Over the past week or so, I’ve gotten several comments on my various social media feeds that were rude, ableist or otherwise offensive. Each time, I’ve been polite and either explained my position or simply asked the other party to disengage. The usual response is, “This is a public space, don’t I have the right to express my opinion?”
Here is the deal.
Your opinion isn’t sacrosanct. The fact that I keep my timelines public doesn’t mean you have impunity or get special consideration given to you when you express an opinion. If your opinion is factually erroneous or supported by oppressive social assumptions, I will say so. If I know your comment is just going to start a fight, or is meant to agitate on something I don’t agree with, I will ask you to stop commenting about it and close the thread. This isn’t personal.
The name on all my accounts is some variation of “Rose B. Fischer.” or “Evil Genius RBF.” I maintain these spaces to talk to my friends. Behave like my friend, respect my friends, or leave. If I close a thread, it’s closed.
I post social justice articles. I am an activist for a lot of causes, including mental health awareness, disability, anti-racism, feminism, LGBT+ rights, and religious reform within Christianity.
YES, you are welcome to post your thoughts and opinions on any article I share. I don’t run a fascist state.
YES, if I think you’re wrong, I’m going to say so. That’s not censorship or disrespect.
YES, if I think your comment is a good example of an oppressive social phenomenon, I’m going to tell you. EVEN IF YOU ARE POLITE ABOUT IT.
NO, you are not welcome to be an asshole on my timeline.
- Being an asshole includes:
- Posting ableist comments. If you don’t know what constitutes an ableist comment, then actually listen when I respond to what you say. I am always polite the first time.
- Posting racist comments.
- Posting rants steeped in your classist white privilege about other social groups, political factions, political candidates, etc
- Being otherwise rude and disrespectful toward me or anyone who frequents this space.
If you do these things, then you must also be willing to accept that I’m going to respond to you and you will not like or agree with what I say. You must be willing to disengage when I ask you to.
You have the right to your opinion. You also have a choice of whether to comment on my posts. If you comment on an article in my online space, remember who lives here and who my friends are. Remember that I will respond to you and that it is my house.
- Be polite
- Disagree kindly
- Don’t rant.
- Don’t make it personal, and if I say “This isn’t personal or directed at anyone,” don’t assume.