6F, VVhite, yt, wyt, and v.v.h.i.t.e, are all ways that Black people write out white people. You might be thinking that it’s Black creativity, which it is, but it’s born out of necessity.
A lot of social media platforms, but especially Facebook, have a race problem. I’m not one to mince words, so let’s call it what it is – Facebook has a Black people problem.
One look at Facebook’s community standards, will have you believing that they’re committed to curtailing racism, harassment and hate speech. But through their actions, well, that was determined to be a damn lie.
It is INCREDIBLY common for Black people, to be put in FB jail, as we like to call it, simply for saying white or white people. Where we’re unable to post or comment for a predetermined amount of time, due to allegedly violating those good ole’ community standards.
I can already hear the murmurs of “you all must have said something bad about white people for that happen.”
If you think that using white as a general person descriptor, talking about situations where you’ve experienced racism, describing the very same problem that we’re speaking about in this post or using the word white, as in the color, of an inanimate object, is “saying something bad about white people,” then sure.
I’ve mentioned this topic before, but because of this practice, a lot of Black people have backup accounts. In fact, most of us have several. So when our main account gets thrown in FB jail, we can log in to one of our others, until our post block sentence, is over. I, personally, have FB friends with 10+ different accounts.
Since there’s heavy-handed and unnecessary scrutiny on what Black people say, the same has to be said about, white people, right? Nah.
Something that’s talked about just as much, is how white people are able to threaten Black people, call them slurs etc, usually without recourse.
For instance, my support inbox, the section of Facebook where you see the decisions for posts/comments that have been reported, is FULL of votes, in favor of racism. White person called a Black person a Nigger? Facebook says it doesn’t violate community standards. White person threatens to rape a Black woman? Still doesn’t violate community standards. Threats to murder Black people? Perfectly acceptable, according to Facebook. Even after requesting a review, the decision will come back as “we didn’t take down their comment.”
Now sure, with Covid, Facebook has limited staff and there’s some auto decision-making happening, but this problem has existed for years. After much outcry, and hella pressure, Facebook has decided to make some changes. Their statement:
“We know that hate speech targeted towards underrepresented groups can be the most harmful, which is why we have focused our technology on finding the hate speech that users and experts tell us is the most serious”..
“Over the past year, we’ve also updated our policies to catch more implicit hate speech, such as content depicting Blackface, stereotypes about Jewish people controlling the world, and banned holocaust denial…Thanks to significant investments in our technology we proactively detect 95 percent of the content we remove and we continue to improve how we enforce our rules as hate speech evolves over time.”
I realize that none of this is news, to Black people – it’s something that just is, across social media, and we’re of the “I’ll believe it when I see it” mindset, about the changes. But this is more so a reminder that racism and the systems, people and organizations that uphold it, occur in EVERY conceivable space that exists. Literally.
Right under many-a-person’s nose, as I’ve come to recognize, when non-Black people express genuine shock, when finding out why Black people are “spelling white differently.” Or wondering why a blatantly racist post wasn’t taken down, when reported by a Black person, but was taken down when they reported it (or maybe it wasn’t.)
I suppose I wrote about this topic, again, because I’ve seen a lot of comments of the “if you look for racism, you’ll find it” variety. Which is a ridiculously disparaging comment, naive even. A comment that fails to recognize that we don’t have to “look” for it anywhere. It’s shoved in our faces, molests our ears and pops up every way we turn – all day, erry day.
When JanayB isn’t posting memes, scrolling through “wokebook” posts, ordering food and otherwise being your typical millennial, you can find her here destroying white tears and basking in her unapologetic blackness. Get in touch with her at JanayBsays@gmail.com.