Guest contributor: Shrikar Lekkala
Human beings today are often associated with multiple communities and societies, and these communities might hold certain stereotypes. While it may be easy to try to ignore these hateful phrases, self-doubt and insecurity can build up in even the most confident minds. Inclusion is what we strive for, and we can start by locating the source of the usage stereotypes today.
Even though many understand that it is wrong to address someone using a stereotype, it is still common online, given that such remarks would not appear in front of the targeted person’s face. In recent years, online users have created harmful posts, tweets, or snaps because there is usually no consequence to what they are putting onto the internet. Hateful posts like this are stunting the ability to create unified communities due to the inability to eliminate stereotypes and prejudice because of the casual usage of stereotypes in social media. This problem must become personal to end a massive crisis such as the prevalence of stereotyping. Every person must understand the hatred induced by slurs and stereotypes to confine a human being to a term. Now, we must learn from our new mistakes and use the resources we have to create steps to solve a problem that has been around since the start of human existence.
The best way we can fight for inclusion is through the usage of modern technology. Even though social media can be a huge breeding ground for stereotypes, there are numerous ways we can use social media to promote inclusion.
1, Improve cross-group interaction on social media platforms.
One of the biggest reasons stereotypes are so prevalent is that communities with little to no diversity believe myths and ideas given to them by their predecessors. These poor people do not have any real interactions with other races to create their own perceptions, so they use their outdated thoughts from previous generations. We all can use social media to interact with these communities with predetermined ideas of different races and prove their myths wrong to force these people to understand that they have many similarities to the groups they have internalized prejudices on.
2. Keep major businesses, groups, and individual people accountable.
Accountability, when someone uses a stereotype, must be kept both on social media and in real life. We need to inform the business, group, or person of what they did wrong and provide a solution. We must not use hate to teach people, instead use empathy and stories to teach people that stereotypes are halting inclusion. Give time for people to learn from their mistakes and plead for the person to refrain from using derogatory language.
3. Keep high spirits and acknowledge that this will be a long process
Stereotypes have been around since the start of human existence, so we must understand that eliminating stereotypes will come slowly, but action to promote inclusion must be continued to be focused by role models, businesses, and individual people on the technology we have for unification to happen. Keep yourself and the people around you accountable to eventually create a unified community.
We need to strive for a world that is inclusive of all races, genders, and identities. We can not give up on the opportunity to create a unified world through the platform technology has given us.
The opinions expressed in this op-ed represent those of the author(s) only, and Inclusion Advocate's publication of it alone should not be taken as an endorsement.