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Exposing Racist Tweets Raised My Awareness

12/12/2012 12:55 pm ET | Updated Feb 11, 2013

By: Donisha Dansby

“If Romney wins, the monkeys will finally quit seeing our President as one of their brothers.”

“They call it the white house for a reason.”

“Where is the KKK when they are needed?”

These were just a few of the racists tweets after the Presidential Election in November. I felt disgusted -- not just because I happen to be an African American female, but as a person who is living in modern times. I was shocked to see that people in society still feel this way about African Americans. It reminded me of when, in my U.S. Literature class we read "Huckleberry Finn," a story written over a hundred years ago about slavery and discrimination. My teacher asked me, “Why does the book still matter if it was written more than a century ago?” The answer lies within these tweets.

True, racism isn’t expressed the way it used to be. People of my generation aren’t used to seeing racism, some say it’s easy to mistake it for not being there. When I go on to my Twitter account I don’t see any racist comments, for the fact that I am following people I know, or are in my circle of friends. But now on other pages, racist comments are thriving.

I started to wonder about the racist tweets and their authors. Who are these people? Thanks to a new Tumblr page called “Hello There, Racist," which collects tweets and social media postings of racist comments and exposes the writers, I could not only see their names, but their photos, hometowns, and in the case of a teen, where they go to school. I found that most of the people featured on the site live in the South. They all weren't scared to hide their feelings.They were traceable by their Twitter handles, and some even had tattoos of Confederate flags. But it struck me that so many of them are young people.

I did a little bit more digging and found this website Jezebel, a popular blog, took the initiative to follow up with some of the high school writers who are featured on Hello There, Racist. Jezebel reporters called the students high schools and reported their comments to administrators. A lot of the writers were punished, and a few of their Twitter accounts were even deleted. 

Even though these people are wrong for what they’re saying, I still don’t feel quite right. I know that addressing this behavior is on the right track, but how much can public punishment do? Is that really going to change the way these young people think? 

Punishing the racist teens may sound like a happy end to this story, but the story is not over yet. Calling out students for their racist comments may change what is said on the Internet, but I’m not sure it will change their personal opinions. In stead of trying to force these kids into being politically correct, we need to just inform those about this racism that is still going on; so that they won’t go around being ignorant towards the a thought of it.

In the end, I’m glad that websites like "Hello There, Racist" do exist because it made me aware of what’s going on in society. It’s sad to know that racism is still out there. But I’d rather know about it so that I can continue to educate other on current societal issues.

Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

Youth Radio/Youth Media International (YMI) is youth-driven converged media production company that delivers the best youth news, culture and undiscovered talent to a cross section of audiences. To read more youth news from around the globe and explore high quality audio and video features, visit Youthradio.org