There should be little or no doubt that we are living in dangerous times when a slip of the tongue or innocuous actions can have enormously disproportional consequences on one’s career. Especially today when social media can provide an outsized megaphone to all manner of crazies – and character assassination by association has been weaponized.
The mid-16th-century proverb “Birds of a feather, flock together,” is often the unwarranted short-hand for assuming the guilt of an individual because of their association with another undesirable individual. Often destroying their credibility and reputation without a shred of actual evidence.
In today’s post, I will demonstrate how easy it is to become negatively associated with an undesirable individual.
Here is an innocuous request from an individual asking me to join their network. And with a push of a button, forever linking me with this individual on social media. Imagine if I was tired or distracted and pushed the button. Or simply desirous of increasing my contact list. In the blink of an eye, I might have provided my detractors with a reason for not hiring me, not promoting me, no giving me that critical loan, or even worse, getting me terminated in the next cycle of layoffs. All over an innocent act, and one that means nothing.
So what is so special about this individual who has requested I join his network? It appears that the individual in question has a storied past – and not one that appears to be mainstream or without controversy. Claiming to be a realist, not a racist, this former long-time school psychologist for troubled children was the subject of a Southern Poverty Law Center complaint.
”His posts on Twitter, also using his real name, are more heated, including a January comment that, ‘Young Black Thugs who won't follow the law need to be put down not incarcerated. Put down like the Dogs they are!’”
“In a March comment about an article on a violent incident in New Orleans, he wrote, ‘Quick someone call David Duke before the NAACP gets here!’” [David Duke is a white supremacist and the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.]
“Remarking in March about the Republican presidential primaries, he wrote, ‘I grew up in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana - I am a Wallace Man at Heart!’” [George Wallace was the white supremacist and segregationist Governor of Alabama.]
<Source: - Civil rights group protests racially incendiary online remarks by a Jefferson Parish school psychologist | New Orleans Times-Picayune>
Are you willing to gamble your future on the Laws of Chance and Unintended Consequences? Google that name before pushing that button.