Cherry Wilson: Should I remove or reply to my racist Facebook friend?

Cherry Wilson looking at a phone

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Can I delete a friend or reply to their posts?

We probably all have that friend on Facebook who recently turned out to be racist.

Mine is someone I know where I grew up from.

I normally scroll through their status, dragging their exes or results away from a Facebook quiz.

But focusing on George Floyd’s death, protests against racism and the debate over the removal of controversial British statues, have moved on to publishing randomly racist material.

I know they don’t think it’s a big deal – they’re just jokes, don’t take it too seriously.

But when I see things like that, it stings.

It just reminds me of all the racist names I called, every time I was asked, “Where are you from?” (England)

“No where are you from, from?” (Oh do you mean why do I have this colored skin?)

Reminds me of the time when my sister and I couldn’t join a London club because they wanted a “European crowd” (white code), and of all the times people think it’s okay to touch my curly hair a pet).

Racism is much more than calling someone “N-word”.

I don’t know if I have the energy to respond to this person’s messages, but if I don’t speak, am I just releasing them?

Cherry Wilson He is a proud Nordic who recently returned to Stockport, Greater Manchester, where he grew up.

She studied journalism in Sheffield and was the first of her family to go to university.

His passion is to tell stories of people and communities behind the headlines, exploring the issues that matter to them.

He has a great love of tea cups, jerk chicken, chips and salsa and Coronation Street.

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I have decided to do something. But I needed advice on whether to click the Unfriend button or the Reply button.

Social psychologist Dr Keon West says it depends on what you are trying to achieve.

“If you are trying to safeguard your mental health, I wouldn’t say you have to get close to that person.

“I don’t think you will feel very good after repeatedly getting involved with people doing very racist things, you will probably feel worse.”

But if you hope to get them to publish things that are less racist or more compassionate, you might consider pressing that answer button.

“If you are trying to remind other people that social norms don’t allow this kind of behavior, I would say you should talk to that person and have a conversation with them.

“Even if it doesn’t change its mind, it could give them a different sense of what is considered acceptable behavior.”

When I see the posts of the person I know, I wonder if answering them would change anything.

I can only hear them now – “You’re just playing the race card.”

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So I asked other people what they did when they met racist and ignorant posts.

“I definitely started replying to the comments, but it went wrong,” Alisha Standing, 27, told me.

“Someone told me that I deserve to be raped while trying to explain why it is important for Black Lives Matter to have his voice against All Lives Matter.

“After that, I just decided to eliminate and block people. It actually scared me a little, actually.”

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Dave McGrath

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Njambi claims to send informative articles to people who post racist views on social media

Comedian and author Njambi McGrath had time to respond to a man whom he considered racist even though it may at times seem “exhausting”.

But he believes by sharing his thoughts which could make him think about how other people feel.

“If he returns home that day and even if he has the same point of view, he will know that someone has raised a point.

“He’s not as ignorant as before I got engaged to him.”

Kasia Williams says her husband has experienced racism, so he believes it is important that he speaks when he sees it on Facebook.

“I can’t keep silent and ignore it. Many people listened and said,” Thanks for sharing your knowledge “and have continued to educate others and I think it’s important.

“But unfortunately there are people who don’t want to listen and I started thinking it was a waste of time.”

Dr. West says that if you reply to people’s posts, don’t expect them to suddenly stop being racist.

“If you think that discussing with them on the Internet will be less partisan, the research probably says no. But they may be aware that other people don’t appreciate their behavior.

“There are ways to educate people, but they still take time and usually don’t take the format of a screaming game on the Internet.”

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Matthew Collins, chief intelligence officer of the anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate, says that much racism and bigotry stem from fear and lack of understanding.

He calls it “how about” – what does it mean “what about me?”

“They look at Black Lives Matter and the two things they say are:” Why should they get something I don’t have? “and who don’t understand the concept.

“They have a real fear that what little they have, they have something to lose.”

Matthew believes that society will need strong leadership to tackle some people’s fears about racial equality in order to make significant progress.

“We have to keep in mind that we will encounter a lot of resistance unless we can calm the fears of people who think that equality for black people somehow takes something away from them – and obviously not.”

After looking at the Facebook page of the person I know again, one of their latest posts gets black people out of the picture.

I can’t help but look up – I’m tired of everything. It’s time to click the no friend button.

Follow Cherry on Twitter: @cherryewilson

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