In this tumultuous election season, many of us are thankful that large family gatherings at which you sit and grin through a racist relative's ramblings are few and far between.
But it's difficult to escape political discussions entirely, particularly if you're on the internet. In recent years, Facebook has emerged as a hub where people air their political grievances recklessly and at top speed.
For all the triumphs of social media, it has enabled people to express some of their more ignorant thoughts while hiding behind a screen to avoid a confrontation in real life. While it certainly requires some degree of self-restraint to turn the other cheek when someone says something terrible online, we know from experience that Facebook discussions often lead nowhere, and can raise your blood pressure and destroy friendships.
Faced with this conundrum — ignore or engage? — New York public radio station WNYC put together a handy flowchart to help people figure out how to best tackle offensive statements on Facebook. Should you choose to respond, WNYC guides you through your approach to help make your discussion at least somewhat constructive.
According to WNYC, close to half of the 300 people polled said they have seen discussions on race pop up on their Facebook feeds. One-third of those users have considered blocking or unfriending someone over "offensive comments about the news."
So the next time you scroll through your Facebook feed and feel compelled to shriek into the void, consult this flowchart first as a meditation of sorts on what you would like to say — or if you should even say it.
Maybe, just maybe we can start having real, meaningful discussions about our real problems. We believe in you, America.
Cover image via David M G / Shutterstock.com.