It’s 2019. Why are people still supporting toxic behavior?

Lindsay Keener | Staff Writer

R Kelly Chicago

Paul Beaty | Associated Press

From childhood, many are taught the difference between right and wrong, good and bad. Some of us inherit our morals and values from our parents or the neighborhood elderly woman with powerful worldly advice. No matter where you learned the rules to life, it is expected that you follow them and encourage others to do the same.

This leads me to my question: It’s 2019. Why are people still supporting toxic behavior?

One Hampton student has her own thoughts on a recent incident surrounding a male celebrity.

“Aiding toxic behavior only allows for the person to continue their wrongdoing,” said Carlie Beard, a journalism major from Cleveland, Ohio. “For example, when it came to R. Kelly finally being one step closer to being convicted for the crimes he committed, he didn’t have the funds available to bail himself out. It’s ridiculous someone came to his rescue instead of letting him sit in jail and let him feel the outcome of his actions.”

After the news that singer R. Kelly had been released from jail after someone paid his $161,000 bond, I was, in all definitions of the word, exhausted.

How could someone, knowing Kelly has been accused of numerous sexual experiences with underage girls, bail him out of jail? How could anyone want to see him roam free? While I like to think of myself as open-minded, the level of acceptance it takes to condone Kelly’s actions are lost on me. It’s possible that the individuals paying Kelly’s bond don’t believe the accusations are true, or worse, feel as though he’s done nothing wrong. Either way, the risk of releasing such toxicity back into the public isn’t worth taking.

Like anyone walking on the Earth today, I haven’t always made the best decisions. I’m sure in a moment of naïveté and ignorance, I’ve supported toxic behavior. Without proper research or time spent focused on a certain topic, it can be easy to glaze over possible details that need to be investigated further. This, of course, is no excuse for supporting such behavior when the facts are presented to you. While you may not realize it, you have a responsibility to yourself and the world around you to encourage others to be better than they are today. People who have done wrong must be held accountable for their actions – not excused because you love them or their talents.

Unfavorable behavior is nothing new, and if I’ve learned anything so far, it won’t end anytime soon. As sour as that might sound, all hope is not lost. At a time where everyone is determined to prove they’re mentally awake, we have the power and resources to influence positive change.

Encourage your friends and family to think about the consequences of their actions, both positive and negative. Cleanse your social media feeds of anyone who spews out hateful or draining rhetoric. Forgive yourself for your past wrongdoings, but don’t let them become a habit.

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