I realize that not everyone is going to agree with something; even if there’s overwhelming proof it’s true. Take climate change for example. 97% of scientists agree it’s real, yet there are some people who insist it’s a hoax. But I digress; this article isn’t about climate change. It’s about trolls. No, not the kind you have to pay a toll in order to cross a bridge. I’m talking about internet trolls.
Recently I’ve been talking a lot about racism and how institutional racism and racial prejudice are two different things. This isn’t something I made up in my head; I’ve read several articles (including scholarly ones) on the subject. Now, the problem (okay may problem is the wrong word) some people have is they will use a personal experience or two as basis for why something isn’t true. A friend of mine explained that he has experienced racism before. I tried explaining that what he experienced is racial prejudice, not racism (and that the dictionary definition of racism is a basic one).
A friend of mine explains it best, “Also racial prejudice is different from institutionalized racism. Racism is racial prejudice (plus power), but not all racial prejudice is racism. Racism alludes to the way that a tremendous amount of individual prejudice can come together to create an institutional power that harms a marginalized group on a large scale. No one is saying all people of a marginalized group are all angels, but they aren’t part of an institutional epidemic that brings white people down in society.” I think that this is a really good explanation, but the problem is people sometimes have selective hearing (or reading). I had said, “Black people can’t be racist against white people.” What I mean was they cannot invoke institutional racism since they lack that power. Yes they can be individual prejudice, but as my friend said, they do not have the power to marginalize white people as a whole. The way people react however is as if I just told them their experience was invalid or it never happened, selective reading. Here is an example:
Person 1: A tomato is a vegetable
Person 2:Actually it’s a fruit
Person 1: But the supermarket has them with the vegetables, not fruit!
Person 2: Yes, most people think it’s a vegetable so it’s just easier, but it’s still a fruit.
Person 1: I saw it with the vegetables!!
Person 2: ::Gives a long and descriptive explanation of why a tomato is a fruit::
Person 1: The tomato is with vegetables at the supermarket!
You get the point, but as frustrating as these people are and while tempers may flair, they at least remain respectful. Other people? Not so much. This is where I want to talk about trolls, and I will start with a specific troll. I had made a post on my podcast’s facebook fan page indicating that I was going to talk about how reverse racism doesn’t exist (again racism is different from racial prejudice). Someone asked me if I believed that was true. I gave my short version response.
Instead of coming back with a well thought out rebuttal, this person called me, “fucking idiot” and told me was racism really means (i.e.-he gave me the very basic definition), and then told me anything else I add was my own ignorance. Hmm, okay. I then gave an even longer explanation, this time using quotes from other sources (again, I didn’t make this stuff up, it’s been in place long before I learned about it). Was his reply an intelligent, articulate argument? Of course not, he called me a “dumbass” and a “fucking horrible person.” He also told me that I, “advocate labeling and grouping people.”
Um, I am a passionate advocate for equal rights (regardless of gender, race, religion, etc), I speak out against sexism, racism, transphobia, etc. What I do advocate for is correct labels. For example; calling a trans* person by their preferred pronoun, or knowing the difference between pansexual and bisexual. Joe doesn’t understand that my “labeling” doesn’t come from some close minded view, and that I don’t believe in equality. It comes from understanding people are individuals and respecting their choices, thus addressing them as they want to be as well as educating on different “labels.” Yes, we are all human and should all be equal, but it is also important to be educated (knowing the difference between transsexual and transgender, understanding why someone is polysexual and not pansexual, etc).
Then there is the swearing. I consider people who use the F word like a comma to be really unintelligent. Maybe, in reality they are not, but that’s not how they present themselves. If Joe were in a real debate he’d be a laughing stock. No one would take him seriously because he couldn’t articulate an intelligent debate. After about 35 comments of Joe insulting me I decided to just delete the post and re-post it. When I did he commented calling me a, “sociopath” because I deleted it. Okay, here’s what I notice about trolls:
•They think they are clever with their insults, but they severely lack thought. In the case of case of calling me a sociopath, Joe obviously doesn’t know what sociopathy is, or he’s pulling words out of his ass. I am an empath, I also have BDP aka Emotion Disregulation. Sociopaths basically are void of or have a great lack of emotion. I’m OVER emotional. So you see completely uneducated insult.
•They think swearing like a sailor and stooping to 3rd grade insults is proper behavior. I’d love to see how they’d fair if they behaved like that not behind a computer.
•In the case of Joe he proclaims that is, “the king of the trolls.” Dude, that’s not something to be proud of, at all. Employers aren’t going to be calling you up saying, “I see here you are King of the Trolls. Tell me more about your area of expertise in this field.”
We are always told to ignore the trolls, don’t feed them, but to me not speaking out is even worse. I understand the whole point of trolling is to push buttons, but I don’t get why someone would want to promote themselves as a completely unintelligent just to be able to hurt someone’s feelings. Great, you upset some person on the internet you’ve never met. Do you realize pretty much everyone (except maybe fellow trolls) that sees your comment, “doo u is 2 stoopid!!” is going to think you’re uneducated? Why would you want to promote yourself that way?