Anyone who knows me, knows that I am extremely passionate about a few things. I’ve discussed these things in previous posts. I have a tendency to be the type of person who won’t just let things be. On numerous occasions I have found myself in debates and arguments with people over so many different things. Sometimes someone makes a comment that doesn’t quite sit well with me, or they make a crude joke, or they’re the worst type, they say something completely out of left field that goes against one of my beliefs and I lose it.
This happened last week…
I checked my twitter feed in the morning. I noticed that someone had made a comment regarding First Nations people, only they didn’t use this term, they used “fucking natives”. My eyes saw red and my mind whirled in fury. I read on to see that this particular person was extremely upset over a program being discontinued that she had been trying to get into. She placed blame on First Nations people as this program was aimed towards them and low-income families. She claimed that these “fucking natives” don’t work, or have to, and that they should attend considering they get school paid for and she doesn’t.
Well you better believe I was all over it. There is NO way I would EVER let someone be outright racist on a social media site without giving them a piece of my mind. And so, the debate began. I fired back with statements regarding the considerable amount of barriers First Nations people face, the ways in which funded education works, and that most programs geared towards this demographic are often poorly organized, never thought out and ultimately fail. I said she should be placing blame on the government for creating such a failure of a program, not the people involved. She fought right back claiming that FN students in her class stated they were embarrassed by their own race, that the ways in which society depict FN people are true and that she was in fact getting school for free. To me, this is no excuse to adopt the same racist behaviour, if anything, this makes them both guilty.
My best weapon when dealing with people like this is breaking out the ‘R’ word. As soon as you accuse someone of being racist, they usually back pedal or get incredible defensive. Can you guess which route this girl took? Of course, she got incredibly defensive. She accused me of being racist towards red heads because of some tweets and comments I had made. I’ll admit it, I joke about red heads, just like people joke about blondes. I’m sure the amount of blonde jokes actually heavily outweighs any jokes about any other hair colour, but do I get personally offended? No. Do I actually think albinos don’t have souls? No. Would I actually drown my red headed baby? Seriously, is that a question? Of course not. I was born a red head!!! But this was a great opportunity for my opponent to reverse the arguement and get the limelight off of her and onto me. Typical human natured argument tactic. The only problem was, making a joke about red heads VS using derogatory language, discriminating, and stereotyping a marginalized minority group…yeah, bit of a difference there huh?
I finalized my argument by telling her she should educate herself and attached a URL for a website regarding First Nations history, contemporary issues and the ways in which their educational funding actually works. I attached some snide remark like, “hatred breeds inequality” and she replied that she must love inequality then because I certainly hadn’t changed her opinions, only strengthened them. She then went on to make a series of vague tweets inadvertently directed at me that I shouldn’t take a textbook as a bible, that she would never call someone uneducated for having a differing opinion, jokingly calling her friends racist, etc. So I attempted to right any potential wrongs I had made. I have this thing about leaving the ball in my opponents court so-to-speak, so that, at least I attempted to make right and whatever happens is a result of their inability to clear the air. I left a series of private messages explaining that I never called her uneducated and didn’t appreciate the vague tweets. To this, I have had zero response and only an additional few vague tweets.
Now in saying all of this, I reflect on the situation. Did I have to say anything? Should I have started a twitter war? You may say no, but I cannot seem to ever just let things like that slide. I think that’s how the world ends up in wars, how children end up on the streets, how people end up in jail is because we allow others to make downright racist and discriminative comments, and say nothing about it.
I know I need to drop some of my emotion. It seeps out of my pores like tequila out of a drunk after a night of drinking. It sometimes fogs my judgement, makes me a bit too forceful with my opinions and clogs my worldview. However, I am confident that I’m a smart girl. I have a lot of personal experiences, work experiences, and an education that shapes who I am and what I believe in. I feel like the little guy is the first to be stripped of his rights to voice his opinion and it’s up to people like me, to do it for him. Maybe I get a little crazy, but I hope I never lose this passion. I have this fire in my belly that refuses to just live life in a cloud. I have been exposed to the inequalities that shape my world and it would take a labotomy to rid me of them.