Thursday, October 2, 2014

Let's talk about hate.

A few weeks ago, there was an incident via social networking and then personal e-mails that lead to the demise of an acquaintanceship. The situation seemed pretty obvious to me, but the way it played out was a total shock. So, what happened was, an internet friend posted a hateful comment about Rihanna. We exchanged a few tweets and then a few e-mails and then everything ended. Here is the tweet exchange:

To me, it was really obvious that the first comment was hateful. This was not so obvious to her and to others. So let me tell you why this is hate. Charisma said, "So you're telling me that people bought a Rihanna CD for $200? That's a coincidence because I would pay $200 to never hear Rihanna again."

You can see she tries to assert that she "just happen[s] to feel differently" from a lot of people. If she had commented either on the ridiculous cost of the cd by saying, "So you're telling me that people bought a Rihanna CD for $200? That seems like a waste of money," then she wouldn't have been spreading hate. If she had made a comment about her distaste for Rihanna by saying, "So you're telling me that people bought a Rihanna CD for $200? I could never pay that much for an artist whose music I dislike," that also would not have been hate. Instead, the wording, "I would pay $200 to never hear Rihanna again," is hate. That is exactly what hate looks like. It is a comment specifically designed to mock Rihanna and her music in a very hateful way.

And the thing is, the tweet doesn't make sense for the rest of what Charisma tweets or even for what she posts on her blog. Charisma posts really inspirational tweets from famous people, being all motivating. She writes a series on self love that is really awesome. It's putting a lot of great vibes out there and encouraging everyone (but probably, mostly women) to work at loving themselves. Taking a second of her time to waste on hate is antithetical to what she usually puts out there into the world. Furthermore, her blog and her Twitter stream are an extension of her photography business, so it seems in poor taste to spend time spreading hate when she's representing her entire brand.

After our twitter exchange, Charisma sent me an e-mail asking if she had offended me somehow, and so I responded:

I clearly outlined everything that was wrong with the tweet. And let me tell you, it was all wrong. Because the thing is, a tweet is not just some throwaway comment made in your living room to your husband or mother. A tweet is a comment sent out to the world. Even if Rihanna doesn't follow your account, you've attached her name to it, and it's something she can find pretty easily. Furthermore, it's adding to the deluge of hate celebrities receive on a regular basis. And it perpetuates the general hate so prevalent in our take down culture.

Well anyway, Charisma responded:

There's so much wrong with her response. For starters, she didn't simply share that she dislikes Rihanna's music. I'm not sure how she or any one could misconstrue her tweet as such. Saying you dislike someone's music is as simple as saying you dislike it, not saying you'd pay never to hear it again. And it's woman on woman hate because Charisma said something hateful regarding Rihanna; both of them are women. Furthermore, it's disrespectful to another artist. I believe, as artists, that we owe each other respect. We owe it to each other to acknowledge the difficulties in being an artist and to respect each other, despite our personal feelings about our work.

But the real kicker in this e-mail is the last paragraph, "...and argument for argument's sake..." And that's when I knew we were done. Because here is the thing, you can commit a lot of transgressions and while I'll call you on them, I will still respect you as a friend and a person and move on. Yes, I'm that friend who calls out inequality and bullshit. My friends disagree with me, sometimes, and then we move on. But what doesn't happen is them belittling me with comments about arguing for argument's sake, because I don't do that.

We live in a world so full of hate, and I'm so totally over it. I don't want to associate with anyone who thinks casual hate is ok. There is so much evidence about online bullying and so many complaints about how people handle themselves over social media, and I can't stand for it. I was genuinely shocked that Charisma would post such hate and stand by it. That first tweet was such a pointless, throwaway tweet that had really no value. Her further defense of it, to the point of belittling me as a person, I just can't stand that. Acquaintance ended.

And the thing is, we all can do so much better than this. We can tweet each other with respect, including celebrities. We can think before we speak. We can choose not to belittle others. We can choose to be positive and helpful and loving. It is entirely within our power. I feel like we owe it to the world to do so, or we can't really bitch about what's wrong with the world.

But despite my misgivings, I still encourage you to check out Charisma's blog and maybe follow her on Twitter. I may be over it, but you might find all the good things there.


  1. There are some people that are never going to understand why their comments can be seen as hateful or threatening or inappropriate. It reminds me of when guys defend catcalling by saying "I was just paying her a compliment..." No matter how well you explain it to that guy, he still isn't going to get it. Looks like the same deal here.

    1. I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess you can't force people to see when they completely miss the point. Oh well. Sometimes, I hope my words stick in someone's brains the way they stick in mind...and that my words are carefully considered over time. Pipe dreams!!

  2. I guess that sometimes, people just don't see, or maybe some people just don't care how much their carelessly thrown words can hurt and wound others.It is sad, but maybe your words will plant a seed and in time they will realize that hateful comments are really Bad Karma for them.

    Anyway, I'm glad that you answered back and pointed out that it was just not very nice at all.

    I guess that it is easy for some people out there to be *keyboard cowards*, and spew out their hateful comments. It is hard to dead with hateful comments. I have been a victim of that also.
    It is annoying and it hurts.All we can do is to call them out on it at the time.

    1. Yep! We shouldn't have to develop a thick skin because of behavior such as this! Thanks for the comment. I needed to be brought back to this post, to be reminded of things I've said in the past!!