So many thought that we the election of President Obama, that racism had somehow ended. While this is not only completely untrue, with the rise of technology a new kind of genre of racism has occurred, that is all the racist things that people post on social media websites. Racist comments that people make can be seen on blogs, twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and any other social media platform that let people add their two-cents in. But then there comes a good question that I would like to explore. Why do people feel that its o.k. to post things on the web that in real life, they would never have the balls to say.
Say it to my face, not my Facebook!!
One such reason that a person might write a racist comment on a social media site is to simply attract attention; people want to be noticed and want to feel that someone is paying attention to them (Manfred, “Why is the Internet so Racist?)” People will go to almost any lengths just to feel that people are paying attention to them, sadly they will even put racist commentary on the internet for the world to see. Another reason a person might want to make racist comments is because they feel comfortable sharing things with people who might share similar interests as them (Manfred, “Why is the Internet so Racist?”). For example if I know that you hate all Asian people, I then feel that it’s ok to write a racist comment on the completely racist YouTube video that you made depicting all Asians as people who are good in math and science and can’t drive. Pretty much you are looking for some kind of validation with your comments. We can begin to bond over the racist remarks that we make. One other reason an individual may make racist comments on the web is because to a certain extent they can remain anonymous (Manfred, “Why is the Internet so Racist?”). So like the title suggests, some people use anonymity to their advantage. On many websites and blogs there are no login features, allowing people to remain anonymous. So some people feel protected because we do not know their real identity. They may even feel inclined to say things that otherwise they may not have said.
What kinds of racist things are people saying?
It can be agreed on that people make racist comments on the web all the time, but what kinds of racist things are people saying? There have been patterns of the kinds of racist things that people write in the comment section. I have noticed a pattern about the kinds of racist comments that people make as well. When looking at examples of racist commentary one category of racist comments had to do with some kind of racial slurs. People would say things like “nigger”, “wetbacks”, and “chinks”. People would say racial slurs of this nature when referring to someone in a video, picture, etc. The next major grouping of racist comments had to do with stereotypes. For example someone might say something like “you know all black people like fried chicken and watermelon.” The more vulgar and disrespectful the comment the more attention, and the more of an uproar that you will get on social media and also the more responses a person will get. So you would see comment that agrees with the initial comment and then you could see people making a rebuttal to the initial comment. Many times these conversations go on for great lengths. Many times if there was a video uploaded of a person of color, comments would be stereotypes associated with this person’s particular race/ethnicity or religion. The third category that I noticed was racial jokes. While this does not cover every racial comment that appears on the internet, it does show a consistent pattern among racist commentary. Though many comments are flagged on YouTube and facebook, which makes it hard to get many examples, here is a link that you can view to get a glimpse of racism in the comment sections on YouTube and FaceBook.
Change is Coming!!
While it is a nice thought to think that these racist comments will be gone forever, the reality of it is we live in a world that breeds hate. As long as people are teaching their children to hate certain groups of people and teaching their children that they are superior to other groups, I don’t see the racist remarks in the comment sections going anywhere anytime soon. As long as racism and ignorance still exist, people will continue to reflect this ignorance on the internet for everyone to see. While some company’s take some precautions against inappropriate material that is linked to their site, others do not. For example some news sites might hire a content manager to monitor the content of their comment sections, but this can be a very costly feature and some companies cannot afford such positions. As long as racism is alive and well, we will continue to see comments on the internet that reflect just that.