Today I made my first ever ‘complaint’ against someone. I feel uneasy now at the thought of what the consequences for that person might be, so I’m writing this post to work out if I did the right thing. Here’s what happened:
A South African friend on Facebook shared an article about white people being murdered by blacks. I commented. There was some back-and-forth with others chipping in. One man’s contribution to the discussion was as follows:
“No use arguing with an opinionated libtard. No cure for that. We know the truth cos we live it.”
In case it’s not obvious, the libtard is me. I didn’t reply. The man had made it clear that nothing I say interests him. I felt sad. Who is this guy? I looked at his Facebook page. He is a middle aged Afrikaans man. He recently celebrated his wife’s birthday. He is proud that his son was chosen to play in the under 16s Bokkie Week. He rides a big motorcycle. He listens to Karen Zoid. Even without the endorsement of our friend in common, this man seems like someone I could appreciate. If we met at a braai, I might chirp that he was quite hip for an old ballie, and he might call me a libtard. I was really warming to the man and thinking maybe I’d reply in a nice way when I noticed his job title: he is the deputy headmaster of a Christian prep school. Suddenly his comment took on new meaning. This man who calls himself a teacher considers thinking an incurable malady. His contempt for argument is an insult to the whole education project. I looked up his school’s website. It seems like a wonderful place. I like what they stand for there, so I wrote to the headmaster.
Everyone has one Facebook event that really got under their skin. This is mine. It’s taken writing this post to work out why. I think it’s wrong to sort people into good and bad. We’d all end up in the bad pile. But there are certain professions, considered callings, in which people aspire to be noble. One of these professions is teaching. The man’s comment offended me when I realised that he was a teacher because he is supposed to care about truth. He is supposed to welcome questions. His contempt for me and my attempts to understand a complex situation should not be acceptable in his profession. That’s basically what I said to the headmaster. He replied immediately, sad and cross. I felt relieved.