Kanye West’s latest outburst at the MTV Video Music Awards has drawn mostly negative reactions. After his unsavory diss of country singer Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech for the best female video, many people immediately went to their various online social media tools to share their thoughts about the hip-hop star.
I agree with the opinion that West’s blowup was horribly rude and childish. However, there were some Internet users who took their thoughts about him too far. This was particularly obvious on Twitter, which was awash in a flood of racism, with the so-called “post-racial” levees fully giving way.
Here are just a few of the most memorable tweets:
ODV1985: kanye west is monkey ass n****r! and should be lynched! taylor swift i love you girl! (these people are going somewhere in life)
JacobFredG: I realy hope I dont have any black followers and if I do just stop following me, Kanye West is a stupid n****r!
trevbandito: Watch’n the VMA’s and decicided to look up the word “N****R” In the dictionary, and low and behold was a pic. of Kanye West!!!!!!!!
There are some who still want to believe that with a black man in the White House, racism is a thing of the past. But I would contend that racism hasn’t gone away, it has just gone online.
With the evolution of online conversations, many bigots who are too cowardly to spew their vitriol in front of an actual person, now hide behind a virtual barrier. The only reason many white supremacist groups stay alive is because they have vibrant online communities. Now, I am all for freedom of speech. Heck, I am in the business of free speech. But I also think that there has been souring of civility in public discourse.
In the last week alone, there have been other examples of online racism. Tennis star Serena Williams, who also engaged in bad behavior during the US Open tournament on Saturday night, was also subjected to racial taunts about her physique and having a “ghetto resident card” on YouTube and in the blogosphere, with one person saying “sooner or later the n****r always comes out, no matter how much money they got.”
Then there are those who are more politically correct about their cyber racism, even towards our government officials. The hotly contested health care debate and the abrupt departure of green jobs czar Van Jones has highlighted a distinct change in tone from conservatives. Clearly, there is a mission by some Republicans to undermine President Obama and his administration with the use of their new favorite word “socialist.” But let’s be real folks: If the word ‘socialist’ was replaced with the n-word in some of the blog rants about Obama and Jones, they would read the same way.
The Internet may represent the future of communication, but if this racism continues, then the future looks no different than the past.