To unfriend or not to unfriend


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.

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
This entry was posted in Anti-Semitism, Blogging, Life in general, Loss, Racism, Religion, Stereotyping, Thoughts and philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to To unfriend or not to unfriend

  1. Carole Barr says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I often see FB posts that are slightly offensive on their own, but if you take the time to click on them you discover the origin of their existence is often times a website filled with racial intolerance or anti-gay, anti-women rhetoric. Not only does this distress me personally (as in “are there really this many full fledged racists out there”, or “are people really this misinformed and ignorant?”, but then I wonder about my so called friend who posted such a link. Are they completely insensitive, or worse, do they agree with the offensive message? Touchy conversation ahead … but I typically (politely) challenge them to take another look at their post and defend it. I’ve unfriended (or been unfriended) a few times but I’m glad I spoke up.
    On a lighter note, I really enjoy your blog, particularly your adventures with the grandkids.

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