It’s been awhile. Between my new blogging gig and a snowpocalypse that left us living like pioneers for a week (thankfully our house is still inhabitable after the damage it sustained) I haven’t had a ton of time for this blog. Ok, I also wasn’t writing because I’m still not sure what this space is going to be – although currently it’s looking a lot like a Live Journal.
It’s funny, I knew that blogging for a website would force me to open myself up a bit more online and potentially expose myself to haters. I prepared myself for that.
What I wasn’t prepared for was to become a target because I’m the social media lead for a local campaign.
Yes you read that right. I’ve spent the last few days having my social media accounts sleuthed, unwanted private messages, my full name, pictures of me and my kids blasted in Facebook groups that say they aren’t for right-wingers (Spoiler: It’s exactly what they are). And it’s all because I had the audacity to volunteer for a candidate’s campaign – a qualified Black woman’s campaign.
I don’t want to get into too many details, but watching whiteness at work is wild. I’m reminded of a quote from Caste that goes something like, “If given the choice between protecting democracy and whiteness, what would white people choose?”
I have an idea.
I’ve worked on other campaigns. Larger campaigns. I have never become a target for the other side (Ironically it’s a nonpartisan race so “the other side” here are just supporters for the other candidate. He gets to be nonpartisan while she’s labeled a radical liberal, even though she’s not. The double standards are endless). In some ways I should have seen this coming. Despite wanting to proclaim racism doesn’t exist, people don’t want to be viewed as racist. The best way to circumvent that? Go after the white person on the campaign. Make them the target. Me.
Some of the stuff has been unnerving and I’m ok admitting that. Even if some of those people read this. You shouldn’t be proud to make someone feel unsafe. It’s not a win. It’s gross. What never fails to get me is it’s the people with things like, “Follower of Christ” in their bios that act the least Christ-like. I must have missed that day in Sunday School where we discussed “harrass thy neighbor like any good Internet troll would do.” What a way to spend a Sunday. First go to church, then stalk women on social media who you feel threatened by. Obviously #notallChristians, but some are out there giving y’all a bad name.
Some of the stuff is also hilarious. Rumors include: I worked for Stacey Abrams (HONORED) and that I must be funded by someone and trying to figure out the source of my salary (wait, there’s a salary!?) They’ve already combed through my Twitter and discovered I’m, (gasp) A LIBERAL. They also probably discovered I watch way too much reality tv, but that’s of no consequence here.
At first I was like, “Ugh now they are going to peg me as this liberal, antifa, Dem who is going to, I don’t know, push Marxism and gender-neutral Potato Heads on their precious children,” but then I was like, “I have nothing to be ashamed of.” I’m not ashamed of voting with other people in mind. I’m not ashamed of the fact that I want to be an Antiracist. I’m not ashamed that I am continually trying to be a better person and help marginalized folx. I’m not ashamed of voting Democrat. I’m not ashamed of believing in science or that pronouns should be respected or that people should be respected and allowed to live a dignified life.
I’m also not the candidate. But that doesn’t matter. The people who are going to use the fact that a “progressive person is working on a campaign for a candidate” as an excuse to vote for the other person weren’t voting for my candidate anyway. Just like “vote for the candidate who shares our values” is a way to say “vote for the white candidate.” It’s virtue signaling and I’m not afraid to call it out.
It’s hard to find a balance. When you work on a campaign, you represent that campaign. But you are also your own person with your own beliefs separate from the candidate. At first I was going to ignore the hate, but you know what? Nothing grinds my gears more than, in particular, a man, who thinks it’s ok to harass women online. I’m glad I asked him to please respect my boundaries and stop harassing me. I’m glad that I asked him how he would feel if someone treated his daughter like this and reminded him that I am someone’s daughter. It didn’t make a bit of difference, but sometimes it’s just feels good to stand up for yourself. Also, the block button is your friend. Use it.
Honestly I want to send all these people sourdough starters. They desperately need hobbies.
It’s funny, one of the reasons I said I never wanted to run for office is because I don’t want to be in the spotlight or be the target. And yet, here I am, not the candidate, but a target nonetheless.
I’m sure this blog will be found by some looking for dirt and circulated. That’s fine. I’m not hiding who I am and what I believe in. I’m not ashamed of what I fight for.
But hey, thanks for the clicks.