Overcoming the Left’s Labels

Recently, a professor at Montclair State University (MSU) published a false claim about me to a muckraking website after she was fired from her position as Director of Women’s and Gender Studies.

Fawzia Afzal-Khan claimed that I sent an “Islamophobic rant” to the President, Provost and Dean of MSU, which she noted was – in her opinion – the reason she was fired from the director position.

Khan was correct in saying that I emailed the President, Provost, and Dean of MSU. However, Islam had nothing to do with that email (which I copied her on for complete transparency). As the world can see from the original email I published via Twitter, her claim is false and there is nothing “Islamophobic” about what I sent, nor was the email even about her.

This is not the first time that a liberal has mislabeled and lied about me, and I reckon it won’t be the last. However, this was by far the most visible and damaging instance considering I live within walking distance of MSU and am on an endless quest to pick up adjunct teaching opportunities at local community schools.

Rather than focusing on the negative and wallowing in the unfortunate situation Khan put me in, I decided to look into just how damaging false claims like this can be and help my readers navigate the tricky landscape of leftist labels.

I turned to Chad Felix Greene, a political and social writer focusing on truth in media, conservative ideas and goals, and true equality under the law. I can identify with Greene on many things, including being gay and Republican, for which we have both faced harsh criticism.

Greene’s story is a bit more intense than my own. A well-known liberal voice found one of Greene’s tweets which expressed a desire for freedom of speech without violence, and interpreted it as comparing Nazism to the LGBT and Black Power movements.

Chelsea Clinton promptly retweeted this rebuke of Greene, propelling him into the national spotlight.

“[The liberal critic] never once spoke to me and he did not even tag me in his tweet,” Greene noted. “If that had happened to an average person who is not choosing to be in the public political arena, it could have been absolutely devastating. [Leftists] found my personal Instagram, I received dozens of friend requests on Facebook — they were hoping to access my information.”

Not all that different from Greene’s story is that of Hannah Scherlacher, a program coordinator with Campus Reform, who was put on a hate group list after doing a radio interview with the Family Research Council.

“It’s a memorandum to their supporters that I am the enemy,” Scherlacher told Fox & Friends. “This time I was the target, but you know for millions of Americans this is their story too.”

Just how devastating could it be for the average American?

I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I came out publicly as a gay Republican, but I had no idea just how relentless the Left’s bullying tactics could be.

Among the most notable leftist bullies that have harassed me online is someone called “Scott Meilyk”, who is actually Scott Gentile. He is a professor at Hunter College, where ironically I attended my first ever semester of college.

Gentile labeled me and other conservative writers, broadcasters, and personalities as “racists,” “Nazis,” and other typical leftist insults. Fortunately, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noticed Gentile’s online bullying against conservatives, and called Gentile out.

Sanders wrote on her Facebook page that Gentile’s post “is the kind of hate that is poisonous to America,” calling it an “unacceptable diatribe.”

Leftists label President Trump as a racist every chance they get, manipulating the president’s love for the American flag and his recent comments about the National Football League (NFL) players kneeling for the national anthem – some have even went as far as labeling President Trump a white supremacist for these remarks.

“Labels are a shorthand way to think about something,” said James I. Millhouse, PhD., an Atlanta area licensed psychologist and author of The Parents Manual of Sport Psychology. “If a person is labeled as smart, everyone has a general idea of what is meant, particularly in the case of no opposing data. The idea that the person is smart is more readily accepted when the comment is made by a source that has high credibility or emotional influence.”

Unfortunately, mislabels can stick with people for a long time, with lasting impact.

“There is short and long term damage done to the person when mislabeled. A person with low-ego strength might start asking questions about who they really are and be influenced by the label,” said Dr. Millhouse. “This can lead to the development of a mental illness. Ostracism of people labeled in a way perceived as negative can impact their social acceptance and even influence their ability to make a living.”

I am no stranger to the feeling of being ostracized.

In April, I publicly announced that I am a gay conservative, and with that I was no longer accepted in the LGBT community. Before this seminal article that has kicked off my writing endeavors, I am guilty of trying to win back acceptance.

Learning to Let Go

In my discussions with Greene, I learned that he too held the hope that through reasoning and discussion, he could get through to the LGBT Left and salvage the relationship. Neither of us were successful.

An important piece of advice Greene gave me is to remove any idea that you need, or will ever achieve acceptance or tolerance from the Left.

“For a long time I held the hope that reason would penetrate [the] narrative and I could somehow reach them. Now I recognize the mindset is cultish and irrational. They simply cannot see the same things I see and visa versa. So [one] cannot hope to achieve common ground with the vast majority of [leftists],” Green said.

When a friend texted me saying an MSU professor was accusing me of an “Islamophobic rant,” I would be lying if I said my heart didn’t drop. I felt sick to my stomach. I felt like I was powerless and I was worried that this lie would spread like wildfire, and that’s precisely the goal of muckrakers and lying leftists like Khan.

“Their name-calling only has power if you choose to let it,” Greene reminded me. “The best response to an attack label that does not apply to you is to mock it and dismiss it.”

I’ve had my fun mocking Fawzia Afzal-Khan for the liar that she is, but now it’s time to dismiss it, dismiss her, and let it go.

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