Sunday December 19, 2020
Vito Boscaino hates me, and I don’t know why. A few days ago, he posted on Facebook a doctored photo of Michelle Obama that portrayed her as a man with a beard and referred to her as “Mike.” It was his birthday message to the former First Lady, he wrote. Stunned, I could only choke out a “Shame on you” reply, which set off a barrage of negative responses from Vito Boscaino, who hates me.
Most of the vitriol Vito Boscaino spewed was directed at President Barack Obama, who is the original object of his scorn, it seems. Hard to tell between the overwrought language and the profanity. When I wrote Vito Boscaino, who hates me, asking why 45’s supporters are still angry after getting what they wanted, he screamed back that he was happy at the top of another barrage. He didn’t sound happy.
Vito Boscaino hates me, and I don’t know why. The last time I saw him was more than 40 years ago. We attended the American Cooperative School (ACS), an elite international private school in Monrovia, Liberia. At ACS we never talked about diversity, inclusion, or tolerance. We lived it.
I remember Vito Boscaino, who hates me, only slightly. I can’t tell you if he was in one of the classes below or ahead of me. His sister, my classmate, was a gentle, lovely girl who was even shier than me.
Vito Boscaino hates me, and I don’t know why. I don’t know why someone who attended an international school in a Black country would share a doctored photo heralding a racially inappropriate trope of a Black woman to an audience that includes a Black woman. I don’t know why someone who has had the multicultural exposure and the high-caliber teachers that others can only dream of—as we did in our youth—and who is probably pushing 60, cannot come up with an adult, intelligent thesis on why he supports 45.
If Vito Boscaino, who hates me, can behave like that in a public forum, what can I expect from those Americans who have never spoken to anyone outside their community, and who have little education and few long-term employment prospects? What can I expect from those Americans who have been told that the others are taking their jobs and their women and ruining their culture?
It is no surprise that as a Black female feminist from a largely immigrant family I do not support 45. But this is not a piece touting one party or one president over another.
The difference between Vito Boscaino, who hates me, and me is that my home training and the superior education my parents sacrificed to give me require me to share well thought out theories that are consistent with and appropriate to this background. I can’t even conceive of a response to 45’s legacy that is as childish and churlish as Vito Boscaino’s doctored photo. What a waste of time and psychic energy.
Vito Boscaino hates me, and I don’t know why. But I am trying to find out. I talk to members of my family about America’s underbelly. The one that seethed for eight years under the leadership of a Black president and is still seething. The underbelly that flies in the face of America’s image of itself as do-goody, happily multicultural and fair. The underbelly that, fury-filled and shaking with rage, is struggling to capture the heart and soul of America.
I try to ask the relatives who were born and raised here to talk to me about the danger that this new, raw America poses to people like us. Living in an alternative universe can get us hurt or worse, I fear. We have to face facts, I implore them. Can what my elderly relatives experienced here in the past help decode the present? They avert their eyes from me and change the topic. The answer, I suspect, is no.
Ironically, I was writing about the power of words to create dialogue and greater understanding when I decided to take a break and check my Facebook feed. That is when I saw the garish picture posted by Vito Boscaino, who hates me.
Vito Boscaino hates me, and I don’t know why. I have tried to unfollow Vito Boscaino, who hates me, because of other aggressive, inappropriate material he has posted on Facebook. Unfollowing “friends” has helped me to avoid the posts of a narcissistic former boss, and twenty-something cousins who seem unaware that what they share may one day prevent them from a job, a consulting gig or an exclusive club. Many months later, last week, Vito Boscaino’s feed popped up again. Then I unfriended him, something I hadn’t done before because I think it gives too much power to the person you are unfriending.
I see today, despite my unfriending of Vito Boscaino, who hates me, that his feed has popped up again. This time someone else has called him on his behavior and that person has become the object of Vito Boscaino’s rage, scorn and profanity. My phone is pinging with the hits of people talking at each other as I write this. The aggression makes my heart lurch. Today is Sunday, the day of the Lord in my faith.
Vito Boscaino hates me, and I don’t know why. There will be no kumbaya moment for people like Vito Boscaino, who hates me, and people like me. The lines have been drawn in the sand; the situation is irreversible. Right now, I am fine with that; it is not a hill to die on for me. I just want to understand it. I just want to survive it. I am in self-preservation mode. I don’t have a beef with Vito Boscaino, who hates me. I take a leaf from the book of one of my former professors. “I quarrel with no one,” he once said. “I write.” And so do I.
Vito Boscaino hates.
Affirming Community, if any of you can share with me how to successfully unfriend an individual and get him off my feed, I would appreciate it. As I post this on Tuesday, my phone is still pinging from a conversation I do not want to be part of.