The New Miss America…And Predictable Racism

Go to any conservative network publication and read the comments when the subject of race comes up…

And you will invariably see a bunch of racism. Some sites like the Old Free Republic site were literal sewers of white racists spewing forth all kinds of vitriol and hate.

white Supremacist organization regularly troll such sites, because it is a rich target area for new recruits.

And it really doesn’t matter whether the site is Brietbart or the Wall Street Journal. Not being “PC” has long been an excuse to tolerate and support racism and racist talk.

Freed from the blowback from others in normal face to face social commerce, the hidden bigots feel free, and invincible to consequence on the Internet.

Obviously anyone claiming that racism is no longer a problem in America…doesn’t own a computer.

The most recent occasion for the race baiters to come out was the Miss America contest where an Indian-American, Nina Davuluri won the contest.

Nina is a knockout by any non-conservative heterosexual male’s standards (except maybe you guys who like them extra “plump” women)…

Miss America: Why Racism Thrives Online

Some things evolve and some things don’t. Such is the case with this weekend’s wins of Nina Davuluri and Floyd Mayweather and the tsunami of racism that overtook Twitter in response.

Ladies first. Nina Davuluri is the second consecutive New Yorker to be crowned Miss America and the first Indian-American to win the title. Though Davuluri’s platform was “Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency,” like all of us she is more than the sum of her racial and ethnic identities.

According to CNN, “the 24-year-old Fayetteville, New York, native was on the dean’s list and earned the Michigan Merit Award and National Honor Society nods while studying at the University of Michigan, where she graduated with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science.” Her goal is to become a physician. Davuluri plans to invest her time as Miss America working with the U.S. Department of Education as an advocate for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These are fields where women, regardless of racial or ethnic background, are sorely underrepresented.

Davuluri’s feel-good story took a racist turn in the Twitterverse, where some were outraged by the fact that 2014’s Miss America isn’t white. As in 2010, when the Lebanese-American beauty queen Rima Fakih was crowned Miss USA, racism was expressed not just explicitly in the form of tweets, but also in the level of ignorance those tweets exposed. For example, Jezebel reports that some tweeps seemed confused over whether the new Miss America was Indian-American, Arab, Muslim or Latina. They could all agree, however, that she didn’t deserve the title based on whom they thought she was.

Something similar happened to African-American boxer Floyd Mayweather after he won Saturday night’s fight against Mexican fighter Canelo Alvarez. Mayweather first caused a stir on Twitter when he entered the ring alongside Lil’ Wayne and Justin Bieber. Many wondered whether Mayweather and his team accessorized with the stars because of their social media reach into different racial communities. But that meme was nothing compared with the outpouring of racist epithets tweeps typed in response to Mayweather’s amazing win. According to a report from Latino Rebels, online bigots concluded that Mayweather didn’t win because of his talent, skill and training. Rather, he won because he is black and that’s definitely not a characteristic to be praised, from a racist point of view.

Although reports are right to highlight and challenge these expressions of online racism, particularly in this weekend’s cases, the tone of surprise is a bit misleading.  Ebony’s Jamilah Lemieux had said it seems as if “the Internet just met the Internet” in recent weeks and that by now we shouldn’t be shocked by online racism. Lemieux is right. Online racism is entirely consistent with offline racism and demographic shifts.

For instance, the number of U.S. hate groups has more than doubled in the last 10 years, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, up to 1,007 active hate groups in the United States in 2012. Deborah Lauter, civil rights director for the Anti-Defamation League, has said that thousands of hate websites are live, “more than we can possibly keep track of.” Survey research indicates that the rise in active hate groups is correlated with census projections stating that white people will no longer be the U.S. racial majority by 2042. The hate surges online when achievements by people of color are noted and interpreted as taking away something to which a white person “should be” entitled. So people like Davuluri and Mayweather become targets because they represent demographic change and new opportunities for people of color, while challenging stereotypes about who Americans are and what they can achieve.

Racist ignorance in virtual spaces may often be misspelled and factually incorrect, but it should be taken seriously because its effects on the recipient can be powerful. According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health by Dr. Brendesha Tynes, a professor of Education at USC, of 264 Midwestern high school students, approximately 20 percent of whites, 29 percent of blacks and 42 percent of “other” or multiple races reported being personally subjected to racial epithets or other discrimination online. These young people were more likely to become depressed, anxious and, possibly, less successful academically. What’s more is the effect on race talk in general. The danger of online racism is that people seem to get away with it and public disapproval in the form of reports like this one do not appear to have the same effect in lessening racist speech as disapproval does in face-to-face encounters. For evidence of this, check out the many YouTube testimonials from online gamers via the Gambit Hate Speech Project by MIT-Singapore Game Lab.

The Internet we have is not the safe space it was promised to be. But the good news is that we can do something about it. As digital citizens we can make the Internet safer. We can engage in self-reflection and deal with criticism from others in a way that makes real race talk possible. That’s means fighting racism with truth about who we are and how the world is really changing. After all, racism 2.0 is not a foregone conclusion. We, the people, have made it seem that way. And we have the power to make it different.

As to the tattooed Miss Kansas, who lost – Miss America is about beauty and to a lesser extent class, talent, and intelligence…

Not about looking trashy by screwing up that beauty covering yourself in ink.

Amercicans for Mitt!

ConOne of many images circulating Twitter abusing the Amercia gaffe.servatism will make you stupid!

Need simple incontrovertible proof?

Willard’s attempt at a viral WEB campaign.

Oosp: Romney’s New App Misspells ‘America’

There are typos, and then there are typos, and then there’s the gift Mitt Romney just handed his online detractors. Romney’s campaign just launched an app that was supposed to let people show their support by taking pictures, overlaying stirring messages on them, like “American Greatness” or “I’m a Mom for Mitt,” and then sharing them on social media with the message, “I’m With Mitt,” Mashable explains. The problem? One of the banners reads, “A BETTER AMERCIA.”

Yeah, there was no chance this wouldn’t instantly become a meme. People who we suspect are not Romney supporters have been feverishly snapping shots of dictionaries, spelling bee participants, toilets, and more, with the “AMERCIA” banner over them, and a Tumblr has cropped up to show off the best of them. Twitter is abuzz with mockery like, “Will Mitt Romney apologize for Amercia?” and “AMERCIA TEH BUETIFLU.” The campaign tells the Washington Post that it’s submitted a fix for the app to Apple.

There is even a Tubmlr that has been started on the gaffe.

BTx3’s favs?

More Bad News For Internet Explorer Users…

I have a live traffic feed on the right hand bar of my site, which shows me where my various visitors come from. I did a quick check earlier today, and about 50% of the folks visiting the site were using IE – the vast majority of which were suing 8.0 or 9.0…

But there were still a couple of Internet Explorer 6.0 users!

I don’t imagine AptiQuant, the company which did this study, will be doing any business with Microsoft anytime soon…

According to the company -

Those still running Internet Explorer 6 have an average IQ just above 80, while Firefox and Chrome users are up at around 110 and Opera and Camino users above 120.

Is Internet Explorer For The Dumb? A New Study Suggests Exactly That.

A Vancouver based Psychometric Consulting company, AptiQuant, has released a report on a trial it conducted to measure the effects of cognitive ability on the choice of web browser. AptiQuant offered free online IQ tests to over a 100,000 people and then plotted the average IQ scores based on the browser on which the test was taken. And the results are really not that surprising. With just a look at the graphs in the report, it comes out pretty clear that Internet Explorer users scored lower than average on the IQ tests. Chrome, Firefox and Safari users had just a teeny bit higher than average IQ scores. And users of Camino, Opera and IE with Chrome Frame had exceptionally higher IQ levels.

Internet Explorer has traditionally been considered a pain in the back for web developers. Any IT company involved in web development will acknowledge the fact that millions of man hours are wasted each year to make otherwise perfectly functional websites work in Internet Explorer, because of its lack of compatibility with web standards. The continuous use of older versions of IE by millions of people around the world has often haunted web developers. This trend not only makes their job tougher, but has also pulled back innovation by at least a decade. But with the results of this study, IT companies worldwide will start to take a new look on the time and money they spend on supporting older browsers. Continue reading

Obama and the Internets

This one is kinda fun. Very few non-techies really understand what the Internet is – and how it actually works.

President Obama in his “Twitter Town Hall” yesterday said this -

To which right wingers, searching for ANYTHING with which to criticize President Obama came up with this screed:

Obama Refers To The Internet As “The Internets”

When President Bush made the same mistake during his campaign for President in 2000, he was roundly criticized as unintelligent.

“We do have to make sure that there are computers in a computer age inside classrooms and that they work and that there’s internets that are actually — there are Internet connections that actually function. And I think that those states that are going to do well and those countries that do well are the ones that are going to continue to be committed to making education a priority.”

The problem?

What Bush actually said was this -

“I hear there’s rumors on the Internets that we’re going to have a draft.”

—second presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004 (Listen to audio clip)
Which was one of a long, long list of misstatements by Bush.  Of which my favorite is -
“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” —Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004 (Watch video cliplisten to audio clip)
And he, and his misbegotten Administration did indeed  “harm our country”.
Now – as to the Internet/Internets thing – the Internet is actually made up of hundreds of interconnected networks belonging to and operated by different companies or governments, or “Internets”. And there are a number of Internets with varying, or no level of connectivity to the public Internet for any number of reasons, including security. There have even been proposals to build physically separate Internets for different audiences and purposes due to the damage caused by hackers and electronic terrorists on the public network.
And there is the fact that President Obama is smart enough to have “corrected” his language midstream.

Courage…

This took a bucketfull of courage. This is Asmaa Mahfouz, one of the many Egyptian folks who took a stand in Egypt on her vlog back on January 18th…

From Tracy Chapman -

Egypt Shuts Down It’s Internet

There have been several bills before the US Congress to allow this to be done in the US.

This is the first time a country has shut down their entire public access Internet communications system, although other repressive governments such as Iran and China have sought to limit Internet access. There are 5 major Internet carriers in Egypt, which has about 58 million cell phones riding the 4 Cell Carriers – the primary connectivity methodology in third world countries. Apparently, Noor – the carrier on which most government traffic, and the Egyptian Stock Exchange is carried is still active.

Internet blocked Egypt

Egypt Shuts Down Internet As Protests Intensify

As civil unrest continues to spread and intensify across Egypt, authorities within the country have taken a drastic and apparently unprecedented step: they’ve shut down the entire Internet.

The blackout began at about 12:30 a.m. local time, when four of the Egypt’s major service providers abruptly shut down. Calling the nationwide outage “an action unprecedented in Internet history,” the U.S.-based Internet analysis firm Renesys found that the simultaneous shutdown rendered virtually every Egyptian site inaccessible, from anywhere in the world. The country’s four major ISPs (Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, and Etisalat Misr) have all suspended network services, with Noor Group standing as the lone exception. (The country’s stock exchange, perhaps not coincidentally, is still active at a Noor address.) According to statistics from BGPmon, a full 88-percent of the “Egyptian Internet” has been completely wiped out.

Looks like the Egyptian Government is getting ready to get “down and dirty”, and wants to cut the ability of the outside world to know about it. Today’s protests may well be running into something a bit more lethal than tear gas, and protest leaders could be looking at being “disappeared”.

The shutdown also is heavily impacting mobile phones, knocking out text messaging, email, and the ability to send images. IP based carriers would be down entirely, and (especially outbound)  communication with the outside world would be largely shut down, although inbound calls might still be possible.

Don’t Touch My Internet “Junk”, Either!

“Don’t touch my junk, Bro!”

Seems even a former Playboy Bunny, now confined to a wheelchair, can’t wear little enough to get through airport security without a patdown!

The woman who wore only her bra and panties while going through security at Will Rogers World Airport is speaking out about why she did it.

Video of Tammy Banovac sitting in a wheelchair in just her underwear has made international news. She said after a bad experience with a Transportation Security Administration pat-down, she decided to strip down to her lingerie so security screeners could clearly see she was not a threat.

“The less of me that they had to pat down and check, the less invasive a search would be. And wearing a bra and panties was just about as minimal as I could get,” Banovac said.

Banovac said because of injuries she suffered, she must use a wheelchair. She said she’s been subjected to uncomfortable pat-downs because she cannot go through metal detectors.

In other news – similar to “Do Not Call” registries, Do Not Cookie may soon become a reality on the Internet…

FTC pitches do-not-track system to let consumers opt out of Web data collection

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday recommended creating a do-not-track system that would prevent Web sites from collecting unauthorized consumer data, part of a widely anticipated agency report on improving Internet privacy.

The FTC report, aimed at helping policymakers and lawmakers craft privacy rules, also calls for Web sites to disclose more about the information they gather on users, including what has been collected, how it is used and how long it is stored. It also recommended that companies offer users more choices for opting out of data collection schemes.

Regulators and lawmakers are focusing more closely on online privacy after a spate of high-profile data breaches, including Google’s recent admission that it collected personal data from Wi-Fi networks in several countries.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a news conference Wednesday that the current, largely unregulated approach to Internet privacy has fallen short. That approach is favored by advertisers, social-network operators and Web search companies.

The agency’s recommendations – passed unanimously by the five-member commission – seek to balance the concerns of Web advertisers, media companies and retailers that have devised business models around tailored advertisements based on profiles of users. The agency is taking comments on its report until Jan. 31.

“The FTC wants to help ensure that the growing, changing, thriving information marketplace is built on a framework that promotes privacy, transparency, business innovation and consumer choice,” Leibowitz said. “We believe that’s what most Americans want as well.”

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