Amber Skye Forbes

Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes

Public Defamation

perfectionSometimes as an author I do feel like I have to be perfect on social media, some sort of role model when dishing out advice or trying to offer something insightful to a conversation that begs one to be insightful. Then once I say one wrong thing that I didn’t clearly think through, I’m lambasted for saying something so stupid and idiotic, when I wasn’t trying to be neither of those things. I often try not to be controversial at all, so oftentimes when I say something, I don’t think it’s controversial, until I start being attacked for it.

There are those who try to help me see why what I said was wrong in order to help me better understand what I said so that way I can formulate my thoughts better. These are people who genuinely like what I have to say, people who want to see me do better. Then there are those who agree with me. Then there are those who fight with me, who offer nothing but nasty criticism in response to what I said. These are people who fight with other people in general, as though people aren’t allowed to make mistakes from time to time, as though they aren’t allowed to be ignorant from time to time. These people don’t want to be gentle about others’ ignorance. They want to be rude. EVERYONE IS IGNORANT! Why should we be so critical about the ignorance of another person, especially if this person is willing to engage in conversation and try to make themselves less ignorant about a particular topic?

I read a question on Tumblr from a bisexual person who misunderstood that you can be bisexual and still be attracted to those who consider themselves transgender. This person mistakenly thought he/she was now pansexual, when that wasn’t the case at all–or he/she can identify as pansexual, whatever they want to identify as. Of course, this person was then attacked for mistakenly believing otherwise, as though this person committed a serious crime for simply being ignorant when two people kindly explained that bisexuality can include attraction to those who do identify themselves as transgender. Nevermind that being bisexual is tough already in a society who still believes LGBTQA people to be absolutely abnormal. These people felt it necessary to attack, forgetting that there is a person on the other side of that keyboard, forgetting that person may currently be struggling with something.

Why is this necessary, this cutting attitude to someone who is ignorant about something?

When we attack people for their ignorance, we’re being ignorant ourselves, especially if we never recognize our ignorance and try to make peace with the person we attacked.

I had to temporarily shut down my Ask Box on Tumblr because of so many vicious messages I was receiving based on one sentence alone: hatred is never okay. I wasn’t thinking through that hatred is not so black and white, that there are gray areas, that hatred is a feeling like any other and should be allowed to be felt. After all, our anger helps us to take action in a hopefully positive way.

I was being called insensitive, stupid, idiotic, ect., and then I was attacked for closing down my inbox, which was the smart thing to do so that way I wouldn’t be continuously blasted with hateful words at a very sensitive period in my life right now.

I responded to those condescending words with consideration, doing my best to not be patronizing myself. After all, the best way to respond to someone being deliberately patronizing is to try not to be the same way in return.

I wasn’t closing it because I was afraid to face my ignorance. I had already faced it. It would have been foolish of me to keep my Ask Box open, to tirelessly answer all those messages because I make it a point to not leave one thing unanswered; thus, I deleted every single one of them–after having read them all, of course. I realized the original purpose of my blog had been taken off track. I knew I needed to bring it back on its rails by closing down my inbox and only answering questions pertinent to my blog.

Wanting others to be perfect is just as psychologically damaging as the ignorant things people sometimes say, people who aren’t trying to be hurtful.

We don’t know what’s going on in another person’s life. We don’t know what that other person has experienced for that person to come to such a conclusion. Therefore, what gives anyone the right to be so condescending to someone who is clearly trying not to be nasty to begin with?

No one has that right.

 

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5 comments on “Public Defamation

  1. mariacatalinaegan
    September 4, 2014

    I often wonder if I am guilty of cyber faux pas… but the above subject does open a Pandora’s box that can lead to controversial comments. I admire your ability to discuss and post controversial issues. I am very live and let live, so don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to me they are in anyway controversial , but the moment you address issues of alternative sexuality you enter the potential for conflict.
    I admire people who do, I am not there yet, so continue with your own PERFECTION!

    • amberskyef
      September 4, 2014

      I just don’t see alternative sexualities as being controversial. When I see some sort of homophobic or -phobic behavior, I have no issues addressing it because it is the right thing to do. Tumblr is also filled with people in my generation, so many of them are often going to feel the same way I do, so I guess it can be controversial depending on the platform you’re using to address it.

  2. Lee
    September 4, 2014

    This is completely reasonable. I don’t understand why certain people are interpreting this as a passive-aggressive attack when it’s more like an issue that really needs to be addressed. The nasty, critical attitude is common on Tumblr, but you’re helping others, like me, who have been unjustly attacked feel not so alone. You’re another voice of reason that’s unfortunately hard to find in a sea of chaos. You didn’t deserve the hostility, your actions were totally blown out of proportion. If you needed to be corrected, all someone had to do was calmly explain what they thought was off about what you said. It’s not like you were attacking anybody, you were just voicing your feelings, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you have good intentions by reading through your blogs.

    I’m highly skeptical of those who claim to be harsh because they care about others. I think it’s usually a game of who’s morally superior. If someone has the nerve to call your morality “screwed up,” something that works for YOU—a person coping with a mental illness—and is reasonably healthy because forgiveness and letting go often are, that someone is not as compassionate as they “try” to be. A genuinely concerned and inclusive person will try to come to an understanding of both sides. They will be fair and clear-headed as you have demonstrated, not ready to tear into someone for something that only takes a little nudge to address.

    Some people think sensitivity won’t get the job done, but it certainly does more than name-calling and pointing fingers, which just pushes people away and leaves a bad taste in their mouths about you. Plus, being more sensitive to other people’s feelings can open doors to further understanding the human condition, giving you richer emotional/psychological knowledge of others as well as yourself.

    The malicious criticism that floods Tumblr is very similar to an attitude my mother possessed (and still does to a degree). I’ve carried a beaten self-esteem since I was young and have suffered strong suicidal thoughts because of it. Thankfully a gun wasn’t around, especially during the times I was verbally mutilated, not only by my mother but also online (I was affected that deeply). You know what happens when I tell such people I’ve been psychologically damaged and would appreciate it if I was treated like a human being and not a punching bag? I get laughed at, made out to look silly and like I don’t want to admit I’m “wrong” when I’ve admitted to my ignorance. Meanwhile, these hypocrites are perpetuating a mindset that is more of a big deal than they think, and they do not want to admit it. Do you know any who have?

    And the nastiness doesn’t always end there, especially on Tumblr; there are some truly hateful, grudging people who may put you on their shit list for the most exaggerated reasons, seeking to spread the word that you’re no one worth getting to know because you didn’t do or say the “right” thing. Gasp!

    Anyway, I apologize for the little rant but I feel strongly about this. I admire you for keeping a cool head and not succumbing to cowardice. It shows you have real self-worth and won’t compromise it for BS. That, to me, makes a good role model. Keep it up.

    • amberskyef
      September 5, 2014

      I appreciate this post, because for a bit I thought I was the crazy one since having that conversation. That one user isn’t the first person I’ve come across like that. I came across someone else who was being homophobic without meaning to be, and I was gently trying to explain to her why she was being homophobic…and then she just blew up, especially when I mentioned the word ‘ally’ and how she thought it was insulting to call anyone who supports the rights of LGBTQA people allies. I used her rant as an example to help aide in my discussion of what allies were. Needless to say, she threatened to sue me (so I deleted the post, as per the advice of my friend/content editor who had to assure me I wasn’t crazy), called me insane (among a few other choice words), and told me I needed to seek our help, of which I already am but for an entirely different reason. That same friend of mine then kept tabs on her after I blocked her, and she kept posting status after status after status of how insane I was. She even dared to compare me to mass serial killers on her Twitter account, as she believed me to be a complete psychopath–and all because I took a chance to contribute to the larger discussion of all of what homophobia can entail.

      These people have you thinking you’re the crazy one, basically gaslighting you as you think through what you did to make the situation spiral out of control. I was personally gaslighted in my workplace, and it took my boss to tell me I did absolutely nothing wrong to have me believe it. Beforehand, I was crying, pinpointing everything I did to lead up to the situations I was put in.

      And to be honest, I was being slightly passive aggressive, because that’s usually how I try to point out what certain people did wrong, but I also did it to educate the community at large because I’m so fed up with it. Of course, I should probably stop posting things out of slight passive aggressiveness, because I’m actually not educating those who weren’t in the right, either.

      I deleted this post off my Tumblr account because the person who committed said offense re-blogged and was attempting to post something insulting, but stopped herself. Still, she left a comment. Now I’m thinking I should bring this post on Tumblr not as a link, but as its own post.

      You’re right, it does need to be said. SOMEONE needs to say it, to use examples of defamation that have occurred on Tumblr, because what happened was not okay and blown wildly out of proportion because that one user dared to point out one comment and call it stupid and psychologically damaging, as though I didn’t have ANY experience behind what I had said or hadn’t experienced any psychological damage at all throughout my life. I have re-thought my stance, but personally for me, I would never hold on to hatred. I shouldn’t apply that to everyone, but everyone shouldn’t apply that I SHOULD hate if something god awful happens to me. I don’t have a right to dictate someone’s feelings, just as I don’t have the right to dictate someones’ feelings.

      • amberskyef
        September 5, 2014

        *just as others don’t have a right to dictate my feelings*

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