I don’t get all of my news from what you might call quality sources. I also flick through the trash news sites such as Newscorp websites to get an idea of what sort of news is being reported that I wouldn’t otherwise read about and how conservative commentators are lying to my friends. This is where I come across the push to ban Fathers Day that I wrote about on Saturday.
Another headline that I saw spawning a number of follow up articles was about a video going viral showing an aggressive racist copping a beating from another woman. Now I take the words, ‘going viral,’ with a grain of salt. After ‘patriot’ and ‘Australian values’ it is probably one of the most frequently abused terms of the recent years.
But regardless of the exact number of times this video was viewed and shared, I want to make a comment about the phenomenon. Sharing videos of people being humiliated (with the possible exception of politicians being interviewed by Leigh Sales) is a pretty vile. And participating in the process by even watching these type of videos is not a lot better.
If this video had surfaced with someone being assaulted without the victim instigating the fight and without the tagline about her being a racist, many of the people who celebrated it would have been horrified. But because she allegedly instigated the fight and let loose with racial epithets, people seem to take a different view that the beating and embarrassment are some kind of karma.
Even if you think the victim got the exact response she deserved at the time, she did not ask to have her humiliation shared worldwide, making its impact considerably more traumatic.
I get it that we like to see people get the comeuppance they deserve, but that isn’t really our right. I am confident that bad people usually get what they deserve. I don’t need to see it for myself.
I’ve been highly critical of the lack of empathy and gang mentality that underpinned the harassment of Adam Goodes, so I have to be equally critical in the example. Whether or not she provoked the situation does not give me (or you) a free pass to participate in the public shaming of her. People are fragile enough and can really struggle to recover from bad experiences without being forced to relive them by their fellow humans demeaning and demonising them.