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Luis Ramirez and Three of His Murderers

No, you’re going to get into race at length. Or any other real world issue for that matter. Because you’ve made your blog just as someone in the edublogosphere prescribed: edu-tech here, ed policy there, a response to the latest trend sprinkled in. You’re doing well for yourself and your readers skyrocket. The only controversy you ever touch is the difference between a PC and a Mac. Naturally, you choose PC. You look at others who do so as “brave” and “outside your comfort zone.” Yet, the minute you directly address a social issue close to your heart, you shy away because it veers from the norms of what edu-bloggers do. Then, you get e-mails like this in response to your blog posts:

From: Jeff <…>
Subject: Stinking Mexicans

Message Body:
First things first:  To Jose above who wrote to veronica

“Veronica,” frankly, poverty is faceless. Here’s one link that’ll shut your whole argument down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_poorest_places_in_the_United_States

Your [sp?] full of shit Jose, and this link only goes to prove that Mexicans are the problem. Think I’m lying? Check out the statistic on that page that says, and I quote, “Of the major locales with the lowest per capita income in the United States, seven are in Texas and all of these have at least a 97% Hispanic population.  I rest my case. Mexicans are pathetic, uneducated, slime balls. It will be too soon if I ever see another one again! They’re not smart, and they have no ethics or morals. I have been robbed and burglarized by Mexicans. I have caught them shoplifting in stores. I have witnessed 6 hit and runs by those people, one my own car. I have even caught one masturbating out in the open behind my house. Mexicans are just one sorry, pathetic group of people that IO don’t care to live with. I think they all should be run out of America.

It’s amazing that the word “post-racial” even exists when I still receive letters and comments like these. I do get that I’m not the only one who gets this type of fan mail, but make no mistake: every time I get a letter like this, I’m reminded of the deep-seated soot at the core of this country. I never underestimate the power of the hatred in people’s hearts, but I am equally disappointed at the apathy of people who work with people.

Same as it ever was.

Jose, who probably won’t respond to this.

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Luis Ramirez and Son

As most of you are well aware of, I’ve been officially developing my new website for 7 months the last couple of months. Within that time, I’ve become a little more relaxed about promoting the content of the site and moderating the comments. Thus, when searching for phrases like “fuck mexicans” and well, “fuck mexicans,” my site comes on Google as result #5. Honestly, the essay’s title, “Tell Your Fucking Mexican Friends To Get The Fuck Out of Shenandoah” evoked enough conflict between anti-immigration advocates and pro-migrant activists like yours truly.

Before the bigotry and racism-laid comments.

Now, most of my blog posts have never needed moderations (I still get the jitters after a commenter called Soledad O’Brien an unfit mother). I’m all about civil conversation and because of the audience I draw (mainly, people who like to look up my big words on dictionary.com), I rarely ever worry about the civility and professionalism of these opinionated people.

Superficially, one might believe I let the comments on the aforementioned blog post run because I wanted to raise the numbers on my blog. I don’t believe I need that since I’m more about quality than quantity. Rather, something told me to leave those comments; let them run. Whether it’s the constant reminder that our world is not so easily eradicated of its wrongs by a click and Alt+Tab or it’s the need to let those people show their true colors (I respect that way more than those who covertly exercise their racism), I’ve let comment after comment stream through a relatively innocuous blog post.

I know most of my more sane readers probably look at this exercise as one in futility, particularly those who own blogs. Deleting some of these lewd comments is the equivalent of sanitizing one’s house. Yet, I also see the possibility for moving these comments away as a means of sweeping dirt under a rug so sullied, a visitor might wonder when the resident will ever get rid of it.

As for that blog, I probably won’t ever remove those comments. These discussions have to be had. The arguments need to be made. The person who never hears a disagreement to their comments never grows, never learns, or never really had a voice worth disagreeing with. Besides, every house is always a little dirty.

Jose, who’ll never underestimate the power of the first day back from a long vacation again …

p.s. – Trust me when I say, I’m not complicit in letting those trolls say “fuck mexicans.” To the contrary, I’d quickly hold a mirror up to their words. Read at your own risk.

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