It’s 4:15 AM. I tried to go to bed about two hours ago with Benjamin. We had had a lovely day of writing a story together. Playing the ‘good guys’ side of a fantasy world we created. And I usually scroll through facebook between the time it takes for him to write his part of the story.
And here is my feed, blowing up with this twisted tea meme. This meme is a much shortened version, or play upon, an actual fight in a CircleK in Ohio, I believe. Not sure on the location. Anyway. Here is the full video the meme is based upon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdSxaAlShkY
It’s upsetting. Really upsetting to me. Not the video, while that is upsetting too, we’ll get to that in a minute, the meme factory and the ease with which people use them and are perpetuating them. These memes are hateful, and cruel. They are exploiting all people involved in that incident. And I am hurt and feeling pretty rejected right now. Which is why I probably can’t sleep. It’s playing over and over in my head. Re-reading the posts to see where I didn’t clearly state my point of view. To see exactly what the people were saying to me. Processing just what about this entire situation is making me feel like a piece of shit right now. Alone on an island of self-doubt and frustration.
So I decided instead of blaring the blue light of my phone in our bed while Ben is trying to sleep, I would come put down all the things I want to say and then go try to sleep again. To try and stop my brain from sending me into the death spiral of emotions that comes with such a level of rejection from a variety of people.
The memes are pure hate. 100% Grade A hate. There is no justification for hate, on any side. Period. I don’t care who you are, where you come from, where you’re going, or who you are going with. If you are hateful, that’s a problem for me. I’m not just talking about the Twisted Tea memes. Fat-shaming, Sex-shaming. Pictures of people at their weakest, most vulnerable, or completely unaware moments. It’s all hate. HATE. A big part of why I am AFRAID to leave my house is that ‘People of Walmart’ shit. Like, you don’t understand. On any level how absolutely terrifying it is to me to have a humiliating picture of me be out there and made into a joke for people’s amusement. I don’t think anyone really understands it. Benjamin tries. He tries to be patient and understanding about my hang ups of even going to visit people I LOVE.
Or pranks. Pranks are hate crimes. They are not funny. They aren’t cute. They are hateful and probably about 80% of the time I cannot tell when someone is joking, or serious, when it comes to stuff like that. Which adds to my inability to interact with people outside of the superficial work/chat world. That I have an unhealthy dependency on Benjamin, and try as I might to branch out on my own. I find myself sick to my stomach just at the idea of having to trust other people. But I guarantee you every time I see some flippant comment about having a baby I am not okay.
Which brings me back to Twisted Tea and why I am so upset tonight. Not one person, other than Tre, actually understood what I was saying. Or even pretended to understand. Every single person on those feeds immediately devolved into racial awokeness and proceeded to tell me just how wrong I am to think that the video, and the memes that followed are wrong. That I am being an insensitive, privileged white woman who is trying to oppress people by calling out how wrong it is.
My first issue with the video is that there is a fucking video at all. That woman, and everyone not involved in the fight, stood there like it was a fucking gladiator arena and watched that unfold. She recorded that to be internet famous. She didn’t care about any person in that convenience store. She just wanted to see the show and post that video up so she could go viral. She didn’t call 911 for help. She didn’t try to intervene. She didn’t do anything other than throw baiting comments out and record it like it was fucking Pay Per View Boxing.
My second issue is that NO ONE HELPED. The clerk, the moment that white guy started yelling should have called the cops, refused him service, and called him out for being a racist pig. Cause he was being a racist pig. The other guy off camera to the left didn’t step in and say anything. The guy behind him didn’t say anything. No one bothered to be that man’s shield and step between them to say to the white guy how wrong he was being. All these people talk about how awoke they are. How supportive they are. How they are learning to make the world better. But not a damn person puts that to action. No one was there for the black man in the video. No one.
My third issue is that now that that woman has gotten her internet fame, the internet has done it’s thing. It has taken a really awful point in someone’s life and turned it into a joke. Mocking the behavior, exploiting that man’s frustration at being abused. Making a joke out of the level of hate that is being allowed to even be spewed. Person after person posting, sharing, or otherwise having a good old time at the expense of someone else. How is it possible that taking someone else’s life like that is funny, or alright?
Now to what happened on Facebook. I was attacked, on a level that I was not prepared to handle. That is what the responses on both the feeds gave me. I watched as comment after comment rolled in, not even hitting on the point, and then it was all about how I wasn’t listening. Or how I was wrong to say violence is not the answer. Or how dare I as a white person open my mouth to say that both men were in the wrong in that video. That it’s okay to say that the white guy was a racist pig. But to also say the black man also was rearing for a fight and in the wrong makes me the jerk.
He didn’t just try to talk him down, or de-escalate. Watch the video again. He sets his shit down, grabs the nearest thing he can for a weapon, drops it, and when the white guy kicks at him (not connecting), he picks it up and then he swings. The moment he swung that can he was in the wrong. No matter how justified an ass-whooping that white guy got.
So how do I put into words exactly how I feel? Or how do I face my friends knowing I am the only person who feels the way I do? Are these people really my friend? Did any of them stop to think about what I was saying about schadenfreude? No. Cause that’s what the meme enjoyment for stuff like that is just that, the enjoyment of the misfortune of others.
I am not saying I am perfect. Not by any means. I know -exactly- how that man felt when he decided beating someone with a can of beverage was better than any other option available. I have been in moments like that. Not because of the color of my skin, no. I will never know that kind of oppression, or pain. I’m a fucking white woman from Indiana. But I will know standing there and being mocked for being a full grown adult sized human at age nine. For being bullied and mocked about having a brother who died over the summer. For having my house shot at because some fucking dumb bullshit in a rental next door. I understand exactly where that guy’s headspace went. All his markers hit the floor and he rage monstered on the one thing that was attacking him.
I can recall with vivid detail all the times I have raged and put my hands on someone instead of trying to civilly handle the issue. I can also tell you there are moments where I can remember when the fight started, and when it ended. But the in-between is nothing but the rage I felt.
So no, I am not backing down. I stand behind my comments. Those memes are pure hate. That video is made in hate. I want someone to feel like I do. I want people to think it more important to step between those two men and stop the hate than to record it for the masses entertainment. I want people to see that hate begets hate. Love begets love. That had any one person in that building that night had one ounce of courage, or compassion, those men would not be known to the world.