Racist Rants? Not Exactly!

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I posted the following tweet to my LeadToday Twitter on Sunday morning:

You’ll reach your goal sooner if you begin today instead of tomorrow. There is likely no real reason to wait, go for it!

Lots of people ReTweeted it and many made positive comments about it. One comment most certainly wasn’t positive. One person replied by saying, “it was spoken LIKE a true Republican who got courage from a suit but knew nothing of getting their hands dirty doing real work.”

I made a mistake by deciding to engage this person in a conversation (as I sometimes do) and replied by saying something about it not being a political tweet and that I had to go wash my hands…. I included a smiley face so they would know I was kidding.

Her response bitterly stated that I shouldn’t tweet humor after the shooting in Colorado. In subsequent tweets she said she could tell I was the typical white racist republican that made money off the poor but knew nothing of real work.

It was at that point that I blocked the person.

All that from a basic Sunday morning tweet that was simply supposed to make people feel better about themselves.

I like to learn from my interactions on Twitter but I’m struggling to see the lesson in this one. My instincts told me I was heading for trouble before I responded to her original tweet but I ignored them and replied anyway. Maybe the lesson is “listen to your instincts.”

Maybe I shouldn’t have blocked her at all. Perhaps I should have stayed engaged and maybe helped her see a brighter side of life. Maybe the lesson is “don’t bail on difficult conversations.”

Perhaps she is more insightful than thousands of other people and my tweets are really insensitive racist rants. Maybe the lesson here is…. Nope, no lesson here. My tweets are anything but racist rants.

It could be that the woman was struggling with something in her life and it manifested itself with harsh thoughts directed randomly at whomever crossed her path. She was certainly one of the most bitter people I’ve ever come across, on Twitter or anywhere else. The lesson here must be to not take Twitter comments too personally.

I suppose it’s also possible she’s just an unstable person in which case it would be a mistake to take any lessons from our encounter.

So…. Help me out, what’s my lesson here?

19 thoughts on “Racist Rants? Not Exactly!

  1. Heather Whitehead says:

    The lesson is that some people just absolutely refuse to face the truth, no matter how much you try to point it out to them.

    It is a Biblical concept, after all. 2 Thess 2:10-12 speaks of those who love unrighteousness so much that God sends then a delusion just so they will have a lie they can believe. If they are so adamant as to not even listen to God, why would we think they would listen to us?

  2. Markinsandiego says:

    Steve,

    I wouldn’t make any assumptions about the person. In situations like this, I always remind myself of the story in Seven Habits of Effective where there are some unruly kids on the subway. The father is doing nothing to make the kids behave. Steven Covey says something to the father who apologizes and tells how the kid’s mother had just died. We really don’t what is going on in others lives.

    I would have blocked her too. No one deserves to be called a racist for a tweet about putting something off til tomorrow.

    Love your stuff.

    Take care,
    Mark

  3. Steve-

    There was nothing insensitive about your tweet this morning and it was probably something that many needed to “hear”. To follow in Heather’s path, no good deed goes unpunished. We don’t know what’s going on in her life that caused her to lash out at you but it is possible that the very act of lashing out was of some therapeutic value to her.

    For someone to lash out stating that a motivational tweet is insensitive due to “fill in leading news story here” is interesting. While I am mournful of the senseless violence and unnecessary loss of life, we should all be reminded to live each day as if it were our last. Tomorrow is not promised for anyone and we should celebrate life, even in the midst of sorrow.

    I’m sorry that you had to deal with unprovoked hostility this morning and apologize on behalf of human kind.

    Keep those awesome tweets coming!

    PS – I’m a minority and I never find your tweets to be racist rants! 🙂

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment. It’s absolutely true that we have no idea what she is going through or what influences her thoughts.

      There must be lots going on there, and I was very caught off guard by it. I should have at least not responded so quickly and considered why she might have responded that way.

      Live and learn!

  4. Personally, I like “don’t bail on difficult conversations.”, but I’m a sucker this sort of thing – there’s somewhat of an “interesting factor” to it. Maybe she was just having a bad weekend. At the very least, it seems as though she got something out of the engagement – maybe you did indeed make her happy in a very weird way.

    Keep on being you, Steve – I learn from you each and every day!

  5. Steve, I’ve learned these lessons the hard way. Your tweet was nothing but positive. How she could have jumped to any political party conclusion from it is beyond me.

    Remember about a year ago when I engaged with someone after I tweeted a leadership quote from Kouzes and Posner? The guy jumped all over me and said I had no right tweeting that because I wasn’t a leader, and neither were the authors. Why on earth did I engage?!?!?! LIke you, my gut told me to ignore it….but my silly optimistic heart thought I could perhaps get him to see the bright side. No such luck.

    While you may be on Twitter to share knowledge, encouragement and light, others are on there simply to pick fights. I think there are angry, hurting people out there and they’re just looking for an outlet. It’s a shame she wasn’t wiling to listen to you, because you may have been able to help ease some of her burden.

    Keep doing what you do, Steve. It makes a difference to a lot of people.

    • Thanks Erin, I appreciate your comment. I also knew better than to engage and I should have just let it go. It seemed like every time I responded it was just fuel to the fire. Oh well, lots of different minded people in the world, we still need to find a way to value them all.

  6. raeme67 says:

    I think you were right to block her-we can not “fix” people. She would have to see for herself that she was wrong -most of us don’t do that very well, so, it is doubtful she would have ever understood your true intent.
    Some people are always looking for a fight and it is unfortunate that she choose you to vent her anger on.
    Keep on twittering and blogging away….. 🙂

  7. Natasha says:

    Maybe the person commenting was just having a bad day? I don’t see how that could be perceived as being a racist rant. Where is race or even Aurora mentioned in that tweet? I’ve seen them and have experienced them myself on Twitter. Maybe she’ll calm down, eat some ice cream and enjoy each precious moment.

    • Ha, I suggested she try to slow down and enjoy her day… she ripped me for assuming she wasn’t enjoying her day. 🙂 Sometimes you just can’t say anything that helps. 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing your experience and your concerns, Steve, with a difficult situation. It says a lot about you that you’re still thinking about the best way to respond and help both yourself and the other person. You’ve helped me. I feel better prepared if I find myself in a similar situation in the future. Sounds like there’s no point in responding to someone who is looking for a fight as it’s not going to go anywhere no matter what you do.

    • Thanks, you’re right about that, with her mindset there really wasn’t anything I could say that would have made sense to her. It just took me a little too long to figure that out. 🙂

  9. Hi Steve

    Some people are mad at the world. It’s not anything that you did or said. Unfortunately, you just happened to catch her eye.

    I’ve found that the best thing to do is take the high ground and move on.

    Have a wonderful day.

    Best,

    Frank

    • Thanks Frank, I was so caught off guard by her comments and it seemed that every this I tried to make it “better” only made it worse. I guess I didn’t have much positive impact on her but I hope she made herself a better Monday. She clearly wasn’t having a very good Sunday.

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