Online racism spreads

Megan Armentrout and Megan Armentrout

Racism is no longer just face-to-face abuse; it can now be found online at popular social networking Web sites, like Myspace or Facebook.

Facebook allows members to join groups in which individuals can share interests such as their favorite television show or intended majors.

But some groups can potentially hurt people based on their racial backgrounds.

More than 14 million people are registered users of Facebook, according to their Web site.

Many students from the University belong to Facebook groups that are discriminatory toward people of different racial and ethnic origins.

Delora Brookins, junior, said many of the groups were directly offensive to her because of the language used in them and their content.

“This does not promote diversity because it opens a window for people to look at that issue or a certain race of people in a negative way,” Brookins said.

Groups that are exclusively for people of one race or groups that are making fun of stereotypical characteristics of another race can be offensive to some people. “1,000,000 Black Students!” is an example of a group that is only for the black students on Facebook. More than 150 University students are listed as members of this group.

A stereotypical group could be “Are you Asian? Then You’re a Ninja!” or “Look at Me I’m White and Nerdy.” No University students were listed as members of these groups.

These groups imply that because you are a certain race, then you have these


A group that is particularly offensive to Mexican American students is “A wall on the Mexican Border may actually be a good idea,” implying students of this decent are not welcome in the United States.

Ryan MacBride, sophomore, said many of the groups were “just offensive and stereotypical,” but said it would be difficult for Facebook to draw a line as to what groups should be permitted on their site.

A customer support representative said Facebook takes all reports for harassment and inappropriate content seriously. In a response e-mailed to The BG News, she wrote, “We are not responsible in anyway for content posted by users. Facebook will allow the freedom of speech unless it violates our Terms of Use.”

Nicole Chamberlain, senior, said the above listed groups don’t offend her. She suggests students who do find them discriminatory to avoid them.

“If they don’t like the them, they shouldn’t look at them,” Chamberlain said.

Scott Voss, junior, said some of the groups were offensive to some people but there is nothing Facebook can really do to please everyone or to stop the groups from being made.

“No matter what you say, there will always be someone who could take offense to it,” Voss said.

Facebook has a new feature that allows its users to anonymously report a group that is offensive. If they receive enough complaints about that certain group, then the group will be removed from the site.