Ever since I shared my story of discrimination with you all on Monday, I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response.
I’ve seriously never felt so much love and support in all my life. The response to this incident (not the incident itself of course) has literally become one of the best experiences of my life.
Because I feel like it’s solidified my faith in humanity, in the world, and in blogging as a transformational form of writing.
When I spoke of my incident, many of you came forward and shared your stories, thoughts, and reactions about the incident. Your stories and points of view were enlightening, heartwarming, heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and rich. I was delighted that you were all given a chance to have a discussion with me about this ugly, and very real, issue many of us still face in this world. I was also glad that you were able to share and spread consciousness about this particular issue throughout your networks–really: the response was truly amazing.
I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. The tremendously positive reaction I received was far more than I ever expected. (Although I had no idea what to expect.) Today, I certainly feel 210% better than when the incident happened, so no worries. I’m doing better than good now: I’m doing great. Ha-ha!
As far as “A” goes, well, I have no doubt that she has already seen the post (you made it pretty sure that the post was everywhere–hard to miss it) so I’m pretty sure she has an idea of how it has affected me and others in the community. Wether or not she does anything about it is up to her.
But I hope that, if my story did anything, it made it so that, in the future, bloggers will no longer be afraid of coming forward when this kind of thing happens to them.
If this has happened to you, or if it ever happens to you, please let the community know. As you can see, there is so much more loving and supportive people in this world than hate-filled people. You can count on that. And, certainly, I will be here for you.
I hope that you reach out for support if you’re ever a victim of discrimination. And for those who haven’t experienced discrimination, I hope it encourages you to make it clear how open and supportive you are of people of all stripes. This situation has made us all realize that the fight isn’t over–we still need to do more to help curb discrimination and hate.
Where We Go From Here
Finally, there was much discussion about what the community should do in order to address this kind of thing in the future. Everyone had great ideas. And I think that each individual should decide how they, personally, want to follow through on this issue:
Some of us may write a blog post, some of us may write up a non-discrimination policy. Some of us may even post a badge on our site that let’s everyone know the blogger doesn’t discriminate. Others might just openly invite people of all stripes to guest post on their blog.
I think that any way you approach it is fine. As long as you’re making some effort, I think it doesn’t matter what you do, or how you do it, but that the feeling and thought behind the effort is grounded in love and acceptance of all people.
As long as we all agree that we need to keep making a more concentrated effort to make this world a more loving and accepting place, then I think we’re all going to be good going forward.
One important thing: there seemed to be some confusion about what discrimination was and what I meant by it. Please remember that discrimination is a prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership–or perceived membership–to a certain group or category.
Discrimination is not criticism. So, for instance, if someone said your writing needed work–that is not discrimination. That is simply criticism. I know of many bloggers who might not let you guest post on their blog because your writing needs work, your subject matter doesn’t fit with their blog, your target audience and their target audience doesn’t match, they may be overwhelmed by guest post requests at the moment, they don’t accept guest posts, or simply, your guest post pitch wasn’t very good. In all those cases one cannot be considered to be discriminated against. Why? Because the rejection has nothing to do with you being associated with a specific group or category.
If someone doesn’t accept you because of your level of skill, it doesn’t mean that you cannot improve upon it and then later become accepted. You can always get better at your writing. Just because your writing isn’t good doesn’t mean it is representative of who you are as a human being.
But, as far as your race, your religion, your sexuality is concerned–many of these things are not something that people can “improve upon” or change (nor would they want to). For people who belong to these groups, membership to these groups is perceived as an essential part of who they are, and yes, it’s horrible thing to reject them on this basis alone.
I know this may seem obvious to most of you, but I think it is a very important distinction to make. No one ever started a genocide to get rid of people who couldn’t spell. Discrimination is a far more serious and grave incident than an incident of criticism, and I am afraid they cannot be interchangeable.
However, that said, it is clear that we, as a society, are becoming more aware that hate of any kind is not a good thing. For instance, it used to be that bullying wasn’t considered that serious of an offense, but now that is even changing. That’s because people are realizing that hateful words–of any kind–really do cause heavy damage to people. So, maybe, on top of discouraging discrimination, we can also discourage people from using hateful words.
A great way to avoid criticism, that doesn’t cause damage to people, is simply by not making the criticism personal. If a person’s writing or skill level needs work, it’s okay to recommend improvement. But never ever imply, or state, that the flaw has to do with who the person is–that they’re lazy, stupid, good-for-nothing, etc. Focus the criticism, instead, on the writing itself and encourage the person by letting them know that they can always improve, and that they are capable of making that improvement. This is how you can avoid saying something hateful that will create heavy damage to the person in the long run.
Supporting All Victims of Discrimination
Finally, one last thing: just because I chose not to reveal “A”‘s identity does not mean that I wouldn’t support someone who might choose to call out a person who discriminates. (Certainly, this seems to be the more widely accepted approach, anyway.) So, please don’t take my approach to this situation as me trying to set some sort of standard.
This is simply the way that I chose to approach it. It is an option, but certainly not the mandatory response. I would support someone who called someone out for discrimination, and I would understand why they did it.
Each person should take it upon themselves to decided how they would want to react to this type of situation. I would be supportive of any way a victim of discrimination chose to handle it (as long as they weren’t abusive or violent, of course.)
A Final Thank You
That said, I thank you all again for your love and support. Thank you to all of those who added non-discrimination policies to their blogs. Also: thank you to everyone who wrote a blog post about the issue. There was such a huge response that I couldn’t possibly link to all of these posts, but I did want to let you know that I appreciated it. Finally: to those who still plan on writing a blog post about the issue in the future, I thank you in advance.
To conclude: because of you, I am filled with great hope for our future. As long as this is the way we handle these types of situations, I think were’ going to be okay going forward.
As for me, I am moving on, and can’t wait to get back to talking about writing and life on this blog.
You all have a great weekend.
P.S. Just to clarify, since so many people asked me this question: using the word “A” to denote the individual who discriminated against me was not done with any purpose or meaning behind it. I literally just took the first letter of the alphabet and used it. But if you would like to imbue it with some deep symbolism and meaning, I say go for it. Why not?
>>>Blog Update: I’m taking a break from the blog next week, the first week of April. I’ll be back with brand-spanking new posts on April 9th. In the meantime, I’ll be posting some C2C classic posts for your enjoyment. (FYI: comments will still be moderated, but I won’t be replying to comments). Also, starting in April, C2C will be returning to its old posting schedule of three posts a week: Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with Wednesdays always featuring a guest post, or an interview. See you all on April 9th and hope you’re all having a great Spring Break!