Apologies in advance for the length of this post.
I got a pretty nasty message from a Facebook acquaintance about some of my opinions re: Duck Dynasty Bigot. I had written a status directed at people using the whole "he's a redneck, what do you expect?" excuse. The status was along the lines of "there's no excuse for bigotry. I don't care if you're from the big city or the backwoods, it's not acceptable. Continuing to watch that show is tantamount to saying TV entertainment trumps racism/homophobia.". The person who messaged me is (was?) a family friend who used to babysit me when I was very young and whom I haven't seen since I was probably 6 years old. Here's what she felt she needed to share with me:
I don't wish to go to 'war' publicly on your FB wall but I do have a response so I ask that you read it and think about it. You're very smart but lack life experience. There is a whole world out there to learn from and I encourage you to consider opening your mind to all this world can teach. Yes keep your morals and ethics but also know the world doesn't revolve around you.
I've read past posts from you and bit my tongue out of respect and acceptance. I believe you like to be right and have the last word. I think you're not very open minded to those with views that are opposing to yours. That's for you to know and understand and not for me to judge; however, I believe you're limiting yourself when you choose only like-minded individuals to call 'friend'. You've made comments about PCOS & weight, and racism. I too have felt slighted by people judging me for the same things but it's about how I choose to address it. You're choice is to call people out and I'm saying that you might consider being more open and accepting of others.
I find some of your statuses are anger driven. Complaining and putting people down because you or someone who know was put down. I don't teach my children to hit back, I don't believe in fighting haters with hate. That's me. That's what works for me. I'm sharing this with you because you're smart and obviously driven to change our world and I'm suggesting that you might consider other approaches to persuading people to accept others by being more accepting yourself. You've got a wealth of knowledge but there's only so much that can be taught by books, seminars, and in under 30 years of life. I'm also lacking life experience. I hope in my 60's I'll have more to offer to others than I do now.
You're very defensive. It isn't my intention to piss you off, maybe I'm misinterpreting your reply?
So. Yeah. I was pretty taken aback by the message. She had commented on the status itself with something about "not agreeing with his opinion, but learning to laugh it off" to which I responded with "I appreciate your opinion, but I don't have the privilege of being able to laugh at bigotry." She's a heterosexual white woman, just in case it wasn't obvious from her response. I'm really confused about her saying she's felt slighted about people judging her based on her race? I didn't address it in my response because I'm fairly certain it'll be one of those "reverse racism" arguments that I seriously don't have time for.
This is the most even-tempered response I could muster, but I'm still pretty fucking pissed off about it.
You and I don't know each other. At all. I appreciate what you're saying and if I sound angry it's probably because I do get angry when I see how my generation thinks "YOLO" is an acceptable answer for everything. For you to sit there and make judgments about my personality and that "I like to be right and have the last word" is not only incredibly misguided, but based on nothing but the statuses that you've chosen to illustrate your point. Just a heads up: being condescending doesn't exactly help people to be more accepting of your opinions and thoughts either... It's quite common for people to talk down to people my age because "we think we know everything because we learned it in a book". Not the first time I've heard that and I'm sure it won't be the last. I don't claim to know everything. The only things I can speak to with any authority is my own experience and what I'm 12 credits away from having a degree in. Even then, everyone's experience is valuable to me and hearing them is also valuable. What I don't think is valuable is people who try to shame me because they feel attacked by something I've said because it hit home and they're likely guilty of doing that themselves. I don't claim to be perfect, I know I'm not and I'm sure that's been stated on Facebook before as well. But what I strive to do is put myself in the shoes of others, especially those who are endemically getting the short end of the stick. I truly believe that empathy can change the world so it's alarming to me that you're asking me to be "accepting of others" when really what you're saying is to "be accepting of others opinions". I don't accept every opinion but that doesn't mean I don't accept the person. I know that I have strong opinions and beliefs and if that makes me seem like "the angry brown girl" (my emphasis, not yours), I'm okay with that. I'm in good company.
I'm still shaking.
UPDATE: Her response
I am not attacking you. I have just returned to school this year myself and am way more than 12 credits from my degree. You must be proud, I would be!
I'm sorry if you feel that I'm being condescending but that was not my intention. Sometimes we see things or hear things how we want, not how it is. For that reason I'm not going to continue this dialogue. Clearly we are reading into what the other is saying in a manner that is not productive.