I think we can all agree that Twitter-fighting with people, especially people who’ve already made it clear that they’re racist, is generally a bad idea. You’re probably not going to win. In fact, they probably won’t even listen to you. More than likely, you’ll get yourself upset and then sulk around your house and make the real, live humans in your life irritated by your presence.
Standing up against racism, sexism, transphobia and homophobia are important, and I think we should all do that more, but those back and forths on Twitter? Tell me if you’ve had a different experience, but I’ve never seen one end well.
Anyway, Twitter user @YungAshuSingh showed that the best way to start an international conversation about stereotypes was with a joke, and he’s gotten a ton of attention for it.
The young white guy’s tweet is a year old, but when it appeared in Singh’s timeline this week, he countered the stereotype that people in turbans are terrorists (which we already know is one of the stupidest assumptions anyway) with a stereotype about white guys.
Yes, white guys, if you look at it this way, our race doesn’t have a great legacy of violence.
Singh isn’t trying to encourage racism against white guys for the actions of a very small minority of white men. Instead, he’s trying to point out the absurdity of race-based stereotypes.
If you don’t like being held responsible for the actions of a few bad people who look like you, then you shouldn’t hold others responsible for the actions of a few who may (or in this case, may not) look like them.
The conversations that ensued on both men’s timelines in the days following Singh’s response were fascinating.
Most of the people coming to Carr’s defense implied that everyone has racist or stereotyping thoughts. And that’s probably true. Growing up in a racist society, surrounded by racist images and media is going to do that to us, to some degree.
The difference lies in the fact that Carr chose not to counter that thought in his own mind, instead he broadcast it publicly. When I have a racist or generalizing thought, I make an active choice to counter that thought in my mind. For instance, it would’ve been good if Carr had said to himself, “That’s absurd. Obviously these guys aren’t terrorists. This is the media’s influence.”
Instead, he realized he’d get a laugh from his followers for his racist thought, so he shared it, unchecked.
It’s in the sharing that you go from having a racist thought to actively promoting racism.
That’s why my hat’s off to Singh.
Maybe he got through to Carr a little bit. At least enough that maybe the young man will think twice before broadcasting his unsavory and caveman-like thoughts. He probably knows he was out-smarted and it didn’t take a lecture or a Twitter fight to convince him.
Here’s to peace.
Welcome new followers. Get ready to be severely disappointed
— Ashishpal Singh (@YungAshuSingh) August 6, 2014