It's not my job.
Whenever I see racist or misogynist comments, I get infuriated and start frantically writing a full-on essay explaining why what was said is ignorant, misinformed, or not well thought out. It's hard to believe how ignorant people can be.
Without fail, these online arguments have no winners.
Any time another person of color is “mysteriously” murdered by someone on the police force, there are bound to be hundreds of people commenting on Twitter, Facebook and every article online with hateful statements like:
"He probably deserved it."
"ALL lives matter."
"It’s not because he was black; it’s because he was a bad guy."
"Black people are so angry/dramatic."
While this happens most often on the internet, it’s not uncommon to see in real life either. And frankly, I am sick of it.
I am so tired of people not thinking about what they’re saying, especially when what they say holds so much weight and importance.
No, these people may not be government officials, but ignorance births more ignorance — and the message behind their divisive comments seriously deteriorates any chance we have of a fair, civilized society.
If you are not well informed on a topic, don’t pretend you are and stop talking about it. Why is that so hard to understand?
Person A: "I just feel like black people are overreacting. It’s not JUST black people getting killed by police. *insert BS statistics from one misleading source*"
Me: "OK, but do you realize *actual statistics from official sources*"
Person A: "I just think it’s stupid to use your race as a crutch. I never got anything handed to me."
Me: "So, here’s the thing …"
Whenever these situations come up, I do my best to remain calm and reply with as much understanding as I can muster. I know if I get angry, that person won’t listen and will simply write me off as irrational.
So I try to explain thoroughly — with examples and experiences that have never been presented to them before — and generally, they understand and admit that they never thought about it that way.
And while it’s always nice to help people understand, if I'm being honest, it genuinely pisses me off sometimes.
How could someone not even try to think about these issues from another person’s perspective?
It's hard to comprehend, but I think without being given opportunities or prompts to think about things from someone else's perspective, oftentimes we just won't think about it.
Truthfully, I’ve realized this about myself, too.
It just gets more and more upsetting to have to keep my cool when I am faced with a constant barrage of ignorant comments in public spaces.
It’s not so much that I’m mad at the individuals, maybe it's just their upbringing …
Actually, who am I kidding? I am mad at them.
How can people make such hurtful statements without really thinking them through? And the effect they have on others?
Can people at least acknowledge that their stereotypical beliefs and opinions continue to perpetuate shitty lives for other people?
Everyone is not always going to agree on everything, but if someone is the type of person to say things like “I’m not racist, but…” then they have a lot of re-examining to do.
I used to believe that it was my responsibility to educate people.
But fairly recently, I had an epiphany … It’s NOT my responsibility. Some people aren’t worth trying to educate. Some people have to learn their lessons all on their own.
It’s easy to get frustrated with people. But as much as I’m over explaining things to people calmly and politely, I know it’s the right way to go.
As awful as it feels to see racist comments online, it's also hard to see cruel takedowns of people who you can tell genuinely don’t/didn’t realize the implications of what they said.
Nobody's perfect, and we’ve all got a lot to learn.
We've all had those embarrassing moments where we've been ignorant without realizing it. Then, when someone points it out, we get that awful sinking feeling that we were being shitty person.
But some people just don't care, and those are the people aren’t worth my effort.
I’ve learned that I have to choose my battles.
If someone says:
"That *n word* deserved it."
Fuck them. If they’re so far gone as to say something as disgusting as that, a random person online isn’t going to change that.
Or they’re a troll. Ignore.
But if someone says something like:
I just don't get why this is such a huge deal? More white people get killed by cops than black people.
Then I can easily explain how scarily skewed the statistics are, how biases effect people, and why this needs to be recognized as a serious problem. Sometimes they get it and appreciate the explanations.
We catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and isn’t the ultimate end goal to educate and spread wisdom?
Thankfully I have a ton of very wise friends who do their best to stay aware, sensitive, and positive. Together we make a pretty incredible team.
As time goes on, if we keep working together, I have no doubt we’ll make the world a more peaceful place for all of us.