Author Topic: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.  (Read 9513 times)

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LadyL

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When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« on: May 19, 2013, 02:11:43 PM »
One of my in-laws is my friend on facebook.  In person she is always really warm and kind to me. However, judging by her facebook posts, she has much more extreme views on things like politics and religion than I would have imagined. She has never brought up these views during our in person interactions, but it's pretty much all she posts about on FB. Because of this I blocked her from viewing my posts, and I blocked hers from showing up in my feed. I check her page once in a while to see how she is doing, and partly out of curiosity because the stuff she posts is pretty out there and kind of fascinating. Unfortunately some of the groups she likes to lambaste are ones that I belong to. I'm pretty sure she's not aware that we have very different religious views, but she definitely knows that my career is in the sciences. She regularly posts things that are anti-my religious views, anti-science, making fun of people with my political affiliation, etc.

Mostly what I am taking from this is that the list of subjects I should avoid around her extends beyond the usual polite avoidance of religion and politics into things like science, mainstream medicine, etc. That's fine, I don't see her often enough for this to be a big deal. However, what I'm having trouble with is reconciling the friendly woman who gives me a big hug hello with the angry person she appears to be on FB - the person who apparently thinks my career is bunk, I'm going to hell, and I'm an idiot because of who I voted for.

Is it rude to keep our interactions more on the side of "civil and brief" rather than "warm and friendly"? I will still accept a hug and such but I don't think it's wise to have an extended 20 minute catch up session because it would be hard to avoid topics like my work, my involvement in the local community (which includes politics), etc. I know this probably makes zero sense but I feel bad that she will notice my keeping my distance and think I'm snubbing her for no clear reason. But on the other hand, she's made it pretty clear what she thinks of People Like Me, and keeping polite distance seems like a natural consequence.

Sorry if this reads a bit neurotic - I certainly have "interesting" relatives on both sides but none as stealth as this woman, all sweetness and light in person and then #*(%&# ANGRY#()*$# on FB!

greencat

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2013, 02:24:28 PM »
I would say privately to her - in person - that you were sure she wasn't aware that you personally belong to many of the groups/hold many of the beliefs that she constantly bashes on Facebook, but that you were feeling pretty offended.  The problem will probably take care of itself at that point, as she will most likely stop being so friendly in person.

Library Dragon

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2013, 06:06:59 PM »
I don't think it's necessarily stealth.  One of my BIL have very different political views.  We still love and care for each other.  When we're together we don't waste that time arguing about our political differences.  We spend it enjoying each other's company. 

Yes, I think think some of his postings lack logic, but he's not lying to me when we laugh and talk about the other parts of his life.

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Tea Drinker

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2013, 06:47:57 PM »
Depending on the specific relationship, I would either reply online--with either specific disagreement or "In-law, maybe you've forgotten that I'm Purple"--or back away.

To some extent it would depend on whether I felt attacked or looked down upon personally, or just thought that the other person was being foolish. I can disagree with you on fiscal policy or whether the US should build high-speed rail without it feeling like I'm being asked to prove I'm human and a citizen with the same rights you have. If someone says that non-Orange people shouldn't be allowed to hold public office or get married, and I'm Purple, that feels like either scorn, an attack, or both. I can either respond, and hope the other person thinks about it and concludes "well, Tea Drinker is purple, and she's okay, maybe so-and-so is a reasonable candidate even though he's purple," or I can back away if I don't feel up to the argument right now.

What I can't do is pretend that the other person isn't stating anti-purple views or calling for an Orange-only government. I'm not going to invite them over, offer them tea, and chat about geology or books while I'm thinking "if she knew I was purple she wouldn't be here."
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HotMango

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2013, 06:54:45 PM »
I also have several friends and family on FB with whom I have vastly different views - socially, politically and religiously - although I don't think they realize it. I never post anything controversial on my page. Instead, I try to keep it light and fun most of the time. And I certainly don't engage them in any of their posts that I don't agree with or try to defend a contrary view. Really, what good would it do? They're not looking for a stimulating debate but rather confirmation of their views with people who think just like them. I just sigh and keep scrolling through my feed.

That doesn't mean they aren't warm and welcoming when we're together, sometimes for hours. It may be helpful to have a fun activity in mind to do together rather than just sitting and chatting. That way minds are off FB topics.

Hmmmmm

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2013, 11:00:46 PM »
I have a BIL you has very different views on religion and politics. He occasionally posts something I think is very inflammatory. I choose to ignore those posts and don't click on the links. I don't love him any less for his beliefs or fault him for choosing to share his beliefs in any method he chooses.

katycoo

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2013, 11:54:34 PM »
You've regularly had chats with her in the past without censoring your topics of conversation and she has never once said anything to your face that you find offensive.  Her FB wall is a place where she can share her views as she pleases and you've handled that appropriately but there's nothing to suggest that she feels then need to convert you to her opinions.  I'd just carry on as you have been and only take action to distance myself if you see that she wants to espouse her opinions to your face.

Hillia

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2013, 12:13:14 AM »
My BIL posts very, very inflammatory things.  He also calls those who don't agree with him 'moron' 'idiots' etc ("Those morons actually believe xxx"  "The idiots in <group> want to kick your dog and burn your popcorn")  My personal favorite  ::) is 'libtard'.  Charming man.

I have to block him periodically because he just gets so offensive. Even people who share his views will call him on the things he says ("Dude, I'm pretty sure you didn't mean every person who's a <group> is secretly a Martian in disguise").  I'll unblock him now and then to follow what's going on with MIL/FIL - they're on FB but don't post much.

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mime

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2013, 11:28:11 AM »
I also have several friends and family on FB with whom I have vastly different views - socially, politically and religiously - although I don't think they realize it. I never post anything controversial on my page. Instead, I try to keep it light and fun most of the time. And I certainly don't engage them in any of their posts that I don't agree with or try to defend a contrary view. Really, what good would it do? They're not looking for a stimulating debate but rather confirmation of their views with people who think just like them. I just sigh and keep scrolling through my feed.


(bold added).
Well put.

I hoped that FB would be a way to keep current with friends and family. If a FB-friend's posts no longer concern their lives and what they've been up to since we last met, but become dominated with a series of rants that are meant to belittle or offend people with my views and beliefs, I block them. I connected with them to stay in touch and share parts of our lives, not to read hateful tantrums.

If these opinions become an issue in face-to-face interactions then I would express disagreement. Fortunately in those face-to-face interactions most people keep their emotions (and mouths) under better control for the sake of getting along with others and avoiding offense or argument. I don't view it as being phoney, but rather practical and courteous, and I happily extend the same courtesy.


CakeEater

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2013, 07:42:49 PM »
You've regularly had chats with her in the past without censoring your topics of conversation and she has never once said anything to your face that you find offensive.  Her FB wall is a place where she can share her views as she pleases and you've handled that appropriately but there's nothing to suggest that she feels then need to convert you to her opinions.  I'd just carry on as you have been and only take action to distance myself if you see that she wants to espouse her opinions to your face.

I don't understand the idea that FB is somehow a private space for people to espouse all their opinions. FB puts your opinions right in my face, unless I choose to block them, so saying that all purple people are stupid on FB is like saying it right to my face.

Anything you choose to say on FB does affect real life relationships, because it is real life. FB is a method of communication. If the OP's relation were to print out the jokes and slurs and post them to everyone she knows, or phone everyone she knows and say the same thing, it would be exactly the same.

In my opinion, you shouldn't say anything on FB that you wouldn't say to everyone on your friends list in person.

All yous general.

*inviteseller

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2013, 08:01:24 PM »
Don't, under any circumstances, say anything to her about her views or posts!!!!  I say this from experience with 2 cousins who I do not share views with, nor they with me.  I jokingly made a comment on a status of one of them and the excrement hit the fan in a way I did not think possible and now none of us speak..them because they think I'm stupid, me because I will not put up with their rants on my stupidity.  If you say anything to relative, you are opening the door for her to 'change your mind' or tell you just how wrong you are.  And honestly, no matter what her views are, or how offensive you find them, they are her opinions she has the right to have them as you have a right to yours and to tell her you find them offensive gives her the opportunity to tell you how offensive your views are.  Just block the feeds and be civil in public but be glad you know what the hot button topics are. 

katycoo

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2013, 08:52:51 PM »
You've regularly had chats with her in the past without censoring your topics of conversation and she has never once said anything to your face that you find offensive.  Her FB wall is a place where she can share her views as she pleases and you've handled that appropriately but there's nothing to suggest that she feels then need to convert you to her opinions.  I'd just carry on as you have been and only take action to distance myself if you see that she wants to espouse her opinions to your face.

I don't understand the idea that FB is somehow a private space for people to espouse all their opinions. FB puts your opinions right in my face, unless I choose to block them, so saying that all purple people are stupid on FB is like saying it right to my face.

Anything you choose to say on FB does affect real life relationships, because it is real life. FB is a method of communication. If the OP's relation were to print out the jokes and slurs and post them to everyone she knows, or phone everyone she knows and say the same thing, it would be exactly the same.

In my opinion, you shouldn't say anything on FB that you wouldn't say to everyone on your friends list in person.

All yous general.

I choose not to take things written online personally unless they are specifically directed at me.  I don't care what your opinions are providing that you don't treat me differently because of them.

ie.  Lets say I love Milli Vanilli.  Best group EVA.
You HATE Milli Vanilli.  You think their music is terrible, always have, and even worse they were a pack of fraudsters so anyone who likes them when it wasn't even them is just plain dumb.

Technically, you think I'm an idiot for liking Milli Vanilli.

Unless you TREAT me like an idiot to my face, or try to convince me not to like them, or spend al our conversation bagging them, I don't care that in that area, you think I'm an idiot.  I think you're an idiot for not seeing the magic of Milli Vanilli.  We move on as friends, each accepting the idiocy of the other.

But this is an example of how people are different.  Clearly not everyone is comfortable separating their opinions like that, and prefer to be friends with those of similar opinions to their own, which is fine :)

Also, I don't actually like Milli Vanilli.  What do you take me for?

CakeEater

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2013, 10:08:43 PM »
You speak against Milli Vanilli? We are not friends.  ;D

I understand this perspective - and I'm more than happy to accept people's different views. As long as they don't explicitly call me an idiot, or worse, for disagreeing.

I have some views that probably many here and many of my friends would disagree with - not the virtues of puppy kicking or anything, don't worry - but I don't go about explaining my views and saying that all who disagree are idiots. Not to people's faces, and not on FB. I quietly hold my views, explain what they are if anyone explicitly asks, and try hard not to insult people in the process.

I'm happily firends with many people who hold the opposite opinion. I don't hold their disagreement against them and don't treat them differently. Neither of us rants about our views to the other.

nayberry

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2013, 09:03:09 AM »
/threadjack  CRUD MONKEYS! milli vannilli, flashbacks!!  i was a big fan but then the whole "they didn't actually sing on their songs" scandal came out...  /end threadjack

LadyL

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Re: When someone reveals offensive views via facebook.
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2013, 09:32:55 AM »
I choose not to take things written online personally unless they are specifically directed at me.  I don't care what your opinions are providing that you don't treat me differently because of them.

The problem with this is that I find certain views toxic, whether or not the person who has them treats me differently. Homophobic statements or behavior make me feel physically ill even though I'm in a "traditional" relationship, for example.

I think what bothers me in this case is that it feels like this in-law is hiding something, or has a double standard for her behavior. Either she doesn't have the gumption to speak these views in public, OR she thinks it's fine to be polite in public but do things like name call on facebook.

I certainly am fine with agreeing to disagree on particular topics (though race, homophobia, and misogyny are deal breakers-  politics and religion are not), but when someone's whole world view seems to revolve around finding People Like Me inferior it is at a different level than the Milli Vanilli example.