Racism: Alive and Well on Social Networks

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About Kathryn DeHoyos

Kathryn DeHoyos currently resides on the outskirts of Austin, TX. She is the News Editor for the Good Feed Blog and absolutely loves what she does. She is the happy mommy to a wild 2 year old girl-child, and is blissfully happy being un-married to her life partner DJ.

Comments

  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    What is racism when expressed on social networks. Saying something about computers and karate may be racist, or at least stereotyping. But if you say Asian-Americans are so good in the hard sciences that the West Coast universities and the Ivies have use techniques a la “Gentlemen’s Agreement” to keep Asian-American enrollment down, it is true. Now what?

  2. Overall, Logan Smith seems to be providing a positive service. I’m really disappointed with the amount of overt racism he seems to have uncovered, and it’s probably a good idea to point it out.

    But I have some reservations about his methods. A recurring theme among his retweets is calling someone a racist when they are honest about their fears. As an example, someone recently wrote “I’m afraid of people wearing turbans on airplanes,” and Logan merely responded with “You’re a racist!”

    Now, obviously there’s a problem with fearing an entire category of people, most of whom probably don’t even share the same religion as the 9/11 attackers. But should we really respond to an honestly shared fear, however inappropriate, with hat amounts to name calling?

    If someone tweets an ethnic slur (which seems to happen unfortunately often), then it’s probably appropriate to simply say “That’s racist.” but what shouldn’t we have more compassion for someone who is brave enough to tell us what they are afraid of, even where their fear is totally inappropriate?

    • Good question.

      With such a tweet as, “I’m afraid of people wearing turbans on airplanes,” rushing to call them racist might be ignoring the circumstances behind that fear. What if the person that tweeted that lost several friends/family in 9/11 or another attack?

      I ask this because it seems that the decision to call someone racist will sometimes consider such circumstances and sometimes will actively ignore them.

      Take for instance being men being fearful of women and women being fearful of men. I know for a fact that if a woman is fearful of men there is often no shortage of people that will come to her defense and declare that it’s not sexist. Even to the point of imposing possible explaninations for her fear. On the other hand a man saying he is fearful of women will pretty much illicit cries of sexism. Even to the point of actively denying given explanations for his fear.

      Now this isn’t to say that none of those folks are racist. Just pointing out that it seems these days the call on whether or not something is racist or not is being determined by the what, where, why, and how but solely by the who (as in flatly saying that anything that is said about white people no matter how bad is never racist but everything a white person says is under scrutiny for possible racism).

      What purpose do these distinctions hold? Well depending on the circumstances you could be looking at the difference between someone that had a bad experience and drew negative conclusions (that need to be corrected) and someone that truly does have no regard.

      And what Richard said below. Sometimes its just grandstanding (not too much different from that Nice Guys of OK Cupid site we were talking about around here a few days ago).

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Mike L.
    Good point, although the 9-11 highjackers didn’t wear turbans, nor did the people busted in the UK planning to take down ten airliners with smuggled bomb components plan to wear turbans. In fact, they planned to bring their kids along for cover.
    I think what we see here is the immense fun of calling other people racist. It makes the caller feel morally superior.

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