By Guest Contributor Michael Le from Racebending
Racialicious’ Note: Racebending is a site that was set up in response to the whitewashed casting of The Last Airbender. Racebending has since extended its reach to discuss the poor representation of people of colour in film and tv in general.
In case you missed the headline yesterday, Facebook has banned the Racebending.com group, implying we were “hateful, threatening, or obscene.”
The response from the community has been overwhelming and we are extremely grateful to all of you who spoke out in solidarity with the cause. Strong voices of dissent emerged, led by respected names in the Asian American community such as Asian Pop writer Jeff Yang, comic artist Tak Toyoshima, and Oiyan Poon of APAs for Progress.
Hopefully we’ll be able to open a dialogue with Facebook soon on this subject. It did get us wondering, however: what does it take to get your group banned? What – besides open discussion of racial issues in American media – does Facebook consider “hateful, threatening, or obscene”?
As it turns out, we beat out some stiff competition for the ban. A few minutes’ searching Facebook groups turned up quite a lot of material. We were very surprised that these groups satisfy Facebook’s “Terms of Service” and merit continued broadcasting on the social networking site. Given that these groups are thriving under Facebook’s policies, getting banned is almost an accomplishment.
Let’s take a look.
Facebook Asks Why Can’t Asians Drive?
First up, this group is a “Just for Fun” example of blatant racism, with slurs against the mentally handicapped thrown in for good measure. The ensemble is completed with the use of stereotypical “ching chong” font.
Facebook Accepts Rape Jokes
Apparently extracting humor from the victims of sexual assault is not sufficient for a group to be removed from Facebook. There are actually several groups based on this theme – easily thousands of members when added altogether.
Facebook Hosts “F*CK ISLAM”
This group is called “F*CK ISLAM.” The group explains its position:
There are many races to be found in islam. It’s your ideology we are revolted and annoyed by. I don’t care what colour you are. You are primitives. What’s worse is that you are primitives with access to modern weapons that your semi-evolved brains couldn’t ever have created on your own.”
It goes on for pages and pages, but this is the basic gist and tone of the group’s message.
Facebook Accepts the BNP
Last, we have the official Facebook group of the BNP (British National Party). For those unfamiliar with British politics, this Wikipedia entry may prove enlightening.
Their aim is to restore the pre-1948 demographics of the country by “firm incentives” for “immigrants and their descendants to return home.” Since 1982, they have fought hard to repeal British anti-discrimination laws. From their chairman:
Our fundamental determination to secure a future for white children is restated … We don’t hate anyone, especially the mixed race children who are the most tragic victims of enforced multi-racism, but that does not mean that we accept miscegenation as moral or normal. We do not and we never will.”
-Nick Griffin, Chairman of the BNP
Perhaps it’s not that these groups don’t violate the Facebook Terms of Service. Perhaps Racebending.com – a safe space for the open discussion of race in American media by consumers of American media – was simply deemed a high-priority for banning: something particularly “threatening” to users of Facebook, to casual readers. Perhaps the dialogue taking place among its six thousand members about where Americans of color fit into the national landscape was considered especially dangerous – especially incendiary, especially worthy of silence and censorship.
Unfortunately for them, the attempts at censorship have had the opposite effect: the community is speaking up. We’re louder than ever. And we’re not going away.