The Politics of Unfriending

unfriendReading the article posted on 09/24/2016, By JOHNNY SILVERCLOUD, entitled: “I’M LOSING TONS OF FRIENDS FIGHTING RACISM. AND I’M TOTALLY OK WITH THAT”, re-ignited my interest in the sprightly “unfriend” initiative.

Okay, so it’s an easy way out of a cyber relationship. Then again, it should be easy to move on from cyber relationships on social media sites in general and superficial “friends” on our Facebook pages in particular.

When it comes to Facebook friends, I am unlike a lot of people. I don’t fish for likes to my postings, nor do I seek to build a friends list so big, it has to be cataloged.  I have Nephew who has 900 friends.  It’s no doubt he doesn’t know all of them, but being a handsome young man, athlete and is of the millennial generation.  I use my Facebook friends list to stay in touch with people I consider friends and family only, or at the very least close acquaintances.

Some time ago, I did a major cleanup of my friends list. I unfriended dozens of people on my Facebook friends list. Conscientiously, I unfriended a number of people  for ancillary reasons, like posting to many food pics, pics of shoes, play-by-play of their daily activities, etc. I unfriended a cousin of mine for posting pics of his dead mother in her coffin at her funeral – go figure!

I have unfriended dozens of people over the years, particularly those invitations I have reluctantly accepted into my carefully selected group of friends; who, really were not real friends in the truest sense of the word. These were people who made friend requests (and I accepted for some unknown reason) for obscure reasons like, they knew someone, who knew someone, who knew me. I am part of a large family and some of these people never knew me, but knew of me through their associations with some of my younger siblings.  After some time passed, I realized I had nothing in common with these people.  There were no social, educational, religious, and yes, nothing in common politically with them.  Then, there are the ‘food posters’. The quickest way to be unfriended by me is too continually post pics of meals you have cooked, a pic of your meal while (eating out) at a restaurant, etc.  I do not want to see what you’re eating, and besides – and this is just my opinion – most food pics don’t look that inviting to me, unless of course, they are the ones professionally done by the ad makers.

Then, there are those I have not hesitated to unfriend because of differing political, or world views. An old proverb, “Eyes are the window to the soul”, is a perfect segue to an original of mine, “who you really are, is revealed in your politics.” Minor political differences are fine; however, those differences that cause me to scream when someone says or shares a political view that’s the polar opposite of something I believe.  I am convinced that people – I am no exception – are decidedly closed-minded and deeply passionate about their politics and world views, which reminds me of another adage: “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing, it takes too long and it irritates the pig.” 

The current election cycle – thought it started about 30 years ago – has highlighted the deep political divide in this country. I believe the primary reason this election, and that of the last three Presidents, is so evenly divided is because we have segregated ourselves along a political divide. Social scientists have concluded that politics, other than race and class, is the single most divisive factor that is now causing people to “choose sides” very early on in election cycles, and to not deviate, or deviate very slightly, as time goes on.

Social scientists further confirm people usually organize and align themselves in social groups, clans, cliques, tribes, etc., due to some degree of political affiliation. It’s believed that within families, fraternal organizations, religious and other social groups, people are further sub-divided based on their political and world views.  Most people do not share close friendships with people of different persuasions.  Through social media mediums like Twitter and Facebook, we generally interact and converse with people who share our political views.  Even in our family groups we tend to either refrain from, or limit our conversations regarding our political views.  The only topic that generates more passion than politics is discussions regarding religion.

The manifestation of this social divide based on differing political views is more pronounced in the current presidential election than ever before. This distinct political divide began, and has continued since, with the 1992 election between Bill Clinton and George H. Bush; where, Bill Clinton won the presidency with less than 50% of the popular vote. Every cycle since then, no candidate has garnered more than 52.9% – that honor goes to Barack Obama in 2008.  People on the right tend not spend time with, or have as close friends people on the left, and vice versa.  We tolerate each other in the workplace, but that’s where
the association generally ends.

None of us should be terribly surprised if we have found ourselves on the receiving end of the “unfriend” key.  Nor should we be surprised if we realize our contact with certain people has abated over time.  Like it or not, it may be because of the politics of “unfriending” them.

https://itun.es/us/HZezT?i=761548407

Inspired Source: https://afrosapiophile.com/2016/09/24/losing-friends/
I’m Losing Tons of Friends Fighting Racism. And I’m Totally OK with that.

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