Is Facebook Racist?

After yet another incident of White people calling the police on Black people, my husband, Michael, recently wrote the following on Facebook:

Everyday I hate WyPipo more and more. It's because of how these incidents have increased threefold and how so many of you still refuse to be an ally and speak up. This is on you. We've stopped being listened to. This is on you. Every time you choose to not say anything to a friend or relative. This is on you. This is on you.

Someone reported this as hate speech and he was kicked off Facebook for 30 days. This is the fourth time in two or three years.

I responded with the following...


Dear Person Who Keeps Getting My Husband Kicked Off Facebook,

I have a scenario for you: Michael and I are driving down the interstate in separate cars. The cars are identical in appearance, we are traveling at the same speed, in fact, the only difference is Michael’s gorgeous brown, African American eyes reflect back in his rearview mirror, while my Caucasian baby blues reflect back in mine. We are both pulled over by White cops. Here’s my question...which one of us, do you think, is more likely to be shot?

If your answer, even for an eyelash flicker, was that Michael would be the likely victim, then you’ve hit upon the crux of Michael’s posts.

Years ago, WyPipo, as my husband likes to call those of us with less melanin, were flat out disbelievers of the concept of driving while black, saying things like, “Oh, I can’t imagine that kind of thing happens as often as you think. You must be exaggerating.” But now, with the undeniable proof of dash cam footage, cell phone videos and YouTube postings, WyPipo have slowly begun to realize that BlyPipo weren’t exaggerating at all. If anything, they downplayed the truth about our country’s sticky problem with racism.

Most of us, not only admit to the veracity of driving while black, but also walking while black, talking while black, hell, almost anything including golfing slowly while black, and waiting at Starbucks for your friend while black, and yet we are NOT standing on courthouse steps yelling at the top of our lungs.

We may have our rebels, who we allow to speak for us, but most of us sit back in our BarcaLoungers with remote in hand, having watched the latest tragic white-cop-kills-unarmed-Black-driver story and tsk, “That’s a shame,” all the while thinking yet unable to fully vocalize, “Boy, am I glad I’m not Black in this country.”

It’s a problem.

A huge problem.

A huge problem that needs informed WyPipo’s voices.

Let me tell you how I was raised. I was taught to stand tall, smile and not curse, and I could probably get anything I wanted. Michael was taught to be cleaner than, be smarter than, but don’t be louder than and everything may be okay. If I was uppity, I was showing my independent free spirit, but if Michael was uppity he could get killed.

I want to believe that we have changed as a country. For instance, we are not raising our Black daughter to be demure, but to speak her mind. You however, by denying my husband his voice, seem to want to go back to the way it was. You want Michael to keep his head low and his voice soft.

Do you honestly think that’s fair?

You may ask, how do I as a person of WyPipo decent deal with Michael’s convictions. And I got to tell you honestly, years ago there were times when his words would catch in my gut, as if his incendiary observations were meant for me, and only me. But as I got more confident with my place in our country’s race dialog, the more I understood his voice is undeniably needed.

When Michael and I first met we looked in an astrology book to see if we were compatible. The book said that I was Justice, and he was Revenge, which is one of the reasons we work so well together. Our messages align, but we go about it differently. I dole out logic and the opportunity to walk in another’s shoes, while Michael cuts to the quick speaking a truth that we all desperately need to hear. It’s easier to listen to me, but it’s more important to listen to him.

I have never been terrified for my life when pulled over by a cop. I have never had a grocery store manager come up to me when reprimanding my misbehaving White son. My tears don’t sting as much when another unarmed Black brother has fallen. As much as I wish that it were, in the arena of racial equality the playing field is most certainly not equal, and WyPipo not only have to keep that in mind, but we have to be the resounding voice that cries foul.

So instead of secretly notifying Facebook every time Michael writes something that resonates in your funny place, why don’t you take a breath, open a dialog with him, join the rest of us and take a knee.

You’d be more than welcome.

By the way, I've reposted Michael's post in its entirety exactly as he wrote it and have not been kicked off Facebook. 

Racism?

To be continued... 


Comments

Suds said…
Rick! Both yours and Michael’s sentiments are powerful and needed. Let’s hope FB changes how it applies it’s “standards” and that some WyPipo mature a great deal more.

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