What’s my confession? Well, OK, here it goes: I have a serious issue with the USD Confessions page.
Why? After all, it is entertaining to peruse the page for hours, viewing students’ deep secrets and funny rants. It is funny to read about a vengeful roommate urinating on a toothbrush in an act of very, very unhygienic retaliation or about a student who finds dentists incredibly attractive.
And, yes, I do secretly hope that my roommate was not the one posting about the “stream of fury.” I am also now hyperaware of my own sexual desires pertaining to dentists (no, I do not get tingly when he asks if I want mint or cherry teeth cleaner).
However, USD Confessions is not all fun and games.
Not every post is a lighthearted, innocent confession. In fact, most USD confessions are discriminatory and offensive. This is due to anonymity of the posters. Commentators on posts have identities, yet they still write harmful messages. Confessors perpetuate bigotry and ignorance with hurtful, insensitive comments. From every angle, USD Confessions is ultimately destructive.
OK, so maybe you don’t believe me yet. Perhaps you think I’m crazy for criticizing such a well-known and visited Facebook page. It turns out I’m not. Crazy? Maybe. But, crazy for unveiling the true identity of USD Confessions? Nope. Not at all.
So for all of you out there who aren’t quite convinced that USD Confessions is a breeding ground for discrimination and cyberbullying, let me give you a few examples of recent posts.
A few weeks ago, the USD Confessions page exploded. Not literally an explosion, but pretty catastrophic nonetheless. Someone had posted a joke about rape, to which Betsey Horton, a former USD student commented that rape is not funny and jokes normalize rape culture. The response she received was sickening.
Not only were comments insensitively targeting Betsey, but women in general. The page administrator, who in my opinion should be an objective regulator, actually took part in the ridicule of Betsey Horton. Sounds like abuse of power if you ask me.
This behavior is completely unacceptable. It is not good fun, nor expression of opinions. It is cyberbullying. Spin it any way you want, USD Confessions propagates discrimination and hurtful judgment. People find it easier to communicate malicious messages from the keys of a computer.
The incident with Betsey Horton is not isolated. There are racist/sexist/homophobic/body-shaming/slut-shaming/etc. posts and comments made daily. Every. Single. Day.
No, people, it isn’t your opinion. It is ignorance. Spreading hate and shaming others is not an opinion. It is bullying.
“Being fat is not beautiful, attractive, or acceptable.”
“You have not been preaching equality but misandry.”
Those are just a few direct quotes from the page. These posts illustrate my point: USD Confessions perpetuates ignorance, harbors bullying and discrimination and allows people to feel no guilt for their offensive remarks.
There are plenty more examples, just check out the page. Actually, don’t check out the page. We are better than the behavior on USD Confessions. And, no, not every post is bad. Not every post is discriminatory, or hateful, or sexist, or racist or…OK, well, you get the point. But it doesn’t have to be every post. Even one derogatory post or comment invalidates the page. A page that allows for the dissemination of hatred does not deserve the support it currently receives.
Although some people attempt to stand up for the rights of individuals or groups, the administrator and other posters shut them down. Don’t use USD Confessions as a platform for social justice either because you will inevitably lose.
Social media is not the platform to fight injustice and hatred, especially in a controlled environment such as USD Confessions. Instead, fight the inequalities you see in actual reality. Reevaluate “opinions” and make sure they aren’t demeaning sentiments in disguise. Prevent the subjugation of groups, stand up for your own rights and the rights of others and spread love, not hate.
Yes, that is a generic saying, but the message is important. Live in the present, not online, and use your words to lift up others, not tear them down. Forget the hate and show respect to your fellow ‘Yotes, because respect is the antidote to the virus of hatred.
— Emily Grode