How to deal with those racist Facebook ‘friends’

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Do you remember Nigel? You know, Nigel! The guy you met in the cheese room of that bar in Freshers Week? He was nice enough, so you added him on Facebook.

Over the years you’ve liked some of his statuses and some of the memes he shares are a right laugh. Harmless banter from a ‘friend’. Kinda.

Since the migrant crisis has become the top of the news agenda, Nigel’s been writing a few statuses about how the refugees are the ones who are stealing our jobs. Pretty standard.

And then the terrorist attacks on Paris happened. Nigel shared a meme; a photo of refugees that is captioned: ‘ISIS, coming to your town very soon.’

Nigel has also started to use ‘freedom of speech’ to defend his use of the term ‘rag heads’.

It makes you feel uncomfortable. What do you do?

The way I see it, you have two options:

1. Unfriend

It’s that beautiful option under the ‘friend’ button.

Simply delete the racist bastard from your timeline. You don’t see this person any more anyway so it’s not going to affect your social circle. His offensive comments will no longer confront you on your timeline. Out of place, out of mind.

However, if the person making racist comments is someone you’re likely to see again, say a family member for instance, you may want to consider option two…

2. Educate

Okay, so deleting the ‘friends’ who endorse the genocide of the global Muslim population certainly gets them out of your life but it means that they’re still out there preaching the hate to someone else. How about taking a stand? Turn your Facebook page into a weapon of mass education.

Make sure what your friends are sharing are factually correct. If you see racism on your timeline, report it. Maybe direct message the sharer and politely explain why their posts are offensive. Share news articles so that people can form educated opinions.

Don’t publicly shame people though, there’s enough hate crime out there without you getting involved. 

And there you have it. Don’t just ignore a problem, try to turn it on it’s head and help stop the racism.

However, sometimes in the life of social media – just like in real life – you have to accept that you can’t change some people’s minds so you have to let it go and walk away. So pick your battles wisely and your friends even more so.

And as for Nigel? You don’t need him in your life anyway. Unfriend.

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