Yesterday it was about how great Kickstarter is. Today is about how big of a kick in the gut the Internet can be.
What, exactly, did Karen Klein do to deserve the publicity that she is now getting? The 68-year-old bus monitor got verbally abused by a group of middle school kids from Athena Middle School in Greece, New York. A ten minute video of said abuse gets posted to YouTube, and now the world gets to see the underbelly of how some people behave. Why has this one, particular, video come to the attention of our world? Max Sidorov saw the video and wanted to do something about it (like have the online community fund a vacation for this woman). Well, his humane act has now raised almost $300,000 dollars (you can help out, read the full story and even watch the disturbing video right here: Lets Give Karen -The bus monitor- H Klein A Vacation!). So yes, the Internet (and social media) have helped, but it has also - once again - demonstrated that we - as a society - have a long way to go.
Why this? Why now?
I tend to not speak about my personal life all that much. I tend to keep the content here focused on the world of media and marketing. But, as the father of young children, these types of antics terrify me. My kids aren't old enough for the school bus yet and I am doing my best - each and every day - to keep them as innocent and sheltered from things like hate, violence and bad language as possible. You would be surprised how difficult that is in our current world. To think that they may have to endure a berating like this or sit idly by as others act this way causes me to have deep anxiety.
The most depressing thing happening in digital right now...
Is that because anyone can have a thought and publish it in text, images, audio and video that we wind up seeing the hate that people have. It's amazing how much evolution we've had because of technology and how little evolution has seeped through to people. I'm about to get preachy here (so, if you're looking for my regular marketing blather, please come back tomorrow)...
- One species.
- Regardless of race.
- Regardless of color.
- Regardless of gender.
- Regardless of sexual preference.
- Regardless of physical appearance.
- Regardless of borders.
- Regardless of religions.
- Regardless of faith.
- Regardless of vocation.
- Regardless of income.
- Regardless of social class.
- Are created the same.
- Bleed the same.
- Smile the same.
- Die the same.
- Laugh the same.
- Think the same.
- Eat the same.
- Starve the same.
There are no differences.
We spend too much time attempting to find common ground between people, without realizing that the common ground is that we are all human beings. It's innate. We tend to forget about it. We're here for a short time (and hopefully a good time) and yet, we can't help but subjugate, judge, demean and do other nasty things to one another. Why? We are no better than the animals, some might think. It is, simply, not true. We have consciousness. We are aware of our own self and mortality. And, while he/she who dies with the most toys may win, ask yourself why this should be done at the detriment to others? Karen Klein makes $16,000 a year doing a job that (I bet) she never dreamed she would be doing when she was as young as the kids who are insulting her in this video. I spend a good chunk of my day acknowledging that I hit the genetic lottery (being born in North America with a lot of significant opportunities that others don't have). Videos like this remind me that we need to become much better guards at the gates of our brains and mouths. I realize that we have war, strife and starvation happening all over the world, and that none of it truly makes any sense, but Karen's story reminded me that if we're going to take those important first steps, they may as well be in our own homes.
Kiss your kids tonight... and remind them that we're all created equal.
(back to the marketing banter tomorrow... I promise).