“I asked some of my Twitter followers what they want to know about me and I got a variety of questions, some were great questions, some were … aehm, disrespectful questions, obviously, ’cause of the nature of the Internet.”
Personally, I don’t get hero worship, or even supporting people unconditionally. I value specific contributions, not individual people per se. It’s something very detrimental when you consider advancing in any organization, but … well, there you go. 😉
Still, watching an “ask me anything” video by “The Young Turks” journalist Ana Kasparian, I was positively surprised … and impressed. She did ask her Twitter followers for questions (see quotation above) and she did receive “disrespectful questions”. But she did attribute it to “the nature of the Internet”. She did not say: “I did receive disrespectful questions because I am a woman on the Internet.” And personally, while I do think that this should be the normal reaction, I am glad when this is pointed out.
Because all too often people attribute negative online reactions to specific characteristics: being female, being gay, being black, whatever.
And sure, there are people who are sexist, homophobic, racist, or whatever. Even if it is only a latent trait of these people, when they cannot argue, they might love to jump back to these slurs. But negative or disrespectful reactions on the Internet — they are just part of the game. There — usually — are some trolls on the Internet who try to fuck with you no matter what — and no matter whether you are male or female. Generalizing a few idiots and trolls to “the Internet” (and neglecting all the great contributions) is neither true nor helpful.
It is very tempting to make something you cannot control and which should be irrelevant the scape goat of any negative thing you encounter (like your sex/gender, sexual orientation, or skin color). And it seems to be acceptable too. But when I see a person who could use the “easy way out”, who could — for example — try to score some easy wins by, e.g., using her sex but does not, I am positively surprised.
Respect is something you get when you face actual difficult situations — like stepping into the public view — head on, without demanding “special consideration” due to mostly irrelevant issues.
And yeah, regarding that video, this person does have it. Kudos.