Perspectives on Race

A Discussion about Events Concerning Race

Racism on the Web

with 4 comments

I recently read this article and it raised a few questions and concerns for me:

Kanye West’s latest outburst at the MTV Video Music Awards has drawn mostly negative reactions. After his unsavory diss of country singer Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech for the best female video, many people immediately went to their various online social media tools to share their thoughts about the hip-hop star.

I agree with the opinion that West’s blowup was horribly rude and childish. However, there were some Internet users who took their thoughts about him too far. This was particularly obvious on Twitter, which was awash in a flood of racism, with the so-called “post-racial” levees fully giving way.

Here are just a few of the most memorable tweets:

ODV1985: kanye west is monkey ass n****r! and should be lynched! taylor swift i love you girl! (these people are going somewhere in life)

JacobFredG: I realy hope I dont have any black followers and if I do just stop following me, Kanye West is a stupid n****r!

trevbandito: Watch’n the VMA’s and decicided to look up the word “N****R” In the dictionary, and low and behold was a pic. of Kanye West!!!!!!!!

There are some who still want to believe that with a black man in the White House, racism is a thing of the past. But I would contend that racism hasn’t gone away, it has just gone online.

With the evolution of online conversations, many bigots who are too cowardly to spew their vitriol in front of an actual person, now hide behind a virtual barrier. The only reason many white supremacist groups stay alive is because they have vibrant online communities. Now, I am all for freedom of speech. Heck, I am in the business of free speech. But I also think that there has been souring of civility in public discourse.

In the last week alone, there have been other examples of online racism. Tennis star Serena Williams, who also engaged in bad behavior during the US Open tournament on Saturday night, was also subjected to racial taunts about her physique and having a “ghetto resident card” on YouTube and in the blogosphere, with one person saying “sooner or later the n****r always comes out, no matter how much money they got.”

Then there are those who are more politically correct about their cyber racism, even towards our government officials. The hotly contested health care debate and the abrupt departure of green jobs czar Van Jones has highlighted a distinct change in tone from conservatives. Clearly, there is a mission by some Republicans to undermine President Obama and his administration with the use of their new favorite word “socialist.” But let’s be real folks: If the word ‘socialist’ was replaced with the n-word in some of the blog rants about Obama and Jones, they would read the same way.

The Internet may represent the future of communication, but if this racism continues, then the future looks no different than the past.

Do you think that Kane West was being racist by the comment he made? Do you think that Serena should have been attacked for her outbursts? I feel that they couldve handled their situations in a better manner but every has their own opinion. Would it have been different if Britney Spears made the comment about Taylor Swift? Or if Anna Kournikova made the same comments as Serena? Everyone is entitled to their own  opinion but should they called out of their name and labeled for it?


Written by porterd06

September 21, 2009 at 4:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. I agree with people taking advantage of racism on web. Because they write really rude things and get away with it because they can use fake names.


    September 21, 2009 at 9:57 pm

  2. There has been studies that have shown that people are a lot crueler on the net than they are in real life. On the net racist people can cower behind a veil of anonymity and freely express their deepest and most vile thoughts. People often use the net to vent their thought and emotions on particular groups based on experiences because it gives them a platform to voice their opinion without fear of confrontational retribution. They don’t have to worry about being labeled as a racist or bigot because they can easily hide behind fake names as mentioned by the person above.


    September 21, 2009 at 11:56 pm

  3. One thing that I find really interesting about racism that is perpetuated using internet outlets such as Twitter or Youtube comments is that most of these people would be offended if you called them racist in real life. The internet provides this avenue for expression that isn’t allowable within the normal confines of daily interaction. The anonymity that the internet provides allows for people to be racist without dealing with the social consequences of being racist. Although John Doe might not want to be considered a racist because of the effects it could have at home, at the workplace, or elsewhere, John Doe as num1p4ck3rsfan on Youtube, can say whatever he’d like without any ramifications.


    September 22, 2009 at 6:03 am

  4. I agree that the internet is used by people as a means of expressing their freedom of speech (in this case, with racism) without receiving the consequences of their words and actions. As for a Britney Spears, for example, making a comment about Taylor Swift, I think it would be looked at as rude, but it would not blown up as much as it was for Kanye.


    September 25, 2009 at 3:39 am

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