Mark Zuckerberg Asks Racist Facebook Employees To Stop Crossing Out Black Lives Matter Slogans

Mark Zuckerberg Asks Racist Facebook Employees to Stop Crossing Out Black Lives Matter Slogans

The black lives matter movement has shed light on the racial profiling, police brutality and racial inequality experienced by the African-American community across America (it has also had an impact upon Australian dialogue regarding race). But apparently some of the employees at Facebook's notoriously white, bro-centric Menlo Park, California office don't agree. In a private memo posted on a company announcement page for employees only, Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that employees have been scratching out "black lives matter" (sic) and writing "all lives matter" on the company's famous signature wall. The company, whose staff is only 2 per cent black, is facing the issue head on.

"We've never had rules around what people can write on our walls," said Zuckerberg in the post. "We expect everybody to treat each other with respect." The entire message, obtained by Gizmodo, is posted in full below:

Mark Zuckerberg Asks Racist Facebook Employees to Stop Crossing Out Black Lives Matter Slogans

We reached out to Facebook for comment, but had not heard back at time of writing.


Comments

    Can someone explain to me how this is specifically racist?

    If black was replaced with white or vice versa I'd get it... But saying all lives matter doesn't put a preference on any one race..

      It's not the phrase itself that's racist but the context behind it. "Black lives matter" is not just a slogan but a movement that is very much needed in the US, where race relations are incredibly strained through hundreds of years of history. The simple fact is that existing as a black person in the US is inherently more dangerous than existing as a white person.

      "All lives matter" is almost a counter movement -- which isn't to actually say that all lives matter, but tends to be used as a way to invalidate the "black lives matter" movement. You'll find that the people who like to use all lives matter as a response are not actually acting on it, but simply leaning on that 'response' to push the black community's problems to the background.

        Hayley,

        Thank you for taking the time to respond.

        "Black lives matter" is a movement that is very much needed in the US: I agree with you. In fact, I would go one further and say it isn't just pigeon holed to the US. Just look at parts of Africa.

        But, how does stating all lives matter amount to racism? Reading the comments below, many people feel the same way.

        Racist is the wrong word. This isn't about race. It is about devaluing a cause by changing the slogan. Whilst black lives matter and all lives matter both ring true, this isn't racism. It is the devaluation of a movement.

        Perhaps the title should read "Mark Zuckerberg Asks Facebook Employees To Stop Devaluing Black Lives Matter Slogans"???

        Or just delete the racist... (see what I did there??)

      This isn't editing an inaccurate sentence. There is a clear context and message around the "Black lives matter" phrase in the US. Everyone there understands that a person saying it really means "Black people in the US are unfairly discriminated against, to the point of being killed in disproportionate numbers". Obviously this is a statement that raises emotions and raises disputes in the US. Similarly there is context around "All lives matter" as a direct response. Everyone there knows that it really means "Black people's anger at their social situation is invalid." At best it is demeaning to "Correct" someone's political statement, at worst it is a coded response saying "Black people get what they deserve." So definitely disrespectful and very possibly racist.

    To be fair, all lives do matter. It is a bit offensive to white/any other color people just to have "black lives matter". I realize the point of " black lives matter "but they could of chosen a better motto.

      It's not offensive at all.
      The use of the phrase already assumes that ALL lives matter, but people are valuing black lives less. What it's use means basically is: "Black lives mater too"

        That would of been a better motto. I like it.

          "Would HAVE been" Shame on you Pepee63.
          I think the concern is the crossing out of the original message. A better response would be "I agree; and also white, brown, yellow and any other colour you can name." Race is a social construct, not a colour. My sister is as brown as chocolate when she has a tan. Darker than many "coloured" people that I know.

    How exactly is saying "All lives matter" instead of "Black lives matter" racist? Admittedly crossing it out rather that simply writing it underneath is disrespectful, but if you think the statement is racist, then I'm not sure you understand the definition of racism.

    I know this is concerning Facebook so is technically a 'Tech' related article, but seriously can we quit it with the SJW stories, or am I really the only one who doesn't want to see them here?

      Didn't say it was racist, just disrespectful.

      So I stand corrected, it does.

      Last edited 26/02/16 9:49 am

        Mark Zuckerberg Asks Racist Facebook Employees
        The writer of this article did.

        You really can't see the word racist?
        You must suck at Where's Wally :)

      Racist? No. Disrespectful? Yes. Ignorant? Certainly.

      "We, the majority, have problems too." in all it's forms is a statement that disempowers those who are trying to bring attention to a specific issue, or set of issues, of a particular group. Yes, all lives matter, that's as true a statement as you can get; historically, in the US, the value of the white majority's lives hasn't been in question though, but black lives have. The wider community in the 'states have time and again been able to ignore the lower education outcomes, worse health, lower wages, poor living conditions of the black community, the gang violence and ghettoisation of the inner cities and the disproportionately high representation of blacks among the homeless and within homicide (including police killings) statistics - all as "black problems".

      The #blacklivesmatter campaign, as such, is trying to bring some of these problems to the attention of the wider community. Scrawling that out and writing "All Lives Matter" is a snarky retort that seeks to dismiss the campaign goals and continue to write it off as a "black problem".

        Ignorant or enlightened? To quote En Vogue "Free your mind and the rest will follow. Be color blind, don't be so shallow" For #blacklivesmatter an essential step is to change the hearts and minds of those who treat anyone differently based on ethnicity or physical appearance. In some ways, saying "all lives matter" a better approach because it is looking at the problems and not at the skin tone.

          As I said, you're not going to find a truer statement than that all lives matter; I don't think that many people who cross out "Black Lives Matter" are looking to address the problems at hand though. It's a (horrible) fact that in the US if you're a middle class, law-abiding, black man, that a simple traffic stop is substantially more dangerous than if your skin was white. Employment prospects are worse for equally-qualified African-Americans in many parts of the country, doubly so for women.
          So, I think we're agreeing? All lives matter, but there's a whole lot of people who treat African-Americans differently, including many police officers, and it's those minds that need to be changed?

          The problem with correcting "black lives matter" to "all lives matter" is the number of people who mentally add an asterisk to the latter saying (* Except the black ones).

          Excluding people who are different from the definition of "people" is a very old and unfortunate tradition.

          Saying "black lives matter" points out that there are people who, implicitly or explicitly, do not believe that they do matter - and that they are wrong. The people who cross out the slogan may not be deliberately racist in doing so... any more than the Gamergate "defendants" were necessarily deliberately sexist.

      I don't think anyone is saying "all lives matter" is a racist remark. The issue is entirely with the actions of crossing out the word "black" which is very much a passive aggressive move and looks to be denying the voicing of a specific movement to improve the quality of life for black people in the US.

      Had someone written "all lives matter" to begin with there would be zero issue.

        It's not racist in the traditional sense but has racist themes of downplaying the significance of the issue.

        In some ways I see the hash tag as the race-issue equivalent of #notallmen . Also not in of itself sexist, but a problematic view in the context of gender issues.

    Black holes matter! (Though they kinda aren't made of matter.)

      Of course they're made of matter, if they weren't then they wouldn't exert any gravitational force.

        Your reasoning is incorrect because matter doesn't have a monopoly on gravitation.
        No indictment on you, most non-physicists share your misconception.

        The view of mainstream modern physics is that mass is not a property of matter, it's a property of energy.

        Yes, we really think two photons will gravitationally attract each other.

        Of course matter makes gravity too, but only because there's always an 'invariant energy' associated with matter. (Physics are trying to retire the term 'rest energy' because it encourages various misconceptions.)

        Incidentally, despite the fact that your reasoning is incorrect, I don't really object to people who want to classify black holes as matter, or even photons as matter. It's our language, and we get to define what is and isn't matter. I disagree though, because I think black holes are at least as different from hadrons (i.e. matter), as hadrons are from bosons.

          Whoosh ... right over my head :)

          You obviously know your shit and you're right I'm definitely no physicist. I just think of them as matter because my understanding is that they are formed from collapsed stars, and the matter that makes the star makes the black hole.

          As far as gravity is concerned you're right it's mass not matter that matters!

    This is a marketing problem. The slogan should be "black lives matter too". This draws attention to the disadvantage for African Americans and doesn't leave as much room for misinterpretation such as:
    "black lives matter" more than other racial minorities
    "black lives matter" and others don't

      I have essentially the same problem with the bumper-sticker:
      "Stop violence against women."
      The deliberate addition of the last two words implicitly accepts other violence.

    'Oh no, someone scribbled out my graffiti on the wall and now Im offended by it".

    Really. It's a hashtag. Someone writes 'black', 'white', 'my little pony'....who cares. They are just words. Get some wood, steel, bricks, tools...go to the nearest river with a wide chasm, hire contractors, get local government permissions, possible state government permission, adhere to all bylaws in regards to zoning and construction, community consult for design, begin work, fight with striking workers, hire new contractors and then...build a freaking bridge and get over it.

    Last edited 26/02/16 12:06 pm

    Okay.
    To make it clearer, this is the problem with 'all lives matter'.

    Say you see a post against domestic violence against women. You write down in the comments that, 'Hey, men get assaulted too!'
    You are 100% correct, so surely that means that you agree that we need to take steps to eradicate domestic violence right?

    Maybe, but most of the time on the internet, no.
    What you meant by your comment was 'I've found a hole in your argument, and it is therefore wrong.' 'You are a liar and the problem isn't and bad as you make out' 'You need to shut up and stop talking about it.'

    That make sense?

      Did you actually just argue that a hole (a fallacy) doesn't defeat an argument? :)

    what about the brown lives?
    Pretty sure they are being vilified based on the actions of a small minority of their country men.

    Fairly sure that majority of those being shot and killed were almost in the midst of committing a crime - its not like they are getting lynched these days for walking down the street

    I don't see how it's racist. All lives do matter?

    At the same time the shit the protesters have been doing is pretty horrible in America. tbh.

    Last edited 26/02/16 2:24 pm

      This is the problem, the initial premise behind #BlackLivesMatter is laudable, but it's being hijacked by entirely the wrong kind of activists, who seem to believe it entitles them to be racist in return, and that's what's causing some of the backlash against the movement.

    It is like having a *violence against women* day (white ribbon) at work, and someone says what about violence against men, children or everyone...

    It is because women are over-represented in domestic violence at the moment, and its to highlight this etc.

      OK, let's go there:
      Would you support black-ribbon day when we'd all wear
      "Stop mothers from murdering babies"?

        Wow. That went dark. I support the right to choose if it's early enough, and I support that a baby should not be killed if it can be born healthy and without *defects*

          Sorry if it's dark, sometimes increasing the contrast brings clarity.
          I support your comments on young humans, but they miss the target I'd hoped to draw :)

          I was actually referring to the distressing rate at which mothers murder young offspring *after* they're born.

          I posit that your opinion of the driver might differ depending on which bumper-sticker they choose:
          "Stop violence against women"
          "Stop mothers murdering newborns"

          Or even that you might be willing to put only one of these on your car.

          My question is, why?

          Incidentally, this is an honest question intended to help form/refine my view (and my understanding of others). I'm not trying to hurt anyone or corner anyone, I just think there are probably double-standards worth examination.

      OK, so you're unwilling to engage on the question of neonaticide.
      There's another double-standard I want to demonstrate.

      When you defended 'stop violence against women' you felt the need to add an unimplied word, 'domestic'.

      Is it that you're uncomfortably aware that men face more violence (and more serious violence) than women?

      If you're aware of that, how do you justify defending the slogan?

      It's much akin to defending 'stop taxing the wealthy'.

    If you truly believe the phrase "All Lives Matter" then seeing the phrase "Black Lives Matter" shouldn't instantly make you think "But nobody else does? How dare he...", it's a reminder to those who really don't know.

      I think perhaps you haven't examined your reasoning very closely.
      Let's try some more examples and see if none of them would make you consider bigotry as a likely motivation:

      #Male Lives Matter
      #Wealthy Lives Matter
      #Family of Windsor Lives Matter
      #Christian Lives Matter
      #Republican Lives Matter
      #Caucasian Lives Matter

        If you're going to try and use any of those as a counter to #blacklivesmatter then it really makes you seem like the type that would cross it out...

        Try perhaps using a minority that has (and still do) suffer oppression at the hands of the majority (because you haven't chosen any above)...

          1: I would not have crossed it out, I think to do so is a despicable restriction on the ideal of free speech.

          2: I doubt you'd invalidate the hashtag if there were an oppressed black majority (e.g. on plantations), so we can discard being a minority as a factor in your argument.

          3: I'm forced to conclude that you think that oppressed people deserve a pass on bigotry. That's an interesting view, and I'm happy to discuss it, but I need you to verify that it's actually your view?

          Last edited 01/03/16 8:59 am

            1. glad you wouldn't have crossed it out

            2. being a majority in a given circumstance (ie a plantation, or even on a basketball team) vs being a minority in society in general is an apple to oranges comparison... but you're correct, it wouldn't invalidate the hashtag. Being part of a minority, however, is still one of the most common elements in being oppressed... or do you disagree with that statement?

            3. it's interesting that when minorities / the underprivileged voice an opinion diametrically opposed to the majority / power holders and their interests, in regards to the conditions, treatment etc that they experience, that it could be called "bigotry".

            ie: a person whose habitual state of mind includes an obstinate, irrational, or unfair intolerance of ideas, opinions, ethnicities, or beliefs that differ from their own, and intolerance of the people who hold them

            Given that the #blacklivesmatter movement is neither irrational or unfair and their only "intolerance" is for the maltreatment of black individuals by law enforcement officials and those who say things like "racism will go away if you stop talking about it"... I can't fathom how you could logically call that bigotry?

            Last edited 02/03/16 4:26 pm

              I thank you for posting the definition of bigotry, that's more extreme than I thought.
              I think that racial bias can be inferred from the hashtag, but stronger evidence would be needed to infer bigotry.

              You've attempted to change the subject, but I don't think we disagree on what you tried to change it to!

              Your statement was *not* that most participants in the black lives matter movement are reasonable and justified. If you'd said that, I'd have agreed and gone about my day.

              Your statement was that people who think all lives matter should not infer exclusionary racial bias when reading "Black Lives Matter". (Paraphrased, fairly I hope.)

              But people should infer exclusionary racial bias!
              You could see that clearly in the hashtags I suggested for consideration.

              Your minority/oppressed argument fails because whether a poster self-identifies as a minority or as oppressed ought have exactly zero impact on the identification of exclusionary racial bias.

              You can make a case that such people should be *allowed* to have racial bias, but claiming it isn't an obvious inference really needs justifying.

                Fair points. And correct, I think you've identified the crux of my argument - you believe people SHOULD infer exclusionary racial bias (where I don't) and this always sparks my curiosity - would you argue that daffodil day (cancer awareness research etc) infers that the people raising money and their voices don't care about AIDS / HIV? It's a simple ipso facto position based on what you've said (so I don't see it as any kind of unfair assumption in that).

                The biggest social issue these days seems to be that when one position / situation has people attempting to rectify it, that people CHOSE to infer an opposing negative belief about whatever the opposing / alternate position is... and that's not realistic within the human condition!

                Clear example, I detest the current Liberal National Party (LNP), therefore most people assume I must love either Labor or the Greens... but I don't, they're doing plenty of asshole-ish things too!

                At the end of the day, choosing to believe that causes like #blacklivesmatter are racist AGAINST people other than those who are black, instead of being about trying to bring about equal treatment of a disenfranchised race just leads to more problems and arguments creating even more need for them to speak up etc. Vicious cycle.

                  My reply got blocked, so I'll try to reply piece-wise.

                  1: People don't choose what to believe. They are convinced by the information they possess, or they aren't.

                  2: I think your claim that #blacklivesmatter is an attempt to remind people, is insulting to the users of the hashtag. No scenario in which a person could be 'reminded' that black lives matter exists. If you disagree, please coherently describe a scenario in which a person who reads #blacklivesmatter and somehow as a result 'remembers' that black lives matter.

                  If you accept item 2, we can discuss potential actual motivations for using the hashtag.

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