>So over the weekend I was obsessed with checking Facebook. Well, more obsessed than usual. I had 3 different “friends*” post status updates that either were offensive or led to a slew of offensive comments from the “friends” of my “friend”. It was kind of like passing a car wreck on the highway — You tell yourself not to look. You look. Then you feel scared and a little bit sick. Except in this case I felt angry and sick. And I kept looking.
The comments involved racism, homophobia, and/or misogyny. One status update was meant as a joke (I think). Some of the other comments did involve some sarcasm but most did not. For example, one person (not my friend) wrote that lesbians should be “strangled”. He then said he was “kidding”. But for me, that comment was way past funny. WAY past. Another “joke” (again, not by my friend) stereotyped all people from the Middle East as suicide bombers. Racism does not amuse me. Homophobia does not amuse me. Hate isn’t funny.
There was a total of 30 offensive comments between the 3 different status updates. To be clear, there were at least 20 other comments that I didn’t like (cutting remarks about Obama, for example) but weren’t really “offensive”. A difference in political opinions is one thing. Attacking the rights, self-worth, and very existence of certain groups of people is a whole different ball game. A game that I have zero tolerance for. Zero.
I would sit at the computer and read off the latest comments to Demetri. Then I would say (and spell, as Zoey was present) exactly what I thought of the comments. I would tell Demetri what I was going to write in response and he would come pry my fingers off the keyboard and beg me to think before I responded. Hm, thinking, what a novel concept. So I did. I thought. And thought some more.
Today my anger has turned into a kind of a sadness. I don’t feel a part of my community because my community is dominated by homophobia and racism**. It is dominated by people claiming that lesbians are a result of people “turning away from Christ”.*** There is a culture here of hate. It goes way back. It goes deep. And it goes mostly untalked about. Unchallenged. Unnoticed. I have found my friends that go against this culture. At times, we all have had to keep our mouths shut. It feels bad. It feels vaguely dirty. And today I feel weighed down by all the badness. I feel coated in griminess.
What do you do when you see an offensive comment on Facebook? Do you respond? Do you respond only to friends? To friends of friends?
* Friends is in quotes bc some of my Facebook friends I don’t really know all that well. Like, “Hey we were at that conference together once! We’re friends!”
**I still struggle with racism. I am working on it. Every day. Like most people that look like me, I will be working on it the rest of my life.
***I would argue that homophobia is a result of people not understanding Christ in the first place. But that doesn’t seem to be a valid opinion here . . .