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A Reason to be upset

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I try very very hard not to be judgmental. I think we are all judged in various ways and being overweight is just one of them. I have been very sensitive about talk that I perceive as rascist, classist, sexist, and yet I am not offended by people who need to explore their own self-hatred, or other aspects of ways that we can become more emotionally intelligent and attuned.

So I was on one of my Spark Teams today and I looked at the blog titles rolling down the side of the page. I often will click on those and have serendipitously found out all kinds of nifty things and seen blogs that I admire and blogs that I learn from and blogs that make me laugh.

So I saw a title that said "Joke do not read if you are easily offended". I thought it would give me a moment of mirth. I don't think of myself as easily offended by "jokes."
Maybe my life has been too tame but I see a joke as being a variation on the panda entering the bar. Or the chicken crossing the road. Or the physicists screwing in lightbulbs.

Do not read if you are easily offended? Well, I thought maybe it might be a joke about mothers-in-law or about Viagra. Or maybe it might be a foray into gallows humor. Or maybe it might be one of those sometimes amusing jokes about rabbis and bishops and priests....

But it was pure simple plain racism. And especially ugly at that.

We should know better here, people. We have all suffered in many different ways. Why spread it around?

And you could tell me that I had a warning not to read and that the blogger has her first amendment rights to free speech. But really??? Really???? Here at Spark People? Here where we cannot write down the name of a female dog in British English?

So I reported the blog and hope it goes away. And I'm feeling really rather sick right now.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • TREV1964
    You did the right thing,

    There are funny jokes out there that use Black, Irish, Jewish, Chinese, English and every other race on the planet. I consider a black joke funny if I could tell it to a black bloke and make him laugh and there are jokes out there that do just this. I have told Jewish jokes to jewish people and Irish jokes to Irish people and never ever offended them in the slightest and they in turn have told me English and British jokes that I in turn have found hilarious.

    I no doubt this kind of joke you encountered was not one like that - It sounded utterly vile and offensive and in my eyes that kind of stuff is not a joke at all - it is racist propaganda.

    The reason I believe you were so right to report it is that a post like this is trying to promote hatred which I for one in here and in society believe is WRONG.

    This place is one of the most warmest places where there is a lot of genuine love that fellow sparkers have for each other. One idiot like this if left unchecked to post rubbish like this can fester and potentially ruin the wonderful environment we are all lucky enough to have in here.

    You have in doing this given me an idea for my next blog so you never know I just may do that.


    2897 days ago
  • MAIM138
    There's enough bigotry on Facebook (my unfriend button is ON FIRE lately).

    This is NOT the place for that kind of spew. People always forget that "freedom of speech" goes both ways: You're free to say it; I'm free to think you're a horrible person.
    2898 days ago
  • POPSY190
    As far as freedom of speech goes I think of "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins. " Oliver Wendell Holmes. It's ironic that the blogger seems to have objected to other people's comments about the blog content! Do they not have the freedom to express their opprobrium? emoticon I'm like you, Natalie, and enjoy true humour - but not this kind of cheap, exploitative type of thing.
    2898 days ago
    I didn't see her original 'joke,' but I saw her complaint about being reported. I don't understand why people have to post that kind of thing in a public arena. Well, really, I don't understand why they have to blurt it out anywhere, or even think it--but it sure doesn't belong here. I can't tell you how many times I have been hurt by thoughtless things said by passive-aggressive people who, when confronted, reply that it was "just a joke," as if I'm in the wrong for having been offended.
    2899 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12935469
    Outing racism is not being judgmental. Racism is not a political view, it is hate speech and should be reported. I would assume "easily offended" means swearing and would've clicked on it, too.
    Thanks for raising our awareness.
    2899 days ago
    THANK YOU for taking steps to get that blog erased. It's bizarre, the policing that happens here, whereby a haughty YAWP of cussing when your life dictates is frowned upon, but hate speech passes with flying colors.
    2899 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11712373
    I'm sorry for your frustration and anger and also agree that SP isn't the best or proper place to publish such material. People write and say things from their perspective of reality. Their individual perspective is a reflection of the person they are inside. This whole world is turned upside down with the illusion of choice and freedom. When will the golden rule be applied and when will we wake up out of this egotistical fighting world and be the change that promotes and embraces peace, love and harmony?

    Violence creates violence, and money is the root of all evil.

    I hope you feel better soon and I hope the blog writer will wake up eventually and learn compassion for mankind. We are all brothers and sisters.

    May peace be with you.

    2899 days ago
    Thank you thank you thank you. Sometimes we have to do the right thing. BTW I love your green cats background. Made me smile.
    2899 days ago
    Thank you... Didn't read it and haven't clearly in glancing at blogs read anything else by the spark member. right to freedom of expression includes the right to be offended - and the responsibility to not hurt people. "Jokes" are to me the most insidious way often of spreading what amounts to hate speech as those who challenge them for their sexism/racism/etc are seen "not to have a sense of humour" ... but its "only a joke". But these then sneak there way in to the way people think, they way they act, what is deemed to be okay, what is the norm - more than any political letter or right wing speech.
    2899 days ago
    the title indicates to me that the writer already suspects how ignorant he is. so why waste any soul energy on a person like that?
    2899 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13629552
    The blog is still there. This blogger has experienced removal of her blogs BEFORE for racist jokes but still thought it was ok to post another one about black men raping white women and being sprayed with pepper spray.

    In one of her blogs, she says the "blog police" explained: "the [previous] blog was deemed.... derogatory towards a specific racial group and could easily be offensive to many people reading it.

    My initial reaction was what my Grandma used to say... "Hit birds flutter." The blog joke must have come too close to some truth and that bothered someone."

    I'm sorry but this is NOT an opinion page of a right-wing newspaper, where people are expected to write in anything they like. This is a community of dieters and exercisers from all over the world, some of whom may be black, may be in an interracial relationship, may care about others who are, may be worried about the fallout of the acquittal of Zimmerman or may simply have a higher code of human decency. This is NOT an American street corner, where people may say whatever they wish as long as it is not directed against a specific human being or at a very loud volume. This is not the sort of place where 100% freedom of speech should be expected to apply. There are standards in this community and SparkPeople DOES have a complaint policy. I complained about this blog, too, and there isn't a prissy bone in my body. She further insults when she says that those who don't get her "jokes" are made uncomfortable by the "truth".
    2899 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/17/2013 1:15:05 AM
    I saw it and was sicken by it. We have enough to deal without this sort of stuff.
    2899 days ago
    Yes, the blog you're talking about is totally gone and it seems the person who blogged it is thinking of making their blogs private. I didn't see the blog or racist joke, as it was already removed. I did read a blog about it's removal though.

    This interested me because recently I was very offended at something someone on Spark had as their Spark "tag." I don't really know what the correct term for it is, but I'm referring to the section under a person's post and their name. Sometimes people have a favorite quote or something there. This particular person that offended me had taken a cherished Bible verse and totally turned it around and made it sound completely despicable. I was stunned. It hurt me so badly and I wanted to complain to someone, but first I went to the person's Spark page and did some reading. When I saw all the hell she's going through here on earth, I decided that she probably doesn't believe in God anymore (if she ever did) because she probably feels abandoned and betrayed. Ultimately, I didn't complain, as I saw her mean-spirited words as coming from a place of severe pain and suffering.

    I don't mean to suggest that a person who posts a racist joke is in pain - I just meant that for all Spark's wonderful, fabulous, and caring people, sometimes even the best of them can stab you right in the heart and it really, really hurts.
    2899 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/16/2013 11:50:49 PM
    Yes, that's certainly a reason to be upset. I didn't read the blog, but just reading that it has sickened you makes me uncomfortable, too.
    You did what you had to do -- you reported it.
    Now I hope you can get those words you just read out of your head.
    Treat yourself to some nice poetry and music tonight and clear your mind.

    2899 days ago
    Having a sense of your sensibilities, I trust your judgment that the joke is offensive. While I find SP given to censorship, there will be something now and then that I wouldn't or couldn't tolerate.

    As I recall, I posted and was censored at a non-team board for referring to a practical book about backpacking in the back country, "How to Sh*t in the Woods." Let's see if it's allowed to live here. I've been censored on other occasions, also over little.


    P.S. I originally spelled it out, but the system warned me to remove profanity, so I edited as above.
    2899 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/16/2013 11:00:24 PM
    I hope it goes away too. Racism is not funny.
    2899 days ago
    I agree with you 100%. I also read the blog, thinking how bad could a joke be, and was shocked at how racist it was. Initially, I didn't report it, because I figured it was my fault for ignoring the warning, but your blog convinced me to report it after all. So here's to hoping that Spark removes that blog!
    2899 days ago
    With more than hundred thousands members passing trough there has to be som bad judgement now and then... so well done for reacting. And although I have reacted to the very strict language rules, I also think there is a purpose in laying tha bar high.

    Well done!
    2899 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13425678
    Thank you.
    2899 days ago
  • no profile photo MKRETIRED
    Good for you!
    2899 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8574152
    Good for you! You did a good deed...and you did a favor for the rest of us who despise the evil of racism - so thank you! emoticon
    2899 days ago
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