In the naive days before social media opened our eyes, America seemed to be making strides on rejection of racism, hate speech and bigotry.
Gone were the days of segregation and public displays of separatism.
While it was obvious that racism was not abolished, it did not seem to scream out as a prevalent part of the culture as it did in the mid-20th century.
Fast forward 20 or so years later, and social media posts are in full swing and reveal that in reality those feelings still fester in this great nation, the state of Oklahoma and our city.
It turns out those feelings always were present for many who were just waiting for a forum in which to share.
Just last week, two Facebook posts to discuss Enid News & Eagle stories about the history and traditions of Ramadan and teen pregnancy among Marshallese were targets of some posters.
Rather than discuss the issues, some were just interested in spreading hate speech and personal attacks.
Those comments were removed from the ENE Facebook Page as the newspaper’s policy states they will not be tolerated.
It is a message that any business, organization and private individual should not have to develop a policy against. It should be common sense, decent courtesy.
But it seems in this day of technological advances, that is not always the case.
When Facebook and other social sites replaced various blog sites as the popular place to gather virtually, there was a general thought pattern that lifting the anonymity of those posting would discourage hate speech and just outright mean comments.
But for some, it has not happened, and the message needs to be shared by all social media users that it will not be tolerated.
Many posters commenting on the aforementioned Facebook posts did just that, and we applaud them. If more would act accordingly, maybe those not inclined to think before they post will reconsider that habit.
As an editorial board, we are constantly reviewing the words we share and how they will affect the community.
We urge all residents to think before they post, and even to go back and rethink their words when it comes to topics that involve minority races or cultures, those with disabilities and even someone whose spelling may not be up to par.
Most of us do not know the full story behind someone’s background, religion, culture or upbringing.
The old rule — “If you wouldn’t say it to their face, then don’t say it at all” — not only applies in today’s social society, but it should be at the forefront.
And even if you think you would say it, standing by your convictions, rethink how it would make others feel: Does it further the conversation, educate or help in some way?
If the answer is “No,” then maybe it is just best to let that post go by.
Some wonder why the topics should be even brought to social media. Imagine not knowing that we live in a world where people feel the way they do.
Social media and newspapers — the messengers — are not the cause of the problem, they only shed light on it.
We believe America is better than hate and anger, and we challenge everyone — from the highest office to the man on the street — to prove that we are.