One of my favorite plant groups on facebook has been flooded with BLM posts. The group’s rules are that nothing but plants questions should be posted. It’s a public open group, so anyone can post anything, even though the honor system suggests we should only post about plants. What’s happening here?
There are over 300K people in the group and only 6 volunteer admins.
The group members that have been there forever are upset because the topic is plants, but now there is a flood of BLM posts. The logic goes like this:
- If you don’t allow people to express themselves about BLM, in a group about plants then you’re a racist.
- The plant group is racist because it’s against the rules to talk about anything but plants.
Yes, Black Lives Matter. Yes racial oppression is still happening in this century. Yes, I have seen it with my own eyes. Yes, It is wrong. And yes, storming into anyone’s house with a gun and killing someone is an attrocity.
But where do we draw the line about what is appropriate in what space? If I were getting married out somewhere special in a relatively public place, is it okay for random people to walk in and protest about BLM? It’s pandemic times, so many things are happening on line. If my fifteen-year-old is presenting a third-year concert of his Suzuki violin training via Zoom, is it okay for random protesters to chant and hold up signs, disrupting the culmination of three years of work? If I’m asleep in bed at night, is it appropriate for protesters to storm into my house holding placards and shouting about social injustice?
I don’t know what the answer is. Kimberly Jones is right when she says, “Why do you burn down your community? Why do you burn down your own neighborhood? It’s not ours.” (Video below includes some foul language.)
I understand that we have a lot to protest about right now. Social injustice is rampant. We have leaders who won’t lead, people who refuse to cooperate and a Congress that refuses to collaborate. But in rampaging through someone else’s moments of calm, when do we become that which we least desire? At what point do we become the very thing we despise?
I am beginning to hate facebook for so many reasons, but one thing I thought was a calm in the storm was the facebook public groups. I have no idea of anyone’s backgrounds — race, creed, nationality, nothing. There are literally 300,000 people from all over the globe in this group. The sun never sets on the members of this group. It has become an international community, unified by that one topic — love of plants. Up until a few weeks ago, the people in this group were civil, pleasant and loved talking about plants. Now it’s not possible to talk about plants because a surge of protesters has decided that all open groups are available for protest, and that if we don’t talk about BLM, then we must be racist.
Facebook is absolutely broken, and without doubt, I have a lot to learn about social justice. But Kimberly Jones is right. We need to have social contracts that are equitable and fair. Sometimes we talk about plants and not BLM. Social contracts begin and end somewhere. Are plants all about social justice? If we must only talk about BLM all day, all night on a venue about plants, when will we be allowed to talk about plants?