Yes! Magazine, September 2017
"It’s not about you personally unless you personally caused the problem."
When it comes to social media etiquette, we are all still learning how to interact with each other while respecting boundaries and the spaces we give ourselves.
What has translated straight over from our in-person interactions are racist, sexist, and ableist micro- and macroaggressions. How do we navigate those? Well, it would help if folks with privilege recognized the ways in which they are routinely demanding labor from marginalized people online.
In regards to White folks and their anti-Blackness, here is a list of 10 ways they can stop annoying people of color on social media.
- **When we post about racism—**like being called racist names, racial harassment, feelings about being called racist things, or being racially harassed—stop saying you’re shocked. Don’t say, “I can’t believe this still happens.” Don’t tell us all the ways you’re surprised, because you’re either lying or haven’t been paying attention. Don’t show us how much you don’t listen when we talk by carelessly stating “shock.” Think about what it says to us about how you see us before you say something.
- When we share whatever flavor of racial pain we’re in, don’t proclaim what a good White person you personally are and then go on to tell a story about that time you rescued a poor Black child from the ghetto. We don’t want to hear about that time you bought some jammy pants that gave 5 cents to an elephant in India or whatever. Just don’t do it because it’s not about you personally unless you personally caused the problem. If you want to tell your story about what a wonderful White person you are, take it to your own space because we’re not here for it.
- Related to number 2, say you come across a post on Facebook and there is a lengthy thread where people of color are going off about how terrible White people are: Don’t be the White person to #notallwhitepeople the thing. If you are personally offended by the “stereotyping” and “generalizations” of a group of people either sharing their pain or cracking jokes about Whitey, calm the hell down. There is not a comment thread long enough. You, singular Good White Person, cannot be the savior of Whiteness.
- Not all conversations need your stories about something tangentially related. For example, a group of Black folks on social media are talking about hair issues. Maybe we’re talking about things like little Black girls being threatened with suspension from school for wearing their hair natural or wearing braids. Maybe we’re talking about living in majority-White cities and not being able to find certain products, whatever. Mind. Your. Own. Business. The time someone told a Blonde joke that hurt your feelings or the glossy lady-rag article you read that says curly hair isn’t serious—please do not insert yourself. Stay in your lane.
- If you don’t understand a Black colloquialism, African American Vernacular English, or other brown people slang, do not start yammering about the demise of the English language and how terrible slang is. AAVE is among the most vibrant and ever-changing dialects of the English language. So don’t. If you don’t understand, Google before you ask or just deal with the fact that it isn’t for you. ...
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