- Posted August 7, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
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Racism in Upper Levels of Internet Industry
This will most likely hurt my reputation I’ve spent years building, but I can’t hide the truth about what happens behind closed doors in the upper echelons of the IM industry anymore.
I was at a VIP party at a very popular Internet Marketing event, listening to the conversations around me. As I passed a small group of people standing around a well known marketer, who was obviously in the middle giving some really good advice.
For reasons of privacy, I won’t mention the event or any personal details.
After a few minutes, the well-known IM’er giving the impromptu class said, “Listen…you have to make things so easy even a f**king ni**er could understand it.”
I was stunned.
What happened next surprised me even more.
Laughter and agreement from those listening. Now, I understand someone not wanting to embarrass this person by calling them out in public…that can be understood. But that’s not what happened…
Someone else in the crowd said: “So funny you say that! I use what I call “The Ni**er Test” on all my websites!”
So there I was…at one of the biggest IM events of the year, in a group with several thought leaders in the industry…and was in utter disbelief at the unapologetic racist language.
What would you do in that situation?
Right now you are probably in disbelief and disgust that the “n-word” was used in public and was accepted so easily.
Thank God that most of us (aside from a few bad apples in the IM industry) are dedicated to the ideal of mutual respect and love for our fellow human beings.
Then pinch yourself for living in a dream…because you are no different.
Pinch yourself for each time you have called someone else a “retard”.
If you have been wondering about my opening story, I’ll tell you that it didn’t happen, not as I described it. Can you guess what I changed?
The group of people didn’t use the word “ni**er”. It was never said at all.
They used the word “retard.” He said, “You have to make things so easy even a f**king retard could understand it.“
I just swapped what is regarded as the most hateful word in the English language, for one that is equally hateful, but completely accepted by our current society.
The IM industry is actaually the most accepting and open community you could ever find. So this article has NOTHING to do with acceptance or bigotry in this industry. I’m simply using this to get a point across.
This article is about the fact, that the word “retard” is accepted everywhere. Do you even flinch when you hear:
“He’s short bus kinda special”
“You are such a tard”
Probably not…popular movies use the word and we all laugh…thinking nothing of it. But if the n-word was replaced…it would grate our nerves and make us physically sick.
So, why am I writing an article like this…that could be taken out of context and offend people in this industry that I love so much?
As you probably don't know, my son, Jackson has Down syndrome.
By no fault of his own, he’ll spend his entire life being stared at and judged. Despite the fact that he will never hate, never judge, never make fun of, never hurt, he will never be accepted. That’s why I’m doing this.
I’m doing this because I want to help change the world for Jackson as much as possible.
I’m doing this so that each and every one of you thinks before the next time you use the word “retard”, before the next time you shrug off someone else’s use of the word “retard”. Think of the people you hurt, both the mentally handicapped and those who love them.
Maybe this has become more of an issue today because society is changing, slowly, to be sure, but changing nonetheless. The mentally handicapped aren’t being locked in their family’s basement anymore. The mentally handicapped aren’t rotting like criminals in institutions.
Our fellow human beings are walking among us, attending school with us, entering the work force with us, asking for nothing but acceptance, giving nothing but love.
I want to leave you with one last thought. I didn’t ask to have a mentally handicapped son. He didn’t choose to be mentally handicapped.
But I wouldn’t trade him for anything.
I only hope that, one-day, each of you will open your hearts enough to experience true unconditional love, because that is all he, and other children like him, want to give.