Bully Behind a Keyboard

I could spend hours, perhaps days, extolling the virtues of the internet–starting with this very blog’s existence.  Of course, I’d like to believe that even if I were raising my children pre-World Wide Web that I would still write for them in a similar fashion; but the truth is that the blog format makes it so much easier, and it invites us to share.  And sharing is good, right?

I’ve always adhered to the advice given to a group of my colleagues and me a few years ago in a training regarding sharing information electronically:  If you wouldn’t be comfortable with it landing on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow morning, don’t write it.  That coupled with mostly good judgment has thankfully kept issues for me to a minimum.   And in terms of this blog, as its owner, I have full say over which comments appear and those that don’t.  All comments go first to my personal email for me to read.  If I choose to publish them, it’s as easy as a single click.  And should I choose not to publish one, it’s even easier–I can ignore it.  I must say, though, that in the two-and-a-half years I have spent at work on this blog, I have never NOT published a comment.

This past year, however, my writing has branched out a bit from the relative safety of this blog–three published articles in Adoptive Families magazine and an interview with Six Seeds magazine.  I am indebted to all those who have encouraged and supported me in these endeavors.  I can’t cook.  I can’t sew.  This is what I can do–it’s the legacy I am leaving for my children.

Here is a link to my most recent article in Adoptive Families magazine:

http://adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=2119

And here is a comment that for a day or two appeared on the article:

What a stupid article, I think you are racist. Looking at your baby I see American,that is it..

Posted by: Lori at 10:43am Nov 27

I understand that by writing about this comment here that I may be giving it more attention than it deserves.  But I think that its existence points to an issue that deserves, actually demands, attention: the anonymity that the internet offers.  Reams have been written on the subject.  But the bottom line is this: “Lori,” which may or may not be her (or his) real name, is allowed to read an article–an article deemed by an editorial board worthy of publication–make a comment that employs language I wouldn’t let my children use, that attacks an individual as opposed to ideas and can do so completely anonymously.

As this blog is a gift to my children, and I hope one day they’ll sit and read it, let me offer this:

Oscar, Edgar, and August,

Whenever you have something to say, have the courage to sign your name.  Your full name.  Own it.  Believe in your ideas and be prepared to defend your stance if need be.   If you’re second-guessing whether or not you should sign your name, then second-guess whether or not what you’re considering saying or writing is worth hearing.  Avoid inflammatory, nonspecific language.  Go after ideas and not individuals.  And always remember the saying, “Speak only if your words can improve upon the silence.”  And wish “Lori” well–because, really, that’s all you can do.

Love, Mom

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4 thoughts on “Bully Behind a Keyboard

  1. Oscar, Edgar and August have been chosen by the very best parents ever, who would never teach their children anything but love and respect. Wish I was half the parent these people are!!

  2. I would have this to say to the three boys about Lori’s comment:

    Oscar, Edgar and August,

    You have a wonderful family full of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and parents who love and adore you. You are strong, capable young men.

    There are people in this world who will say negative things about others – but not because those things are necessarily true. In the majority of cases, the people making the negative comments and remarks are jealous of the people they are speaking about. People like “Lori” deserve our pity and our sympathy because they long for what you have – that loving support system of a family.

    It does not matter where we come from – all of us that do right by one another will end up together in the end anyway.

    God does not see genetics, He does not see individual races reflected in a person. What God sees is us – His children (just as you are seen by your family and your friends).

  3. My husband and I have gotten this type of language directed at us several times both on his Adoptive Families articles and our blogs. People thing you ought to just be “color blind” and not put any focus on your child’s enthnicity…which is terribly short sighted.

    I read your article in the magazine and appreciated your words.

I would love to hear your thoughts . . .

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