If we are friends on Facebook, then you probably know two things: 1. I only allow myself 15 minutes a day on that website for my mental health and 2. My husband recently took a “Facebook Break.” You know this because I told y’all about it, not because he did. I made a post the day he decided to deactivate his account. He didn’t delete it, because well, he was struggling with what felt right for him. He stays in contact with a lot of family members on Facebook and groups that he belongs to, like the Charlotte Atheist group that we used to do volunteer work for as a family, but he was really having a hard time with social media as of late. First there were the Covid-19 conspiracy thoerists. He actually had to “unfriend” a family member because she shared one of those bananas theories and she precluded it with, “I don’t know if this is real, but I’m sharing anyway…” See the problem with that is, it’s very easy to find out if it is real, and well, if you aren’t willing to put in the work, then he just can’t.
Anywho, I totally supported his decision to deactivate for however long he needs to, as I support anyone’s right to do that, particularly for a mental health break. So I alerted our mutual friends per my post, and we moved on. Then a couple of days later I had a family member share a little meme about all the “crazy stuff” happening in 2020, especially the “rioting” and “looting,” and she said something like, “I’m about to just delete my Facebook account and watch Netflix for a month!” Basically because she was tired of people saying things like, “Black Lives Matter.” Some of her friends commented that they agreed, yet there they still are on FB. It took all my strength not to comment, “Isn’t that nice. Isn’t that nice that you can just ‘check out’ of FB when things get too rough for you? That’s called White privilege.” But I didn’t, I merely scrolled on by. This is the kind of family member not worth my time because she will never “get it.”
So I was telling Jerimiah about this, and I was explaining that I was having a hard time deciding if that is what he did too. His problem with FB is that there is this “Scroll on by” mentality, and well, he feels like he can’t. He feels like he needs to hold people accountable. That holding people accountable takes a toll on a person, especially when both your families are full of covert racists. So we had a long discussion. We talked and talked about whether he was just getting out when the work got too hard, whether he was using his privilege in the best possible way, or whether we were just overthinking this all. We talked and talked and talked, and we came to a few conclusions. They may not be the conclusions you would come to, they may not make you happy to hear, but they are ours and we are sticking to them.
Conclusion #1: Jerimiah is getting back on Facebook. He misses his groups, his friends, and the community from Charlotte that he stays in contact with. He misses seeing pics of our friends’ babies and dogs. He wants his friends to be able to see what Jackson is doing.
Conclusion #2: Neither Jerimiah nor I will be “scrolling on by” when family and friends post crazy shit on Facebook. Here’s how we are looking at it. When I open up my FB feed and I see someone say, “Hope you all have a great day!” I am happy to see that. I envision that person walking by me on the street, or even walking out of my house having just come for a visit and saying that directly to me, because well, that is how it works. When you post on YOUR page it comes to MY newsfeed which is basically into MY house. It is your way of telling me, and all your other “friends,” how you feel about something. It opens up, whether you want it to or not, a dialogue about what you have just written. Now I’m not sure when this shift happened. When we went from “Listen to what I say and let’s nicely discuss it” to “Listen to what I say and do not share your opinion on it because THIS IS MY PAGE,” but I suspect it happened around the time that half the population became embolden by a racist president, so around 2016. But here’s the thing, if you were to walk into our house and say, “Have a great day!” We would smile and tell you to do the same. If you walk into our house and say, “All lives matter,” we would take that as an opportunity to explain to you how that is a racist statement. We would explain why it is counterintuitive to advocating for the Black community. We would politely explain that you, as a white person, SHOULD be advocating for the Black community right now. We would be, in fact, continuing the discussion that YOU started by walking into OUR house and saying, “All lives matter.” Now, if you are not prepared for that discussion, that is on you. The way I see it you have you have two options: 1. Don’t say it to us (that means don’t let it come into OUR house, that means don’t write it on YOUR page) or 2. Unfriend us.
Conclusion #3: We expect to be held accountable by our BIPOC friends when and if we say something that is not correct, we are learning. If you don’t know what the acronym BIPOC means, please get with the program. It means Black, Indigenous, People of Color. Please stop calling BIPOC people “Colored” and please stop referring to yourself as “Non-colored” it’s MFing 2020, y’all. You are white, with a lower case “w” and your Black friends are Black with a capital “B” (or whatever they desire to be called, asking them is the best way to find out). Get it? Got it? Good.
Conclusion #4: We will no longer be “unfollowing” or “snoozing” people. And this is a one strike and you’re out rule when it comes to blatant racism. But for the rest, we will strive to hold you accountable. For example, if you decide to partake in white centering (this is when you take the Black Lives Matter narrative and turn it into how that one time you were discriminated against and you are just so upset about it) we will be calling you out for it, holding you accountable. Or if you say something like, “I just don’t understand the rioting,” we will try to help you understand. But if at any time you become hostile toward the Black Lives Matter movement, or the Black community, or anyone in general, we will be unfriending you because you are mean, and we don’t like mean people. We have given so much grace over the last two weeks with friends and family, but we can’t anymore. You should know better by now.
Conclusion #5: If you still support Trump and you still plan to vote for him in November, in our book you are propagating a racial divide. That’s means you are a racist. Now it might be covert, most likely is, but that still means you a racist and you are doing nothing to remedy that. Matter fact, you haven’t even admitted that you are racist. WE have! We have been screaming it from rooftops. We understand that we are racist because we were raised white in a culture of white supremacy and that is how society made us because that is how our American culture was made to work, to oppress minorities. We are actively unlearning all this bullshit and if were too, you would no longer support the current administration. SO please don’t get offended if we have to unfriend you for your political stance. Remember, it’s personal. But if you are still a Trump supporter, here is what we want you to do. We want you to declare your love for Trump. We want you to push your chest out, say it with pride, I mean really amplify your voice when you say it. Say, “I am a racist!” Say it, say it loud and proud, so we know who to unfriend. And just so we are clear, saying you support Trump because you are a “fiscal conservative” or “love guns” or “only vote Republican” is not an excuse. Chest out. Pride in your voice, “I am a racist!” Say it! Stand up for what you believe in, y’all, that’s what we are doing. Lest I remind you our friendship is not nearly as important as all of us standing up for what we believe in.
Conclusion #6: The “unfriend” button goes both ways and trust us when we say this, WE WILL NOT BE OFFENDED IF YOU UNFRIEND US! Because the thing is, if we are real friends of family, the real kind, we will be able to respectively converse on social media, even if we do disagree. You will be open to our world views, and us to you (with the exception of Trump, per my last email). And we will see each other in real life again and we can talk then. You don’t even need to explain yourself. I won’t be explaining myself. Jerimiah won’t be explaining himself. There’s no need to explain why you do what you do. There just isn’t. We will assume you had to unfriend us because you are a racist who is not actively working to get better, or because you can’t handle truth, or because you are afraid to be held accountable for your actions, or because you think we are “mean.” Either way, we don’t care. We wish you all the best, mostly we wish you better mental health, and more love and compassion in your heart for others.
Whew. This has been a long, but necessary post. I will refer back to it many times from this point forward, I will even share it on your comments if I have to hold you accountable and you wanna fly off the handle all crazy and such. And for the people who we love, our close friends and family members, please know that we are not “coming for you,” but that you will not be receiving a pass either. We might, for example, choose to message you about your covert racism, rather than call you out publicly, but we are watching, in fact, the whole world is watching now. If I were you, I’d recognize how important words are, and fast. Choose them wisely. And if you don’t feel comfortable getting into the conversation, then just don’t. Simple as that.
Lastly, let’s all welcome Jerimiah back! The real work starts today.
M. and J.