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While reading the story on Chron.com about the Anniversary of the March on Washington, I glanced at the comments, something I rarely do because of how hateful and ridiculous they often are. Not surprisingly there were quite a few that had been censored and some responses indicating those posts were of a racial nature. Trolling on the Internet is nothing new. Some of it is real. Some of it is bored people trying to start something for their own entertainment.
Then, I decided to hit up Twitter and do a search. Within seconds I was transported to a world of hate speech that sounded strikingly like what Martin Luther King, Jr. and other faced back in 1963. It was the social media equivalent of dogs and fire hoses (you can see a nice little sampling on the right).
The fact that racism exists does not shock me. My friends who are not white have told me plenty of stories. I've seen it happen in front of me, as recently as a few months ago. There are also hopeful stories of kids who have grown up virtually racism free and that's certainly encouraging.
But, then there is the online element highlighted by websites and Tumblr feeds like Public Shaming. As I mentioned, some of this is simply trolling to get a reaction, but it underscores the fact that there are a lot of really vile and despicable people out there, and many of them post things online without even thinking twice. It's an unfortunate reality.