Willow Palin vs. Facebook

Alright, I’m on the fence here… According to a report originally posted on TMZ.com, and later shared by Huffington Post, 16 year-old Willow Palin went on an angry rant against a Facebook friend, allegedly called him a “faggot” and said he was “so gay” among other things.

Okay, let’s all take a deep breath and think this through before we decide to freak out about this.

Yes, it’s wrong of someone to call another person a faggot. And other comments allegedly added by older sister Bristol Palin also were inappropriate, such as, “You’ll be as successful as my baby daddy.” And for heaven’s sake, can someone please teach these kids (not just the Palins, but the rest of them, too!) the difference between “you’re” and “your” in a sentence? “Your so gay” is wrong on multiple levels, people.

I digress.

Look, the fact is, Willow Palin is a 16 year-old kid. And 16 year-old kids say stupid things, especially in this day and age when they have relatively safe spaces like the Internet to spout indignant bullshit without having to look the recipient in the eye when they say it. (I routinely spout all kinds of bullshit on this blog that I might not say in a crowded elevator full of strangers, for the record.)

And yes, using homophobic slurs is absolutely wrong, particularly when it’s an immediate go-to insult that is used without regard to sexuality, real or perceived. It’s bad enough to mock someone for being gay — it’s even more disheartening when that is the default insult even when you don’t necessarily believe that the target is gay!

But she’s a kid. And if she did write these things (which I would prefer to learn from a source more credible than TMZ before passing judgment, thank you) she deserves to be chastised by her parents and taught that hateful speech is never the answer. But I definitely don’t think that an alleged shit-talking exchange on a Facebook wall should be held up as evidence that the Palins in general, and certainly not mother Sarah Palin in particular, are bad people or homophobes.

This is shit-talking by a 16 year-old kid behaving badly. And yes, I acknowledge that she was allegedly defending her mother’s honor in response to criticism of mom’s new television show… which may explain the anger, but certainly doesn’t make it acceptable.

You can read the full alleged exchange online and make your own call, but I for one think we show resist the urge to paint this as a bigger deal than it is. Ground the kid, take away her Internet privileges, and teach her not to use hateful language in general and homophobic language in particular. And make sure she knows that she’s unfortunately under a magnifying lens because of who her mother is, and that she needs to be more careful with what ammunition she gives the media to use against her and her family.

Jesus, did I just defend the Palin family? At least I didn’t refer to the “lamestream media” in my post. (Shit, how did that get in there?!)

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