I strongly believe that everyone should be offered the opportunity to gain a seat at the proverbial “table”. Once seated, however, your behaviour dictates your worth to societal and organizational development. Should your behaviour become an intentional blockade to betterment, I firmly believe that your seat should be removed, and you should be directed to the nearest exit.
As I have mentioned previously, we are very proud of our social media voice. We utilize our space to curate quality materials from around the globe that can all be tied back to impactful diversity, leadership, and, in turn, human resource content.
There is a great responsibility that comes with being a media source and we have a firm understanding and appreciation of that responsibility, specifically when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Behind each piece we choose to post, we believe there is useful take-away information that will help to better yourself, your work-life and your place of business.
We uphold this responsibility with an empathetic mindset and constantly ask ourselves what the piece is saying of value, who is producing it, and what will it lead our followers to not only think, but also to feel. We must be accountable for the information we are offering and the brand names / thought-leaders we are promoting for further insights. The power of social media is so great, that even the mere mention of a name in a negative light still garners valuable attention. Some certainly believe, “There is no such thing as bad press”.
No stranger to grabbing the headlines with aggressive discriminatory language, American lawyer, conservative social and political commentator, author, and syndicated columnist Ann Coulter has violated her way into the media several times in the last month or so.
A couple of prime examples:
Several weeks ago, we celebrated “National Coming Out Day”, a day where the LGBT community and their allies are encouraged to publicly identify themselves.
Ms. Coulter chose to respond to National Coming Out by tweeting:
"Last Thursday was national 'coming out' day. This Monday is national 'disown your son' day."
Soon after, the recent U.S. Presidential debates were the dominant topic of choice in the social media world, as one would of course expect.
Ms. Coulter chose to tweet the following about President Obama:
"I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard"
She chose to counter the beautiful letter written to her by Special Olympian John Franklin Stephens – one that politely, intelligibly, and calmly explained to her why her choice words matter – with:
“I was not referring to someone with Down syndrome. I was referring to the president of the United States,” said Coulter, adding that she views “retard” as a synonym for loser. “Do you call people with mental disabilities retards because I don’t. I think that’s a nasty thing to do.” – Disability Scoop
When it comes to aggressive behaviour, it’s important to figure out what the aggressor’s goal is in order to best assess how it will affect you.
Ms. Coulter chooses to be emotionally violent because she and her team have a very specific understanding of the outcomes that her words attract. Media outlets, large or small, will print her name, which leads to her personal financial gain, and an attraction of like-minded people to her preferred political party.
Popular television programs such as “The View” and “Piers Morgan Tonight” invited Ms. Coulter to their program to specifically discuss her “views and beliefs” of the diversity conversation. They choose to invite her, ostensibly to offer a different view of the world to the public, no matter how puerile some might believe that view to be.
As a diversity professional, I firmly believe in hearing all sides of the story, inside and out –even if that means enduring “opinions” with which I disagree. However, by using the type of language she does and by showcasing her lack of empathy or public class, Ms. Coulter doesn’t offer an opinion, only infliction.
Seeking to outrage people by utilizing discrimination does nothing but attract attention. When there is no substance to what you are saying, you are now officially a nuisance to society. Additionally, justifying your intentional verbal violence by calling it “free speech” is dismissive and offensive to the true argument behind the reason for freedom of speech.
Effective points can be made without defaming another person. There is so much brilliance to be shared and gained across political lines, cultures, and beliefs. People such as Ms. Coulter are the true barricades to that un-tapped and sorely-needed innovation.
We can certainly be bold with what we have to say. We can even be “shocking”. But to be bold and shocking for the sake of public attention and notoriety is just plain wrong in our opinion. Arrow-pointing discriminatory language accompanied with a complete disregard for all around you is just a cheap sucker punch.
Global Learning encourages all persons – be they liberal, conservative or moderate – to speak their minds; but when you seek to provoke harm to others, we should no longer offer you the space or venue in which to promote your narrow-minded goals. We hope all bloggers and media sources might consider the same tactic.
This will be the last time we post anything about Ann Coulter to any of our accounts. She is not worthy of our time, nor yours, if you are a true diversity champion.
She is no longer welcome at our table.
“Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.”