The other day I was checking out my Facebook news feed when I noticed something that made me groan. A friend (a person I actually know offline) had posted something that I took as offensive, if not downright racist.
I’m not going to go into specifics here but let’s just say it played on the Asian stereotype of pronouncing “L” as an “R.” A tired and cliché racism.
I should be clear that I don’t think my friend is racist (he is a person of color) but I did think it was in bad taste and of course not very original. But the reason I mention it here on 8Asians is this: Is it my responsibility as a socially responsible Asian American to say something? To speak up? To write a comment? To confront him?
I didn’t. I know, I’m a coward. Part of it was because I just had a child and the last thing I want to do is get in a flame war with anyone – let alone someone that I actually like and know in real life. I don’t have the energy nor the time. But also because as I’ve gotten older it’s harder and harder for me to take up every fight or to even work up the anger when Asian/Asian Americans are slighted.
Don’t get me wrong. If someone made this joke directly to me, I’d respond. Or even if I overheard someone at a coffee shop make a racist joke, I’d say something. But Facebook news feed? It feels different.
Am I wrong? Should I have written a comment? I guess if I was wittier, I could have written something funny and yet disarming but also get my point across to make him realize the errors of his way. But sadly, I’m not witty enough to do that. Or I could have written him a private message but that would have taken more time than I wanted to put into it. (Ignore the fact that I’ve spent way more time writing this than it would have taken to write a private message to my friend).
I asked a colleague about it and she told me that I could delete the friend but that feels too heavy handed. She also suggested hiding his feed. I considered it but in general I like reading what he has to say and finding out what he’s up to.
What would you have done?