I write about racism and sexism quite a bit, and the touchiness of the subjects only seem to underscore why these are still such pervasive problems for us in this country. It’s always amazing to me that anyone living and breathing today can deny the existence of racism or sexism, but plenty of people do (why, hello, privilege, you oblivious devil, you), which is most of the reason I choose to feature these topics so consistently in my writing. Also, spoiler alert, I’m a black woman, and the intersection of gender and race happens to be my particular jam. Write what you know, as the old cliche advises.
As you might imagine, I get some pretty fun responses to my articles. In this case, fun is a convenient euphemism for disgusting, rude, racist, sexist. Etcetera. These less than witty replies are normally short and sweet, an attempt to devastate my argument in a way that normally just ends up proving my original point. Reading these kinds of responses always makes me cackle with self satisfied glee, because the commenter really doesn’t get it, and I find that level of absolute obtuseness amusing beyond reason.
But there exists another class of responses entirely. To be honest, I don’t actually read these responses in full, mostly because of how long they are. A short, grammatically incorrect insult that aims well high of the mark is hilarious and fun to read, mostly because it doesn’t waste that much of my time and provides much needed laughter. But a response that goes on for paragraphs — some seeming to closely follow the five paragraph model of writing persuasive essays that I learned as a freshman in high school — astound me. Why? To what end? Did you honestly expect me to read this novella and respond? Because most of my thoughts on the matter are in the original post, which you can reference to your heart’s content if you didn’t properly track my argument during your first reading.
Seriously, y’all, if your nasty response to my article or blog post is longer than the 700 words I originally wrote, how about you write your own goddamned post?
In light of this odd tendency, I’m just going to go ahead and put everyone on notice: I write because I have something to say and I want to share it. I actually do enjoy vigorous dialogue — in person — but the beauty part about writing is that I get to launch my opinions out in the digital ether and you can either read them or not read them. What you can’t really do is argue with what I’ve written down. You can let it simmer and change the way you think about the subject, or you can disagree with what I’ve said and move the fuck on, taking absolutely nothing with you when you go. But if you reply to something I write with an article of your own, you’ve just wasted your time. That’s a big fat TL;DR from me.
Ain’t. Nobody. Got. Time. For. That.
If you find that upsetting, don’t despair too quickly. There’s still a wonderful upside to the magical medium that is the internet: you can write what you want, whenever you want, and maybe someone will actually read it. How fabulous is that?!
If your impulse upon reading my 1,000 words is to reply with 1,000 snarky, densely packed words of your own, I invite you to kindly follow these steps:
Fully assess if this is the best place to leave such lengthy commentary.
Unless and until you perform step number one, don’t begin to reply to my original post.
Calculate the probability of your response actually being read (Spoiler: it’s 0%).
Kindly compile a list of pros and cons before you place itchy fingers on keyboard.
Only continue writing when you are sure you can keep any response well south of 100 words.
Fully edit your response to eliminate all spelling and grammatical errors.
Finally, highlight all and delete.
By carefully following my trademarked FUCKOFF method, you can save yourself so much unnecessarily wasted time and energy. Think of the free minutes suddenly opened up in your schedule that you would have spent throwing poorly chosen words into the wind.
You might be asking yourself what you should do if, after following my FUCKOFF method you still feel compelled to let loose a stream of noxious online commentary in hopes of putting an uppity black feminist in her place? Well, as aforementioned: WRITE YOUR OWN GODDAMNED BLOG POST.
It really is that simple. If I can do it, you can do it — maybe not as elegantly, but, you know, we can’t all be wordsmiths.
And if something I’ve written about racism or sexism has really hit you so hard that you find yourself enraged to a level that makes it impossible for you to let it go, maybe take a nice long look in the mirror. Sounds as though it was written with someone like you in mind. As always, reflection is your friend, as is personal growth…