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10:03 a.m. - February 01, 2006
Break The Email Chains
Normally, I donít like to air some dirty laundry, but I feel I must.

Because, most of you have probably been in a similar situation (at least partially), and I think itís time to put a stop to it.

If you normally skim me, you may want to save this and read it later.

Last night was not a good night. We lost an IM game (no biggie, but a loss is a loss), I lost one of my good black leather gloves (not both, just one, and I have no idea where it is), and the team that I rated as the fifth best in the nation on my college basketball power rankings (Northern Iowa Ė theyíre really that good, too!) went down to defeat at Creighton (which is another fine fine team).

Things happen. The important things were that Katie and Kristin went to bed quietly, and I got to eat my dinner in peace after the game.

Liz was upstairs, so I ate some dinner and then went upstairs to see what was going on. Liz had just finished an email.

It seems that someone close to us sent to Liz (and me) one of those infernal mass-forwarded chain emails. (BTW Ė this person is not one of my readers, but one of my readers is connected to this person and I would like that person to read this and hear what I have to say.)

(I also say that, yes, I do send around some mass emails from time to time. But they are either links from actual articles on the Ďnet, or they are pictures and stories from our family. They arenít these unfounded, unattributed lists.)

This one was allegedly by Andy Rooney, and it repeated things that he allegedly had said on 60 Minutes. Perhaps youíve seen it.

Iím not going to repeat it here Ė but most of the stuff was narrow minded diatribes about a lot of things that certain people would agree with. There are tinges of homophobia, racism, and jingoism throughout.

One line incensed Liz, claiming that the United Negro College Fund was, in fact, racist, along with magazines like Ebony and Jet.

The argument, of course, is that itís exclusionary, when in fact it was formed to give minority students an equal opportunity at getting a college education. Yes, now most of the issue is socio-economic and not racial Ė however, since many minorities fall into the socio-economic class that needs all the assistance and aid it can get Ė it makes sense that a fund like that still exists. Itís worthy, and still needed. Believe it or not, there are still idiots afoot who WOULD denigrate someone for the color of their skin and deny them an equal chance.

Those magazines mentioned are a celebration of culture and heritage. They donít espouse hatred or fear and loathing of other races, creeds, or colors. They are aimed at a particular audience. When Katie and Kristin get older, I want them to explore their African heritage. And yes, African-American is a proper and good term to use, if you are going to identify someone based on their skin tone.

So Liz, in her eloquent, thoughtful, and considerate way, penned a response to that diatribe and hit Ďreply allí.

Normally, I donít Ďreply allí, but in this case I think it was warranted. Some of these thoughts and ideas were offensive, and Liz decided to speak her mind about them, in a very polite and well-thought out way.

Besides, anyone who knows us knows our children. And why would we idly stand by in the face of veiled racism? What lesson would that teach Katie and Kristin down the road?

I then go to thinking. Now Andy Rooney is an old coot, as I parodied him, but there is no way in Hades that he would have broadcast such lunacy and kept his job. So I jumped on the Urban Reference Legends page, or Snopes if you will, and looked this up. Snopes is a fantastic resource to use when you receive these kinds of emails.

Sure enough, itís not true. So I sent a reply all email, stating that itís complete bunk and hokum and people should know whoever forwarded it to them needs to be aware itís a lie.

Before Liz went to bed, she checked her email again, and the sender sent her an email. The sender admonished Liz for replying all, basically stated that Ďif you agreed with it, you should pass it on Ė but if you didnít agree with it just delete ití and that Ďshe got a lot of calls from people wondering who you are, so donít reply to people who donít know you.í

Funny, I didnít get a reply to my email saying it was a fallacy.

So basically, if you dissent from these idiotic ramblings, you should just keep quiet and not try to put a stop to its dissemination. And itís OK to send something to unrelated people that you know, but heaven forefend if someone accidentally says something that rocks the boat to others in your circle. Because we donít want dissent or civil discourse in this country, do we?

Frankly, if theyíre offended at the polite, gentle admonishment from a mother of two minority children, stating that the racist views are misguided, then I wonder what is really in their heart, and I hope they can sleep at night with the fear and loathing of those not like them.

Liz is going to talk to this person, but I felt I must write about it.

When you forward something like that on, you get what you deserve. Itís irresponsible, harmful, and tells more about you than you want people to know, I bet.

Iím really getting tired of those Urban Legend emails floating around. The ones about Microsoft giving everyone money for replying to emails, the ones alleging Clinton had released a prisoner that later participated in September 11, to ones that claim Target does not support veterans, and on and on. Theyíre just total BS, and they should be stopped.

So the next time you get one of those emails that contain something that you know is patently untrue, and it is offensive, do the following.

1. Research the email on Snopes. Arm yourself with information
2. Reply all Ė let everyone know what you think Ė do this politely and with great care. Stay above the fray, but donít ignore it as that only perpetuates the idiocy.
3. In the email, link the article from Snopes that debunks and declaims the piece.

By doing nothing, these things just live on and on. They should be stopped. Letís do it, together.


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