Don’t Unfriend Your Racist Uncle
“If you are racist, unfollow me.”
“If you have disagreed with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I will be unfriending you.”
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts of this nature lately and even considered making one myself after I came across a post on my Facebook timeline that said more whites were killed by police officers statistically (without bothering to state the reasons, one of which would be mass shootings). The post claimed that Black people have been unfairly victimizing themselves and skewing the numbers on social media.
I didn’t agree with it because one, it provided no information besides percentages and did not cite any sources, and two, Black people have every right to be labeled victims because they are and have always been oppressed in this country.
But instead of unfriending the person who posted it, I wrote a comment about how many white people are killed in shootouts after committing mass murder and said that that contributes to the high rate of “police brutality” against whites.
That post has been the only post on my timeline that disagrees with the Black Lives Matter movement so far. It’s fair to say I have created a pretty airtight echo chamber for myself on social media. Most people I know like to keep things that way.
But if we never know the arguments (albeit invalid ones) of the other side, how can we ever have constructive conversations?
I can tweet all day long about police brutality and the way Black bodies are used and abused by our country, but if all my followers are nodding in agreement, what work am I accomplishing?
If a #BlueLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter proponent wants to unfollow me, that is their choice. But I will not remove them as a friend or follower during this critical time.
And that doesn't mean I agree with them. I will comment on every “political” post of theirs as long as they are not a subhuman Internet troll. Because I don’t think our cozy little liberal echo chambers are doing much good.
I will not waste my energy by starting unnecessary fights or trying to create dialogues with unreasonable people who are obviously frothing at the mouth as they type.
I will, however, charge into the comments and replies armed with facts if someone is posting biased or inaccurate “facts” in order to support their anti-Black opinions.
I will start conversations when I see the potential for constructive dialogues.
I will not ignore or block racism out of my feed as long as I can see a way to counter it to the best of my ability, or at least expose the person’s heinous views to their employer and/or university.
Progress in regards to race relations requires that we get comfortable with the uncomfortable. So open the doors to your comfy little echo chamber and use your rage to educate the silent, complicit and/or vocally anti-Black people in your feed.*
*This only applies if you are white. People of color should, by all means, delete any racism from their feeds if they wish because it is not their job to educate or fight with bigots.
Earnings from this post, all posts made in the month of May, and any older posts related to race will be donated to Reclaim the Block.