Sticks and stones

For all of us, when we were kids our parents told us to be nice. There were consequences for our actions and we needed to be responsible for the words we said. Sticks and stones they told us, sticks and stones. And we continued the tradition of telling our own children, family and fur babies to play nice. It gets a little lost in the teenage years and as we leave adolescence, but we find it again and in general we try to be nice. In our work place and businesses we encourage and are encouraged to work as a team, to create a groove where everyone flows together for the betterment of that team.

Funny thing is though, in a world like today, I’d rather take on sticks and stones than words. You see words can never be unsaid. They can never be unwritten once they have been seen. Words are forever. Words hurt.

Words

I can’t imagine there is more than a small handful of people worldwide that tell their children (human and fur) to go out there and be nasty, to bite and sting and damage where they can. It is not really in the human nature to do so, we are (depending on which theorist you follow) innately good and want to do good to others. Why? Because of consequence. Nobody likes the follow through of a negative consequence for their action, especially when it becomes public. Negative attention, although still attention, can be very uncomfortable and anxiety provoking for many people across the globe.

Until social media.

Recently at a normally prestigious event, an outfit was worn that sent social media into a spin of vicious, nasty and undeniably cruel comments. Granted the outfit was probably not the best choice, and perhaps ill thought out. But what was an even bigger atrocity than the scantily clad brave Zodwa, was the behaviour and reactions of fellow South Africans.

Sticks and stones

In a country so swept up with negative media, living life behind fear and constant reminders of our failings and flaws – we have become our nations own enemy. We are embedded in a cycle of negativity where we constantly slander our own country because it is failing us. Sharing graphic posts, true or not. Commenting on posts that only serve to break down. Building hatred and racial bitterness in our hearts from flawed media reporting and posts designed to create a negative stir.

The message is already out there, we all know what is going on, but how much longer is it going to take us to see that sharing that same message for the past 25 years is making no difference either.

No, happy words and spirit fingers won’t fix a nation, but consequence for the hatred we individually sow will. You see, words are put on social media with no consequence, and an otherwise nice person relates emotionally to those words and responds. And so the cycle goes, response after response all building on top of each other. Did we forget that the person the words are directed at, is human. Probably has a family similar to yours, a job and struggles you could maybe even relate to.

Let us go back to grassroots and look at what was said. If you were standing at the school fence and you heard your son or daughter say these things to another pupil, whether true or not, what action would you take?

i’ve seen prostitutes on street corners with more dress sense

proof they have no culture or class

Nothing in this country is classy anymore … what did we expect?

And to think some dirty pervert sleeps with that thing. One would have to be mentally screwed to do so.

I’m just glad I didn’t get to see that big fat camel toe as well

She doesn’t have the body, she is ugly and fat

Kak looking K on the right

Words

We need to go back to a place South Africa, where we can be accountable for our words. Accountable for the things that we sow individually as a nation. Like all of you, I know the flaws and issues our country has and deep down I hold hope too. But how can we despair over the hatred in the country if we are not accountable for being a part of that. Every single time you use racial slang, derogatory words, sexist remarks or basic cynicism to make somebody feel unimportant, hurt and disqualified as a human with integrity – you sow hatred.

I cannot cast the first stone, but I can tell you now I am playing my part to sow positivity and life into a country so desperate for it. Are you?