On dealing with Trolls

Or in the words of Reluctant Mom – Dear Fat Fuck…. 

I’ve been blogging since 2008, initially as an infertility blogger, then as an adoption advocate and now as a mom, of two adopted mixed race daughters. All highly emotive topics, with wide and strongly represented opinions. I’ve faced a lot of online trolls and bullies in my time as a blogger.

It’s never pleasant. It hurts. Because even though you only see my written words, there is still a living, breathing person behind those written words. I’ve been threatened. Called Road Kill and still have one troll who pops up in my Twitter following and Face Book page from time to time, despite my best attempts at blocking her. At one point, I was so vilified, there was even an entire blog dedicated to spewing hate, filth and ugliness about me. During a time, when I needed the most kindness, during my infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss journey.

Perhaps it’s my words that attract trolls? I don’t know. But I’ve always been an open book, I’ve always been totally open and honest about who I am and what I believe, especially here on my blog and perhaps that rubs some people the wrong way. I will not sugar coat my words. I will tell it like it is. I will share my experience truthfully and honestly, no matter how ugly that truth may be. My struggle with infertility was extreme, it isn’t the run of the mill infertility story, our adoptions weren’t your standard placements either and perhaps that’s what pissed some people off. Now as a mother of two gorgeous mixed race children, I’ve again had to face a troll.

Our families story was recently featured on 3 Kids, 2 Dogs & 1 Old Houses’s series on Behind the scenes of a mixed race family. When Cindy asked me to participate, I jumped at the opportunity and it had very little to do with exposure for my blog and everything to do with playing my part in exposing others to what mixed race families face. Because the main reason I blog is to share and help others, to change perceptions. During infertility I shared my pain and my story in the hope that someone else would not feel so alone. I share the story of my daughters in the hope that it will open the eyes and hearts of others who are in a similar situation to me. Because I know how hard it is to make the decision to adopt, I know how hard it is to face all the questions about your babies race. And I wanted to encourage others to not be deterred, that if being a mother was something you felt called to do, you should not let others racial prejudices stand in your way.

The comment left on that blog post can be described in one word…. TROLL!

And yet, I was still hurt and I should know better. Better than to take the words of a troll and take them to heart, waste time and energy thinking about what was said and analyzing the (misguided) points she tries to make. Clearly not someone who has any understanding of adoption or mixed race families in the South African context. Clearly not someone that has ever walked a mile in my shoes so where she gets off making such a snap judgement is absolutely beyond me.

Her harping on about my statement that one of my daughters is darker than the other, speaks little of my own prejudices and volumes about hers. Hannah is darker than Ava. Is that a bad thing? Is that a prejudiced statement to make? I don’t think so. But that’s because my daughters racial heritage and colour means very little to me, perhaps if I saw it as one being better than the other, it would bother me, but it doesn’t. So dear Troll, I think you missed your own troll right there. I’m not really sure how that statement is a “slap in the face” to my daughters unless you see someone as light skinned being better?

And the reason we lied by omission surrounding Ava’s placement has far less to do with my own prejudices and way more to do with other people’s. Because when we informed our families and friends about our intent to adopt, the only question anyone wanted to ask was whether or not we were adopting a white baby. My then hairdresser, a black woman, even went so far as to get up in my face, wave her hand near my nose and tell me in no uncertain terms inform me that it was UNACCEPTABLE for us to adopt cross racially and that in her culture it was frowned upon. Or why I have concerns about when my daughters are old enough to start dating and possibly face rejection because of their racial heritage? Because I know how much it hurt me when someone I thought was my friend informed me that while she had no problem with us adopting mixed race children, she would never want her children to be in relationships with my children!

So Dear Troll, do not make it a white thing. It’s a race thing that goes across the races in South Africa given our very painful and long history of racial segregation, something you cannot understand unless you’ve lived here.

As for your statement….. about me being –  “this woman appears to be extremely racist and it seems to be right in tow with the stereotypical racists South African attitude.” Well once again, you’re showing your ignorance because if I was stereotypical, I would not have adopted cross racially, so I can only make the assumption that you are the stereotypical ignorant American? No?

I won’t entertain trolls on my blog ever! I’m all for open and honest debate, but not for feeding the trolls. You come to MY space on the web and leave troll comments, I will delete them and I will block you…

So dear Troll or Fat Fuck or Ignorant American or whoever you are…. you are the weakest link… Goodbye!

 

 

 

22 Comments

  • Lizanne

    September 4, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Well said!!! You’re awesome, Sharon! Oh and my biological children (who have the same mother and father), have different skin tones… Elijah is much darker than Naomi… Oops… Should I be concerned that they may have rivalry, am I pitting (forgive the pun) them against each other! Oy vey, ignorant Americans… Xxx

    Reply
    • Sharon

      September 4, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Their skin tone would only be a concern if you thought one skin tone was better/more superior than the other which I somehow doubt you do! So …

      Reply
  • Debs

    September 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Man, what is WRONG with people!!! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Wait, was that racist? I was so shocked to read that on such a great series, one that I have come to really enjoy! (Thanks Cindy!) How dare she call you racist, how dare she comment so haphazardly on a subject that’s context she clearly knows nothing about. And good for you Sharon, she doesn’t deserve a minute of your time. She didn’t even try to enter into a discussion around the topic. Big breath….thank god its friday. x

    Reply
  • CharlieW

    September 4, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Holy fuck! I have a headache after reading this post! I don’t get why people are so horrible. I can’t believe everything that you have been through. Much love to you and your gorgeous girls! Screw the trolls.

    Reply
  • Kate Kearney

    September 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Trolls are the bane of my existence. They are everywhere and sadly prey on anyone who is willing to document their loves in an open and honest way. I’m so sorry this vile person has upset you – just know that their opinion counts for fuck all.

    Reply
  • stephanie

    September 4, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    You are amazing mom and keeping doing what your doing, She really has no clue what shes talking about, before a person decides to have an opinion on it maybe she should read up on SA culture

    Reply
  • Girl in the Pearls (@MindTheCurvesZA)

    September 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Are you even kidding me? So sorry you had to deal with that.
    I think you really have to develop a thick skin as a blogger.
    As much as we keep telling ourselves our own opinions are the only ones that matter, it always does really hurt when people are nasty. I hope you don’t let it get to you. Sending love. XXX

    Reply
  • Heather

    September 4, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Did someone really have a whole blog dedicated against you? Seriously they should get a life! I have answered Nika on that other blog but I really think she doesn’t have a clue.

    Reply
  • Brenda

    September 4, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    For every one sad pathetic troll there must be hundreds of us who love and support you. I,for one, read your posts, identifying with you on so many levels (shit that sounds really stalkerish but is not I promise!!!).

    I gain such encouragement from you. I may one day have adopted kids of my own. And you have inspired me to lose weight. Dont let one bad egg spoil what the rest of us look forward to reading each week. Big hugs. X

    Reply
  • catjuggles

    September 9, 2015 at 8:09 am

    I only read it now Sharon – been through a hectic time so my blog reading is miles behind. Through this all it’s simple – she has no idea what it’s like to live here.

    On the positive – my did the community come up for you! I love that!

    Reply

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