I hesitated to post about today’s discussion topic as I guess I will get some heated comments back but I have never shied away from a good discussion so let’s delve into it.
What triggered today’s post was the death or rather ,the killing, of George Floyd and all the reactions this generated.
I don’t want to discuss here about the (completely messed up and unacceptable) behavior of many white christian supremacists about POC or other minorities but rather if you SHOULD speak up on your blog, on your facebook page, on Twitter etc when you have some “fame” or social media range even if your blog is “just” a book blog.
The answer many will give me is: “Of course you HAVE TO!”
But that’s not so easy I think….
I have always been an outspoken person and have always defended the bullied, the minorities etc. A huge part of my personality is that I can’t stand injustice. Nor do I think that any human being (be it president, pope, king….) is above another human being or worth more than another.
I spoke about the events in some extent on bookstagram, here last week promoting books that everyone should read to have eyes wide open and much more empathy and understanding towards other people who are different than their normality.
I have also seen people on social media becoming aggressive if other bloggers, bookstagrammers etc did not actively militate or speak about said events or just dare post their usual “fluffy” posts.
Sometimes they nearly bullied other bloggers to spread the words and shamed others if they didn’t do it.
That’s what I can’t stand.
I think if you bully others you are just that: a bully. And that’s not because you “defend” a “right” cause that you can act in such fashion.
I can already tell you that one of my family members thinks that “You can’t stay silent because that means that you are complicit”.
Whereas I think some people who are sincerely broken hearted by what’s happened just don’t dare speak up on social media.
Because social media are such a messy place sometimes that they fear their words will be misconstrued. Or because they don’t find the words easily to convey their thoughts with nuances. Or because they are lost, or…
And they should not be shunned for abstaining!
But then, if no one speak, things won’t change???
But do you really think no one will talk? Luckily human nature is diverse enough that for any shy or ill at ease people you have another one willing and ready to speak up to have things changing. See the same diversity that is so disparaged in skin color is the biggest asset of humanity!
The only message that will ring true is when said message is just waiting to “spill” from your mouth. Because it’s overflowing your thoughts and you just can’t stay silent. Not because you feel pressured to say something.
Another rightful consideration brought up by another family member (see we had a heated debate 😀 ) is that the ones who DO HAVE a DUTY to speak are politicians and people in power. They are expected to denounce such unacceptable acts. They are the ones who can ease or complicate the change of laws. They also inspire by their behavior and can “set the tone”, lead a change, make a better and fairer world… if they are willing to.
Now it’s your turn! What do you think about it? Please stay respectful in your comments even if passionate.
Thanks for reading
I cannot believe how some people have acted over the past few weeks… I’ve unfollowed quite a few book bloggers (and others) and it wasn’t because I disagreed with using their platform to fight social injustice or racism or to support BLM (I applaud them for it), it was because I could not stand how they treated anyone who did less, did nothing, or couldn’t find/share their words for whatever reason. It was the bullying, harassing, intolerant behaviour they showed… The “they only way to support a cause is MY way” attitude. I’m not down for that at all.
Then there was the JKR outbursts… The “if you follow that EVIL TERF then I’m unfollowing YOU because YOU are EVIL TOO”… I’m not being funny, but people follow people for a multitude of reasons. Following someone is not a sign of endorsement of every single thing they say or do. And someone – anyone – thinking they can mandate what people can or cannot do just because they’re mutuals on twitter? *waves bye*
One person being hideously intolerant and phobic should not give a free pass to others to be hateful and intolerant and think it’s okay because they’re on “the good side.”
I’ve always lived by the basic mantra of “don’t be a dick.” Be kind to people. Accept people for who they are. Do what you can to help others, don’t cause harm… It feels like people have forgotten basic humanity and it makes me so sad and tired. 🙁
You’ve written a wonderful post Sophie! You’re good people. 😉
Thank you so much for your kind words Nicci!!!! And being kind is also my mantra. I wish everyone could think like that.
Another thought-provoking, impressive and well-written post, Sophie. My parents brought me up to believe that you never fought against tyranny and bullies by becoming one yourself. What is it the Christians say “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Suzanne (The Bookish Libra) eloquently expressed the thoughts I’ve been having too.
I think Suzanne indeed perfectly expressed what I think too Flora!
It also really bothered me that people were shaming other people for not talking. I know for the first three or four days I wasn’t saying anything because I was trying to leave room for black voices. I didn’t want to re-tweet because I didn’t want my implicit bias to only promote one POV. Once I was ready to speak up I did on twitter, but I didn’t on Instagram. Why? *whispers* because I forgot about Instagram. I was too busy reading the news, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries. I also didn’t say much on my blog for the same reason. But even now that I’m back, I blog about books. I very occasionally blog about personal stuff, but never about politics. It would feel weird and performative to do it now. I actually wrote a post addressing BLM and asked my husband to read it, and he said “Yeah, don’t post that.” Instead I’m just quietly trying to promote more black voices and be conscious about it. I don’t draw attention to the work I’m doing IRL to promote BLM because as a Christian I believe that good deeds aren’t something to brag about. We don’t let the right hand know what the other is doing. Because I’m not doing those things to get brownie points or a pat on the back, I’m doing it because it’s right. But if I’d have had more followers I probably would have been called out because it’s not public enough. Whatever, you saw on my comment on your other post how over social media I am. Sorry for the blog-lengthed comment.
You are so welcome to leave blog-lenghted- comment Katie! It shows that my post interests you and that’s all the reward that I need.
It’s definitely important to take a stance, to know your facts, and to share them respectfully to incite reflection among others but to bully others into doing all that is not going to change the world, it will only make us more divisive regarding the problems in the world and that’s not what you want. I’m just glad that these kinds of talks are being done around the world. It makes for some interesting talks that make us wonder about the state of the world and how we should approach things in life! 😀 Thanks for sharing this post, Sophie! 🙂
You are most welcome Lashaan!
Amazing post Sophie! I cannot believe how everyone is pushed to pick sides and judged by what they post. For me I use a pen name for my blog and all related social media accounts because I created another reality for myself. It is my escape from merciless, stressful and busy life. This doesn’t mean that I am not actively trying to show my support in other ways. I am ashamed to see while trying to make a point and take a stance for those who are being bullied and discriminated, how they become bullies and the ones who discriminate people. It is just sad
Exactly! They don’t know what we do in real life!
This is a great post, Sophie, and very timely. I was a little shocked that I kept running across a few people, especially on twitter, that started out being very vocal with their support of BLM but after a while seemed more interested in shaming and attacking those who weren’t posting. Their attack posts started to outnumber their BLM support posts and now a few days later, after all their initial outrage, they aren’t even talking about any of it anymore. It’s starting to feel like they were more interested in getting themselves attention than supporting BLM and exposing police brutality, and that behavior just frustrated me and made me sad. Just because someone isn’t tweeting or blogging about it, doesn’t mean they aren’t out there actively protesting in their communities, signing petitions to try to effect change, donating money, supporting black-owned businesses, etc.
Exactly Suzanne! You don’t know what they do in real life!
It’s been disheartening to see bloggers/instagrammers/etc attacked for what they choose to post – or, in many cases, not post. Just because someone doesn’t post on their blog about certain events doesn’t mean they are not active in other ways. People love to jump to conclusions and point fingers.
Exactly! You don’t know what they do in real life!
As always, with such polarising discussions, we are damned if we do, and damned if we don’t. We each have to follow our conscience, I would say, Sophie.
I think we should be allowed to decide what we want to talk about on our platforms, here on the blog or on Bookstagram.
I was shocked to see how many people attacked others. Either because of their stance, or because they didn’t feel comfortable using their platform for political means.
Either way, it’s a volatile time. Tensions are high. And because it’s so polarizing, people will watch and take action if they don’t like what they see. I’ve seen so much blocking and unfollowing in the last 10 days, more than ever before. Stores have to take a stance or lose customers.
It’s a bit extreme, but maybe extreme is what we need to bring change.
All I know is that you can’t force people to change if they don’t want to. You can’t force them to think, or talk about topics if they don’t want to, and that’s why many disappeared last week from Bookstagram. It’s easier to put a black square up, and take a break. No talking, thinking, or being uncomfortable.
I don’t have the necessary words to talk about this topic, nor the facts, statistic etc. But I listened, I’ll read more books by Black authors, and about Black characters, and I’ll support more BIPOC authors in the future. But that’s between me and me. 😀
Corina | The Brown Eyed Bookworm
Incredible post, darling, as usual. I agree with you 100%, in fact, I just post talking about what’s happening because I think it’s important to use our platforms to communicate and expand the voices of those who need it most, but I don’t think that the best way to act is through such violent attitudes towards those who don’t speak up. It’s okay to express your thinking, but disrespect should never be an option
Great post! I saw a few people on Twitter saying, “I’m going to block you if you don’t post about this topic.” People are free to block whoever they want, but people should also realize that not everybody lives their life on Twitter. I’ve been using social media to boost the voices of Black creators. I’ve also been donating/protesting, but most of that has been “behind the scenes” in my real-life community. Just because you don’t see something on Twitter doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
Thanks for the post, Sophie! You’ve raised some good points! — particularly about the bullying. There’s a lot of cool things about the internet … but the preponderance of trolling and what essentially amounts to verbal/emotional abuse is not one of them.
One of my issues with movements in general — political, climate, anti-isms, or other — is that they’re ultra polarized. My personal experiences is that people take extreme views, and that anything else (anything other than total outrage) is unacceptable.
The most recent example of this that I’ve seen is the treatment of Winston Churchill’s statue in London — with calls for it to be removed because Winston Churchill was a racist. That may be true (honestly, I don’t know; my exposure to Churchill mainly comes from The King’s Speech) … but, he also did a heck of a lot of good for the UK — why else would they have placed a statue of him in such a prominent location? We forget that people are complex wholes, with both strengths and weaknesses. A person is not a single thing. The good qualities don’t mean we shouldn’t avoid talking about the bad … but the bad also doesn’t negate all the good.
I guess what I’m getting at is the lack of nuance in conversation. People’s inability to see and discuss the grey.
Wonderful post Sophie! As you know, I’ve been pretty vocal on my blog, but then I usually am about social injustices. Although my blog is primarily book related, the subtitle reads: Book, News, and Other Stuff. I put that there for a reason when I first began blogging in 2014. That said, I understand and respect others who want to stick to what their blogs were created for. Blogs are personal and bloggers need to do what’s comfortable for them. The only time I take issue is when someone uses a blog as a hate tool or to spread misinformation.
Because of who I am in this whole scenario, I chose to listen and amplify voices in support. I shared posts from black creators I follow, and will continue to support books by black authors. I think you have to do what your hearts tells you to do, but I am a middle aged white woman, and I know my place in this.
This is a really good post. I’m one of those people that just retweet things, but I haven’t posted on my blog. I’m really bad with words and I don’t want to say anything wrong. I definitely care. It’s just hard to put my anger into words. I’m thankful for others that speak out in ways that I can share.