23 September 2007

Hatred found in online comments shocking (Shreveport Times Letter to the Editor)

Today, The Shreveport Times published my letter about the racist online comments from the newspaper readers in response the the recent "Jena Six" coverage.

I'm reprinting it for you below.
On Sept. 16, my church hosted a prayer worship service in support of the six black youths accused of crimes in Jena. I read the news coverage about this story ("Religious groups unite, pray for Jena Six," Sept. 17). I read the online reader comments and I was shocked at the level of hatred and racist invective. Here are a few sample quotes that were found on the shreveporttimes.com web site:

  • "Everywhere Black people integrate, crime and deterioration and hate sets in. Integration is the problem with our schools." (written by the anonymous author "CHILIDOG")
  • "Let's see, how do we start this prayer? Oh God let us pray for these kids that are only black, because we don't care about the white kid that they tried to kill. Now God it is off to the next place where we can help only blacks that is why we call ourselves the Rainbow Coalition." (written by the anonymous author "Creekdweller")

I also read about the upcoming prayer service ("
Community Briefly: Church holding rally today to support 'Jena Six,'" Sept. 15). This article also elicited racism and hatred from our community in the online reader comments.

This story's comments also contain some ignorant religious bigotry directed towards my Unitarian Universalist faith as well.

I'm in favor of free speech even when it's racist and religious bigotry like the examples cited above. I would never want to see expression banned even though it hurts our community both morally and economically. Ask yourself: What would a business leader think about Shreveport after reading these comments online?

I also question the tacit endorsement of The Times and Gannett in publishing these comments online on the shreveporttimes.com Web site.

I disagree with The Times policy of allowing bigots to hide behind anonymous screen names. I suspect those who post anonymous hatred online would not if their real identity were attached to their comments.

1 comment:

Robin Edgar said...

Well it would appear that Peacebang has cleaned up her act a little bit since she "came out" or was "outed" (U*Us choose) some months ago as Rev. Victoria Weinstein of First Parish Unitarian Church Norwell. She does seem to have the occasional relapse though. . .