Dear People Who Comment On My Facebook Posts To Silence Me
This essay was originally published on The Establishment on September 7, 2016.
To the people in my life who only comment on my Facebook posts to defend white supremacist bullshit:
Fuck all the way off.
You know who you are. You are the people who tell me to be less negative when I share how something is racist. You say I’m choosing to see the world through a racist lens instead of recognizing teachable moments. You say that my refusal to teach means I have a bad attitude. You say that calling anything racist or sexist or ableist is just me choosing to think our society has serious systemic issues. You say that I am treating everything as though it is a personal attack against me. You say that I am the problem.
You tell me that I have closed myself off to people and that maybe, just maybe, if I were a little more open, a bit less judgmental, maybe I’d realize that the world isn’t out to get me.
Well, maybe the world isn’t out to get me—but the United States is and has been for years. This is why Black people are policed more. It’s why we are suspended from school for minor infractions more. It’s why average human behavior is criminalized and our mere presence is a threat. It’s why it’s okay to murder us during “routine” traffic stops or because we asked the police questions, while white people can use drugs, rape, murder, engage in gang shoot outs, shoot at police, and still be seen as people deserving forgiveness and second chances. From redlining, to inflated loan rates, to mass poisonings while those responsible stay in their seats of power (I’m looking at you, Governor Snyder), America continues to wage war on Black people.
And according to you, my so-called Facebook “friends,” we are just supposed to continue enduring it?
Years ago, your shitty gaslighting tactics would have worked, just as they continue to work on so many. I would have been on the defensive, wondering if I was being too sensitive and picking up nuance that wasn’t there. I would’ve quietly wondered what was so wrong with me, and why I was bothered by stuff that didn’t seem to bother anyone else. I would’ve spent time explaining my feelings and apologizing for calling out your racism, and I would have felt ashamed for holding you accountable for your words.
There was a time when I assumed that your anti-Black responses to my posts were an indication that you simply didn’t understand what you were saying. There was a time when I’d spend days figuring out how to explain why your comments were so fucked up, all the while making sure I didn’t say anything too confrontational. Because you’d accuse me of pulling the “race card” (no such thing) and of getting too emotional, and then refuse to listen until I “calmed down,” I’d put extra effort into projecting civility and calm, hoping you’d understand the rationality and legitimacy of what I had to say. I’d call your words “insensitive” instead of racist, because using the r-word is an automatic eject from a conversation.
Meanwhile, under the continued threat of disengagement, you, with your casual rudeness and convenient ignorance, would claim to be unbiased and “fair.”
You’d dehumanize and dismiss me and then have the audacity to expect me to thank you for it.
Over and over, I engaged in this dialogue—until, finally, I realized that there aren’t two sides to my humanity, racism doesn’t go both ways, and it’s emotionally dangerous to fuck with people who think that shit.
And they don’t just think it. They enforce it via threats involving employment, housing, incarceration, and death. And while this is a reality I navigate in many other aspects of my life, I will no longer do it in my personal relationships, including online.
I have spent too much of my life and energy learning how to tap dance around protecting whiteness and its defenders. I have sacrificed too much of myself to the altar of white feelings. I’ve lived with severe depression, isolation, marginalization, and daily insults from people who lack the ability to comprehend simple ideas, routines and work processes. I’ve worked for white mediocrity and had every single idea and innovation suppressed until I funneled it through white-acceptable bodies, i.e. coworkers who didn’t look like me. I’ve sat in rooms with white people justifying immoral and criminal behavior of white people who moments later accuse Black people of looking criminal for standing somewhere. Hypocrites and liars, the whole lot of them, and I’m not kowtowing to that bullshit anymore.
When you, Facebook “friend,” only speak to me when you think I’m being . . .
. . . Too harsh about racism . . .
. . . Too mean to Trump supporters . . .
. . . Too unforgiving about white people’s racism . . .
. . . Too harsh to people of color who co-sign white people’s racism . . .
. . . Too mean for cutting racist people from my life . . .
. . . Too hard on my husband for demanding he start acknowledging his racism. . .
. . . Too honest with the world for expressing how damaging and dangerous white lies are . . .
What you are actually saying is stop being an uppity negro and get back in my place. But I have no place and fuck you for trying to convince me I do. Fuck you for being a complacent asshole who’d rather be a cowardly bigot than a human being. Fuck you for insisting I ignore problems with the people in this country, and fuck you for trying to silence me.
Fuck you for who you are, which is beneath me.
You think you can tell me how to feel; who to fight for; that I’m worthless, voiceless, powerless; that I am not worth fighting for. You say you’re helping me by blaming me for hundreds of years of racially inflicted violence and violation, and then you dare to call me a friend while trying to convince me that my voice is the problem.
And the worst part is that you think you’re being a good person, that you are helping me live a better life, a happier life, with your unsolicited advice. You pat yourself on the back while you twist a knife in mine.
You aren’t my friend. In truth, you are my enemy. You try to weaken me with your complicity and your advice on being a better Black person in a racist society that “isn’t really racist” seeks to undermine my self worth.
Your anti-Blackness is showing and I don’t have room for your lies in my life anymore. As it’s been years and you still only speak up to defend white supremacist bullshit and, by association, the genocide of Black people, you’ve chosen your place and it’s not with me.
Consider us “unfriended.” Goodbye.