Harmless message, violent reactionJ. Francisco Macías | April 6, 2017
Spanish NGO “HazteOir” dared to say out loud that boys are boys and girls are girls with an orange bus printed with such surly message. Even if this message may seem a self-evident truth, taught at biology class —which would make it so meaningless and harmless to even care about it—, it caused an unprecedented uproar for nowadays society. The bus was stoned and damaged in Sevilla1; in Pamplona, it was received with eggs and angry screams2. In New York —far away from Spain-, the bus was vandalized, painted with hate messages, and one of its headlights was broken3.
I know the “Free Speech Bus” was released weeks ago, and it is no more news. Nevertheless, I resisted to write about it earlier. I hoped the discussion would eventually focus on the real object of debate: a biological truth. That, however, did not happen.
This initiative has been called everything: from “transphobic” to “pre-genocydal”. As the debate develops, the main issue is no more the biological message displayed, but the definition of the limits of “political correctness”.
Godwin’s Law of Nazi analogies states the following: “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches”4. In a humorous way, this “law” shows how discussions on the internet often result in irrational, empty, and meaningless attacks.
Indeed, guess who was labeled as “Nazi?” “Good morning to everyone, except for the Nazis from HazteOir”5 tweeted José Antoral (@antoral) last February 27, 2017.
I believe HazteOir’s message is correct and does not hurt anyone. I also understand that someone might think the opposite. This is the “magic” of “diversity” in a pluralistic society. However, I am very worried by the incapacity to have serious conversations, to debate real topics publicly. Freedom of speech is under attack and ideologies are obscuring truth.
I am disappointed by our society (both on- and offline). I welcome disagreements: they constitute the beauty of discussion; but I am worried because a harmless message —like the one portrayed by HazteOir— led, and continues to lead to violence.