Facebook Banned Me For Writing “N*gger” In A Piece About Racism, While Emails Calling Me “N*gger” Still Sit In My Inbox » VSB

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Facebook Banned Me For Writing “N*gger” In A Piece About Racism, While Emails Calling Me “N*gger” Still Sit In My Inbox

Friday afternoon, as a reaction to the acquittal of former police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting death of Philando Castile, I wrote a short piece attempting to articulate the morass of outrage and irrepressible frustration that comes attached to this type of news; a perpetual vexation and outrage that sticks and shifts and stuns and stings and exists without a foreseeable antidote. The title of said piece — “Of Course The Officer Who Killed Philando Castile Was Acquitted, Because Nigger Hunting Season Is (Always) Here” — used explosive but contextually appropriate language to synopsize it, and I shared it on Facebook and Twitter.

Approximately 24 hours after it was published, I received a notice from Facebook informing me that the post (paraphrasing) violated community standards, and would be taken down. Since this is (I think) the third time this has happened to me, I was placed in Facebook jail, where I was able to read my newsfeed but wasn’t able to interact with it. No new posts, pictures, or statuses. I couldn’t even like other people’s stuff.

The timing of this happening was actually quite fortuitous. Like many other media platforms, Facebook is a vital source — a waaaaaaaaaaaay too vital source, actually — of traffic and engagement for VSB. But this digital house arrest occurred on a Saturday and through a Sunday, and I spent most of each day either downtown for the Pittsburgh Jazz Festival or hanging out with my dad for Father’s Day, so I wasn’t going to be online much anyway. I can do Facebook jail standing on my head.

What’s making my teeth itch, however, is while Facebook was taking down my post and flagging me for including language that would appear to be hate language but wasn’t, I have real actual hate mail lingering in my inbox. Including some where I’m literally called a nigger. But Facebook’s algorithmic moderation and community standards policies allow for a piece that decries racism to be banned while real actual racism is allowed to fester unblemished.

And, just in case you were wondering, I have binders full of receipts! Here’s four of them!

Here’s Michael Routt from Wilder, Kentucky offering me a one-way ticket to either Hell or some Negro utopia with bottomless welfare and Jordans.

Screenshot 2017-06-19 at 15.23.44

Here’s Robert Jackson, a grammatically challenged driver at N&L Transportation, saying I deserve a nice beatdown. (Although, to be fair, I’m not quite sure if he was referring to me or my penis.)

Screenshot 2017-06-19 at 15.24.22

Ron Peters wants me to go to brunch with ISIS.

Screenshot 2017-06-19 at 15.26.23

And then of course there’s David McClammy of Bristow, Oklahoma, who, along with calling me a nigger (twice!) invented a new slur: Tree Monkey. Look at the big brain on David! (Seriously, if he really wanted to hurt my feelings, he’d call me a coconut water monkey, because coconut water tastes like chicken saliva.)

Screenshot 2017-06-19 at 15.25.15

These types of messages are par for the course when you write/talk about race and racism — or write/talk about anything actually, as long as you’re Black — and I’m more amused than bothered by them. But for all of its talk about becoming more inclusive and diverse and progressive and mindful about racial/cultural blind spots, Facebook still hasn’t figured out a way to distinguish between language addressing racism and actual racism. Or perhaps they know how to, but just don’t care. Either way, I gotta go. I have a dinner date with ISIS tonight, and they really, really hate when I’m late.

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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.

  • Lucille A Bluth

    Facebook doesn’t WANT to address this problem. They are more comfortable banning us with a smile than actually addressing hate speech.

    I’m sorry, Damon. That’s horrible.

    • Doug Chu

      I think Facebook outsources moderation to subcontractors in the Philippines. Underpaid and overworked people in small towns in Asia who are fluent in English, but probably have little context to understand who can and who can’t use the n-word.

      • Lucille A Bluth

        But FB has been on notice about this problem. They have had opportunities to use alternative means, but they don’t. It’s not like they have to use the same system/use the same contractors/not train people. By now, they just choose to keep ignoring it.

        Also, it’s interesting how MANY Black activists and bloggers get banned for saying things that aren’t even offensive (I know someone who was banned for saying mayo), but racists get to continue to be racists.

        • Mochasister

          You can’t use the word mayo?

          • Lucille A Bluth

            Someone reported it, and they were temporarily banned.

        • Oline Wright

          Mayo is bannable? So what about talking about the Mayo Clinic?
          The real problem is likely that someone reported the post. They didn’t care about the race of the author they just saw the word. I can’t tell you how many times I saw people being called racist for disagreeing with our former president who were of the same race as the former president.

      • Alessandro De Medici
  • Marceline

    I assume you report these people, right? I get that you’re all jaded and cool but getting these folks on record is important.

    • Lucille A Bluth

      FB does not give one single fck about the reports. It’s so frustrating.

      • Kas

        Agreed. I have reported any number of posts and been told they saw nothing wrong with it.

        • esa

          this is who they are. they are nothing if not consistent with their politics.

          last fall, the ACLU revealed that Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram sent feeds to Geofeedia, a Chicago-based company that delivers real-time surveillance to 500 law enforcement agencies.

          • Alessandro De Medici
            • esa

              eewy. reads as a PR “exclusive” from the company:

              “In the leaked documents, the company makes clear it wants to do this by ‘fostering an environment where everyone can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights of others.'”

              the Guardian did a gentle spin cycle for FB to try to clean up their image. no investigative reporting at all.

              • Alessandro De Medici

                Of course it is.

                That said, when it comes to user moderation, I don’t envy them.

    • Damon Young

      honestly, i’m not bothered enough by them to do the work that reporting them requires. if i actually felt like my or my family’s safety was threatened, i would. but i haven’t felt that way yet.

      • Kat

        They aren’t going to go further than an email or two. Real racism takes work. They rather sit around diddling their sisters and drinking Bud light around a fire pit filled with old cans and books they can’t read.

        • it

          this is going too far. could we please not dis bud light? bud light is actually perfect for summer beach days.

          • Kat

            light brown piss….

            • Bah Debo

              Bud light wishes…

      • miss t-lee

        You are keeping these as record, correct?

        • BlackMamba, Romperstiltskin

          In Trump America many folks do not care and still say this stuff knowing people can see who they really are.

          • miss t-lee

            Which is exactly why I want him to keep these.

      • Wise Old Owl

        Black Folks need to Boycott Facebook and So-called Black Twitter and create a new social media platform and modern day Black Planet that is completely and 100% Black Controlled and Operated, because Facebook, Twitter and Instagram takes Black Folks for granted the same way politicians and political parties do…Man I miss Black Planet, those were the days…now get off my lawn…

        • Alessandro De Medici

          blackplanet.com is still alive.

          • is it?

          • Wise Old Owl

            Yes, but not the “Black Planet” of the late 90’s and early 2000’s…it was lit back in the day in a good way…

          • Kat

            LMBAO….this just tickled me

  • MimiB

    Their anger is so fucking hilarious to me… please share the hate mail more often. Sipping hostile white tears goes well with my morning toast.
    Tree monkey doe???

  • Dmaclee

    The racists are such clever wordsmiths! One once called my son a “monkey baby”. Good times.

  • ?? KortAlmighty??

    You didn’t blur out their names. Would be a shame if someone were to report them to their places of employment. A real shame… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0d9990eea198981c99e7cce999e5ce977fa53d4e657e8e62a70504cc2efa3b07.jpg

  • Lucille A Bluth

    The lack of creativity is also a travesty. Insult is an art. Insults should slip off the fingertips or tongue like wiping a baby’s booty with silk. No wonder they are so mad (also, racism, but that goes without saying).

  • Diego Duarte

    Sooo pretty much like Reddit and the rest of the YT controlled media. Any “bash the fash” jokes will get you a banhammer but jokes about giving liberals and democrats a “helicopter ride” get a pass.

  • BlackMamba, Romperstiltskin

    Twitter decided that rather than get rid of the Nazis that harass people on its site that it should make all account pictures circle, reflecting the free and open exchange of equally valid ideas one can find on the site like arguing that Muslims cause white supremacists to turn violent and kill people.

  • BlackMamba, Romperstiltskin

    Also off topic but the ground represents my temptation for women who aren’t Miss T-Lee.

    I’m Superman. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/48612c7c9d2c802442faf678c67261cc5910323581b498505cb6e6aa641a1919.gif

    • Kas

      Pictures you as the dog that finally catches the mail truck. Keep barking young buck. Just don’t call us for help when you bite off more than you can chew.

      • cyanic

        Never imagined you as a dog. Were you one both either marriage?

        • Kas

          Nope. I had one summer where I tried it for size. Good times but way too stressful, and only worked because high key didn’t like my GF at the time.

          • cyanic

            Nice to know it isn’t in your DNA.

    • miss t-lee
      • BlackMamba, Romperstiltskin

        I’ll fly down and scoop you in a second ?.

        • miss t-lee

          Chillax, young sir.

          • Val

            Awww, look at y’all. :-)

            • miss t-lee

              Madame…

            • AzucarNegra

              Aww, the pup is off to save his woman. How sweet! I wonder when they will make if official

            • MsSula

              So, so precious… Miss T Lee, you know with Macron and his wife, anything is indeed possible…. I am just saying.

              • Mary

                Giiiirl, you all on that too, huh?

          • Kas

            They been playing footsie for awhile. Almost as long as Tam and Father Hugh.

            • AzucarNegra

              What? How am I involved? Father Hugh? I am not joining a convent

              • Kas

                You most certainly are not joining a convent.

                • AzucarNegra

                  That’s what life with Father Hugh is. I like wearing comfortable clothes, no sack cloth for me

                  • Kas

                    Mmmm Hmmm

                    • AzucarNegra

                      How are you tonight sweetie?

                    • Kas

                      I’m good. How are you?

                    • AzucarNegra

                      Tired. I have been working on a presentation for one my superiors. I was working on worded document since last week, only to find out today it was a power point that was needed. So I spent half the morning trying to convert that and get some of the graphics needed, unlucky for most of that. Was burnt out by 3, not finished and that officer is travelling tomorrow. Came home with the intention of having a power nap and back at it, spent most oft he time laying on the bed and not sleeping. I have gone back to it but am wondering if it makes more sense to try to get at least 3 hours and the go back at it so it can be vetted and emailed off. Oh when people are not clear on what they want. I

                    • Kas

                      Stop procrastinating. Finish the presentation, no more naps.

                    • AzucarNegra

                      Trying but have been staring at the same slide for quite a while wondering if it is wise to have coffee

            • miss t-lee

              Ain’t no “they”.
              If you’re gonna tell the story, tell it correctly.

              • Kas

                It’s my artistic interpretation of what I see happening. As long as I describe it as such, I can say what I wanna.

                • miss t-lee

                  Bye.

  • cyanic

    Arms attempting to wrap around you but your size won’t let me. YT is so laughable until they commit terrorist acts against us. Son of Baldwin blocked me on Twitter today. Inevitable because he silenced me on Facebook first. I know both sentences I said to block me from each. Facebook–Hatred of men solves nothing. Twitter–Your thoughts on the trans woman who identified as a child?

    • kingpinenut

      I have yet to get banned…but my time is coming – no doubt

      • cyanic

        People love to wield their online power.

        • kingpinenut

          By any chance, have you read Power vs Force by David Hawkins?

          Interesting read

          • cyanic

            No sir. But no joke RuPaul recommends Animal Farm by Orwell.

            • kingpinenut

              That’s a great read too

              • I_AmU

                Sorry meant to reply to cyanic. It is a great book. Love that book. Read it as child. I understood it then and it’s relevant now.

            • AzucarNegra

              All animals are equal but some are more equal than some

    • Val

      What did you say to get banned by SOB, CY?

      • cyanic

        They’re in my post.

        • Val

          Well, your thoughts on Transgender folks are troubling.

          • cyanic

            How they identify is fanciful to me. As a gay man I relate to straight women’s desire to be with a man as a companion and lover. But I ain’t them.

            • Kat

              What are your thoughts

              • cyanic

                Trans antagonist.

              • Kas

                Careful what you ask in this comment section.

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