3 Reasons Your Black Friends Deleted You From Social Media This Year

So... your Black friend(s) deleted (and maybe blocked) you from their social media pages?
This could be why:

1. You share hurtful, uneducated, racially aggressive, or other problematic memes, photos, opinions, etc.

black woman visibly upset after seeing a racist social media post on her friend's feed
This might come as a shock to you, but I promise it's something you need to learn sooner than later.
No matter what your intention is or was - sharing racially insensitive, outright racist, uneducated, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and / or intolerantly biased content on your social media pages is more than highly problematic - it's actively causing harm.

Maybe you hoped that your friend would reach out or comment if you'd insulted them, but the truth is no Black person owes you that level of respect if you're behaving in this way.

Sharing intolerant and racist content on your social media isn't you having a difference of opinion. With every share, retweet, and like you're furthering rhetoric based in white supremacy that has been used to oppress, discriminate, and other us based on nothing more than our skin colour and it's NEVER GOING TO BE OKAY.

2. You actively engage in, promote, and further stereotypical whiteness (which is based in white supremacist ideology).

What does this even mean? Quite simply it means you fit into one or more of the following categories of people:

JR Duquette's comic depiction of a white woman misunderstanding what it means to be anti-racist
  • You have few (or no) close friends outside of your own race
  • You engage in few (or no) activities, hobbies, and/or social events that aren't centred around white people
  • Your idea of inclusion is fetishizing and/or tokenizing Black people for personal gain
    • ie. So you aren't perceived as racist by others, or so you seem "cool" to your friends. Classic white tropes of this nature include, "I can't be racist, my best friend / neighbour / brother's wife / co-worker / nanny / housekeeper is Black."
    • ie. Using AAVE terms like Sis, Girl, Huntey, Okurr, etc. in conversation with your white friends because the language is trendy
  • You engage in virtue-signalling and / or performative anti-racism while doing nothing to try to dismantle racist systems, ideologies, or opinions
  • You use racial slurs when your Black or POC friends aren't in the room (and sometimes accidentally when they are)
  • You make racist jokes on a regular basis
  • You only vocalize your support of Black issues when your white friends aren't around
  • You are silent on social media during times of unrest related to racism, or you're openly critical of the Black response to racism on social media
  • You distance yourself from other races by using terms like "those people", "thugs", "Blacks", etc. when speaking about said races
  • You aren't actively engaged in anti-racist behaviours
  • You do little or no personal research about racism, bias, and the role you are playing in upholding oppressive ideas. This includes things like:
    • Constantly asking friends outside of your race to educate you about the effects of racism 
      black woman arguing about anti-racism on the phone
    • Arguing with friends who tell you when something is racist (who, btw, are more educated than you about it due to their lived experiences with racism)
    • Calling your BIPOC or other POC friends to complain about someone calling you out for your racist or biased behaviour (especially instead of researching the topic yourself and acknowledging your problems)

The list of examples of inappropriate behaviour could go on for days, but the above examples should give you an idea about what you might be doing wrong.

3. You're a repeat offender and your Black friends are tired of waiting for you to do better.

This is a big one. A lot of times Black folks will have spoken up about their discomfort with racism in the past.

If you met that discomfort with excuses, attempted to diminish the experiences you were being told about, attempted to make the person telling you the "bad guy" by suggesting your feelings were more important than theirs, or ignored their discomfort in favour of your own, you were due a comeuppance. 

More than that, if you've been told in the past and you've done nothing to change your attitudes, beliefs, or behaviours, you are an active part of perpetuating racism.

Now that you know, what can you do?

The honest answer is it depends.

If the friendship means something to you, apologize and make an earnest effort to do better. This can take on many forms including educating yourself about racism through personal research, supporting POC-owned businesses, actively seeking out POC friendships and acquaintanceships through networking, etc. 

Just know that your apology doesn't mean your friend has to forgive and forget, or even be friends with you again.

That said, engaging in the work of becoming actively anti-racist is something you should do for you. After all, don't you want the world you live in to be a more inclusive and accepting place?

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