If you think that Facebook is a platform to enlighten, educate and empower all of humanity, think again. Facebook (hereinafter referred to as “Racebook”) has a major problem with intelligent black voices. If you have been following me on social media, you are well aware that I’m on a seven-day ban—my third in less than three weeks, immediately following 24- and 72-hour bans for speaking out against white supremacy.
For those unfamiliar with Racebook’s ban, I am unable to edit my profile or like, post content, or comment on other posts. I am, however, able to access my account, read posts, accept friend requests, and see/respond to those pesky ads (as if I would consider helping Racebook generate revenue even as they’re trying to silence my voice).
While confined in Racebook jail, I’m taking time to reflect on the thing that landed me here: renouncing white supremacy. The fact that Racebook has gone to great lengths to silence my and other intelligent black voices is a classic case study about what happens when the hegemony feels the least bit discomfited or threatened by any truth-telling about racism.
WHAT DO I MEAN BY RACISM?
My use of the term racism refers not only to the prejudices and discriminatory actions of white racists, but also to the institutional discrimination and the recurring ways that white people—consciously and unconsciously—dominate Blacks in virtually every major aspect of our society. Racism is often viewed as a flaw in individual personalities, but racism transcends personal attitude. It is deeply embedded in, maintained and enforced by our legal, educational, political, economical, religious, cultural and military institutions. Racism is an institutionalized configuration of personal attitudes. It manifests itself everywhere we turn, so virtually any encounter that black people have with whites in our social institutions and public spaces can prompt a confrontation with racism.
Racism is more than a Black-White dichotomy. It reflects the original binary of the U.S.—the need to define, through a process of elimination, who is white and who is non-white. This racialization assigns individuals to a specific category and then assigns social meaning to that category in ways that shape individual, cultural and institutional identity. This meaning is built into our social processes and expressed in daily lived experiences. Today, the racist ideology (white supremacy) that originated during slavery is deeply woven into the fabric of our capitalistic society and used to divide races by category: superior and inferior. Racism is very much alive in our contemporary structures and institutions, intertwined with systems of oppression, and devastating to people of color.
ON WHITE FRAGILITY
White fragility is one helluva drug. White people will defend, argue, pout, cry, excuse, diminish, contradict, ignore, withdraw, and use other malicious and counter-productive behaviors to assert their pseudo-supremacy and regain their balance. Allow me to use as a prime example, white “allies” (those professing to fight for justice and equality for marginalized communities). These so-called allies (or more appropriately, all-lies) will gleefully roll with you until you call them out over some misstep or say something provocative that strikes them at their core and knocks them off balance. Rather than directly address the issue with you, they immediately default to passive-aggressive behaviors, engaging indirect hostilities in an effort to control or shut you down.
What white people fail to understand is that we black people know you better than you know yourselves. This is because we have had to diligently study your temperament and every move in order to survive. What we have discovered is that white people are very predictable and have extremely low thresholds for dealing with any pain and discomfort arising from discussions on race.
White people are not only notorious for not wanting to talk about race they are also notorious for trying to tone police black voices whenever we choose to broach the subject. They feel an overwhelming need to control not only our narrative, but how we articulate our narrative. Not once do they stop to consider that they have never treaded lightly when disrespecting black people and other people of color. Instead, they have forcefully taken whatever they wanted from whomever they wanted whenever they wanted. Thus, their demand for “civil communication” is in itself a hallmark of white privilege. And one of white people’s greatest fears is losing this unearned privilege and being treated exactly like they have systematically treated people of color.
Racebook has proven time and again that they absolutely cannot bear witness to the truth about racism in this country. Yet, their attempt to censor me for speaking truth about the oppression and injustices that the Black community has endured for centuries neither annihilates nor diminishes that truth.
It is not Racebook that sustains me. Consequently, it is not Racebook that will dictate my messages or how I deliver them. With or without the use of their social media platform, my message of truth about racial disparities will continue to emanate, enlighten, educate and empower those who daily suffer oppression and social indignities because of the color of their skin.
When you dismiss my humanity, you dismiss your own.
When you disrespect my humanity, you disrespect your own.
When you devalue my humanity, you devalue your own.
Yours in the Struggle,