oh my

This is sociologically useful I guess. I friended my aunt on Facebook, and after I posted one of those viral pro-health care reform things that was going around, she responded with notes equating health insurance reform with wanting a government handout because you are too lazy to work and then “everyone gets health care if they ARE DYING WHY DO U LIE” [stet on the capitalization] about that “nobody should die for lack of insurance” thingie. Well ok, I mean not all of us are used to writing in complete sentences and we do have different political opinions and this is my aunt after all, not some troll I don’t know.  I responded politely with my opinions.

And maybe she was mad  because earlier this year I hit reply/all instead of just reply when, after she* forwarded to me and several dozen other people this weird story about a Muslim invited speaker in a prison workshop confessing under tough questioning that really Muslims are required to kill all non-Muslims and he used the phrase “people of faith” and  Obama uses that phrase so draw your own conclusions (i.e. Obama must be a Muslim who plans to kill all non-Muslims), I responded by saying that this was obviously an urban myth that made no sense on its face because a) an invited speaker Muslim would have known the jihad question was coming and wouldn’t be tricked in that way and b) if he really did plan to kill all non-Muslims he wouldn’t say so in a prison workshop and c) liberal Christians use the phrase “people of faith” all the time, and that is obviously Obama’s tradition.

Now the latest is is an email that she sent me, two youtube links, one equating Obama’s plan to speak to school children with Lenin, Hitler and others’ indoctrination of youth, and another showing an election-period video (commercial) in which a mixed-race group of children sing about hope for unity and change and “vote Obama” with Hitler’s youth campaign.

This whole Facebook thing is confusing my normal policy of avoiding political discussions with certain relatives. I’m not actually trying to get in a fight. I guess it is at least getting me out of that liberal academic bubble. Sigh.

*At the time I thought it was my uncle whose name is used on the email, but now I’m guessing it is her.

Author: olderwoman

I'm a sociology professor but not only a sociology professor. I keep my name out of this blog because I don't want my name associated with it in a Google search. Although I never write anything in a public forum like a blog that I'd be ashamed to have associated with my name (and you shouldn't either), it is illegal for me to use my position as a public employee to advance my religious or political views, and the pseudonym helps to preserve the distinction between my public and private identities. The pseudonym also helps to protect the people I may write about in describing public or semi-public events I've been involved with. You can read about my academic work on my academic blog http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/soc/racepoliticsjustice/ --Pam Oliver

8 thoughts on “oh my”

  1. I must admit..and my brother thinks I am strange…but I am no longer a “facebook friend” with my Mother. For just that reason!

    We have agreed to disagree about politics, religion, etc, etc, etc – and in person we are both very good about being respectful to other opinions, especially in a room full of each others peers and friends, but on the computer – that ability to confront with out being in someone’s face gets the better of us sometimes. Often that is not to a post that we have made but to comments left by one of our conservative/liberal friends.

    So I unfriended her – to the shock of my brother, but completely ok with my Mom. (We did talk it over before I did it) and now I am very very cautious about relatives being my friend on facebook.


  2. I’ve had similar experiences with family members entering my Facebook “safe zone” and disrupting things. I think that the privacy settings allow for controlling this (allowing family members to see pictures but not status updates, for example), but I haven’t gotten around to adjusting them yet.


  3. Hah that Onion story was great! My mom reads my blog, and is my Facebook friend. As is my dissertation chair. And my middle-schooler niece. It’s just too much of a pain to maintain separate spheres of existence online. However, having an aunt like that might inspire me to limit her profile access.


  4. “With the raw materials in my blog, she could actually construct an accurate picture of who I am. This is fucking serious.”

    Oh the woes of multiple front stages. Anomie, you are a wise woman.


  5. Well I was actually more appalled at the content of the Obama=Hitler links. She hasn’t been behaving that badly, she only responded directly to me. But the content . . .

    I defined my Facebook persona as my “public” face so people could find me and thus what I’m willing to say about myself is pretty thin there.


  6. This is interesting, because I’ve lately come to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to give my family a pass anymore when they send me things I find objectionable — whether racist, or death panelist, or etc. So I have universally decided on a reply all approach where I will answer the email seriously and point out (politely) their misinformation.

    We shall see.


  7. “This is interesting, because I’ve lately come to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to give my family a pass anymore when they send me things I find objectionable — whether racist, or death panelist, or etc”

    Thank you for saying this, pitse1eh. It saddens me how many people give their family members a “pass” on this type of thing. As kin, they are often in the best position to change these ingrained attitudes. If we are not willing to do this kind of advocacy in our own “spheres of influence,” it should not surprise us in the least that racism, sexism, homophobia, etc continue to thrive.


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