The Tremendous Power Memes Have On Individual Or Group Global Perception On The Example Of Muslim Memes
In the twenty-first century, Memes are a very powerful and influential source of communication. A Meme is usually an edited picture or media that references an overexaggerated trend or joke in a culture. Most people use memes to illustrate an opinion or joke. Most memes are supposed to be taken as jokes, but some can highlight negative aspects of certain individuals and groups. An example of this is Muslim Memes.
As a person who knows and uses Memes, I have realized that ideas/media that correlate with Muslim Memes are 9/11 jokes or the “Allahu Akbar” saying, meaning “God is most great”. These sayings are used in videos of stuff exploding or videos of plane crashes. Although most Allahu Akbar Memes are supposed to just be overexaggerated jokes, they highlight a negative and unrealistic view of Muslim people and their way of life.
Memes talking about groups or individuals have two undeniable sides when comparing them. They either highlight the good side or the bad side. Most “Allah Akbar” or Muslim memes highlight the bad side( based on popularity ). “The term “Muslim” saw a usage increase of nearly 9,000% over the course of 2016.”(Priceconomics 2017) This increase was created by Trump’s Muslim ban during his term. The problem with this happening is that it created a wave of potentially gullible kids and teens to see Muslim memes that only showed the negative sides, thus creating a one side story being burnt into their minds.
Memes have recently been used immensely with elections and certain political candidates. “In September of 2016 “Trump” and “Clinton” were mentioned in an equal number of Memes. By November, there were nearly 20,000 more “Trump” Memes than “Clinton” Memes — and since the election — well, Trump handily wins bragging rights as the most Meme-ified politician.”(Priceconomics 2017) Many people agree that Memes heavily influenced Trump’s winning election. The point isn’t that he got more memes made about him then Clinton did, but the sides of the memes.
The good side of Trump’s memes got popularized more than Clinton’s good side. The one-sided popularity caused Clinton to take most of the bad side memes, creating an influenced side of the story. This situation is a perfect example of a one-sided meme category getting popularized more, hurting the other side. When it comes to Muslim memes, this example sums up how they get used. The “Allah Akbar” meme gets more popularized, making the good- sided Muslim memes get less popularity, again creating a loophole of mainly only one-sided Muslim memes.
If people in power viewed these memes and had a choice to get rid of them or teach the correct side, they should choose the right side. Although these Memes can be viewed as very hateful or offensive, trying to get rid of them would just cause people to make more. As a country of Free Speech, we should not limit speech, but teach future generations the correct and factual side of that opinion. If we chose to teach future generations, it would increase the good and factual sides of Memes instead of the offensive and nonfactual side of the Memes. The more good we teach, the more it will be practiced.
Overall, Memes are a very powerful way of communication and social interaction. Many of us use them throughout the week. Although they are used for jokes, they have the power to popularize one side of a group or idea more than the other. As humans living in a society, we must learn to use them with caution and to learn from our mistakes.
They can either make someone really happy and popular or make them extremely insecure and depressed. As Teachers of future generations, we need to make sure we teach the right side and not the side that is more “Popular” or “Funny”. Rather we like it or not, memes are continually getting more popular and popular. If we don’t learn to use them wisely, there can be many problems in the future.
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