I’ve always firmly believed that hate and ignorance should be met with grace and eloquence.
It seems logical, right? Meeting hate with more hate & ignorance with more ignorance would be counterproductive. It wouldn’t make any positive progress. It certainly wouldn’t reflect well on myself or on a movement that I associate with.
Yet these past few weeks, I have received more hate, ignorance, disrespect, crudeness, indignity, and plain stupidity than I ever have in my life, and the LAST thing I want to do is show grace, kindness, love, or eloquence in return. I want to flip some friggin’ tables. I want to swear. I want to yell. I want to hit things (and people if I’m being totally transparent).
From bigotry and racism to personal attacks and threats, you name it, it’s all over my Twitter mentions. People are mean, man.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
But one truth that I’ve been holding onto since I started vocalizing my opinions and becoming more active on the Black Lives Matter and Anti-Police Brutality scenes is that hate cannot win against hate, but love can sure as hell help.
I’m not here to preach a “Love thy haters” message to you. I’m not here to preach to you at all. I guess I just want to encourage you that if you’re also receiving hate, if you’re getting DMs and mentions telling you how much you suck on the daily, your only responsibility is your response.
It’s not up to you to change the person on the other side of it. It’s not your job to yell back at them and tell them the million reasons why they’re wrong. How you respond is up to you. You can reply. You can unfollow. You can block. You can report. Entirely, 100% your call.
But whatever you do, please, remember that love is the why. That’s why we do what we do. That’s why we speak out against injustice. Not to get all super spiritual and weird, but that’s why we’re human— that’s why we’re here.
Trust me, I’m not saying it’s easy to respond lovingly. It’s brutal at times.
But I promise you that being hateful in return is not going to get you anywhere near anywhere that you want to be.
I don’t have a crazy thought-provoking concluding statement that’s going to make you re-evaluate everything you’ve ever said to anyone. I don’t have a mind-blowing revolution that’s going to drastically shift your perspective. I’m being straight as possible here— just love. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t be rude. Don’t be mean. The world has more than enough of that and you personally have the power to make a difference and be one less source of negativity and hatred being poured into the world. It’s up to you.