Education and Bitterness

Malia Obama is going to Harvard.

Awesome. Good for her. An intelligent young woman has been accepted to one of the most prestigious schools in the world and she should be proud of that achievement.

Unfortunately the internet has proven, once again, to be a horrible place full of bitter, disillusions and cruel people so dissatisfied by their own small lives that they use every excuse to tear someone else down. When this news broke the Fox website was more or less immediately filled with derogatory racist comments (okay, so all racism is derogatory, but trust me, this was sad reading). Some saying that she only got the place because she was black, some bitching about black privilege, some about her parents, others making snide comments about how Obama’s presidency is coming to an end (yeah, because what have all those ignorant dickheads laughing about that in the comments section ever done with their lives) and even some comments stating that they hoped she get’s ‘cancer/aids or one of those colored diseases’ – I really wish I had made that last comment up. But I didn’t.

Seeing those articles was actually sort of heartbreaking – and I can only imagine how Ms Obama feels right now after such a high from acceptance to having complete strangers try to rip it all away from her. It’s awful. Is this what out world has come to now? At what point did human beings reach the stage where we think it’s okay to treat other people like this?

What also angered me was the complete lack of grammar and spelling – I mean, come on, if you are going to go on a civil rights spiel and cite Malcolm X then the very least you can do is spell his name correctly (Her’s a hint dickhead, it’s not ‘Malkim’ ‘kay?).

So, aside from the obvious racial slurs targeted at, and let’s not forget this, a SEVENTEEN year old student (a child. She’s only a couple of years older than my daughter, and the thought that someone could say such awful things…sickening) it raises several issues that really aren’t addressed enough.

Firstly, is it ever really okay to say things like that? Well, short answer is, HELL NO. It’s NOT okay. I know that I personally am sick to the back teeth of keyboard warriors hiding behind anonymity to spout their vitriol. What the fuck has it got to do with ANY of them where this young lady is going to college? I mean, reading the comments they all sound pretty bitter and one could almost think that they were coming from applicants who were rejected. And perhaps that is the case for some of them. I can understand being angry when you have worked for something, but honestly, I really doubt this was the case here. It was just a bunch of assholes attacking a young woman because they thought that she was getting something they weren’t.

And in a minor way I can sort of relate. Last week I got an offer of a place at a university here in the UK. A good university. Oxford, actually.

And instead of being excited and anxious to share the news, I actually kept it to myself. I was scared of telling people. I was actually terrified of other people’s reactions and I didn’t want to give anyone the opportunity to tarnish that event for me. Which, on reflection, is sad. You see, people like me don’t get into places like Oxford. That’s what has always been the suggestion during our school years. Those select few students that teacher thought might have a chance at and Oxbridge education were separated and given extra support and help when filling out applications and preparing for interviews. The rest of us were left to muddle along. And so I never thought that I would even have the chance to apply. This changed this year when, aged 33, I finally screwed up the courage to do it. And, somehow, I got accepted.

I waited almost a week before I told anyone. Somehow I knew that as soon as other people knew, there would be negative comments.

And I was right.

My friends and family were, for the most part, super supportive, in particular a small group of close friends who I’d honestly be lost without. And eventually I made it known to others. And that’s when the negative comments started.

At first it was ‘joking’ along the lines of ‘how’d you get in there?’ but this quickly escalated to ‘sure, they’ll let anyone in now’ through to ‘my friend went there and it’s really hard going, you’ll not cope’.

I had barely had time to process events before other people were trying to put them down. It reminded me of a quote from a Michael Crichton novel:

All your life other people will try to take your achievements away from you. Don’t take them away from yourself.

So I won’t. I refuse to listen to the negative comments. Those people who want to tear me down. And I really hope Malia Obama can do the same.

And for the rest – all those assholes who feel the need to attack and insult – put it back in the box. It’s horrible. It’s cruel. And it has no place in civilized society.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Education and Bitterness

  1. Congratulations Claire! And yes you’re right about the negative comments. The worst ones are those from your own family and friends. I think it’s because they like to see us in a particular box and when we climb out of that box it’s a painful reminder that we all have the choice to change their lives – the reason we haven’t, is down to fear/laziness. An ex friend of mine when I had my first magazine article published said: ‘Of course the magazine is absolute rubbish!’ I told my sister and she snorted and said: ‘Maybe if she read a bit more ‘rubbish’ like that, she’d have a few more orgasms!’ xx

    • It’s that sort of negativity that is really toxic. And the worst thing is that sometimes we don’t even notice that other people are doing it to us until someone points it out, or we see it happening to someone else. x

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