If you judged the rise or fall of racism based on the hate-fueled words spewed out over social media the past few years, you’d think racism was on the rise.

While I don’t think America or the world is any more racist than it has been in the past, I believe people are more vocal, and have more opportunities to express their opinion, than ever before.

After President Obama won a second presidential term, the explosion of “nigger” tweets and Facebook posts seemed astounding. The vitriol ginned up via the Ring Wing fringe media spilled over onto social media, and people were questioning the President’s birthplace, hurling racial slurs, and threatening or encouraging his murder.

While people may have thought their hate speech was protected (and it is under the First Amendment), for many, their words were not without consequence.

Case in point, Denise Helms, a California woman who posted a Facebook status calling President Obama the n-word and wondering, “Maybe he will get assassinated.” Helms found herself under investigation by the Secret Service, and although she claims she’s not a racist, she lost her job with Cold Stone Creamery because the company said her views were not in line with their vision.

Helms wasn’t the only one to take a hit. After the election, Jezebel posted a series of tweets—with visible names—of people whose racism spilled out into offensive Twitter rants. After they were roundly criticized and shamed by a large part of the Internet, many closed their accounts or claimed to be hacked. But Jezebel took it a step further, contacting many of the teen Twitter users’ schools to inform them of their hate speech.

Aside from large media outlets like Jezebel or The Huffington Post covering hate speech, there is a growing crop of microblogs that publicly shame racist social media users. One interesting site is the tumblr, Hello There Racists.

Instead of blurring names and faces of racist social media users, Hello There Racists puts them on full blast, posting their pictures and hometowns along side of their words.

While some have criticized these practices—of publically outing racists, especially teens—others have praised the tactic.

Despite the conversation about whether or not public shaming is the proper course of action, one thing is clear: People are watching.

Those who take to Twitter, Facebook, and other non-anonymous social networks to spew hate should know that, although the law protects their speech, there are also consequences.

Jobs, scholarships, and other opportunities may be lost; if you threaten the President, the Secret Service will investigate you; and in this day in age in which everything we say online is catalogued and searchable, the repercussions may be felt for years to come.

You’ve been warned.

  • Humanista

    I was on this site just last night, oddly enough. The fact that many of the people on here are so young just shows you how people are truly indoctrined into this attitude! Several of those *exposed* are actually from where I lived as a teen up north. Not surprised!

  • KitKat

    Seeing these young people saying these things should be a wake up call to people who subscribe to the “racism will die out with old people” idea. Nope, racism/hate speech has to be actively challenged.

  • Ms. Information

    If you have the balls to say it, have the balls to defend it, teen or not.

  • __A

    Yea. It’s funny how many think racism is dead. I think it’s gotten worse because of social media and “credible” people like right wingers on Fox News encouraging it by saying they’re just concerned for the country. With social media, these people have found other people who agree with them. People like Rush Limbaugh try to make bullying and hatred acceptable and there are so many people who agree with them that they don’t find it as socially acceptable as before.

  • Catpopstar

    Its good that people are doing something about this behavior other than sticking their heads in the dirt.

  • Gotcha

    I find when trying to shame someone they often seek refuge from people who thinks just like them and when they find it, those people will group together and band on their ignorance. It increases stubbornness and idiocy at the same time. Think about it there are some people who are just straight out racist and dont care, but then like you see a lot of these racists comments comes from teens who don’t THINK there racists, base on their “im not racists!” rebuttals and they don’t see what they’re doing is WRONG. All they know from the “shaming” is that they can’t say “that” without being called a racists so some just might not say anything but still FEEL and THINK the same way like before all of it now is just simmering, until they find someone…just like them.

    So I find “public shaming” silly and some of the responds they get from certain people are just as hateful and could be consider bullying. But of course no one is going to sympathize with a racist person, after all they deserve to get bully no?

    Besides that people need to learn there is two things you just don’t do:
    Don’t threaten someone’s life, especially a High Authority figure and two
    Don’t call “bomb” in the airport/plane.
    These are not freedom of speech, this is just plan stupid.

  • Me

    LOL b*tch got fired from Cold Stone? Thats why she’s really mad. Whenever white ppl are losing they fall back on their race as pride to flaunt around others smh. Have a seat!

  • http://gravatar.com/arlette81 arlette

    many of the twitter accounts are by trolls who steal pics of other people to use as profile pics, an example of this is the shelly_smyth account, the profile pic is of some random girl.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    Sick and tired of people excusing their behaviour because ‘they’re young’. That’s why they’ll never learn. Apparently, the Good Sense Fairy will pay them a visit on their 18th birthday, and they’ll be decent human beings from then on. <_<

  • Shirl

    Couldn’t have said it better!!!

  • lauryn

    Um, that’s what you get.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Exactly! I am glad more people are getting reprimanded for their online behavior. If you can sprew ignorance online than you should be able to deal with the consequences. I am so sick and tired of folks hiding behind the Internet or think they are say because they typed it and not said it. But this latest election brought racism to the forefront for those who thought this was post racial America…yeah right. But lol at the women who worked for cold stones and thinks she is republican…LOL

  • http://twitter.com/Author_JGail J. Gail (@Author_JGail)

    So Smart They’re Stupid!

  • http://gravatar.com/prxtence Salmon

    But wait though, why would they thing assassination was a joking matter? UGH, the world we live in.

  • Pingback: Israel vs. Hamas: The first social-media war | Open Knowledge

  • CenterLeft

    The same sorts of things get said about other folks with respect to “other physical aspects”, think Spike Lee and Clifton Powell.

  • Human

    That in itself is a racist reply and you should be ashamed. There are racists in every race and culture and to assume that woman was white and to make a general statement about white people like that is plain ignorant.

  • Fox

    I’m sad to see how young they are. Also looks like a bunch of hick towns anyway. They’ll probably never leave anyway, so we’re good.

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