Social Question

sinscriven's avatar

Is it just to hold people socially accountable for their tweets in the "real world"?

Asked by sinscriven (6223 points ) November 8th, 2012

So after the election was called for Obama, the conservative twittersphere exploded into pure vitirol with an alarming number of people calling Obama a “nigger” and a “monkey”, the kind of things you would expect from an old school southern racist but not from young people who are growing up in a world decades post civil rights movement.

A commenter to the thread about it on Jezebel , decided to do a little research. Because these people are young and not as sensitive as protecting their online identity, it was pretty easy to find a fair bit of info on them. Namely, a list of people applying for scholarships. Slip these orgs a little note to check out, and potentially watch their futures obliterate.

How do jellies feel about this tactic? While I personally feel it is severely brutal, it’s hard to feel sympathetic towards them. While their first amendment rights protect their right to speech, everyone is still accountable for the consequences of what they say.

We are living in a world where anonymity is disappearing quickly, and managing personal branding is incredibly important and this is a pretty nasty way of proving it.

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22 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

You put it out on line, you own it as soon as you hit <Send>. There’s no expectation of privacy at all . Deleting doesn’t make amends. You are showing your true colors as if you shouted it out in the public square.

If Donald Trump had said the same thing about Richard Nixon in ‘72 that he tweeted about the President, he’d be getting a visit from the FBI about insurrectionist statements.

Seek's avatar

@zenvelo How long have you been a member of the Communist party?~

DrBill's avatar

I am not a fan of Obama, but he is our President, and deserves the respect of the office. No one should be allowed to call him names regardless.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Free speech =/= Hate speech.

Yes, I think people should be held accountable for their public racism.

zenvelo's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Well, I am almost a socialist, but if you’re implying that I am a supporter of the secret police and reporting neighbors to the KGB that’s different. I am a staunch defender of free speech, but free speech doesn’t get to hide behind the curtain of anonymous tweets.

(I might be persuaded otherwise in terms of the use of twitter during the Arab Spring. But the people fighting for liberty are different from those who want to thwart democracy because a black man was re-elected as President.)

Seek's avatar

@zenvelo I was of course being sarcastic. I agree with your point. ^_^

KNOWITALL's avatar

It’s wrong of course, but I don’t think I would try to hold them back from an education, it certainly sounds like they need it more than most.
If their professors or someone at the college researches them well, they’ll find it anyway.

jerv's avatar

While in some ways the internet is another world, the fact remains that it also kind of isn’t. The same people exist in both. Adopting an alias and committing a crime under that alias does not make you innocent, and the Internet is simply an alternate world where meatspace people go under an alias.

If these people had shouted those things on the street, that would be unacceptable, so how can it be acceptable to say those things where everybody in the world can hear them long after they have been said?

marinelife's avatar

What do you mean brutal? Wasn’t what they tweeted into the real world brutal? Aren’t they responsible for their actions?

I have no sympathy for cowards who commit such acts behind an ignorantly perceived veil of anonymity.

jordym84's avatar

Free speech should not be an excuse for hate speech! They should definitely be held accountable for their actions. Is that the kind of people we want ruling the country in a few more years? The kind of people that will hide behind the veil of anonymity to say such things, thinking that they won’t get caught? I can only imagine what kind of leaders they’re going to make…

My best friend’s boyfriend’s roommate hates President Obama and yesterday when I was over at their apartment he kept saying things like “I hate that stupid black idiot” and on the same breath say “I’m not racist, I just can’t stand the guy.” Everyone who knows me knows very well that I don’t get into political discussions, nor do I give into provocations, so it was all I could do to not snap at him. I’m not African American, but I was born and raised in Africa, and I have pretty thick skin and am not easily offended, but the kid (because that’s what he really is, even though he’s 22 going on 23) was really getting on my nerves. He was born and raised in the south and is a die-hard patriot, and he’s doing nothing to help with the perception most people have of southerners as being racists. Though, I must say, I do have a lot of friends who are from the south (including my best friend, who happens to be a Democrat and a supporter of President Obama) and he’s the only one of two people I know who is such a douche about it (the other one is my roommate, a Mormon from Utah, but at least she doesn’t attack the President for being black), so his ignorance has not affected my opinion of southerners.

Brian1946's avatar

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups has risen to more than 1,000 in recent years, so that number might reach 2,000 in the next four years.

sinscriven's avatar

@marinelife : It is, just the intent of this seems more vindictive maliciousness than an act of justice. Doesn’t mean they don’t have it coming, that’s for sure.

marinelife's avatar

@sinscriven Where is the maliciousness in holding them responsible for something they wrote in a public forum? Nothing would have happened to them if they had not said what they said. They are responsible for their own downfall.

Unbroken's avatar

I don’t really have anything to say about this other then it makes me sad.
It brings in sharp relief the people who would never use this type of language. And shows the character of those that do.
That being said i like free speech. And this should not be about whether it is allowed. These people will still exist whether they have a voice or not. I think this should be an opportunity to look at what creates these racists and how to avoid this in future generations.

Unbroken's avatar

@marinelife what would be the consequeces of that. Politician’s spout hate all the time, how can we allow our leader’s to engage in this behavoir and punish citizen’s. More lawsuits, more resentment? A shushing of dialogue about ethnicity and cultural divides rather then a forum for open dialoge and acceptance?
We spend our life being polled by our race or culture and then we question why the land of the free is filled with double standards?

Fly's avatar

Though such hateful and derogatory statements are deplorable, I don’t think that it is our responsibility to retaliate. It is one thing to call attention to the malicious posts in general, but singling out students who are applying for scholarships and then specifically tipping off the scholarship organizations is just spiteful. That person might have affected their future, a future in which they hopefully become more educated and less hateful. And really, I suspect that the only message that any of them will learn from this is that they were right to hate Democrats and to continue along their bigoted path. That said, that person had just as much a right to inform the scholarship organizations as the Twitter members did to post the original content, and those members should be prepared to accept the potential consequences of their poor judgment.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Fly Impressive answer. I used to throw thunderbolts around when I was younger.I’ve gotten a lot wiser and more tolerant as I’ve aged.

marinelife's avatar

@rosehips Where is the data to back up what you are saying about our leaders and politicians?

They can’t say anything bad without being called on it and suffering severe consequences just like Akin and Mourdock.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@KNOWITALL, I couldn’t have said it better.

Those people are ignorant monsters and, yes, they should be held responsible for what they put on the Internet for the world to see. However, what would trying to keep them from being educated solve? Not a thing. If anyone needs some schooling, it’s these individuals. Dislike them all you want, say whatever you want to them, but free speech is free speech no matter how stupid and hateful you are.

This information is online, easy for anyone to find. There’s no need to facilitate it.

augustlan's avatar

I couldn’t agree more with @Fly. Also, I couldn’t be prouder that she’s my kid. </mombragging>

Unbroken's avatar

@marinelife, you are correct, I bow to your superior intellect. All kidding aside, rascist speech was considered patriotic speech not so very long ago.
I also say I have reconsidered my position on demographic cultural polling, it was a shot in the dark but it was a miss. Burying cultural differences and ignoring minority factions would just be another way of silencing these groups. So I apologize I got carried away on an ill thought out tangent.

I do agree with @Fly the most, brillaint.

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