Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 10, 2010
Facebook has an interesting feature as it pertains to groups nowadays. It seems you can create a group on almost any topic, then go around and add people to it. And, if those people like it, they can add other people as well. The best thing about it is that anything said in these groups can be closed if the moderators want to keep it “safe” for the participants to express themselves freely, and thus it won’t show on your page, or they can open it up and, like Facebook business pages, what’s said will show up in your stream, which opens up the possibility of other people seeing it and joining in.
I was added to one of these groups, one called Loyal Blue. It was a group for people whose political stance is liberal. I’m fairly liberal for most things, but certainly can’t be called a bleeding heart. I won’t get into too many details because this isn’t a post about politics; at least not directly.
Initially it seemed like it was going to be a fairly safe group to talk about some issues amongst ourselves and only talk to other people who believed as I do. Some might think that discourse ends when everyone agrees on everything, but I tend to believe that everything starts with people agreeing with each other, and then shades of disagreement help to flesh things out.
And things were going along well until there was an interesting post related to a blog post someone wrote on race and politics and this year’s elections. It was a pretty good post, linking to an article on another blog, as I went to read it, and I left a fairly innocuous comment and moved on with life. What happens is you get notified whenever someone comments on a post you’ve commented on, so eventually I went back to that post, only to see that what I’d written wasn’t there any longer. I thought that was strange, so I rewrote the post, thinking that maybe I hadn’t left it at all. Later on, I wrote a different comment on the same post, and left once more. Then when I went back I not only saw that my post was gone, but someone else had obviously written something and had their post deleted at least once, and they mentioned it and said they were out of there. At this point I got it and decided to leave as well.
The initial point I have to make here is that it’s ridiculous for any group to just delete comments they don’t like that have to do with a topic. For instance, every comment I saw,including mine, was on point with the original post. The creator of the group had left something saying he believed any conversation that touched upon race should be somewhere else. This person is black; did this person forget that the president of the United States happens to be black as well? If ever there was a time for this country to come to grips in talking about race, it’s now.
The second point I have to make is that no one gets to decide that race needs to be discussed in only one place and not everywhere else. I haven’t discussed race all that often on this blog but I easily could. In America, race permeates almost every major decision that’s made in this country; trust me on this one. I could point it out almost everywhere. But I don’t because, well, this blog would take on a decidedly different tone and that’s not what I want to achieve here. But I’ll certainly point it out when I need to, such as during the presidential election when I showed this video from Ohio; shameful stuff.
Finally, my third point is that if you’re going to censor stuff, you should make sure what’s being censored deserves it. The only thing I would censor on this site is bad language, which I’ve never had to do, and posts that I know aren’t related to the topic and are meant to inflame. Anything else, you can disagree with me and I’ll leave it here for the world to see. That and, if it seems like it needs one, I’ll write a post about it and see where that goes as well. That’s what this post is about; they can censor me on their Facebook group, but they can’t censor me on my own blog.
Nope, Loyal Blue wasn’t so loyal to the people who contributed to it, and that’s a shame. That’s not what social media is supposed to be about. Luckily, there’s another outlet, and I know the person and she has promised to never delete any comments unless they’re personal attacks. That’s good enough for me; now there’s loyalty.
And it made me write two posts in one day; way to go!