Wonder Boi Writes

Check Your Entitlement At My Virtual Door

It’s been a long and enlightening couple of days.

I ended my last blog with the statement that I would not be posting “pro rebel flag” comments, nor would I post anything outright racist (and I made it clear I deeply believe the two are connected). I did not rule the comments section with an iron fist. I posted a few comments pointing out perceived inconsistencies in my argument or comments from people who wanted to spin my arguments in new directions. I have not censored people who are grappling with nuanced views or asking productive questions. However, I thought I had made myself clear in my closing that I would not engage outright arguments. Maybe I should’ve led with that statement. I now suspect people who didn’t agree with me stopped reading long before they got to the postscript. I’m not surprised people turned away from an argument that challenged them. It’s human nature to do so. Lord knows I buried my head in the sand long enough on that issue. I understand the impulse to do so, which is why I should have probably anticipated the anger and violence with which people reacted to the post.

I should have, but I didn’t.

Over the last few days I’ve been called a MFing idiot, a n***er loving liberal, a lunatic, a tool of black oppression, a worthless dyke, ignorant, a liar, a bitch, and all of those things were in the first line of the comments because I generally stopped reading after that point. I can only imagine what else those page-long diatribes worked up to by the end. I have the mouth of a trucker on me, but I ended up red-faced with embarrassment for the commenters on more than one occasion and tearful with sadness at others. It’s not often I’ve been personally faced with the full force of racism in its virtual form, and I admit I was unprepared to handle it.

I have had to turn off the comments on that blog post, due to both the sheer volume of the comments as well as the vitriol contained in some of them. As I try to get back to work this week, I simply cannot keep up with them any more. I have a career, a family, summer travels to prepare for, and house under a series of construction projects. I do not have the time or the energy to read/sort through 25-50 angry comments every morning and then again every night. But even turning off the comments hasn’t worked, because now I am being harassed via email, and some people have gone so far as to contact my publisher threatening to boycott the entire company if they’re not allowed to post a comment on my personal blog.

I’m not ashamed to admit I am tired to the point of emotional exhaustion.

Let me be clear. I’m in no way claiming I’ve been oppressed. If anything, I’ve seen this experience as a reminder of my privilege. As an educated, white, middle-class woman, I’m not accustomed to being spoken to the way I have been over the last few days. This is a luxury many of my African American friends are not afforded. My heart breaks for them. I wish I could mitigate all the violence they face. I wish I could somehow act as a buffer. If there was some way for me to bear the brunt of the disrespect and anger they face on daily basis, I would put on my big girl pants, gird my loins, and take my verbal beatings, but that’s not how hate works. It’s not as if the people who hate me will run out of hate to hurl at other people. Hate feeds off of hate, ignorance breeds more ignorance, violence leads only to more violence. I cannot drive out any of those abhorrent virtues by submitting to them. The darkness spreads with each new expression. What I can do, however, is curb their expressions. I can stop providing that insidious negativity with an outlet.

That’s all I was trying to do with my little P.S. about not posting racist comments on my blog. I’m not surprised people tried to post them anyway. Why would someone who makes an argument that “Africans invented slavery” as their defense give any deference to my request for appropriate behavior? What I am surprised about is the number of people who’ve become angry (some even enraged) at my refusal to post their racist, ignorant, or mean-spirited comments. Several of them have written me multiple times, becoming more and more belligerent in the process going so far as to demand I give them their right to be heard at large.

If you’re one of those people, please stop. It isn’t going to happen, and here’s why: This is not an open forum or a town hall meeting. This is my blog. This is my online living room, and I will not allow you to talk to/about me, my family, or my friends here in any way that I would not allow you to talk to/about me, my family or my friends in my actual living room. If you came into my home and shouted at me to “Get my fucking facts straight,” I would ask you to leave. If you used the N-word or in any way suggested African Americans got what they deserved, I would show you the door. If you called young black men thugs and said they needed to be controlled, or suggested slavery/segregation worked well to that purpose, you’d be told never to return. And if you accompanied these messages with hints of violence, I would call the police so fast your head would spin.

Everyone’s entitled to his or her opinion, and as I said in my original post, you’re free to share them in your own blog or on your own Facebook page, but you cannot use my name, my space, or my virtual home as a platform to spread hate. If your comment is something I would not allow you to say in my home, in front of my wife and son, or around my African American friends, it’s not something I’ll allow you to say here. And if you’re trying to engage me in an argument I wouldn’t engage in on the street or in my church, I will not engage it here.

You are not entitled to my approval.

You are not entitled to my space.

You are not entitled to force your views on me or any other human being.

Here’s the final verdict: If you continue to try to spew racism, or try to justify your racism, I will delete your first comment. If you continue to push, I will report you as a spammer. If that doesn’t work, I will report your posts as harassment.

It you don’t like my policies, if they make you angry, feel free to write you own blog about how liberals are silencing you. Post your outrage on your Facebook page, tweet it out to the world, share those posts every day for the rest of your life. THAT is free speech. THAT is the American way. I will stand by your right to blanket your own corner of the Internet with your opinions no matter how much I disagree with them. What I won’t stand is for you to continue to try to force those offensive opinions onto my blog.

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July 7, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized

24 Comments »

  1. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. I always enjoy your blogs, even if I don’t agree with everything you say. I wish I understood why some people can’t just have a civil conversation with each other; even if they have differing opinions. I wish I could understand why some folks get so hateful right off the bat. It makes no sense to me at all. Lately I feel like our country is just completely out of control. I can’t believe some of the things that people say these days. It truly perplexes and saddens me. I hope things calm down, and I hope you will continue to write your blogs about subjects you feel passionate about.

    Comment by Julee | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  2. Bless you, Rachel. You are indeed doing God’s work by spreading light and knowledge.

    Comment by Valerie Schaeffer | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  3. I am so sorry, Rachel, for the extreme hatred you’ve been subjugated to for that one post. I’m glad you wrote this one in reponse, whether this ever sees the light of day or not.

    Comment by onamarae | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  4. I love the idea of envisioning your blog as a space in your home and expecting visitors to it to behave accordingly. I’m certain those trying to submit offensive comments would be infuriated if you stepped into their homes and spoke your mind, but they won’t understand why you refuse them access to yours. Keep fighting the good fight!

    Comment by rfsimon | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  5. Oh goodness Rachel I am so sorry people can get themselves worked up. You do your work and love your family and go on vacation and construct up a storm. Be your happy self that is the person I want to see. I will read the blog but nevertheless no on needs to get their shorts in a twist about this stuff on someone else’s wall.

    Comment by dgm1952 | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  6. Well said. I’m just sorry that you had to deal with the hate. It is demoralizing and hurtful. Hang in there and know that there are lots of folks who admire you for having the chutzpah to address the issue in the first place. Bravo!

    Comment by Mary Anne | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  7. Rachel……………Peace to you, your family and all your friends. Your light and love makes more of an impact than the haters will ever understand.

    Comment by Beth | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  8. Sorry you have to deal with these people. You wrote a fabulous blog and people don’t have to agree but they cannot act this way. Keep your chin up..you are a wonderful writer!

    Comment by Lisa Eaton | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  9. Well spoken. Amen.

    Comment by Des | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  10. Holy smokes, Rachel! I’m so sorry you have to address people that harbor so much, hate, fear, and ignorance. I think the original post, as well as this one, was eloquent, well thought out, and with so much food for thought. I second dgm1952 above. Go on with your writing, vacation, house stuff, and don’t let the haters steal one more moment of your precious time with your familyu. (I know, easier said than done when you’ve been jumped like this…) I wish your super cute family the best summer fun ever. 🙂 Love and hugs, Rachel. You’re amazing!

    Comment by Gun Brooke | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  11. I enjoy reading your words and I have the right to continue reading or stop reading. Hate is a powerful thing but when one lets it in their life all it does is take up time and energy. I have other things I enjoy using my time and energy for. For those that use the bible to make their point I usually just say look at your own life before picking up that stone.
    As I said in the beginning I enjoy reading what you have to say and I might not agree with everything but I do respect your right to say it.

    Comment by walnut242 | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  12. Thank you!! So well articulated and agreed!! Someone on the first comments said slavery is no longer in the U.S. and criticized you to check your facts. This is so not true. Slavery is alive and well in the U.S. so that person needs to check their facts. Immigrants and children every day are still sold into slavery. It’s a whole industry up to and including the sex trade industry these days. Check your facts person who criticized Rachel. Slavery is alive and well in a different form and eludes prosecution consistently. I just had to share that because the person was so adamant Rachel check her facts when they had it wrong themselves. Anyway Rachel well said and I 100% agree. Take down this symbol of hate. Nothing positive is associated with it.

    Comment by Christy Keller | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  13. Well said Rachel. Hugs to you and your family. Hang in there.

    Comment by Joni Barrowcliff | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  14. Wow, I had no idea that was a controversial blog post! I’m sorry you’re dealing with so much backlash when you’re just demonstrating some basic human decency and empathy.

    Comment by Danika @ The Lesbrary | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  15. Keep your spirits up. There are plenty of us out here who agree with you.

    Comment by Mary | July 7, 2015 | Reply

  16. Hello Rachel, I rarely write comments. I felt compelled to do so because I wanted you to know that you are not alone. I didn’t want humanities darkness and vile voice to dim your light. I admire you. I share your views. Your worldview. You have strength in me, and in the numbers of people that, sadly, don’t share their views because they have too often been met with vitriol, or shaming, or indifference. They are out there. Love is a choice. Compassion is a choice. Engaging is a choice. And you are indeed a ‘wonder’, as your moniker suggests, for you choose to engage. Keep on keeping on, and as you do, you will inspire the silent ones, like me, to feel empowered to be silent no more. Go, Rachel, Go!!!

    Comment by michBro | July 8, 2015 | Reply

  17. Well said. I am sorry you have to go through this. Hate is such a disease that spreads like wildfire. You have one more in your corner that feels the same as you. All I can do is give you a great big hug and a smile to go with it.

    Comment by Candy | July 8, 2015 | Reply

  18. I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with all of the horrible name-calling and antagonism. I agree with both of your blog posts. I’m a Southerner who had relatives on both sides. I’m also a Civil War buff and yet you won’t see me carrying around a Rebel flag. As far as the pro SEC comment goes, we will talk. Damn it.

    Comment by Kim Johnson | July 8, 2015 | Reply

    • Well thought out, I think there are many that feel that way. It does feel so violating that something you see as an Innocent symbol ruled/ruined by evil and hate. Just a little typo Lynyrd Skynyrd. Thanks!!

      Comment by karen | July 9, 2015 | Reply

  19. I am new to this medium and, as a former history teacher, found your reasoning understandable, though I believe the “hate” word is used far too often, when honest disagreement might be more accurate. Some who have responded to you regarding the “flag” would do well to be more accurate in their presentation. We know that Pres. Lincoln did not fight the war over slavery and we know that Gen. Ulysses Grant said that if he thought the war was being fought over slavery he would cast his sword on the other side. I have often wondered why the South would fight over slavery when slavery was guaranteed by the Constitution and Pres. Lincoln said that he would enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. My comments do not speak to the flag debate which has become as emotional as factual. And we should pay attention to the emotional side. When determining “cause” facts can become quite inconvenient. For everyone’s reading pleasure may I suggest “When in the Course of Human Events” by Charles Adams, a northerner.

    Comment by Al robinson | July 8, 2015 | Reply

  20. While I have never read your blog before the flag debate, and I am a pro flag guy. I love political debates that are respectful and intellectual in nature! You should never have to be afraid to speak your mind and I find it appaulling that so many are disrepectful to your opinion! I must add you have called me a racist, simply because I support the flag. In some ways you are as disrestful to me and others that think differently than you! I think America needs to have a discussion about the flag, but we all need to be respectful of each other view points!
    PS I’m from California and moved to SC years ago, and like it here!!!

    Comment by Baja Broiler | July 9, 2015 | Reply

  21. Rachel I live in South Carolina. I understand both sides of the issue I really do. What has happened though has gone far beyond the flag being up or down. We had a terrible thing happen and people began to relentlessly go after southern people, history, heritage you name it. Joining in on the feeding frenzy are retailers and the like. You know the story. The politicians did not have the backbone to draw the line past the flag. No they supported the rhetoric and at best were either complacent or grandstanding. If you spoke in favor or worse did not join in automatically you were called a racist. There have been cowards defacing monuments. Smug politicians calling for the total nazifacation of anything to do with the Southern side of the Civil war. Heck they even took down the Southern banners from Ft. Sumter. What happened to displaying the flag in historical context?

    In short a combination of malcontents, politicians with no backbone, and ‘serious people who believe the rhetoric that perhaps things would be better if the whitewashing were to continue’ have gone after Southern history and heritage to no end. Suddenly everyone on facebook and the local news is an expert on the Civil War. Well I’m not going to grandstand here but ‘I am’. I have studied the conflict in depth for decades both personally and academically and I’m here to tell you that 9-1/2 out of ten people screaming the loudest don’t have a clue.

    I’m not an apologist either. I know the war was fought over slavery. It wasn’t however from a moral standpoint. It was economic and that is an accurate narrative that simply does not fit. Saddy you are going to see more of what you saw today. People will not take this lying down. It just will not happen.

    The flag should have came down in 1965 at the close of the centennial. Sadly it didn’t. What we have now is a pissed off ‘region’ of people plus have delivered the banner straight into the hands of the true racists. This is the fault of the politicians no if ands or but’s about it. Had not an all out assault with their blessing taken place we would not be where we are.

    Truly I have a difficult time believing my cajun ancestors, one who gave his life, the other who rotted away in Camp Douglas in Chicago went to war to protect some rich planters property. The same planter who by the way kept his slaves until 1866. True the victors write the history. In the case of the South though that didn’t happen and I believe it to be one of the main reasons we are seeing so much anti Southern sentiment right now.

    I thank you for the privilege of speaking in your living room. I respect your opinions and hope you would extend the same courtesy with mine. These are troubled times becoming worse and it’s my belief that sincere open dialogue will be our saving grace. Thank you and God bless the United States of America.

    Comment by Stephen Kershaw, Summerville SC | July 12, 2015 | Reply

  22. Rachel , I was unable to post to the page where you discussed the back story of the confederate flag but just wanted to say it is a beautifully written piece and seemingly straight from your heart!
    Unfortunately I need to state a few things that are incorrect. The confederate flag was a war flag carried by the southern states during the civil war… no matter what spin folks wish to put on the nostalgia part of it… the civil war was due to the anger and defiance of the south refusing to abolish slavery. Yes the south wore that flag as a comfort for their loss and that a Federal law gave Black Americans their freedom! Most of the south simply ignored the law most of the time. Speed ahead to the civil rights movement in which the Federal govt. was debating to pass another, more detailed, law stating that Black Americans can sit at the same counter for lunch ~ that Black Americans can go to their neighborhood school without risking their life, etc. etc. 1961 when it looked like the law was going to pass, South Carolina, decided to fly the confederate flag over the state house as a protest. the law passed but the flag stayed in place.
    Now I must ask: IF the flag was such a symbol of niceness, southern charm, comfort and pride why was it not flying after the civil war? Why was it resurrected during another disruptive time in our country over the RIGHTS of Black Americans? I believe it has a total bigoted attachment to people and that racism still simmers under the top layer of today’s society.
    I know we need to agree to disagree, but I just needed to share my opinion along side yours… Thank you for reading and in order for this great country, we need to all come together in Peace and Love… XXX

    Comment by Ginni O'Connor | July 12, 2015 | Reply

  23. Hugs

    Comment by kayekillgore | July 14, 2015 | Reply


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