Suffering Teens: The World Of Online Racism

Two students at the University of Minnesota-Duluth – white girls – were charged in an incident of cyber racism. They started a conversation on their Facebook, as soon as an African-American student entered in the classroom. According to local news the two girls posted these comments on their walls:

“ewww a obabacare (sic) is in the room, i feel dirty, and unsafe. keep a eye on all of your valuables and dont make direct eye contact….i just threw up in my mouth right now …”

Almost a decade ago this conversation would have happened in a covert manner, written on a piece of paper in the classroom and shared with people who shared similar views. However, now the overt form of racism is expressed on social media sites. It is open to not only likeminded people, but also with the ones who disagree with it. Racism on the internet is spread through emails, blogs and popular social networking sites. Colleges and universities are taking this matter very seriously. They are aware that social networking sites have become a place for racist slurs and attacks. Racism in teenagers is not a myth. 

Cyber racism

It is a form racism that is carried out in the cyber world through different online mediums. Online racism is described as any offensive comment that targets a person’s race, color, ethnicity or nationality and has the same effect as racism in physical world. Online or cyber racism is also used to bully teenagers at school or college. Racism on internet is a real problem. 

Facebook is one social network site that is rampant with racial attacks. Although users agree to the ‘Terms of Use’ while creating their account - which also includes site’s policy of intolerance against racism – there is no strict check on racist posts that have resulted in an increase in racist incidents.

As compared to covert racism and whispers in the physical world, posts and comments made on a social networking site spread like wildfire, which damage the child’s emotional and psychological health.

  • Racism attacks the self-esteem of a child
  • The teen may experience chronic phases of depression, if prolonged they can also result in suicide
  • In some cases, the victim has reacted violently to the racial attacks - hurting and in extreme cases killing the racist
  • The victim loses interest in studies, sports and other activities, preferring to be left alone
  • The victim also experiences loss of weight and sleep
  • Teens have been seen taking up smoking, alcohol and drugs in face of extreme pressure from the racist

Parents can control the damage caused to their harassed teens by providing a support system at home. The best approach is to keep a direct line of communication with kids, so that parents are the first one to know if their child is faced with racism. Another effective measure would be to get in touch with the kid’s teachers and school management, this is particularly true in cases where classmates are involved in cyber racism.  

The internet world is vague and shadowy. Even in the presence of internet laws and regulations, there are crevices where such incidents occur.

 

Source for news: http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2010/05/03/cyber-racism-on-college-campuses/

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