Facebook Live is a derivative of Meerkat and Periscope, where you can use the video function of your smartphone to create a live feed that you can show on your Facebook page. Facebook Live is a portal where any person who has access to your FB page can watch what you’re doing while you are doing it.
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Facebook Live is every person’s opportunity to create their personal reality TV show. And there is no cost to the provider or the consumer. In the case of the Chicago torture, it’s “pay-per-view MMA” without the pay.
As you would imagine, it went viral–the video and the aftershocks. They arrested the four torturers. The victim was found wandering the Chicago streets. He is receiving treatment, though he’ll carry the scars of the two-day ordeal for the rest of his life.
The four who committed the crime were black, and the victim was white and mentally challenged. If there is a twisted upside to this, it’s that the assailants were not white, and the victim was not black. Chicago would be half looted and burned today if that were the case.
The two main talking points are racism and hate crimes. No surprise. And I agree; it is racism and hate played out in the public square. No one should dismiss these two talking points.
But because they are always the primary talking points, things are not going to change. White people will continue to stew and grow in their bitterness toward blacks, and black people will push the mute button on the Chicago torture because they can.
The only thing that will change is the racial divide, which will widen. White people will hold on to their “justified” racism, and black people will wait until it happens to them so they can riot (or kneel when someone plays our national anthem).
My two thoughts about this are not racism and hate crimes. I’m not dismissing them because they are real, but my mind does not stay there. Racism and hate crimes are symptoms anyway, so talking about those things ad nausea does not help. It only deepens historical white racism and affirms the black person’s “right” to destroy something. The two things I thought about regarding this latest commentary on America were:
Movies – Every summer the movie-makers blow our world (or a city) to smithereens. I have lost count of how many times someone destroyed the world. Someone has destroyed New York City so many times that it does not matter anymore. Today’s child has no patience or appetite for a slow-moving movie that develops its characters.
MMA – Then sports are brutal. Last week Amanda Nunes knocked Ronda Rousey into next week. Twitter could not keep up with the millions of commenters, most of whom enjoyed her getting her block knocked off.
NFL – Also, last week, two NFL quarterbacks broke their fibulas. Another player was out for a sixth game because of a concussion. These three NFL incidents are three needles in a haystack of violence that most sports fans do not care enough about to stop watching it.
Gaming – Throw in two generations of fake violence pumped out to the gaming community that is so real that the lines between truth and fiction are meaningless. Not to mention the dulling of the conscience to where video violence is okay.
Then you have the disinhibition effect. Social Media is a world where people are less inhibited from saying and doing things, especially mean or provocative things, because it’s cyberspace, not real space.
A person can undress for social media but never consider such a lewd act in the real world. A person will say some of the harshest things on Facebook but never say them face to face. Social Media has a way of letting down walls and presuming on relationships more quickly than any other place in the world.
When violence saturates the culture to the point of casual acceptance, and the average person has unlimited access to an uninhibited medium, what do you think is going to happen?
Playing the racism card is easy. Again, I’m not dismissing that card. It’s real, and both sides are guilty of sin. However, if you want a solution, you have to go deeper than the talking points of racism and hate crimes.
It’s even deeper than ignorance. What the assailants did was ignorant. It was stupid. But you have to ask, why are people so ignorant that they don’t care about another human? What would possess another person to harm someone else?
But let’s go deeper than that. Racism, ignorance, and disinhibition are behavioral realities that find life and sustainability in the heart. People who dislike other people are fundamentally flawed in their hearts.
I see this all the time when white Christians cringe when thinking about their precious white daughters marrying black men, even if the person she marries loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. I know some white men who would rather have their daughters marry white pagans or nominal white Christians than marry a black God lover.
I also see this in how some Christians talk about the gay community. They recoil, like the bigoted white father thinking about his daughter marrying the black guy. The hate that comes out of some Christians’ mouths about the gay community is shocking.
What the black racist, white bigot, and gay or Christian hater have in common is they do not understand how God made humanity in His image. It’s like all the paintings in the Louvre are angry with each other as though one painting is better than the other. The same painter created all of us. Nobody is better than any other person.
Until we see each other as fellow image-bearers, we will continue to abort our babies. We will still be racists. We’ll always divide our marriage partners by color. We will even perpetuate big and little sinner gradations so we can look down on those who sin differently from us.
My call to action is not to change the world. That is not going to happen. I’m a realist. My call to action is much smaller in scope. My target audience is you.
On the disinhibition effect: Do you say or do things on Social Media that you would not do if the person were standing in front of you in your living room? E.g., are you harsh or critical of people on Facebook? Rather than talking to them privately, do you rebuke them in public “cyber” squares?
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).