Race and Technology – Racism Online
The Internet is a very racist place. Racism online is rampant because many people enjoy the anonymity that the Internet provides. Thoughts, ideas and opinions can be expressed without question.
Extremist groups once had to hand out flyers on street corners or send out mailers. Some groups openly recruited in the workplace, college campuses and churches. This was common before the Internet. My how times have changed. The Internet now permits extremists access to to a wider, and some would say more receptive, audience especially young people. Communication has become easier between racist groups allowing them to coordinate their efforts across continents and oceans. Social media sites like Facebook and NewSaxon, a white supremacist dating site, has been a boon to these groups. The top five racist pages on Facebook are;
- Pioneer Little Europe
- American White History Month
- Barrack Obama’s Dead Fly
- Southern Brotherhood Militia
- I Love Being White
White supremacists by the thousands access these sites connecting with other like minded individuals through web-based forums or discussion groups. Because these websites allow racists to connect two white supremacists were introduced by a mutual friend. The two were later arrested for plotting to assassinate President Obama and planning a racist shooting spree. These sites also attract racist prison gangs, political radicals and even the mentally ill. But don’t get it twisted. Not all racist are mentally ill. Many are very articulate when expressing racial hatred even when it makes no sense. Check out some the top racist websites and see for yourself.
Another forum of racist thought is known as Reddit.com Reddit describes itself an “…entertainment, social news networking service, and news website where registered community members can submit content, such as text posts or direct links…” Reddit is open to all and allows the users to police the content.
But many people have pointed out that Reddit has a problem with racist postings and content. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued a report declaring Reddit as the “vilest, ugliest, nastiest and most unapologetically hateful space on the Internet.”
According to the SPLC Reddit is home to some of the most violent racist videos on the Internet. These video are often extremely graphic images of black and minorities being murdered. These video are so graphic and violent that even white supremacist websites like Stormfront.org cannot post them. Stormfront is the largest white supremacist website with over 200,000 registered users.
There are some shocking revelation about Reddit.com. First of all according to Alexa Internet traffic ranking Reddit has the 9th highest traffic ranking in the U.S. with over 130 million visits monthly and ranks 36th worldwide. Reddit’s topic specific sub-categories, known as sub-Reddits, are the most racist and most popular.
Second, although Reddit operates independently, it was purchased by Condé Nast, one of the largest mass media companies in the United States in 2006. Third, and most troubling, one of Reddit’s biggest investors is none other than rapper Snoop Dogg to the tune of $50 million dollars. But it’s not all Snoop’s money. He and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and actor Jared Leto, joined a group of investors dropping the $50 million on the site. Reddit’s is currently estimated to be worth roughly $500 million.
Breaking It Down
Racism is alive and well in the U.S. and online. The Internet is a communications tool that allows people to speak out without name or consequence. Using this darkness ordinary people can vent, denigrate, attack, vilify, even harass and threaten those they don’t like or don’t understand. And yes, black people and other minorities do the same. But racism is best practiced in the dark. It is most at home and fertile among the ignorant and narrow of mind. The Internet, like every communication device before it, is being used to spread this ignorance. Things change but they stay the same.