Social media and censoring – allow people to mourn Franziska

By | 9th March 2016

So I figured it was only a matter of time. Social media, you judgmental machine, you! There has been a visible outpouring of grief and empathy in the wake of the tragic Tokai teen murder. People from all walks of life – albeit predominantly white people, if we are honest here – and age groups have rallied in support of the devastated family. Now, there’s a spate of posts on social media about how unjust it seems that when it’s a resident of a predominantly white area, there is public outcry, but when an innocent life is taken in a township or less privileged area, the same response is demonstrably absent. Now, surely we all agree this is not right. However, there are arguably reasons for this disjuncture. Perhaps the media (social and mainstream) does not successfully communicate these incidents to the wider community as powerfully, expediently, or at all. Perhaps it is because on some level, those who have responded so visibly to this crime are better able to identify on a more personal level given that it took place on their backdoor step and it could have been their daughter, sister, mother, friend. Somehow this makes the crime resonate more. Is this right? No. Is it a natural human response? Yes. Does this warrant guilt-inducing social media attacks? I would suggest not. It just leads to censorship rather than necessarily encouraging the ‘right’ response when the victim is discovered ‘out there’ rather than ‘right here’. Why discourage people from showing support towards this devastated family? Why guilt them over walking in solidarity and taking a stand against violence in our community. A post attached to a bunch of flowers attached to the fence resonated with me: ‘We deplore this act of violence in our community. We deplore all such acts of violence in all communities across our country. We hear the voices of those lost, those who have no voice and those not heard. We stand together against violence against our women and children. Now and always.’ Let people mourn if they identify. It is no sin to do so.