The words that have been flooding every TikTok and Instagram feed on planet earth. We’ve seen the edits, the memes and those endless debates about whether Will’s actions were justified. In fact, there was so much conversation around the matter that it got me thinking…
How far should we go to defend others?
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, Here’s what went down – Will Smith slapped the comedian Chris Rock at the Oscar award ceremony after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith (wife of Will) being bald. This was a pretty shocking moment for obvious reasons and everyone has different opinions on the matter.
Now, context is essential when it comes to figuring out whether or not actions are justified so every situation is unique. In this case, I think it's pretty clear that a physical reaction wasn’t necessary and it goes against a code of conduct we expect from public figures. That doesn’t mean Chris Rock was right – he was undoubtedly rude – however I don’t think he was deserving of an actual slap.
Oftentimes people go a little overboard when it comes to protecting others. Simple comments can escalate into draining arguments leading to strains on relationships, tensions between people and even fights and other altercations. Did you have to send a mean DM to that girl just because she shoved past your friend at school? Did you have to shout at that guy just because he gave someone a ‘rude’ look?
At times being a teenager can be pretty strange. We have more responsibility, more freedom and we’re beginning to make more choices for ourselves, with less people able to impose what we can and can’t do. There are still consequences for our actions though, in fact they may be bigger than we realise.
We start to figure out who we are, what we like, our interests and so on – so finding friends is a vital part of this process. But – it's easy to get carried away. Someone understands you, you have fun with them, you share the same interests. Yada Yada Yada – you get the point. So, when someone attacks your friend be it verbally, online or even physically – it’s only natural to react. There's nothing wrong with protecting others but doing it carefully and appropriately tends to be difficult, especially in the heat of the moment. We have to make sure that our reactions are suitable and safe; how will you be affected in the aftermath? Is this necessary? Is this worth me getting involved in?
Taking the time to ask yourself questions like those could determine whether you end up in a sticky situation or walk away scott free. Remember that while sticking up for others might be necessary, you have to think about how you’ll be affected. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility for your actions so when you do something on someone else’s behalf, take an extra moment to think about what exactly it is you’re doing and if it’s really worth it.
Tiffany Igharoro is a student in Y11 preparing to take her GCSE's next year. One of her favourite pastimes is writing as it helps her organise her thoughts creatively and dynamically. She has won awards and prizes for poetry, academic and scientific writing and short stories. Recently, she won a nationwide historical essay competition that opened her eyes to the importance of how things are told, and the impact ordinary people have on the world. She is studying art GCSE and believes there is something incredible about finding links between drama, art and maths.
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