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Location: SW Florida
Subject: Facebook drama. Sigh. - [Edit Post] 1 0
One of my favorite cousins is named Jill. I saw her maybe once a year and sometimes not even then. But she was always a bit of a tomboy. She never really dated but always had a lot of friends. She had (and still has) an amazing personality and a smile that can light up a room.
Time went on and, eventually, Jill let it be known that she had a 'partner', Pam. We were very happy for her, though concerned. Her partner is 15 years older than her - and her supervisor at work. These were were concerning but Jill was now an adult - in her late 30's - and the family had always kind of known that Jill and Pam had something going on but didn't want to push or pry. Of note to this story is that Pam was a different ethnicity than Jill's immediate, and most of our extended, family. She is a person of color and most of my family are white/Jewish (we have other people in our family joined by marriage of other ethnicity). Her ethnicity was not a concerns my family is inclusive, in business life, family life, and our friends. What mattered was they were in love and wanted to make it work.
Time moved on and laws changed. Jill and Pam decided they wanted to get married and my family was thrilled for her. Jill's parents paid for the majority of the wedding as if she was a traditional bride. There wasn't even a question - our family simply paid because we could. Our families were joined and all was right with the world. Maybe.
Several months ago I noticed that Pam had been posting Facebook messages that were getting a bit... radical. They had changed from primarily LGBT-centered issues, to anti-Trump posts, to mildly anti-male, and now they were beginning to touch on race and ethnicity. These were making me (and, though I did not know at the time, other members of my family) uncomfortable. As time went on they went from mostly harmless, to making insinuations, to yesterday where I happened to see a post where she posted that my ethnicity was scared, inbred, and racist. Full stop.
Nobody else replied and it had been something like 6 hours. So I replied and asked a question: "Do you believe that I am scared, inbred, and racist?". And her response was "nope" and began rambling about all the reasons why everyone else within my ethnicity were those things. In effect, I was "one of the good ones". Yeah.
I won't bore you with all of my replies, but she accused me of having white privilege and that I have led an easy, almost pastoral life and couldn't possibly understand struggle. It also insinuated that nothing I have accomplished has been due to merit or hard work and has been only due to the color of my skin. It was bad. Really bad. And man, did I let her have it, making sure to be logical and reasonable, calling out that kind of attitude, even quoting her against the statements of a 1950's civil rights-era leader. At the end, I distilled my argument down to "I don't hate anyone for the color of their skin. This is what I believe in. You do you. But I will do me and I don't have to be any more silent than you do".
This morning I saw that she made a flurry of a half dozen posts in the same hour. Some posts were able people in her ethnicity getting well-earned scholarships which I 'liked'. One post was a graphic about 'white privilege', stating Felicity Huffman was only getting 4 months in jail while two other women had been sentenced to 12-13 years of prison each for lying about residency so their kids could get into school.
So I researched. And I found one of the women had spent a grand total of 10 days in county jail. The other woman had agreed to a plea deal for 5 years because she was also charged with intent to distribute drugs and "offering an undercover officer a prostitute". So I replied with sources, stating that there was plenty to be outraged about, but I'd rather save my outrage about the truth rather than lies. My sister replied to agree, and we even agreed that ethnicity does play a role with privilege, especially due to past and current bias. But the post itself was false and misleading.
Two hours later my cousin's wife unfriended and blocked me for fact-checking her post. And then she unfriended and banned my sister, who until now had nothing to do with it except to agree with her. OK.
I received a call yesterday from Jill's mother who was ecstatic that I questioned Pam's statements of hatred. She can't say anything - Pam is her daughter in law - and was proud that I stood up. Apparently last night, at dinner, Pam brought up my statements looking for support against me and Jill's mother said she agreed with me completely, that the hate-hate-hate messages were simply too much. It shushed the dinner table because nobody wanted to touch the racial issues involved and people were not on Pam's side. Dinner was a quiet affair from then on. I've also received support from Jill's brother who has apparently clashed with his sister-in-law many times about her statements and behavior. And my sister is bewildered how she got blocked at all. All she did was agree with Pam. Apparently, we can neither agree nor disagree with Pam because the the problem is the color of our skin.
I guess my point in posting this, other than for your entertainment, is that propaganda comes from every side and their goal is to radicalize us and propel an agenda. If you begin to believe in bigotry (yes, it is still bigotry if it's hatred against a majority ethnicity), or begin to believe only your side is intelligent, or that the other side is pure evil, or God is obviously on your side, they've got you. You're dangling on someone's hook and you don't see it. Someone else controls what you think because it's not normal to hate hundreds of millions of people you've never met. I don't care who you hate. You hate people that you know nothing about. And that's simply not right.
I will never allow bigotry into my house. I will do my best to prevent my kids from being exposed to it (at least until they are out of their formative years and can understand when I talk to them about such topics). Neither hatred nor fear run my household. We are a family of love and acceptance and everyone is welcome to be friend or family, with any judgement otherwise hinging upon their own personal words and their own personal actions.
In this house I am King and I rule with a loving embrace.