I admit that I am that annoying person on Facebook. I shout my POV from the rooftops. I post tons of articles hoping that people will read them. I sometimes engage when I really, really know better than to do it. I am a keyboard activist if you will.
Have you heard of this term? It’s basically a term for someone who talks about a lot of issues but doesn’t really do anything other than talk. To make matters worse, they only “talk” on social media.
TheyWe attempt to effect change in a sphere that is made up mostly of people who agree with our point(s) of view. When people disagree, we have the option of engaging (not recommended), blocking them or passively aggressively posting a status update that calls them out without specifically calling them out. Brave, right?
I shout on my FB page about how black lives matter and how saying that Black lives matter does not mean that other lives do not matter. I shout on my FB page about white privilege and race issues. I shout on my FB page about the need for the normalization of breastfeeding and the normalization of Black women breastfeeding. I talk about rape culture. I post about feminism and body positivity. I post inspirational (to me) quotes and bible verses. I am that annoying FB friend.
Today, I saw an article about a Broncos football player who knelt down during the national anthem and, in turn, forfeited his sponsorship with some corporation. I was appalled. Like, why would the company choose not to endorse this player who is making a “stand” for a serious issue in the forum in which he has influence? Luckily, I restrained myself from posting a status update asking that question. (If you follow me on social media, you’re welcome.)
The thing is that I post on social media because I feel unheard in everyday life. In case you forgot, I am in a mixed race marriage. The fact that I’m black and my husband is white was never really that big of a deal to me since we seemed to agree on basically everything. yes, our family cultures are completely different but that doesn’t mean that we can’t script our own family culture and decide what’s important to us. We are doing that. But, now that I am “coming into my own” so to speak, it turns out that my husband and I do not agree on everything like (I thought) we used to. Not only do we not agree, we are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to feminism, pro life vs. pro choice, abortion rights, race issues, gender issues. It’s actually kind of scary. I don’t like the uncertainty of loving someone who disagrees with me on so many things that are dear to my heart. I would like to learn how to listen to opposing view points (especially those of my husband) without responding. Just listening for understanding. Isn’t that how change will actually happen? When everyone listens to each other instead of shouting loud, louder, loudest? I think so.
What can I do?
I realize that I alone will not be able to “fix” all of the things that I think are wrong in America. Posting on FB will not change the opinions of the people who (I think) need to expand their thinking… if anything, it will more than likely cause them to dig their heels in deeper. I will not be able to kneel during the national anthem to prove a point. What I will be able to do is listen to understand. Pray for openness on my part. Love without expecting anything in return. I can engage in conversations that (may very well) hurt without getting (too) offended. I can stay true to myself even though many people in my life don’t think that racism is “a thing.” I can teach my daughter about her history. Her full history of my black side and Wes’ white side. I can (hopefully) raise a confident person who can think her own thoughts and express them fully. Who can see color and realize its beauty. Who can see differences and realize that the differences are not meant to divide us.
I can do as my sis and friend, Dawn, says and choose to not become offended when people say things that I don’t even sort of agree with. They are speaking from their experience. Their experience is valid. I can take my grievances to the cross. I can kneel.
That’s what I can do.