Beware. No Shit Allowed.

I made a mistake today. I went on Facebook.

At its best, Facebook is just a deep hole of time wasting. But at its worst, it’s a platform for spreading hate.

That’s what I encountered today … and from a relative. It was naked racism. Islamophobia in all its ugliness.

Here in Canada we are in the middle of a federal election campaign. I’ve lived long enough to have watched election campaigns devolve into personal attacks about how a candidate looks – never mind their policies. No longer is it a time of healthy and meaningful debate about what works and what doesn’t.

The shit-slingers are out in full force spreading their upgraded brands of intolerance and hate.

Normally I would just do a slow, angry burn and move along. But today was different. I’ve been carrying a fire in my belly for the past few days and I just couldn’t let this go. That whole ‘turning the other cheek’ bullshit? Yeah, no.

I’m breathing fire and brimstone.

But I did something I don’t often do. I asked my husband, Gilles, his opinion. You know what I mean – “be careful what you ask for, because you might get it”.

Well, his response surprised me. It shouldn’t have, but it did. Normally he is the fire-and-brimstone guy and I’m talking him off a ledge. But today the roles were reversed.

He advised me that IF I felt the need to respond, then I shouldn’t do it from a place of anger, but from a place of positivity. (WTF?)

Well, I was positively angry … could he be more specific?

He was, and as a result, the following was my response on Facebook to a very ugly racist post.

My name is Joanne Sisco and I’m a proud 1st generation Canadian. {Why did I need to state my name to a relative? Because the ugly meme that was posted started with “My name is John Newton. I am a Canadian born citizen ….}

I’m proud & grateful that this country has a long history of welcoming people who are less fortunate than we are, and desperate for a chance at a better life – regardless of colour, religion, or nationality.

That included my grandparents, even at a time when Italians, and some other European nationalities, were looked down upon as inferior and undesirable.

I’m grateful to live in such a diverse country where I’ve been exposed to the multiple languages, cultures, & religions of the world.

I’m grateful to have worked beside & played with Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Christians alike from all corners of the world. I’m grateful for their friendships, and the stories we have shared over food & drink. I’m grateful they have helped me learn that we are all one people with the same basic needs & wants – a better life for our family.

Some people don’t understand that yet.

But Canada does.

And I’m proud 🇨🇦

105 comments

  1. I do hesitate to write down my comment on a post like this. I agree with you that the Facebook is a waste of time for some people; however, it has many FACES and there is some benefit of it.

    Regarding the second topic of your post, I can say that the world is giving birth to a new BABY WORLD. All what we see and read refers to the similar period of history 1920-50.

    I think we can read it as the affect of giving birth to a different world … OR, the pain while planting new crops.

    Like

  2. BRAVO to you Joanne and to Gilles for coaching you. Honestly some
    Days I just want to bang my head against a wall with this racist ridiculousness. Unless someone is Indigenous then I suggest they shut the @&$! up about being Canadian. Whether it’s their grandparents or greatx3 grandparents they came
    from somewhere. Good for you to stand up!

    Like

  3. Well, you replied positively and proudly. Sorry that you had to deal with a racist relative. Facebook is good because people cannot hide anymore. Everything becomes clear pretty soon. So, thought bubbles are real because one must choose: either tolerate racists or only surround yourself with like-minded people. And then you think that the world is still okay. And then the other side wins the elections.

    Like

    • Thanks Manja. My husband says the same thing … the value of platforms like Twitter and FB is that you finally get to see people’s true colours. I truly don’t understand why anyone would want to be proud of being a narrow-minded, intolerant, mean-spirited shit.

      … I’m still going to cling to my hope and belief the goodness will prevail, although some days it’s pretty tough to do.

      Stay well, my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hate and bias seems to be a sign of the times. On FB as well as whatsapp groups.

    I have quit whatsapp groups, and opted out of some FB groups. Sometimes distance is the only way to withdraw support for hate, but it’s so prevalent that often it’s a choice to withdraw from people.

    I have read a very interesting book on empathy by Roman Kryznaric and am trying to put it into practice.

    Those of us that don’t subscribe to hate need to find a way to build bridges. And I think we need to work hard at empathy to succeed, because this world is breaking up and it’s very visible.

    Like

      • Yes, I understand. Sometimes we just need to let go of negativity and burn bridges. Or at least create a distance. I think I am trying in my limited way, but am still looking for answers to the problem. And yes, it does seem that it’s getting bigger.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Late to the party of commenters and echo what so many have said. Such good restraint and advice. You are so right that we all need to speak up to stop it. As to FB – supposedly it connects us but does it? I am on another self imposed few months hiatus from it. I keep thinking I will delete it but it does indeed make it easier to connect with people, especially those from far away.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know I used to hate Facebook and all social media platforms besides TikTok but now I’ve grown to have a love hate relationship with it at times it’s can be comforting to see old loved ones such as family and friends pictures and videos of them and their successes and at other times reel in their hurt as they post their traumatic experiences then at other times people can be so fake and they glorify ugliness and pass out judgements as if they were god but for me I can honestly say I take in the good and the bad and give out to those that reciprocate my happy energy or vibes I will only entertain things that are negative for so long before I take myself out of that environment because at the end of the day it is my own choice to feel an emotion from what I see hear or feel thanks for your post by the way

    Liked by 1 person

      • That’s fine Mam you are entitled to feel and think or judge anyone as you see fit. My life lived full 🙃 I believe that. Perspective can be hard to change once we’ve set it a certain way. Our personal values and beliefs added on to our own hardships successes or traumatic experiences mold us into certain people and different individuals all at the same time. Being that most people that have replied to your blog have agreed with you and shared their lack of love or likes towards Facebook. But remember this Mam Facebook is just a tool for us we the people can dictate what we see or don’t see on our feeds that choice is completely ours. Do you remember when you first signed up for Facebook and they ask you a million questions about your likes and dislikes well if we say that we are into politics guess what political content pops up but now if we had not followed or liked a certain political page Facebooks algorithm wouldn’t show you so many in your own words “negative posts” so my suggestion to you would be to write down all of your family Facebook names delete your Facebook and start over with your account and not repeat the same mistake as to like a political page or follow a political page just follow your loved ones pages because Mam we both know that that’s what matters and that what we do should be for them… Anyhow sorry for this long long message I appreciate that you even had replied to my response to your initial blog 😊 you Mam may God bless you with patience in all your endeavors thank you for your time.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. While the reply from Gilles wasn’t what you expected, it was good of you to confer. Deep inside you, you might have somewhat considered his reply, otherwise, you wouldn’t have asked his advice. It’s a feeling I often have – where I want to scream out my thoughts, or disgust, or disagreement with someone. Yet, I know it could bite me in the butt and that’s when I ask Mark (while already suspecting that my language is too strong or revealing), who confirms my worries.

    Yet, I am not the right person to put a “positive spin” on a reaction like that. So, good for you – again – to create this insightful post. It did the job. The post was removed and you brought across the point in a much better way than if you’d just made an angry comment. I’m learning…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great response and congratulations on tamping down the rage. I’m not sure I could have done it. I don’t miss Facebook at all. I recently went back on Twitter just to follow the comments on our daily state pressers (esp the shitshow to the north of us) but I’m now remembering why I uninstalled the app from my phone…
    And I may take the advice from a friend and just avoid the daily pressers all together.
    We all need to find ways to protect our mental health. Take care. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s usually me too, Donna. But I’m finally starting to understand that saying nothing leaves the wrong impression. I’m so grateful for Gilles balanced advice. It allowed me to respond in a way that made me feel better.

      The post was removed … so, yay.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. A badge of honour. Be proud as an immigrant of Canada. Off topic, I’m banned from Meanwhile in Canada and CBC news for putting my positive comments that they disagree about Covid and JT. Oh, well. One the election is over, I will snooze all the news again and just focus on fascinating post on animals, poetry, Calvin and Hobbes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So well put Joanne, and good on Giles for his wonderful advice. I had to leave Facebook after Trump made comments about good people on “both sides” of the protests in Charlottesville. Of course, one side was full of bigots and racists. I posted my comments about that and received pushback from people I thought were friends. You have to have a strong internal constitution to engage on that platform, and in the end I decided that I don’t have one. – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah … well Trump is in a category all of his own. In fact I think he’s been the major catalyst that’s given validation to all the narrow-minded bigots and racists who now believe it’s their right and obligation to be as uncivil as possible.

      In fact I don’t have a strong constitution. I’m a coward hiding away from FB, not willing to see what the response has been. It’s safer and kinder here in the blogging community.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Excellent response. Like you, sometimes I feel that if you don’t respond, it means you concur. I have blocked friends and family who post vile things. They ruin my day. I’m down to a few friends and family who do not post political views, and a few cat groups. Makes me happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! The cat posts ALWAYS make me smile … and often laugh out loud. Throw in a few baby goat videos and I’m guaranteed a good day 🙂

      Up to now I’ve simply blocked people whose negativity is just too overwhelming, but I’m starting to believe that not responding makes me complicit – ESPECIALLY from a family member. But I really have an aversion to confrontation of any kind. Even a thoughtful response isn’t always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Awww – thanks ❤️

      I might need to leave FB too. I haven’t decided yet whether the good I see outweighs the bad. As more and more people are leaving FB because of the negativity, I’m seeing a lot less good than I used to.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Joanne.. you did good! I’ve learnt the hard way that getting angry at a racist… leads you nowhere other than them getting highly personal and vindictive. And often denying that their comments are racist. In other words your hubby is right on! If you respond it needs to be in a way that maybe hopefully educates or at the least gives another opinion. Hard to do because racism is so evil and ugly and anger provoking! But I do agree that we need at least sometimes, to respond to it. To not walk away quietly! You did very well!

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Peta. I’m really glad my instinct was to ask for Gilles’ opinion rather than firing from the hip. He said exactly what you did – getting angry doesn’t lead you anywhere. It just becomes personal and vindictive … which quite frankly, is exactly what we’re seeing play out right now in the world. Just too much anger and hostility.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I keep saying that I’m quitting FB and then realize that there are some folks I enjoy following, so back off. It really can be a toxic place as you say but good for you for responding to your relative and in such an eloquent manner!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carol. I’d like to think it might make a difference … make people stop and think a bit. However, I’m also aware that eloquent, thoughtful responses can also annoy people who don’t want to be confused by facts.

      As I was writing this, I was reminded of a quote I read once by Bill Bullard … “Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding.” I have felt for a long time that there is a general dumbing-down of the world happening. The excessive proliferation of opinion vs fact on social media … and quite frankly, even in the news … seems to support my theory.

      Like

  14. Well I have to confess that I have never had a FB account and never will. Blogging is my only social media platform and I do that mainly for myself (so when I am older and more doddery I can look back and think, yes I did that!) and rarely do I encounter any nasty comments. I’m very English, though what does that mean exactly? There might well be Viking blood and Anglo Saxon and Norman and Roman – after all this little island has been invaded many times – so we’re all products of our history and the different cultures. At the end of the day we are all human. And we are all capable of showing kindness. It’s just a huge shame that so many people choose not to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly, Jude. We ARE all capable of kindness, but there are growing numbers of people who think it is their right to be rude, obnoxious, and petty. I don’t know – perhaps it’s this whole be-yourself/express-yourself mentality to ‘say your truth’. Combine it with a scarcity mentality and we have a recipe for intolerance.

      Just when I was starting to venture out of my hermit existence, I’ve discovered the world out there is a lot uglier than I remembered. My inner hermit wants to retreat again.

      Like

  15. Good response, and as everyone said unless you’re a Native American, here anyway, we’re all immigrants from somewhere. By the way, I’m from a long line of French Canadians and proud of it. There is no common sense or tolerance anywhere. Local restaurants and businesses have had to post rules of conduct for customers because people have been acting out. I’m still on FB because of family and gardening info, but if you add the hate and the fake together that about covers it. P.S. When I actually looked I had your Instagram messages. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Would it be fun to discover your long line of French Canadian heritage is linked to my husband’s long line of French Canadian heritage? 🙂

      I couldn’t agree more about the lack of common sense or tolerance. Here too I’ve started to see the occasional sign in a store about zero tolerance for people who are abusive to the staff. The fact that the store felt it necessary to post a sign makes me rather sad. What on earth have we devolved into?

      Liked by 2 people

  16. I do appreciate that you paused, reflected, and asked advice from hubby (surprising to you as it was – yay Giles!) before you stepped into the breach. Something most FB users rarely do, the knee-JERKS.

    You could teach a masterclass in how to eloquently, passionately, and pointedly take out the trash. Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I recognized that Gilles’ advice was good … even in the haze of my anger. Normally I would have just closed Facebook and walked away (which is really what he wanted me to do), but I just couldn’t this time. With this looming election, the ugliness has escalated and it just felt wrong to do nothing, say nothing.

      I admit I feel better for 1) having addressed something I felt needed a response, and 2) having taken the high road.

      As you said, ‘yay Gilles!’.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Good for you both. I left FB well before our last election and wondered why I didn’t do it sooner. I don’t mind disagreement as well as it’s done civilly but FB, along with the comment section following many articles and even our NextDoor app which is supposed to bring neighbors together, seem to breed people of all stripes who seem to think it’s find to be nasty. Just don’t need it.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  18. During the first wave of the Syrian refugee crisis a few years ago I saw a few close friends and family, who I thought I knew, turn into complete racist shitbags on FB. That was enough for me to shut my FB down for good and I don’t miss it one bit.
    But bravo to you my friend for finding a way to push out a positive message rather than escalating the conversation into a shouting match which no one ever wins.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think from this experience I may just have to follow your lead. I welcome a thoughtful discussion about differing points of view, but the stuff that’s out there now is just …. awful. It lacks balance, objectivity, and just basic human dignity.

      Maybe I’m just an unrealistic idealist, but can’t we at least TRY to be kind to each other?!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh my, don’t get me started Joanne! I die a little every time my aunt posts something vile and horrible, says f**k your feelings, and then tells you she’s going to heaven because Jesus forgives her. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I have to remember her brain was pickled long ago by vodka. Deep breaths!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry Jan, but you made me laugh out loud at the line ‘her brain was pickled long ago by vodka’. It’s not funny, but yeah … it is.

      We tend to make excuses for people we know, and especially if we care about them. But the past year and half has changed me. I am no longer willing to accept people in my life whose basic values are counter to my own.

      And don’t get me started about the Bible thumpers. I’d need several shots of vodka to get past that one.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I know what you mean by Facebook divisiveness. I’m working on a blog post right now that responds to a number of friends who like to tell everyone to ‘Be Kind’ – then post memes with inaccurate information and then say nasty things about anyone who doesn’t agree with their take on the pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a weird paradox, isn’t it? I had a boss once whose favourite expression was ‘you can’t suck and blow at the same time’ … and yet that’s exactly what this is. Just makes me shake my head.

      The pandemic has caused me to take a hard stand. Ties will be cut.

      Like

      • If I cut ties with every friend who has posted something on Facebook that I found offensive, I would have no friends! The pandemic has caused me to give them all a pass! I would hope others would be as forgiving of me because I don’t doubt that I have written things on my blog or said things in person that my friends find offensive too!

        Like

  21. Joanne that was a brilliant response! We are all children of immigrants whether it be first generation or fifth. But I am proud you spoke as a Canadian. We may not be perfect but the majority of us do try. The diversity in our country is what makes us strong. And we are damn strong!

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s so true!! Unless we can claim First Nations ancestry, we are all children of immigrants.

      I agree that we aren’t perfect – not even close. But we do try. It’s a Canadian value that I think is important and worth protecting. It’s not about a single leader, or a single political party. It’s our DNA!!

      Liked by 2 people

  22. It’s so encouraging to hear a voice (even one) speak out in favor of “one for all and all for one”. I fully understand your anger, and how hard it is to keep that under wraps. I’ve been thinking about all the people coming from Afghanistan to this country, people who have been working to help the US, and wondering what kind of welcome they will receive from our citizens.

    I’m not on FB, or any social media for that matter. I follow blogs like yours that I just love. Even though I don’t blog myself, I am always welcomed with open arms. Why can’t the world function like the blogging community does? I cannot wrap my head around how people can accumulate such hatred. I hope these idiots can step back, take a deep breath, and begin to think/act rationally.

    Your response was well done Joanne.
    Ginger

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Ginger. I appreciate the support. I too simply don’t understand why people choose to live with such hostility and anger. There are so many better options.

      It makes me sad that our countries welcome refugees and immigrants to a new life here, and then the nay-sayers out there make their lives miserable.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my friend.

      We 1st genners have a mighty responsibility to demonstrate the good that comes from immigration. We are often highly educated and make significant contributions to our work and communities. I think we are both very good examples of that, and sometimes we need to remind others of it as well.

      Liked by 3 people

  23. Definitely an eye-catching title, Joanne. I do find FB can attract fickle and more negative content from some people. Coincidentally, this morning I read a great post from Yvette (Priorhouse blog) where she discusses a book “Don’t Unplug”- Chris Dancy – many gems – one about how your online content is available for many to read. I do wonder about karma…..
    Ha, ha “positively angry”. Sharing a positive, clear view – a good thing – I am grateful to be a Canadian and live here for all the reasons you highlight.
    Some people either ‘get it’ or they don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t like to be drawn into high octane disagreements, regardless of how passionate I may feel about my convictions. I don’t think quickly on my feet and I’m easily talked under the table (I need time to let my thoughts percolate into a cohesive response), but the past year and a half has changed me.

      It’s time to stand up for my values … but Gilles is right. It needed to be done in a thoughtful way that doesn’t fuel the anger. I understand that some people don’t get it, but maybe if we change the conversation a little bit, we can help some of them recognize a different point of view.

      Liked by 3 people

  24. Oh, Joanne. I gave up on FB long ago because of the terrible hatred and vile comments spewing all over me made me wild with anger. But lashing out only makes others defensive. It turns off the rational brain, and they dig into their ugly point of view. You handled the situation beautifully. We can fight “against” and join in the vicious war. Or we can speak up and act “for” and preserve out dignity while showing others the positive choices available to them. It’s hard, but it’s the best way to make others think.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I recognized that Gilles’ advice was sound – which is kind of funny since it’s usually him bellowing his outrage from one end of the house to the other. Maybe it was the element of surprise, witnessing me in the position of indignation for a change.

      Your response was the same as his – lashing out only makes others defensive and any situation will escalate from there.

      Writing a response from a place of positivity was a lot easier than I thought it would be … and I did feel considerably better afterwards. I haven’t been back on FB since I posted my response. To be honest, I’m kind of afraid. I think I need a FB time out for a while. A very long while.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I too have up on FB a long time ago, it’s really time wasting and discomforting….it’s hard to really get an interesting post or intriguing post to read about there.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I talked with a teacher yesterday who says she doesn’t go there because she wants to think well of the people she deals with at the school. It really can have a negative impact our relationships, happiness, and well being.

        Liked by 2 people

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