Racist Haters Will Hate – But Should We Always Blog About It?

(photo by Loving Earth via Flickr.com)

When my blogging friend sent me that link the other day, I didn’t even have to click to know where this was going. The URL contained a malicious slur, and the thread’s title included a vulgar phrase, something I’ve never stooped to utter in any conversation.

These were haters, pure and simple. Hardcore racists who scorned interracial relationships.

Sure enough, when I clicked through I saw my friend’s photo in the forum. It was a photo taken with her Asian husband. But with the things these goons had written about her, it was like finding her photo inside the men’s bathroom stall, defiled by graffiti and infantile racist screeds.

I could understand why she wanted to share this with me. It’s chilling when you find total strangers essentially crapping all over you in such an unsavory place. She didn’t post that photo on her blog, expecting this to happen. It’s the kind of thing that makes you say, “Damn, something’s seriously wrong on the Internet.”

But the question is, what do you do when the haters start harping on you? Or your blog? Should you go public with it on your blog?

Those are questions I’ve considered when I’ve become the fodder of hateful racist forums (including, most famously, a white supremacist group on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s watchlist). And I’m not alone. Other women who have blogged about interracial relationships have faced these issues, such as Madh Mama (who was harassed by an Internet troll giving her death threats).

In a sense, hate mail and hate comments are a badge of honor. You angered someone so much they felt compelled to respond to your work. Granted it’s an ugly response, but it shows you have some power. There are ways to blog about it.

Madh Mama did go public with her Internet troll and that’s how she defeated him. But to be clear, she did it in a very strategic way. She never linked to this person’s online drivel or gave him additional attention.

Likewise, when I blogged about the white supremacist group, I was careful not to mention them in name OR link to their forum. The last thing I wanted to do was give a hate group more publicity. I chose not to make any screenshots of the forum either, concerned that – once again – it might reveal the group’s identity.

Yet just because we blogged about it, should you?

Ultimately, that’s a personal decision – but one that comes with a huge asterisk. My bottom line is this: a blogger should never feel obligated to publicly share every time someone attacks them online. After all, you would not believe the sickening racist comments/e-mails that I’ve seen. If I devoted a post to every single instance, I’d be busy for months. Besides, my blog is valuable space – I don’t want to deign to quote from racists (unless there’s a compelling reason to do so). It’s enough to say I’ve received many awful racist comments/e-mails and I’ll receive many more in the future.

However, I always, always talk about it with someone. It might be my husband, a friend, a family member or even a fellow blogger. It’s so important to share our experiences, to know we’re not the only ones.

And I always remember, there are times when we need to do more than just talk. That’s what Madh Mama learned after those death threats:

Keep documentation. Keep screenshots with dates and times of all the harassment, throw it into a file (without looking at it) and save it for later. You never know when you’ll need it.

Internet trolls have very predictable patterns. They often use the same IP addresses and they often attack at certain times of the day. These timings can tell you a lot about your troll – for example, if they attack at 3pm Eastern time – that’s after school time. And the more frequently they attack you – the more lazy they get in covering up their tracks.

TRY to report it to authorities. Go to your local police. If you’re in the U.S.A, you can report it to the FBI’s cyber crimes unit. If your pictures are being stolen and defaced, contact DMCA.

Ultimately, the haters are gonna hate, no matter what. While blogging about it is optional, staying silent is not. If you’ve received a hateful racist e-mail or comment, or found your blog mentioned in a hate forum, please talk to someone about it. It could be your friends, family or even a fellow blogger like me.

One of the most powerful things we can do in response to hate is stay united, supporting anyone who has been attacked by racists or worse. The haters would rather I wasn’t here, but I’m not going anywhere. How about you?

Q&A About “My Intercultural Love” On Madh Mama

I’m psyched that Madh Mama invited me to do a Q&A about my own intercultural relationship for her lovely blog!

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Here’s a snippet from the full interview:

Where/how do you feel most inspired?
My husband is a huge inspiration for me in so many ways – from my writing to my blog to even my business. Some of my greatest ideas have come out of conversations with him, often while we’re walking together in the woods or the park. Plus, he has an extraordinary talent for cheering me up when I’m feeling a little down! I feel fortunate to have married someone who inspires me in some way every single day…

Where/how did you meet your spouse?
We started out as an office romance, actually! Once upon a time, we were coworkers in the same company. He was a translator and I used to proofread his work. We collaborated fantastically back then, as we still do now. 😉

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Have you come across people who disapprove of your intercultural union? If so, how do you deal with them?
When I lived in America, I definitely did, but a lot of it was very subtle. Like when I would speak to my husband in Mandarin Chinese in public places, people might shoot me dirty looks. Or just the way I’d see someone staring at us in the grocery store or something. In these cases, we just had to ignore it and move on with our lives.

The most blatant comments I’ve heard have been through my website, including how a racist hate group once linked to my blog as an example of the “growing threat” to whites. It made me sick to my stomach, but also a little scared to think that I was on their radar, so to speak. I remember discussing it with some of my friends, but ultimately made the decision not to post publicly about it (as I did not wish to give the group any additional attention). I just continue to blog about the AMWF community and interracial/cross-cultural couples, which I think is a great way to fight back.

Read the full interview right here at Madh Mama. And if you love it, share it!

P.S.: Don’t miss Madh Mama’s powerful guest post she did here a few weeks ago titled “I don’t look at my daughter as Indian or Canadian. I look at her soul.”

Guest Post: “I don’t look at my daughter as Indian or Canadian. I look at her soul.”

Alexandra, the white Canadian blogger behind Madh Mama, thought all of the ignorant comments about her marriage to a South Indian man would end once they had a child. But they didn’t, and it has been one of the biggest challenges for her — especially as hearing things about her daughter hurts her deeply.  

Have you heard something about your interracial relationship or biracial children that you’d like to write about for Speaking of China? We welcome all kinds of guest posts (including love stories) — check out the submit a post page for details.

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I often forget that my husband and I are from different cultures. We have so much in common, so many shared interests. We are going on our 9th year together, and I could trace every freckle and scar on his body with my eyes closed. The kind of familiarity that you have with someone you know inside and out.

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In reality, we are from vastly different cultures. I was born and brought up in Vancouver, Canada, by a small tight-knit family with European ancestors. My husband is from Hyderabad, India, and descends from the most conservative and devout Indian clans – the Tamil Iyengars.

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I always dreamed of having a child with him, in a romantic way. I wanted to expand our family and raise kids together in a way that combined our similar values. I wanted to grow myself by becoming a mother, and I wanted our bond to deepen even further by becoming parents together.

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Being a rare mix, we have had a hefty share of ignorant comments. At first, it was people saying things like we “just want to try out a different race“, then it was “he’s only with her for a green card” (I’m not an American, so I don’t even have a green card), then it was “she’s corrupting him with her Western values“, then it was “they’ll never make it to the altar“, then after we got married it was “how can they function with all these cultural differences?” Supporters and believers in our relationship were few and far between. We became desensitized by these kind of comments and learned to expect them. For a long time we didn’t even know that other couples like us even existed, so any negative experience just brought us closer together, since we were the only two people who understood what we were going through.

I thought all of that would end once we started a family together – that by having a child, people would realize that we are committed for life. Especially to other Indians, who assumed that by me having white skin, it automatically meant I was not cut out for motherhood, have no family values, or that I would divorce him.

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When we had our daughter, it was the happiest moment of my life. It was incredible. She looked like every single person in our families – combined. Watching her grow up and see how her personality has developed has been astonishing. She is nurturing like me, quick like her dad, a great dancer, and eats any cuisine. She is the most global child I have ever come across. She is classically beautiful and looks like she could pass for any ethnicity. She is adventurous and loves to travel and do new things.

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I think the comments started when she was about 6 months old. One of our Indian relatives asked me if we intended to raise her “Indian or American” – as if we had to choose. Then, I got a few comments from white Canadians about how tanned my daughter is, with a weird side-eye glance to prompt me to tell them her ethnicity. When we were visiting Italy last year, everyone thought she was Italian. So much that one old Italian lady pointed to my husband and asked “Is he the father?” when he was standing right in front of her. We have stepped inside an Indian restaurant where every table looked at us with disgust, so much that it scared my daughter. The latest comment we got from an elderly Indian relative was when my daughter was feeling shy. She said, “Maybe she doesn’t like Indians“. Appalling, since she certainly adores her father and many other Indian family members. It stung a lot.

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The thing is – I expect comments about myself, but when it is directed towards my child, it hurts me deeply. And it surprises me, because I forget that we are an intercultural family, raising a biracial child. We live in such a multicultural world. We celebrate all festivals and holidays, even ones that don’t belong to our respective cultures – like Chinese New Year and Greek Easter. We have lots of intercultural friends. It’s only when we get ignorant comments that it occurs to me that the multicultural world we live in – is one that we have constructed for ourselves. That the majority of people out there do not mix, that they tend to stick to their own culture, and either out of fear or ignorance – and they do not step outside it. That global families, such as ours, are a minority. However, I hope that my children and grandchildren’s generations see love before color. Because that’s what the world needs – more love…a love that transcends borders and limitations.

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My daughter is only 2.5 years old now. I haven’t really figured out how to tell her that sometimes people might question our family – more than others – because we are different. I know I will tell her that doing things differently doesn’t mean we’re wrong, but just that a lot of people won’t understand us. I want her to be confident in who she is. I want her to not be scared of this diverse world we live in, to see the beauty in being different and blaze the trail from there.

I don’t look at my daughter as Indian or Canadian. I look at her soul. I look at her as my child. The child that God sent me to raise. She is both cultures; but at the same time – she is everything. She is anything she wants to be.

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Alexandra Madhavan fell in love and married her soulmate. Then she inherited a big, fat South Indian family. She shares her unfiltered view of what it’s really like to be a Firangi Bahu at Madh Mama.
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Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.