My husbands high school reunion is being held in Bonney Lake, WA on August 2nd. Since we were going to be attending many of the people from his high school befriended me on Facebook so that we could get acquainted before we arrived.
Today, a woman I do not know, and thankfully not a member of my husbands graduating class but a member of the high school proper, posted the following photo along with the following comment;
“This always makes me laugh. A little laughter on a Sunday.”
I responded by saying that “I found the photo offensive and racist. After seeing the mass graves in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina I no longer have tolerance for racism in any form. This was the part of being on Facebook I detested the most.”
I received dozens of nasty comments, such as I needed to stop drinking the Kool Aid, I didn’t have an original thought in my head, Obama was the worst President ever, a liar, a non-friend of the military and more lies than heard on the lips of Jim Carrey in the movie Liar, Liar. Some of the commenter’s then began to sing the praises of the anti-Obama propaganda movie currently being shown in Seattle called America. Oh, and none of these people were racists, they told me so.
Because I love my husband I did as he requested and deleted my reply to the personal attacks they directed towards me and their insulting rants. I did the only thing that would silence such uneducated louts and I un-followed and unfriended almost everyone who chimed in because they were of the same ilk. I’m sure they are still congratulating themselves that they chased me away. What they foolishly do not know about me is that I will have the last word. I decided that commenting and getting into a discussion with those who have no rational thinking process and who do not believe or deal in facts would be a complete waste of my time, so I deleted them all.
I have had enough of racism in my life. While living in Salem, Oregon I was cautioned not to walk around the city without my husband because I am Mediterranean in complexion and he is a light skinned blue-eyed man and therefore I would be safer with him in tow. I never once left the apartment without him. During our time in Salem, and during the Christmas season, we had a food bank tell us that they wouldn’t give food to anyone who was Mexican because they were all in Oregon illegally. Really? Your good Christian self thinks that all Mexicans are illegal? These were not the type of Christians I wanted to associate with. Mike and I found another way to help and we adopted five families that Christmas.
Traveling the way we have been traveling for the last three years has done more for me than I first realized. I have always detested racism and the veiled way people think that they hide their racist nature behind fake laughter has always rankled me, but I did nothing about it and I said nothing to them. Because of the repercussions I have seen where racism went too far will I no longer let racism slide by without taking a stand.
During our travels we had people from around Latin American ask us what was wrong with the people in the US because no one ever asked them what country they were from, if Americans heard Spanish spoken they just assumed that everyone was from Mexico. Do not be fooled into thinking that Mike and I spent our time defending this behavior, we did our utmost best to make sure that people in other countries did not think that all Americans were as uncouth.
Because of how we treated others people assumed we were from Canada because we were open to exploring new countries and new cultures. After talking with us they knew we weren’t the typical American and they told us so. We didn’t have a superiority complex or a chip on our shoulders and we treated others with respect. We were open to new experiences; new adventures and we were open to all people and all races, and with all manner of lifestyles.
There comes a time when those of us who are confronted with blatant hatred, hidden in the mask of humor, we must stand up and say enough is enough. I guess I have reached that point in my life. The best way to deal with racism is to silence it and I intend to silence as much of it as possible.
I had always thought that having more Americans travel the world would be a good thing but perhaps it is better that so many of them stay at home. So much of the world already thinks that Americans are gun toting trigger happy fools, greedy, selfish to a fault and ignorant about world events. There is no reason for any of these people to travel the world and prove them right.
Racism is an ugly thing. Many Americans, thank God not all, think they are superior to others. I have news for them; they aren’t superior to anyone. Living in the Pacific Northwest will be a mind-field for me I fear. It might however make me speed up the need to leave the US again and live someplace else in the world.
I have therefore decided to take a stand on social media. You have the right to post anything on your social media that you like. If you decide however to post anything that is homophobic; racist; or harmful to children I have the right to delete it and you from my life. That is the stand I take. I will not confront you, I will not send you facts or data or proof of the error of your ways. In this way, and if more people turned off the hatred instead of answering to it, racists will cease to have an audience. And that will make them crazier than anything I could say in rebuttal to their stupidity.
Our motto as The 6 Monthers was; “don’t make an impact, make a difference”. Ending racism and taking a stand makes a difference. It won’t be easy deleting friends and family from social media. Standing up for what we believe in has never been easy. Just ask Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and Malcom X. Racism can end. I hereby give notice that I will do my part. I will delete one person at a time; I will delete one ugly reference at a time and as we travel I will work hard to treat everyone we meet with dignity and respect. The next time someone asks us what part of Canada we are from we will smile and tell them, ‘the southern part.’