Guest Editorial

Poisonous Hatred in Cyberspace
By Lucia Vilankulu

L. Vilankulu Today I received another message from my e-mail stalker, Paul Sterret. I thought I'd blocked his address from my e-mail account. Maybe those blocks expire. Maybe, puffed up with poisonous hatred and unable to get at me with his old address, he just went and got himself a new provider. I don't know anything about him, except his name, and that he violently disagrees with me. He seems to feel that he knows all about me, though. Based on my views published in "Interracial Voice," he feels confident in calling me "the white man's whore." He arrogantly accuses me of "self-loathing" (ah, the reliable old whip of doctrine -- when you can't refute the logic of someone's views, accuse them of delusion and self-hatred). He enthuses about throwing me down the stairs, and other means of silencing me by violence.

When I got the last message, I wept. I know I shouldn't get upset and scared, since that is exactly what he wants me to feel, but it's unsettling, as he well knows, to be attacked in this sneaky, vicious way. Like my mother and father and grandparents before me, I've never been afraid of what other people think. I can handle people who disagree with me, and as far as open, above-board debate goes, I can give as good as I get. This, however, is plain harassment. I guess I should be glad that I don't have to deal with this man hovering about my doorstep, and he hasn't called me. The laws on e-mail stalking are vague, and vary from state to state, from service provider to service provider. The one he is using seems to be long on fancy effects and downloadable products -- short on e-mail addresses or phone numbers to call if one of their members is threatening to throw you down the stairs.

My father was a guerilla fighter in Mozambique in the 1960s. When I find myself weeping because some unknown person wants to do me harm, I try to think how he must have felt, being willing to die (yes, and kill) for a cause. Sooner or later we all suffer for standing up to be counted. Instead of a gun pointed at me, I have to contend with an unseen enemy who merely points and clicks. An enemy who feels entitled to insult, misrepresent and threaten me, all because I think that there's no reason for people to go on buying into the unscientific and anti-human fallacy of race. It's a delusion, that, when it doesn't lead to oppression, degradation and death, leads to separation, unloving boundaries, false pride and closed minds. Yes, I suppose it's inevitable that we'll be attacked, but let's not confuse this with deserving attacks.

I am writing this in anger and sadness, anger at the person who is harassing me, and the twisted hatred and imbalance behind his words and actions. I am not sure who the sadness is for, not for him, at any rate. I am no saint, and I cannot love my enemy, even when he is so manifestly beneath me. Maybe the sadness is for me, for thinking that I can be my own best example and practice as I preach, taking people for themselves and not for their symbolic value. Certainly I was taken more seriously in my more cynical and "race-appropriate" days, when I really did hate myself for being "neither/nor." In those days I did feel confused by my "mixedness" in an either/or world. Now I feel grounded in selfhood, which has nothing to do with black or white. I happily married my soulmate, after considering all my options, not just the socially-prescribed ones. My community is made up of loved ones of all backgrounds, ages and lifestyles, not necessarily people who look like me. This, apparently, is the face of self-loathing, to Paul Sterret.

I said before that I am not a saint. It's true that at this point I don't want to change Paul Sterret's mind. I just don't want to hear from him. I blocked his address, but he'll probably find some new way to bait me, unless he finds something else to do with his life. He's not going to change my mind either, no matter how much sickness he sends me through cyberspace.

Also by Lucia Vilankulu:

  • "Raising a Mixed Race Child"
  • Mazel Tov!


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