Young People Don't Care About Racist Slurs Online

Illustration for article titled Young People Dont Care About Racist Slurs Online

A new MTV-AP poll says that most teens and "twentysomethings" don't care if they read "nigger" online. As a twentysomething, I'm disappointed. As someone on the internet, I'm disappointed. As a human, I'm scared. We all should be.


The findings were the same for all the slurs cited—fag, slut, retard—none of them fazed youths within the context of the internet. While the latter two have been used and diluted beyond the sting of a racial or homophobic slur, the point remains: an entire generation thinks speech matters less when it's online:

In contrast, only a third say discriminatory words about blacks are most often intended as hurtful, while two-thirds think they are mostly jokes. And 75 percent think slurs against women are generally meant to be funny.


The 4chan-ification of the internet, the commonplace of the troll, the guaranteed anonymity of it all. The internet's groomed many of us to care little about what we say—after all, we can edit (or delete it) afterwards. But even if writing with abandon's become easier, it doesn't make reading any less painful. Indeed, the poll shows clearly that groups to which a slur applies are offended most of the time, as opposed to those doing the slurring. Millions of kids who don't think what they say matters as long as it's online become threatening to society as almost everything we do goes online. [AP via Slate]

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"But even if writing with abandon's become easier..."

Can't tell if #irony or #corrections .

Anyway, to the point. Most people don't care what they say on the Internet because most people don't care what others say on the Internet. If you know most people will ignore you, why not say random shit?

I've been saddened by the degradation of the English language for years. I didn't mind LOL. Nor did I mind the other things that came along with the Internet. That is, until people started using the terms in real life. When I heard people say "LOL" instead of laughing, and saying simply, "Like" instead of "I like this," (or some other similar comment), I started to worry.

That's the only disconcerting thing about this article: it carries over into the real world. I don't care if people are apathetic to "nigger's" online (that apostrophe is correct, as it's a word used as itself :P ). I don't care if people take trolls seriously (except the real-life trolls like Glenn Beck). But if people start running around in the real world calling people "nigger" with hurtful intent, just because they're so desensitized by the Internet, then we have a problem.

And since that is, in fact, what seems to be happening...I'm right there in the Worried Club with you, Sam.

I won't even mention how much the Internet's customs have slowly destroyed language in general, because as a writer, that just irks me to no end. I NO, RITE? ITS SO COOL! -_-