Become a Part of the Solution!- My Thoughts on Social Media, Equality, and Justice!

Recently I have become more and more frustrated with what has been going on in the media and in our country. There is a war going on between police officers and the citizens they serve. And as of this week, all the nurses I know are intensely angry about a recent comment made on “The View.” I constantly find myself frustrated by the ignorant and even hateful statements of people on both sides of these social media debates. I have also been reading posts by many disgruntled nurses who feel disrespected at work.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe some of the anger is founded and the issues resulting from abuse coming from both sides should be dealt with. But I’ll just say it. I am sick of hearing every injustice blown out of proportion and the continual call for boycotts. Today, when I opened my Facebook account I found it full of pictures of stethoscopes supporting nurses and blue ribbons etc supporting Police Officers. That is great! I don’t discourage supporting the people you believe in. I am a nurse and appreciate the sentiment!

However, these are not the only posts I am seeing on the subject of disgruntled groups of people. I saw one post from an Officer saying a Starbucks employee was rude to him so he was urging everyone to boycott Starbucks. I saw another post to boycott Whataburger due to a Police Officer not being served at local Whataburger. That is just to name a couple of posts on that subject.

I also saw many, many posts to boycott the morning show “The View” because of an inappropriate comment made by one of the morning show hosts. I respond individually to some of these posts but cannot respond to all of them obviously. The post that I was most horrified to see recently was by a supposed “Police Supporter” saying to boycott Whataburger and suggesting that the Police shouldn’t respond to Whataburger if they got robbed by a “Black Lives Matter supporter.”

First off, I just want to say how sad it is that I am reading such racist statements in 2015 on the internet. It breaks my heart that because someone supports the “Black Lives Matter” movement that they would be referred to as a thug or a thief. It makes me so sad to see that statements like these are commonplace at this point in social media. I believe that injustices have been done to people in minority groups for a number of years and it is fair to ask these type of behavior to cease. I don’t think asking for justice is equivalent to being a cop hater.

We have all seen the extremes of the “Black Lives Matter” movement on TV and some of the devastation it has caused. But does not mean that the grievances are completely unfounded? I would say no. I would say that some individuals have chosen to deal with the issues in a very inappropriate and dangerous manner but that doesn’t mean that everyone that supports the cause of equality is inappropriate of dangerous.

I also hate seeing cops being treated disrespectfully or even refused service in some cases. It is so sad that people would chose to handle their feelings in that way. Look back a few years though and ask yourself if they are the only group that has been treated with such indignities. My grandparents remember when there were “white” and “colored” water fountains or African Americans were forced to get their food at the back of restaurants or NOT AT ALL! Was that wrong? Heck yeah it was wrong and almost everyone acknowledges that now. The way that some officers have been treated is wrong too.

But when injustices occur now, why are people choosing to potentiate continual ignorance instead of taking steps to correct the actual problem? This is the part I don’t understand. Why do people respond like a herd of social media cows instead of evaluating the issues and keeping an open mind to other points of view. When I see people trying to get others to boycott an entire corporation because of one rude employee all I can see is that they are contributing to the ignorance instead of being a part of the solution.

If you have been treated unfairly, if it is safe to do so, address the offending party and let them know you don’t find their behavior appropriate. There is a chance they may not even realize that they are being rude. If this is not the case and they are being blatantly rude, go to the management of that establishment and let them address your grievances. If nothing happens, then go up the chain of command. Don’t give up. If that company doesn’t seem interested, than consider taking it to the media. But give them a chance to actually correct the problem!

What I see happening is people not caring enough to actually pursue it through the proper channels. They just blow of steam on social media, create a lot of new hard feelings, and contribute to the overall growing ignorance of our country. Instead, what if you actually took a stand on an something and demanded justice through proper channels. This would actually give someone the opportunity to correct the issue and ensure that is wasn’t continuing to happen to other people. If you don’t want to insist of justice for yourself, than demand it to protect the next person that is going to be in your shoes.

Do you think I have never been disrespected as a nurse? How many times have I been asked, “you seem smart, don’t you want to be more than just a nurse?” Do you think that didn’t hurt my feelings. Believe me it did but I have never lost a night’s sleep over it. Instead of screaming at the person, cursing at them, or blowing up on social media, I either choose to educate the person on why I chose to be a nurse or just let it go and realize that they are ignorant about my profession. Do you think I have never been talked down to or mistreated in the course of my duties by patients of family members, I assure you I have.

But I don’t need to post a picture of my stethoscope on social media to know my value. I don’t need to detail my personal history as a nurse and let you know every injustice that has been done to me to show you my value. Because I know that I have important work to do and for every ignorant or rude person out there, there are a hundred kind-hearted people that so appreciate anything I do for them.

Sometimes, when an injustice has happened it is hard to maintain an objective viewpoint about the issue. But when faced with mistreatment, I urge you to ask yourself. Is their any truth to any accusation being made towards you. If you are in the wrong, correct your behavior instead of responding defensively. If the person is saying something ignorant but they don’t seem to have actual malice about it, then correct their ignorance in a gentle way. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1.

If the person obviously has malice or intent to harm you or your spirit, than use appropriate channels to deal with it. If you really want to correct the issue or make any kind of difference than the worst thing that you can do is storm away and passive-aggressively vent on social media. The chance that someone in a position of authority can correct the injustice or penalize the person that has been rude to you is very minimal. If you choose to take this route than you cannot blame a company for not taking an action against the injustice that was done to you because you never gave them the opportunity to fix it and likely they don’t even know that it is happening.

On that same note, don’t judge an entire group of people based on the actions of one individual coming from that group or company. When I hear people talk about bad nurses I don’t lose sleep at night because I realize they aren’t talking about me. Are there some bad nurses out there? Yes. Are there some cops out there that have taken advantage of their position of authority? I think if we are honest, we all know that there have been some. But there are also a lot of awesome cops that put their life of the line to protect us everyday and I thank God for them.

Dismissing the injustices of others is not the right path to take to get to a place of reconciliation. Address the concerns of others as you would want your concerns to be addressed. Don’t contribute to the growing division. If someone has a grievance, hear them out and find out if it is founded. Then direct them toward the proper channel for getting it dealt with. Drawing lines in the sand creates more division. We are all people and should treat each other as such. “You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.” -Eldridge Cleaver, 20th century activist

Ask yourself which part you are being and if you are not currently part of the solution become a part of it today. When you see posts about someone who has been hurt let them know that you don’t agree with what happened to them but encourage them to take action instead of just venting. Its a little overwhelming to try change the culture of our rhetoric on social media but if we try to be understanding and encourage others to seek justice instead of just joining the “blowing off steam” crowd, together we can make a difference.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” -Philippians 4:8-

Consider this verse when you are posting on social media. Think about something a few times before you like, share, or tweet it. Are you being true, honest, just, pure, and lovely? Are you contributing to healing or more division? Those are my thoughts for the day. Have a wonderful day and know you and whatever your profession is, are appreciated by many people out there!

-Kimily Kendrick-

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