I am not a good user of Facebook. I don’t often update my photos, and when I do I usually delete the old photo. I don’t change my status – lately it’s just been links to my blog. I rarely ‘like’ someone’s posts and I even more rarely comment on them. I don’t send friend requests, I don’t click on ads, I don’t follow social media stars, and I rarely join groups. I am the poster-child for poor social media presence.
My lack of use is partially because I don’t really care to do any of it, and part of it is because I don’t see the point in it – especially with commenting. I am amazed at the number of people who choose to comment on Facebook posts and it intrigues me when a comment is made on a post that has zero connection to the commenter. When I’m scrolling through Facebook I may see a picture and think, Ha! That is true! or Well, that’s completely false. Rarely do I stop, pull up my keyboard, and go to town on the various points as to why it’s a lie or why it made me laugh.
A few months back a friend of mine posted about how he was feeling diminished as a person and people still treated him horribly even though he has just as many rights as the next individual. Because it’s just a thing I do, I wanted to uplift and encourage him, so I offered words of hope and reminded him that he is valued and cherished.
As with most Facebook postings, someone commented on my comment and said that my words weren’t necessary because our mutual friend already knew these things. This person went on to say that it was a larger issue and work needed to be done to fix the problems that perpetuate people’s thinking about race, culture, and ethnicity. They tried to engage me several times to discuss their points and why I was incorrect.
I just wanted to be nice to my friend.
While I wanted to offer some encouragement, both me and my comment were both mowed down by calls against systemic racism and perpetual injustices. While yes, we do need to stand up against these things, I know that I wasn’t wrong in my initial comment. My friend needed to be reminded of who he is and that he is valued.
There are a few things I’m taking away from this situation:
- I need to recognize and acknowledge that some people are going to want to argue, no matter what. They’re always going to be holding up the banners against injustice, against tyranny, against systemic issues, no matter the context or discussion. We need those people in this world and I need to help those people use their skills in real-life communications.
- I have a valuable part in this work. While I am not the up-front talker, I can be the behind-the-scenes person who supports others and I’m just as valuable as they are. I don’t have to march, protest, or argue all the time – especially if it’s not what I’m good at. But I should do what I can to help people who are good at those things.
- Words of encouragement are always – always – helpful and necessary.
It’s easy to get on social media to call out wrongs and argue away at the issues. It’s much more difficult to hold our tongues and scroll on by. I think it would benefit us all if we did the latter, and I think it would be even better if we chose to have those discussions in person. May God give us patience with one another, may we know when to speak up, and above all else, may we always love and encourage one another.
much love. sheth.