I am a student and practitioner of technology. I love the many advancements made and how technology has made life easier. But there is one aspect of technology that is troublesome, and AI isn’t what I’m talking about.
There is no doubt that having the ability to connect, collaborate and build relationships with people around the world in the blink of an eye is an amazing thing. Just like in the “Star Trek” show we watched growing up in the 1970s, we can have video calls with anyone, anywhere, with a device connected to the internet. A feat light years from communication’s humble beginnings, especially when you consider that, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s history, some trains in the 1800s could carry mail only 4-1/2 miles in 35 minutes.
However, for those who have disdain for difference, connecting like-minded individuals can create multiple pockets of toxic environments in which vitriolic rhetoric erupts.
Hateful verbosity used to be relegated to the local white supremacist meeting, with little knowledge of the words spoken to the larger masses. Well, until the next lynching picnic. Now the hate spews from all corners of the internet.
With the negative connotation associated with the term “politically correct,” simply being kind to those not in the same demographic is seen as somehow bad. Individuals are then allowed to sit and stew in that hatred until, like a passion brewing deep down inside their guts, they must take action—by lashing out with either verbal harassment or physical violence. Individuals, reinforced by others, feel compelled to move based on what they feel inside.
As reported by the Associated Press, antisemitic and anti-Muslim verbiage flowed freely on Cornell University’s student chat board. Subsequently, a Cornell student was arrested for posting threatening statements online about a desire to harm Jewish students. The idea that Ivy League students, the supposedly best of the best, unite online just to hate is mind-boggling. However, the Jewish and Muslim students, in this instance, were lucky; they lived to tell the story.
Unlike 6-year-old Wadea Al Fayoume. Wadea was fatally stabbed, and his mother, Hanaan Shahin, was severely injured when their landlord, Joseph Czuba, attacked them on Oct. 14. Czuba became angry watching the news about the Israeli-Hamas war.
The 71-year-old, who is a coward for attacking a child and his mother, had to do something with the anger smoldering inside him. So he attacked and killed innocent people because they were Muslim.
Technology has made it easy to get information or misinformation quickly, but some humans continue to choose to use that information for hate versus empathy, compassion and understanding of situations outside their worldview.
Take the latest speaker of the House, Mike Johnson. This MAGA election denier, second in line for the presidency, relies on his narrow view of the world and paints with a harsh brush those who live, love and pray differently than he does. If homosexuality is not his thing because his religion told him not to do it, great. But as a leader of this nation, Johnson will need to reconcile within his heart that everybody does not have to be like him and deserves respect from our government leaders. Otherwise, he will cause irreparable harm to those living differently.
With 7.8 billion people on this planet and science proving that no two people are exactly alike, why can’t we start with love first?•
Black is former deputy chairwoman for engagement for the Indiana Democratic Party and a former candidate for the Indiana House. Send comments to email@example.com.
Click here for more Forefront columns.