Monday, April 23, 2012

3KoP - Three Kinds of People - Lovers, Haters & Debaters

I like to engage in human observation. In this line of work, I do it electronically at times by receiving feedback on my blog via commenters. Faceless usernames "like" me, a stranger I've never met makes a great point in a comment on my blog post, or (as happened with my last post) a random unknown labels me condescending and inflammatory and unsubscribes.

Today, I pay homage to Susan Bearman's 2KoP (Two Kinds of People) contest in which the entrant points out the differences in two types of people. I entered with my I Pee In The Shower post, which remains my most read post so far. I wrote it specifically for the contest and nervously posted it as a blog entry as well. I expected a firestorm of response... against my decision to pee in the shower and the fact that I would talk about it. I received very little storm and instead received a shocking response... support! However, life doesn't always roll that way.

I now present to you my version of the 2KoP:

3KoP - Three Kinds of People - Cindy Brown style, cyber version...

In my view, there are three types of people in the blogosphere:

  1. Lovers
  2. Haters
  3. Debaters
Which one are you? The winning entry in the 2KoP was Norine Dworkin-McDaniel who wrote an edgy essay titled Circumcision Decision about the difference in opinion she and her husband had on the subject of circumcising their son and the process they went through to get to an eventual decision. It was a funny piece, very well written, and Norine and I became fast online friends as a result of the contest. Norine received a firestorm, a hailstorm, and a fire and brimstone storm for her essay.

I didn't read the horrid comments Norine told me about, but I noted this unfortunate event in my mind and thought, "Oh, Lord, it's coming. I'm going to get blasted for a post eventually too." So when I did my post about going to black church last week and loving it (and yes, I'm still going to call it that), I knew that could be the one. All day, I thought about what had happened to Norine Dworkin-McDaniel. I said several things that could be attacked in my post if it fell in front of the wrong eyes. But who would attack me? The racists? The Republicans? The God bashers? The alcohol prohibition supporters?

I didn't know who, but I knew that somehow, I was probably going to get Dworked. I was going to get a Dworking, I just knew it! Someone was going to crucify me like they did Norine Dworkin-McDaniel for her post on a subject I have no opinion on, since I have had no boys of my own. I got home at the end of the day after my black church post went live and [insert Twilight Zone music] found Norine's latest post waiting in my inbox, Strangers - Extremely Rude and Incredibly Kind which included this heartbreaking paragraph:

"For circumcising my child — daring to make light of it — I was called evil. A horrible mother. A vapid bitch. A baby mutilator. An emasculator of men. A disgrace to my country — and apparently to all Jewish people too. One of the many rabid commenters who likened circumcision to female genital mutilation wrote that he wished I’d “get kicked in the vagina so hard I’d need my clitoris removed.” I’m not sure that’s the best statement he could make against authentic genital mutilation, but so be it."

I couldn't believe what people said to her! I was immediately embarrassed by the human race, incredulous that they could be so unkind to another human being with such ease. I e-mailed my new friend and told her I was bracing for my own inevitable Dworking. It didn't come. It didn't happen. And then, BAM! Just like that, I got Dworked. Thankfully, it was only a mild Dworking and Norine was kind enough to give me lots of advice on how to handle it if things got nasty, but they didn't.

I had plenty of people who completely got the meaning of my post, which was that I tried a new church that was out of my cultural comfort zone and I loved it. My true fans knew my intent was good and not condescending and showered me with lovely comments congratulating me for my willingness to explore something new. Those are my "Lovers". I've always subscribed to the philosophy of "make love, not war," and these people are definitely on my side of the combat zone.

Before even promoting my post much, I had contacted a dark-skinned friend (heck, I'm not sure what it's okay to call him anymore) and asked for his feedback on my post. Was it okay for me to refer to it as "black church," I asked, or is African-American more acceptable? His response was this:

Cindy, I personally prefer Black to being called African American. If you dropped me off in Africa I wouldn't know where to go!! Also, Africans from Africa look down on Blacks born in America in many instances. But the main thing is...I'M AMERICAN!! I would have to go back many generations to find an ancestor who wasn't born on American soil. So guess what. I'm American! 

Glad you love the church. Black Church is fine! It is much more upbeat and spirited than a traditional "White" church. Especially if you at a Holy Ghost rolling church where they get to praising and the organist get the praise music going!!

I felt confident that I would not be blasted and might possibly avoid a Dworking for calling it black church. I felt love from the comments people were leaving and thought, "Great, they get me - they really get me! I didn't tick anyone off after all!"

Enter the "Hater."

No, it wasn't an Obama hater, nor a God hater, not an alcohol hater... but an African-American. This woman was mad that I had referenced having "black friends" even though my dark-skinned friend told me he prefers black to African-American. She said many other things that made it sound like I said things I didn't say, misinterpreted how I was poking fun at myself in the post by calling myself, "whitey," and made it very clear that she was upset with my post.

I wanted to fire back at her with all sorts of verbal ammunition and use a comparison of asking how you would differentiate black chocolate as opposed to white chocolate without calling them by color, but then I came back to my senses and laughed a little at myself. My mother once told me, "Cindy, if you fire back in a situation where someone is talking bad about you, then you are just lowering yourself to their level." I haven't always been able to follow that advice in my lifetime, but the words and lesson stuck in my head.

The point is that with haters, you can't win. Don't even bother getting upset. No matter what you say, someone is going to take offense to it somehow and they will angrily tell the world about it. I could say that rainbows are wonderful and some hater would point out that it's the symbol for being gay. I don't care if it is! I like rainbows. And furthermore, I have gay friends, atheist friends, black friends, Wiccan friends, Jewish friends, black family members, religious friends, tall friends, party rockin' friends, straight laced friends, hick friends, rich friends, poor friends, and friends of probably every label under the sky!

My hater was kind enough to name herself "Unsubscribing" (her anonymity didn't work, by the way... I know who you are) when commenting and then started talking about me in third person instead of directly, indicating that she probably was writing a blog post about how awful I am and posting it on her own site. I hope her readers like it. I remain who I am with no apologies.

Also, her unsubscribing trend apparently didn't catch on. I gained readers instead. Perhaps I do have a new "holy roller" (as another commenter put it) contingency. That term does not offend me, by the way. Some people refer to religious people in that way and that's just how it is. I do try to be holy (not to be confused with "holier than thou") and I do sometimes roll in a holy way, so perhaps it's fitting. Offending me is not going to be easy. I am a writer and these things come with the territory with me putting my life out there for all to read.

The term "holy roller" was used by my "Debater." I honestly didn't take it in a negative way, but I guarantee you, somebody out there somewhere hates that term and would be so offended to be known as such. I've been labeled before and plenty, sometimes justifiably so, sometimes completely so dead wrong. Either way, I lived.

I like my debaters. They get, like commenter Lynne Favreau, that a writer deserves a respectful tit-for-tat. Lynne gave me wonderful feedback on what she found insensitive or stereotypical, giving me encouragement for what she liked, and a friendly slap on the wrist to indicate how I might improve my writing in the future. Bravo, Lynne Favreau, for coming to my defense and at the same time showing the world how to be a grown-up and have an intelligent conversation. I love what Lynne said. All of it, the positive and the critique. I respect you. And thank you for using your real name.

I recently commented to fellow writer, Rachel Thompson (see her blog here, when she commented about being unfairly slammed for her work, that criticism and critique are two totally different things. People who criticize often just mean to hurt you, and being anonymous online makes it all the easier, doesn't it? People who critique are trying to be helpful and are showing you both sides of the coin, what you did right and what could be improved. They are nice about it. They are kind about it. Those are the people I will listen to, my friends. Those are the people writers can learn from. Debaters say it without getting angry. They are controlled and calm. They earn your respect.

So, I'm keeping my Lovers, I'm keeping my Debaters, and I'll let the Hater comment stand to speak for itself (at least one person "liked" the hater comment, so she has peeps too), but I'm letting you know that if things ever do get really nasty on my blog, I will probably delete the comments just because I don't want to put more hatred out in the world. I went back to that church on Sunday. I love the people there. I love the black people there. I love the white people there. I love the wild people there. I love the red-headed people there. Spread the love, spread the love, spread the love, would ya already?


  1. Beautifully put Cindy. So thoughtful. And thank you so much for including me. I'm honored. Keep advocating for conscious and conscientious commentary ... and spreading the love. 

  2. You know I will! Thank you for your friendship!

  3. Thank you for including me, also. I love your honesty, Cindy. It's what, I think, draws us to each other. We cannot take personally the unfairness of what haters say because to them their points are valid. It's when they don't offer debate via polite discourse that I find objectionable. 

    If they disagree and own it, cool. But calling people names for daring to share our experiences, thoughts, and opinions is pathetic and sad. Then again, every time you evoke that emotion in people, consider it a win. YOU DID THAT. That, my friend, is power. 

  4. I suspected that your previous post would probably receive some attention, but I could feel your excitement and joy, and that's what I focused on.  I enjoy a dose of your humor when it hits my inbox, and I appreciate your willingness to "put it out there."  Count me among your "still subscribed" : )  

  5. Rachel, I I think you probably saw that I said on Facebook that I made someone so mad they unsubscribed and that I think that means I'm now a real writer! Ha ha! I did feel somewhat validated in a strange sort of way, it's true. I hated it that someone took it so badly though. I don't intend to hurt anyone. I hope my rebuttal just makes people think.

    Thanks for your friendship as well. I appreciate you and Norine - you are much more accomplished writers than I and you give me the time of day. I appreciate that so much!

  6. Cindy, the photograph reading Erma Bombeck was worth stopping by the blog today!  That was Great!  I'll salute folks who are loving, and I agree with John Lennon who's lyrics to "Revolution" included: " ... But if you want money for people with minds that hate. All I can tell is, brother, you'll have to wait ...".  

    As for the debaters, the good ones learn the facts.  They do their research.  In fact, they can argue either side of a resolution quite well against those who only bring their opinions (which often have little or nothing at all to do with facts) to the table.  Keep on rockin',

  7. I saw your comment in BlogHer chatter and came over to check things out. I read your previous post as well, taking it for the tongue and cheek that I *think* you intended...meaning I enjoyed it. I rarely 'hate', instead I just don't contribute to the conversation if I'm offended - to each his own when it comes to opinions. Spread the love, indeed - keep it flowing. 

  8. None of us are perfect and I don't claim to be either. I'm glad you focused on the right feeling in my last post, Kendra. And I'm glad to have you "still subscribed!" People will come and go no matter what, but I hope that I can retain a core audience and not alienate people very often!

  9. I'm a humor blogger - 90% of what I say is tongue in cheek! Glad you liked it! I am like you, if I don't care for a subject or post, I just move on. Thanks for stopping by my blog today :)

  10. Thank you, Van! From one Brown to another, I will keep on rockin'!

  11. Great post. There'll always be someone out there ready to knock us down, rightly or wrongly, but that shouldn't stop us expressing ourselves. Although you forgot a category - the stalkers. But that's another story. Or maybe a blog post. Hm. 

  12. Oh, man. Once I started writing for Yahoo!, I learned about negative comments the hard way. It is even worse when it happens in your home home, and by that, I mean your own blog. I'm glad you are still willing to be yourself despite the lash back.

  13. Fiona, I've only been blogging since November, so just wait. There will be a stalker post eventually! Either an experience I've already had or one yet to happen, LOL!

  14. Okay... I 'liked' you.  I guess I'm not faceless now that I'm commenting... our 'user names' are, but not our avatars... that's how I found you.  I saw your avatar and thought, "What a babe!"... I'm shallow that way.  I enjoyed your post, as I always like to see someone 'get it right'.  I get a kick out of 'haters'... enjoy debaters... and love lovers.  Put me down for the latter.

  15. Interesting. Applaud the decision on fearless tackling of stepping beyond one's comfort zone. What I don't understan: why do you have to label yourself "funny"? I mean, wouldn't it be obvious from the manner of writing? Because if I read an "about" that states "I'm funny" makes me wary.

  16. Why, thank you! I must note that I'm happily married, but appreciate the new lovers, LOL!

  17. Well, was I? A blog reviewer said the same thing, then noted in his review that I was right. Normally, it is nothing but a humor blog and normally I am a funny person and you would think that would be obvious, but alas it sometimes apparently is not! Most people lose the wary after reading a few posts, but you can certainly be your own judge. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my Everyday Underwear!

  18. Excellent post, Cindy. I'm with you on this one. No one can please everyone. There is always one who has to destroy; perhaps because they're so terrified of being destroyed first. So they take the offensive before the opposition knows there's a contest going one.

    Fear generates anger. Heck, one of the best writers I've ever known wrote an essay years ago pointing out the fact that fear rules all emotion, either by its presence or its absence. I've thought about that a lot over the years and found it true.

    Keep up the good work here, girl. You deserve it.

  19. Cindy, I like your post. Very thoughtful. I applaud your
    honesty and your courage in writing on controversial topics. I read the
    previous one about the church too but didn’t comment: I’m not religious and
    have nothing to say about any religious institution.

    But this one strikes a chord for the writer in me. I think
    Debaters and Haters are practically the same. They dislike you/your blog/your
    story/your position and they want to be heard. So anything is used as a spark
    to start their verbal flow. As loud as possible. It’s all about them and their
    opinions, not about you and your writing.

    I’m an active member on GoodReads, and there are endless
    debates going on there. Some of them have long forgotten what the starting
    topic was. People just express their opinions on everything and blast others
    who disagree.

    I think we shouldn’t pay much attention to such commenters.
    They’re definitely not worth getting upset about.

  20. Oh Cindy! I've yet to publish my blog which shall be title SAID IT ALL:TOOK BACK HALF.  For sure I'll be offending someone, so thanks for showing me how to handle that eventuality gracefully.

  21. Great post! I am such a lover! I'd like to be a better debater but I am afraid of haters. I'd really like to stretch in that department. I've been blogging since early 2009 and have never gotten "Dworked" or had a troll. I see that as mostly positive, but at the same time would think that my blog had "arrived" if there was a little bit of controversy. Not that I'd create controversy just for the sake of it, as I know some bloggers do. By the way, I peed in the shower today. Really and truly.

  22. Hi Cindy, you just keep writing great posts and let the haters wallow in their filth - I've had one negative comment so far on my blog and just delated it.  After all, I do give fair warning in my blog intro that there's enough negativity in the world without adding to it - we're about positivity and, you said it, 'love' - David.

  23. Hi Cindy, Norine must love that you made her name into a verb!  I for one, am Jewish, and thought her circumcision post was hysterical!!!  I think all of your blogs are great Cindy!  Count me in the Lovers category! xo

  24. Cindy,
    I always enjoy your writing. Writing "black church" made the post purely you and personal. 

  25. Count me in on the lover side. I'm a fan since the infamous 'peeing in the shower' blog.
    I'm like some of the others that commented, if I disagree then I disagree and don't comment. Too much negativity in our day-to-day life as it is. I don't need any more of it and certainly don't want to be one guilty of spreading and encouraging it.
    Keep keepin' on Cindy, your joy is infectious.

  26. No room for haters. Let's support each other, people. :)

  27. Thanks, Trisha! Now, comments like THAT keep me going! Thank you for being here. I appreciate it.

  28. Well, I could try to be somebody else. I've done that in the past. But it didn't work out too well for me! I have learned that just being real and being me is best, even if people disagree sometimes, which someone inevitably will. My main goal is to entertain with humor and real life observation that doesn't cross a line, so I hope I can continue to do that.

  29. She did actually! Glad you liked her post too. She deserved the win. And thank you for being my "Lover" - hee hee!

  30. That's right! Preach it, brother David! Ha ha! Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

  31. Karen, it did feel that way, that I had arrived, even though I was a little sad that I made somebody so mad they unsubscribed! Like Rachel said in her comment, perhaps that means I've got power! Wonder Twins Powers Activate! Oh, I just lapsed into an old cartoon. Oops.

    And Karen, pee freely. You have my support! Ha!

  32. I showed somebody something? Cool!

    I will be sure to read your blog when you publish :0)

  33. Agreed! I wish there was more coaching and support and love among writers and commenters in the blogosphere. I always try, no matter how busy I am, to read and comment on others' work as well. I wouldn't feel good receiving love if I didn't give it as well. I know how much good feedback and encouragement mean to a writer.

    Thanks for your comments. I am going to have to check out GoodReads someday. I fall in the category of Lover, so when a post or topic resonates with me, I say so.

    Nice to have you visit my blog, Olga. Please swing by anytime!

  34. Thank you, Claudette. I have read similar writings on fear and learned a lot from them. You will hear about my fears in my blog postings in years to come, no doubt, and if I ever get around to writing books, that will be a subject to write on for sure. Fear can be debilitating in so many ways. It's a terrible thing!

  35. I have gotten hate responses and just delete. I agree there is enough bad energy out there, I love to debate, but these were critical and unnecessary. not helpful to anyone!

  36. I luv your post! I have absolutely no bigotry in me whatsoever and do not care what terms are used as long as they arent obviously demenaing ya know? People of all colors and faiths need to understand for descriptions sake that sometimes people will have to be called SOMETHING! I dont mind if when my red hair shows through the blond I try to erase it with comes through and someone notices I have a temper to maych, ok maybe its sterotyping but where did the stereotyping come from in the first place, again if its not demeaning...go for it and yeah, I havent had a hater YET but when it happens, I will absolutely NOT write back, theres no point, thse people NEED to hate on something or someone and once you dont play then they move on to somewhere else. Great post!

  37. Thanks for your input and for spreading the love on the blog, girl! :)

  38. Love your edginess without being a smart ass hipster.  It is too damn tiring to figure out who you are offending these days.  Trying to write humor that doesn't offend nobody is like trying to shoot pool with a rope.
    Let the Good times Roll Baby

  39. I will let 'em roll, Will! Thanks for the comment. Oh, and I've shot a lot of pool and you're right - a rope would not be a good cue. ;0)

  40. You've got quite a following here, so you must have more lovers than haters. As the host of the 2KoP contest that chose Norine's essay as the winner, I can attest to many of your points here. You can't win with haters. There is nothing you can say or do that will change hateful minds. I, personally, don't understand all the hate. Maybe people need more exercise or fiber or something. My line in the sand is with the anonymous haters. I won't post hateful anonymous comments. They're cowardly. Great post.

  41. Oh Susan, that's funny - more fiber! Thanks so much for stopping by to read my post! I am so sorry that you and Norine had to endure what you did. I think it's wrong for people to be so hateful on the internet also. Stating an opinion is fine. Trashing people is unacceptable.

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