I support the Black Lives Matter cause. Police officers are murdering black citizens with impunity, and it’s time for it to stop. The past week of peaceful protests, police confrontation, riots and looting here in Seattle have caused me to take a closer look at my own racial prejudices. I invite you to do the same.
Ready for the Facebook Race Challenge?
- Open Facebook (or if you already participated in #DeleteFacebook then check your LinkedIn or Instagram or contacts)
- Go to your profile, find the “Friends” section and note the total number of friends
- Take the time to scroll through your entire list of friends and count how many are black
- Divide the number of black friends by total friends to get your percentage of black friends
If you’re like me, you may be a little shocked right now.
I have only 13 black Facebook friends 😬
- My sister-in-law
- My niece & nephew
- Three friends from high school
- A friend from middle school
- Two former co-workers
- Two friends from the past
- Two friends of friends
- An acquaintance
13 / 948 = 1.3% of my friends are black.
You might enjoy expanding the activity to all people of color to understand your full prejudices. My friends are roughly 8% people of color.
This is a time for Inward Thinking
This really made me pause and look inward at myself. Why do I not have many black friends? I don’t see a ton of black people day to day. King County, where I live, is 5.3% black, so I’m not averaging well, but all of my friends are not in my county either. I feel like I am nice and respectful to people of all ethnicities including black people, but is there something that has stopped me from forming a strong friendship with any black people? Spend some time thinking about this. I hope knowing your relationship with black people helps you think about your own role in the problems our country faces and motivates you to take some action to help the cause.
How do you know your black friends?
Reviewing how I know all of my black friends was also eye-opening. How many black people who you’re connected to have you met since school? As an adult we get to pick our friends. We meet people in work and social circles and we’re around the same people all the time. How can I expand my social circles to incorporate more diversity? We need to begin breaking down the walls.
More importantly, what effect does this have?
The faces you saw when you scrolled through your friend list are your social circle. Those are the people who see everything you post and vice versa. If you don’t have many black friends, it means you’re not even hearing what issues they face. The same is true in real life outside of Facebook. It’s time to stop debating among our non-black friends about how to solve this and start listening to our black friends about what problems need to be solved.
8 things you can do TODAY to be a better ally
- Visit your black friends’ Facebook pages, and read what they are posting about and take action if the post calls for it.
- Change your black friends to “See First” on Facebook so you see all of their posts in your news feed. I was not seeing any of the posts I saw on my black friends’ profiles.
- Like & Share their posts to amplify their message.
- Follow black leaders on social media so you can follow their lead.
- Share this article on Facebook and press your friends to do the same. Include your % stats in your post and share how you feel.
- Talk to your friends about this. Stop bickering online and have a real conversation about what this means to you.
- Watch the Obama Foundation’s Reimagining policing in the wake of continued violence with President Obama from June 3, 2020.
- Listen to the NAACP’s emergency virtual town hall event: A Nation In Peril from June 3, 2020.
Don’t forget we’re also in a global pandemic so go wash your hands 🙏