Comment sections and forums across the internet often have some kind of ‘no politics’ rule. Depending on the type of post, this usually robs a certain voice that must be heard. Of course, if it is a picture of a puppy liking peanut butter, then I better not hear about Trump’s wall in that comment section. But if it’s a discussion on say, Liam Neeson and the recent confusion of a journalist for a psychologist, the implications of his thought process have larger ramification that need to be addressed.
What I really like to try emphasise in a lot of my academic, creative and social thinking is that we are all political.
I don’t mean that we are all eligible of being the Prime Minister of Australia in the next minute (although that is arguably highly likely considering) but that all of us have power to affect beliefs and ideas of others all around us.
So a comment section or forum that talks about some kind of news story or event or idea, which isn’t allowed to be discussed in a ‘political’ way means a whole voice is robbed. A whole conversation about the power dynamics of a post is lost. The voice that would want to challenge what’s happening isn’t able to be heard. Power remains the same, lost to the authority of the ‘no politics’ idea. This becomes oppressive and weakens the chance for civil opinions to be heard.
An example I want to use is, as alluded too, the Liam Neeson fiasco. The link escapes me at the time of writing but I came across a thread that basically said ‘Let’s not talk about the politics behind this and appreciate how good of an actor he is, regardless’ (not verbatim).
The article highlighted over his name suggests that if what Liam Neeson did was done to a white person, race would not have been involved and he wouldn’t have sought out a white person. This is due to the assumed whiteness that is vicarious in our western society. So in a comment section that disallows the voice concerned about racism, in order to instead celebrate the mans accomplishments… it unconsciously accepts the dangers of lived racism.
We need to talk about politics, but not in the way we all think. We need to recognise everything we do has weight. Every single action affects how those around us perceive their world and how they enact their lived experience of said world.
There is no such thing as ‘no politics’, rather, only the politics that certain people want to hear when it would otherwise challenge human rights and basic human decency.