Choosing to Speak

I’m not much of a Facebook debater. I tend to stick to “likes” and comments about things I know – how cute my friends’ kids are and which books I like. I’ve only ever gotten close to an altercation once: When a friend posted about solo parenting for the first time and wondered if she would shower or eat all weekend, I said something about self-care and that it’s ok if the baby cries while she showered. The comments that followed suggested I had told my friend to abandon her baby on a mountainside, exposed to the elements while she sipped champagne. Yikes! I’m definitely not cut out for the big-leagues of Facebook debate!

But, in my year of choice, I’m wondering how to engage on Facebook in a more thoughtful approach. In the aftermath of Ferguson and the Eric Garner non-indictments, along with the protests that continue, I have friends posting things like, All Lives Matter! Get over it! and articles about police support. While I agree that all lives matter and that the vast majority of law enforcement are committed to protecting communities, I also have strong opinions about systemic injustice and the fact that wearing a uniform does not automatically make one a hero.

In a world that does engage in social media debates and where it’s not always possible to go to coffee with someone to talk about things, I wonder how much good I do by sitting back and not engaging, by relying on my own life choices to speak louder than a well-crafted rebuttal, and when I need to pushback a bit and ask questions that bring light to other opinions. I’ve been following more bloggers of color and champions of injustice in the recent months and they say, we the privileged need to speak up. Without everyone’s voice, change doesn’t happen.

I wish there was a kind and gracious way of saying, A hero is made by actions, not by a chosen profession. And, until the majority (whether religious, educational, skin color, or economic level) recognize and work to reconcile the systemic injustices inflicted on the minority, we need consistent and continual reminders that minority lives do matter.

Until I gain the courage and the eloquence to pushback, I’ll keep posting my rebuttals on my own wall, hoping my friends read these articles, just as I read theirs. For now, my choice is to listen to others and promote their words. And, perhaps that is more powerful than any debate I can engage.

How do you interact on social media? Any tips for sharing opinions without opening debate?


Published by

Annie Rim

Welcome! I live in Colorado with my family and have taught in the classroom, at an art museum, and now in the playroom. I reflect about life, faith, and books here on my blog.

13 thoughts on “Choosing to Speak”

  1. Oh man, I am the queen of debating on Facebook… I strive to be respectful of everyone, even as I engage in dissent, but sometimes things get heated. I have to make a point of stressing that even though I have an opinion on everything, and I’m not afraid to voice it and back it up, that I am not “angry” at the people I’m talking to.. it’s a fine line to walk! That said, I stayed away from the Ferguson debates for the most part. I’m starting to pick and choose what I waste my time on, haha.. –

    1. That’s true – it’s all in how you say it! Definitely a fine line, though. I’m much more comfortable commenting for people I interact with regularly in real life. Others, not so much…

  2. I sometimes choose by who made the post/comment; if they’re open to ideas and conversation and I have something to say that hasn’t already been said, then I’ll speak up. Sadly, this means I don’t say much!

  3. Everyone chooses to speak in their own way and if you choose to speak via your wall and not comments on others’ walls, that is just as powerful. I think you are right it’s our actions not our words and facebook is all words which is why it can be devisive. I’ve got some guys frind on facebook who only post about beer and boobs, and if i didn’t know that in real life they run marathons to raise money for children with cancer, we would most likeky not be friends. That being said, I am over the moon to be back in a University setting where these kinds of conversations take place every day, face to face, respectfully.

    1. I hadn’t really thought about the only words aspect, but yes – without guesture and expression, so much is lost! Your new job sounds awesome!! So exciting!

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