Is Social Media Turning You Into A Terrible, Toxic Person?

February 24, 2016  |  

cyberbullying

For years now, I had slowly but surely started to grow weary of social media. I had all but abandoned my Twitter and Facebook page, only keeping them for work purposes, and refused to try most of the new apps that everyone was raving about. The only social media I didn’t give the cold shoulder in the same manner was Instagram. And yet, certain profiles, certain former classmates, certain things, started to rub me the wrong way.

I felt as though there were too many negative things penetrating my spirit on a daily basis, causing me, in turn, to be and feel negative. So, I logged off of just about everything and, to this day, continue to be on an indefinite pause. And you know what? I feel more at peace. It was a move that made sense to me. Especially since those who know me know that I always say, “The Internet is the worst thing to happen to people.” And after reading about what happened to a young woman and writer named Danielle “Jazz” Noel, I’m reminded that I was right about that.

She took part in what was supposed to be a fun and funny Elite Daily video (sponsored by T-Mobile) where a few pair of exes go through one another’s phones. But instead of focusing on the humor, people zeroed in on Noel’s looks. Specifically, Black men and women. Some called her everything from “gorilla” to “unattractive” and “ugly.” Noel shared her thoughts on how everything went left, and why she believed that happened, on Afropunk.com:

Colorism and bashing of black features is nothing new to me. I’ve experienced its effects my entire life whether dealing with extended family, or children at school…But social media and the internet, as a whole, is a dangerous and evolutionary means of bullying.
The lack of face-to-face interaction allows for those who would normally remain quiet—in fear of facing any consequences—to rapidly spread hate from behind a computer screen. Herein lies the danger of cyberbullying: Many of those attacking me for being born this way are really dealing with their own inferiority complexes unbeknownst to them, and gain a false sense of superiority by trying to make me feel like less of a person. But whereas, in the past, bullies might have handled the issues with a fight, discussion or something that made both parties reflect on either their actions or reactions; bullies on the internet have [sic] face little accountability for their words. With lack of accountability, they’re less likely to reflect on what caused them to be so cruel, which prevents them from ever looking on the inside to get to know themselves and understand their own hurt. Essentially, social media cyberbullying has ushered in a dangerous evolution of self-hate.

Noel would go on to say that, thankfully, her core family members had encouraged her to love herself and her features, and would help her be “very comfortable in my skin, and prefer my nose, lips and any other feature that makes me, me.” So, she had nothing to offer her unwarranted detractors but pity, because it’s clear they’re facing an internal struggle. What struck me about her response to the disdainful slander was her statement that “social media cyberbullying has ushered in a dangerous evolution of self-hate.” I agree with that. Because there has to be something off within a person to call a complete stranger “ugly,” a “gorilla,” or a “b-tch” on a public forum. What can someone do with that information? Change their face? Go into hiding to make you feel better? I think not.

And I get it. We are all entitled to our opinions. I’m sure we’ve all had less than pleasant ones about everything and everybody. But there’s a difference between what pops into your mind and what comes out of your mouth–or better yet, what you choose to take the time to type out and share with the world. And I’m not referring to trolls. They’ve obviously made it their goal in life to be nasty. Don’t feed ’em. Rather, I’m talking about you and me.

And this is exactly why I had to get away from social media. I truly believe that it’s brought out the worst in a lot of people. It’s created the type of individuals who can’t look at an image without trying to figure out what’s wrong with it. Who can’t wait to be that one dissenting opinion that has to point out trivialities in the hopes that they’ll get kudos for being “different.” Who get on social media and complain about stories they haven’t read, people they don’t know from Adam, and to serve attitude on a cold plate to people just because they don’t agree with them. Somehow, by throwing darts at people from a place of anonymity, we’ve tried to disguise even the ugliest of statements as merely an “opinion” some people are just too sensitive to hear. And if someone disagrees with us in a similar tart fashion, then we have the gall to deem them the “ignorant,” “unprofessional,” “bitter,” “disrespectful” one. Hey, don’t start none, won’t be none.

I know all this because I fed into that crap. I let gossip site pages pull me into negative conversations at someone else’s expense, knowing full well the seat of my pants was on fire come Sunday morning because I felt like crap about the way I treated others. I was a follower, following the lead of strangers in saying any ol’ thing. It’s still something I’m working on fixing.

I made the realization that social media was taking away my sense of peace. I noticed the ways in which people tried to crack even the most confident of people. I saw the ways in which they, and even myself, were, in a way, being bullies. Once I felt all that penetrating my spirit negatively, I realized it was something I had to get away from.

Would you admit that you have found yourself saying and doing some less than positive things on social media, all because nobody who knows you could hold you accountable for them? If so, you might just benefit from a similar social media sabbatical. And if not, you can always just remember the age-old adage that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And that, is a lesson too many of us fail to heed.

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  • Latonya Hewitt

    I was pleased to hear her comments, let alone stood up for herself. This young woman is going to live a promising good life and go very far in the world. Therefore, it’s not about looks, it’s all about character and in my opinion, that’s what make a person beautiful on the inside and the outside.

  • Up20

    *can’t completely blame her

  • Up20

    I think the only thing that’s unattractive about her or any individual is their lack of confidence. I believe she is beautiful however if you are insecure it shows like paint on the wall. We can completely blame her for being insecure when people take time out of their day to spew hate. Especially black people.

  • Purple Sound

    Sad. I like how Black people are so quick to call out White people for racism, but won’t check themselves smh the intra-racism and self-hate is real. This reminds of the article I read where the women who was crown Carnival Queen in Brazil had her crown and title taken away from her because there were complaints from both sides of the fence that she was too dark.

  • GymJunkie43

    Being the real you online has no consequences so it gives “twitter fingers” virtual courage. In real life, you risk getting your feelings hurt, getting your a** kicked or even getting fired from your job if you are bitter, racist or just insanely emotionally unstable.

  • yoda

    Some of y’all comments make me think of when Tumblr did a black out and all black people were posting pictures. People were telling each other they were beautiful. Everyone is not beautiful and that’s a fact. Because I’m black and I think someone black is ugly does not mean I have a colonized mind. There are many very dark black women with strong features who are gorgeous. This girl is not. I do not think it was necessary to call her names but you don’t need to say she’s beautiful to defend her.

    • Old School Me

      But saying someone is ugly because their skin is ‘too dark’ and saying that they look like a gorilla does mean someone has been brainwashed and has a colonized mind.

      • yoda

        That’s true but I personally don’t say someone looks like a gorilla regardless of skin tone.

    • Lana

      And you still said she was ugly. Stating your opinion while dehumanizing her in the process doesn’t make it valid. Perhaps you need to keep your mouth shut.

      • yoda

        Calling someone ugly is dehumanizing??? Who told you that PC b.s.?? And instead of calmly stating your opinion like others on this page you tell me to keep my mouth shut. So I’ll calmly you tell you you can shove your opinion where the sun don’t shine!

        • Lana

          And ur still a retard. Calm down.

          • yoda

            Using the word retard is a slur azzhole! I’m very calm. It’s just the Internet!

  • Masterpieced

    lol Thank you for seeing the silliness.

    • Secret87

      Whatever..

      • Masterpieced

        Huh?

  • Secret87

    Like a nigerian mixed with a carribean blk is….special looking.

  • Secret87

    No its true. Just like in Africa you Wont confuse Ethiopians and nigerians,but both are blk. You can be a blk biracial.

  • guest

    Someone once compared the internet and social media in particular as a “jr. high school in the worst spot in hell”. I’d agree with that analogy.

  • Renae

    I agree with this post. The hate/insecurity/pettiness is at an all time high; at least, now that we can see it daily it seems that way. I don’t have IG, Facebook, or Twitter because it seems to be overrun with folks that have WAAAYYY to much time on their hands to leave rude comments, argue with other commenters, tag their friends to come make fun of ppl with them…it’s abhorrent.

    You can tell some of these ppl weren’t raised to feel good about themselves so they have to put others down in order to do so. But pointing out that someone is ugly (in your opinion) makes your life no better, makes you no prettier, or smarter. It just makes you look sad and bitter. Maybe she isn’t attractive to you or someone else, but why say that? Just keep your mouth shut (or your fingers in your pockets) and move on.

  • CDJ

    Social media is a place for all types of hate, its a way people can say things without being seen and not have any consequences. It reveals whats really in a persons mind and heart. Its a toxic waste dump. It shows how much character and integrity a person really has. Once again, what you do when no one is watching. I live by the rule if I would’nt say it in person, I won’t say it (or show it) online.

  • MY OPINION IS (notice how the letters are in all caps? ok) She is physically unattractive. It has NOTHING to do with her dark skin and full lips, which anyone who knows me know that I’m a sucker for those things on anyone, male or female. But Daniel isn’t pretty at all. That lip color isn’t helping. I’m pretty sure I’m ugly to someone too shit, we all are), but I really don’t care about other’s opinions like a lot of people do.

    • Old School Me

      I think the point is why would someone make it a point to post something like that? Would they walk up to a stranger and say “You’re unattractive.” If not, why not? Maybe because it’s mean. It was wrong to post those types of comments. It was unkind and unproductive.

    • Mimi

      Yeah my first honest thought was that she looks like a man in drag.

      • She does for real.

        • Mimi

          I actually thought they were a gay couple

          • Lana

            And what are you??? Simpleton.

        • Lana

          And ur a sicko. Calm down.

    • Lana

      Your opinions may on her looks doesn’t make it valid. Your opinions don’t matter if they are dehumanizing in a way. How would you feel if someone called your child ugly? And I suggest you stop putting too much grease on your face in your avi.

  • D

    While I applaud her for loving her features, to MANY ppl she IS an unattractive woman. That was my first honest thought when she popped up on my screen. Now I’m not an azzhole who would actually post and call her that on a forum but why if we find a large nose or big lips unatrractive are we “self haters” of our race? Plenty of white ppl have Toucan Sam noses or pencil thin lips and will say thats unattractive about their own race and they aren’t labeled not loving their predominatly white features. You like what you like. PERIOD.

    • Old School Me

      I think it’s problematic when you call a Black person a gorilla since historically, racists have compared our looks to those of monkeys, gorillas, etc. If you’re Black and using the same descriptions, there does seem to be an element of self hate.

    • Thomas Bernard

      That’s the thing…the original video wasn’t about her looks. It was on a totally different subject. Why point out her looks when that’s neither here or there? I mean d@mn, stick to the subject.

    • Secret87

      Large lips are beautiful,but hers is one strange color at the bottom. I think because in the video the lip gloss showed better on the bottom lip and not the top lip. And the nose is different. I know she is a charming person, and she has the look whites would hire on the runway to rep us on purpose. ..but I wouldn’t want to be her. I care less how many famous people she knows.
      As blks we have to pretend all of us look good. Ugly exist in all races.
      If I had a son and he brought her home and she peeking around the corner looking like that… 🙁

  • Old School Me

    This is sadly true. A few of those keyboard bullies post on this site; going so far as to admit that they post in order to make those who respond to them get upset – how ugly, how demonic. Your reason for existing is to try to make people feel bad? Well, the old saying goes, ‘misery loves company’.

    Once that kind of person shows me who they are, I see their names and ignore any and all of their posts, even those in direct response to mine. Don’t feed the trolls. Without feeding, they weaken and die.

  • Masterpieced

    Let me say something negative about biracials and many folk run me down. Where are they now to criticize the negative folk who post on this sister?

    • Lisa

      Oh, I’m still here. See my comment up above.

    • Secret87

      Tiny is biracial and ugly.

  • tiredofyouall

    first you have to have ” toxic” inside ; social media gives an outlet !
    one can hide behind the computer in anonymity to say anything/everything ….
    unfortunately, most political commentary is through fb , which forces me to use it .
    people that have positivity in THEIR life , tends to post more positive comments ;
    miserable people say miserable things ….
    what I find most disturbing is that people are living their lives through social media –
    the NEED to be validated , to make themselves ” feel” better about themselves and their circumstance -which I find beyond sad ….

  • IanMC

    ”I felt as though there were too many negative things penetrating my spirit on a daily basis, causing me, in turn, to be and feel negative.”

    I felt the same way, it’s good to know I’m not alone. That’s why I’m done with Facebook.

  • Ri-damn-diculous

    Daniel “Jazz” Noel response to the comments was for lack of a better word perfect. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I would love to see those who are commenting on her look so harshly be put in Daniel position and see how they react to negativity. It takes a strong person to rise above the BS. Whether you find her attractive or unattractive that wasn’t the purpose of her video and that goes to show how petty we as people have become. Cyberbullying, nasty comments takes lives everyday especially that of teenagers. I pray to God that the people who are commenting about her on her looks, children never have to experience this.

  • queen_melanin

    terrible.

  • Kina Washington

    A lot of what was said in this article are my reasons for logging out of FaceBook last June. At the beginning of the year I started toying with the idea of logging back in, peeking in every now and then to see if it’s ‘safe’ but that has not been the case. Thanks for reminding me why I left.

    • Mrs.J

      People leave nasty comments on there about you?

    • Free_Is_Me

      I did the same thing….FB become too much

  • secret87

    The two white women couple the one on the left looks manly to me.

    She is likely a great person, but ….kinda rough looking. Its the nose. The nostrils are too tiny for the overall size of the nose. Beautiful people exist in all races, so do ugly and even average.

    I think she should reconsider and get back with him. He looks kinda cute and would approve her future kids.

    Her hair is beautiful, her eyes, and you can tell she has a great personality.

    Also she could be black mixed.

    Like the girl who played precious her dad is African and mom black American.

    Same with Iman modal she has a older daughter whose dad was black American.

    Facial wise black on black mix race sometimes look unique. Not ugly. Just not something people are use to. So in a way she could be the most beautiful woman on earth and were just not as familiar with her beauty yet.

    I know a girl who has a nigerian mom and a black American dad….somewhere..she looks unique facial wise.

    My south African dna is old, so maybe I would of looked somewhat like her.

    • Masterpieced

      You are sick. Black and Black is not a mix. Lord.

      Stop judging folks’ noses. GOD made them!

      • Secret87

        Yes all blks are not exactly the same.

        • Masterpieced

          We ALL come from Africa.

          • Secret87

            All?

            • Masterpieced

              Yep. All Black and all folk. “Lucy” is the oldest human skeleton found in Ethiopia.

      • Secret87

        Also we know when we see a average to ugly white person. Not one blk person would say other wise. Ugly or average exists in all races not just in non blks. Notice you didn’t say anything when I pointed out that manly looking ww.

      • Holier than thou

        Couldn’t agree more. Since when is black and black considered mixed-race?! LOL

        • Masterpieced

          Thanks for the comment. I thought maybe once again I had missed a memo.

  • secret87

    The lesbian couple and the one on the left looks manly to me.
    She is likely a great person, but ….kinda rough looking. Its the nose. The nostrils are too tiny for the overall size of the nose. Beautiful people exist in all races, so do ugly and even average.
    I think she should reconsider and get back with him. He looks kinda cute and would approve her future kids.

    Her hair is beautiful, her eyes, and you can tell she has a great personality.
    Also she could be black mixed.
    Like the girl who played precious her dad is African and mom black American.
    Same with Iman modal she has a older daughter whose dad was black American.

    Facial wise black on black mix race sometimes look unique. Not ugly. Just not something people are use to. So in a way she could be the most beautiful woman on earth and were just not as familiar with her beauty yet.
    I know a girl who has a nigerian mom and a black American dad….somewhere..she looks unique facial wise.

    My south African dna is old, so maybe I would of looked somewhat like her.

  • fanstastic

    Social media has exposed to the world how shallow, mean spirited and backwards too many blacks are and it has given a pass to unchecked hatred some whites have toward blacks – no matter who they are. In this case – there is some post slavery psychological sh*t mixed up in the petty arguments and ill-treatment toward blacks on many social media sites…Like the “dozens” taken to a real mindless and heartless low. Crack/cocaine and exotic drug use has devastated a large population of the black community. Treating this young woman this way is heartless… no better than a slave master would have treated her on a plantation – as an ugly object that deserves cruel, inhumane treatment. tsk,tsk,tsk…happy Black History Month folks…show them what you working with.

  • Kory Green

    It’s not social media. People are just being exposed for who they really are.

    • Free_Is_Me

      I was thinking that as well

  • Guest

    “social media cyberbullying has ushered in a dangerous evolution of self-hate.”

    I just wanted to repeat this because it’s so true.

    Whenever I see two people going back and forth online insulting each other for hours or days, I know it’s a display of self hate. I can relate because I used to do it when I was younger.

    You have to ask yourself, what is going on in your life that you have hours out of your day to argue with strangers online..

    I’m sorry this girl had to be subjected to that sad expression of self hate from those trolls. I think she’s beaufiful.

    • guest

      And the ugly back and forth happens so often on this very site! LOL — You are right about her being beautiful. She is. Most of us, black and white, have been brainwashed about what beauty is. Stop watching t.v. for a while and feeding your mind all that hollywood junk – you’d be surprised how your view of the world changes.

      • Taneesha Culture Clash Thomas

        Amen

      • Masterpieced

        Yes, I know certain members who like to come for me. I do not know them personally. I REFUSE to have online enemies and fights.

        • Free_Is_Me

          Yes, some of them I think have finally left…I guess we didn’t play their games well enough. I had gotten out of control for a while. or MN finally blocked their ignorant butts.

      • Free_Is_Me

        Thank you!

    • Old School Me

      I agree. It’s one thing to lose your cool (no one is perfect and we all have our pet peeves/hot button issues). It’s another thing when the vast majority of an individual’s posts/exchanges are designed to provoke – their goal is to start or continue an ugly back and forth – on every topic.

      I have to scroll on by those who have shown themselves to be Black vs Black racists (Black people are no good, Black people can’t get it together, yada yada). I also scroll past the non Blacks/biracials who come on this site (Madame NOIRE) just to post nasty things about Black women. You can’t reason with those types, no use trying. Once I peep who you are, I’m done, I’ve shaken the dust off my feet.

  • LeilaniC

    i dont understand why people get mad and start name calling when you dont agree with their opinion. Agree to disagree and move on.

  • Victor Friese

    She has nice cheeks at least.

    • guest

      She is actually a beautiful young woman. But in order for you to see it, you have to decolonize your mind.

      • Guest

        There’s a much better picture of her on another site, with natural hair and all; Which she talks about. This picture here is definitely not flattering at all, the other one is much better and she has a cute ex on the ad with her, so she’s doing just fine.

  • Van

    An ugly woman is an ugly woman, enough with the bs.

    • xobxo

      Yes, it’s solely your opinion if you believe someone is ugly or not, but that doesn’t give anyone permission to make vile and demeaning comments! I guess people weren’t taught “if you have nothing nice to say..” SMFH

      • IanMC

        This is so true, why people keep on spreading negativity ?

  • Lex

    Co-sign to it all. And you KNOW none of these people would say any of those nasty things to her face. Social media and the internet is good for exposing cowards.

  • Van

    That woman is hideous. It has nothing to do with skin tone. There are ugly people in the world, accept that and move on. None of that self hate rhetoric, just an ugly chick. Everyone is beautiful is BS to tell kids to shelter them.

    • Lex

      Thanks for proving her point. Shame. Are you superior to her because you shared your opinion on her appearance? Show us what you look like. You’ve already shown us how ugly you are inside 🙂

      • Van

        You are a liar, that’s not good. You’re worst than them.

        • Lex

          Where did I lie? Where’s your picture? God bless you 🙂

    • Lisa

      The point is not whether someone is unattractive (or handicapped, or mentally challenged, or whatever), but that only an insecure person would point out another persons’ apparent physical faults. Insecure people lash out in this way because they have been hurt, or feel unloved, worthless or unsuccessful. Subconsiously, they hope to make themselves feel better by elevating themselves above random strangers. People who are happy and self-confident and have high self-esteem do not have any reason to act out in this way.

      • secret87

        I agree none of us should point it out. Im only more curious how her parents look like. I love to see genetics at work.

    • Kory Green

      If everyone is beautiful, then nobody is beautiful. Beauty would cease to exist.

    • Guestest1

      You’ve made several comments about her being “ugly” which is your opinion. Not everyone is going to have the same perception of beauty as you.

    • Masterpieced

      If it has NOTHING to do with skin tone then lets post an ugly biracial person and read the comments.

      • Secret87

        Lol Tiny.

    • SANDRA

      That’s your opinion but why do you spend so much time telling us that she’s ugly? Are you happy with yourself?

  • _a_

    I feel this girls pain as I have been through what shes been through.

    On another note people should check out her instagram. Like her life is amazing. Shes up there hanging with Erykah Badu, Solange, and Angela Davis. Shes also attending Columbia University in NYC soon and shes a very talented musician and photographer.

    • Van

      Angela Davis is scum, not a good thing.

    • Guest

      What’s her instagram page?

      • _a_

        @Jazzshoots

        • Guest

          Ok thanks!

          • _a_

            Np:)

    • Joyce Gray

      That’s great. Even if she is “ugly” so what. What is she suppose to do – don’t enjoy life, stop living. It seems to me she has a pretty great life: she’s in college, she’s meeting interesting people, and she has a boyfriend. I bet she’s a lot happier and will have a much more successful life than those who are calling her names like a gorilla. You know what’s funny if she ran out and reconstructed her face with plastic surgery people would still call her names like self-hater, coon, sell-out.

  • Hebrew_Elle

    I completely agree with this article. I was recently dragged into a petty back & forth for commenting on some man dealing with self hate & a general disregard for black women. & though I got my point across, afterward I didn’t feel good at all because what did it cost? Lowering myself.

    Sad thing is by putting so much self hate out there for the public to see, others see that as an open door to disrespect us also. It’s just a never ending cycle of mess.

    • Van

      There is no self hate going on here, stop it. She’s just ugly.

      • Hebrew_Elle

        Pause. There’s nothing wrong with your opinion but it’s best to keep it to yourself because as I said it makes the outside world believe that they can participate in “ugly b*tch” “gorilla” black jokes, that We shouldn’t even participate in.

        If she’s ugly fine, but berating her is Not okay.

        • Van

          Berating her is wrong, true, but we need to establish the reality here: she ugly.

          • Hebrew_Elle

            That’s fine but what we dislike doesn’t have to be shared at all.

          • guest

            This from a troll who says Angela Davis is scum (below). You are simply a storm-front racist trolling a black forum.

          • Raze

            It’s none of you freaking business if she’s ugly? She might be ugly to you, but pretty to someone else. I think you’re ugly for having such negative comments.

            • Free_Is_Me

              These Trolls are getting a bit out of control. I guess since CNN is now blocking their comments they are coming over to blog sites to post their hateful rhetoric. You have to be a miserable person to use that much hateful energy on the internet.

          • CaribbeanGlow

            That’s your reality. Beauty is not factual. Her ex boyfriend was with her and wants her back, and he is cute.

          • ” but we need to establish the reality here”

            Why? what does that do for you or help you in your life?

    • Val

      “Sad thing is by putting so much self hate out there for the public to
      see, others see that as an open door to disrespect us also. It’s just a
      never ending cycle of mess.”

      I agree with you on everything except this. Other groups have been disrespecting us long before there was social media. It is not now nor has it ever been our fault when others disrespect us.

      As for your first paragraph, yeah, I learned long ago not to engage with trolls and others who only want to derail every conversation with their own ugly agenda.

      • Hebrew_Elle

        Yes we have been disrespected by others & I never don’t really expect that to stop, honestly. I was referring to our personal relationships with one another & how that needs to improve Above anything else.

    • Love your name sis

      • Hebrew_Elle

        Aw thank you.

  • Taneesha Culture Clash Thomas

    wow social media has become a forum for black self hate…i see it all day every day…sad

    • Kory Green

      I think the self hate comes in black people making fun of her skin tone. That’s separate from not finding her attractive. I don’t like to use the word “ugly.”

    • Free_Is_Me

      I don’t get it, grown women and men at that. People have become so hateful on social media it’s ridiculous. Makes you wonder if that’s how most really are they just not have the ability to be more honest with…