Do Your Online Comments Support White Supremacy Without You Realizing?

Hold up – it’s time we all take a moment to look at our social media presence and check the kind of values we’re promoting.

In the past several weeks, following the demonstrations in Charlottesville and the NFL kneeling controversy, racism has been a leading topic of conversation. Even if you tried to avoid the subject by tuning out the news, the social media platforms you visit would have provided you with plenty of commentary anyway.

However, this exercise is about looking back at what you – not other people – have posted during this period. Did the articles you share, the comments you made take a stand for racial justice or did they sidestep and – perhaps inadvertently – serve to uphold a system of white supremacy?

During the events in Charlottesville, I spied more than a couple of my liberal, presumably non-racist friends online defend the rights of neo-Nazis to assemble. It’s not so much that these friends were wrong – hate groups do have First Amendment rights provided they’re not being violent or threatening – but when they only way they weighed in on the news was to defend the hate speech, it implicitly suggests you’ve taken a side.

Look, it’s great to stand up for speech on principle – even the speech with which you disagree. However, if you believe that free speech is that important, why are you failing to use your own words? Condemn this kind of bigotry and promote a more just society.

If the main extent of your own speech was to give power to the white supremacists but then you remained silent with opposing views you hold, you’re helping to perpetuate the existing racist system.

Similar posts are resurfacing in the wake of NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem. Again, presumably non-racist people are updating their social media accounts to say that they will always stand up for the flag.

Okay, fine, that’s their prerogative to take that stance, but by limiting their words to that, they are effectively casting aside the legitimate concerns people of color have about being killed by law enforcement. These words are helping to silence and distract from the message about racial inequality.

(On an additional note, if you’re one of those special people who stood up for the free speech rights of Neo-Nazis but not the free speech rights of athletes who kneel during the national anthem, there’s probably nothing “accidental” about the racism you’re promoting.)

Fair enough if you’re not a fan of a particular form of protest, but if your focus is on that rather than the larger societal ills, you’re missing the point. In order to push for progress, monitor your own online presence and make sure that the majority of your comments are speaking in favor of equality and justice, and not just as a devil’s advocate against the principles you think you stand for. Should you feel compelled to make a contrarian point, go ahead, but don’t let that be the entirety of your posts.

Finally, for those who intentionally avoid making even vaguely political posts on their social media accounts, don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. Every time issues like these arise and you artfully sidestep them, you, too, are helping to perpetuate the existing, unjust system.

Ask yourself:

  • How are you making society a better place by not participating in this conversation?
  • What else are you using your internet comments to talk about that is more important than promoting progress and equality?

Remember, free speech is a powerful right, and if you’re deferring on it while white supremacists in this country are exercising it loudly, you’re not doing your part to create the country you want to see. Don’t allow your social media presence to be racist – even accidentally so.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

76 comments

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill26 days ago

Just because you are proud to be white, or whatever race you are, does NOT mean you are racist. Just means you are proud of your heritage! I am a proud white, southern woman!

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Mike R
Mike R1 months ago

I say not.

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Mike R
Mike R1 months ago

I say not.

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Mike R
Mike R1 months ago

I say not.

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Aaron F
Past Member 2 months ago

I've seen many things said on social media...including Care2...that are absolutely appalling.

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S M
S M2 months ago

Appalling! America grows worse, regresses these last ten years. Making war and unrest around the world is destabilising their own society.

Please sign and share: Near lynching of 8yr old biracial boy.
https://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/takeaction/176/391/481/?z00m=29576066&redirectID=2500911448

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Philippa P
Philippa Powers2 months ago

Thanks.

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JT S
JT Smith2 months ago

Because I'm cognizant of the fact that my translators do not always translate properly, I tend to "over explain" what I'm trying to say. While I do not believe myself to be a bigot, honesty compels me to acknowledge that I might be one regardless of how much I don't want to be one. While I always do my best to say precisely what I mean and to mean what I say, I cannot make claims of my success rate.

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Kay M
Kay M2 months ago

Good evening and thank you for this article - IT IS GREAT- GIVES US ALL A LOT TO THINK ABOUT SO NEXT TIME WE CAN BE PREPARED TO COMMENT WITH KNOWLEDGE AND CONVICTION IN OUR OPINIONS-BELIEFS- AND COMMITMENTS --TO EQUALITY - DIVERSITY- AND FREE SPEECH- sincerely KAY M.

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Colin C
Colin C2 months ago

Thanks

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