You speak for you, I speak for me
The internet is where I found My People. I found the ones happy to communicate via text and not over the phone. The ones more comfortable with blogging their feelings than having in-person heart-to-hearts. I found a best friend, and people with whom I can commiserate. I found support, love, and education here. This world has been so important to me, I’m so thankful for what the internet opened up for me.
What I’ve also found is an rotten underbelly, filled with people who can’t possibly exist in real life the way they do online. Can they? Is it because they’re posting online that they drop all social propriety?
Cruel comments left on blogs, racist, ignorant, and otherwise disgusting feelings laid out openly in Facebook groups. Hideous tweets.
It just isn’t possible that people who behave this way online think it’s socially acceptable. Who are these people who take the time to leave aggressive comments on blogs? Who are these people who name-call and bully? Who are these people who speak passionately but so ignorantly for groups to which they belong? Starting a sentence with “As a…” has become the gateway to speaking on behalf of groups of people I don’t think necessarily want us speaking for them.
“As an adoptive mother, I find that offensive!”
“As the child of an alcoholic, I’m telling you that’s wrong.”
“As a former victim, I can tell you we all feel this way.”
“As a mom to two kids under 3, I can tell you you’re crazy.”
These are all things I’ve read in the past week, and as a reader, I can tell you they don’t inspire any confidence in me when these people speak for their groups.
As a woman, I speak for myself and my own experiences. I have found other women who agree with my ideas, and many who do not. Regardless, I respect all, and expect the same in return.
As a mom, I speak for myself and my family. Sometimes we’ll agree on parenting methods and sometimes we won’t, but that doesn’t mean either of us is in the wrong, but I certainly do not speak for other mothers and do not want them speaking for me.
As an adoptee, I speak about my own experiences, opinions and beliefs, not for any other adoptees. Whether our experiences are the same or not, our feelings, reactions and beliefs are valid but this doesn’t make them universal.
As a parent to an allergic child, I speak only for him. I seek to protect him not at the risk of inconveniencing someone else, but in harmony with my intention to protect other children, too. I come to the world with requests from a good heart, hoping others know I would never hesitate to do the same for them.
As a friend, I speak for myself. I am fiercely loyal and loving, but speak for nobody but myself. My friends are their own people and we do not have to become homogeneous to enjoy each other’s company.
As one-half of a married couple, I speak for myself, not my husband. I am not his keeper, nor he mine. We are free to live our lives together as individuals and I expect him to fulfill his dreams and reach his goals just as I expect for myself.
As a neighbour, I speak on behalf of myself, not those who live around me. As a Canadian, for myself.
There is no army behind my words, no team to back me up. My words are my own and are borne from my own experiences only. You speak for you, I’ll speak for me, thanks.