This morning I came across multiple posts in regards to a trombonist and her racist comments on social media. While I do not condone any of her opinions, one particular post caught my attention and made my heart ached.
The person who shared multiple screenshots of this trombonist's social posts voiced his opinion--that this musician should not be involved in the music world, let alone being an educator. One of his social media friends, let's call him Innocent for the sake of confusion, chimed in, and NOT to this trombonist defense, but merely reminding all not to lose our compassion amongst hate comments. Innocent was then being scolded message after message; from the person who shared the post as well as his other social media friends.
Innocent's intention came from compassion (and compassion does not mean condoning). The intent of his very first comment best described in 1 John 4:20. He was trying to remind us not to lose faith in humanity, even when this person is extremely racist, as her fellow musicians or colleagues, perhaps we should try to influence her before making her lose her job.
In social psychology, we once watched a video of a magician performing card tricks. Like any other magic shows, we were all in awe of his trick, and no one noticed he and his assistant both changed their tops and the backdrop. This is called Social Blindness when people see what they focus on seeing without paying attention to other crucial factors within the same environment, which perfectly described the incident I mentioned above. In this case, all the ones who rebuked Innocent misjudged his true intention because they were so focused on the anger towards the trombonist.
Let's pause for a second.
What about discrimination? Discrimination is acting on one of the thoughts of racist and sexist. A less-severe discriminatory behavior is called favoritism. Hence, racism, discrimination, and nepotism might be in different compartments but, truth be told, they all share the same lid sealed on top.
As a parent in the same school district this social post owner is from, I have witnessed discrimination, favoritism, and prejudice demonstrated within the music programs, sports, and other activities. So do we expose such behavior on social media and shame the teacher with no mercy? Heck, today, the trombone player racist comments geared toward a specific race in general. But when you practice discrimination or nepotism, you are hurting the person DIRECTLY. Believe you me, the pain these students go through is no different from facing racism. The way you devalued their worth isn't any easier to heal than the people who deal with racism.
Public shaming through social media isn't advocacy, and by all means, let's not mislead our students with such a mindset. There are better and proper ways.
Be a role model.
Update: the entire post was removed by the afternoon. Thank goodness.