One of my biggest peeves with the expanding digital age is the ability to use the medium to say things one would never say in person. In many ways the world wide web is a shield for those who want to talk reckless and speak louder than their real lives would allow them too. And while that is a personal peeve, it turns out it is also a dangerous cultural trend as well.
TIME Techland reported on the growing gap between online behavior and in person behavior as it applies to offensive slurs and found that the internet has made many go numb to seeing hurtful words on their cellphone, tablet and computer screens.
Some slurs like “slut” and “retard” vary in their perceived offensiveness to those polled, but also include some incredibly offensive words like the “N-word.” Curiously, when the respondents were surveyed broadly about offensive terms, half said they wouldn’t use them. However, 54% said they would be okay using such terms around friends.
There’s also something about the Internet providing a crutch for others. About 61% of those polled said that they wouldn’t be bothered very much or at all if they saw someone using the “N-word” online or in a text message. That doesn’t change the fact that about 60% of African-American kids included in the survey would still be offended if they saw that word used against someone, according to the poll results.
So what gives? Why are people more likely to see slurs on the internet as less harmful than ones in person? According to The Associated Press:
“Those surveyed are twice as likely to say biased slurs are used to be funny as they are to think that the user is expressing hateful feelings toward a group of people. Another popular reason: to sound cool.”
What do you think Clutchettes- does the internet desensitize us to racial slurs? Weigh in and let’s discuss!