How do you deal with discrimination on social media? | Anne Frank House

How do you deal with discrimination on social media? | Anne Frank House


I want to react to it, my hands itch.
I want to say that I don’t agree. But it’s pointless. How do you deal with
discrimination on social media? It happened to me on Instagram
that an account started to follow me. With two followers, you know, one
of those anonymous, sketchy accounts. And he had spammed my whole page
with the word negro, negro. Or, I don’t know,
jokes about negroes. I woke up and saw it and I started
to remove all those reactions. I didn’t tell my friends because I thought:
Okay, this is really strange. You can’t do anything about it
because you don’t know who it is. It’s very cowardly,
from behind an anonymous account. That’s when people dare to do
a lot of things, on the internet. Especially anonymously. My Instagram profile is public. I’m a freelance journalist
and I want to be available. But as a consequence
I receive certain nasty messages. These are usually sexually tinted
comments by white men who are making jokes about me for no other
reason than that they can have a laugh. When I read it, I think:
Dude, was that really necessary? I remove it and forget about it,
but it happens very frequently. By frequently, I mean weekly
that I receive such a message. It doesn’t have to be sexual it can also have to do with ridiculing me
about my looks, particularly my headscarf. I had indirect friendship requests
on Facebook by old men in their fifties. They asked; Do you want to meet up?
This is my number. So that’s this image
of Asian women as lust objects. I have experienced that, for instance. Online, you find a lot of anti-Semitism. Also in the form of memes and jokes
which are meant to be funny. Many people don’t understand
that it isn’t funny and even use these things
to actively hurt people. For example, I’ve been in situations where I posted a comment under a photo
by someone I go to school with and subsequently I was sent
all kinds of anti-Semitic memes. I was really shocked
and I found it very unpleasant. These people have never
been made to account for it. I filed a complaint with the school
and they did nothing with it because people don’t take such jokes
seriously and say: It’s just a joke. We can’t forbid people to make jokes. I don’t want to forbid anyone
to crack a joke. I just don’t want people to target me
for the fact that I’m Jewish. If you want to criticise me
or you want to pick a fight with me or you disagree with me,
just voice what’s bothering you instead of doing such vicious
and unpleasant things. And use the internet to say things
you’d never say to someone’s face. I have…
I do react, occasionally. I do react sometimes. For instance, the new Marvell
superheroin film was announced. With Miss Marvell and it’s the first
Islamic superhero to have her own film. And people posted
the most dreadful reactions. For example: So what is her strength?
Being able to explode. Or can she fly through skyscrapers?
Jokes like that. It’s totally unnecessary,
so I reacted to it. I said: Guys, what is this? It’s totally great.
It’s a representation for Muslim women. It’s a positive thing
and it doesn’t bother me if there’s a superheroin with a different
religious background or skin colour. Why would you get worked up about it?
So I reacted to that. But I must say that there are things
I’d like to react to, but I don’t. One of the reasons for it is,
and it always feels a bit awkward… It’s not a chill thing to say,
but sometimes it’s people you know. They say something you don’t agree with,
but if you were to confront them with it it’d have consequences.
It would… And when you think about it, if someone
who is close to you thinks like that and I don’t agree with it
and they’re spreading negativity you should be able
to distance yourself from it. But that’s harder. It’s easier said
than done. That’s what it is.

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