Take a stand

Q:  I recognized him right away. I am not surprised–I work with him and he is a real
*%#*.  I didn’t respond to @YesYoureRacist tweet and provide his name, I froze.  Help! 

A:   I can understand why you froze. This may provide you an opportunity to recalibrate your moral compass. 

It seems that we are straying into new moral territory in which Americans are being asked to “out” their neighbors.  However, the reality is that we “out” ourselves by being on social media and by buying and paying our bills online.  Have you noticed that your photograph has become public property and your FB friends freely post your “name”?  And as you know, corporate recruiters, college admissions and others gather readily available information to make hire and fire decisions. 

Some worry that that naming and shaming Nazis and white supremacists is a slippery slope to turning neighbor against neighbor; recent examples of online bullying would support that concern.  What seems to be undeniable is that naming and shaming has been and will continue to be with us and that it can be used for good or for ill.

I remember when LGBTQ people were “outed” and when abortion providers were targeted, tracked to their homes and murdered.  The term “outed” is old school, the current term is “doxxing”: 

 it means compiling and releasing a dossier of personal information on someone.

The word dox is the modern, abbreviated form of “dropping dox,” an old-school revenge tactic that emerged from hacker culture in 1990s.

What to do now? Ask yourself:

  • Do I agree that America is tolerant, inclusive and welcoming? Yes or No?
  • Did I miss an opportunity to let this person know how I felt? What was left unsaid?
  • How do I really feel about working and living with Blacks, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ and people who differ from me?
  • What actions can I take consistent with my values and beliefs?
  • What can I do to make the world better?

Finally, don’t beat yourself up:  take a look at the website and maybe one of your colleagues has named this person.  Also, talk to your managers—they may already know the identity of the person but what they don’t know is how you feel. 

Make yourself known.  Move from being frozen to taking a stand.

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