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Someone called me racist

Dear Sam, I accidentally offended someone the other day via text, and got called a few names as they were angry. One word was 'racist' (I had said that All lives matter too, and i didn't know this was racist. I support black lives fully its just i feel that because i am asian and muslim, people don't treat me with as much respect as they would to anyone else. Well i got really scared when i got called this name ​ And when i say scared i mean TERRIFIED. My heart was pounding, and checking on my FitBit it said my heart rate was. 171!! I was also clammy, light-headed, and couldn't breathe properly due to my crying. I cried A LOT. I eventually calmed down but i was still a dreadful, stressed mess the rest of the day. To he honest, the whole week. By sharing my opinion I had been judged, had angered others, and lost a friend. This made me so upset and caused me to do a lot of rituals similar to ones i already do. I like to neaten and straighten things, but now i do it more in fear of accidentally offending others. I want to ask you Sam, is this normal after being called one name?? I think I'm being too babyish and sensitive but then again it is scary to remember what happened to my heart and breathing back then. What happened to me? And is it ok for me to do these rituals or is it weird? People think I'm annoying by tidying everything but my thoughts wont let me stop. I keep thinking im going insane or something. Thank you so much it would help a lot if you replied as i dont know what is happening to me

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

There's no right or wrong way to feel when someone calls you a name or insults you. Different people will react in different ways when called the same name - and even your reaction might change if called that name again in another situation. The important thing is how you cope with the feelings you have and how you choose to react.

If someone is talking about a specific movement like Black Lives Matter, people may have strong feelings about the issues behind it so might react more strongly than they normally would. You have your own experiences which are important too and it may be that they misunderstood what you meant when you said that all lives matter. They may have felt like you were trying to take the focus off the issue they were talking about, which probably wasn't something you meant to do.

Being called racist is not a nice thing to hear, especially when you know it's not true. It's a serious thing to call someone and shouldn't be said lightly. It's important to remember though that this is just one person's opinion and it might be being based on a misunderstanding. There will always be people who don't like something we've said or done, but if you believe in yourself and who you are then it becomes less important what other people say about you.

Obviously if this person is a friend then it's better to clear up the misunderstanding - you can explain what you really meant, like you did with me.. It might also be important to ask them to explain why they thought it was okay to call you racist for that. Having a conversation with them doesn't mean that you’re accepting all of the blame - if you feel they were wrong,  then it's okay to stand up to them and say that. A lot of this comes down to having confidence in yourself and feeling comfortable expressing what you think.

Accepting that sometimes people might not like what you have to say is a big step towards becoming more confident and this kind of confidence usually comes when you become more sure about what you think and believe. It's always important to listen to others and their point of view, but it's also okay to say what you think - no matter what someone else might say.

You could try talking to other young people on the message boards about this and see what they think. I hope that this letter has helped you though - I'm glad you decided to write to me.

Take care.

Sam

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