An Open Letter to Facebook

DISCLAIMER: This was upsetting to me, it does include hateful, offensive language (not my own.)

There have been a lot of tragic events happening, and the saddest part is it’s not even a surprise anymore. I hear about people getting shot and I hang my head as the voices come out to argue their sides and still NOTHING CHANGES. And then I check my Facebook.

One of my friends has posted a meme that I disagree with, but can understand. It says, “How about all lives matter. Not black lives, not white lives. Get over yourself no one’s life is more important than the next. Put your race card away and grow up.” I understand the point of “all lives matter”, but I also understand the people who say this miss the point of saying “black lives matter”. I know, because I started out that way.

I remember my boyfriend first telling me about this movement called “black lives matter” and as soon as I heard that I was like well wait, we’re all human, all of our lives matter. And at first I did not understand that’s EXACTLY why people are saying BLACK LIVES MATTER. Because right now they’re being undervalued. And the reason I did not get this right away is because I am white, sheltered, and privileged and quite honestly I don’t experience much racism so I forget it exists. Until today.

I saw a comment on the meme and out of curiosity I checked it out. I was shocked and appalled. I thought it was a joke, but then I thought that’s the least funny joke I’ve ever heard.

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I checked, he did remove her as a friend on Facebook, and what’s worse, his posts were more awful than his comment.

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And now, I am furious, I am speechless. I said to my sister, “What is this, the 50’s?? I didn’t realize people like this were even REAL!” I was dumbfounded. This guy was verbally abusive, racist, and proud of it. He somehow has convinced himself we are about to be in an all-out race war, and you cannot protect yourself even by having black friends….okay WHAT? I wanted to respond so bad, but at the same time I know there’s no convincing someone whose proud to be racist, so I reported him to Facebook. I assumed using racial slurs and exclaiming WHITE POWER had to be enough to get those posts taken down.

I was wrong.

Apparently not one of his posts, including the one where he uses the n word, which I will NOT post here, violated Facebook’s community standards. Which really makes me question…what the heck ARE your standards, Facebook?? Because if you welcome the type of speech that comes from a raging bigot slathered in ignorance, quite frankly, I’m disgusted. There may be no convincing this person how wrong and twisted their views are, but the least we could do is teach him that the majority of people do NOT support this way of thinking. This is bigger than black lives and cops lives. You do not have to “pick a side”.

My heart is literally aching.

So while I cannot engage this kid in conversation, and I cannot get Facebook to remove his hate speech (was it not hateful enough? Really, what is your limit here?), I CAN let more people see that racism. Blatant, unbridled hatred is still running rampant in our country. It was a shock to me, but it tells me we need to fight harder for acceptance and love. We need to stand together against ignorance, and we need to let people like this (AND Facebook) know it is NOT okay.

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12 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Facebook

  1. I’m glad you shared this. I, like you, started out in the AllLivesMatter group … until I read a bunch, and listened a bunch, and realized I was missing the point. It was scary to see through that new lens, but I’m glad I did. I’d much rather see the painful truth than deny it at others’ expense. And the more people see comments like these, the more I think they’ll realize that what’s in other peoples’ hearts isn’t always what’s in theirs. That it’s not “make believe,” or playing the “race card” (gag, even typing those words now makes me feel like retching) when brown-skinned people say: “This is–and has long been–my every day reality.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • This is the thing, I honestly felt like I would never come across this much blatant racism and it was like a blow to the gut. I was saying “all lives matter” because I wasn’t exposed to the harsh reality of minorities in this country. I thought even though this is disgusting I have to share it to show why black lives matter is important! So people see they are fighting this bigotry and they are forced to fight a war for the way they are born against people who base their opinion from ignorance and fear. Just sickening.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have had a similar experience (on Yelp) trying to flag someone for hate speech and been overruled. It is disturbing to me how this type of ignorance still exists, and the people spewing out this type of hate do not seem to realize that they are not part of the problem!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Serena, I’m so glad you posted this. I live in a community where there are few (but some) people that are this blatant, but since my husband is black I’m definitely aware that racism still exists and is destructive in so many ways. At the same time, I’m encouraged there’s dialogue. And strangely, by posting this here, I think you’re upholding Facebook’s decision to allow the expression. You saw a need to keep things real when it comes to opinions that matter – even if they’re abhorrent.
    I don’t like reading comments like his, and frankly, I avoid reading/seeing much news outside of my community where I might have reach to make a difference. But sometimes something like this one comes through, and it’s a wake-up call. And the only thing worse than hearing it is hiding it. A wound that’s out in the open can heal, but a wound that’s hidden and ignored will fester and kill what’s healthy around it.
    My brother’s fond of quoting the phrase (something like) ‘The only way that evil will prevail is for good people to do nothing.’ True ambivalence is extremely dangerous and it starts with squelching ugly, offensive or fearsome speech. We need to know what people think – especially if it seems ‘ignorant’ so we can respond to encourage other opinion and thought. If someone who’s ignorant can’t talk about what they think, how will they ever engage in conversation that could teach them another point of view to consider? (Not to say you should always engage them, but at least it gives a chance for them to see others don’t agree and potentially to consider why. It also lets others around them know the opinion of the ‘ignorant’ person is not the norm.)
    Thanks for speaking out. For being bold and sharing your reactions, thoughts and feelings on this matter. That honesty could help enlighten someone who feels pushed into the dark or is surrounded by a darker point of view. You never know what could happen when you express distress over injustice or hope for something better. It’s always worth saying, for just by repeating hope, it sparks hope in others which my lead to actions that change things for the better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. This was a great reflection and I see your point completely. Had Facebook removed his posts I would not have brought it to attention, assuming he’d get the message. But instead, they did nothing so I felt I HAD to do something. I’m not trying to spread violence or hate, so I kept it anonymous and didn’t call for anything to happen to the individual. When we do that we’re lowering ourselves. How can we say we’re better than a racist if we’re saying racists should be eliminated? Instead, I was hoping to raise awareness for something I wasn’t quite aware of and yes, by all means, open a dialogue even if it’s painful and awkward. Thank you again for your thoughtful response.

      Like

  4. Ooooo this is a good one. It is where human rights backfire on themselves. The right to free speech, the right to bear arms – these rights have killed so many. It is a deep philosophical question. At what point is something considered to be an inalienable right? How many people have to agree to it for it to be accepted? Does it matter if it causes harm? Unfortunately, Facebook and many other social media outlets are at the front line of figuring this out for themselves – like Julian Assange and other pro-speech entities. It’s not an easy one.

    However, I honor your outrage and feel it myself. It hurts to have this stuff spewed all over you the minute you engage with the virtual world, and then have no recourse. We enter the arena at our own risk.

    Thank God for the Block and Delete buttons.

    Liked by 1 person

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