I’ve just had the experience of being shut down. I recently posted on a Facebook counselling forum a piece from the Guardian by Liam Rosenior titled This is just the beginning, I promise you: an open letter to Donald Trump. In it the author calls out the US President’s abhorrent racism and expresses a hope that it might at last be a catalyst for change. I expressed a similar sentiment in my post.
Within the space of a perhaps 30 minutes the post received two responses. They weren’t likes. Both rebuked me for using the group to post something overtly political in breach of the group rules. I recall feeling mildly told off and made a note to return to the post later and see whether others agreed or not. Then, the world moved on, and so did I.
The space between then and now has been filled with rage and pain. It’s only now that I’ve thought to return to the post to see what other responses might have been made. Strange thing is, I can’t seem to find it. And it’s starting to mess with my head. Did I really post it? Did I post it somewhere odd without thinking? Or was it reported because someone objected? Was it taken down?
My hunch? My post offended someone. But more than that, my hunch is that it unsettled them. And that is one of the problems with white privilege. Most white people don’t like to be confronted with the privilege that our whiteness confers. And we don’t like to be confronted with its consequences. If the events of the past fortnight have done anything, they forced us to confront both.