Monthly Archives: June, 2019

Unsocial Media

I had a sort of weird experience this week, and it has troubled me. Here’s what happened. I stopped by my local farmer’s market, which is held on Thursday afternoons. We have weekend markets in the towns to the east and west of ours that are very popular, but ours unfortunately doesn’t attract a large following. This was the first market of the short summer season, and by the time I got there, there were only about 5 or 6 stands, although I heard there had been a few more earlier in the afternoon.
So, I posted this on my local neighborhood Facebook page:
Stopped at our farmers market today and it was both sparsely populated and attended. It’s a challenging time and day. I get why they don’t want to compete with the great local weekend markets, but have they ever considered moving it later in the day, when people get off work, maybe with food trucks so you could get your fruits and veggies and kettle corn plus dinner? Might be a fun summer night destination. Has it ever been considered or held different times or days? Just curious.
And there were a lot of likes and comments, all very positive and interesting. Until this comment came in:
Typical white American woman, did you ever think that was better for the farmer? Ya, the one that grows your food, so entitled, makes me sick!
Wait, what??? My first reaction was anger, and my first instinct was defense. But then I thought about it. First of all, this person had a point of view, even though they expressed it in a very poor way. I honestly had not considered that maybe the hours of the market (noon to 5:00 on Thursdays) were intentionally set in the interests of the farmers. I do think that if there’s a way to grow the customer base for the market it would benefit the farmers, but I confess, I was thinking more about my needs and wants than theirs.
So there’s that. But, the approach the person commenting took was, in my mind, bullying, vitriolic and, frankly, a little racist. And, I’m not sure if it matters or not, but I couldn’t help but look up their profile, and they also appeared to be a white woman.
I chose, after some inner struggle, not to engage. This person doesn’t know me, doesn’t know my beliefs, or experiences, or behavior. Defending seemed pointless. What they think about me really doesn’t matter.
What does matter, and what has lingered in my mind since then, is the idea of how quick to anger people seem to be now, and how anonymous social media postings allow them to freely lob their anger at others. And what bothered me even more, although several people spoke against the commenter, and more tagged it with unhappy or sad emoticons, one person gave it the thumbs up. And, worst of all, one person gave it the happy face. That bothers me the most.
Just to give out the whole story, after someone actually identified angry commenter as someone who works at a farm, and another person said they would now never go to said farm, the commenter posted this:
You’re right [name redacted] it was unnecessary. And I apologize. Sometimes I just think that people don’t understand what a farmer goes through to get food on the table. Again I apologize.
I didn’t respond to that either. I don’t know who they were apologizing to, me or the person who called them on their comment. And because it only appeared 24 hours later when there was a threat to their business, I am unsure of their sincerity, and again, I chose not to engage.
But it still bugs me, the whole thing. Was my original post insensitive? And, while I feel like I have worked hard for everything I have, am I entitled? And how can this become a civil discussion among fair minded people, and not a series of angry insults traded invisibly? Food for thought. I welcome yours.
The end, for now