In School Racism

The world we live in today puts a major emphasis and importance on the internet.  Young people need to be aware that their tweets and other social media posts can be seen by people all throughout the world.

This story on HuffingtonPost is a good example of why young people need to be educated on the effects of the internet.  A Mississippi high school student sent out a racist tweet during school hours.  This student posted a highly explicit and inappropriate tweet about her feelings toward African Americans. The principle of the school said she will be punished.  The reason that the school is able to get involved in a situation like this is because it happened during school hours. This is something that is happening today in schools all across America. 

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I was able to find another similar occurrence on nbcphiladelphia.com. In this instance the student once again posted during school hours about African American students in her class. This student even made the choice to include a picture of the students she was criticizing.  The tweet she posted was actually on twitter for 33 days before anyone reported it.  This is a good example of how everything we say even months ago will still be there and can have serious effects. Because of how inappropriate these tweets are the NAACP got involved to express their feelings on the topic. Loretta Winters, head of the NAACP in Gloucester said the NAACP is doing such great things and working so hard to do great things in the community that an occurrence like this sets them back a hundred years. This particular student could be charged with harassment against the other students.

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I know this is something that is happening in many schools across the country. Students on social media may feel they can hide behind their computers and say whatever they feel without realizing the serious consequences this could have. Consequences not only to the other students they write about but also for themselves. According to Our Ethno-Racial Identity Displays on Facebook by Grasmuch, Martin and Zhao people are more realistic and honest in nonymous environments. Twitter is considered a nonymous environment because people are still aware of whom you are but you can make yourself seem different than your offline identity. I personally believe that many of these students who are sending out racist tweets are doing this to look “cool” or “funny” on these nonymous social media websites. This negative activity is something that students need to be educated about. Young people are not aware of the serious effects of what you post could have on your future. These posts made national news making the entire country aware of what you said. What we write on the internet is available for all people to read and we cannot hide behind our computer screens and say anything we would like, even if it seems “funny” to post.

According to an article on Politifact.com. the percentages of African American and Hispanic students reading at a lower education level are very high.  I think that this is something that is important to recognize because this and the digital divide relate to why the majority of these hateful tweets are sent out by white students. The biggest factor to who is using the internet is caused by the digital divide.  The people on the lower end are mostly African American, Latino, and Asian American. In the Digital Divide, Barbara Monroe shares a quote from NTIA “However a digital divide still remains. The report shows not everyone is moving at the same speed, and identifies those groups that are progressing more slowly.” When she speaks about this she is referring to Black and Hispanics.   According to the article on Politifact white students seem to be more educated in reading and writing compared to African Americans and Hispanics. The research I have done on this type of situation is one that most often includes white students sending out the hateful tweets.

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Racism online is very common and I believe that people commonly do it without realizing what they are doing.  People believe that the computer is something that you can hide behind and that is not true. Whether we are trying or not our background and racial identity show through the comments we make.  Racial and ethnic identities emerge online many ways.  White people are said to have privilege that they do not recognize and I believe this shows through things that are said on the internet.  As I previously said the examples I came across in my research showed these hateful tweets being written by white students and I think this is tied to the sense of privilege that is felt. One way these identities emerge is through different websites that are especially designed for certain races. People from different races are able to communicate with one another and learn from each other. They are able to express their feelings and most likely there is someone else with similar thoughts they can talk to. I think that the young people who are the victims of these racist tweets could use these specialized websites to express how they feel about what is being said about them and there is a good chance someone on there will be able to relate to them.

Works Cited

Braxton, Monique, and Lauren DiSanto. “NJ Girl Charged Over Racist Tweet.” NBC 10 Philadelphia. NBC 10, 1 Feb. 2013. Web. 04 Mar. 2014.

Grasmuck, Sherri, Jason Martin, and Shanyang Zhao. “Ethno-Racial Identity Displays on Facebook.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 15.1 (2009): 158-88. Print.

“Louise Slaughter Tweets That Four-in-five Black and Hispanic Fourth-graders Aren’t Proficient in Reading.” PolitiFact. Tampa Bay Times, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2014.

Monroe, Barbara Jean. Crossing the Digital Divide: Race, Writing, and Technology in the Classroom. New York: Teachers College, 2004. Print.

Monroe, Barbara Jean. Crossing the Digital Divide: Race, Writing, and Technology in the Classroom. New York: Teachers College, 2004. Print.

Stuart, Hunter. “Mississippi Student Who Sent Racist Tweet May Be Placed In Alternative Learning Program.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 01 May 2013. Web. 04 Mar. 2014.

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