Friday, March 5, 2021

Hard Time in Facebook Jail

 It is funny, that world we never intended to enter - Facebook.

We connect with it and through it.

So when you make a post - or in my case, a repost of a CNN article  that a renowned Bishop posted with his commentary about christian nationalism - and it is immediately flagged by the bots of Facebook saying you violated some arbitrary community standards - it makes you stop and wonder what this thing is even for.

No doubt, we are in trying times.

There are Senators representing 44% of the population, themselves well fed and vaccinated, trying to thwart the will of the people who overwhelmingly chose new leadership. The people made a choice, many of them first time and BIPOC stood in lines and wanted a better tomorrow. They were met with falsehoods that a reality-start-turned-into-their-idol "won" and instead played on their racism, narcissism, nationalism, and incited them to do what hadn't been done in generations. Despite all this glaring across the television screens on January 6, these senators are bent on their "power" to obstruct any semblance of hope the people need, one year after Covid 19 stopped the world and a few weeks after a devastating winter storm tore through the country, two states still without running water. 

These are indeed trying times.

So, after a really long day at work, still virtual everything, I connected to the community I've formed. I went to Facebook to catch up on the news of the day, my Wednesday had been so busy, I hadn't even been on the news.  

It made me wonder about this power we have given up for the sake of connection.

I disputed the allegation, they said I made a false statement about Covid19 when the article I reposted had nothing to do with Covid. Was it because of the Bishop's name that everyone knows? Was it because of the image of the white man carrying a cross like he was a wannabe jesus on the way to the crucifixion? Was it just because it was me and they have assigned someone in California to watch whatever I post?

Thursday was another busy work day and while part of my work in managing our non-profit's communication is to engage with our virtual world, I was hindered from doing so. 

How much of ourselves have we given up in the past ten years since we joined this medium, originally intended for college students to find each other. More than likely, as the story goes, it was because the founder was not really that popular, not with a lot of friends, and he wanted to create a student look book that nerdy white boys like him could live vicariously through the lives of the beautiful people.

The platform did meet a need beyond academia and found its way to the public sphere. I think GenZ are the only ones without a profile.  It is my picket fence, especially now that I've moved several states away and in the middle of Covid, has been my connection to the lives of those I care about.

These trying times are giving me a pause for what will we do when June comes and by then, according to President Biden, every adult American who wants to will be vaccinated. I will still mask, but find myself exploring the northeast more, sitting at coffee across from real people. Will the "book" even hold its relevance anymore?

I did hard time in the Facebook jail before during the height of uprisings and the voices of the unheard crying out for justice. I've since stopped writing in exact words and using initials or euphemisms instead. Still, my post was flagged? Perhaps it was because it came from a liberal-leaning, hardly progressive, news source? Who knows.

One thing that did strike me as I sat over coffee and croissants this morning was how as human beings we need community, that is after all why YHWH created the animals for Adam but since they couldn't talk, created Eve so they could have meaningful dialogue. That was never going to happen if there were just two white dudes sitting in the garden, they would be trying to figure out how they could take over the world that was all lush greenery and animals. YHWH created a thought partner and someone to challenge him, a debater, perhaps, but definitely someone who kept it interesting. That is what Facebook is for some, to engage and think through issues, again, that modern picket fence. We crave community, especially for so many who have been living and working in their homes with only this screen as their connection, their kids in virtual school, their holidays over Zoom, everything in a little box or iPhone. 

Have we give up too much in real life to have community in virtual life? Would you or I even be missed if we said goodbye to the "book" and took our picture updates elsewhere? Instagram maybe, oh wait, that is owned by Facebook, but they can't put you in jail for photos of your backyard, can they?

I'm not sure what the answer is. I do know that I did have a bit of a peaceful day, a bit blissful. There wasn't a cause for me to be enticed to donate to, no marketplace asks, no rally to virtually attend, it was quiet, and in the noise of the past year, the quiet was not that bad.

But since I'm out, I will keep reading and commenting until they throw me in for hard time. Here is an article by the Dean of the Yale Divinity School, one of the places I'm exploring for my PhD and where I'm currently taking a continuing education course. As a Christian minister, M.Div., justice oriented public theologian following the way of a brown skilled Palestinian Jew who was all about social justice and righteousness, I will keep reading and posting. 

Next time, I will remember to take my toothbrush.

Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved. Tayé Foster Bradshaw lives with her family in Connecticut and is never without a pen, a journal, a book, and a latte, even if her doctor wants her to cut back.


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