Clubhouse is a new, audio-only (and invite only) social media platform where people can talk about a variety of issues with others across the world. With an invitation, I joined it a couple months ago. Over all, I like it. (Not being able to type at all on the app is a little frustrating sometimes, but I can manage.)
In the clubhouse set-up, there is what is called a "stage" where the people who are talking are situated. There is also the "audience" where those who are not speaking are situated. People who are moderators (see names with "green beans" to the left) have the ability to mute or remove others (without the green beads) on the stage.
Sometimes, you can see rooms with hundreds or thousands of people, especially if they're talking about controversial issues. On Clubhouse, the equivalent of a "feed" is the "hallway". A user on the app can choose their interests, and the hallway is supposed to be shaped (in part) by one's chosen interests. The hallway is also shaped by people that one follows.
Now, let's talk about the coward(s) that I reference in the title.
There is one thing I dislike about interacting with others on the app: the censorship of participants who are afraid to have real discussions or accommodate passion. These folks (mostly Americans) don't believe in freedom of expression. Recently, I got onto the app and in was a room of Black Americans who were pissed off at Africans. Being African myself, I went in to hear what the fuss was about.
(For the record, I like to listen to people who have opposing views from time to time. It keeps me grounded and in touch with what they have to say. It also helps me to prepare arguments in advance for in-person situations.)
You ask: What did you witness in this room?
I'll tell you:
I witnessed a bunch of Black Americans raving about how Africans were exacerbating their issues here in the USA. They complained that they were tIrEd Of BeInG dEmOnIzEd. The Black Americans were also, as they tend to do when they're upset or intimidated, tossing out insults (at Africans in general).
I scrutinized the stage. It was about 95% Black American and 5% African (I used the usernames to gauge this). This was hardly a balanced discussion. The two Africans on the stage were "trying" (they weren't doing a damned thing but mumbling or allowing themselves to be talked over) to give a response to them...
I rolled my eyes.
I hate people (in this case, the Africans) who are scared of idiots (in this case, the Black Americans) just because they talk loudly.
I raised my hand to go up, and they accepted me onto the stage. I waited my turn to speak. And then, I let them have it. I began by:
Introducing myself, including how I identify (ethnically)
Stating what I commend in the ADOS/FBA groups (their fight for reparations)
Addressing the prompt by stating my take: (which was that the afrophobic, xenophobic veins of these groups are ridiculous and only exist to manipulate the frustrations of Black Americans to use as emotional fodder for these movements)
I then quoted 6 main points that I have heard some of the Black Americans in the ADOS (American Descendants Of chattel Slavery, https://ados101.com/about-ados) organization or the FBA (Foundational Black American, https://officialfba.com/) group saying.
I dismissed 2/3rds of the 6 points (including: "y'AlL kEeP pLaYiNg OuR hIsToRiCaL hErOeS iN mOvIeS, y'AlL tAkIn' OuR rEsOuRcEs", "y'AlL cAlL uS 'aKaTa', etc.). Then I addressed 2 of the more serious ones (the "y'AlL sOld Us" and the "y'AlL tAkIn' OuR jObS" points.) I rounded up by saying that there was a lot of displacement (they're really mad at the whites, but they're picking on Africans because we're lower-hanging fruit) and projection (they have a lot of ingrained afrophobia as Old Americans, and they feel the need to assume that the hate and fear is mutual to justify their feelings) going on among them.
Now mind you:
To say all that, I fought off poor internet connectivity, people trying to interrupt me, people removing me from the stage, people insulting me in passing, and one clown talking about how she was gonna "expose me". To that woman, I simply said: "...I remember you from another room. I stand by anything I said. Feel free to bring it up." To my surprise and amusement, I later found out that she had taken a recording of my words from the other room.
I know that's right!
Quote me verbatim!!!
Anyway, after I finished speaking, one Black American stated how she liked that I "said it with my chest". She commented that she had never seen any of us (Africans) do that before. I was not surprised to hear this. I've seen many Africans (adults, even) be cowed by the rambunctious manner in which your average Black American talks when they're upset.
But what these cowardly Africans don't seem to know is that: talking the most loudly in a room (or using the most swearwords) doesn't mean that you're right, or that you're making sense. So why be afraid just because they're yelling?
People began to do their best to respond to all that I said. Some (those with short attention spans) complained about how long-winded I was. I told them that I only wanted to represent as full a picture as I could of what I had heard from them, but if they didn't want that, then cool. A few others insulted me (insinuating that I was broke because of my poor internet connection and talking about my headline, lol). As they decided which order they would respond to me in, I waited, occasionally responding to their quips. Then, the first responder spoke.
I grew increasingly exasperated as I listened because even though she was using her notes to try to respond to what I'd said, she spoke in an unstructured manner (aka, whined) that irritated the debate champion in me. At one point, I was so over it that I interjected with a flat: "Boo hoo."
Now you know: all hell broke loose.
She responded with a "WELL, BOO HOO, THEN B*TCH!"
I returned the explicative, and others started to shout too. My poor connection dropped me from the room shortly thereafter. When I found the room again, the woman who had recorded me in the other room took up my offer to challenge me on what I said then. She played a recording of me. I began to listen.
I like the sound of my voice. However, I was only able to enjoy listening to myself, for a few seconds before:
Ugh, I was dropped from the room again!
But this time, try as I might, I could not find the room. I recalled what I had learned on Clubhouse earlier in the day: if someone blocks you on Clubhouse, you are no longer able to find/be in any of the rooms that they are in. You also cannot find them on the app.
I was curious.
So I searched the name of the person who I guessed had blocked me.
As it turned out, it wasn't the woman who made the recording. I was annoyed. The rest of them were strangers I had never talked to before, so I couldn't check who might have done it because I didn't remember all their names.
Finally, these fools had found the unicorn that they didn't know existed (an African who could stand for Africans and the African point-of-view against all their fury) but one of them (the coward in question) decided that they didn't want me to be a part of the conversation. I guess they felt that it would fit their narrative better to have a one-sided discussion, rather than take the chance for me to destroy their rhetoric. They decided to permanently censor me in the conversation.
Eventually, I just told myself that my recording would have to speak for me in my absence. Whatever responses, insults, or questions they had wouldn't be able to be answered for now.
Who knew that they were just bluffing when they talked about how they wanted to: "gEt iN tHaT aSs" (argue me down)?
I certainly didn't.
I'm sure that some of them (to make themselves feel better) will lie and say that I "ran from the room". But God knows I was ready for whatever they would have said. In any case, I hope that at least some of them can catch me somewhere else on Clubhouse so that we can continue the discussion.
Bring it on.