Friend vs. Friend in Obama's America

Facebook, like anything else in this world, is what you make of it.  I have a variety of Facebook friends (young, old, conservative, liberal, black, white, Atheist, Christian, and more) and sometimes post information that otherwise may not be viewed by such a diverse audience.  My issues with President Obama's principles and various policies are not secret but one day something became very clear: The media's efforts to convince the population that opposing Obama is a result of racism have been quite effective indeed.

One evening, after putting out some cat food for the neighborhood stray, I noticed a hungry raccoon eating the food.  After taking a picture I posted it on Facebook with the caption, 'Greedy 'coon!'  Living in Tennessee and listening to stories of my father-in-law's many 'coon hunts, I thought nothing of my actions.  The neighbor, who also leaves out food only to have it swiped by the raccoon, understood and poked fun. 

Within minutes, however, a friend of mine commented with her disapproval, stating she was quite offended, suggesting I remove the posting before offending others.  This friend, whom I met at church years before, is black, married, and has two children (both of which I've cared for from time to time).  We were not 'best friends' but given our history we were quite comfortable with and trusting of each other.  My first thoughts were that perhaps she was kidding, exaggerating for humor.  After asking, "What?" her reply included a rant about being insensitive, rude and nasty, to which my reply was asking if she had seen the accompanying picture showing an actual raccoon.  After she saw the picture I could tell she knew she overreacted but wouldn't admit it, at least not on-line.  A few days later, a mutual friend  contacted me to tell me I might receive a phone call soon, from my friend, so that we could talk through what had happened.  

Sure enough, the phone call came, and I was very nervous.  During the phone conversation we both apologized; her apology was for how she handled the situation, my apology for unintentionally hurting her feelings.  I emphasized the point that I felt I did nothing wrong and it bothered me that she assumed something horrible about me, a friend, someone she knew.  We were both trying to handle the conversation calmly and with kindness (which we did) but I realized her apology wasn't for calling me a racist but simply for the conversation taking place the way it did via Facebook.  I was amazed.  Because there is evidence that I disagree with several Obama agenda items, she believed, using faulty 'evidence,' that I disagree not because of logical legitimate processes but because I'm racist.

The media has repeatedly pushed the idea that TEA Partiers, Republicans, and conservatives take issue with the President's agenda because of racism, thereby squelching a legitimate debate of ideas.  Many dismiss this as just another attempt to devalue conservatism by a liberal biased media.  While that may be true we must admit that it has been effective and take note how it plays out in real life.  I'm sure the situation I encountered has occurred again and again and we must be properly equipped to deal with it.  To quote an American icon, "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle." - G.I. Joe.
Facebook, like anything else in this world, is what you make of it.  I have a variety of Facebook friends (young, old, conservative, liberal, black, white, Atheist, Christian, and more) and sometimes post information that otherwise may not be viewed by such a diverse audience.  My issues with President Obama's principles and various policies are not secret but one day something became very clear: The media's efforts to convince the population that opposing Obama is a result of racism have been quite effective indeed.

One evening, after putting out some cat food for the neighborhood stray, I noticed a hungry raccoon eating the food.  After taking a picture I posted it on Facebook with the caption, 'Greedy 'coon!'  Living in Tennessee and listening to stories of my father-in-law's many 'coon hunts, I thought nothing of my actions.  The neighbor, who also leaves out food only to have it swiped by the raccoon, understood and poked fun. 

Within minutes, however, a friend of mine commented with her disapproval, stating she was quite offended, suggesting I remove the posting before offending others.  This friend, whom I met at church years before, is black, married, and has two children (both of which I've cared for from time to time).  We were not 'best friends' but given our history we were quite comfortable with and trusting of each other.  My first thoughts were that perhaps she was kidding, exaggerating for humor.  After asking, "What?" her reply included a rant about being insensitive, rude and nasty, to which my reply was asking if she had seen the accompanying picture showing an actual raccoon.  After she saw the picture I could tell she knew she overreacted but wouldn't admit it, at least not on-line.  A few days later, a mutual friend  contacted me to tell me I might receive a phone call soon, from my friend, so that we could talk through what had happened.  

Sure enough, the phone call came, and I was very nervous.  During the phone conversation we both apologized; her apology was for how she handled the situation, my apology for unintentionally hurting her feelings.  I emphasized the point that I felt I did nothing wrong and it bothered me that she assumed something horrible about me, a friend, someone she knew.  We were both trying to handle the conversation calmly and with kindness (which we did) but I realized her apology wasn't for calling me a racist but simply for the conversation taking place the way it did via Facebook.  I was amazed.  Because there is evidence that I disagree with several Obama agenda items, she believed, using faulty 'evidence,' that I disagree not because of logical legitimate processes but because I'm racist.

The media has repeatedly pushed the idea that TEA Partiers, Republicans, and conservatives take issue with the President's agenda because of racism, thereby squelching a legitimate debate of ideas.  Many dismiss this as just another attempt to devalue conservatism by a liberal biased media.  While that may be true we must admit that it has been effective and take note how it plays out in real life.  I'm sure the situation I encountered has occurred again and again and we must be properly equipped to deal with it.  To quote an American icon, "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle." - G.I. Joe.

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