February 29, 2016   |   Michaela Whitton
February 29, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) An alleged bastion of free speech, Facebook prides itself on having as few barriers as possible to people sharing what they want, within reason. Ironically, the social media giant had to take its own staff to task this week after employees defaced a Black Lives Matter slogan displayed on company premises.
Facebook employees are 69 percent male and only 2 percent are black. Staff have previously admitted that the company has a long way to go to achieve greater diversity.
The company’s offices in New York’s MPK building span over 430,000 square feet and have been referred to as a “garden-roofed fantasyland.” It is a longstanding tradition at Facebook headquarters that employees can write on dry-erase message boards — as they would on their Facebook virtual wall.
In a private memo posted on an employee announcement page and obtained by Gizmodo, Mark Zuckerberg said there have been several instances of employees scratching out “black lives matter” and writing “all lives matter” on the company’s famous signature wall. It seems the incident has happened before, and Zuckerberg responded forcefully, issuing the culprits a stern warning and calling the behaviour disrespectful and malicious.
Black Lives Matter was never meant to suggest that other people’s lives didn’t. In a country where black Americans are almost eight times more likely to be homicide victims than white ones, “all lives matter” has become a toxic comeback that denies racial disparity. In an interview with Fox News, Seattle Black Lives Matter co-founder, Marissa Jenae Johnson, says “all lives matter’’ is, in fact, a racial slur:
“The reality is that white Americans have created the conditions that require a phrase like Black Lives Matter. Do you know what I would give to live in a world where I didn’t have to say Black Lives Matter? Do you know how horrific it is to grow up as a child in a world that so hates you that you have to literally say to other people ‘my life matters’ and they’re like ‘well everybody’s lives matter’ while you’re literally being gunned down in the street, while you’re being rounded up and mass incarcerated and forced into prison slavery?
“Black Lives Matter is not a strong enough statement for me,” she said.
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