Racism after election

So I know I’m a little late to be posting about the election, but we had a really good discussion in my Race&Racism class regarding Obama and his ethnicity. We talked so much about media, I felt like continuing the discussion on here. To begin, I think it’s important to note that our President was raised by his mother and stepfather, neither member being of African descent, yet there is still this cloud of racism that surrounds his name and origin. Our teacher raised a very valid point- he asked us how we think Barack would identify himself racially. Anyway, this is all unimportant to the topic at hand, it is just something to keep in mind when trying to understand this surge of negativity. Even if you didn’t vote for him, or support his platform, I have always thought that a certain respect is given to a leader by his people (in a democracy). Are we more inclined to be blatently hurtful or critical due to anonymity? Here is the post that sparked this entire debacle:

http://www.classwarfareexists.com/its-official-i-hate-this-n-gger-loving-muslim-country-just-saying/#axzz2Cd2Wa5Lj

I just can’t believe something like this would come out of someone’s mouth… but it didn’t- and that’s the point. What does social media do for us when it comes to expressing our opinions? I think the internet has conditioned us to always take a 100% die-hard stance on things, when before we may have been indifferent. It is no longer viable to not have an opinion on a topic, what with google and wikipedia, etc. In that aspect, we seem to be more informed, but then why do things like this happen? And why is he receiving so much attention- good or bad? Obviously I’m writing about this man right now, so I’m being hypocritical, but I swear- next thing we know this guy is going to have a t.v. show coming on right after Toddlers and Tiaras. I think social media and the internet has helped us become more linked and knowledgable, but one must still have an inclination to want to become informed before they seek out the knowledge. Otherwise, it is just amplifying the voice of bigoted and hateful people, is it not?

All in all, I think i’m trying to look at the different ways the internet kindles our actions. Obviously for people seeking information, it can be such a help. But what is it really doing for people like Tracy Watson?

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4 Responses to Racism after election

  1. Dennis says:

    This is a very interesting story! I think the internet, for a lot of people, is an unfiltered look at the inner workings of their mind. In the “old days,” when people didn’t have the internet to spread racist thoughts, they either had to keep them to themselves, or be very selective in who they shared them with. Now, though, people don’t have to see the reactions of others as they say something offensive: They can just say it, and let it fall where it may.

    The dialogue on social media is also largely conditioned by the structure of particular websites. Look at the difference in dialogue between YouTube and Facebook. While both let you rate content and post comments and replies, there is a crucial difference between YouTube and Facebook: YouTube has a dislike option, whereas Facebook doesn’t. Facebook perpetuates a world where everybody likes each other, we are all “friends.” Sure, you can still post mean comments, but structurally, Facebook supports positive responses, not negative. And why not? Lots of advertisers are on Facebook: what if it was possible to DISLIKE products or companies? They probably wouldn’t stick around on Facebook very long, and would leave (along with their money).

    YouTube not only lets you dislike videos, but also dislike individual comments. It also lets you flag comments as spam or inappropriate. If comments get too many negative views or votes, they are taken down. Structurally, YouTube allows for much freer expression.

    And this is a side note, I read the article you linked to. They say this midway through regarding these racist posts: “Unfortunately – this sort of ignorance is a direct result of the 24 hour Fox News conservative media bubble.” As somebody who has watched a lot of Fox News over the years, in addition to other channels, I can say that this myth that Fox News is through and through racist is simply untrue. Occasionally they may have a commentator or anchor say things against Obama that could be construed as racist, but these examples are few and far in between. Even Fox’s lightning rod anchors, like O’Reilly, don’t say Obama is a Muslim, that he was born outside the US, or that they have something against minorities.

    ~Dennis

  2. aszogi says:

    http://dailycurrant.com/2012/11/07/buchanan-white-america-dead/ This article goes along with what you posted and was extremely shocking to me. I was surprised not just as the open and overt racist commentary, but also the defense of white people as superior. I guess I shouldn’t be so naive because we all know that racism still exists in so many dimensions across the globe, but when it is so un-abashed and openly said by people who are voted into office, authorities who we deem to have certain consciousness, preparation and intelligence, it feels like a time warp in which we are set back 40-50 years (or more!) and is especially disheartening in the face of “progress.” I was outside the country when Obama was elected the first time, so maybe I didn’t get as much exposure to comments and coverage. I clearly recall the birth certificate ridiculousness, but in this re-election, have been sadly stunned at comments along the lines of this Pat Buchanan interview that have gone above and beyond with discriminatory talk again the president based on his race.

  3. rhayes33 says:

    Even if Obama is still largely a representative of the white ruling class, there are still people in the country who think that just because he’s black, we’re all going to hell. Why does the Westboro Baptist Church get so much attention? Why are there now petitions for certain states to secede from the Union? It’s because racism is still totally rampant in our country and hasn’t been solved. The internet helps in that it creates anonymity, but it also gives extreme racists the platform to espouse their hateful views to a larger audience. I think social media and the anonymity that people get from the internet really reflects the true undercurrent of how are society feels: we’re still a racially divided country, even if there’s someone who’s black as our president.

  4. sweetdb says:

    In a sense, i think you’re very right. I think its great that the media keeps us so informed but we’ve gotten to the point that we’ve been so saturated with various, random information that we don’t even know which to focus on or pursue anymore- we ultimately don’t know what’s really important or what to do with all this information. So when you said that we should at least be hungry for this information, i agree. We’re being bombarded with serious information that we don’t even seek or not- all for the purposes and agendas of other bigger corporatations, groups, interests, etc.
    There should most definitely be a balance but i’m not sure i think the best solution has really been provided yet.

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