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We’ve seen these lines, these messages, ubiquitous to the “social media” world, for every whim and fancy of choice available to humanity there are “Followers”, “Likes” and “Exclusive Clubs”. This extends to the limitations of human existence, and hatred as well.
One may not have seen statements like “You may also hate this”, “Since you despise this, you may also despise that” and such things remain unsaid and unseen, but what was once hidden as the dirty underbelly of American life is now out in the open with brute force – Thanks to algorithmic “social connections”.
The recent spike in hate crimes was given a heightened voice, the cars that plunged into crowds, the guns that silenced peaceful concert goes, restaurant-goers, moviegoers, churchgoers, elementary school students, high school students, grocery shoppers, joggers, the capital marchers appeared out of thin air, Asians were punched and murdered under dim camera lights, knees sucked the air out of necks for $20 notes, or slammed for trying to swim in a birthday party.
Further “Karens” appeared out of the woodwork to abuse bird watchers, trail walkers, birthday parties, swimming pools, buses, cars, parking lots, and kids who owned a similar mobile, the dirty underbelly of America flipped its ugliness open for the whole world to see. News cycles were endless, “Articles similar to this news” continued to be published unabated and the vicious cycle entered nuclear mode! Hatred in America sprouted out like a monster in a DC or Marvel movie fed from the never-ending toxic online “More Like This” radiation.
As I type this, today is MLK’s “I’ve a dream” speech day, he fought such hatred with all his will and words. A once-in-a-century human, he was the Superman or Captain America (and yes, why not the Wonder Woman) that was needed during those days. And I wonder how the Pastor felt as he dealt with the unhinged racism in every walk of his life, the establishments, the restaurants, the railroads. I can’t help but wonder the heightened hatred and bigotry sprung up all over the country all over again, after all these years after MLK’s valiant fight against it. It still does, it did twice during the week of August 21, 2022. Once in Fremont, CA the most diverse among the Bay Area Communities, and another in Plano, TX.
For the Fremont, CA incident, I’ve a personal story to share. Because I held the phone to record a vile, hate-filled attack (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78o1epqMW5E ) in that Taco Bell when I went to pick up the dinner for my son. This man, hitherto unknown, whom I later learn as a possible descendant of the state of Punjab, with a sharpened hatred and spewed it on me like a winter volcano of Iceland, disrupting my middle-class life that was until then just filled with cricket and the pursuit of other happiness with my kids. In my 17 years of living in Fremont, CA, that was a first and hence it forced me to sit down and think how did this hatred that started in Punjab, India in the 1980s manifest in a Taco Bell in 2022?
Manifesting the Monster
Manifesting Hatred in the advent of social media and the “More like this” world, was very easy. Social media was innocuous, to begin with, connecting long last pre-iPhone relationships, friends, and families. But today, the algorithm that helped loved ones to connect, also connected and bonded folks filled with hatred toward one another or anything for that matter. And now, the very hatred that the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr fought against, that we all thought is so isolated and remained in pockets of the country, has shown up right where we live as a huge monster, both in size and vileness, both here and abroad.
This monster has reached a point in social life where it calls for true leaders to stand up against it. A unique solution may have to have the software brains to fight against, isolate the messages and nip them in the bud. But what would it take to solve today’s issues?
Perhaps something like what John Lennon saw when he wrote the “Imagine” song? Or perhaps how “Gandhi” stood up to fight the biggest guns with “Non-Violence”? Or maybe something simpler to unite the world, just like the EU became one united entity? Such thoughts are perhaps outside the Google Search, and I wish there are “More Like That” answers too! But now, we have to build that crystal ball of confidence in humanity all over again.