Recently, the world has been more aware of the bigotry and racism that exist at the root of society. This has encouraged people everywhere to stand up to hateful rhetoric. Social media’s many outlets have certainly provided a platform to share intolerant opinions, but given its interactive nature, it has also allowed people to strike down or challenge dogmatic and injurious viewpoints.
This was the case for Britain’s National Health Service, as they used their Twitter platform to shut down a racist response to a tweet they published last June. The organization urged Black Twitter users to register to become blood donors to help black people with sickle cell anemia. Twitter user @GrunenWalde responded to the tweet, saying, “If we deport all blacks, this will stop being an issue.” The National Health Service did not simply ignore the tweet but instead used their platform to challenge the hate. They responded, “OR.. we could just deport you.”
The NHS did not stop there. They followed up with their retort, telling the Twitter user “We would not welcome you as a blood donor so please do not try to attend one of our sessions.” The user’s account has since been suspended.
The NHS’ ability to strike down the ignorant tweet created a positive reaction from the Twitter community. The twitter approval of the response by the NHS was so widespread, that people began offering to become blood donors.
One user, with the handle @robinwscott, tweeted: “I want to buy a drink or five for the person that tweeted this. You absolute legend”, and later stated, “I’m going to go and give blood asap and I want to formally record that I’m doing it because of this tweet.”
@robinwscott wasn’t the only Twitter user encouraged by the NHS, @MCadeW also replied: “Yes @GiveBloodNHS. Making my next booking right now!! Stand up for what’s right.”
A spokesperson for the organization later told BBC: “Donors from all backgrounds are fundamental to our life-saving work. There is no place for any kind of racism within our online communities and we do not tolerate abusive and offensive behavior.” The success of the NHS’ tweet allowed them to share the need for donors, which can prove to be beneficial for individuals in need of blood.
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