Tag Archives: racist

Race and Technology – JimCrow.com

Image from Ferris State University

Segregation lives online. During the Civil Rights era segregation, separate but equal, Jim Crow and racial separation was what the fight was all about. Racial equality and justice for all was the battle cry. The fight continues and the new battle field is the Internet.

Information is the currency of the digital age. We live in a world where the money comes from information that is created, accumulated then bought and sold. That information allows the user to discriminate willfully and without consequence. Old prejudices are finding new youth and vigor online. People of color are being harrassed in their own neighborhoods, kept out of other neighborhoods and jobs by racists using technology

Many communities have social sharing websites that is supposed to increase neighborhood cohesion and safety. But some neighbors are using it as channel for racist actions and ideas. Websites like Nextdoor.com have experienced racial profiling on their websites and seeing neighbors target neighbors for the color of their skin.

Nextdoor.com is a website that helps creates “private social networks for neighborhoods.” The website offers a free web platform on which members can post messages about almost anything to people who live in their immediate neighborhood. But too often the social sites are used as tools of suspicion and harrassment.

What has become common on Nextdoor.com are postings that openly label African-Americans and other people of color as suspicious for simply walking down the street, driving through the neighborhood, or knocking on a door. Users of Nextdoor.com have accused black municipal workers and others of being burglars. People have even posted pictures of black people seen in their neighborhood on the websites.

But it gets worse. Try finding a job in the age of the Internet. People with “black sounding” names  are 50 percent less likely to get a call back for a job compared to a white sounding name. In other words, Joel will get a job interview, Jamaal will not.

Having a black sounding name and being from the wrong neighborhood makes life even more difficult.  Studies indicate that if you live in a certain zip code (i.e,predminantly black) you could also find yourself not getting that call for a job internview. Data collection makes this possible.

Data collection and analysis can determine the make up of a zip code that includes racial make up, income, crime rates and a lot more. Its called demographics.

In 2013 a lawsuit was brought against the State of Nebraska accused the state of discriminating against its African-American employees. The lawsuit claimed that the state offered less health insurance coverage to state workers living in certain zip codes in and around Lincoln and Omaha; black neighborhoods. According to the lawsuit 96 percent of the state’s estimated 450 African-American employees lived in those zip codes.

Internet segregation is as ugly and obvious as it as ever been and the there seems to be no shame or restraint in its practice. We live in a social media, share it all environment and the biggest social media provider of all is Facebook. Facebook has millions upon millions of African-American users and yet Facebook is guilty of allowing its tools and programs to be used to discriminate against people of color.

Facebook’s technology makes it capable of hyper-targeting advetising. And this has created a way for racist to eleminate any possiblity of the “wrong”person” seeing any ad they want to publish. Facebook has profited from selling these racist ads. Facebook calls it “Ethnic Affinity” marketing. But there are other words for it. How about “red lining?”

Red lining is a practice that is used by lenders where they will not provide financial services to certain areas of a city. These are often black comunities where African-American businesses are choked off from loans and other financial services. Real estate red lining has been ruled illegal.  All people must be provided the same opportunity in housing and home financing. But that is not always the truth.

A recent report fom Vox.com shows how easy it is to discrminate against minorities in housing. Vox revealed exactly how Facebook’s targted advertising works to exclude people of color from housing opportunities. They did this by setting up a housing ad to eliminate African-Americans, Latinos and Asians from seeing the ad. This is illegal but still goes on today.

The problem is far deeper than you might imagine. Cities and municipalities also discriminate against people of color in housing as revealed by the Vox.com report.

Erin Boggs, Executive Director of the Open Communities Alliance revealed that there are towns that give affordable housing preference to people who already live there. The result is that if a town is mostly white it will likely stay that way.

This type of segregation eliminates blacks and other minorities from housing, jobs and other opportinitues with a single click of the mouse.

According to the Atlantic.com the Internet is as segregated as the real world. In the report it was revealed that people who visited non-racial websites tended to click on other non-racial websites while those that visited racially focused websites tended to visit other racially focused websites. This is commonly called self-segregation.

If you thought that Jim Crow was a dead and racial segregation was a thing of the past you haven’t been online lately.

Now you know.

 

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Leslie Jones Target of Racist Twitter Trolls

Leslie

Leslie Jones

Racist Twitter trolls targeted comedienne Leslie Jones and other female cast member of the new “Ghostbusters” movie. Jones, the only black cast member, and her fellow white cast mates have suffered months of harsh criticism since the remake of the popular 80’s movie was announced. Jones has finally showed her frustration and anger at the attacks.

Jones, the first black female comedienne on “Saturday Night Live,” went to war earlier this week against Twitter trolls. She even engaged Milo Yiannopoulos, an advocate for the GamerGate group. Yiannopoulis’ followers are known to attack women in the name of equal rights. Strangely enough Yiannopoulos is a gay man. Gay people are another group who have been attacked by hate speech on Twitter.

The attack on Jones included comparisons to primates, including Harambe, the male gorilla who was shot dead in May at a Cincinnati zoo. Others trolls sent her pornography and created fake Twitter accounts that made it appear she was herself using hateful speech. Twitter trolls called her names and even faked pictures of her with semen on her face.

Jones responded via her own Twitter account, “Ok, I have been called Apes,” she wrote on Twitter, “even got a pic with semen on my face. I’m trying to figure out what human means. I’m out.”

Director of the new all female” Ghostbusters” reboot Paul Feig  defended Jones on Twitter: “Leslie Jones is one of the greatest people I know. Any personal attacks against her are attacks against us all.” As a result he too became the target of attacks. Feig was criticized and attackers created a fake Twitter account set up in his name that sent out racist tweets.

 Feig used the hashtag #LoveforLeslieJ to send his message. Other celebrities including Margaret Cho and William Shatner also used the hashtag in Jones defense.

On Monday Jones began to respond to the hateful messages. Her Tweets showed frustration, bewilderment and anger at the attacks.  Many of her followers urged her to ignore the attacks but Jones felt differently. She Tweeted, “Stop saying ignore them or that’s just the way it is. Cause that’s bullshit. Everybody knows an asshole check them for their hate.”

Jones also turned her anger on Twitter by Tweeting , “Twitter I understand you got free speech I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let it spread like that. You can see on the profiles that some of these people are crazy sick. It’s not enough to freeze acct. They should be reported.”

Because of the attacks on Jones and other incidents Twitter has been criticized for not responding fast enough or strongly enough to trolls and hate speech.

After hours of back and forth between Jones and trolls Twitter permanently suspended the account of Milo Yiannopoulos, also known as @Nero. Yiannopoulos is accused of launching the Twitter campaign against Jones saying he had no “no regrets” about kicking off an online feud with the film star. 

Twitter has struggled  with controlling abuse on its service. Especially so for abuse targeting women.  Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo openly admitted the social network sucked at dealing with abuse. After dumping Yiannopoulos Twitter again admitted it had “not done enough” to stop trolling. Twitter claimed it has worked at developing tools to make it easier to report and curb abuse. However Jones’ situation reveals that Twitter still has some work to do and the company admits it.

A Twitter spokeperson issued a statement saying, “This type of abusive behavior is not permitted on Twitter, and we’ve taken action on many of the accounts reported to us by both Leslie and others. We realize we still have a lot of work in front of us before Twitter is where it should be on how we handle these issues.”

Twitter offered its rules on dealing with “hateful conduct.”  Its policies warn against advocating any form of violence, attacks upon or threatening other users and warning that accounts set up for those purposes will be banned.

Breaking It Down

Racism thrives in the dark. The anonymity of the Internet, in this case Twitter, provides the perfect cover for cowards. America has a race problem and situations like this reveal this to be the unquestioned truth.  Leslie Jones is the victim of racist who seem to think that the remaking of a movie with an all female cast is some how dangerous and an affront to white privilege. Why else would you attack women, a black woman, with such horrible words.  People who seem to think that a movie like Ghostbusters with an all female cast is dangerous are as mature as they were when the original movie came out. Racism is fear, It is hatred. It is the fruit of the empty mind.  People who speak out in the dark  and hide behind Twitter handles are really saying, “I’m stupid and I don’t want anyone to know. Ms. Jones is right to lash out at these fools and at Twitter for their attacks. We need to hold not just the assholes who do these things responsible but also the jerks who provide the stage for them to speak. Free speech is an American right first and a tradition second. A wise man once said, “The reason we have free speech is so we can know who the fools are.” That is a powerful statement but we should have the right and power to shut them down when we discover that is just what they are…fools.

Race and Technology – Racism Online

reddit-logo-01-674x501The 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;

  1. Pioneer Little Europe
  2. American White History Month
  3. Barrack Obama’s Dead Fly
  4. Southern Brotherhood Militia
  5. 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.

 

 

Operation KKK

anonThe hacker group Anonymous has released the names of over one thousand KKK members. The group launched Operation KKK in response to the hate groups threat to use force against peaceful protestors after a a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.

A Twitter account for Operation KKK posted a link to a Pastebin account with the names of  individuals the group believes are members of the Ku Klux Klan.

In previous days other hackers have claimed to have hacked Klan websites and social media accounts to gather names of Klan members. Some of the names released were of prominent politicians including members of the United Sates Senate. Anonymous distanced itself from that release of names and the politicians implicated have strongly denied the accusations.

The hacker who released the names, Amped Attacks, also denied any connection with Anonymous and has offered no definitive evidence of his accusations.

Anonymous followed through on a promise to release the names on November 5th also known as Guy Fawkes Day in Great Britain.

For more information please read:

Operation KKK is Beginning to Unmask Hate Group Members

 

 

Anonymously Ask A Black Person

Wayne Sutton

Wayne Sutton

Anonymously Ask A Black person is a website that allows anyone to ask a black person a question. Anyone can ask an intelligent question and get an intelligent answer from a black person. The site, the brainchild of Wayne Sutton, is intended to open up the conversation on race. People asking questions need not fear being ridiculed or denounced as a racist for asking curious questions about black people, black culture and attitudes. Sutton points out that many white people have no black friends or have little interaction with black people and therefore have misguided perceptions about a black person’s experiences and views on life.

In America we struggle with race. America is supposed to be the land of freedom and opportunity for all. That is debatable. The color of your skin matters in America. It impacts everything you do, everywhere you go and everybody you interact with. Something has to change; enter Wayne Sutton.

Sutton describes himself as a serial entrepreneur. He is a general partner at BuildUP VC. Sutton is a tireless warrior for diversity in the tech sector and that is the essence of what he does at BuildUP VC. Sutton believes his life’s mission is to bring more color, more minorities, into the Silicon Valley. He believes that race, as the primary issue, must be dealt with. An unconventional thinker, Sutton’s mindset is to find new ways to deal with the race issue. His dedication to solving the race problem in the heart of America’s technology sector has inspired him to createAnonymously Ask a Black Person”.  AABP is a website that is meant to amplify the whispered race conversation. Sutton’s objective is to get people talking.

Build Up

Tell us about BuildUP VC?

“Build-Up is a non-profit that focuses on education, mentorship and access for under-represented minorities in tech.”

I see a lot of corporations putting a lot of effort into diversity and bringing in minorities. But when I look at reports from companies like Facebook  I don’t see much happening. Are we facing a situation where there are not enough professionally trained minorities as say coders, etc.? And are we addressing that in our schools and other programs?

“I think we are addressing diversity the wrong way. In terms of saying there is a tech diversity problem in Silicon Valley, that message is the wrong approach because it’s not just a tech problem, not just a Silicon Valley problem. If you go deeper than that it’s an American problem. It’s an American workforce problem. It’s an American cultural problem where groups are not all included or looked at the same way when it comes to getting a job or equal salary, race or gender, you name it. It’s the history of America that these biases, these barriers, are in place. And unfortunately here we are in 2015 still dealing with some of the issues that Martin Luther King had to deal with back in the 1960’s. So that’s one problem. The second thing is all these tech companies talk about the workforce, talk about the numbers, as if we needed this data to start a conversation about what we already know. But that is the way the landscape works so we deal with the hand they give us.”

Sutton, getting to the very root of the Silicon Valley diversity problem, questioned the recruitment process of large tech companies.

“Now what’s the problem here? Are we qualified for these jobs? The answer is yes. Now, is there a pipeline problem if you only recruit from Ivy League schools which don’t have a diverse population? You could arguably say where we go look for jobs we are not seen as candidates. Then of course there is a pipeline problem. Does that mean that there are not qualified African-Americans who can do tech jobs or non-tech jobs? No, that is not true. We are qualified to do the tech jobs. We are qualified to do the non-tech jobs. Now, why are we not getting those tech jobs? That’s a whole other conversation about biases, culture, pattern matching, etc. And let’s look at those schools. Why don’t they have a diverse candidate population? And it’s the same for non-tech jobs. Now, as black people we have a choice, we’re not going to go where we don’t feel welcome.”

Sutton is fair minded man. He is not about to lay the issue of diversity and race at the feet of white America without pointing out the failures of black America as well.

“As black people we also have to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask what happened in the black community where half of black boys don’t even graduate from high school? Now, that we can’t put on anyone else. We can’t say, ‘The Man.’ There is a lot of things we can’t say about the system where we as a culture, as a people, are not graduating from high school, black men, black women not graduating from high school. So what can we do as a culture?”

Sutton’s efforts  is to bring the whispered race conversation out in the open. In a single weekend of work Wayne, who admits he loves to build things, built Anonymously Ask a Black Person. Sutton believes that the first step to solving the problem is communication.

Are you pioneering race relations online? Is this an effort to disrupt racism by opening a new line of communications between black people and the rest of the world online?

“I don’t think I’m disrupting race relations. Part of my goal and my hope is that AABP can help massage the tension of having a conversation around race publicly and educate people who are misunderstood or have certain opinions or biases toward African-Americans. And to debunk how the media portrays African-Americans as stereotypes. We have to look at the data and statistics and the perception. There’s the assumption and there are things that we know. There are people who have zero black friends, none. There are cities, some states in America, where the black population is about one percent. We don’t think about that. We just think that everybody should know black people, no. There are some jobs, here in Silicon Valley, where black people have told me that they can go weeks without seeing another black person on the job. When you have people who have zero interaction with black people and all they know is what they see on television, media, entertainment, sports, they come to their own perceptions. Let a strong situation happen that impacts American culture that has been happening forever but now is more mainstream because of social media like Mike Brown, Ferguson or Eric Garner. All these situations throw us into the spotlight. We are not talking about right and wrong in the legal sense but what we do know is wrong is killing somebody, un-justified killing. That is horrendous and the media continues portray us as the agitators and not the victims of abuse.”

Sutton offers his insight on the reactions of black people online when events happen that involve race. He believes that a group think mentality is occurring and black people may not respond kindly to other black people who express their own opinion about racial issues.

“So you take those situations in African-American culture right now, situations where we as a society have changed in the dawn of social media. I was one of the first thousand users of Twitter in 2006. We are not the same people we were in 2006. We are bolder, more outspoken, there’s more group think, there’s more mob like behavior online.”

“So now if I’m a black person and I say something that could be controversial or not controversial, but as an opinion. I could say as black people we should do more of X. I could be right and a thousand people could agree with me. But the mob mentality could come at me and be like; you’re a Tom, a token. Now, I don’t want to say anything against black people because I might get attacked. A difference of opinion can create a bully and mob mentality. Everybody should have an opinion. But a lot of negative things have happened because we can do that in terms of groups, bully people. We can actually create fame for people who really shouldn’t have it like Rachel (Dolzeal). That was one of the reasons I created AABP. Because now it shows, here is how people view us. This is how they think. And in the response, a team of team of 15 of us, we try to educate people and give honest answers. But if you come at us with some BS you going to get BS back.”

Wayne agrees that opinions sometimes congeal on social media. That people are not open to thinking independently about some of these situations black people find themselves in. 

“Recently Hulk Hogan admitted to some racist comments he made. He apologizes. Everybody goes in and attacks him. WWE removes him from the website. Dennis Rodman comes out and defends him. Now, Dennis Rodman is a character himself. He has known Hogan for years and he, as a black person, defends him. Now I don’t agree with anyone, black or white, calling someone the ‘N’ word. But Dennis takes up for him and what happens. Everybody goes after Dennis. Dennis has the right to do what he wants to do. But the same things happens if I am an Asian person or white person asking a question about can I touch a black woman’s hair? Or why do black woman get so mad if I touch their hair? Or why do black people feel a certain way about X? Social media will go after a person, its group think. Can we have an intellectual debate around the person’s question without the name calling, without the abuse? The person has serious question. They may ask, ‘I don’t get why a black person gets offended when I say or do this? Or how do you want to be addressed, black or African-American?’ That’s a legitimate question. I have white friends who don’t know. They want to know. They don’t want to be offensive. Are they wrong for asking that question? Are they naive for asking that question? And can we have an interesting conversation about why you may or may not feel a certain way about a question?”

How many questions does AABP get?

“Actually the growth comes and goes. It seems to come and go with press. Some people are just curious; they want to know ‘is this real? Is this really a black person answering my questions? Are you really black?’ We’ve answered 1,600 SMS messages. But our goal is 10,000 questions in two or three months and we may hit that goal.”

Do you see peaks and valleys in the questions when there are incidents like the recent Sandra Bland incident in Texas?

“No. It’s different in terms of the connection with AABP. Since we started this thing we have had the Baltimore uprising, the Charleston shooting, then the Confederate flag controversy and now Sandra Bland. We know those things are in the news. They are covered by the media, our people, Black Twitter, etc. My team and I, we are all very sensitive about these issues. But we will not try and leverage those serious situations just to increase engagement on our site. But we do see the narrative change when things happen. But we don’t do anything special to get into those conversations. But we will get questions about how black people feel about the about the confederate flag or the police.”

Sutton knew he was taking a big step with AABP and spoke about the reaction to the project.

“I had to deal with some people in my own network who asked, how do I let people know you are not speaking for all black people? I tell them the name of the site is Anonymously Ask a Black Person, not ask black people. I am not trying to speak for all black people. And as a black person myself I am qualified to answer any question for someone who says; I just want to ask a black person a question.”

How was the site received when you first introduced it?

“It was weird. Because even myself when I first did it and I put it up on a couple of sites and somebody else put it on Reddit and it got 10,000 page views. I did one Facebook message and one Tweet. And Boom! I was remaining anonymous to see what happens. And when I came out and said it was me some of my tech friends asked; ‘what’s the purpose of this? How does this help diversity in tech?’ Because they know I am a big advocate and it’s my life’s mission. It was eye opening for me to see how people portrayed everything I do or this particular web app to be something for the diversity tech movement and it wasn’t. Honestly it wasn’t. But that was interesting. The other part of the conversation brought emails and Tweets from investors and non-blacks, short messages saying, ‘I like it. Keep it up. This is cool! That’s interesting.’ ”

“But I didn’t build it for a diverse tech conversation. I built it because I wanted to do something around race relations. I was frustrated actually because I had just announced some big news, I thought some tech companies would be impressed and get it in the press. I am serial entrepreneur, I like to build things. I also seen a couple of other similar services and one company raised $12 million dollars. I was like, really. I can build that. So let me just do it.”

When you first kicked this off you put it on ProductHunt.com and later they took it off the homepage.. They felt like it got a negative reaction. How did you feel about that?

“One, I wasn’t that surprised. I submitted because Product Hunt has this whole process just to get featured. And I submitted other things in the past and never got featured. I submitted this and nobody knew that I was behind it. The first version I built was a real hack. I was up late Sunday night, answering questions one by one and making sure the code was up and working. When I woke up at 9:30AM and I already had 43 votes on the Product Hunt homepage and was taken off by 10:00AM. I was like…shit!”

“I was getting interesting emails like, ‘Is a black person really behind this?’ One of the reasons it was taken off was because I wasn’t there to defend it. Another reason was that some people felt it was offensive and they just knew it was some white guys or a women or non-black people built this site and they knew it was going to be controversial. And people were offended. But they didn’t know who did it. They saw that Wayne submitted it. But they didn’t know who built it. But put this in perspective; why do people think that a non-black person would build something like that?”

Do you believe that black people don’t get credit for trying to reach out to other races? People may think blacks are always on the defensive or closed off? Do you feel that they may not want to give you credit for reaching out using AABP to deal with race relations, to deal with racial curiosity? 

“That’s an interesting question. I don’t know about that. My hypothesis was that people couldn’t believe that a black person could build a product that they may actually use. Or the product is actually cool or the product actually works. Or a product that actually makes sense around race or around black people. Why would people even think that a non-black person could build something like that? I got email from black people, who I know, that ask; ‘Is a black person behind this?’ They want to check. So what is the perception, that a black person can’t build a tech product? Or, is the perception also that if somebody builds a product around race or tech then it’s not a black person? It’s some programmer guy or somebody. Why would a people think that a black person could not build this?”

How did black people react to it?

“Some said it was cool. Some people were questioning me. Asking, ‘why is Wayne doing this?’ This is not good for us. This is not good for our eco-systems. How does this help diversity in tech?’ I got a lot of that which I was not anticipating. People were telling me about other conversations that were happening in Facebook groups and on Slack. Some people were saying this is not a good idea. Somebody needs to tell Wayne to stop. I was like, …alright then?”

“I have been in this web tech space for years. I’ve been an IT guy. I’ve seen a lot and been screen shouted a lot. People called me names. It always hurts when it’s your own people. It always hurts the most when it’s your own people. And I don’t know if I would have done anything different. I say, look this is not necessarily bothering you. It doesn’t hurt you either. But you’re not happy about it for some reason.”

More about Wayne Sutton and BuildUp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Racist Attack Obama on Twitter and Google Maps

obama-potus-smartphoneIn what has become almost common for racist Americans President Obama has come under attack on his new Twitter account. The president was bombarded by racist and threatening tweets in the first days of his opening his Twitter account.

President uses the Twitter handle @POTUS the acronym for President of the United States. It didn’t take long for the racists to attack him personally using racial slurs and calling for his lynching.

The images and language directed at the President reflect the deep racial hatred that some people feel toward the first African-American president.

One post had a doctored image of President Obama’s famous “Hope” campaign poster. The image showed the president with his head in a noose, his eyes closed and his neck twisted as if broken. It was meant to appear as if he had been lynched. The word “HOPE” was replaced with “Rope.”

The picture was accompanied by the message “#arrestobama, #treason we need ‘ROPE FOR CHANGE.’ ” The message came from a user using the handle @jeffgully49. This was not @jeffgulley49’s first posted image of the president in a noose. His Twitter image shows President Obama behind Bars.  “We still hang for treason, don’t we?” his post said.

@jeffgully49 is Jeff Gullickson of Minneapolis, MN. His posting got him a visit from the Secret Service on Thursday. When reached by the New York Times for comment Gullickson reponded with an email asking how much The New York Times would pay him for an interview.

Another Twitter user posted to the president with just two words: “Black monkey.” another person wrote “Get back in your cage monkey.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the language directed at the president is “all too common on the Internet.” Earnest said that officials would not spend much time trying to block abusive commenters from the president’s account.

Another Twitter account, @BarackObama, owned by the Organization for Action, a liberal activist group, is regularly targeted by racist attacks.

President Obama is the first president to use the technology of the Internet to communicate his messages effectively. Top advisers to the president consider such hate filled speech as a small price to pay. Twitter, Facebook and other platforms provide the White House the opportunity to target the president’s message directly to the voters.

Dan Pfeiffer, President Obama’s former long time aide and advisor said, “The potential for anonymity allows people to say offensive, horrible things on Twitter that they would never say anywhere else, but we’re talking about a tiny fraction of the community.” Pfeiffer urged the president to engage on social media, including urging White House officials to create Twitter accounts.

Twitter has been criticized for not cracking down on so-called trolls. These are sometimes anonymous people who post abusive or inappropriate comments on the social networking site. Twitter does not police individual users or initiate action against them. But that appears to be changing.

In a note to his employees earlier this year Twitter CEO Dick Costolo wrote that he intended to start kicking trolls off of the platform “right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.”

In April, Twitter updated its abuse policy making it tougher for trolls to flood Twitter with threats and harassment. Twitter’s changes expand the definition of violent threats to include indirect threats and tweets that promote violence. The social messaging giant has gone a step farther and created a tool that automatically flags tweets that seem likely to be abusive based on triggers including the age of the account and content that fits the pattern of previous tweets identified as abuse.

Twitter’s changes  signal a shift in the company’s approach not only to abuse, but to growth. Twitter shareholders are applying pressure on the company to grow its monthly active user base. This left Twitter reluctant to stand up to abuse out of fear of jeopardizing its already declining user base. However over the last year Twitter’s management realized that the company stands to lose a lot more if it continues to let trolls post openly. Management has decided that it’s better to alienate destructive users if it means holding onto the good ones.

Costolo said problems with trolls are driving away the company’s users. “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” Costolo wrote in an internal memo. “It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.”

Google is also taking a stand against the racist activity that infects their Google Maps website.  Google has apologized after it was discovered that searches in the Washington, DC area containing the word “nigger” directed users to the White House. Another search of the words “nigger house” or “nigger king”  directed the user to the home of President Barack Obama. Global searches for terms including “niggahouse” also return the White House as the number one search result.

Google explained in a blog post apologizing for the “mess up,”  that the situation was caused because its Maps service uses content from across the web. Most of which isn’t vetted to match searches to locations.  This model explains why a search for ‘failure’ used to serve U.S. President Geoge W. Bush as the top result, before the company implemented a change.  Google said: “Our team has been working hard to fix this issue. Building upon a key algorithmic change we developed for Google Search, we’ve started to update our ranking system to address the majority of these searches—this will gradually roll out globally and we’ll continue to refine our systems over time. Simply put, you shouldn’t see these kinds of results in Google Maps, and we’re taking steps to make sure you don’t.”

 

 

 

 

Black Celebrities Get Caught Up In Sony Hack

It seems  that the biggest news besides cheap gas has been the hacking of Sony Pictures. To give you a little background Sony Studios computer systems were hacked on November 24th followed by an ominous warning that read;  “Hacked by #GOP. Warning: We’ve already warned you, and this is just the beginning. We have obtained all your internal data including secrets and top secrets.”  It is believed that the motivation for the hack was the planned release of the filmThe Interview.” The film is a fictional comedy about a plot to assassinate the leader of North Korea. The North Koreans have called the film an act of war. But it has not been proven they were involved in the sabotage and the North Koreans have denied any involvement.

A cascade of events followed the hacking including the release of un-released Sony movies and scripts, threats to Sony employees, terrorist threats to theaters and eventually the cancellation of the movie’s release.

According to recent report there is evidence that North Korea was responsible for the hack and the U.S. government is about to announce they have evidence of North Korean involvement.

As result of the hack many internal emails of Sony executives have become public. What these emails reveal is how nasty things are behind the scenes of a major Hollywood movie maker especially when it come to black celebrities.

Among the black celebrities caught up in the Sony hacking is none other than Kevin Hart. One of the emails released by the hackers is from Sony executive Clint Culpepper who refers to Hart as a “whore.”  Culpepper expressed his opinion of Hart when the comedic actor refused to promote his movie on social media without additional pay. Culpepper’s email read; “I’m not saying he’s a whore, but he’s a whore.” Culpeper wrote the email in an exchange with Sony co-chair Amy Pascal and CEO Michael Lynton.

Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart

Hart responded via Instagram by writing “Knowing your self worth is extremely important people…I worked very hard to get where I am today,” I look at myself as a brand and because of that I will never allow myself to be taken advantage of. I OWN MY BRAND…I MAKE SMART DECISIONS FOR MY BRAND… which is why I’m able to brush ignorance off of my shoulder and continue to move forward. I refuse to be broken people…with that being said it’s now time for me to get back to building this empire that I’ve always dreamed of!!!”

Kevin Hart was not the only African-American disparaged by Sony executives. President Obama was also mentioned in emails between Sony execs.

Sony co-chairperson Amy Pascal, a donor and Obama supporter exchanged racist tinged emails with movie producer Scott Rudin ahead of a fundraiser. Pascal, referring to “…this stupid Jeffrey (Katzenberg) breakfast,” asked what she should ask the President ” Rudin replied “would he like to finance some movies.”

Pascal continued, “I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” Pascal responded, Rudin then retorted: “12 Years.” The exchange went on, “Or the butler, or think like a man?” To which Rudin wrote: “Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”

Other leaked emails revealed that Matthew Knowles, the father of Beyoncé  approached Sony about a movie project. In the email Culpepper wrote to Pascal and other Sony executives, “Beyonce’s father wants to make the film of Destiny’s Child and came to me first.” He went on, “‘He’s going to Universal next. Do we think it would be a successful film? They’re on the Sony label. I’m just not sure that it’s not too soon.”

Rapper Kanye West’s name was also found among the leaked emails. The messages revealed a discussion of  a feature film starring the rapper.

Jaden and Willow Smith

Tom Rothman head of Sony sub-division Tri-Star Pictures, criticized Jaden and Willow Smith, son and daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, for a New York Times interview .

Rothman sent an email to Pascal with a link to the interview. In the interview the Smith siblings claim they can control time and discuss ‘Prana energy’. In the email, dated November 18th, 2014, Rothman wrote  “1. Read this. 2. they r home schooled: don’t let this family date your movies!!!”

Denzel Washington, one of America’s most beloved black actors, was also the target of a racist emails inside Sony Pictures. According to the leaked emails Washington’s color was seen as a liability with executives saying he should not get lead roles in international films because he is black.

Denzel washington

Denzel washington

The actual email was sent by a single unidentified producer emailing Sony chairman Michael Lynton. The email read in part “I believe that the international motion picture audience is racist – in general pictures with an African American lead don’t play well overseas,” the producer continued.

The anonymous producer who sent the e-mail said he or she hoped the incredible statement wasn’t “inappropriate or provocative.” But it is clear from the email that the producer is suggesting Sony should avoid casting black actors to appeal to an international market that the producer saw as “racist.”

Sony executives  Lynton, Pascal and Rudin and other’s email reveal the nasty side of the entertainment industry and spared few celebrities. In their exchanges the executives reffered to Angelina Jolie as a “spoiled brat,” and additional caustic comments were made about Tom Cruise, David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin, and Adam Sandler.