i spy with my little eye…racism

A sad commentary on our times…I shared the following moment on Facebook:

Fending the inevitable what is Moonlight question and I’ve a feeling I’m still (re)mixing it up with Get Out; thought I had this licked. Like I finally have a decent handle on The Neverending Story and Willow…turns out it’s 2 different movies. Why didn’t anybody say anything!

“Sammy…they really gave an oscar to a horror movie?”
“hmmm: well they gave Three 6 Mafia one for a song about a pimp so really anything is possible. They just give these things out; in the long run awards don’t mean anything.”

“True…so you’re saying it’s about a black gay guy trapped in the suburbs trying to escape to the hood?”
“Yeah…directed by one of the Key & Peele dudes. The one with the hair.”

“…don’t take this the wrong way but I’m gonna google this…”
“ooo what’s the doodle today?”

Neverending Willow Strikes Again…

Did you catch it?

Turns out my post is racist…in response I was shamed for failing to be classy, shamed for linking 3 black prominent products together; shamed for being a troll…shamed even for attempting to invoke humour (and of course…shamed for failing! Especially when it’s not funny…it just makes me come off like a racist…humour is in the funny bone of the beholder apparently). Somebody even made a “you always…” type comment…apparently I have a history of being a racist jerkface so shame on me for that. Shame, shame…shame.

The truth is…none of that is there in my post. If you’re willing or armed with an agenda then of course it’s going to read wrong…but you have to be willing to overlook my mentions of The Neverending Story and Willow to make make your racist charge stick. You also have to be comfortable coming to that racist conclusion based on a handful of social media comments. If you don’t know what I am like in real life, what causes I donate money too, if I serve on any non-profit boards…any sort of sincere actions since actions speak louder than words then it’s surreal to feel that comfortable in rendering a racist verdict without due process. Seriously?

My foolishness made us laugh over lunch and I shared it. There’s nothing to read into my post: no subtext, no agenda, nothing political, nothing to do with race…nothing hidden. Just a simple funny pop culture foible. Feel free to share movies you mixup…I doubt we’re alone. And if we are? If you and your friends don’t mixup and mashup movies/tv shows…so be it. We do. That’s it. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Move over King Tut this is the obnoxious curse of social media…a desired willingness to read it wrong. Sooner or later we all face a firing squad because somebody reads it wrong. But that’s penalizing the writer for a choice let’s be clear…the reader made the choice. The reader has a multitude of choices…anything you read from books to a facebook posts offers a menu of responses. You are free to pick any response or emotion from that menu. Whatever choice emotion/response writing generates the key is…it’s reflective of the reader; not the writer.

No celebrity, stand up comic…facebook post-er, blogger or anybody else is responsible for how you, as a reader choose to interpret or respond to something you’ve read. You’re entirely responsible for your response, for the emotion you selected from the menu of options. To penalize anybody for what you willingly interpret is the social media equivalent of suing McDonald’s for making you fat. McDonald’s didn’t make you fat: You Did.

Ever panic when a friend is late…they don’t like me, they don’t want to join me for dinner…I’m such a loser etc. That’s your problem…that’s your narcissism; your insecurity. None of that is true; no matter how much it feels like it is. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s truth. You can even be angry when they finally show up; but that’s on you not them. You chose to interpret their lateness…out of the multitude of ways to interpret their lateness through a lens of narcissism (by making it about you) and a crappy filter of insecurity. Turns out there was a subway delay and your friend apologizes. The interpretation you chose? You chose badly. And bad choices are happening all the time on social media.

To charge racism…to read with an agenda is to chose badly. Online shame penalizes and bullies the writer and it’s foolish…because it is always the reader’s fault. Always. Is there a stand up comic you don’t think is funny but all your friends do? That comic is not funny…to you. It doesn’t mean their jokes suck by some firmly established universal standard of joke measurement. As a reader take responsibility for your agenda instead of shaming the writer. Stop demanding McDonald’s serve salads or suing em for making you fat. Recognize you have a wonderful and distinct menu of responses to choose from…choose wisely. And if you chose badly, for your sake just don’t punish the writer.

That’s like being angry at Apple for their iphones because you accidentally texted your boss a nude photo. If you didn’t get a raise you’re doing it wrong.


Sammy Baltic Web

Follow Sammy Younan @ Girth Radio W • T • F

Also published on Medium.

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