The award of the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian to Brendon Gilbert saw a deserving recipient receive a well-deserved award, but also brought to light yet another social media attack on truckies. Even as Brendon was performing CPR at the roadside, there were idiots online talking absolute rubbish about his truck crashing into the motorbike.
Also in the media this week, in the wake of the horrific events in Christchurch the week before, there was a lot of discussion about the language used around immigrants, muslims and ‘the other’. A lot of the more salient points made by commentators were talking about the language used around this subject which does have an influence on general society and its attitude to the immigrant and Muslim community.
The language we use and the way the media report on events does make a difference to the way we perceive those events and add to the the more general perceptions people have about the subject. Loose words by some politicians have been called out in the aftermath of the Christchurch killings and the weight of public sentiment is putting some pressure on the media and those with a voice on the media to use more inclusive language.
This principle is common sense and, although the reason it has got so much attention is because of a terrible tragedy, can be applied to other topics.
The topic front of mind for a lot of people representing the trucking industry is often the perception of trucking from the community outside of the industry. There is a lot of negative sentiment towards the truck community, illustrated by the bad press on social media Brendon received while being a roadside hero.
This just one small part of a much bigger problem. If there is a crash on the highway and a truck is involved in any way it is a ‘truck crash’. This is a term which implies blame, it was the dumb truckie what done it.
Irresponsible politicians wanting to get some brownie points in front of their car driving electorate are happy to talk about ‘monster trucks’ and use a distrust of the trucking community to reinforce the stereotype with voters. Don’t let me get started on the disgusting behaviour and incendiary reporting by shows like ‘A Current Affair’ on trucks and truckies.
In a lot of ways, the public’s fear and ignorance of trucking and its issues is learned behaviour. The only comments they have heard about trucking have been negative and there is minimal public positivity when it comes to talking about trucks and trucking.
Perhaps, it is about time we started to call a few people out on their bad attitude to trucking and not just once, but every time we hear it. The bad attitude comes from the drip-drip effect of negative language, so we need to fight it with our own drip-drip campaign.
We all love the trucking industry and are proud of what the industry achieves for the Australian economy and society. It is a absolute positive for life in Australia and yet is portrayed as a negative by many.
It is incumbent on us all to counter this negativity every time it raises its ugly head. We need to call BS when we see BS and not let any unfair anti-trucking slur go unanswered. Any improvement in attitude is going to take a long time, but it won’t get better if we do nothing, it will only get worse.