Stop Telling Me How I Should Feel About Race
I can’t un-feel how I feel in reaction to my personal experiences tied to race
Earlier this year, I published an article here on Medium titled, “Dating a Minority Doesn’t Make You Any Less White”. Initially, it generated some traffic, but nothing too compelling. Soon after it had been published, it was even selected by the Editors to be curated within the topics of “Equality” and “Relationships”. Even then, it still didn’t receive a huge uptick in the number of reads or views despite the fact that it was curated.
Dating a Minority Doesn’t Make You Any Less White
I had a conversation with a colleague recently and we stumbled upon talking about our boyfriends — For the record…
After a while, I had sort of forgotten about this article, as I do with many of my other articles that don’t end up catching too much reader attention. That is, up until it recently resurfaced.
One unassuming day in early September, I noticed a significant spike in metrics for my article which virtually came out of nowhere. It started off small, growing from a double-digit number of views, to triple-digits, and eventually quadruple-digits (which for me was a pretty big deal) — Full disclosure, I am nowhere near making bank on Medium.
My curiosity led me to seeking out the cause of this spike. After weeding through the traffic sources, I narrowed down the primary traffic source that caused this large jump in readership, to Facebook. Apparently, it had been shared by someone who had a large social network and from there, it just took off. It was a pleasant surprise to see something I had written so long ago being brought back to life.
However, the thing that I was not mentally or emotionally prepared for when this sudden boost in readership occurred was the amount of backlash and negative responses that I would receive on this piece.
Having published hundreds of articles over the past several years, I’ve had my share of articles that went [slightly] viral and wound up getting “not-so-nice” feedback. As a Writer, it’s common to receive negative feedback on our writing — After all, not every article is everyone’s cup of tea.
People will always have their opinions and more often than not, most people won’t be afraid of sharing those opinions, especially when it’s in an online environment. But, the thing that people don’t take into consideration is that there is a way to respectfully express your feedback and opinions without belittling or offending the author.
And for me, with this particular article, I experienced a lot of negative feedback based on how people perceived me as a person, what they assumed my general views on race were, and how they felt I should view race.
To give some examples, these were the ones that struck me the hardest:
“I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that the author honestly believes that it’s impossible for minorities to be racist.”
“This entire article disgusts me. You should be bridging connections between others of different races. There should be more interracial dating. You come across as racist, judgmental and jealous.”
“You liberals are obsessed with race”
I tried my best not to take these words personally (sticks and stones, right?), but I couldn’t help feeling as if I was being attacked — After all, I did publish this for anyone and everyone to read, so it would have been naive of me to think that I wouldn’t get criticism in return.
But, one of the things that I had the most difficulty with processing was the number of times that I had to validate my opinions and defend myself based on how I felt about race. And the main thing that I wanted to emphasize in my responses back to readers was that this piece was written completely from my point of view and my views are based on my own personal experiences.
I can’t change the experiences that I’ve had, nor can I ignore the fact that my ethnicity is something that is brought up without me even mentioning it. And I can’t un-feel how I feel in reaction to my personal experiences tied to race. So, please, though I understand opposing sides,