I sent my father an email last night that will anger him. I am positive that he won’t talk to me for quite some time as a result of this email. And I’m perfectly fine with that. Allow me to explain.
I come from a largely conservative, Republican, family. I myself am a Libertarian, but I typically do not share my political beliefs with my family and I bite my tongue when political discussions are dinner topics at family gatherings. I know better than to think I can actually change the opinion of my parents or grandparents. And I respect them enough to not call them out when they quote (or misquote) from ignorance.
I have even, in the past, tolerated the old school racism that occasionally rears its ugly head in my family. Most families have some – it’s inescapable. My family knows that I am not racist, that I take offense to it, and as a result most people tend to censor themselves in front of me. No one, after all, wants to appear to be stupidly ignorant. That said, the racism is usually exchanged between “like-minded” individuals in private (email or phone). They “pretend” to be enlightened in front of me yet when I am not around they are openly prejudiced and racist. It’s a pathetic pretense, but one most families have to live with. You try telling your 84-year-old grandfather that his ideas on race are hopelessly outdated and inappropriate today.
I am also largely very respectful of my “elders.” Even when they continually disrespect me. This example is what is the impetus for this blog entry. Day in and day out I receive virtual reams of pro-McCain propaganda from certain family members. I ask, politely, again and again that I not be included in these emails. Not because I find it offensive to support McCain, but because the emails are never factual. My pleas fall on deaf ears.
Conversely, I never, ever, send a political email to my family members. Ever. In the past I did – once or twice. I was very quickly labeled as disrespectful and denounced for insulting my relatives. I learned that it’s OK to send political agendas and ideas to me but I can never respond in kind. Children should be seen and not heard, apparently. Even adult children.
There’s one issue, though. Invariably the email spam that gets forwarded to me is sensationalistic lies and false propaganda. I can’t stand that. I have a threshold of pain on these emails and, when it is hit, I send a polite email to the entire spam list, urging them to check the validity of what they send before actually hit send.
I did that a couple of months ago. I became an “embarrassment” to my father. How dare I admonish his friends and family publicly? How could I embarrass him so?
But I made my point – or so I thought. I was removed from the spam list lest I “lash out” again. The spam list in my family is apparently a frenzied mob that chews up and spits out anything, and I mean anything, that even appears to chastise or criticize them.
Then last night I get another email – political. It is, of course, leaning so far to the right that it’s horizontal. So rather than ask that I be removed – a tact that never works – I found a response to the email that leaned a little to the left and sent it back. I didn’t change a word – it was a spam email just like the ones I get every day.
And I got immediately yelled at for insulting my family. Seriously. I was “disrespectful” and I had insulted my family.
To top it off, someone placed a Barack Obama endorsement on my facebook page. On my wall – the place where my friends leave comments. The endorsement wasnt’ mine. And a family member writes this private email to my father:
“With his brother being a military die hard you would think he would take in consideration the fact that the nigar didn’t even take time to say hello to the troops when he paid them a visit.”
This private email was forwarded to me because I was supposed to see how much of an “embarassment” I am to the family. I got angry. Very angry. So I replied to the entire chain with this (excerpt):
Let’s take, for instance, the statement in this email: “you would think he would take in consideration the fact that the nigar didn’t even take time to say hello to the troops when he paid them a visit.”
Do you know this statement to be fact? You do not. In fact – it’s 100% UNTRUE! Just go here and read for yourself: http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/afghanistan.asp . And yet – you use this falsehood to try and vilify me for your perceived notion of my political beliefs.
Another statement in this email: “With his brother being a military die hard..” What about it? You assume a lot with that statement. You assume that you know what my brother stands for – yet when did you last talk to him? I talk to him daily. I know what he stands for and he knows what I stand for – and he is in no way offended or challenged by my beliefs. He doesn’t need you or anyone else to defend him.
You use the misspelled word “nigar” as a denunciation of Barack Obama – using racism to dismiss a person for no other reason than the color of his skin. Should I assume that this is a “Republican” behavior or should I assume that it’s just you? I find the term highly offensive, especially considering the fact that my step-daughter is a mixed child. How inappropriate.
Lastly – the “Obama endorsement” on my web page. I assume you’re referring to Facebook. If you look closely, you’ll see that I did NOT place it there – it’s in my “Wall” – the place where my friends can leave me messages. One of my friends endorses Obama. As I said – I NEVER share my political views.
And yet – here I am, getting judged by people who obviously don’t know me or respect me enough to ask me. You should be ashamed of yourselves. You owe me an apology.
So here I am – angry and hurt and sharing my feelings on the web. Wearing my feelings on my sleeve for the entire world to see.
I was attacked for my political beliefs by my friends/family. They feel like they have the right to cast judgment on me for what the IMAGINE my political beliefs to be. How absurd. They have not asked me what I believe.
Worse – my family was attacked. My step-daughter is in this family and she’s mixed. I am ashamed of my family for their intolerance. I used to think I was supposed to just accept the “older generation.” They can’t change – as long as they play nice it should be ok. But it’s apparent now that these deep-rooted racims are not something I should endure.
My sister and brother, of course, are very angry – livid even – at this entire ordeal. They share my frustrations.
What do you do in this situation? What should I do?