Bloggers and mothers all over the world share photos of their children because…well…we are proud and think that they are the most precious things on this planet.
Recently, blogger meganmennes received a comment calling her beautiful son with Down Syndrome “ugly” and her reply was in my opinion, PERFECT!
Check it out:
An Open Letter to A Troll
Since I started blogging about my son Quinn and his disability, I knew this day would come. There’s no shortage of trolls on the internet who hide behind the anonymity of a screen name with the intent to be cruel, and I’ve seen their hostility many times before. In fact, just last week, in the wake of a robbery at the Down Syndrome Association of Houston’s headquarters, in which $10,000 worth of technology was stolen, there was no shortage of ignorant comments on the news story reporting the incident. One user asked, “how will they learn to count to potato?” Another claimed that wasting computers on “retards” was stupid anyway and that the organization deserved to be robbed. These comments, while offensive, simply serve to showcase people’s hate-fueled ignorance and aren’t worth my time. I grimace when I read them, but realize there’s little to be done about such stupidity.
I don’t want to make assumptions about you, but I can guess from your immaturity and ignorance that you know little about the helplessness that parents feel when caring for a sick infant with respiratory issues. Quinn was sick last week, but was feeling much better by Friday. We decided to sit in the backyard and soak up the sun after school. There aren’t many things in this world more beautiful than seeing your recently-ill child light up in a smile, and I snapped a few photos to celebrate his recovery, then posted them on Instagram with the hashtag “#downsyndrome.” I love to look through those photos myself in my spare time because damn if those kiddos aren’t adorable. Of course, you feel differently because you found this photo and left a comment with one simple word:
The fact that you find my child ugly is one thing. You are entitled to your opinion. But the fact that you intentionally search #downsyndrome to find pictures to insult (sadly, Quinn is not the only victim of your behavior; I came across many other inflammatory responses) is both childish and sad. Your profile is also full of offensive posts and crude statements, all of which point to your own illiteracy. In one such photo, featuring two kids with Down syndrome and the word “wiitard,” you get bent out of shape because many, MANY people called you on you prejudice. You claim it was a joke and that people should lighten up. But what about purposefully seeking out pictures of our children? What about the fact that a beautiful photograph of my son was tarnished by your hatred? That’s not a joke. That’s cyberbullying. Needless to say, I reported your profile, which was removed temporarily, but is now back up. It might be wise to remove it soon before the authorities look into your harassment; these things are taken quite seriously now.
This will not be the last time someone discounts my son because he is different. It will not be last time someone makes a joke at his expense, but to actively seek out actual people to tease goes beyond cruel. It’s inhuman.
I recognize that you want to see me get worked up about your little “joke.” I’ll be honest, it’s hard not to be angry about it, but I can’t allow myself to carry that weight on my shoulders. I can’t allow myself to feel anything but sorry for an individual with so little tact. Because in end, you will be the one to face the consequences of your choices someday. There are few people in this world who tolerate that kind of backwards thinking, and you’ll eventually mouth off to the wrong person. My guess is that you already have, which is why you hide behind a screen name like a coward.
God knows there were plenty of cruel adolescent boys in my time: boys who took pleasure in pranks and jokes at others’ expense. There were even a few of them that were directed at me, but it gave me tough skin and I grew from the experience of facing such mistreatment. Maybe that’s why I’m willing to let this one go; I know where most of those boys ended up and it’s nowhere I’d want to be. And as a teacher, I’ve seen kids like you crash and burn. Go outside. Read a book. Compliment someone. Most importantly, enlighten yourself; there’s already enough cruelty in this world and anyone worth their salt should be striving to make this place better, not worse.
I simply hope my own children learn to look past ignorant comments and actions and treat others with respect and dignity. We all deserve it, even you.
A Proud Mama
What an inspirational woman, and a beautiful boy!
Wow! Good for her for writing that letter. Some people are just so unbelievable. It’s crazy how ignorant and hurtful some people can be. I was at an event where Julie Cole was speaking and one of the things she said that stuck with me was…
“Do not feed the trolls”.
I’m loving the comments people are leaving on her blog: http://www.meganmennes.blogspot.ca/2014/04/an-open-letter-to-troll.html#comment-form A community of friends, family and strangers all rallying to support her and her family. Good for her for speaking out – this warms my heart and saddens it at the same time that there are such nasty people out there that can say such things.
Some people are sick and disgusting it’s so easy to be little someone behind their computer let’s see them do it face to face that’s when things change imo… I believe strongly in what goes around comes around and their day will come trust me… This stuff sickness me… Have a great evening
I can’t even…
I have to applaud this mother on how she handled such a rude and ignorant comment. I especially love this:
“I simply hope my own children learn to look past ignorant comments and actions and treat others with respect and dignity. We all deserve it, even you.”
It takes a classy and respectable, person with a BIG heart to say reply in such a manner.
As for me… I may have a few other choice words to add on to that! Ha-ha! But I agree with Christine above on Julie’s quote “Don’t feed the Trolls”. It only gives them more power.
I am so tired of the notion of people leaving nasty ignorant comments simply because they feel they are anonymous because they are hiding behind a computer. Her response was far more polite than I would have been able to put together but good for her for taking a stand, pointing out their ignorance and quite frankly being her childs best advocate.
I could not agree more when she highlights the little pleasures in life that make us grateful: “There aren’t many things in this world more beautiful than seeing your recently-ill child light up in a smile”. As parents, THIS is what our lives revolve around, not the idiots who choose to criticize based on ignorance.
There. That’s my rant. And you can quote me!
Love that line too!! Thanks for sharing Christine <3
People often hide behind their computers and feel ‘invincible’ -that is SAD! Thanks for sharing the comments, love that this has made headlines!
Ha ha! Same here! This mama is really classy, compared to what I would have probably done/said. Can’t believe people could be so cruel.
Sharon, couldn’t have said it better myself. Clearly this person who said this nasty comment has not had the opportunity to be a mother….no mother (in my opinion) would EVER say such harsh things about such a beautiful boy.
Thanks for the ‘rant’
It really saddens me that people feel they are entitled to leave nasty comments, anonymously from behind a computer with pure neglect to the feelings of those they direct those harsh comments at. It’s truly unfortunate that there’s people who have nothing better to do with their time than to troll the internet looking for people to put down. Kudos to her for taking a stand and sticking up for her BEAUTIFUL child. Online trolls should not be fed.
Good for her. I always say “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” and it’s so so so true. It can be very hard to do, but goodfor her.
I remember when my kids were young, and first exposed to thus type of information. I spoke honestly to them, explaining that sadly some kids/parents are just mean. Of course they asked why? I would go on to explain, that maybe the kids had learned the behaviour from their parents, but sometimes I would just say some kids are just mean because they like to be. I would then teach them the skills to overcome the bullying, and have empathy for that person.
Great response. It is so hard to believe that people can say and do things like this – as if hiding behind the computer screen gives them the right to say things that are hurtful. Words hurt and comments like that are sad. Everyone is beautiful. It is sad to see that people can only find happiness in being mean. Good for her for standing her ground
Well said! Every word of it. I believe Karma both good and bad eventually comes knocking. I hope that is true.