I recently had a disagreement with an online troll which has since led me to write this post.
I've never understood why people feel the need to leave negative comments online. Surely if you've got nothing nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all? But sadly in today's society, that is not the case.
Whilst I know the best thing to do is usually ignore a hate comment - or report the user - I couldn't help but reply...
I'm fully aware that if you "put yourself out there" like I do in my blog work, you become subject to public opinion. However, that does not give you a free pass to insult or offend someone.
I recently featured in the 2021 Census campaign run by the LADbible group - a social platform followed by millions of people.
When asked to film a video response to the question:
"What do you want to be remembered for?"
"Not letting my disability hold me back"
(whilst using my wheelchair to spin around in my garden)
A few days later, I noticed one of the most popular comments under this video was from a guy who said:
(For the purpose of not generating anymore hate, I have covered this person's username and photo)
Whilst I know this isn't the worst comment in the world, it frustrated me that so many other people were still 'liking' it and fuelling the idea that this type of response is ok.
I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humour, as I often take the mick out of myself. However, when it's a stranger making ignorant comments about the disabled community - I couldn't help but feel annoyed.
The worst part about it was that this same person had also DM'd me privately.
The fact he knows it wasn't nice, yet tries to justify it by saying "that's just what happens on the internet" - is not acceptable.
Although the original comment was not directly aimed at me (just my video response), I couldn't believe he had also gone to the efforts of messaging me privately. This isn't the first negative comment I have received online, and I know it certainly won't be the last.
The reason I'm sharing this conversation today is because I think it's an important issue to highlight. Many disabled people are faced with online hate (disguised as "jokes") everyday, and this is something that needs to change.
My friend Shelby has recently started a petition in order to educate children on disabilities within schools. The only way we're going to cut down on these negative attitudes is by educating the young, and improving the representation of disabled adults within the media.
Shelby's petition has already gained over 4,000+ signatures and I would love it if you could also get involved by supporting the campaign here.