Saturday, August 16, 2014

#HashtagsHurt: Drag Queen Edition

Once again I was face to screen with the horror of #Hashtags.  Yes they are a useful digital media organizational tool but sometimes they are hurtful. I used the hashtag #DownSyndrome today with an image I posted that included my son Blake. I always use the tag any time my son Blake is pictured on Instagram or Twitter with the intention to share his latest triumph, fun or activity with other parents, siblings, family members, educators or people with Down Syndrome who use these social networking platforms. When time permits I also click on hashtag's and explore other peoples images.  Tonight I came across this image:

Looks like your run of the mill Drag Queen, right? 

Yes, until you see the #HashTag included with the ever so charming #wasted &  #trashed tags was #DownSyndrome to caption the image above.

This bothered me. Was it the #Wonklash? or his/her declared intoxication? or is it another example of why #HashtagsHurt and the insensitivity of our society. I am not talking about PC bullshit either. People should be free to say or express anything they want so long as it is not intended hurtful to others or a deliberate attempt to get laughs at another person or group's expense. I love a intelligent debate and to entertain ideas/views that oppose my own. It is a true path to growth in my opinion, but this is different.

There are several derogatory terms I could have used in my initial annoyance at this Queen's tag choice, all of which are insensitive, disrespectful and hurtful. Instead here is my reply.

I have no interest or time fight hate with hate or intolerance with more bigotry. It is time though to create a dialogue about peoples words and insensitivity's. Cyber bullies are a kin to what I now call #HashtagHaters. 

I would not change my son Blake for the world but I would love to change the world for him. Every time I hear someone use the word Retard I am going to educate them. Every time I see someone picking on a person with any disability I am going to stop them. Every time I see an injustice or wrong doing to ANY community I am going to stand up. Also any time someone uses a #HurtfulHashtag I am going to call them out and let them know that #HashtagsHurt and to perhaps apply a little more effort in your "jokes" or the very least have a little compassion.
 I have compassion for the person who used this tag. I feel sorry that they cannot experience the joy and love my son with Down Syndrome has brought into my life and enjoy the community that welcomed our family with open arms and hearts.  To today's #HashtagHater (I'm sure there will be more) May compassion and love find you so that you can replace the hate with a heart in your hashtags.

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