Authors Note: I don’t want to write this. It’s way too personal, and deeply private, but I feel it is my responsibility to punch this subject matter in the face. I have to speak up. I am omitting the names of the innocent. I am protecting the people I value most. But I’m also speaking up for everyone when I say that a lot of what I’ve come across would break most people. That’s why this needs to be said, especially during a time when we talk about suicide prevention. No one is immune. I am doing my best to be culturally sensitive, but ultimately, these are my feelings and views. Thank you for reading.
For the past six months, if not longer, I’ve heard a lot of ugly, racist, hateful, sick negativity targeted at someone I love. It is not my first experience with this (The criticism, itself.), but it is from a purely racial standpoint, and I’m not here for it. It makes me rabidly ill, which quickly turns to anger. Anger fuels me to be a better, smarter person, and I’ve mentioned this before, but it can easily get out of hand, too. I am extreme, and you will see that here. I’m not apologizing for it. In fact, as I move forward, I make no apologies for my honesty.
In situations like this, where someone I value is being attacked, you’re dealing with a dragon. I go from zero to one hundred in such a tiny sliver of time, and I legitimately don’t care if the person talking shit survives my wrath. You run your mouth, and I’m going to shove your foot back down your throat until you’re choking on your hip bone. I do not come to play with assholes, so check yourself before you start anything with me. This girl will not eat insults politely with a knife and fork. I’m far more inclined to put the fork in your hand.
(Potential Spoiler Alert for Homeland)
Has anyone seen the second season of Homeland when Quinn sticks a knife in Brody’s hand? First time I saw it was with my brother. He turned to me and said, “Oh, my GOD, YOU would totally do that!” It’s true. My patience level is always on thin ice, and right now, it’s barely present. I openly admit that recent events have caused my hostility and filter to break free. Something triggered this to happen. Under normal circumstances, I am not quite as vicious. Regardless of what occurred, I know precisely who I am. I will not be shamed in speaking my truth, or in using my voice and platform in the correct way.
I am the nicest, most loyal, rudest, meanest person you will ever meet, and when you come for what you do not understand, and it happens to be someone I love, I’m going to come at you HARD. You’re not going to see the sniper, because you’ve already underestimated her. That was your second mistake.
A while ago, I came across someone who made a completely unjustified comment. It was NOT an opinion; it was wholly racist and untrue. Please, don’t make public comments on social media when you’re not sure who will come across your words in five minutes, or in this case, four years later. You bet your ass I went in for the kill. I was angry, and I didn’t care how the other person might or might not respond; he needed to be put in his place.
I waited for the hostility to come back at me, because I had actually been warned not to say anything, do anything, comment, or fight. “Just let it go.” 🙄 Excuse him. He’s new here, and doesn’t realize I shoot to kill; he will adjust. The same way I have to, except this isn’t my first rodeo. I know what I’m doing.
There was silence for a while, and a few days later, I received an apology. The person actually said, “Looking back on this, I am cringing so hard right now. It was completely uncalled for and borderline racist.” Borderline?! No, it was presumptuous and one hundred percent racist AF. That’s precisely why I called him out on it. He apologized to me multiple times, but the gist is, calling someone a, “drug addict who will just sit around and not do their job”, is not okay to say about anyone, but it’s especially wrong to say publicly about someone you do not fucking know.
I pulled no punches. I said, “This comment is completely baseless and untrue.” Putting the words, “drug addict” into a sentence with no verifiable proof, and using it to describe a specific person, is slander and character assassination. Dude was lucky-ish. I don’t care what device you’re hiding behind, the right person can get an IP address so that you are issued a cease and desist on a comment of that magnitude. This is genuinely not my first experience handling things of this nature. You can’t make a dangerous statement and pretend it’s a fact. There are rules.
The Internet makes people fucking stupid, because they are hiding behind a false sense of security which makes them truly feel powerful in how they talk about anything, except they are fucking up in epic ways. People like to claim it’s freedom of speech. Libel is not freedom of speech. Slander and character assassination is not freedom of speech. Our forefathers didn’t have the foresight to include the words, “Freedom to be a fucking douchebag.”, written into the constitution. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. I know full well there’s a limit to freedom of speech, and I always have because, as a writer, I have to shut the fuck up sometimes, too. I could very stupidly name-drop and lose everything, and good writers know NOT to do that. For those who don’t understand that there are limits, I feel sorry for you.
I politely replied to this person, “I am glad you are seeing the error of your ways, even though it’s been a few years. Thank you for owning how awful what you said is, without making excuses. I appreciate it and your desire to correct it. I hope that, moving forward, you will think before you make a comment like this again. Since it bothers you now, it can be deleted.” A few days later, it was gone, but this girl kept the receipts. My mother didn’t raise a fool.
Every single day, I say I’m not going to do this. I’m not going to look, and then I do. I began writing this after walking away from some of the worst things I’ve heard and seen. We’re talking many months building up. I was deeply hurt. Incredibly angry, and ferociously protective. I was ready to scream.
These are not my automatic reactions in situations of this nature, but after so many months of this crap, I was outright ready for war. In my head, a lot of people no longer have vocal cords with which to vocalize their fucked up, racist crap, and they are also missing their hands, so they can’t type heinous shit about a human being who they think they have some ownership over.
I’m not sorry to say this, but slavery is fucking over in this country, and anyone who thinks people should be kept as slaves in any way, shape, or form should be shot on sight. I’ve never made my aggressive personality a secret. I am genuinely tired of this, and yes, I’ve been asked, “Don’t do this. Let it go.” If I sit here loving someone and I say NOTHING, then I am just as bad as everyone else in this world who will ignore a racial attack and/or hate crime. I am many things, but I’m not a fucking hypocrite.
At the core of who I am is incredibly fierce loyalty. My closest friends and family benefit from this strength. I’m not outwardly hostile, until you push me, and don’t realize there were boundaries in place, and then, out of nowhere, the New York comes out of me. You watch me morph into a person you might not know. Sometimes, I’m not sure I know her, either, but I can feel and hear the difference. My body language changes, and so does the tone of my voice. People are generally too stupid to realize a shift has occurred, which is part of the problem. If I allow myself to be silenced, then the hate wins. I refuse to be the kind of person who allows it to win.
I’ve had to tone it down a lot in this particular situation because I am protective. Irrationally so. I’ve got no chill left because it’s not a shitty comment or two, they are all racially charged, hateful, and so negative that you can’t pull back from that. I try. I do. I would love to block it all out, and sometimes I can, but other times I will see key words and my brain lights up with rage. Why else would I be awake after three o’clock in the morning writing something of this nature? It wasn’t because my response to hate is positive; that’s for damn sure.
In October, I read something completely unrelated to this, and just about lost my mind with anger because the comment was so racist, I couldn’t stand it. And yes, I defended the person who was targeted because it keeps coming up, and I don’t deem it respectful or fair.
Let me be supremely clear, assuming all biracial or multiracial men are the same person, look the same, think the same way, believe the same exact things, speak the same way, grew up the same way, etc., that’s completely off base. Why do people feel the need to go there? It’s UGLY and disrespectful. The biracial man with blue eyes is not the same person who is biracial with two white parents, and who rarely points out the fact that he’s biracial at all. If you’re making a stupid remark, you’re reaching, and it’s not acceptable. Why does this need to be talked about? Because it’s racist; that’s why! I’m not the person I know I am if I don’t call it out for what it is.
The exact comment that pushed me too far was, “They’re both biracial, predominantly white, so they’re the same person. They’re half-human.” There was another sentence in there which I will not repeat because the mere thought makes steam come out of my head. My, “WHAT THE FUCK?” radar went OFF like a bullet in a gun. I stepped back, because I knew full well I was going to be meaner than a hornet’s nest. And even in my calmest moment, my words still hit the target with intended precision.
Whenever I step up, which I do constantly in my personal life, people think political references are offensive. They’re actually pathetic. They show me your character.
“You’re just a white liberal. You’re what’s wrong with this country.” Yes, this was said to me. No, this person had no clue what I look like. It’s presumptuous, at best, and highly inaccurate.
“White people have hero complexes.” Really? Tell me more, you racist scum bag.
“Okay leftie.” was another ridiculous comment made to me, and completely off-base. Do people realize you can stand up for others, and simply be a decent human being? Race does not have to get involved when it comes to right versus wrong, and rarely will I make something political. It’s unnecessary. People say it to incite, most of them probably don’t even vote and likely never have. Honesty does not make you right or left, it just means you’re intolerant of bullshit.
Do all the non-Trump supporters think using the term, “illegals” is acceptable? There were people running for office in the state of Massachusetts who were actively using this word like it’s socially acceptable, and several of them are black. Color me mortified as hell! Let’s get really honest here: We live on Native American land. Raise your hand if you’re native to America. If you’re not native to a tribe, you’re not native. You were born in America; and we need to address that, too. You can research this fact. You want to talk about colonization?! Let’s start there. My family came here for a better life and they helped build the better part of New York City; but they did not colonize the five boroughs of New York.
Unfortunately, as I began writing this, I noticed things in my own life which I definitely have enormous questions about, because I see it as part of the problem, as opposed to part of the solution. To start, my core friend group doesn’t have a diverse group of friends around them. I noticed this a lot over the past two years, and it galls me. Probably because I grew up very differently and conduct myself in a different fashion to this day.
My white friends don’t seem to have people of color in their lives, and if they do, they will often brag about it like it makes them less racist. Someone I know was dating a person of color, and she kept mentioning where he was from, almost as if he represented something to her. I know he did, because within a few weeks, she was suddenly pregnant and having a shotgun wedding to a white guy. I am not kidding when I say it was weeks, either. If you have to announce where a person you are in a relationship with is from (Let’s use India, as an example.), then you’re harboring some racist tendencies and should look into that. Otherwise, your friends are your friends, regardless of where they come from, or the color of their skin, and the people you’re in relationships with are people. I don’t use labels. I never say, “This is my African friend.” That’s completely inappropriate, and highly disrespectful. “This is my friend,” along with their name, is how you introduce someone. If people want to get to know one another and there are follow-up questions, that is completely different. Yes, if their questions are rude, I’m going to bat for whoever I just introduced you to. I don’t stand for ignorance.
Second, my visibly black and brown friends sort of stick together, but not necessarily, and they will occasionally exclude others as if they might become contaminated. I am accepted into the circle of trust because I am an accepting sort of person. I’ve always fit in with diversity, and as someone who often stands out, there are good and bad aspects to this.
The majority of my Asian friends (Not all.) only seem to have Asian friends, and that scares me. I know it stems from growing up in a very specific cultural level of acceptance. I know they are looking to their parents and the tight-knit community in which they grew up in, but it’s such a stark contrast that I couldn’t help but see it clearly. You’re adults now, and should broaden your horizons. Learn from one another and grow.
I am the odd person out in my friend group because I am not one thing, and one thing only. I use the word, “multiracial” because it is the most accurate description I can give. I also use the descriptor, “multicultural”. More than twenty flags make up my ancestry, with approximately five countries coming up as the most dominant in my genes. I know what you’re thinking; she’s Jewish and Jews are not a race. Someone didn’t do their homework if they’re reading this and thought it, if even for a second.
Jews are an ethno-religious group, a people, a nation, and an ancient bloodline descended from Kings. We are indigenous people of color. Some of us are white-passing. Millions, really. Others are distinctly brown, black, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. My brother is constantly asked if he’s Puerto Rican or Italian because he inherited my father’s olive skin. I don’t know if he even answers people when faced with that kind of ignorance, but he and I are different on that level. Where I come from matters to me, because it shapes who we are, whether we’re aware of it or not.
When I look at my friends, I don’t lean towards where I may or may not be accepted. I pick and choose who I will be friends with because I know my worth and value in any relationship I am part of. Your skin color matters far less to me, as opposed to how you treat me and how you treat others. I’m not blind; I see our differences, but you’re also not going to hear racial slurs come out of my mouth. I don’t find racist jokes funny. I never have, and that’s because I know what racism really is, what it looks like, and how it sounds. Why do I know this? Because I grew up with a racist parent, and it was NOT my mother.
Our closest family friends are Puerto Rican and Columbian. That’s how I grew up. I had friends from everywhere you can think of, and I still do. I lived in a melting pot, and while there was definitely racism present, I did not take part in any of it. The unfortunate part is that I spent half my life being told I was white, which I knew in my heart simply wasn’t true. People take specific looks and match them up like dominos, but it is completely inaccurate in today’s society, and it must change. How we view others must change, and change sometimes starts with one person saying, “Enough is enough!”
With my father’s family, I would hear Yiddish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Polish, Greek, German, Ladino, Catalan (Spanish), and two different dialects of Italian spoken when they thought “the children” weren’t paying attention. They thought we were too young to understand a language change. My mother’s family spoke Yiddish for the same reason; so “the children” wouldn’t know what was being discussed, as did my parents. I would also hear Mandarin, French, Creole, Farsi, Hebrew, Portuguese, and other languages in the homes of my friends and extended family. I can close my eyes on any street in any major city, and pick out the different languages with accuracy. That’s what I want my life to be and it’s what I choose for myself and my future; colorful, vibrant, sharing experiences, recipes, cultures, music. This isolated bullshit is not cute. Please break out of your shells! Gain some perspective and stop being part of cliques.
The reason I began writing this was not to talk about myself, obviously. It was to talk about how I am watching racism smack someone I love in the face. This individual could be the most flawless human-being to exist, and someone will still find fault with something. I am grateful he is a person of strong mind, or I’d be deeply concerned about the trauma of it all, because it is traumatic. When I hear someone say, “I just want to go somewhere where I blend in.”, that is a sign of repeated trauma.
One night, a few months ago, was such a proud time. I was ecstatically happy, and even happier because he was smiling. It was such a great shift, and an important one. I kept thinking, “This is good. This is fantastic. The shit will stop. The comments will calm the fuck down.”
Only, it didn’t stop. It shifted, but it did not stop. Because no matter how good you are, some people are still determined to rip you apart based solely on your skin color. and I am sick and tired of it. I know where these comments stem from. I refuse to engage with it moving forward.
The one person I’ve confided in about all of this (The broader story, as opposed to the tidbits I feel safe enough to share.) has repeatedly told me that if I tell someone off, then they had it coming. I’m over here trying not to be a crazy bitch, but I’m so sick of it all. I can handle it professionally and personally, but I am definitely fiercely protective on a personal level.
This past week, there was rampant criticism, but it was no longer racially charged. The focus had shifted. The wording changed, but I’m not an idiot. I know at any given moment, for any reason, the hate can, and will, come back. I know blame is going to be part of it, too. It is shameful and embarrassing to me that anyone would think their hatred has a safe space. There is a dark web subculture of deeply rooted hate that must be addressed and rooted out. We cannot hide behind, “freedom of speech”. That’s bullshit. There are boundaries, and it’s important for us to establish them, or we’re no better than the haters.
It comes down to these basic facts; THINK BEFORE YOU FUCKING SPEAK OR TYPE. Check yourself. Go to therapy, Grow the fuck up. Remove deeply rooted hate and misogyny from yourself. Do the fucking work in order to be someone you can be proud of. Do it for yourself and for those who you most influence. Do it for a better tomorrow.
I practice what I preach. I show up, and I do the work. I don’t shake my head and ignore it. Essentially, if you want to make a difference and impart change, then it starts with you. Be the example you wish others could be, for you and yours. Be an inspiration for others to see.
I said what I said.
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