Monday, July 25, 2016

Seeing True Colors

I took another break from Facebook.

During the height of the shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas, a friend posted a very offensive meme. The picture was a group of black men who were part of a Black Lives Matter protest running away from a black child. The caption read "How do you clear a Black Lives Matter protest?" The speech balloon from the child read "Are you my daddy?".

I was sick. I was speechless. I was angry.  I showed the meme to Husband. He asked me "Who the fuck posted THAT? That is so racist and so wrong!" When I told him, he was dumbfounded.  I asked if I was crazy. He said "No. I'm White and I'm offended. But, I'm even more upset that a friend did it."

Never mind the obvious stereotype that such a meme presents. I've helped many White women go after deadbeat White fathers who don't pay for their kids. That is beside the point. This was a purely inappropriate, racist, prejudice, meme that someone I grew up with, spent time in her home, shared secrets, and all the things that teen girls do, posted on her FB page.

It wasn't the first inappropriate comment that I've seen on FB. It's not the first from someone on my friend list either. Many of these have come from people who I grew up with and still remain in my rural hometown. Most of these people have not experienced life beyond the town's boarders except for the occasional trip to the city an hour away or the beaches on the east coast. Those people were quickly un-friended with little afterthought.

But, the meme from my former childhood friend stung big time. Does she think of all Black people in that regard? What does she think of me? Has she always harbored those feelings? How could someone that I've known since middle school think like that while having a friend like ME? I was so disgusted that I un-freinded her. Then, I posted a piece that I would not tolerate any racist, prejudice comments or meme on my timeline. I decided to take a timeout from that space. I honestly needed to regroup and think about what that space is.

My mom went through something similar last year. She ended a friendship with someone that was her best friend for 50 years. In a conversation about some recent crimes in the area, my mother's former friend used the N-word to describe Black people in general. My mom was livid. This person knew that she was in an interracial marriage for 21 years and had two biracial children. My family never used the N-word...ever. My parents would not allow rap music in the house that used the N-word. Needless to say, my mom cussed her former friend out. They have not spoken since. My mother said that some peoples' true colors take time to show. Unfortunately, we are in an environment where this is happening more often. It just hurts more when its someone close to you.

After my exit from Facebook, I received a couple of private messages from people supporting me. I did check my post and a few people commented their support as well. A few suggested that I just un-follow or just pray for them, as if that will make things better. I shouldn't judge their intentions. Maybe people just don't know what to say. Maybe they are afraid to say what they know is true. Maybe they are questioning what they think is right.

I started thinking about my upcoming high school reunion. I seriously considered not going. I didn't want to have deal with a bunch of racist hypocrites. These are the people who are nice to your face. They have "black friends". But when push comes to shove, their true colors shine. At the same time, there are some good people who do not fall into that category, that I would like to see. But boundaries will be set. I will be respectful, should I run into my former friend. But, I will have no other contact with her. She chose to burn that bridge. It can never be rebuilt. If she asks, I will tell her. I will not yell, cuss her out, or anything like that. But, I will let her know what she did has lasting consequences.

As for my return to Facebook, it is to be determined.


  1. I'm not on Facebook, never have been, because most of the people I went to school with are like that and I don't really want anything to do with them again. Ever.

    I moved away from home the day after I graduated from high school and have spent very little time in the area since. I've never been to a high school reunion. My sister is on Facebook and regularly gets comments asking when I'm going to get in there. But even my old friends, real friends, talk the same shit. So, no reason for me to ever be on there.

    But as infuriating as I find it all, I don't have to deal with the hurt, since I am white. I can't even imagine how difficult that must be, but you have my sympathy. I'm really sorry that you have to suffer through these experiences.

    I think you should go to your reunion if there are people you want to see. Don't let the ignorance of others keep you from doing whatever the hell you want. I agree with your planned approach of treating them with respect while maintaining your distance then and in the future. But still, fuck'em.

  2. I'm so sorry this happened to you. :(

    Facebook has become a breeding ground of ignorance and other ridiculousness. It's really disheartening to see some of the BS that people post... but on the other hand, it has also helped me weed out those with whom I have no need to associate anymore (e.g. high school friends who morphed into very scary adults).

    I agree with Rebecca - you should definitely go to the reunion if there are people you want to see. You're a very gracious person and you know how to deal with people without sinking to their level.