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Racist messages pose quandary for mainstream sites

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By Jesse Washington

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"I am not racist, I just don't like the dutch" Monty Python

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I have travelled all around the world, and found racism everywhere! Whites dislike whites, blacks dislike blacks, asians dislike asians. Racism is ubiquitous and therefore must be kept out in the open where it can be seen, heard and policed. Lets not pretend that we all love each other, because lets face the undeniable truth: we are all one sleep away from WW3 because one nutjob leader with his finger on the button suffers from delusions of grandeur, and an accompanying Napoleon complex! My unwanted advice: Git Yer Gun!

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I find myself increasingly avoiding the comments section of the major U.S. papers I read online (and have stopped visiting CNN.com almost entirely) for many of the reasons noted above. It's not just the blatant racism that can be found there, but the twisting of every story to reflect a vast range of prejudices--political, social, cultural--and the lack of any truly intelligent dialogue, that makes a run through the comments an increasingly depressing exercise. A piece about improving access for the disabled to public facilities becomes fuel for an extended rant on the "lefty liberal agenda"; a tragic story about a family massacred by one of its own, armed with a rifle, is inundated with a string long-debunked "facts" about how America is safer for allowing virtually uncontrolled gun ownership; a review of the recently re-born "Hawaii 5-0" becomes a platform for advocating the expulsion of the tourist industry--and Caucasians, while we're at it--from the islands, etc. This sort of "public discourse" almost always takes a negative tone, and--left unmoderated--quickly spirals down to the basest level of the most vocal participants.

So fine, the forum enables us to choose to avoid what we would rather not see or hear. But I agree, while the comment sections of many sites may provide both the perfect platform and anonymous cover for what an educated public should hope are the opinions of a small minority, they are surely symptomatic of something more seriously wrong in our society than simple bad grammar, spelling, or reactionary fervor.

For the most part, I think media companies are foremost intent on driving traffic to their sites (by claiming to offer unfettered access and exchange of "ideas", if you can call them that). The more altruistic goal of harnessing the power of the internet to educate and enlighten the broadest possible swath of a site's readership, though, falters, overwhelmed by a lack of critical thinking and media literacy, and shouted down by a very vocal, almost comically (except it's not funny) misspoken and misinformed minority.

Even discounting perhaps half of the typical comments on an article on CNN.com, for example (where they may easily number in the hundreds), as the work of gagsters, provocateurs, or the simply terminally bored, a glance through them on almost any typical day presents disturbing portents for the future.

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I find myself increasingly avoiding the comments section of the major U.S. papers I read online

I do the same with JT recently.

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I found Yahoo news to be one of the worst I've seen. I think JT needs to be a bit more proactive with a few posters here and they KNOW who they are.

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The Yahoo stock message boards are filled with every kind of racist trash, and there are more these messages than messages about stocks. I guess the newspapers and boards for major news networks have similar problems, but a bit more control.

The problem, I suppose, is that twenty years ago, racist idiots found it difficult to access major news sources both because few had computers at home and because news sources took pride in selecting well-written messages that would generate discussion, not hatred. Now the news sources have become like an online restoom walls. People write anything, and there it is for the world to see: anti-black, pro-Nazi, hateful stuff about both Arabs and Jews, anti-Mexican, etc. It's all there, and not just slightly racist. As much as I sometimes want to complain about heavily moderated boards, they are still better than those with no moderators.

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@kyoken

I find myself increasingly avoiding the comments section of the major U.S. papers I read online I do the same with JT recently.

With you there ....

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This sort of "public discourse" almost always takes a negative tone, and--left unmoderated--quickly spirals down to the basest level of the most vocal participants.

It has to be moderated-- internet forums have to be moderated whilst maintaining net neutrality.

The comments sections of media websites are meant to foster community discussion and keep people engaged with the site, which in turn generates revenue for an industry still struggling to make money online. “Even if it’s legitimate to try and draw viewers to sites, is it legitimate to allow individuals who are swinging a sharp ax, and often doing so with a hood over their heads in anonymous fashion, to have this forum that can not only create harm but breed hatred?” Steele asked.

Racial supremacist groups have tried to assimilate themselves in the wider community that one report I recently read questioned its usual take on racial purity. The truth is they have become mainstream for monetary gains-- with some camouflaging their racist associations to gain employment in more diverse workplaces.

(When someone begins a conversation with "we're all racist!" I think I'd be very suspicious of that person)

I'm not surprise that some mainstream net outlets would carry offensive messages; BUT THE THING ABOUT THE INTERNET is we still have people who would sensibly challenge erroneous and offensive comments based on race.

I particularly applaud bloggers like Michelle Malkin for outing fake 'hate' incidents. And then you have Angry Asian Men with odd bits on internet racism, etc.

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I agree that it is hard to swallow the vulgar and debased comments on Yahoo and other threads. They definitely need monitors. I certainly believe in free speech, but free speech does not mean anonymous free speech. Put your name beside your statement.

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I certainly believe in free speech, but free speech does not mean anonymous free speech. Put your name beside your statement.

I think you must also protect the identity of posters writing 'offensive' comments-- it'll certainly limit other people's proximity towards posters and, perhaps, the subj. at-large.

I don't think mainstream forums are the best platforms for long speeches :( and if you feel your posts should be at least 1000 words at a time it's best you create a blog.

Check the 'moderation rules' of JT, it is holistic enough even providing leeway to trolling. (Check highlighted texts below)

MODERATION AIMS

Our public forums include many differing opinions and experiences. You are certain to find opinions that you disagree with and some that you may find offensive. Our aim at all times is to provide a place where the maximum discussion can take place, even if it offends some people. We try to be as fair as we can when moderating but in a large community of users, with many different viewpoints, there will always be some people that will not be happy with our moderation policies. While we regret that this happens, please realize that we cannot suit all of the people all of the time and have to make decisions based on what is best for the forum overall.

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I disagree with jruaustralia. There is no good reason to protect the identity of posters.

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i am what you call a reverse racist,,,,i dislike people of my own race,,,

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More people need to have babies outside of their race. Once everybody is the same color, there will be no more racism. Eventually, the US will be all brown people.

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Why doesn't Japantoday actually talk about racism in Japan? Until Japan stops the process of "no gaijin" rentals and "no gaijin" access to bars and hot springs, Japan will never be taken seriously on the subject.

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As long as there are races, there will be racism! One can't exist without the other. It's like war and peace, where the same rule applies.

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I disagree with jruaustralia. There is no good reason to protect the identity of posters.

LoL yet you're protecting your own....

BTW (limiting my response to JT of course-- and not other mainstream net forums) consulting 'moderation policy' and 'privacy' sections a really good idea if you're apprehensive of other peoples opinion. AGAIN you also have to consider and protect the identity of posters writing what you deem 'offensive' comments-- it'll certainly limit peoples proximity towards other posters in JT and, perhaps, the controversial subj. at-large. In a world with so many rules and regulations-- about every conceivable things-- the net should always remain neutral and privacy assured by laws.

I for one couldn't be bothered if the other poster commenting is the Prez of United States or a single-mother from Tokyo. You'd certainly hope that other posters are responding to you because of your knowledge of the subject-- not for who you are. :|

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sk4ek,

Excellent post @ 08:50 AM. Couldn't agree more.

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if you feel your posts should be at least 1000 words at a time it's best you create a blog

jruaustralia, excellent idea!

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I am not surprise that someone wrote yahoo news website as one of the website that is filled with racist comments. Just read the news heading in yahoo and you will find that it is written to elicit hate comments. The article that they post is filled with hate monger journalist. No wonder more and more people is avoiding website such as CNN, Fox News, etc. I live in US for 8 years, and to tell you the truth, racism and hate is still alive there. Even the blacks are racist themselves. Just look at the LA Riots event, the blacks and Hispanic targeted Asian store especially the Koreans and the used of boycott against a certain race. When reading articles and news from the Russian, Chinese and Japanese website, I find their article do not promote hate and racism. Even their comments seek tolerance. Believe me, Yahoo news also practice censorship.

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As long as there are races, there will be racism! One can't exist without the other.

I thought there was only one race, and that's the human race.

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I thought there was only one race, and that's the human race. Unfortunately they don't see that big picture.

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Yes, please talk about race. Don't look at the man behind the curtain.

-Banker

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"if you feel your posts should be at least 1000 words at a time it's best you create a blog"

This very attitude is a prime reason for the deterioration of most public discourse.

If it isn't put in some sort of off-the-cuff, sarcastic news-bite-size, and actually forces the reader to, heaven forbid, READ, then the idea isn't worth the time.

It's sad, really. The greatest single affliction ravaging American society today is a profound intellectual laziness across all demographics. You can see it in the public school system. You can see it in the abysmal illiteracy evident on most Internet boards. AOL and CNN are two prime examples. I suspect it's this very laziness that allows hate-filled rants to dominate most Internet forums, as most racists tend to wilt in the face of a well-reasoned response. There's nothing wrong with a long post that scrolling down can't solve.

"the net should always remain neutral and privacy assured by laws."

This I agree with wholeheartedly. The sanctity of anonymity in the expression of ideas is invaluable to a free society. Whether or not we like those ideas and how they are expressed is irrelevant. We've heard it time and again, but in any discourse, far more can be accomplished by attacking the message rather than the messenger.

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What I would have considered a normal, middle-class, public school education (in the U.S., thirty years ago) certainly equipped me to answer all six questions on the little side test correctly. Apparently that's no longer the case. In the great flood of information available to us today, people are indeed getting , cherry-picking statistics, headlines, ideas, events, even ideologies, without taking the time or effort to really learn anything useful.

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Sorry, the above message is missing a chunk because JT apparently considers links to NYT articles "potentially offensive". I referred to a recent article in the NYT about how poorly 3400 Americans performed on a questionnaire about religion.

Hmmm... I guess links of any sort are no longer allowed.

Moderator: For the time being, in order to block spam, we are blocking URLs.

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Society should be careful of being cornered into the fear of being called a racist.

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“Even though we talk about a post-racial America, race has never been more salient than it is right now.”

Another punch line offered by the jokers we know as our Democrat Party and the race hustlers that fill their ranks. The last thing these people want is a post-racial America.

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Yes, even JT has racist comments about Japanese people, Obama and etc. Hopefully these racist commentors have bi racial kids that are mixed with Asian Hispanic African and Latin and European. Usually these racist individuals are lonely people crying in the inside. Me thinks Obama is not affirmative action but an American reaction to alter the system.

To racist individuals : Love thy neighbor if you need a big hug I'm there for you ! ! Hahaha !!!

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Yes, even JT has racist comments about Japanese people, Obama and etc.Me thinks Obama is not affirmative action but an American reaction to alter the system.

Obama is a product of affirmative action, which is a form of racial profiling if it is anything. But his election has been good in some ways. Since you are not American tho you wouldnt understand. Good luck, all the same.

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The ugliest racism in America sells by the millions. It's called rap.

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Democrat Party and the race hustlers that fill their ranks.* I don't see color when dealing with people.

I I don't like rude people of any color. But I have patience dealing with coward racist people.

Republicans did really well { superb} preventing 9/11 and also helping Poor Americans - during Hurricane Katrina white,black,asian,hispanic and etc. It took the republican government a couple of days to mobilize anything for the state of Louisiana !!!!

My gratitude is unmeasurable for what Republican Regime did for Arabic Relations abroad !!!! Great work Republicans !!!!

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It took the republican government a couple of days to mobilize anything for the state of Louisiana !!!!

The state had a Democrat for a governor, and the city of N.O. had a Democrat (black, I believe) for a mayor. The huge illegal immigrant population in LA fared quite well - in part because with the language barrier and their status as illegals means they aren't made dependent on gubmint, as blacks have been made by the Democrat party.But that doesnt fit the narrative so it went largely unreported...

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Gotta agree with L4R about long posts. I know I am probably the worst offender, but in a way, I can't help it. I edit them down sometimes. I get pointed and angry sometimes. I ramble.

But so does the guy sitting next to you at a bar sometimes, and he makes some good points and others that make you roll your eyes. If you want to have a twitter conversation or make twitter comments, go to a twitter bar. TLDR? What is that? Someone who wants pablum. Someone who wants to suck wisdom through a straw instead of having to chew a little.

Being anonymous is a great thing. If people knew who I really am, many would be shocked. I like being able to say what I am thinking about and let that stand on its merits. It is also why I think that JT is just about right. If anything, they should allow racist idiots to vent more and show how stupid they really are. The idea that skin color makes people superior or inferior is just dumb. Prejudice about religion makes a little more sense because it must affect how people think, but I saw an assessment recently that said that athiests know more about Christianity than Christians do, and I think that is probably right. Nevertheless, a typical archbishop is going to be more capable of a lot of things than a typical joe sixpack, so there you are.

The more we make racism an issue, the less able we will be to solve problems confronting us all. Arguments based on racism therefore seldom have anything useful to offer at all. For that reason, racism is very useful to me. It shows me who I can ignore and who I can pay attention to.

The proof is in the pudding, and most racist arguments show their owners to be pudding-heads.

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One thing that might be food for discussion. I had NO IDEA that there were so many racist people thinking this drivel before the internet. You read about this, but well, I grew up with smart people who were pretty well non-sexist, non-racist, etc. Now you find people motivated by the stupidest things, and they are posting like crazy.

It is an eye opener. But it goes a long way to explaining why I have been pretty successful and these people seem to be such losers. They have an outlook on life that dooms them to mediocrity and general smallness.

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Arguing on the Internet is like running in a race full of idiote - even if you win, you're still an idiot.

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Have to agree with some posters here. Yahoo news is the absolute worse when it comes to racist comments. Even if a black person is in the news because he/she found the cure for cancer, you had best believe that someone will stink of the place with all sorts of racial BS.

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One thing that might be food for discussion. I had NO IDEA that there were so many racist people thinking this drivel before the internet. You read about this, but well, I grew up with smart people who were pretty well non-sexist, non-racist, etc. Now you find people motivated by the stupidest things, and they are posting like crazy.

Seconding Klein2's sentiments. Although I will say I had a pretty good idea of what kind of people were out there even without the internet. It certainly reinforced some of my worst fears about them, though.

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It comes down to two things. People are saying what they've been thinking, and the internet attracts people who think and want to say stupid things. This is a cyclical process that produces a new purified form of drivel. Every article about a puppy or the weather on Yahoo is followed by a march of comments blaming Obama or Bush and how every conspiracy theory is involved. lol

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I have seen nothing worse than the topix.com forums section, which is completely un-moderated. Wander over to the african-american forum and you will read some of the most vile stuff imaginable. I'm often there doing battle with racists from across the spectrum.

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Sure racism is bad, but it is part of human nature to see, look, think and say, is this dude in a KKK outfit with a hunting rifle out to get me?? Or if your car breaks down in a real bad part of town and 10 homeboys of some local gang start walking to your broken down car, survival mode kicks in, and not to be racist, but I think most people of any color, seeing big mean, hairy men, or with shaved heads, or sometimes women too, well it is time to yell YIKES!! Yes or No amigos??

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That's why ALIENS from OUTER SPACE do not want to land on Earth. Because of the racism and sexism ! ! !

District 9 is a true story man !!!!

Human beings- brown, off white, yellow and other colors need to stop the racism.

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The internet just makes me tired and weary of humanity in general. There is so much hatred of all kinds, and it doesn't just stop at race. I agree with all the other posters that mentioned how I could have never imagined people could say and think such evil, vile things until I discovered the internet. Perhaps that's my own fault for not being more perceptive, but as the article states, the internet offers a cloak to hide behind. People can say whatever they like without fear of consequence (mostly, other than an inbox of angry comments or something). Really makes you wonder what the person sitting next to you on the train, or in the cafe, or passing you on the street is really thinking.

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"Obama is a product of affirmative action, which is a form of racial profiling if it is anything. But his election has been good in some ways. Since you are not American tho you wouldnt understand. Good luck, all the same."

Hahaha I totally disagree because he is an American. He was born in Hawaii, his grandparents were rich he went to an nice University. The American People elected him. Who are the American People ? Rich & Poor Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian, & brown skin American Taxpaying People voted for Obama.

He's the first "minority" president !!! Affirmative Action is a myth !!!!

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Will there be another minority President in America ??? Very hard to imagine after Obama would there be a woman president or an minority ! ! I wish America Luck and Good Fortune because there are alot of in the closet racists out there. I have to go to work now !!! Bye

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Will there be another minority President in America ??? Very hard to imagine after Obama would there be a woman president or an minority ! ! I wish America Luck and Good Fortune because there are alot of in the closet racists out there. I have to go to work now !!! Bye

No doubt. The racists woke up one day and realized the black guy actually won. They won't let that happen again. They will be out in force in 2012.

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Obama got elected because of his campaign speeches and promises not because he was an African-American. If not, then why was he elected? There are some people that dislike Obama because of his policies not because he is African-American.

The internet allows people to act out, take on an avatar, and say things he/she would never do in public. Also, the internet paints a picture that some people still have issues when it comes to ethnicity. Too often people judge others by the color of their skins just like people judge others base on a single person influence in a group. For example, people don't use profanity at the workplace, but he/she uses profanity outside of the workplace.

The day when people stop swearing would be the day when people stop making racist remarks.

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if americans cannot and will never be able to live together in racial harmony, it's time to divide the states along racial lines and start the mass relocations. create a territory for asians. one for whites. one for blacks. another for hispanics. etc. let's stop pretending that americans can live together as one. it's impossible! they are incapable.

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"if americans cannot and will never be able to live together in racial harmony, it's time to divide the states along racial lines and start the mass relocations. create a territory for asians. one for whites. one for blacks. another for hispanics. etc. let's stop pretending that americans can live together as one. it's impossible! they are incapable."

You're clearly out of your depth on this subject. Millions of Americans of various skin shades get along with one another perfectly fine every day. While vocal racists hiding behind the shield of annonymity may seem numerous, the truth is they represent but a fraction of the entire population of the U.S. The proof is in the very fact that the U.S. has NOT Balkanized, as you suggest.

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LFRAgain at 07:43 AM JST - 1st October

You're clearly out of your depth on this subject. Millions of Americans of various skin shades get along with one another perfectly fine every day. While vocal racists hiding behind the shield of anonymity may seem numerous, the truth is they represent but a fraction of the entire population of the U.S. The proof is in the very fact that the U.S. has NOT Balkanized, as you suggest.

Well said!

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Online forums are a great way for any racist to get in his or her opinion. Most racists I've encountered are cowards anyway and only act and/or speak out in comfortable situations. I agree with DerekJ's comment about topix.net. There are many ridiculous comments from all sorts of people on there. It's like a racial MC battle.

I find Jarad Taylor's comments laughable. I am black and I am well educated. This is how people gain intelligence. To suggest that any race is smarter than another is just pure racism. "Most" blacks who are racist are racist towards people who see them as "not as smart" and not worth their time. I know some say they hate all people of a race, but they have just gotten to a point of no return because of how they were, and are, treated as a people since the days of slavery in America. I know it's a broad and very old excuse, but if see comments like Mr. Taylor's today...well you can't say it's old. You reap what you sow.

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