Why I Deactivated My Facebook and Why I’m So Angry

Onyx Contributor:  Stephanie Monk (@stephinitely666)

I recently deactivated all three of my Facebook accounts.  I did so rather quickly and with absolutely no heads up to any of my good friends and family.  I had to do it.  I had to close it out and take a breather.  Here it is about a month later and I’m contemplating going back, although I’m extremely hesitant.  I’m still very angry, and still reeling from the frustration, and helplessness I was feeling in the never ending fight on social media for justice and equality, and working tirelessly against racism and white structure.  This is my commentary on why I left, why I may or may not go back and why it is I’m so angry and fed up.

My main account had recently been banned for 30 days, following a long and grueling fight against a vast array of mainly Ohioans who targeted my profile after I called out their friend’s racism and hypocrisy.  They were upset I wasn’t “nice enough”, so they came in droves to my main account, attempting to justify the public execution of Tamir Rice–which is my firm line in the sand.  There is no justifying what happened that day, and I vehemently despise those who still make the attempts to do so.  I genuinely do not care about these people, and I genuinely believe the country and the world would be better off if they just went away and quietly died.  Not be murdered or anything crass, just… fuck all the way off.  I cannot be nice to these people.  At all.  A 12 year old child was shot within 2 seconds of police arriving on the scene.  This child did not have a live firearm, he was not threatening anyone, he did not fire it, the police DID NOT EVEN SEE IT and they even claim they THOUGHT he was an adult.  Which is even more peculiar when you consider that being an adult in Ohio and open carrying a weapon is not illegal.  So if they thought he was armed and thought he was an adult-WHY DID THEY SHOOT HIM?  Particularly within two seconds-no questions, no negotiations and no hesitations?  There is no justifying the public execution of twelve year old Tamir Rice.  NONE.  There was zero reason that officer should have shot him.  Then you also think about what happened moments afterwards, as Tamir laid in the snow, bleeding to death and the officers took a full four minutes before dispatching for an ambulance, and when his 14 year old sister came running up, they threw her to the ground, handcuffed her and threw her in the cruiser and commanded her to “just calm down”.  The lack of compassion and care that immediately came after they shot and killed a twelve year old child solidifies everything.  They saw a black male and they thought he had a gun, so they shot because in the United States of America, a white male carrying a gun is exercising his right to open carry but a black male doing so simply must be a threat and must be terminated immediately, no questions asked.  Never mind the fact that white males commit the most mass shootings in our country, it’s people of color who are the threat.

So, Tamir is my line in the sand.  It is the case that absolutely cannot be justified, and yet, the grand jury found no reason to indict the officers who murdered him.  Of course they did not.  There is no way to justify it, and yet, white people still desperately try to.  So when a lady named Sarah H. decided to post about the Rice family receiving a payout for the wrongful death of their son (note how suddenly it was wrongful and not justified, now that it’s only money and not murder charges), stating that they were another case of “the ghetto lottery” and that “all criminals should just move to Ohio” since it “pays”, I snapped a bit.  I do not handle it well, I will be the first to admit, when people try to justify this nonsensical loss of a 12 year old child, I lose my “nice words” right along with all of my patience.

In her statement she was boldly claiming Tamir to have been a criminal, although he broke no laws.  She downed the family making crass claims that black people literally AIM to be killed by police to receive a payout, which makes just about as much sense as the rest of what she had to say.  After making a few comments (some of my tamer, nicer comments-HONESTLY), she blocked me rather quickly, but she and her friends continued talking about me.  I have multiple accounts at the ready due to Facebook’s racist standards–I’ll get into that in a bit, and sent a few quick messages to them in response to the things they said after I’d been blocked.  At this point, her friends began visiting my page, commenting on a variety of public statuses and continuing the situation.  A lot of them seemed to be high school students.  They were commenting on my status even during school hours, saying things like Tamir “deserved to die” and making extremely futile attempts at insulting me, all the while demonstrating the very core of what I loathe about my own race.  Our ruthless and vile culture of justifying the unjustifiable and supporting and even encouraging white supremacy ideals and systems.  I got carried away.  I was done with the nonsense, and beyond done with white teenagers from Ohio stepping to my page in attempts to justify something so grotesque as the public execution of a 12 year old child.  After shutting them down left and right with facts, they still continued and I eventually started telling them to just fuck off and die, as I tend to do with pests like this.  I blocked and blocked and blocked and eventually they stopped.  But not before one girl’s father started threatening me, demanding I “stop talking” to children “like that”.  Never mind she came to an adult’s page to harass, only to get told and then some.  She should be treated with kindness in his book.  Well, I’m not the one and if my daughter dared to do this dumb shit, she’d certainly not be coming crying to me when she got her ass told all the way off.  I’d be telling her off too.  Educate your child, and maybe teach her some online safety, and how about also not letting her be on her phone during school hours?  He can fuck off, too.

I was featured on a podcast on the OnyxTruth website wherein Sarah H. called in, in exchange for them removing the blast piece they’d put up exposing her comment.  This wasn’t easy.  I certainly had a ton more to say.  I ultimately feel she still does not care, does not see the error of her words and I think the only thing she learned was to keep her profile private and locked down.

Then came the reports.  Statuses of mine being reported, screenshots of things other people had said were reported and before I knew it I was facing a 30 day ban on my main account, and a 7 day ban on my secondary.  Initially, I assumed it’s the asshat teens and their cry baby parents.  However, I was soon to discover I was wrong, when a post I made that was friends only was reported and removed, and I was subsequently banned.  This meant someone on my friends list was to blame.  Time for some weeding of my friends list.  I then received a couple of vague messages from fake profiles.  One from a Peggy, who just wanted to call me a Becky (which is not insulting in the least, as I clearly can’t be a Becky, since I recognize and fight my own ingrained racism as well as work tirelessly to avoid cultural appropriation), and one from a Becky Whyte, who had also been harassing and reporting some of my friends, resulting in them being banned as well.  This Becky Whyte decided to also tell me that because I have C-PTSD (from all forms of child abuse), that I should “know better than” to talk to kids the way I talked to these teens who came to my page.  Newsflash, Troll, C-PTSD requires a hell of a lot more than just being told to fuck off and die because you’re being racist and the fact that you would dare to compare actual childhood abuse to this is but a stellar example of how much of a sack of shit you are, not to mention you cannot even do these things, or say these things, without hiding behind a false profile.  According to a few friends, it is Kimber Schuetz-Harper behind this profile, as they state she outed herself of on The Kinfolk Kollective page.  Since then I’ve banned a variety of other potential troll bags as well.

After all of this fuckery, and although I was quite enjoying being on a third account with a significantly smaller friends list, I still started getting frustrated.  Frustrated with the repetition, with the hypocrisy; banging against a wall of unwavering ignorance.  There are a million and seventeen examples demonstrating white privilege, racial disparities, and crystal clear white supremacist structures, yet white people still refuse to see it, still refuse to assist in creating change for the betterment of our black countrymen and women.  Every white person who laughs it off and refuses to educate themselves continues to benefit from these racist systems and continues to allow it to happen.  Even the subtle racisms contribute to a much larger picture of black children, women and men lying dead in the streets.  The refusal of white people to look at these facts, the never ending examples of racism and how they harbor it is like trying to reach shore through the strongest riptide imaginable.  It is incredibly frustrating and you can quickly succumb to the hopeless feeling that things will never change.  In order for things to change, white people would have to have collective compassion, empathy and a willingness to self-educate.  We have none of these things when it comes to black people, this country’s history, racial disparities and our white structure that continues to oppress.

I’m angry.  I’m furious.  I have been for a very long time.  Nobody should have to convince white people that these things exist and that they benefit from them because the proof is in the facts, and the facts are right there.  We just refuse to see it and believe it.  It’s infuriating and disgusting.

I then get to the line.  The line where if I fight too hard I will be deemed attempting to be a “white savior”.  The line where if I fight too hard it’s because my boyfriend is black.  The line where if I fight too hard it’s because I have ulterior motives and have a savior complex that needs fulfilled.  It’s as though I’m expected to only be angry to an extent and if I pass that limit, then I am looked at sideways and stuck in the middle.  Angry enough to literally fight but can’t because it isn’t my place.  I get it.  It’s not my place at all.  Not my fight.  However it is my just, moral and civic duty to dismantle and fight white supremacy.  It is my ancestors that caused this structure to exist and lead us to where we are now.  I have a duty to fight this. I aim to right the wrongs and assist in any way imaginable, by any means necessary.  It is a precarious line to balance and I do my best to walk it as finely as I can.  I do not have ulterior motives, I do not feel the need to save anyone.  I fight this fight because it is what is right.  I fight this fight because no mother should feel the pain of burying her son because he was shot by police.  I fight this fight because my black sisters should not be seen as any different than myself.  I fight this fight because my black sisters deserve respect, dignity and all of the same treatment and decency as myself.  I fight this fight because my black brothers do not deserve to be cavity searched on the sides of roads.  I fight this fight because my black brothers deserve every opportunity to succeed in life as much as they want to.  I fight this fight because it is fucking right.

Nobody should be automatically criminalized and deemed less than simply because of the color of their skin.  I do not expect we will rid the world or even the country of racism.  That is incredibly impractical.  I do expect we fight until the system is rid of it.  If you want to sit at home and hate black people that is on you but you should not be able to go get a gun and badge, shoot a black person because you view them as lesser and then get away with it.  Hell, Zimmerman didn’t even need a badge–just a gun.  And what an example that set, with the subsequent cases of non-black men shooting black people and getting away with it.  This is our system.  Our system is racist.  Stop trying to skirt around it.  Start looking at it and start fighting to change it.  If you genuinely are not racist, this should not be an argument-it should not even be a conversation.

Which brings me to the system of Facebook.  There are numerous articles about the double standards of Facebook.  There have been blackouts organized and followed through on, with upwards of thousands of users banning together to deactivate simultaneously in protest of the way Facebook handles their reports and what they deem a violation and not a violation of their standards.  I have reported too many comments and posts to count that contained hate speech, racial slurs and the like, only to have it come back as not violating their standards, yet I routinely see my black friends reported and banned for nonsensical posts and comments.  A friend of mine was even banned for posting “*pinches bridge of nose*.”  Someone else was banned for “Someone is trolling me.”  These things allegedly violated the standards and required my friends to be banned, upwards of 30 days.  Calling white people names such as “mayo” will get your post/comment removed and the possibility of a ban.  However, calling black people the n word, or saying “they look better in the trees” does not violate their standards.  This blatant hypocrisy has been written and spoken about by numerous people of color for quite some time now.  Yet Facebook has not uttered a word.

Shortly before I deactivated, word was getting around about Facebook’s handling of conservatives complaining that their posts were being oppressed by Facebook.  Facebook not only looked into their claims, but took the time to release press statements about it.  God forbid the conservatives are upset.  Not one word from Facebook about the racist double standards.

I had spoken often to a woman who says she is a Facebook moderator.  She told me she’d brought it up in a few meetings and was trying to get something done about it.  She said there is an algorithm that Facebook uses, and that a lot of the reports go to people out of country, who likely do not speak much English and just look for keywords to determine if someone should be banned.  Sarah H. claimed she’d received death threats and that the authorities were involved, yet a black woman in Texas received violent and detailed threats from a white man and the Houston PD said nothing could be done.  So either Sarah H. is a liar (likely) or there’s yet another disparity (also likely–why not both?).

In considering returning to Facebook, I consider what I know will happen.  It has been long enough now that likely these trolls have found new victims to harass and will leave me be.  I could be wrong, and they could start reporting me as soon as I come back.  I know that I will be called in by friends to deal with the white fuckery my race routinely presents.  I don’t mind doing this-it is part of my duty to deal with it.  It does get exhausting however I still view it as a part of what I need to do.  I know that I will hear more heart wrenching stories and cases of racism.  I know I will feel like my hands are tied and there’s nothing I can do and I know I will wonder what more can I do?  I know I will get to voice my moment to moment frustrations, disgusts, happiness and experiences.  I know my friends will be there with never ending support and love.  And Facebook’s standards will loom above me, ever threatening me with silencing tactics.

I don’t know that I’ll go back yet.  I thought if I wrote this all out, got it off my chest and had it published, I would come back confidently and more bold than before.  I’ve received requests from friends who want me to return to continue the fight on social media.  I’m here for the fight whether it’s in the streets or online.  Right now, a good bit of it appears to be online.  And in the polls.  I’m here.  I’m still paying attention and I’m still fighting.

Will my race ever wake up?  Will all these “well intentioned” white folk realize the racism they harbor and work towards ridding themselves of it?  Their friends and family as well?  Will our system ever change?  Will we ever rid the system of racism?  Will there ever be change?

I don’t know.

I just know I’m going to fight until it happens.

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