I don’t like Jell-O. No, “don’t like” is too mild a term to describe how I feel about Jell-O. I loathe it and, because I loathe it, you will never, ever see me eating Jell-O.
So, knowing how much I loathe Jell-O, if every time you saw me, I was complaining to you about how angry Jell-O made me or how much I loathed it, while still eating Jell-O every day, what would you think? Would you think my anger was justified, or would you wonder why I continued eating something I claimed to hate?
It’s ridiculous, right? But, what I described is exactly what racist internet trolls do. See, I’ve noticed that racist trolls will spend hours looking for and commenting on posts that focus on topics that they say they don’t like, or don’t agree with — for example, people saying Black Lives Matter or acknowledging police killings of Black people — just so they can ignorantly and hatefully express to the people in the discussion how much they don’t like or agree with the topic. And, I’m not talking about those who unintentionally spark a heated debate or cause anger because that’s not the same thing.
Trolls are intentional.
They don’t care about anyone else’s point of view or about trying to gain a better understanding of a particular topic. They just want to sow discord by being as inflammatory as possible. Then, once they’ve accomplished that feat, they are off to another forum about a topic they claim not to like so they can wreak havoc there as well. Basically, they go looking for Jell-O to eat, even though they say they hate it.
However, recently, I figured something out about trolls. In mythology, trolls are hungry all the time, and they like to eat humans. But, they don’t eat anything that requires hard chewing. Also, when they find a human to eat, they rip off the human’s head because, get this, trolls don’t like the taste of brains.
See where this is headed?
Racist internet trolls always try to devour the conversations of those whose intellects they can’t digest. I think that’s what makes them so angry. They can’t handle heavy conversations because just like people in hospitals who’ve had throat surgery, racist trolls have to stick to Jell-O until they are able to move on to solid food, or in their case, conversations that require critical thinking and logic. The problem is, racist trolls never move beyond the Jell-O phase because that would require brains, and well, you know.
The definition of frustration is trying to have a dollar conversation with someone who has a nickel brain, and that’s definitely racist trolls. But since I understand why trolls operate the way they do, instead of getting angry or engaging trolls in dialogue, now when I encounter them, I ask one simple question, “Got brains?” Then I post a photo of a box of Jell-O followed by the words “Bon appetit.”
Geveryl Robinson is an instructor of English at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and a former columnist for the Savannah Morning News.