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Ignorance's Pain

Posted on 2011.03.13 at 01:18
Current Music: Petite Fleur ~Deuter
I was playing my game and on ventrilo, a voice-chat program. One of the people I've known for a while was on and started talking about teachers and unions. We started going back and forth and I started getting annoyed, so I tried to move on and he started talking about where I teach. Things escalated until he said I teach in an gang infested area, which I in fact do not, and that my students were criminals. He said they were choosing to live in the situations they found themselves and didn't deserve an education because criminals don't deserve a chance and will amount to nothing.

My exact words: "HOW DARE YOU! NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO SAY WHAT ANOTHER DESERVES OR IS CAPABLE OF!" Now, I shouldn't have yelled, but I do not regret saying that. Obviously this person has some hang up and a limited perspective. I tried to talk to him and was called several names and such even after I apologized. I never once blamed him for anything. I said I had misjudged him and was sorry I yelled at him--I apologized three times. Each time he kept wanting to argue and I would not. He kept making sarcastic comments about how this was all his fault, even though I had never once said anything that could even imply that and always told him I never said anything was his fault. He brought up how his cousin is afraid to go to school and no one is doing anything, to which I said that no child should be afraid to go to school and something should be done--in fact it never should have reached that point. I didn't say it was the administration's fault for not ever intervening.

He said our friendship was over, to which I was wondering what type of a friendship is so frail a person cannot make one mistake. It is indeed the end of whatever you want to call it, because it wasn't what I consider friendship if this is his reaction, but not because he is mad; rather I cannot ignore who he is. To do that would be an injustice in and of itself and I would not do that to someone. But to acknowledge who he is means I cannot be around him more than necessary. I am choosing and trying to walk a path of compassion and if he is determined to go the opposite way I will not follow; I am not someone who wants to hold pain and anger in my heart.

The whole conversation was unreal. He kept talking about how these "criminals" aren't made to take responsibility when they break the law. I don't teach "criminals;" I teach children. I didn't say it, but he smokes pot daily, lives off of everyone else's income because he doesn't have a job and won't look for one, and plays World or Warcraft day and night--all of his socialization is on the game. Yet he is telling others how to live their lives and how they need to take responsibility? He didn't have it easy, but people can't use their past as an excuse. That's the point. I did say "you break the law each time you smoke pot, but I don't think less of you or say you are incapable of something because of it. I still think you're a good person because that isn't who you are; it's just something you do." He went back to telling me how psycho I was. I was hurt almost as much by seeing who he really was as I was by what he originally said. This will likely cause problems in the guild that we don't need, and I regret that, but I'm a human being and he pushed too far before I could realize what was happening.

I repeatedly told him I wasn't trying to change his opinion, but he kept trying to argue with me. At one point he said he'd never speak to me again if I even yelled at him again, to which I responded "fair enough." I suggested we avoid the topic of education in the future since we felt so strongly and he said "I say what I think and feel and I will not be censored." Apparently being respectful of someone's wishes is censorship. I pointed out that was fine but not to take it personal if I ask to stop the conversation or leave the chat if it comes up because I am not willing to argue about it again. He stopped talking to me at that point. I wanted to say "If you aren't going to censor anything you say be willing to accept the consequences--because sometimes you WILL piss people off." He completely didn't care at all how his words affected me, how hurtful he was to me, or how much of an ass he was being; he could only think of himself.

In retrospect, his dehumanization of "criminals" is quite disturbing. When people are able to do that for more than a few seconds they begin losing the boundary between reality and fantasy...between human behavior and psychotic behavior. I do think perhaps he is dealing with something he's not saying that is adding to this as I'm not entirely sure what is going on with his cousin and I know people don't respond so strongly without a catalyst. But in thinking about it this dehumanization is probably what bothered me most. When we cannot see each other as human beings...I'm at a loss. It's against the very core of who I am, who I have always been, and I simply cannot and will not tolerate it.

He said he saw what type of person I was, followed by names. All I could think was how sad...I wanted to ask "What happened to you to make you feel this way? To see no hope and harbor such pain?" He kept going on and on about the criminals and responsibility and how horrible a teacher I must be. That I can't save everyone--which I told him it wasn't about saving anyone. If he knew me at all he would know I believe no one can save another...you can only empower them to save themselves. Indeed I had made the decision shortly before to let go of anything he said. Then he said I must be some sick person and it would definitely affect my kids. I smiled with tears in my eyes and wanted to say, "Yes, it does. I wonder if you would feel this way if someone had believed in you." And I'm sorry my yelling upset you to the point you exposed your true self, because it doesn't look like you will easily recover from it...if at all. Forgive me for truly seeing you and believing in you anyway.

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