Meme culture is making idiots of us all.
Only in our social media feeds can we boil down complex societal issues to a punchline and a funny picture. The more ignorant the post, the more we eat it up.
Don’t believe me?
Post a statement about refugees being possible terrorists over a backdrop of the flag and watch the likes grow exponentially.
For all of our nation’s multi-cultural pride, memes based in misinformation are more popular now than ever. As the map of Canada turns 150 this year, let’s examine some of the more insidious examples that refuse to die.
If (X-nationality) wants to come to Canada, they need to learn English
If you’re lucky enough to have this meme pop up on your newsfeed, reply with a simple, “pourquois?”
The language argument forgets centuries of fighting and division that led to our TWO (count them) official languages in the first place. It also ignores the hundreds of languages that no longer exist thanks to genocide.
As a rule, if you don’t even know how to say hello in someone else’ language, you really can’t complain when they converse in broken English.
Go back to (X-country)
Unfortunately, this one is almost always targeted at Muslims, and more often than not refers to Islam as a country. It’s easy to point out the hypocrisy here, but people who want to send the terrorists back where they came from likely don’t care how immigration has shaped North American society.
When these types of memes pop up, someone always raises the counter-point that Indigenous Canadians are the only true Canadians.
While that’s been true since the Ice Age, it almost always falls flat, usually followed by the phrase, “It was a different time then.”
Canada is a Christian nation
This is another one disproportionately directed at Muslims, who make up such a staggering religious population that it’s absurd to make them a target. Still, many misinformed people think Sharia law is only an election away, thanks to fear-mongering politicians.
On that note, ask anyone who fears the takeover of Sharia law to name one thing about it and you’ll get a hodgepodge of babbling anecdotes – none of which are accurate.
I think the reason why people tolerate Christian influence is simple – Christmas and Good Friday are statutory holidays. If we took the Christ out of government entirely, we’d have fewer days to earn time and a half.
Canada is the best country in the world
This one is right and wrong.
Let me explain…
Statistically, the Montreal Canadiens are the best team in the NHL because they have the most Stanley Cups. However, the last Stanley Cup they won was in 1993. Do they still deserve the title?
Politicians and country music stars love saying their country is best. But it’s subjective… All of this is.
Canadians may feel Canada is the best country in the world, just like Americans believe America is, and Iranians believe Iran is. So who is right?
Nobody and everybody.
Support our troops or get the hell out of Canada
Come on… Really?
Everyone wants veterans to be treated fairly for putting their lives at risk to protect the weak. It’s an honourable thing to do. But is it their job in the first place?
Some people don’t want Canadian troops to die for what are essentially other peoples’ problems. They are right to think so. Others believe we have an obligation to fight oppression wherever it occurs. They are right to think so, too.
Next time you demand support for our troops in X-nation, try to find it on a map first.
I’m not racist but…
Nope! Just stop right now, Granddad. The only races you are allowed to hate on are triathlons and 5Ks… Maybe F1 and NASCAR.
How many genders are they going to make up next? Do you really want some pervert using the women’s bathroom?
These memes deserve a spot on the list because they generate so much hate from people who are completely unaffected by the issue. And for what? Refusal to learn.
Gender is like gravity – just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Public discourse on the gender spectrum is so new that what we think we know now will seem prehistoric in 15 years. In 20 years, we’ll all think back and shake our heads at the time when it was a big deal. In the meantime, people suffer with nowhere to turn. Sh*t like this doesn’t help.
So where do we go from here?
Morality is a funny thing – the more we force it on people, the less of it we have.
It seems defeatist to say that intolerant memes will live on forever and to just ignore them, but that’s what we have to do, at least online. These arguments can’t be won in anonymous cyberspace, they can only escalate.
So go ahead and ask questions, give facts, offer your opinions. But put some thought into it. Don’t just repost an image.
The appeal of the angry meme – for both sides – is that you don’t have to answer any tough questions. You just need to click ‘share’ and get on with your day.