This morning I woke to sight of Facebook telling me that a post of mine “violated Facebook’s community standards”. It concerned a video I viewed a few days ago that I felt the need to respond to, the details of which I’ll go into in a moment. The video immediately had my back up because it could easily be viewed without context. To me, the video features a great example of a person invoking white privilege to make a black woman appear as the aggressor, when in fact it was the other way around. Whether the video turns out to be a hoax or not, I didn’t like the undertones and felt very uncomfortable as the white lady screamed “you’re scaring me” - it touches a nerve brought about by the Jim Crow era, where a white lady only had to be looked at by a person of colour and that person of colour would soon be found dead.
In the video, it allegedly shows a white woman snatching an item from a black child’s hands during a black Friday sale. In the post, I said something about the context of her snatching the item and her reaction, calling the mother “aggressive” and shouting “you’re scaring me” (reinforcing black stereotypes of the ‘angry black woman’) whilst grappling for the box. At the end I posted whiteness is insipid, but could have easily said, whiteness is fragile.
On reflection, I could have put my post more elegantly, but I was angry & I'm not convinced it was “hate speech” worthy of deleting - there is no discourse to appeal Facebook’s decision, they effectively censor you. What’s interesting is that other friends of colour have had their posts censored too, the only common theme being calling out white privilege, or the double standards when reporting on black vs white lives?
I wonder, is this a reflection of my own ignorance, that I can’t recognise my own festering hatefulness or is it that white fragility is more pernicious and widespread than I first thought? It’s interesting because these reactions, with censorship, no doubt reflect the views of the demography of Facebook employees - White males. Whats even more telling, is that when you look at some of the other pages that have been banned, there’s a definite anti feminist anti people of colour theme. In 2014 Facebook page "Anarchist Memes", was taken down, it featured feminist, anti-racist, pro-LGBT*QA, and anti-capitalist content. Apparently this was all too much for Facebook, which prior to banning the page, frequently scolded them for content that “violated” Facebook’s "Community Standards" and “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities”.
And it’s not just Facebook, white fragility is everywhere from calling the casting of John Boyega in Star Wars, “White Genocide” to complaining that if an all white The Wiz was made, there’d be outrage and claims of racism, all the while ignoring the fact that there already has been an all white version of The Wiz - The Wizard of Oz… I could go on.
The fact is, the rise of movements such as ‘Black Lives Matter’ has since a equal if not greater rise of "White Fragility” or Insipidness if you’re a bit of a logophile like me, and with increased white fragility, we see an increase in racism, and racist Facebook pages such as “I’m White”, “White Genocide Project and “White Geocides Memes 3” - apparently they are acceptable but calling whiteness insipid is not.