Robbie Travers on his ban from Facebook for criticising Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter most likely began with decent intentions to challenge anti-black racism. As it grew, it has become itself a supremacists organisation, promoting violence against the police, dehumanising white people, talking of them as Hitler would talk of Jews, branding all white people racist and even cultureless. Now, it viciously promotes prejudice against Jews, Israelis and undermines the LGBT. It may be unfashionable, but time this group was told to frankly campaign for racial equality, not supremacy, or pack it in.

Whether my post makes you incensed with rage or has you at a euphoric standing ovation, I would hope you would defend my right to express my view.

Facebook claim to censor under the following banners of “Serious threats,” “self-injury”, “dangerous organisations,” “bullying and harassment”, “attacks on public figures”, “criminal activities”, “sexual exploitation” or “regulated goods.” Even under the banner of “attacks on public figures,” which is the closest fit of which I could find to my post, since it clearly falls under none of the other categories, Facebook claims to “permit open and critical discussion of people who are featured on the news.” Does it? It censored me for a single critical status of a concerning organisation.

Yet an NUS delegate from the University of Edinburgh can post that Zionists, and therefore the majority of Jews are “subhuman rats,” that gassing a Jew is “too good for him.” This post apparently, when reported, didn’t breach community standards.

You can call for the gassing of a Jew on Facebook and it is acceptable, but criticising a popular but increasingly concerning public movement without inciting hatred isn’t?

The only other logical possibility is that Facebook removed my post because it fell under their definition of “hate speech.” Gassing a Jew, doesn’t, though, but it is especially interesting, since at no point to do I suggest the promulgation of hatred is acceptable. Especially laughable, since within my post I challenge three types of racial hatred, and one type of hatred based on sexual orientation.

One must be able to separate criticism of a movement from criticism of a cause. I don’t doubt there still exists substantial and multiple different manifestations of serious racial inequality in both the UK and the US, and that there exists racial tensions which largely go undiscussed in this country. At no point did I suggest that racism didn’t exist, or that we shouldn’t fight it.

But even if I did suggest racism doesn’t exist, should I be censored for having a demonstrably false, or what many would describe as “stupid,” point of view? Surely blocking those who disagree with conventional wisdom, and even demonstrated facts and data, only entrenches their opinion, rather than exposing them to a discussion on how their opinions, data and facts are incorrect and needing urgent challenge.

Racism, in this author’s view, can be committed by any individual of any race towards any other individual of any other race. The idea that it requires a power structure to be racist, is fundamentally incorrect. I’ll concede that there seems to be massive widespread institutional racism against white individuals, but not the idea that dehumanising and abusing white individuals on the basis of their race is not racism. This a Marxist trope and usually deployed to justify existing prejudices, it’s easier to win a debate on racism when you redefine the boundaries and then use the definition to silence anyone who would challenge you.

This is why articles that tell “White Jews” to be silent because they cannot face racism show that intersectionality is less about the purist intention of standing up for those who suffer inequality, and more about creating facades under which to campaign for equality, and if a certain group is demonstrably facing prejudice outside this bubble, like white gay men, or jews who appear fairer skinned, they are not to be welcomed into the intersectional axis, because they disagree with the dogma that these groups cannot face prejudice because they have a certain level of privilege.

Speaking of privilege, perhaps it is time we did “check our privilege”. We exist in a Western society in which we are reasonably free, in which we mostly enjoy freedom from absolute poverty, freedom from instability and warfare, a freedom from hunger and starvation, whilst having the freedom to express ourselves, to associate how we please and we importantly have the freedom to listen.

This is solely what this debate should conclude with; Facebook didn’t just violate my right to express my disapproval with Black Lives Matter but they breached the rights of my sizeable following to listen, challenge and engage with my views. That is why challenges to freedom of expression are so dangerous, not because they rob me of individual rights, but because they rob others of theirs.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Anyone would think a law student would understand what terms and conditions are. Thankfully the rest of us don’t have our newsfeed filled with attention seeking platitudes.

  2. Your right to freedom of speech and expression is that you are defended from the state trying to remove it, not privately owned businesses. It’s a simple case of their website, their rules.

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