Through my blogging, personal life and work responsibilities, I have a social media profile on virtually every platform. What I’ve found over the years is that Twitter is largely the platform/home for racists to spew their racism and to recruit people into their racist circles.
I have a few theories as to why. Firstly, I believe racists aren’t going to be as vocally racist on Instagram because they don’t want to put a face to their racism through their photos. Secondly, I think that Donald Trump has given racists more of a voice on Twitter over the past three and somewhat years. Please don’t misunderstand that statement, because I am not saying that the racism started when he became president. I am merely stating that racists got a lot more vocal and a lot more prominent when he became president.
Racism has always been a part of our society. It has just, in recent years, become a lot more prevalent than any other time I can remember in my 31 years of life. I do believe that Donald Trump has played a role in that. I do believe he has emboldened racists to believe that their behaviour is moral, just, acceptable and completely okay.
Why am I talking about this today?
I spent a decent amount of time over the past week reporting tweets for racism and hate speech on Twitter.
This past Monday a horrifying incident happened in a nearby city where a Doctor was bludgeoned to death in an examination room in his own clinic. Within just a few hours of the attack, video footage of the suspect being put into the back of a police car was circulating Twitter. The only characteristic that racist Twitter could take from the video was that the suspect had dark skin.
Racist Twitter went off. I mean they unloaded.
They didn’t know a single fucking thing about the suspect other than he had dark skin and they took that and they ran with that. Reading the comments from racist Twitter made me angry, upset and frustrated that I have to call myself the same species as these people. I don’t really want to repeat too much of what was said because it was so disgusting but it included comments (on the least awful end of the spectrum) like ‘this city has gone to hell since the blacks invaded’ and ‘Trudeau lets in these druggie, criminal gangsters and they murder our doctors. End immigration now.”
Hundreds, if not thousands, of comments directed towards insulting, demeaning and devaluing people of colour in our country circulated to the point that it was trending nationally. It was racist and a lot of it was hate speech.
I’ve been in a lot of discussions, arguments and full blown fights with racist twitter over the years. What I’ve learned is that, if someone is being racist on Twitter, you’re not going to change their mind no matter how much logic, kindness and reasoning you provide.
So, seeing these comments and feeling bad for this doctor and his family, I decided to take a different route.
I reported the tweets.
If I saw it and it was racism or direct hate speech against people of colour I reported the tweet. I did so because, and I cannot stress this enough, SOMEONE’S SKIN COLOUR HAS NOT A SINGLE FUCKING THING TO DO WITH WHETHER OR NOT THEY WILL COMMIT A CRIME.
Whew, sorry for yelling. I just needed to get that out.
The day following the attack, after next of kin had been notified, the identity of the Doctor was released to the public. And again, racist twitter went off. This time it wasn’t so much in the form of hate speech, but more in the form of proving themselves to be complete fucking idiots.
The Doctor was a Caucasian man who had immigrated to Canada from South Africa. Racist Twitter, doing what racist twitter does, began making comments like ‘Naw, he’s not from Africa, he’s white’. There was a lot of confusion from racist twitter about how someone from Africa could be white. I’ve long been of the belief that racism stems from lack of intelligence, lack of awareness, lack of education. Feel free to disagree with that belief if you would like, but, hearing people confused because about the fact that all people from Africa aren’t black really hammers that point home for me.
On this day I again took to reporting tweets that were racist and contained hate speech. Why? I know I’m not going to change the opinion of someone who is a racist by reporting their tweets. I just think that perhaps if enough of us reported tweets containing racism and hate speech to Twitter, they’d realize the platform of racism and hate speech they’re cultivating and do something about it.
I know I’m only one person and I know people will disagree with my reporting the tweets or tell me I’m wasting my time, but I have to try.
Well, anyways, fast forward to today. I was given notification from twitter for every single tweet, every single fucking tweet that I reported, that Twitter did not deem them to be racist, harmful or believe that these tweets were promoting hate speech.
To me, this 100% proves my point that Twitter is a platform for racists to be racists, for it to be okay. Racist twitter isn’t just the people making racist tweets, it’s the people who read reported tweets and deem them okay and appropriate and say they do not violate Twitter’s community guidelines.
If racism, hate speech, threats of violence against people of colour don’t violate Twitter’s community guidelines, what does? How bad does something have to get before they actually do something about it? Because whether you’re a keyboard warrior in middle of nowhere Canada raging on people of colour because of one man committing a horrendous and heinous crime, or you’re the President of the United States, I don’t fucking care. You should be held accountable for the things you say. And, it says a lot about the beliefs Twitter stands for when they believe it’s more important to promote hate speech then to denounce hate speech.
I’m so angry as I right this. I can’t even come up with a conclusion to this other than saying that the ‘Report Tweet’ button on Twitter doesn’t do a damn thing. Twitter is a place for racists to be celebrated, apparently.
A man lost his life. Kids lost their father. A woman lost her husband. That’s what matters. Anyone who thinks the colour of the suspect’s skin is important or the birth place of the doctor is important is absolutely in the wrong.