The Internet Is A Great Hiding Place For Bigots

Internet anonymity is a boon and a curse.

Over the last month or so I’ve come across posts on major websites, like Yahoo or Gawker or places like that, where something or other caused racists to spew forth their very often ugly rhetoric. It is one of the best things about having public comments on articles and video on the web, the ability for people to say whatever they want about whatever moves them. And yet is also the worst thing about the instant and democratic web response world, that ability for any nutcase, under the cloak of anonymity, to say whatever they want.

Which got me to thinking and wondering. Are there more racists out there than we know, people who we might not otherwise hear from or about, but who, because they are empowered by being able to speak their mind anonymously, can now let it be known what many others think but don’t usually say?

Is the ugly venom that pops up just a lumatic fringe or do they represent people who we see every day but who normally keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves when face to face?

Who knows? But in articles with subjects as varied as Michael Vick, Barack Obama, almost any crime story involving a minority, the story about the young Black girl critizized for singing her version of the national anthem, to almost anything, the comments section is sometimes a magnet for people with a racial axe to grind.

I’ve decided for me, while it does sadden me to see these ugly comments, I prefer to know these people are there. It keeps us from relaxing too much and being caught off guard. Like it or not, there are still a lot of people hanging around who simply can’t handle progress. I still believe they are in a minority, and that there will be even lesser of them as the years go by. But as we can see thanks to the world wide web, they are still lurking out there.

So let’s keep drawing them out. I suppose the good news is the more we progress the more they need to protest, so their barking must be a true sign that we are moving ahead.

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