Forum: Don't judge arguments based on tone

Social media apps on a phone. PHOTO: ST FILE

Forum writer Brent Lim Zi Jian says Generation Z voters display political intolerance on social media (Alarmed by intolerance of opposing viewpoints, July 14).

The rules of engagement on social media differ from those on established media. And some young voters have more abrasive communication styles.

But we must take care not to get caught up in tone-policing Gen Z commentators. The tone in which their arguments is conveyed does not negate the validity of their arguments.

Dismissing the views shared by youth on social media - or projecting intolerant intent on those who share them - is unhelpful in furthering open dialogue.

It is also important to point out that not all young people are anti-establishment.

Furthermore, harsh words are not specific to the anti-establishment. Those who are pro-establishment often state their views just as forcefully.

As more platforms develop, debates are democratised, allowing for a greater contest of ideas. This process just requires an understanding of diverse new mediums and communication styles.

Chin Hui Wen

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2020, with the headline Forum: Don't judge arguments based on tone. Subscribe