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Some social media sites have already taken action and tried to minimize the problem of cyberbullying and racism online. Twitter has already tripled the number of people on their response team tremendously, allowing reported issues to be looked over and taken care of much quicker. Twitter is also going over their safety policy, trying to rebuild it in such a way that every Twitter user can feel safe to use the site and not worry about being targeted by cyberbullies. If more sites started following Twitter’s lead, then I think we would see a positive change in the digital community. I think the next step that social media sites should take is enforcing a policy that would have accounts suspended or deleted after posting a racist comment or post.
Unfortunately, however, you can not always do something about racism online. An example of this happened earlier this year and is still happening. A blog meant for retired and active NYPD officers has filled up with racist comments. Comments addressing Puerto Rican women as “old obese tatted up women stuffed into outfits that they purchased or shoplifted at the local Kmart store” can be seen on the blog, as well as African-Americans being called “apes". The police department can not do much about this situation because they can not track which officer posts the comments and it is not in their power to search for who they are. Luckily, if enough attention is brought to these situations by those who see it, then more action can be taken by those in charge of sites against them. According to a 2015 survey on bullying, 45% of people that saw bullying did not report it. Hopefully, if racist cyberbullying is taken more seriously when reported, it would allow more people to feel like they can report racism that they see online and reduce the amount of bullying going on. This would lead to less racism online and show people that part of being a good digital citizen means making everyone feel welcome online.
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There are people that disagree with my opinion because they feel that if racist speech online is restricted or banned, then freedom of speech is getting taken away. They also think that racism doesn’t really matter and no one is really affected by it. First amendment lawyer Marc J. Randazza wrote an article on how if we ban racist speech, then we would be giving up our freedom of speech. He believes that “some things are worse than racism -- like a loss of the right to speak your mind and think your own thoughts. Unfortunately, that is a price that too many of us are willing to pay." I disagree with his opinion because there is nothing worse than being targeted for something that you can’t change. I know what it feels like to be bullied and made fun of for my race and how helpless you can feel in those situations. You can feel attacked and vulnerable, especially online when the bully is not always identifiable. It can be hard for some people to relate to this feeling, but it is not pleasant. If more people would realize this, then there would be less ignorance and more of a positive change in people’s online actions.
Racism on social media is still a huge problem today. The number of kids being cyberbullied because of their race is countless, and not enough people are speaking up about it. Hopefully if social media sites begin to update their policies and terms of service to delete or suspend racist aggressors, we will see a decrease in racist cyberbullying. More people need to realize the effect that their words have on people and that what they say really matters.
Conclusion, updated May 28th 2015
Throughout this whole process, I still wholeheartedly believe that if social media accounts that post racist comments or posts are reported, then the account should immediately be suspended or deleted. More people need to realize how much their digital footprint matters, and that they have the power to step up and say something about what's going on. Having good digital citizenship is a skill that will get you far in the online world and is something that we should all strive to do. The comments I got from other bloggers were extremely valuable to me and I truly appreciated every one of them. Though I can’t say any of them changed my mind, I can say that they made me think. I understand when bloggers such as Josephine and Kattikes say that the word “racist” is overused. I definitely agree with this and there are many cases when the word “racist” is misused and wrongly applied to certain situations. This made me think that maybe people use racism as an excuse just to point fingers at each other so they are not the ones in the wrong. In order to effectively reply to the great comments on my post, I had to do some more research which led me to some fantastic articles that I would have otherwise not seen. Overall, I would say that the blogging process and experience really showed me a new side of the internet that I had not thought to previously explore. Researching this topic rekindled my interest in the subject and gave me a newfound motivation to really try to make a positive change online. Publishing a blog like this one and any of the others on this site is a great experience that I think everyone should have at least once in their life.