Your comment, meet my trash can
Most comments on my blog are lovely: thoughtful, eloquent, empathetic. They’re so overwhelmingly lovely that it surprises me when I see the other kind, which I deposit directly in the trash.
What I consider “the other kind” expands beyond clear hate speech, generally falling into one or more of a handful of categories I call:
The Four Deadly P’s
- Promoting: This kind of comment includes a variation of the words “nice post” (e.g., “great post,” “good post,” “neat post”) followed by a hyperlink back to the commenter’s blog. Visitors leaving this kind of comment either don’t understand or don’t care that the best way to earn visitors is by genuinely engaging with others in their own spaces.
- Parenting: Many commenters here have kids who have flown the coop and whose parenthood rings beautifully through their words. These comments rock my socks off. The kind of parent-style comment that doesn’t see the light of day here is the kind my mom would’ve left on my blog were I thirteen and she technoligically inclined: “This is why you’re wrong, honey, and this–in eighteen bulleted steps–is what you need to do to be a good girl again.” I had one mom. I will only ever have one mom. I am in the market for zero more moms, and zero patronizing moral sermons on how I could be a “good girl” in anyone else’s eyes.
- Proselytizing: I love knowing what inspires commenters and why it inspires them. That’s not proselytizing, but sharing the goodness that lights their hearts. I dig it. For me, proselytizing is in the shift from “I do” to “you should/must/need to/will-be-damned-eternally-if-you-don’t” do this or that thing. I do not, did not, and will not sign up to be a node on someone’s convert-the-disbelievers tour, whether around subjects of faith, books, diets, politics or any other source of human disagreement under the sun. I support folks’ right to proselytize … on their blogs, not mine.
- Pretending omniscience: I’m married to a Black man. Until he first talked to me about race when I was pregnant with our older son, I genuinely believed racism was a relic of bygone times. My eyes opened gradually to signs of implicit and overt bias through the early years of our relationship, until I was between jobs shortly after protests erupted nationwide after Mike Brown’s killing in Ferguson and my accelerated learning began. For two months, I barely slept as I read through at least tens of of thousands of words and watched–literally, frame by frame–more than a dozen brown-skinned people be killed in the act of complying with police requests. I saw that police officers are seldom charged and virtually never indicted for even the most indefensible killings, and finally understood both how vastly I misunderstood the world today and how destructive is unrecognized implicit bias in myriad lower stake circumstances. I saw better that all injustice is interrelated, and also that a great many people are deeply invested in not only believing but forcing others to acknowledge that their own way to experience the world is the only experience of the world. They haven’t personally experienced racism, therefore it doesn’t exist! They haven’t personally experienced sexism, therefore it doesn’t exist! I’d seen shades of this reflected before my education via Ferguson and even wrote a lighthearted 2013 post trying to highlight for people how freakin’ ridiculous it sounds to say, “Because I haven’t lived it, you’re imagining it!” After my two months of poring through countless such ill informed comments, I’m out. This behavior is no longer funny to me now that I see it for the mechanism of achieving control it actually is. I explicitly, wholly, and completely reject any and all comments that tell others how they’d be experiencing life if only they were a little
less black less woman less differently configured“more enlightened.” Ask questions if you like and are willing to listen, but take that less-enlightened crap elsewhere. Goodness knows there’s room abundant for it elsewhere on the internet!
If you’d like your comments to be at one with my trash can, correct more, ask less. But if you’d like your comments to stand, as I’d prefer to let them, then ask more, correct less.
wishing you well while simultaneously and wholly rejecting the notion that my blog must be your unfiltered sounding board.