I have been on Facebook for some time now and I know that I have been unfriended a few times. This past month or so, I have been the one to unfriend.
First of all, it is amusing to me that the word, ‘unfriend,’ is now a verb. The French teacher in me wants to conjugate it.
1st Person I unfriend We unfriend
2nd Person You unfriend You unfriend
3rd Person He/She/It unfriends They unfriend
Unfriending is a phenomenon that is peculiar to Facebook although I am sure that it may have crept into other areas as well.
I really didn’t want to unfriend but I felt that I had to. I see things that people put on their sites and unfortunately I am offended. I am offended not only for myself, but also for a targeted group. I feel that to be true to myself and to the values I have, that I have no recourse.
When you are in public and offensive things are done or said, it is often difficult to express yourself without appearing rude and possibly causing a brouhaha. On the other hand, we have a responsibility to make sure that people understand that there are certain things they cannot take for granted. There is nothing worse than someone making an assumption that you hold the negative values that they do. On Facebook, unfriending is a way of making a statement. It says that despite the fact that you thought there were commonalities, and there probably still are, that there are some areas where our tolerance of others’ particular views is pushed to the limit.
MK and I once had a wonderful discussion about racism with the wonderful, Jesuit priest who co-officiated our marriage ceremony. He said that from his vantage point, as a man of color, that one of the best things to do is to be an appropriate example. That is what I am trying to do.
I am sorry to have to do it. If I thought that there could be some learning in having a discussion, I would do it. Unfortunately, sometimes one just has to recognize that some people cannot help themselves from making or restating negative or offensive things on Facebook. To all of you out there on the Internet, please take the time to evaluate this type of situation and act accordingly.