Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rising Racism: Of online bigots, communal comments and casteist messages on social networking websites on the internet

These days I increasingly find tendency among people to write communal and casteist comments on websites, especially, Facebook.

What was once discussed in a hush hush manner is now being openly posted, 'liked' and 'shared' on social networking websites.

Sometimes the messages are not just disgusting but hateful and inciting communal passions.

The anonymity available on internet has emboldened the people, as many of them, start pages or groups that are only aimed at spreading hatred. Its easy to blame a particular caste or community or region and then people who share the same sentiment, join together to 'recommend' and 'like' such posts.

There are 'Hindu' and 'Muslim' warriors, many of whom put a photograph of a deity or a sword, and then post defamatory and divisive comments on a daily basis. This is growing and though cyber law is harsh, the problem is that who is going to lodge complaint?

For the trolls, it takes nothing to launch a crusade against a particular section. What worries me is when I see lot of guys, some of them, my friends, who were quite humane, getting affected by such people's propaganda, and the change in their online behaviour has saddened me.

Engaging with the lunatics is not a solution and their existence is based on their hate-filled ideology, which they can't shun. Leaving the sites is also not an option. Freedom of expression is fine but there is a limit to hatespeak and dangerous propaganda that affects people.

One must find out strategies and ways to make netizens more responsible. It is our collective responsibility to think of ways that people think twice before posting, recommending and sharing racist content. At least, the sane guy shouldn't get into the trolls' trap.

In the past, I wrote a few posts on this blog on the issue of racist comments on websites and blogs. Now, with the ease a message can reach hundreds of people on Facebook walls, it has become even more serious. Those who fuel racism and post such messages must be shamed and cornered.

Read the posts I wrote earlier:

1. Playing flute to a buffalo: How to deal with hate-filled trolls, Islamophobes...?

2. Anonymous hate-filled comments like graffiti in Train toilets

3. Abusive messages, comments and this blog