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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why do we tolerate so much meanness?

Yesterday I ranted about an Amish reality show and how it seemed very disrespectful to the Amish. But the more I think about it, the more I've realized that a lot of what we consider "entertainment" is about being disrespectful of others. I look at the problems we face with bullying in our schools, and I wonder... is this where they get it from?

We live in a society that makes it okay to make a mockery of a religious group under the guise of free speech. Our political discourse consists of name-calling and lies. The shows we call "comedy" usually involve laughing at someone doing something ridiculous. Or someone who is different from us. Most of the jokes I see posted on people's Facebook walls involve making fun of someone or something. We laugh, but I can't help but wonder... has all of this meanness, even in jest, immunized us to the point where we forget that we're sometimes hurting real people?

We let things slide because sometimes we don't always realize they're there. We hear so many negative words that we often don't even hear them. This allows more negativity and meanness to slip in. And the cycle continues.

How do we combat this?

My honest answer is that I don't know. One of the most important things we can do is be aware and think critically about what we hear in the media- then make an informed decision. There are shows that are banned in my household. There are also shows I'd prefer my kids not watch, but hubby likes them, so they watch them. So I am teaching my kids to think critically about those shows. I ask questions like, "how would you feel if your friend did/said that to you?" Or, "Do you think that is how s/he should have reacted?"  Instead of letting my kids tune out during a television show and absorb the material, I'm asking them to think about what we allow to enter.

How have you handled negativity in the media?

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