Hi Everybody 🙂
This post is about something that has been going down this week in the US and which I have been observing on Social Media since it initially came to light. I feel like I could write pages and pages about the political off shoots and sub stories that go with this incident but I’m going to try and keep it quite concise so as not to dilute the actual point of my post, which isn’t my opinion of the incident in itself.
The incident, very briefly goes like this. A mobile recorded video of a man on Madison avenue in NY went viral this week due to his racist behaviour and comments towards employee’s of ‘Fresh Kitchen’ and the fact that they were speaking Spanish to some customers. The man, who was clearly articulate and apparently intelligent continued to insult the staff referring to the fact they were probably illegal, that he is paying for their welfare and his next call would be to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to have them deported. He then made reference to the weight of one of the party saying she should perhaps lay off the food she was about to purchase. It was a repulsive outburst.
You can see this video for yourself here and please be warned there is some swearing in the content:
As I mentioned before, I saw this video pretty soon after it was first posted by a User I follow on Instagram. I then did a little screen clicking and followed the breadcrumbs and I ended up on Twitter. A columnist and social activist called Shaun King, who I follow, had tweeted about the video too. Here’s a pic of the Tweet and I think this was his first tweet on the subject, although there have been many more since:
Shaun has just under a million followers and as such, activity and commentary around his post and the video started to heat up pretty quickly. I would guess that thousands of other users were posting and commenting on the original video at this stage also. I’d like to add that I think Shaun is a great guy who stands for justice and fairness and uses his social media platforms brilliantly to unite people to fight for a number of injustices. I follow Shaun and really admire the way he is able to use Social Media effectively to magnify incidents such as this one and encourage people to stand up for what they believe in and expose incidents that really shouldn’t just be ignored.
At this point, I’d also like to wholeheartedly cement my opinion on the original video and the behaviour of this individual, who was very quickly identified as Aaron M Schlossberg. A commercial lawyer from NYC: Absolutely disgusting. I stand against racism, sexism, fascism – any of the bad ‘ism’s’ and I don’t believe that there is room on our planet for this ugly and ignorant approach to our fellow human beings. For me, the notion that one living being is more or less important than another being because of the colour of their skin is completely ludicrous. In my opinion also, and I am keen to not get wrapped up in political arguments, but the fact that there are some of our friends on the other side of the pond that choose to berate immigration considering the country’s heart-breaking history and origins is just awful.
Anyway, as you would expect the wheels of the social media machine quickly shifted into gear and begun turning. The nature of the social media beast is that it propels itself, once it starts moving, it fuels its own fire and in this case, you could literally see the flames of that fire burning higher and hotter as the day went on. (I actually find the whole dynamic fascinating). Anyway, as mentioned, very quickly, Aaron was identified as the perpetrator in the video. A million fingers very quickly began to pull at the thread of Aaron’s existence and more and more information unravelled. It was identified he was a commercial lawyer. He proudly advertised the fact that he was multi-lingual and spoke Spanish (I know right!) on his website. I even commented on Shaun King’s tweet stating this. I was probably about the 200th person to mention this fact, but it gave me some kind of weird satisfaction that I was part of this movement and chipping in with this completely non revelatory information that I was so keen to reveal made me feel included.
As you would expect, the crowds continued to gather more and as they did, negative reviews then began to appear on his company website. This did amuse me and I wont lie, there was a feeling of satisfaction that Aaron was probably frantically looking on his phone at that exact moment realising that the consequences of his actions were beginning to manifest themselves and it wasn’t looking good. The last time I looked at the review count that evening, there were something like 2000 reviews I think, which had all been left in the past few hours and were all damming.
Anyway…. I went to bed and revelled ever so slightly in the fact that that Aaron was getting what was coming to him. Justice. The fact of the matter was, he had been unacceptably rude to others and the universe was about to kick into Karma mode and deliver Aaron a stinking slice of his own filthy pie. Take that Aaron M Schlossberg! Well done everyone. There is no room for this sort of racist behaviour and Aaron should be exposed for such an abysmal and unacceptable attitude in this day and age. Social media has been used for good and there has been a demonstration to the powers that be that there is a united voice against racism and we won’t stand by and watch whilst innocent people are subjected to such hatred and appalling behaviour. Aaron’s had a right old scare and has been exposed as the bigot he is. I’m pretty sure he’ll think twice about his behaviour next time. Good night all.
This is where the main part of my point kicks in.
Fast forward a few days and the internet is still awash with Aaron M Schlossberg. A number of other video’s have subsequently appeared with content of Aaron behaving in an equally unacceptable and rude manner on a number of other occasions over the past few years. To be honest, based on what is online, the guy seems pretty consistent in his behaviour Observationally though, I watched a few of these video’s and he actually appears to be somewhat unhinged and kind of awkward in his movements. That observation is not meant to contribute to any kind of reason or excuse for his behaviour, its just an observation.
Aaron’s company website has now been edited as a result of the incident, apparently he has been evicted from the building he trades from and there have been reports of him phoning the police stating that there were large numbers of people outside his home. A congressman has confirmed they will be raising a case against Aaron to have him disbarred which will potentially result in him losing his job. Additionally, a number of extra video’s are now being posted by random members of the public who after spotting Aaron out and about in NY, are filming him and then posting the footage. One particular video I saw had Aaron wearing a disguise and showed him running away from the camera. It’s like where’s Wally on a global scale and make no mistake Aaron is a wally.
But, where does this story end?
It would seem the Social Media monster has assumed the position of judge, Jury and Executioner all in one. On the basis of a number of random video’s that have been posted online the hammer has fallen. GUILTY! Aaron M Schlossberg we sentence you to global vilification and continual abuse and backlash until the end of time. Or at least until someone else is filmed doing something stupid and you can then pass on the proverbial baton. Which may be tomorrow. Who knows.
Thousand’s and thousand’s of people worldwide are now scrutinizing Aaron’s whole existence and are digging around in his life for more and more dirt to dish because he is the disgusting flavour of the month, but lets step back from the baying crowds and thousands of keyboard warriors, (who by the way, we know nothing about) for a moment. Let’s step back from the media circus and take stock and apply some much needed perspective.
When is enough, enough?
The whole world now knows about Aaron M Schlossberg. He’s trending for all the wrong reasons. Pretty bad day at the Office Aaron. You made an utterly stupid racist remark at lunch time and your whole life is in meltdown by dinner time. Aaron appears to be a rude, racist wally. There is no doubt. But the amount of pressure he is feeling right now must be gargantuan. Aaron has a family, he has friends and he has colleagues. I imagine many of them right now are getting swept up in the media storm surrounding him and his bizarre actions that are still being published all around the world. Unfortunately, guilty by association is a real thing and I don’t envy any of them right now. I feel for them. I feel for him.
Does Aaron deserve to be hounded to the ends of the earth just for being a dickhead? Are we all so perfect as to qualify to make that decision and take that stance against him? I find it really frightening that we are so quick to mobilise, judge and condemn on such a wholesale scale.
I question what effect this constant barrage could have and really, what is the desired outcome? Would we really want Aaron driven to suicide for his stupid actions? Would that be justice? Would that satisfy the bloodlust of the anonymous lynch mob sitting at their computer screens, who are probably kind of unaware of the huge implications their individual comments on Twitter could have long term on his life. Aaron is after all, only Human too. Like all of us. Social Media makes it so easy for us to put forth an opinion but do we really consider the impacts our throw away comments and reposts have on individuals and even society as a whole?
I think Aaron’s behaviour was disgusting, but I don’t agree with meeting his hatred with even more hatred. I cant. Especially when we seem to do it so easily. It seems that sadly, society grabs us by the keyboards and we get caught up in the moment. A sort of, semi-self righteous mob mentality kicks in and before we know it we’re acting just as bad as the original perpetrator. Aaron is entitled to his own views, but he has gained his notoriety through airing his views publically. How are our public online hateful comments and cruel intentions back towards Aaron any different from his? Aaron is only a man. Yes, he’s part of a problem, but he’s isn’t racism personified. I’ve watched a couple more video’s this evening of the continual harassment that Aaron is receiving and its actually starting to make me feel really sorry for him. Here’s the video I’m referring to:
If you listen to him on the video, he sounds very agitated and even desperate. I don’t want the mans life ruined. Do any of us? Is that what we are about as a society? Revenge is not necessarily justice, so when is enough, enough?
This post is not about defending unfortunate individuals like Aaron, but really trying to encourage us all to think about our own actions when responding to such individuals. I don’t believe that sinking to the level of the instigator is the right thing to do. We can choose to be better than that. We can choose to show compassion in our responses. We can choose to be empathetic. It’s part of what makes us human. If you’re a Christian, how do you think Jesus would have reacted to Aaron? Not by encouraging global persecution I’d guess. (I’m not a Christian FYI , but you can read a little about my basic belief system here)
What if Aaron is actually mentally unstable and really needs counselling, support and love to help him to heal? I know this might sound odd and perhaps unpalatable right now as the event is still raw, but what if these outbursts are some sort of cry for help? What if our consistent harassment and continual harrowing persecution of him causes him to harm himself or even grab a gun and shoot innocent people. Is that his fault or is that ours as a society because of our relentless bombardments? I think there is an Episode of Black Mirror in the making here…
I believe Aaron should be investigated and should receive suitable repercussions for his behaviour. However, I don’t think any of us are really qualified to be dishing that retribution out at our own will via our mobile phones and computers, willy nilly. I would really love for us all to think twice before reacting so quickly and being so keen to allow ourselves to be consumed by hatred and to actually adopt the approach of the original perpetrator. We must all stand against racism of course, there is no question at all. But, at what point do the scales tip from positive action to negative action?
If we continue to meet hate, with more hate, aren’t we just creating a continual cycle of perpetual hatred? If we’re filling the world with negative energy, how can we ever expect the world to change unless we change ourselves? I believe, the universe resonates with whatever vibration we are all giving off. It doesn’t matter if it is positive or negative, the universe will resonate and the world is a result of the collective human consciousness. If so, the current state of the world must therefore be a direct representation of the vibration that humanity is operating from as we are what is feeding it. War, famine, hatred, frustration and conflict are all found in the world because they are found within humanity.
At some point in time, the hatred has to stop in order for us to progress and evolve and the best way to combat that hate must be with love, empathy and compassion. As a society, Social Media provides us with wonderful ground-breaking technology with which to reach out and connect with our fellow human beings but it also allows us to concentrate and magnify negativity enormously in so many ways and this really upsets me. It frightens me in fact. Where might it end? Even before Social Media was a thing, the wonderful Martin Luther King Jr summed up what I am trying to say a million times more eloquently than I ever could: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” Thank you Martin Luther King and bless you.
I hope we can all find it on our hearts to deal with those that persecute us in ways that encourage love and understanding and break the cycle of hatred. I don’t for one minute think that’s an easy thing to do and it’s very controversial sometimes, but I think it’s worth trying for our own sakes. Finally, I truly hope Aaron M Schlossberg is able to recover from this incident and can see the error of his ways.
Thank you for reading and I wish you all peace and love. x