Can you say that social media in some way contribute to the normalization of racism?
Although social media provides people with the ability to keep in contact with family and friends, offers us a huge range of entertainment, and allows us to update everyone with what is going on in our lives; it can also be potentially incredibly dangerous. The internet provides a cloak of anonymity: hidden behind their computer screens in their comfort zone; offenders seem to enjoy harassing others as a source of entertainment. There are thousands of people who have been caught posting racial slurs and committing offense online and having to face the consequences. For example, ‘Anonymous’ hacker, Christopher Weatherhead, was sentenced to 18 months for his part in a cyber attack that cost upwards of 3.5 million pounds. He felt that he was anonymous and that he would get away with it.
Interestingly, people who voice their racist opinions online do not feel the need for their anonymity. In January 2018, 19-year-old University of Alabama student, Harley Barber was expelled for posting two racially aggressive videos to her social media. This suggests that online racism is seen to be somewhat normalized as she had no fear of identity being exposed.
This normalization of racism can be seen in the highest levels of government. The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, recently tweeted ‘Sadly, because President Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won’t see another black president for generations!’ People like Trump, who normalize racism, are increasing racism not only in their country but around the world. This leads to thousands of hate crimes previously discussed. The President has continued the act of normalization and ‘…has been branded a shocking and shameful racist…’ after it was revealed that he was heard discussing the home nations of immigrants hoping to start a new life in America including, ‘…African nations, as well as Haiti and El Salvador as “shitholes” and questioned why so many of their citizens had ever been permitted to enter America.’