Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Nasty Feedback

For some reason, last night I got a letter from someone whom I worked with on a story about the county in which I live. It was one of those forwards and was sent to probably 20 or 50 people and I don't have any idea why I got put on the list. The letter regarded Barack Obama and was one of those "Would you want this man president?" and then had maybe half-a-dozen sentences allegedly extracted from his book. They were, of course, the most volatile sentences in his book, when taken out of context. And they all smacked of fear and racism, urging people to consider that Obama was essentially an Osama, that one Muslim was another Muslim/Christian; that Obama would create terrorism here in the US and that we shouldn't vote for him.
If it hadn't come from someone I knew in a different context--someone who had run into this county's legal system and been steamrolled by it--I would have just tossed it. But coming from someone who has been buried by the white establishment--and who herself is white, but poor white--I got snippy and responded that people who sent this sort of drivel were fear mongers and perhaps mentally challenged. And I also asked to be taken off the list.
Well, man did I get a quick response. More than 10 of the people on the list have written me to note that I'm quite rude and that Jesus could save me, or that I should be run out of the county, or that I must love n.....s, and so forth. I answered a couple with the notion that Jesus, as a black man or Jew would have looked like a Muslim, and that I certainly do love everybody and that no, I wouldn't be leaving the county any time soon. And then I didn't respond to the rest.
I would have done the same if the letter denigrated John McCain in a similar fashion. Part of me gets irked at racism. At stupidity. At playing to fear. I don't like it. I guess I don't like it because I know it works and I've seen its results. You can get a crowd worked up and the next thing you know there are riots and someone gets killed or neighborhoods get set on fire. I remember seeing those awful KKK photos of lynchings and seeing those hanging black men in newspaper photos as a little kid in the 1950s. I remember listening to people shout at Jackie Robinson for being black as late as 1956 at Ebbets Field and watching my father stand up for him with the drunken racists in the stands. More recently, I watched our nation plunge into war in both Afghanistan and Iraq largely by fear mongering based on racism. I have friends fighting over there now because of that.
I don't go for racism. And getting that letter from someone I've defended, someone I've tried to help exposed me: I assume we're all on the same side these days, at least on that count. And I guess we're not. And so I felt stupid, and I felt ashamed that I was included on a list that would promote racism. So I responded fiercely but stupidly.
And I got some nasty feedback and might have my house set on fire today. Hopefully that's just hyperbole. But man, I wish this country would grow up already. We've got people running for president here. We've got a couple of choices that might make a small difference in the direction this country takes for a few years. The choice we make really oughtn't be made on six lines from a book written very honestly several years ago. Just as the choice shouldn't be made by denigrating the suffering that McCain went through as a POW for several years. The choice should be made on things more meaningful.
Anyway, wanted to get that off my chest. Please don't send me those sorts of missives.
Good morning all, have a fantastic day, heah?

3 comments:

earth heart said...

Man oh man, I just said something the other day about those who, since they are racist and also acquainted with me, assume I feel the same as they do. It has happened to me, too and it blows my mind because like you, I don't go for it. I grew up with the KKK being a strong force in my hometown of Lodi, Oh where the former grand dragon Dale Reusch resided. There was plenty of cross burning and racism abounded.
I guess we assume wrong when we think we're all on the same side, because the other side obviously assumes the same thing. You'd think by now we'd all have progressed a little further in our humanity.

Sky Rider said...

Did Dale Reusch of the KKK work at Ford Motor Company in Brook Park?

Lisa Varney said...

@Sky Rider ~ Yes, I believe he retired from Ford in or around 1986.