“So go forth, and rep proudly for all the ghetto-named girls, and if someone happens to mispronounce your name, make sure you give your neck
Diverse Books and The Haters
Hater – a person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing. Hater is such an overused word in today’s society. Everyone thinks they have one, and some do, but most like myself, don’t. I’ve never been one to believe that I had haters, and I guess that statement is still valid. I don’t have haters, but Black Boy, Black Boy, definitely has haters. When I first started writing Black Boy, Black Boy, I knew there would be some controversy, but I thought that would be more so because I drew my inspiration for the book from the famous children’s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?.
Composing tons of different arguments as to why I used Brown Bear and how it inspired a new generation. Thinking I was going to be defending my choice to use Brown Bear, Brown Bear, but instead, I’m defending Black Lives Matters. Nothing new, I defend my life and the lives of others every day, but I never thought Black Lives Matter would be the center of my fight. I didn’t expect my little book to be All Lives Matters. After the millions of books that only feature white characters, I didn’t think anyone would care about a book that was all about little black boys. Boy was I wrong…- they cared.
As soon as I started posting content about Black Boy, Black Boy, the hate and racism started. It wasn’t subtle or harmless, it was in your face and straight to the point. For over a year, I’ve deleted post after post because the racism was so overwhelming. In the beginning, I fought. I would state my case, politically set them straight, explaining all the reasons why diverse books like Black Boy, Black Boy were needed, but it all fell on death ears. So, I began to delete them. First, I would remove the comments, but that only added fuel to the fire.
The “haters” would just write another one, which was always worse than the first comment. So, I started deleting the whole post and wondering if I should stop posting altogether. It was exhausting fighting a fight that wasn’t supposed to be associated with children’s books, but here I was, every day arguing with people until I decided I wasn’t going to let them stop me from posting my great content. Ignoring them was the only option.
They wanted my attention and acknowledgment, and I wasn’t going to play in their games. A game I can’t win; If I say what I want to say, it will become a screenshot that will come to haunt me later in life. Having a brand and legacy to protect kept me from showing my wrath. Trying to educate them is exhausting, simply because they don’t want to be educated. To them, it’s a cat and mouse game, and I refuse to be the mouse. Ignoring them was the only option. An excruciating but necessary for the greater good. Along with the post button, the mute button became my friend. The trolls can’t troll someone who doesn’t know they’re commenting.
Ignoring the hate is hard. I wanted to comment, I want to tell them exactly where to shove their hatred but remember your brand and that we live in a screenshot world. Mute was my best friend, or so I thought. Days, sometimes weeks went by without me looking at the comments or thinking about the post. Most times, I would completely forget about it until I started to realize that hate wasn’t the only comments showing up under my post. People I like to call allies were fighting the fight I couldn’t. They were saying the things I wanted to and putting the haters in their place.
Furthermore, allies are the best weapon in your arsenal. They are people you know and people you don’t know. People who will go balls to the walls and tell the haters everything you wish you could but can’t. Allies swoop in and put the haters in their place, and the best part is they have the time to sit and go back and forth. Plenty have private messaged telling me it was the highlight of their day is to be able to put the idiots in their place. My allies allow me to ignore the hate but know it’s being taken care of. Realizing now this isn’t just my fight, and for every hater I have, I have two allies waiting to beat them into submission because were in this together.
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Hater – a person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing. Hater is such an overused
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