Freedom Friday: Love is Worth the Fight

Naive. Idealistic. Young.

These are a few of the names I was called this week….by complete strangers. Like I told them, I’ve been called a lot worse things in my life;-)

How did this name calling come to be? Well, I read a newspaper article one of my friends shared on Facebook about an event that happened at one of my local high schools.

What happened was this: A group of Somali parents and students protested outside of the school during school hours – they were protesting what they feel is ongoing unfair treatment by school officials because of their nationality. They were also protesting the fact that a young Somali girl’s picture was put on Snapchat and it indicated that she was part of ISIS. That was the last straw for the Somali students who explained that they have been the target of racial bullying. You can read the full article here: http://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2015/03/18/students-protest-conflict-tech/24967679/

I finished the article and came to the comment section. And then, I nearly lost my breakfast.

An overwhelming majority of the comments boiled down to this sentiment:

MOSQUE VANDALISM BRISBANE

What in the world? Did I just get transported back to the 1950’s?

I couldn’t sit by silently and let these comments go unchecked. So, I responded with this:

“Anyone that comments about how “they should go back to their own country” should really take a good hard look at why you are saying that. Do you even know what you’re suggesting?

Would you want to return to a country where you, your daughter, or your mother could be raped as a weapon of war? Let’s step out of our American dream, please, and admit that none of us can truly get it and most of us have never tried to get it.

What we can do is love our neighbors and try our best to understand them!”

Here are a few of the ways that my St. Cloud neighbors responded to me…

“They made their bed, now they can sleep in it. Oh wait, that’s right, they would rather come here and create the same mess they created in Somalia.”

“Somalia is an absolute craphole, yet many Somalis appear to want to replicate the culture that created that craphole here.
Assimilate or go back and join Al Shabaab. It’s really very simple… I don’t want to live among culture destroyers.”

“We are a nation founded on Christian-Judeo principles. Learn to live it and love it or GTFO.”

“Ours is a nation built on Western principles. The Somalians come from a culture as different from ours as night is to day. They have a completely different set of values associated with their ideology. It is a culture I want no part of. Why is it that wrong? Am I not allowed to choose what I do and do not like? Who I do and do not wish to associate with?”

“Persons in this country have and deserve to be picky as to who their neighbor may be; we have all earned the right, we have earned it in blood.”

Wow. Just wow. So, for a few hours, I engaged in what was actually pretty friendly debate with these folks and, in the end, was glad that I did so.

Did I magically eradicate racism from St. Cloud with my “We Are The World” idealism? No.

Did my youthful passion soften the hearts of any of my fellow debaters? I don’t know.

Did my naive “love trumps all” stance cause any hate speech to be taken back? Nope.

Is it worthwhile to confront racism in calm and composed manner? YES. A thousand times yes.

love conquers all

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11 thoughts on “Freedom Friday: Love is Worth the Fight

  1. Bravo! I saw the comments too and couldn’t believe it. How naive of me to think that not only are these sentiments present in our community but that people are willing, hell, PROUD to proclaim them.

    I applaud you and all the others that stepped forward to remind people that we are a country of immigrants and that many people who come here are fleeing horrible cruelty we can’t even imagine. That everyone has the right to be treated kindly and that bullying is never tolerated.

    I would be interested to know how many of the hate spreaders would consider themselves Christian 😉

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    • Yes, Kel…it is gut-wrenching-ly sad to see folks that are firm enough in their hate speech that they are willing to post it for everyone, including their Somali neighbors, to see. I wonder if they would say these same things to their face? Not wanting them to, of course but….it’s easy to write something on the online…much different to speak it in public. Hey, maybe they’d say the same thing about me. Without a doubt, I would most certainly say the exact same thing to them in person that I did on the WWW.

      Basic human being kindness…yes, that should be there for all of us. But, for those of us that claim that Jesus lives in us, we better hold ourselves to HIS standard for love.

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  2. Natalie, I saw your comments on the article and was happy to find your blog address included. I was compelled to thank you for your thoughtful, open, well written and kind replies to so much hate. Thank you for taking the time to respond, repeatedly and with such calm and grace. Your words matter. Thank you!

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  3. Thanks Natalie for standing with your Somali neighbors when it matters. I live in St. Cloud, work in St. Cloud, go to school in St. Cloud, run my own business in St. Cloud, have kids born in St. Cloud, shop in St. Cloud, pay taxes in St. Cloud and blog at http://thesomalihomeland.blogspot.com/ yet someone wants me out of St. Cloud. Someone I have never personally caused no harm. It’s hard to understand why when all our country is a land of immigrants.

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    • It’s hard for me to understand too! I think it had to do with fear…fear of change and fear of the unknown. I hope that bringing all this out in the open silences some of the fear.

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  4. Pingback: #istandwithmyneighbors | Holey Socks Art

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