Monday, July 26, 2010

Won't You Please Paint Me With The Widest Brush You Got?

I like Facebook.

To me, Facebook is what a chat room should be. A place where one can have truly inane conversations about whatever, without worrying about whether or not someone is gonna insult you, harass you or stalk you for what you say.

For those of you who have the pleasure of seeing me on Facebook, you probably know that I go out of my way not to post a lot of stuff about myself, simply because that 1) I don't like bombarding people with mega doses of me, and 2) I much rather bombard people with mega doses of me in the blog world.

So what I do for the most part is spend what little time I'm there, reading what other people say. I enjoy staying up to date with what my friends do in their life, because there's nothing worse than making an inappropriate comment about something a friend is involved with, simply because you weren't paying attention.

Sometimes though, old habits die hard. Like for instance, having a good argument. A good argument is probably the one thing that I truly miss from the chat rooms. I really enjoy one upping someone in a verbal battle, but in Facebook, the arguments have been relatively few, if not totally non-existent.

So more often than not, I'll post a snarky comment on one of the many fan pages I participate in, hoping that someone takes the bait. Sometimes, I'll post a snarky comment on a status update just to see if someone is paying attention.

Last Friday (7/23), someone was paying attention.

Someone posted a link to a story from the Huffington Post about Sarah Palin and Kate Gosselin going camping in Alaska. So a few people started leaving a few silly comments, which was fine. Then I left this comment: Since when is the Huffington Post considered "real" news?

Didn't get a bite until the next day (7/23), when someone left this comment to me: Haha G, I do hope you're not busy watching your "news" on FOX. If so, how's that white anger (at the New Black Panther Party, ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, the NAACP, and the racist Obama administration) working out?

Now to be honest with everyone, I really don't mind being insulted. Because of where I've been since 2007, I've long gotten used to being insulted. But I do draw the line when people chose to engage in painting me with the widest brush possible with their insults. So I wound up letting this person have it with both barrels and told him in no uncertain terms on what I thought of him, which in turn brought out someone else to defend his "honor".

Why is it that all those supposedly open minded individuals (on both sides of the aisle, mind you), choose to paint with the widest brush possible when they come across a person who has a differing viewpoint from them?

Prime example is the responding comment I posted from that individual. Personally, I don't like the Huffington Post. I used to like Ariana Huffington about fifteen years ago, but now I don't, which is why I made the snarky comment in the first place.

But saying I suffer from "White Anger" simply because I don't think that the Huffington Post has real news is very wrong. Why is my opinion somehow less valid than yours? Why would you even make a snotty comment belittling my personal beliefs and calling me a racist when you don't even know the first thing about me?

It bothers me that someone would call me "racist", because I consider that to be an personal attack on my character. People who usually do personal attacks don't last very long in my world. I used to put a few of the more intelligent souls in their place by relating the following:

"Let's see, my close friends are people of color. I work in an office building where the majority of my co-workers are non-white and I work in a city where I am very much in the minority. My in laws are Hispanic (Puerto Rican). My nephew is White/Hispanic. My step-nephew is Hispanic/Black. So tell me, am I really a racist?"

I also usually respond much the same way about the issue of gay marriage. My personal viewpoint on gay marriage has been modified over the years (because I am that open minded) to basically having a problem with the word "marriage" being used. But that hasn't stopped me considering the other side of the issue. Problem I'm finding though, is that a lot of people are so passionate about the issue that to them anyone who doesn't support gay marriage is a "homophobe".

I've been called a "homophobe" and much worse, simply because I don't support gay marriage. I also realize that gay marriage is here to stay, whether anyone likes it or not. I'm still the same person, even though I don't support gay marriage.

The point I'm trying to make here is this: just because you don't agree with a person's particular viewpoint, don't try to paint that person with the widest brush possible. Use a little common sense when you choose to disagree with someone. You're an adult and I would think that you have the smarts to figure out when someone is being stupid (aka a racist or a bigot) or when someone is voicing a reasonably intelligent viewpoint.

Because you know, it's very easy to have the tables turned on you, and sometimes, once a particularly personal insult is unleashed, it's very hard to undo the damage.

I've been on the receiving end of a few such insults, and I'm still paying the price some three years later.

So please, do yourself a favor by putting brain in gear before opening mouth, because you'll never know how your intended recipient is gonna respond to whatever potential insult your brain spits out.

Think, before you shoot. Because sometimes, the other person will do the exact same thing in retaliation.

And more.


  1. I use to enjoy arguing (discussing) politics and religion but not so much anymore. Very seldom does anyone's opinion change and rancor invariably develops.

  2. When someone paints a broad stroke towards me like calling me racist, sexist etc. My response is "Yes but unlike you I recognize my racist tendencies and try to improve them" Usually shuts them up.

  3. I do read The Huffington Post, but don't consider it a primary news source. That was inappropriate for some to call you a racist simply for not liking this periodical (and since you are anything but). Sounds as if you were wanting a friendly debate and ended up with someone who is a tad too touchy. :)

  4. Well, we all know that what and how people respond to things tells us a world of information about them and very little about the person that they are attacking.
    I totally agree with you. Everyone can have their own misguided opinion of everything but don't try to "paint" me, please. :)Bea

  5. People always have to take arguments to extremes. It's because they are a long way away from each other online and physically safe. It can get very boring very quickly.

  6. Just because "my close friends are people of color. I work in an office building where the majority of my co-workers are non-white and I work in a city where I am very much in the minority. My in laws are Hispanic (Puerto Rican). My nephew is White/Hispanic. My step-nephew is Hispanic/Black" of course doesn't mean your aren't racist, but I take your point.

    Just sayin'.

  7. Wow, seriously, WTF? Hard left and hard right people, in my experience, are equally close-minded and offensive. Speaking as one of your friends of color! ;)

  8. David: I found in the chat rooms, politics and religion are two of the three major hot button topics (gay marriage being the third) that stir the most passion.

    I often steer clear of all three in the real world, simply because of the passion that they invoke.

    Bearman: Excellent response. Something I'll have to keep in mind should I ever decide to hop back into the chat rooms again.

    Lynn: I'm not sure what I was looking for, except for maybe a snarky response to mine. The person in question did say his response was said in gest of mine, but to me, it meant something else entirely.

    Bea: I'm about as openminded as one can get. I may be old, but I'm willing to consider all viewpoints (gay marriage being the main one that I've changed over the years). Doesn't mean you have to lump me in with others.

    Charles: I've seen some things taken beyond extreme in the Cyber World, so I definitely agree with you there. Like I said, its probably the one main thing that I miss in the chat rooms.

    Joe: Yeah, I know.

    I often got the exact same response from a few people who I directed this particular quote at. Sometimes, you have to take something at face value until a person proves otherwise that they're an idiot.

    R.K.: I've found that to be the case as well. Not all the time though. I have met a couple of hard right/hard left over the years who were open to listening to other viewpoints.

    The rainbow is a fascinating thing to possess. Makes sure that you never see anything with rose colored glasses, just coco cola bottle lens. :D

  9. PS I can give you lots and lots of reasons to support marriage equality. Just ask :)

  10. R: In the past three years, I've just about every single reason under the sun. Some valid, some not so valid.

    However, until they can reconicle the usage of the word "marriage", I will always remain straddling the fence about it.

    Took me a very long time to actually get to that point about gay marriage, and while it may not be comfortable for me to sit there, there is where I'll be until things change otherwise.

  11. I agree that people can go way to far towards the extreme view. I think I'm married to one of those guys sometimes :)

  12. Cute. :D

    Sometimes extreme views can be overlooked if overall you get along with the person.



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