By Ian Kreitzberg
Nation & World Editor
It’s not easy being a journalist.
I have come to this conclusion after delving into a topic long-recognized as challenging by reporters: religion. I explored Hinduism as a conduit for an in-depth analysis of religiosity and Atheism in America, and in the process, my words unintentionally vilified a group of people.
The response was fast and powerful, with several articles coming out that analyzed what the authors referred to as “Hinduphobia” at the College.
I did learn a valuable lesson: my words were interpreted as derogatory, which was certainly never my intention. Many of the responses I received, however, very clearly intended to vilify, with a clear goal of keeping this topic taboo.
“Let’s hope that the person is not trying for any role in journalism any further because this is the lowest level of propaganda and bigotry anyone can stoop down to and media outlets hiring such people will only be encouraging Hinduphobia on their payroll.”
We live in a culture of political correctness, a culture where many people use social media to promote ideals of universal tolerance and respect. When intolerance is used as a means to promote tolerance, that vital message is lost.
Journalism exists to promote truth, facts and discussion. An ideal world of tolerance is one where two people with differing perspectives can discuss the other’s perspective and subsequently learn more about that person and their point of view. When words are used to promote this kind of discussion, one that is devoid of hate or stereotypes, we grow that much closer to a culture of respect and tolerance: a politically-correct culture.
But when words are used as weapons, they simply deepen divisions, further stereotypes and promote intolerance and hatred on all sides. It is possible for two sides to agree to disagree with passion and without harm.
This is a culture I hope my journalistic endeavors can foster: one in which the power, both intended and unintended, of our words is examined, analyzed and discussed. No subject should be off-limits, and no one, journalist or not, should be attacked for writing with authority about sensitive topics, whether purposefully or unintentionally.