Anonymous Hate Speech

I am writing to address a number of anonymous comments that I have read on this blog over the past several days. Namely comments made by ‘you are a racist’ or ‘wimpy Seattle liberal’ or ‘plaintruth’. My favorite post so far has been this gem written in response to a suggestion that it might not be cool to simply murder a young black mugger – “If you don’t let these youths rob, rape, and murder you, then you are a RACIST!!! Don’t fight back! Don’t defend yourself or your family! Roll over! Otherwise you are RACIST!!!!” Unfortunately, not all of the comments made under these three pseudonyms have been as tragically misguided (to the point of being comedic) as the one above. Some have taken a very hateful tone that I find dangerous.

Look, I have to be honest with everyone, it’s hard for me to reply to deranged racial rantings. I have spent most of my life laughing at these kinds of things and shrugging them off as I thought they were ridiculous. And there have been a lot of them — from ‘Cadillac driving welfare mothers’ to ‘Obama is a Muslim terrorist.’ But I am realizing now that turning a blind eye and deaf ear just doesn’t work. All these lies and all this hate and all this misinformation is damaging and needs to be repudiated at every turn. For every hate-filled, misinformed comment that is uttered, ten thoughtful, creative, informed responses need to be made in return.

Now, I have read on this website another reader state when referring to African Americans that “I want them dead” and they are a “demographic that commits the most violent crime in the entire world by an enormous order of magnitude.” I am not going to get into how unqualified and wrong this latter statement is. I will say, however, that it is unacceptable that posts such as these be made anonymously. Not only do they devalue members of our community but they are part of the ground swell – a beating of a drum – that leads to wholesale hatred and discrimination, or worse, of an entire people on account of the color of their skin. Let us be clear about what exactly has been said on this site by these individuals: “all black people must die because are they are the criminal element of our society.” Postings such as these must stop.

I am not calling for censorship, however. Instead, I am asking that everyone in this conversation have a face behind their voice. It’s hard to stand up to a bully if you don’t now who they are. If this were not a blog, but a coffee shop, we wouldn’t allow someone to enter the room with a sheet on their head and spew a bunch of racial hatred. I think if these individuals weren’t allowed to hide behind the anonymity of their posts, they wouldn’t find Seattle liberals so wimpy; I think they would be the receipts of some much deserved ridicule and scorn, and I think they would find an uprising of people ready and willing to tell them to stop.

And for the record, ‘you are a racist’ or ‘wimpy Seattle liberal’ or ‘plaintruth’ or whoever you are, if you live in a community such as ours where a very small minority of disadvantaged, misguided black youth are committing crimes and your solution is to kill them — this does, in fact, make you a racist. Now get a backbone and sign your name.

Nathaniel Buck