan affords a certain type of hate, found nowhere else but the prairies. It’s an old and antiquated hate; a traditional hate that existed, and continues to exist through the lineage of indigenous and colonialists. This hate stems from a time when the Canadian government wasn’t holding any punches to influence the aboriginal population away from the rights and services they were promised through the signing of the treaties.
This hate is readily evidenced from any forum that allows for comment surrounding aboriginal affairs in Saskatchewan.
Most recently, an individual posted on Facebook regarding an article released by CBC of a Muskoday resident who fell into trouble with the law.
This individual chose to share a ‘meme’ of a deceased individual linked to an ongoing trial to the causation of his death, and went as far as to support the actions of the alleged murderer. There was no reason for this, the two incidents were not directly related.
The pain of loss is still fresh in the friends and family of the individual who had been targeted in the meme. The author of the post continued to identify that he would have no problem “runnin a similar ******** over on main street P.A.” (sic), indicating that he would have no problem using his vehicle to assault, or worse, an individual of aboriginal descent if he or she was dressed a certain way.
This is intent to harm, and for the sake of others this individual needs to be identified as a potential threat to others. Unfortunately, there isn’t an effective way to do this and the person can continue to spread his narrow minded view of the world to others at the expense of others.
Multiple ways exist to stop listening or reading what someone is communicating if they start upsetting you: block, ignore, reject message. This is a Band-Aid fix to a larger problem. Sure we can all block this person from our social media outlets, but it’s only a matter of time before a different maladjusted individual comments on a separate social subject from this place of traditional hate.
Instead of hitting block, we all must make efforts to educate ourselves to come to understand where these innate feelings come from. We live in challenging times with radically changing global markets resulting in worldwide instability. We need our neighbors more than ever right now. Technology has influenced all of us, creating a radical change in the social structures that dictate our way of life. We must not lose sight of the things offline that make us human, such as being humane. We must understand that wrongs of early Canadian settlements, and find ways to move forward. We must spread more love and education instead of focusing on people like that Facebook comenter and their misinformed opinions.