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I had an ‘interesting conversation’ with a woman who claims to be a Latina. She told me that she hates it when blacks get “butthurt” whenever someone makes a racist comment about them. She told me this after I’ve expressed my thoughts on being called a ‘nigger’ by someone I’ve never known or met. The issue isn’t the racist troll, but how I reacted to his – trolling. To that end I, nor any other black person should be upset if anyone online makes a blatantly racist statement against them because after all, it’s just the internet. 

It’s just the internet. Think about the keyword in that comment, just. We use that word to devalue a particular object, person or idea as not being as important as some people make it out to be. Whenever racism is the topic of the day we hear the word ‘just’ from those who don’t see the issue as a big deal. “It’s just a TV show. It’s just a video game”, or “It’s just a movie.” If any of them offends a particular group, who cares. They are just things. 

If people say that it’s just – whatever, it makes the issue less vital in the discussion or argument. It takes away the importance of why the issue matters. It also portrays the offended as hyper-sensitive or crazy. And it tells them that since those who are unharmed don’t think much of this, they shouldn’t cry over spilled milk. In short, “I’m not not have I ever been offended by similar incidents and neither should you.”  

However, the hate that festers in the real world infects cyberspace. So, the internet is by no means immune to the harsh reality of prejudice and hatred. On the bright side, some websites have functions that censor and filter hate speech. You can block them and the person sending them. You can mute the clowns and never have to worry about them. Hell, you can even report them. But the sad truth is that some people can never know who is racist unless they announce in their own predictable language that they hate a group of people.

Even if there is a function to cancel out the hate, the damage may have already been done. Some people may have the thick skin needed to deflect the nonsense, but there are some who take it in because they’ve either haven’t learned to shrug it off or they don’t have the self-esteem needed to move on. 

There are a few circumstances where people who are insulted feel the need to defend themselves, where muting is not an option. Sometimes emotions trump logic, and after they make you feel bad, you want to make them feel worse. Sometimes you want to defend yourself because even online you don’t want to appear weak. Sometimes you’ve had a bad day yourself, and whoever started shit with you, you want to vent your frustrations in the form of online fighting. Whatever the case, someone wants to remind you that you can’t get away from the reality that you are “different” in today’s society. 

Sure, you have the benefit of censoring or blocking the hate online. But off the computer, the hatred exist, and there is no way to silence it – not legally anyway. And there are people who have been hurt by insidious comments by a few “strangers”. Notice how I use ‘strangers’ in quotations because some cyber bullying involved people who knew or knew of each other using different screen names. Others involve unknown internet users. 

The sad truth is that it leads to emotional and physical harm. Some have gotten killed because of cyber hate. Some have killed themselves. Words in any form can hurt like a bullet in the chest. 

If a stranger online starts to push your buttons, the reaction will be different depending on the individual. It wouldn’t be any less similar if it were to happen in the middle of a street or inside a restaurant. If you are in their sights, they will get you, and your reaction will be different than the next person, because (duh!) we are not all the same.  

I wonder if that Latina, if she’s really a Latina, ever felt any sort of anger out of being called out by a racist retard. I wonder if she has the same animosity towards Latinos and Latinas when they get “butthurt” over racist comments. I wonder why the issue with blacks and cyber racism is important enough for her to get frustrated. 

Whatever her problem is, it’s obvious that she didn’t see what the problem is. To her we “whine” whenever we are verbally hated on through text. We all should follow her lead and get that dirt off our shoulders. She made it seem that black people are too whiny about little things (microaggressions). Yet, that kind of thinking is part of a major problem, the problem people have with the emotions and reactions black people exhibit in a hostile, racist world on and offline. 

So, in short the answer is ‘hell yes. It is a big fucking deal.’