Wednesday, January 6, 2010

facebook vigilante

i've been picking a lot of fights on facebook lately. i try not to, believe me. i know it's only facebook and i know that my friends (and their friends) mean well and i know that it's entirely too easy to say ignorant things on the internet without meaning any harm -- and yet still i can't help but speak up and pick a fight.

today's mini bout went down like this:

my friend posts an innocuous status about a grammatical error - "Saw a licence plate frame the other day that said 'my son go to UW'. Obviously his mama or daddy didn't."

a friend of hers comments: "haahaha! Maybe they were Chinese?"

i pause, glare at the screen, say a few choice expletives under my breath and plot my next move. do i respond? i mean i don't even know this chick! surely she didn't mean any harm and yet here i am, feeling harmed. if i do respond, is "eff you" too hostile?

pause again. heart beats in chest. i take a deep breath and start typing: "as the daughter of hardworking immigrant parents who moved to this country and picked up an entirely new language in their adulthood so that i could have a college education, i'm gonna go ahead and say 'not cool' to that last comment. i'm sure you didn't mean any harm, but man oh man it is taking everything within me not to swear a lot right now."

heart continues to beat with a quickness. a moment later, the friend of the friend responds: "Sorry. No offense was intended."

i imagine that her heart, like mine, was beating quickly as she typed. i imagine that she thinks i think she's an asshole. i imagine that she thinks that i am an asshole.

i put on my metaphorical big girl pants and type the following: "i appreciate that a lot. i know you didn't mean any offense but i had to stand up for my parents. thanks for being understanding. big love and many blessings in 2010 y'all. :)" the smiley face was probably superfluos but i'm trying my best to appear reasonable and non-assholey as i know that hostility isn't exactly the most effective weapon in a war of words.

[end scene. kind of.]

the [unintentionally] offending commenter has since deleted her [unintentionally] offending comments and i'm wondering if i should delete mine as well. i pride myself on my drama-free lifestyle so it seems a bit out of character to leave my dramatic flare up lingering in the ether. and yet i can't bring myself to erase it because i really do want others to read it. i hope that someone out there will think twice before looking down on that accented small business owner. i hope that someone won't laugh quite as hard at the chinaman cameo in this movie or that. i hope that someone will be just a little more patient and deny the temptation to speak louder broken english at that college educated immigrant who can't quite wrap their mind (or their tongue) around this complex language of ours. i know that may be a lot to hope for, that maybe i'm asking too much of facebook, but those are my hopes.

i hope this doesn't make me a troll but even if it does, my facebook friends are just gonna have to brace themselves for the consequences. though i'll never know what impact (if any) my internet tirades will ever have, i'm afraid that i am simply not wired for silence -- audible or otherwise.