Saturday, December 8, 2012

How Should We React to Kids Racist Tweets

Visiting Assistant Professor at Penn State Law School Erica Goldberg looks at the issue of kids Racist tweets on her blog . See What to do about Students' Racist Tweets

The incident that is referenced are racist tweet by kids referencing Obama. I was on twitter a good bit when this was unfolding and saw it myself. I think she does a good job talking about the 1st amendment issues of all the parties involved.

This part I wanted to comment on is what she said in closing .

In terms of First Amendment doctrine, Jezebel's speech is as protected as the students's speech, and as the speech of those who criticize Jezebel. But, in terms of free speech values (as separate from actual free speech rights), it's unclear whether Jezebel's public and derogatory shaming really adds to discourse on these issues. Certainly, allowing this type of counter speech is preferable to censoring the students, and it does effectively combat overt racism, but it does so in ways that are not conducive to real exchanges on the issues.

The problem with the term "bullying" and its recent social capital, and why the term should be used sparingly when considering censoring pure speech of students or adults, is that one person's perception of bullying is another person's idea of the appropriate way to combat bullying. When referring to pure speech, bullying is often in the eye of the beholder.

I have to say I agree with that. I had a lot of discomfort on how the "adults" were acting. There was little paternal correction and more vengeance, threats , and delight that these kids might be screwed for life if they had anything to do about it. As the Prof alludes too this is sort of bully like.

Kids do stupid things in school and often we have as a society have deemed  because of age we should keep those records closed. IN FACT KIDS DO STUPID HORRID ILLEGAL THINGS TOO. As a society we have seem it proper that those juvenile records closed so not to affect their whole life.

Of course here the kids put themselves out on the internet where nothing goes away. But the things like the juvinile corrections systems and how we handle that informs my viewpoint here. In the end some adult I think acted far worse than the kids.


Anonymous said...

Of course any racist remark or anything else that someone puts on the internet in their own name, or in a manner traceable to them will follow them for the rest of their lives. And rightfully so. I am finding it very rewarding to see that South Korean rap star get his rightful comeuppance over the hateful anti-American rants of his youth.

James H said...

Thats very true and sadly kids don't get this. Even as to sending nude picks of themselves, Its like a part of ther=ir brain is not functioning