UPDATE: 1/18/14 — 4:47 PM EST
A Facebook spokesperson responding to our inquiry into the removal of a post supporting Black films because it “violated community standards” released the following statement:
“We mistakenly removed the content after a user reported it as a violation of our Community Standards. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
NewsOne has been assured that there should be no problem reposting the content.
The spokesperson did not respond to our inquiries into accusations of a persistent racial double standard as it pertains to what is considered “offensive,” nor did they speak further on the racist content that is allowed to flourish unabated on the social media network.
A Facebook post supporting Black films and artists, and calling out the racism embedded into the Academy Award nomination process, was removed by the social network for violating “community standards.”
Anti-Intellect, a DC based social media educator and activist, is not shy about calling out White supremacy whenever and wherever it manifests, and the bastion of White privilege known as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is no exception.
In a year that Black films exploded with diversity and depth, the Oscars snubbed the heart-wrenching movie “Fruitvale,” starring up-and-coming film star Michael B. Jordan, Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer and directed by newcomer Ryan Coogler. It also ignored “Lee Daniel’s The Butler,” starring Oscar winner Forest Whitaker and Oscar nominated actress Oprah Winfrey. “Mandela,” starring Idris Elba, was also ignored, proving that there is only room for one so-called Black film to be recognized at a time by the Academy. And that distinction went to the phenomenal “12 Years A Slave,” which was directed by Steve McQueen and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o.
All of these films have been critically acclaimed and Oscar buzz has surrounded them since their releases; but, unfortunately, the Black shut-out is not surprising coming from the Good Ole Movie Boys’ Club.
As previously reported by NewsOne, the Los Angeles Times found that 94 percent of the 5,765 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are white and 77 percent are men. Blacks and Hispanics account for only 2 percent each of academy members.
The chances of Black films being represented with any accuracy are slim. Knowing this, Anti-Intellect took to Facebook to express just how little he cares about White validation and rigged award shows designed to pat White filmmakers and actors on the back with the occasional splash of color for “diversity’s sake.”
See what he wrote below:
“If another Black person never won an award at a White award show, I would be fine with that. Angela Bassett has never won an Oscar and she is our greatest! White Award shows are the cherry on top of the Black cinema sundae–a nice addition, perhaps, but hardly necessary. White culture, and all that it entails, just doesn’t mean as much to me as it does some other Black people. I’m very indifferent when it comes to White culture. Most of the movies and shows I love are not recognized by White award shows, and I don’t need them to be. It’s enough that Black art speaks to me. White recognition is far down on the list of necessities. There is a difference between it being nice that something happened and needing something to happen. This is how I view White award shows. Some Black people say, “Our films are worth Oscars!” I think our films are worth more than Oscars. Our appreciation, our joy, our reverence is what matters. Celebrate yourself! I’m not interested in having White culture celebrate Black culture. That is my job. Now if I fail at that, I have only myself to blame. According to the LA Times, “Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian.” Is this really what we are desperate to have recognize Black art?”
When Robert Jones, Jr., the brilliant Brooklyn, New York writer and editor known to his thousands of Twitter followers as Son of Baldwin, shared Anti-Intellect’s status on his own Facebook community page, it was reported and removed.
“This is actually a recurring form of censorship I’ve experienced on Facebook,” said Jones, in an exclusive interview with NewsOne. “They’ve removed compelling and smart conversations the Son of Baldwin community has had about everything from anti-racism strategies to eliminating trans-antagonisms. All of these, they’ve said, violate their terms and conditions.”
Jones routinely engages Facebook followers of his Son of Baldwin blog on issues ranging from misogyny and ableism, to racism and homoantagonism and how they all intersect.
“Simultaneously and repeatedly, they’ve said that blatantly bigoted sites do not violate their standards,” he continued. “Whatever is wrong here, Audre Lorde was prophetic when she said ‘The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.’ “
See the notification Jones received from Facebook below:
Jones shared the screen grabs on his own Tumblr page, with the note:
Facebook feels some type of way about anti-racist conversations.
Meanwhile, search “RIP Trayboon Martin” on Facebook. That racist page has been reported thousands of times and it’s still up.
So you can be racist on Facebook, but you can’t be critical of racism.
Yes, we verified that the “RIP Trayboon Martin” page is still active despite being reported. Click here.
NewsOne also spoke exclusively with Anti-Intellect, who was not at all surprised by Facebook’s move:
“I was not surprised when Son of Baldwin informed me that Facebook had removed the post and suspended his account. I was compelled to write those words because I had grown frustrated with the commentary around Black exclusion from a White awarding body. Too many people take Blackness for granted and even more take offense to it. I suspected that someone would come along and report it because it refuses to grovel at the feet of Whiteness, something that far too many people, White and Black, are accustomed to.”
If speaking out against institutionalized racism and privilege is violating “community standards,” while clearly vile and racist content is allowed to remain, exactly what kind of community is Facebook? A better question may be, ‘And should Black people be a part of it?’
Follow Kirsten West Savali on Twitter at @KWestSavali.