Something happens to people on the Internet, they get brave, especially when a little anonymity is thrown in the mix. They say things online they would never endeavor to say to someone face to face. But it’s a lot more than calling someone the N-word, or whatever words deemed the most demeaning to whatever group they don’t like. It’s the casual expressions of racists beliefs that when unchallenged, become part of the consensus in the safe zones where people gather online.
Once upon a time, people were ashamed to be called racist and would govern themselves accordingly. Two things have changed. Anonymous screen names let people say whatever they like without fear of recrimination is one. A chorus of people backing them up, making their racism a badge of honor instead of a bad thing is another. Racism has become a favorite excuse to explain away everything that doesn’t go the way it always has.
Recently, some Federal Judges of color have made rulings that stood in the way of some of the government’s Unconstitutional efforts to fight immigration. Opponents cried out, “Affirmative Action!” as the reason blacks and Hispanics were ever in a position to make those decisions in the first place. They believe that the only way a person of color ever attained high placement was to fill a quota, displacing a more deserving white person in the process. In response, of the 87 Federal judges appointed by the current administration. One has been black and one Hispanic, 80 of the remaining were white. Kristen Clarke, President of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said, “It turns the clock back on years of work and effort that went into promoting judicial diversity.”
Beyond the machinations of the administration who blatantly are unconcerned about anyone outside their base. The general public has found racism more acceptable, redefining it almost out of official existence. The same people who casually rail against Affirmative Action on the Internet, are the same ones that are making hiring decisions and promotions, ever wary that they don’t respond to the pressure of “political correctness.” There’s more support now to do the wrong thing than the right one.
It would be nice to believe that our friends and neighbors aren’t the ones filling up the comments section of blogs and articles with nasty remarks espousing their hatred. Would that it be a Russian in a Saint Petersburg troll farm than the person teaching your children or coaching their teams. The racism prevalent across the Internet isn’t primarily bots and trolls, rather your co-workers and neighbors who “smile in your face” while revealing their true nature when tweeting and commenting.
The Internet didn’t create racism, though racists have certainly embraced it. It give them an audience, let them find others with similar thoughts and values. And for the most part, there’s little recourse, free speech and all that. Even worse it’s way cool in some circles to be as racist as you like, Reddit anyone? Maybe the best thing about the Internet when it comes to racism is when people get videoed taking their online behavior to the real world, are identified, then punished or fired. While some of you wear your racism like a badge of honor. Employers can’t afford to appear to feel the same way.