It’s not even 9:00am yet, and someone has already accused me of being a racist. Why? Because I commented on a news story on The New York Times about how the Internet has been shut down for 60 million people in India. It seems that their government leaders have been pushing provocative policies that have caused a lot of civil unrest. There have been riots. People are very upset. I don’t blame them for being upset. India is supposedly one of the world’s largest democracies, yet its current leader is imposing draconian measures to keep India’s massive population under control. Government officials claim that they regularly shut down the Internet “to stop the spread of hateful and dangerous misinformation, which can move faster on Facebook, WhatsApp and other services than their ability to control it.” Sounds like a scary situation.
Alright then. So what did I write to be accused of being a racist?
And yet, people from India still constantly spam my blogs…
So far, my comment has gotten 86 reactions, most of which are positive. Several men have taken me to task for making the factual observation that many people from different countries spam my blogs and quite a few of them are from India. What’s disparaging or racist about that? I didn’t say Indians were bad people. I didn’t disparage Indian culture or food. I didn’t even say spam was *bad*. In fact, my niece was BORN in India, because my sister was living there in the early 1990s. I don’t dislike Indian people. I do dislike spam, but it’s evidently a big business in places like India, China, Pakistan, and Nigeria. The fact that I get spammed by people in those countries doesn’t mean I hate them or think I’m better than they are, though. I simply made an observation.
Here’s another observation. After I got called a racist, several men started flirting with me. Naturally, they’re probably spammers too. In fact, I would not be surprised if my Facebook Messenger is flooded with filtered messages from these folks, looking for quick cash or whatever. One guy wanted me to add him and I told him I was married. Another asked why I didn’t “like” the guy. Um… I’m married. What part of that don’t you understand? Would you want your husband or wife privately chatting with some stranger from a distant land on Facebook? And even if I weren’t married, I’m not looking to meet “strange” men on the Internet… even though Bill used to be one of those strange men.
I thought about sharing my entire exchange on The New York Times here, but the cross commentary is too confusing, and I don’t feel like editing everybody’s names. Besides, while I’m sure that some of the people who have commented are serious, more of them are likely trolls or people who are angling for something. I’m sure if you visit The New York Times’ Facebook page, you can easily find the thread.
Just as I was about to move on with my day, I noticed another comment accusing me of thinking the world revolves around me. After I reiterated that I was simply making an observation, someone else accused me of having a “thin skin” and not being able to recognize trolls. I think that’s funny, since none of these people have ever met me. It would not occur to me to immediately assume something about a random stranger on Facebook and openly call them out like that. Like… it would actually bother me to make that kind of a bold assumption about a total stranger. But it seems that many people have no issue with it.
Here’s another observation I’ve just made. I commented about spammers from India. This guy posted this comment:
Except for the beautiful women – there is nothing good about India.
This comment has been up for about 20 minutes, yet the only reaction to it is a single thumbs up “like”, and he’s only gotten about six somewhat neutral comments. No one has accused this man of being “racist”, having a “thin skin”, being “funny looking”, or having a “poor sense of humor”, nor does it appear that anyone has tried to pick him up, although I think his comment is far more racist and sexist than mine is. I guess he’s not being picked on because nature bestowed a “magic wand” between his legs instead of a bleeding axe wound. I’m kidding, of course. There’s nothing particularly magic about a penis. I once had a psychology professor who constantly referred to penises as “magic wands”. She taught a “Psychology of Women” class. I got a C in that class, so no one should take seriously anything I have to say about gender.
I’m not that upset this morning, although I have a cold sore brewing (Abreva, please do your stuff!). I’m actually more bewildered than troubled. I made a simple observation on The New York Times, and suddenly a bunch of apparently Asian men think they know me… or they wish to add me on Facebook based on a couple of comments and a photo. It’s kind of creepy and weird, but I’m not particularly upset about it. In fact, before this morning, I wasn’t even aware of India’s problems with having the Internet withheld by government authorities. I’m sympathetic to their plight. I’m sure this is a big deal to them, especially since a lot of people’s livelihoods are affected, not to mention the social stimulation people get when they’re online.
I don’t know how people make money from spamming. I guess some people must take the bait, since it’s been a problem since the dawning of the Internet. I’m sure there is a motivation for people in other countries to send out ridiculous spamming emails and comments in order to generate business. Otherwise, why would they do it? Spam was a much bigger problem on my old blog, since I left comments mostly open. I’d regularly get spam comments cleverly disguised as “legit”. On this blog, the default comment mode is moderation, so comments don’t appear unless it’s from someone who has commented once before and is approved. I also have stronger spam filters on this blog than I did on Blogger. But still, I pay close attention to Statcounter, and whenever I get a non VPN hit from a distant country, nine times out of ten, it’s someone trying to leave spam. Again… this is a statement of fact. There’s not anything racist about making such a statement. It would be racist if I claimed that all spammers are “dirtbag Indians”. I never made such a claim, nor would I, about Indians or people from any other country.
I had actually considered writing about several different topics this morning. Some of my alternative topics might have been more interesting than this is. At this point, it looks like people have moved on. Such is the nature of The New York Times, I guess. It’s a big, well-respected newspaper, and lots of people are reading and commenting. Most people realize that my comment was pretty innocuous, if not spot on. Otherwise, why else would it have gotten so many heart and laughter reactions?
Just now, I got an insult about my looks…
(in response to a comment I made– “who says I’m joking?”)
I’m glad you’re not because I’d expect it to be as Funny as your face Lol.
To which I responded…
Haniyam Shaikh Awww… you say the sweetest things! <3
Like… seriously. I’m a happily married woman with a dynamite lifestyle. Why should I care if this man wants to insult my looks? Even if he thought I was “cute” and I thought he was “cute”, it’s not like we’d ever meet. And… if I really did want to be racist, I’d mention that I’m assuming our standards of hygiene are vastly different and I might be quite turned off by that. But that WOULD be a very racist and rude thing to say, so I’m not going to say it. Instead, I’m going to decide if I feel like washing the sheets. Then, I’m going to have some breakfast before I get into too much more trouble. Low blood sugar is the pathway to Hell, y’all.
Edited to add: Many hours after the thrill had passed, some chick named Lacey came along and started insulting me by calling me “Karen”, “Susan”, and “Boomer”. I told her she should go learn about respecting her elders. New York Times’ readers are fun to fuck with sometimes.