Yes, I understand that this presidential election has been especially contentious. And yes, I also understand that we are very divided by our choices.
But when it comes to name calling, can we leave some things out of it?
See, yesterday, I was scrolling through Facebook when one of those “Your friend commented on a public page’s post” thing. The post was about Ashley Judd’s slam poetry performance at the Women’s March. I watched it before, it was interesting. Slam poetry isn’t really my thing, but this one held my interest.
It held a lot of people’s interest.
It was reposted by some Facebook page with some name that gave its political leanings. There were a lot of “OMG she’s trash” and “I will never watch her again!” type comments. People didn’t understand that it was slam poetry, so without that tidbit of info, I can get why they thought she was just randomly ranting.
Now, I don’t usually comment on such things, because as we all know, posting an opposing opinion on such a thread means you get 78 notifications about how you must be stupid, and are most definitely wrong.
But my friend posted, which put it in my feed. And the comment she posted on caught my eye.
A woman named Barb (Not My Friend) posted this – She sounds like schizophrenics I’ve met doing service projects in locked mental wards.
And my face went like this
My friend pointed out that it was slam poetry. Me? My hackles got up. And I said this – Maybe you should rethink doing service projects in mental wards if you’re going to use schizophrenia as an insult.
My friend backed me up – so much yaaaaas
Not My Friend Barb tried to defend herself – Schizophrenia is a medical condition. It is not an insult, that I’m aware of.
And I was like
Then I responded with – and yet the way you use it IS meant to be insulting.
A woman reading slam poetry that you disagree with is not the same as schizophrenia. Comparing one to the other is insulting and shows lack of compassion.
Barb deleted her comment. I know, because another cool friend of mine commented on it, and I was notified of it, but when I went to read it…poof…all gone.
But let me reiterate what I was saying to Barb –
When you use a medical condition in an insulting manner, it is STILL insulting.
We all know the famous one – calling someone “retarded” (and yes, you can still find the words “mental retardation” in medical files. Ask me how I know.)
But calling someone schizophrenic, bi-polar, autistic, etc, as a put down, it’s insulting. When you use it as a negative comparison, it’s insulting. Plain and simple.
And when someone says “Wow, what you said is insulting.”….do me a favor…don’t say “No it’s not.” Instead, put your listening ears on, and maybe ask “Why?”
Case in point –
Years ago, I was on a message forum for parents of children with special needs. The needs were varying, as were the parents. One day, one mom said something about “spazzing out”. Another mom stepped in and said “Please don’t use that term, it’s a derogatory term that comes from “spastic” and it’s insulting to my child, who is actually spastic.”
The first mom didn’t say “Well I didn’t meant it like THAT.” No, the first mom said “Oh my gosh! I’m sorry! I never thought of it that way. Thank you for letting me know!”
And the other mom was like “Okay, we cool. Thanks for listening.”
Because you know what? There are words and terms that were once, or still are, insults. I don’t claim to be perfect on them all either, but I’m willing to listen and try to do better next time.
I get it. These are trying times. We should all take the high road, but we don’t. We support our cause vehemently, and sometimes, without being thoughtful. Yet we need to sometimes take a step back and think before typing – or maybe decide not to type at all.
I don’t know if Barb got what I was saying. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t – she ended our conversation before I could find out.
What I do know is that Barb should probably find a new service project because she doesn’t seem to have enough compassion for the people she’s been working with to not use their diagnosis in an insulting manner.
Maybe she could clean toilets.You can do a lot of thinking while cleaning toilets.