It has been a rather interesting week for me - I was home alone because my mother was travelling, I re-binge watched Killing Eve, and, oh yeah - almost forgot - I was called a nazi on the internet. I usually check my creator space on YouTube once a day to see if there are any comments I need to reply to and I came across a comment where someone compared me to a nazi. As someone who has called out a fair amount of people for making Holocaust jokes, hosted several guest speakers on different genocides and genocide law, and who works for Amnesty International to verify reports of atrocities, I was honestly quite surprised to have that term thrown at me.
It becomes even weirder when you look at the context in which the comment was made: the comment was left under a video in which I talked about Brexit and the benefits of EU membership. A few days later, the comment does not really matter to me anymore, but it really hurt me when I first read it. I was close to just hitting the ‘delete’ button for the comment, but then I decided to instead give the person who wrote it a chance to learn something. I copied the comment and took it to Twitter. I hope the person who left that comment read the thread and maybe learned how to disagree with people without insulting them (if you would like to read the entire thread, just click on the linked tweet).
This experience has made me question what the right reaction is when you are confronted with comments like these. Many of my friends stand up for what they believe in through writing about it or working for NGOs. What would I advise them to do if something similar happened to them? I do not regret replying to the comment in a polite manner, but I think it really depends on whether you as a recipient of such a comment are comfortable doing that. There is nothing wrong with not being willing to engage with people who call you things like a nazi. The ‘delete’ and ‘report’ buttons of social media networks are there for your protection - so do not be afraid of using them.
But if you are comfortable with engaging with people who call you names, do not go down to their level. They may have hurt you, but there is no point in trying to do the same to them. If you have an opinion that you believe to be right, it should not need to be defended with insults. Emotions can run high on political topics and I believe that that is why it is especially important to approach debates about them with a fact-focused approach.
Thank you to everyone who reached out to me after I shared the comment that was left under my video - I really appreciate it! If you would like to share your opinion on the topic with me, you can message me here.
Lots of Love,