I Quit Facebook and No One* Noticed

*Fewer than a handful, anyway

Eunice Brownlee

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Photo by Barefoot Communications on Unsplash

It all happened so fast. I saw the post and I debated on how to react. Should I give it an angry reaction? Should I comment? Do I call my friend out in public, or do I do it privately? Will he even understand? Will he try to understand?

I threw my phone down and screamed in frustration. I was exhausted at having this conversation and I just could not bring myself to do it again.

I picked up my phone, scrolled to settings on Facebook and deactivated my account. I was asked my reasons for quitting. Of the options Facebook gave me, I chose “I don’t feel safe on Facebook” because it seemed the most appropriate. After all, I was quitting because I grew tired of seeing things posted mostly out of ignorance, but always rooted in racism.

Since the murder of George Floyd, I made a decision to stop being the friend who made excuses for my white friends for both being ignorant to our race issues and for making comments that were not overtly racist, but still racist in nature. I figured that it would be easier to make loving and gentle corrections with my friends than random strangers on the Internet.

Save for a few, most of my friends were pretty receptive to what I had to say when I pointed out how certain actions or words were either outright racist or could be perceived as such. I even had a hard conversation with my white dad on why he couldn’t write “all lives matter” on the census postcards we were sending to predominately Black and Latino communities.

I had one friend that didn’t seem to get it at all. We had late night text exchanges that usually started with him asking a racist question and me responding with, “are you seriously saying this to me right now?” After a few months, I realized that he wasn’t even trying. The realization that one of my very best friends, one whom I spoke to daily, didn’t see anti-racism work worthy of his energy hurt me deeply.

So when he posted the story about Cannon Hinnant’s murder with the comment, “His life mattered too!” I absolutely lost it. After I unplugged my Facebook account, I went radio silent on him until I cooled off and figured out how to have the conversation in a way that wouldn’t make my head explode.

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