An Argument For Not Blocking Your Ridiculously Stupid And/Or Racist Facebook Friends » VSB

Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

An Argument For Not Blocking Your Ridiculously Stupid And/Or Racist Facebook Friends

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The last two weeks of November produced a vortex of news stories (Ferguson, Cosby, Ray Rice) everyone seems to have an opinion on. And, when everyone seems to have an opinion on something, that “everyone” includes “stupid and/or insensitive and/or racist motherfuckers.” Nowhere was this more evident than it was on Facebook, as these weeks produced so many harebrained theories, idiotic dissertations, and flagrantly, almost hilariously racist status messages that “How many Facebook friends have you had to defriend?” became a bit of a parlour game; a pissing contest for progressives.

I did not play this game. Not because I’m above games and pissing contests (I’m not) but because I didn’t have to. I just didn’t see this type of activity on my timeline. Sure, you had the perfunctory shares from the Daily Currant and The News Nerd and your perfunctory cousins thinking that content was factual, but I just did not see the type of racist and/or dangerously stupid stuff on my timeline many others were complaining about. I initially attributed this to just having better, smarter friends than those making the complaints…conveniently ignoring the fact that I have close to 2000 of them and not seeing these types of statuses was more due to some Facebook algorithm than the quality of said friends.

This admittedly harebrained theory went to shit by the end of last week. In a three hour span last Friday, I saw…

…a guy I knew from college sharing content from sites with names like “The Conservative Tribune.” (A sample reply to one of his statuses from one of his friends: “Many of the “protesters” that chose to use violence and destruction are nothing more than thugs themselves. And many using the signs at the protests noting “I pay you” – are really those that WE all pay for through public assistance. They are no taxpayers.“)

…two separate Cosby-related conspiracy theories. One said they believed all the women were planted by NBC. Another said they believed all these allegations were coming from the same women with a dozen different aliases. (Please take a moment to reread that last sentence. Now tell me if you’re as in awe of it as I am.)

I didn’t engage with any of these people. I’m on Facebook to share VSB content, like people’s engagement photos, and find the thirst trap bikini pics every Bougie Black Girl seems to possess, not to willingly enter arguments that’ll never end. But, I won’t pretend I wasn’t tempted to. And I definitely won’t pretend I wasn’t annoyed enough with these statuses — especially the racist one — to consider just unfriending these people.

But I didn’t. One, because last week was a lazy week and unfriending someone just seemed like too much effort. But mostly I just think having them around is valuable. Now, their opinions on these matters are not valuable. Everyone has an opinion. But some people’s opinions just don’t fucking matter. It is valuable, however, to be reminded that people who possess these types of opinions exist. And they’re not always anonymous people trolling on some message board or eating spinach casserole at a Koch family BBQ. Sometimes these people are people you partied with in college. Or people who came to your last birthday party. Or people you used to want to date. (And actually still would date. Because a big butt and a smile can make you overlook things like “I guess she really does believe Bill Cosby was set up by the Russian Mafia.”) Basically, these are real people.

Admittedly, my circumstance might make these reminders more valuable to me. I work for EBONY, run another Black publication, and have predominately Black friends and a Black wife who’s Blacker than I am. I don’t have to interact with a boss who regularly says triggering things about Ferguson or non-Black coworkers who expect me to be Negro Omniscient when it comes to all things race. I’m about as racially and culturally insulated as a Black person living in Pittsburgh can be, so while others might want their social media interactions to be a respite from their offline lives, they help remind me my world isn’t the only one.

So, if you decide to go on a defriending spree today after finding some shitty status message juxtaposition of Janay Rice and Janice Dickinson, I understand. Be my guest. I just won’t be doing the same.

(Unless, of course, someone talks bad about Kyrie Irving. Some things just can never be forgiven.)

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Epsilonicus

    “find the thirst trap bikini pics every Bougie Black Girl seems to possess”

    I may need to find a better quality BBG friend because mine don’t have these

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Try IG. I would list the VSG’s that be out there Hott Toddin on IG but I don’t want to end up like dude on Black Dynamite.

      • Epsilonicus

        Hahahaha!! Tell on them!!

      • All you gotta do is ask them.

  • Nope! I am Team Delete the Douchebag. I wrote about this last week on my site and did a “progressive poll” on my FB page. One person said they dropped 30 people.

    I actually haven’t had to drop anyone because most of my friends list is like-minded. But for those who disagree with me, I chose not to engage for a few days because I was raw. And when I did engage, I made sure to foster dialogue rather than argument. But I don’t consider it my job to educate people when their words harm me. I need peace some kind of way.

    But I lost my sister-in-law on Facebook months ago over my Ferguson posts. I’m not adding her back. I don’t need the psychological assault in my FB newsfeed to know that the world thinks differently from me. The actual NEWS does that well enough.

    • Meridian

      This is exactly it. The reason I’m so initially strict with the white people I accept in my circle is because it allows me to have a sense of peace where I’m free of psychological assault. I don’t deal with anything that doesn’t happen on my terms and I don’t coddle them in regards to race relations. Especially when it’s something of the magnitude of children being murdered. We don’t have to see everything the exact same way but the one thing that will always be a commonality is that they accept reality and only address things in that frame of mind. People chill with passive aggressive, antagonistic whites and I don’t understand why anyone would willingly allow that in their space.

      • Epsilonicus

        I have not had issues with white people on this one. I have had issues with black folks and respectability politics. They have gone hard on this Ferguson thing.

        • woo chile. THEM TOO.

        • Meridian

          It doesn’t bother me when it comes from black people because I realize we’re not all going to have the same perspective on this. I’m open to the differences because it’s still a black person processing what just happened to us. I don’t really listen to non-sensical people either way because some sh*t is harmful no matter who says it.

      • My thoughts exactly.

    • Andrea

      Why did I just check if you unfollowed me. LOL!

    • Val

      Your sis-in-law though? Lol You’re so gangsta.

      • She actually unfriended me. I just support her decision 100%. Lol

  • cakes_and_pies

    I didn’t see any of this on my timeline. I mainly saw UF/FSU fans fellating their respective team’s football d**k. Football trumps everything.

    • FSU today, tomorrow, and forever, sniiiiiiiiitches!

      • cakes_and_pies

        Lissen, that comment right there is perfectly normal, but some of your brethen…I just want to ask if they can fit Jimbo’s sack in their mouth too!

        • I like to joke around the rivalry. I went to FSU, I graduated, dassit. I don’t come from a staunch FSU family or one that pushed a certain college. I don’t truly understand college allegiances that border on cultism.

          • cakes_and_pies

            My most vocal friends who get into the nastiest arguments online never even attended FSU. Wal-mart fans talk the most smack.

    • Lea Thrace

      I really really wanted to FL to win. That is how much I hate FSU. I felt so disgusting rooting for FL. ugh.

      But my boys won. Go Jackets. To he!! with Georgia!

      • Tell me more about how you hate #DemNoles, Lea! :) If I had known, I would’ve trolled you personally LOL

        • Lea Thrace

          My FSU hate is pure and goes way back to 2001. Chris Rix is to blame for my neverending hate.

          Dont worry though. We shall take care of all of that come December 6.

          • oh ohhhhhh! :::picks up gauntlet::: we shall see!

      • I dislike FSU so bad that they made me pull for Auburn last year and Clemson this year. Carolina soiled the sheets but at least Bama won.

        • all this FSU hate?! I’m trolling everybody today lol

          • It’s mostly my dislike of Jamesis. To his credit he has the ability to block all of the Monday – Friday idiocy out.

            • I hate that I also feel FSU and Tallahassee PD aided in a cover-up. It’s likely. What also makes me uncomfortable is the fact that my White UF friends venomously HATE Jameis. And it doesn’t feel totally motivated by the assault case, which, involving a White woman… I feel that a lot of the speech thrown his way is racially motivated and it’s darned difficult to dislike him for being a douche and still ignore that White southerners probably hate him for racist reasons.

              • To add: the same person who heatedly believed Winston was a criminole who shouldn’t be on the team felt that the Penn State football team was unfairly penalized for the actions of their coach.

                What do you even do with that?

              • A lot of whites took it as an opportunity to bang on Jameis but I dislike him the way I disliked Jonathan Football. I didn’t know that about the accuser.

                *in Mcconaughey’s voice* “now imagine she’s white.”

              • cakes_and_pies

                I have no idea why people here don’t see the only reason why Jameis and the team in general get treated like special class citizens is because they play for FSU.

                • They BARELY love their football team more than they hate young Black males.

      • cakes_and_pies

        I’m Team Nobody in general, but I wanted FL to win so some of my diehard FSU friends could eat a big ole’ piece of STFU pie.

  • ED

    I don’t do the unfriending either. I prefer to have the occasional reminder.

  • Melissa

    I’ve had two people so far share a link entitled “BOOM: Milwaukee Police Chief Explodes on Black Protesters for Ignoring Crime’s ‘Greatest Racial Disparity’” I’m not including said link (a) because I’m sick of being embarrassed by other white people and (b) I don’t believe in giving stupidity a platform. These two halfwits are coworkers, so hiding them from my newsfeed is the only option.

  • Suchalady

    I deleted a few idiots back when the Zimmerman verdict was announced but that was a mistake. I want them to have constant reminders, through me and the stories that I post, of what black excellence looks like. I want it to burn them deep down in their soul when I post about yet another black person achieving greatness.

  • Charlisia Nwachukwu

    I love to unfriend and unfollow typically but I can reconsider. Some people just make you so angry that me unfriending them is for them… I keep chanting to myself “no one ever changed there position because you yelled at them on social media.” Like the Jerk recently whose take on Ferguson was ” I mean really, who sold who to who”

  • I felt that way with the Thor movie. Thor can hang out with with 88 year-old super soldier, a sober Robert Downey, Jr, Scarlett and the Johansson twins but the thought of Stringer Bell being a viking demi-god was too much.

    • Michelle

      Time of Death: 7:22

  • PhlyyPhree

    I never block them because I want to have a general sense of how/what they’re thinking so I know how to protect myself.
    Simple as that.
    If I know what you believe in the “privacy” of your personal FB/social media? Then I know how to interact with you in real life when you’re wearing your “mask”

  • Tentpole

    If everybody were actually as intelligent as they assumed to be, talking and blogging would be a lost art.

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