Internet harassment and racism still exist. Who knew?
I am publishing this because it doesn’t bother me, but it might bother someone else. If that’s you, I hope you know you’re not alone.
Nasty comments used to feel personal as if someone stuck their foot out so I’d trip and fall down the stairs. They would take the wind out of my sails and, for the rest of the day, I’d wonder if I should’ve taken the elevator instead.
Some comments have left me so upset I’d spend two hours crafting a sarcastic and equally condescending retort only to remember that negativity + negativity only yields more of it. Sullenly, I would hit Delete.
Eventually, my emotions didn’t get the best of me anymore and I wouldn’t throw a pity party each time because, now, I can picture the commenter feeling smug, thinking Yes I hurt this person today. And you’re like, huh? This person is probably a decade younger than I am, sitting in the dark relishing in anonymity, anger and a misguided sense of superiority in his or her pajamas.
People who are 1. generally happy, 2. interested in and engaged with the world and 3. have creative outlets do not take the time to create anonymous accounts to leave hostile comments.
To the interesting, creative and positive people out there — be vigilant in the face of destructive criticism. Don’t tolerate bigots and bullies. Sometimes it may seem like they’re everywhere, but they’re not. They’re just really loud and have time on their hands.
If you look for it, and especially here on Tumblr, you’ll always find a place for constructive and thoughtful debate; it’s in person, in public, in private, in the news, on TV and, yes, even online. It’s not behind a curtain and made-up names.
Unfortunately, I know there will always be someone who will make assumptions based on the way I look and, driven by their own small-mindedness, make offensive remarks. But when it happens again, just remember that neither you nor I have to feel we’re on our own and put up with it. Instead, tell someone you trust or, in this case, press Publish.