Well, maybe not my first, but the first ever for a political/ethical reason.
Here is the context, with name cropped because I don’t know why because no one who posts this shit deserves privacy:
This is an outrageous, but perhaps unsurprising (because the internet is a hellhole populated by the lowest common denominator of human filth), post, though its appearance on my Facebook newsfeed was certainly unprecedented. My newsfeed is populated by plenty of real-life and therefore Facebook friends who disagree with me on domestic politics, reproductive rights, Israel-Palestine, foreign policy, you name it. I don’t unfriend them or unfollow their posts (typically). This is because they are rational people who have differing opinions than me, and I enjoy being challenged by their perspectives, because for the most part I believe that they arrived at them honestly and in good faith. One of the things that I pride myself on and am proud of the people I call my friends for is their general humanity, whether we agree or not.
But this, to me, is inhumane. As one good friend put it, “WHY THE HELL DID YOU STEAL US FROM ACROSS AN OCEAN IN THE FIRST PLACE YOU SHITBAGS”. Very succinct: I don’t think anyone alive today deserves to be thanked for fighting in the Civil War. Because you. fucking. didn’t. Aside from that fact, how many people died while enslaved or in CARGO TRANSPORT ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN? FOR CENTURIES? I am pretty sure it’s more than 620,000 or whatever the fuck number this bullshit meme is quoting.
As offensive and despicable as this meme is, the issue I wanted to bring up is not about white supremacy and racism and “all lives matter” and whatever. Though these issues are important, I think the inappropriateness of this Facebook post vis a vis those issues is self-evident. The issue on my mind is that of networks and hive-minds.
Generally speaking, I try not to succumb to the Facebook hive-mind/echo-chamber (see here and here and everywhere else) phenomenon. I do value opposing opinions, and I am interested in how other people see things. My internet experience, for the most part, is not a rapid descent into increasingly-extremist memes made by people who agree with me. But this post, to me, was over the line. It had to go. Maybe I haven’t been cultivating an echo chamber, but I sure as shit am about to start.
This image sits apart from the other valid, honest, good-faith opinions I see every day. It is reactionist, it is manipulative, it is a complete re-writing, re-imagining of history. It is an attempt to foster subservience of non-white Americans to Their White Masters, to create the expectation — hallucination — of dominance, dare I say superiority, among white Americans. If you want to be pro-life, fine, I will listen to your opinion. If you believe in a Zionist state, I will happily engage you in intellectual debate. If you want increased sentences for non-violent offenders, I sure as shit disagree with you but I am curious how you arrived at that opinion. If you want to tighten immigration policy, tell me about that. But if you want black people to thank you for not doing anything just because you are white, that is a world view that I cannot tolerate and I will not entertain.
Am I over-reacting to this post by unfriending the poster? Am I descending into my own hive-mind, slowly but inevitably? Am I voting against intolerance, or am I taking the easy way out by not engaging the poster and telling her why her post is so horrifically unacceptable? At what point is diversity of opinion too diverse? I have no idea.
All I know is this is intolerable, and if banishing intolerance from my (digital) world will radicalize me within my own echo chamber, I might be okay with that.
Though I’d welcome any arguments to the contrary 🙂