Young Woman Giving the Bird

I Annotated This Facebook Message from a Troll

Last weekend, I received a nasty Facebook message from a person with zero friends who created their account the day of Trump’s inauguration. I could have responded to this person via Facebook but instead, I decided to take a cue from NPR and annotate this troll’s message in hopes of dispelling common myths and shedding light on the abuse and harassment women of color face on the internet every day.  

“I am taking time out of my busy schedule to respond to your article on The Blog via the Huffington post

[The first of many stylistic and grammatical errors]

titled ‘this Women’s History Month I Refuse to Celebrate Your Feminism’ paired with a photograph of a young Hispanic woman flipping off presumably white Feminists  

[Many Latinx actually don’t identify as “Hispanic,” a term that refers only to persons of Spanish (the colonizer)-speaking origin or ancestry. Latinx, on the other hand, refers to anyone of Latin American origin or ancestry. We use the “x” instead of the “a/o” to challenge the gender binary and include agender, nonbinary, genderqueer, genderfluid, and other gender nonconforming people.]

I noted that you are an undocumented illegal alien

[As Maria Hinojosa explains, the term “illegal” is not a noun. It cannot be used to describe a human being. Calling someone “illegal” is a dehumanizing and degrading and it enables the implementation of inhumane policies and actions against immigrants. A person can commit an “illegal” act. We are not–and will never be–“illegal.”]

who is and has attended many colleges here in the U.S. …. Most likely for free on the American tax payers dime. That would include white women. I also noticed you seem to be a perpetual student and still attending on free scholarships and grants.

[The troll is right for once. Despite their “busy schedule,” somehow they found time to stalk my family (maybe they could teach me a thing or two about time management). I did attend many colleges in the U.S. but because of my legal status, I did not qualify for federal aid for college. DACA recipients and other undocumented students are ineligible for all federal loans, grants, and scholarships. While some schools have scholarships for undocumented students and there are limited private scholarships, most undocumented students like me have to pay for college out of pocket.]

given to you and paid for by the legal citizens of this country.

[Redundant. Citizenship implies “legality”]

You have been in this country illegally since 1998. I am not sure why you believe you have ANY right to demean or insult the women of this country at all

[After spending twelve years as an undocumented immigrant, I am now a green card holder but think what you want. Note how the same people who defend nazis and other racists right to “free speech” will condemn those who use that right to criticize this country’s inhumane, unjust policies. This troll’s message is a perfect example of how language dehumanizes immigrants. First, they call me “illegal.” Then, they say I have no right to “demean or insult” anyone. Both my personhood and my rights are up for debate.]

since everything you own, everything you have accomplished, the more than adequate education you have received and are now taking advantage of as well as any other benefits allowed to you and your family including but NOT limited to: entitlements such as food stamps, rental assistance or free housing, clothing, a driver’s license, medical care as well as any insurance and food or welfare assistance of any kind

[Undocumented migrants are ineligible for all forms of public assistance. This includes, but is not limited to, food stamps, unemployment benefits, Obamacare, and rental assistance. As far as driver’s licenses go, most states have laws barring undocumented immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses and other forms of state-issued identification. This leaves undocumented immigrants doubly vulnerable: they are subject to state power but receive zero protections or benefits. These policies effectively create a second-class of non-citizens.]

are ALL a gift  

[Referring to benefits as gifts makes it seem as if migrants are dependent on the benevolence and generosity of U.S. citizens when in reality, we are often mistreated, discriminated against, abused in our workplaces, and denied basic human rights in this country.]

of the American people

[America is a continent, not a country.]

And as such, at the very least you owe a debt of gratitude and a modicum of respect. Without the generosity of LEGAL AMERICAN CITIZENS

[Again, redundant.]

Most of them women who spear headed, organized, and ran generous programs to help fund, feed, house and clothe immigrants/aliens such as yourself and other family members.

[Note how this person included the word “aliens” next to the word “immigrants.” Was this necessary? Absolutely not. Does this work to effectively alienate and mark immigrant bodies as outsiders and wholly “Other?” Yes.]

I want you to know that people like you are a minority and contrary to your belief, not all people of color agree with you and find you ignorant and demoralizing. I am a woman of color, a lesbian and a legal citizen of the United States of America.”

[I really doubt this person is actually a woman of color or a lesbian. There are no pictures on their profile, they have no Facebook friends, and their account was created the day of Trump’s inauguration. I think this person gets off on intimidating and harassing women of color by posing as one of our own. They are co-opting feminist language and theory, highlighting the intersectionalities of their supposed identity to make me feel inferior. That being said, it’s important to recognize that WOC can be racist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic, etc. And it’s important to hold each other accountable when we perpetuate in this violence.]

PART OF MY TAX DOLLARS WENT TOWARDS FUNDING YOUR UNGRATEFUL IGNORANT EXISTENCE as well as that of your families here in the U.S.

[As if undocumented immigrants don’t pay billions in taxes every year… On top of that, they don’t receive ANY public benefits, live under the constant threat of detention, deportation, family separation, and perform labor for ungrateful and ignorant U.S. citizens].

I personally know many many many people of color, beautiful Latina women, strong women and YES … many of them are white ….”

[“I can’t be racist, I have Black friends” -ancient white proverb]

who marched for the rights of all women long before you and your family snuck into this country to take advantage of all it had to offer ILLEGALLY. For all of your education, paid for by people of all colors, you show yourself to be a self centered, narcissistic, self obsessed, uneducated girl out there spewing your twisted words of ignorance and trying to propel and perpetuate your racist rhetoric … It’s people like you who are responsible for all the evil uprising of racist hatred being thrown around today.

[Reverse-racism doesn’t exist. Calling out white people will never be the same as the structural and systemic racism people of color have faced since this country’s founding.]

People like myself who were here and marching right along side white women, brown women, Asian and Native American women who saw NO COLOR

[“I don’t see color” – another ancient white proverb.]

because we were United in a common cause

[You can read my takedown of “unity” and a “common cause” here.]

fighting OPPRESSIVE OF ALL WOMEN OF EVERY COLOR.

[Women of color in particular are disproportionately affected by multiple—and intersecting—forms of violence. It’s not a “women of every color” issue.]

People like you just want to come in have everyone look at you as if you are special … evidenced by the numerous selfies you post on your Facebook.

[When women of color express self-love, we are shamed and labeled “narcissistic,” “self-centered,” and “conceited.” Pero mi existir es resistir. My existence is resistance. And selfies are a way to express that love, our own way of fighting against people like this troll.]

You are a hypocrit. You have no problem taking advantage of EVERY FREEBIE handed out to you but you insult the very people who fought for and established the very programs that afford you these benefits.

[What freebies are you talking about? Again, undocumented immigrants cannot “take advantage” of federal benefits. And what about undocumented immigrants makes them unworthy of these often life-saving programs and benefits?]

You are truly a despicable human being. You don’t care who you have to degrade to get the attention you crave. You spew forth lies without facts and elevate your own self at the expense of others who are or have been just as disenfranchised as you or your family have ever been if not more.

[Here, the troll admits my family might be disenfranchised. And yes, I will be the first to admit my skin, legal status, education, and class privilege.]

I want you to know you are an embarrassment to women of ALL COLORS EVERY WHERE! The last time I checked POVERTY knows NO COLOR.

[POVERTY KNOWS SO MUCH FUCKING COLOR.]

Have you asked yourself why your family fled Mexico and came to the U.S.?”

[Da fuq? My family isn’t from Mexico. I’m from Argentina. Check your facts.]

If you hate the women of this country SOO much then go home to Mexico

[Again, I’m from ARGENTINA.]

and try to improve conditions for the women there. I will not sit by while young women of color such as yourself demean and disparage women in this country who just happen to have white skin. They are just as much my sisters as any women of color. You clearly are not black yet you post racist hateful rhetoric as if you are.”

[What does it mean to “post racist hateful rhetoric” as if I’m Black? First of all, Black people are victims of racism, not its perpetrators. And to imply that Black women are more hateful than other groups perpetuates the stereotype of the bitter, angry Black lady.]

As a black women, I would say to you STOP ACTING LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO SUFFER AS A BLACK WOMAN HAS SUFFERED.

[This person is clearly a troll, but they bring up a good point. It’s so important that as WOC, we acknowledge the different kinds of violence we face and how we are often complicit in violence against other women of color.]

You have no children to feed, house or clothe or worry about keeping them out of gangs.

[Stereotype much? Some things Black women do worry about: violence against black trans women, police brutality and terror, mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex, the criminalization and overpolicing of black girls, the lack of proper reproductive healthcare, I could go on.]

Your free education

[I wish]

has afforded a student income through grants etc. so you have no idea of what true suffering brought on by poverty … really is. I want you to know that i am praying people like you who are the real leeches on society are brought to justice.

[I wonder what this person thinks “brought to justice” means. Are they calling for more white vigilantes to take matters into their own hands? Because to white vigilantes, justice looks like murdering Harnish Patel while yelling at him to “go back to your own country.”]

I hope you and your entire family are sent back to Mexico so you will come to know what true suffering is really about.

[What is “true suffering?” Is being held in an inhumane immigrant detention center for months not “true suffering?” Is being detained by ICE officers as you drop your kids off at school not “true suffering?” Is being separated from your family for years not “true suffering?” Is staying with your abuser because you’re afraid they’ll report you to ICE not “true suffering?” Is the violence women of color face online from people like this troll not “true suffering”?]

Shut your evil racist mouth so that others who are fighting for REAL JUSTICE AND WORTHY CAUSES can do so without further racial divide.

[I’ve thought it over and decided not to “shut [my] evil racist mouth.” Sorry.]

Header image via The Huffington Post

Durham, NC

Barbara writes for Latinxs, immigrants, and brown girls. She is not here for white tears, white feminism, or white guilt.

Barbara writes for Latinxs, immigrants, and brown girls. She is not here for white tears, white feminism, or white guilt.

Read more about Barbara

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