Image Source: http://www.theguardian.com
What to do when confronted with hate speech—whether in the spoken or written word? I shall save the former, a TKO tale, for another day, but as for the latter, I turned to the host of this blog—WordPress. They can and do suspend sites, although they shy away from the tricky subject of hate speech, which has gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Regardless, when it comes to offensive posts and blogs, they suggest you reply to them and also that you write your own post and “speak you mind,” and thus, here we are.
In America, hate speech has often been found to be in violation of the First Amendment, which grants us the right to free speech, among other things. For those who are non-Americans, take the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment with a grain of kosher salt. To put it in layman’s terms, you cannot falsely yell, “Fire” in a crowded movie theater (Schenck v. United States). Cases involving libel and slander can be legally pursued and often are.
While some of us in the world embrace diversity and accept others who are not like ourselves, there are those who are intolerant—usually due to their upbringing and the biases of those they surround themselves with. There are those who turn a blind eye to these types and those who fight to the bitter end.
I am not interested in fighting; I am interested in righting a wrong. The person whose hate speech started my ordeal on WordPress is not being much of a nuisance anymore—not surprising to me at all. It takes real chutzpah to speak up, yet that is all I know. However, the snowball began with this one individual and then the true colors of others came out—also not surprising based on personal experience. However, to get it from a fellow, non-white person was surprising for this round-the-way girl.
This past week, I was included in a hoax—a prank post if you will—on someone’s blog. I do not care for pranks as they make fun of the innocent and are juvenile. As my blog and I were linked to the prank, without any knowledge of it or any forewarning, it made my former post look like a hoax, too. I tried in good faith to rectify the problem and make amends, but it appears this blogger, who is possibly posing as 2 people, was simply stringing me along until they could post again.
I revisited their blog, as I normally do, only to find a nonsensical post on grammar, which then alluded to the written word and English, which is not their native language, and prefacing all this was a quote by Hitler from Mein Kampf, to prove their point that the spoken word was more powerful than the written word—per a madman who should be taken seriously and quoted. Wow! The quote, which also had punctuation errors, contradicts the entire post regarding the linkage between grammar, English, words, and writing (written word) and how they are so “good” at English, which is a rather pompous statement, but good for them—go take a course in 20th century world history now. The most ironic part is Hitler would have despised this person as much as me, as their race from a far away land was once referred to as “colored”—a disgraceful term but part of not-so-archaic English.
Following WordPress’ guidelines, I left a long comment regarding the quote and referenced the Nazi Party’s use of written media—via 3 reputable sites—as the primary source for spreading their propaganda in the 1930s until their defeat in 1945. I received a rude reply that they had read Mein Kampf—something to be proud of—and other “controversial books,” such as The Da Vinci Code, which I could care less about reading, is oh-so high brow, and is on the .99¢ shelf at your local bookstore in the States. I was told I would not get an apology, not that I asked for one. If you write inflammatory posts, expect critics to call you out.
I have numerous quotes on my blog now, and all from admirable people. My life’s motto comes from a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However, this person intentionally chose to quote from a madman, no different than if they had quoted from Ted Kaczynski’s Manifesto. Should I refer to the doctors I dislike as Nazis—or worse—Mengeles? Oh, yes—they referred to being Nazi-like with their English if I recall. Should I quote from Pol Pot of the Khmer Rouge who massacred at least one million of the intellectuals in Cambodia as they were a threat or perhaps from the Akazu—the Hutus who masterminded the killing of more than half a million Tutsi countrymen in Rwanda simply to make a point that contradicts my post?
I would not and I will not, as doing so is hate speech and simply goes against my values, not to mention the golden rule (from the Christians!)—and forget the fact that the mention of these subhumans makes me want to vomit. This post at hand is not hatemongering—something WordPress dislikes. It is calling a spade a spade, which is what they suggested I do: write a post about the issue before involving them in the matter. Thus, I did what WordPress suggested and I also asked this individual to stop following my blog, which they finally did after the 2nd time I asked and numerous comments sent my way.
In summary, as the wise Buddha said, “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care, for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or evil.” What a wonderful quote on the spoken word, instead of one by Hitler, which referred to the persuasive abilities of the spoken word to commit evil.
Like the wise Buddha, I choose to do good, even if I had a laugh at the expense of a dark-skinned Nazi sympathizer.
An example of spoken word in all its glory and yes, “I am Jewish.” Thank you, Andrew—bring on your mastery on the anniversary of the day I became a Bat Mitzvah: