This is hate.
It looks like a good clean joke. It feels harmless too. And it doesn’t even prick the conscience when we post “share”. But it’s hate all the same.
So is this:
And even things like this:
Chances are, as you’re reading this you’re thinking one of two things: “Wow, Kayla, you’re super uptight” OR “Sure, Kayla, I guess you’re right.”
Because there is no middle ground.
The reason I’m writing this isn’t to point a finger at you or make you feel bad. Well, maybe a little bad *But for a good reason, I promise*.
I’m writing this because I caught myself a couple days ago, laughing at something that suddenly sunk my heart like a rock when I realized that I was laughing at another human being’s expense. And then I cried under the weight of my realization and read every single comment under that particular picture.
After all, that person was a human being who literally got dragged through the mud of cyberspace, got stamped with some ridiculous text , and got shared over a million times. And at what price? A few laughs. A few comments…a few sighs of “Oh that’s terrible…but hilarious, right?”.
The thing is–humor is needed in life. A good laugh that turns your stomach to rock and has tears trailing down your face is literally the best healer for anything. But humor can often be packaged in hate. And here’s the thing about hate–it disguises itself fantastically.
It disguises itself as the excuse that the person in the picture can’t hear me laughing, so it’s not THAT mean to laugh.
It disguises itself as racism or sexism or religious discrimination wrapped in a package of a highly-trafficked youtube video, vine, viral blog post, or photo-shopped picture that’s too funny NOT to share.
It disguises itself as jokes thrown around an office, cliches that should’ve gone out of style a long time ago *like when the civil war ended* and popular catchy songs that win a handful of Grammys for lyrics about a “black KKK” taking over the world.
It disguises itself well–obviously–because it tricks the best of people. That’s why it tricked you before.
And that’s exactly how hate grows: unnoticed.
I’m writing this because I’m tired of seeing hate shared and re-shared and told and re-told and pointed at and laughed at and embraced as “good, harmless fun”. I’m tired of also being the victim of being suckered in by witty punchlines or catchy beats on the radio that preach intolerance, ignorance, sexism…and allowing it to make it’s way into my heart. How can I be a disciple of Christ while pointing to the person beaten on the side of the road with a million shares tattooed to his forehead–with a sneer on my face?
Hate is never okay. Plain and simple. Even if it’s funny. Even if it’s clever. Even if the person being torn at never sees it or feels the repercussions of it. Even if it whispers to you that you should “lighten up”.
Hate is never okay. Whether it targets a talented writer who lived a life of strength through disability–or an African American man who preached love and change–or an overweight teenager who simply made the mistake of changing her profile picture and displaying it to ravenous Facebook wolves.
Don’t give in to it anymore. I don’t want to give into it anymore either. I don’t want to be one of the shares…one of the likes…one of the taunts.
Because when it comes down to it– Hate is the only one laughing.