Are you worried about racism and white supremacy? How worried are you? I think most people reading this will might say, “Moderately concerned.” and let it go at that. But what about someone who regularly sees speeches and new reports about those two things for weeks or months (or years) at a time? Can anyone doubt that is what we are all seeing and experiencing today? And can anyone deny that much “exposure” raises the level of concern?
How much difference does this high level of exposure make? Lets take one recent example I experienced because of a close family member’s concern. He read one of my emails that I sent around in which I said I was pleased to find that another, far more known public speaker, actually referred to the same metaphoric relationship between good conversation and dancing with a partner. I had made that comparison because I wanted to emphasize how I was trying to improve my communication and conversational ability. Yet his first response was to point out that I shouldn’t be comparing myself with a known white supremacist.”
I asked him for an example showing that the well known person (who has a best selling book out and is widely followed on YouTube) was a white supremacist. He supplied a link to a YouTube video which was actually the popular man being interviewed by another less popular youtube. After watching the video I looked at the number of views and it was about 2600 views in the months since the video had been posted. The number of “thumbs up” was less than 100 and the number of “thumbs down” was more than 10% of thumbs up.
So while even relatively obscure videos commonly get fifty times more views and get thumbs-up to thumbs- down ratios of 60 to 1, my close family member thought to pick a much less popular, much less approved YouTube video to show that the man being interviewed was a “white supremacist.” (because he “knows” the interviewer is a white supremacist)
My close family member’s “certainty” also makes me believe I do not practice due diligence, I do not take time to make sure the people I’m comparing myself to aren’t evil people. In other words (unintentionally) he thinks I’m a gullible fool.
Or at least it seems so at the moment. This isn’t a sure sign we’ll end up hating each other but like all human relationships it could. I’m sure my relative will do what he can to mend our relationship just as I will. We both have a will toward Good Will.
My final point is just as I said: I believe my experience points out a much greater hazard: the importance of turning away from exaggerations and over-focusing on any one putative “hazard” or “emergency” or “crisis.”
These are the products of three things: a strategy to stampede the unsuspecting voters to support the putative political heroes, a strategy to make publishers and journalists richer and the simple magnifying effect of “instant communications” provided by the Internet — a technology we are just beginning to learn how to use. Turn away from automatically trusting the self-created “political heroes” and their politically heroic parties. Turn away from the self enriching news media. And guard yourself from the overwhelming speed and volume of too much information flowing over and around us when we are using the Internet.