Dear Black Folk

[Photo description: A meme of actor Steve Carrell holding a half-eaten banana in his hand. He’s wearing glasses, a suit and a tie. He’s laughin. The meme reads: What is up with black people? They’re not black, or people.]


Shango works on my behalf.

Facebook unbanned my admin account.

[Photo description: Facebook: Warning: A member of our team accidentally removed something you posted. This was a mistake, and we sincerely apologize for this error. We’ve since restored the content, and you should be able to see it.]

A big thank you and much gratitude to Emma Bates Zar, Michael Salem (a data scientist at Facebook), Nathan Wellman, Cheryl Bird, and the entire Son of Baldwin community.

Your support humbles me. Thank you very, very much.

Article from Cheryl Bird.

Article from Nathan Wellman.


As of this moment, This morning on the Son of Baldwin Facebook page, I posted a message to and for black people.

It was intended to be a psalm and a salve for us in these trying times of rampant, institutional, social, and sanctioned anti-Blackness.

It was a relatively non-controversial post in which I outline the disparities between how black people and white people are treated in a white supremacist society.

Apparently, the post hurt the incredibly fragile feelings of many racists. White tears ensued.

[Photo description: A meme. A white man, Glenn Beck, is seen crying. He is seen from the shoulders up. He is facing slightly to his right. The meme reads: Won’t someone please think of the White people?]

In retaliation, these racists mass reported my post.

Since Facebook apparently can’t tell the difference between racism and anti-racism (or maybe they can and this is intentional, as they deleted another pro-black page, Kinfolk Kollective, earlier this week), they deleted the post and issued this statement to me:

[Facebook: Your page has been unpublished. Son of Baldwin has been unpublished for repeatedly posting thins that don’t comply with the Facebook terms. Please review the Facebook Community Standards to learn more about our policies.]

They also notified me that my personal Facebook page, which is the administrator of the Son of Baldwin page, has been banned from posting for the next 30 days.

[Facebook: This feature is temporarily blocked. You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies, so you’re temporarily blocked from using this feature. For more information, vist the Help Cener. To keep from getting blocked again, please make sure you’ve read and understand Facebook’s Community Standards. This block will be active for 30 days more. If you think you’re seeing this by mistake, please let us know.]

This is like the sixth or seventh time this has happened to me, though it is the first time in that they unpublished the Son of Baldwin page. I’m not sure I understand what they mean by “unpublished” as I’m able to continue posting to Son of Baldwin using my back-up personal Facebook account (an account I created for precisely this circumstance).

The long and the short of it is that Facebook is ill-equipped to deal with or understand anti-bigotry work. I would say that they treat anti-bigotry work as bigotry, but that would be misleading. Facebook actually privileges bigotry over anti-bigotry. Blatantly anti-black/anti-woman/anti-queer pages have been reported and Facebook has responded, repeatedly, with messages stating that those pages did not violate their policies.

So taking Facebook at its word, pro-black/pro-woman/pro-queer stances violates its terms, but anti-black/anti-woman/anti-queer stances do not. I can hear Maya Angelou now:

[Photo description: A meme. A woman, Maya Angelou, is seen laughing. She is seen from the shoulders up. She is looking out toward an unseen audience. A quote is written on top of her picture. It says: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. — Maya Angelou. Credit: Lifehack quotes.]

Given this reality, I will be exploring outside options to build community and have discussions since Facebook — like most rich, conservative assholes — insists upon being on the wrong side of history.

In the meantime, I am re-posting the banned message below for those who may have missed it.

Dear Black Folks:

Do NOT feel collectively responsible when an assailant is black.

White folks do NOT feel collectively responsible when an assailant is white.

If white people get to be individuals and presumed collectively innocent, then black people get to be individuals and presumed collectively innocent, too.

“Please don’t let them be black!”

We’ve been indoctrinated to feel collectively guilty/responsible when a black person commits a crime.

No matter what crime a white person commits, white people aren’t indoctrinated to feel collectively guilty/responsible.

Black people and Muslims are always asked to collectively condemn evil acts committed by black and/or Muslim individuals.

White people and Christians are NEVER asked to collectively condemn evil acts committed by white people and/or Christians.

Black people are ALWAYS asked to empathize with someone else’s pain, to make OTHER people’s struggles PRIMARY over their own.

White people look for ways to be apathetic to other people’s pain and to make their own pain primary in everyone ELSE’S struggles.

White folks who commit crimes never lose their humanity, no matter how heinous the crime.

Black folks who commit crimes are never allowed their humanity, no matter how harmless the crime.

White folks who commit crimes are regarded as individuals who made “mistakes” and have “legitimate” excuses like “mental illness” and “affluenza.”

Black folks who commit crimes are considered inherently evil and degenerate by virtue of being black, and as a reflection and by-product of ALL black people’s values and beliefs.

White people will not regard us as human beings, but we MUST regard each other as human beings.

Do not lay any unnecessary burdens at your OWN feet.

Embrace your humanity.

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