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Racism, Google and censorship

Controversial image of First Lady rekindles debate

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Last week, Googlers may have happened across an atypical image of Michelle Obama, who is usually the very picture of style and grace. This particular representation depicted her face with ape-like features, eliciting a chorus of outcries for the image to be removed and Google's content to be better regulated.

The picture was described by some in the media as racist -- derogatory towards African-Americans and disrespectful to the First Lady. It was claimed that Google was condoning racial prejudices by allowing such content, and consequently should offer an apology and adjust the subject matter accessible through its search engine. That's right, cries for a censored Internet were heard across a country whose citizens swear by the First Amendment.

Fortunately, Google refused to offer an apology, remove the image -- although the site which hosted the image did take it down -- or alter its search engine algorithm. It clarified that offensive images can sometimes be found when using its services, and if users are concerned, there are alternative search options available. Logic, and not knee-jerk emotional reactions, prevailed.

Demanding censorship of the Internet is a terrible idea. Offensive content is regarded as such due to its subjective nature, and submitting to a populist outcry about one image opens the door for demands to filter others. Racist images, sexist images and their ilk would all have to undergo the same scrutiny and suppression. Furthermore, questionable or challenging images are not seen as unpleasant universally, and what one individual finds distasteful can differ quite dramatically from the opinion of another. Photos which may serve an educational purpose can also be unintentionally offensive. Can we really claim that an objective method of determining an image's offending potential exists? Additionally, Google has already encountered issues with its SafeSearch option accidentally censoring HIV awareness sites.

SafeSearch may not be perfect, but Google is at least offering the option to filter out explicit images if the user so chooses. If an individual feels the need to put restrictions on their search engine, then they are welcome to do so, but Google should not be further required to act as a parent over that person's shoulder. I would much rather be given the choice to filter certain images as opposed to being restricted from the outset -- it would be unacceptable not to be allowed to view content simply because the gatekeepers at Google determine that it is offensive. Google is not there to sugar-coat the world and withhold subject matter that may make some people uncomfortable; it is a search engine, a consolidator of already accessible information, and nothing more. The picture of Michelle Obama with the facial features of an ape may come across as racist, but it is not Google's role to police such images.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this uproar for stricter regulation of Google's content is that there are thousands of pictures of non-black people being ridiculed with the same ape-like face when you search their names (George Bush, Tony Blair, Bunker Brown, Nick Griffin, Wayne Rooney, etc) -- none of these photos have induced public outrage. It is conceivable that our society has become so concerned with not appearing racist that our actions have the opposite effect -- we artificially create prejudices, and then attempt to suppress them, even though they do not actually exist.

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There was so much ignorance in the above article that I don\'t even know where to start:

1.) Please reread the First Amendment of the Constituion carefully.

Freedom of Speech refers SOLELY to the U.S. government being prohibited from imprisoning people over verbalization.
The uneducated believe that Freedom of Speech gives people the right to verbalize anything they want, however offensive, without negative consequences. Freedom of Speech prohibits ONE consequence and ONE consequence ONLY negative consequence and that consequence is the U.S. government imprisoning people over verbalization. That particular negative consequence being prohibited doesn\'t mean people have the right to go around verbalizing whatever they want, however offensive, without any negative consequences. Believe it or not, there are countless negative consequences for verbal abuse that aren\'t against the law because that would be stupid; insulting your boss can get you fired, cursing out your mom can get you thrown on punishment, name-calling during class can get you thrown out of class or sent to the principal\'s office, arrested for threats of violence, etc. By blurting out \"Freedom of Speech\" and \"First Amendment\" for receiving negative consequences for certain situations, one is basically yelling out \"WELL, THE GOVERNMENT CAN\'T PUT ME IN JAIL FOR SAYING THIS!\" See how ignorant and incredibly foolish it sounds when the uneducated use that as a defense whenever they get in trouble for verbalizations.

Erroneous usage of \"Freedom of Speech\" aside, the fact that there are lowlifes who would defend the usage of verbal abuse and verbal racism is disgusting. They defend the usage of verbal racism and verbal abuse by objecting to it having negative consequences. In other words, a young Black child oughta be called the \'n\' word by all of his classmates with no negative consequences whatsoever for the racist students whatsoever. I\'m sure you wouldn\'t feel the same way if I attended the funeral service of your mother, verbally insulting her with \"I\'m glad that dirtbag is dead!\" If you tried to have me removed from the service, would you like it if I started objecting to their being negative consequences for verbal abuse? Would you like it if I argued \"But there\'s a law about the U.S. government not being able to throw me in jail, so I can insult your dead mom all I want with no consequences!\"

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2.) You didn\'t read the story carefully. Nobody objected to the existence of the anti-Black content on the internet. People objected to the order in which the content came up among Google\'s Search Results. The anti-Black content came up among the first search results for the First Lady. People are objecting to the ordering of Google\'s search results. There are a lot of race-related terms in which anti-Black content comes up among the first search results on Google.

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3.) You\'re also ignorant of anti-Black slurs and stereotypes because you went into how ape comparisons had been made about Whites. Liking Black people to apes is an age old anti-Black insult. You see, throughout the 500 year period in which Whites racially tormented African Americans in this country (ending 35 years ago), they would poke fun at them,
creating millions of anti-Black racial taunts, insults, slurs and stereotypes so much so that they became racist terms and behaviors. Centuries of
Whites poking fun at Blacks with such insults as big-lipped, Sambo, watermellon, coon, porch
monkey, ape comparisons, magic witch doctor, spook, cotton-picker, nigger, nigger-lover, going back to Africa, insulting Black cartoons, KFC & chicken, kool-aid, Black women as fat old maids, Whites painting their faces dark and acting like fools, ironic accusations of laziness, spear chucker, jiggaboo, nonstandard speech mocking (because Whites deprived Blacks of education), etc. just to name a few.It should be noted that the Black race has more
negative stereotypes and slurs than any other race because of the racism of Whites.

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4.) It irks me that so many in the White community like you are being so inconsiderate about this issue just because it\'s not the White race that has received the offense.

Also, Whites shouldn\'t have much say over the issue in regards to offensive content being taken off the net. Chances are most Whites will argue against it and not care as the White race doesn\'t receive even half as much racism as Blacks. It\'s the White community doing most of the anti-Black bashing over the internet. Considering Whites make up the vast majority of internet users, this means a lot of anti-Black bashing. In fact, the Black race receives far and away the most racism over the web. Don\'t believe me? Visit any internet websites in which guests can post to (ebaums, youtube, rants & raves section of craigslist, urban dictionary, topix, yahoo answers, etc.); if even a Black person is the focus, one is likely to see many anti-Black insults, criticisms, and complaints in the posting sections. Bear in mind, most subjects on the Web are about Whites and Whites engaging in misconduct, yet it\'s very rare to see any anti-White racism at random. Despite all this, Whites act as if they\'re being troopers willing to put up with offense and Blacks are cry babies when they aren\'t receiving diddly squat in terms of racial offense in comparison to Blacks.

Side note: if you believe there\'s just as much anti-White racism, this doesn\'t even logically add up. Whites make up 74% of the U.S. population while Blacks only make up 13% of the U.S. population. Not only that but much of the Black population is without the net, ghettoized by anti-Black discrimination and cruelties from 35 years ago (lasting 5 centuries). Because of this, White privilege is alive and well over the intenet. As one example, a Black user can expect to argue with numerous White users on youtube if a White user instigates him into a race war with anti-Black material of some sort. As another example, the African Americans who have access to the internet must constantly deal with racial harassment and bullying from Whites, while Whites have to deal with very little.

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As for this garbage in regards to racist morons getting their way over offended Blacks which is essentially what you just celebrated to, that\'s all part of White privilege the White community has:

Example 1: Whites make up the majority which benefits them in countless ways. A.) issues that Whites don\'t care about are issues that go unresolved. Conversely, the issues that are brought to the forefront and resolved are the issues that Whites are concerned about B.) Viewpoints on countless issues swing in the direction of Whites [note: this is how slavery, Jim Crow laws, and other forms of racial discrimination and cruelties were made possible for so long in this country] C.) it\'s lightyears easier for Whites to make something out of themselves, living in a predominately White society where they possess most of the wealth, etc.

Example 2: unlike Blacks, the majority of Whites aren\'t starting out with shabby, lower-class lifestyles as a result of racial discrimination and injustices from 35 years ago; rather, Whites get to start out with elegant, middle-class lifestyles.

Example 3: it\'s a well-known fact that Whites are privileged over all races in the media.

Example 4: Blacks have it worse than Whites in every aspect of Law Enforcement due to racial profiling and negative stereotypes. By the way, the criminal stereotypes of Blacks all stem from poverty-stricken lifestyles Whites placed them, oppressing them 35 years ago (lasting 500 years).

Example 5: For eons, Whites have kept minorities out of the Presidency, never allowing a non-White president. The U.S. only recently got a President that wasn\'t completely White, but mixed between White and Black. Despite the exclusion of minorities from Presidency finally coming to an end (somewhat anyway, as Obama is half-White), many Whites whiningly claim that Blacks only voted for Obama because he\'s \"Black.\" Besides that, Barack Obama is surrounded by the vast majority (which are White people), many of which, nag him to death whenever he doesn\'t do what they want. Having a half-Black president hasn\'t lessened White privilege in favor of Blacks in any way so Whites have no basis to bellyache.

These are only a few of the many benefits of being White in America. Despite being the most privileged race, Whites do the most race-related bitching over the net and half the time it\'s in regards to double standards.


In conclusion, please educate yourself!

I love the smell of plagiarism in the morning.

Kudos Brad for A) Not having individual thought, and B) Not understanding the article was about internet censorship in general, not promoting some white-supremacist agenda.

Hope you at least got some emotions about by posting somebody else\'s rant.

Way to make a fool out of yourself for a second time. I AM USER TOENAIL. I added those posts the week before last. If you\'d like for me to prove it and sign in on that website and send you a message there, I\'d be more than happy to. And I didn\'t copy and paste anything from that website. That\'s a list of anti-Black behaviors I\'ve observed in the hoards of Whites that engage in racism over the web that I have saved to my youtube account, geniuses!



Brad:

Even if you are user \"toenail2\" and/or some of its supporters on the other forum, your verbatim reuse of text demonstrates that you\'ve not learned anything from the feedback provided to you in that other forum, and that you\'re uninterested or incapable of having a dialog about the substantive subject matter.

Instead of persisting in your hateful trolling, perhaps try discussing the argument presented in this article (and summarizing your impression of it) and not the different argument posed at The Independent.

I didn\'t realize the Gauntlet had such a following in Wisconsin... the location attributed to \"toenail2\".

1) Both the author and Brad seem confused about censorship.

Free speech exists in more places for more people in the absence of the U.S. First Amendment than with it. See EU and the Commonwealth. Governments of liberal democracies routinely censor documents. Look at any good GAO report, or the recent torturegate releases. Corporations and media routinely and systematically prevent particular, non-criminal points of view from being aired, such as advocacy for white power movements. Criminal codes in liberal democracies tend to have specific provisions dealing specifically with hate speech, into which racially offensive speech could fall, and through which hate speech may be suppressed.

There is no contradiction in believing that all responsible speech should be allowed, and selectively choosing not to experience parts of that speech.

2) Google\'s automated ranking of search results is far more objective than other current methods of providing editorial input, since Google\'s algorithms rely almost entirely on what Internet users are linking and posting. Google is not responsible for the continued existence of racist attitudes and values among global Internet users. However, as a significant portal through which a great number of people receive their news and information on a daily basis, there are reasonable questions to be asked about Google\'s social responsibility to deliver in a way which at least does not harm society.

3) Racism is an ongoing problem which exists globally. Even in the U.S., it\'s at best ignorant to single out African Americans as special victims. Other highlights in North America include: systematic eradication of dozens of millions of Native Americans prior to and during the North American slave trade, the continued importation of millions of Chinese workers under non-free conditions to build railways and other infrastructure/engineering for several decades after the Black slave traded ended, and the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of naturalized Americans and Canadians with roots in Axis nations during World War II.

The term \"the Black race\" makes no sense as a category since it would be as ethnically, genetically, politically, and culturally diverse as any other sampling of humans of the same size. Even so, it would be interesting to locate a study of the frequency of use of race-based derogatory terms in the U.S., along with some comparison studies for other parts of the world, so test Brad\'s contention that \"Whites\" are more racist than any other race. If \"Whites\" have superior racism capabilities to other races, we\'d also have to revisit many of Hitler\'s other hypotheses about innate racial superiority.

3) Welcome to the Internet, where everyone maximizes their opportunity to be an anonymous asshole. Srsly, I wuz not awar tht u cant ell nething abot some1s race thru there use f a common intarweb dialect tht may preserv som common regional IRL slang, but not much else. What race(s) do you think I am based on this post?

4) I agree with some of Brad\'s final points (which collectively have little to do with the racism/google/censorship issue at hand). Instead of focusing on this one incident, which will have no lasting consequence for anyone or any group, we should be lucky to spend as much time and attention on addressing broader systematic discrimination: globally, women of all races are still chronically under paid compared to men; in the U.S., Christians of all races tend to hold higher offices than non-Christians; in the developed world professional health care still uses financially secure middle-aged caucasian men as their standard model; in the U.S. and Canada, skilled and professional immigrants from all over the world are taking un-skilled and unstable jobs away from established marginalized populations.

"Brad":
I regret not fully researching or acknowledging the extent of your plagiarism, and the other occasions in which you\'ve not demonstrated a willingness to engage in constructive debate.

I\'m not really sure what else you could rationally be looking for here...

To Brad, amen!

This article is clearly written by a half-wit who thinks racism is acceptable. Forget the past. The response to today\'s media issues prove that Whites are just as racist as they ever were!
For instance, how about the One-Drop Rule I\'m beginning to see rear it\'s ugly head since Tiger Woods got himself into trouble? I\'m coming across a bunch of Whites referring to Tiger Woods as the \"n\" word all over the net, despite him being of mixed race descent.

Brad/Joey: Why do you hate Blacks so much? Do you truly believe that non-whites lack the intellectual capabilities to be racist, or that purity of blood is required to celebrate African-American heritage? If so, you\'ve been suppressed and conditioned to think like victims more than you know, but not necessarily by \"the Whites\".

To any minorities that may read this article, the key over the internet is not allowing Whites to use their White privilege.

If there was any doubt to the statements I made in my first post, there certainly should be none now as you can use all the replies I received as evidence to the statements in my first post.

There\'s a portion within my first post which reads:

(BEGINNING) \"As for this garbage in regards to racist morons getting their way over offended Blacks which is essentially what you just celebrated to, that\'s all part of White privilege the White community has:

Example 1: Whites make up the majority which benefits them in countless ways. A.) issues that Whites don\'t care about are issues that go unresolved. Conversely, the issues that are brought to the forefront and resolved are the issues that Whites are concerned about B.) Viewpoints on countless issues swing in the direction of Whites [note: this is how slavery, Jim Crow laws, and other forms of racial discrimination and cruelties were made possible for so long in this country] C.) it\'s lightyears easier for Whites to make something out of themselves, living in a predominately White society where they possess most of the wealth, etc.\"
(END)

Take this very situation. Here we had a white person throw together an ignorantly racist article in which the use of anti-Black racism was defended while negative feelings are expressed about people who take issue with it. Naturally, I comment with my objection to that and here we have a slew of White users jumping to the defense of the writer who defends the use of anti-Black racism.

The replies to my posts have actually worked to my favor in showing that White privilege is also alive and well over the internet. You see, Whites make up 74% of the U.S. population while Blacks only make up 13% of the U.S. population. Not only that but much of the Black population is without the net, ghettoized by anti-Black discrimination and cruelties from 35 years ago (lasting 5 centuries). Because of this, Whites make up the majority of internet users by a long shot. Now you add all that to the fact that this is a majority who has a history of anti-Black hostility. This amounts to a lot of anti-Black debating, points of view, bashing, unreasonableness, etc.

Ex. As one example, a Black user can expect to argue with numerous White users on youtube if one White user instigates him into a race war with anti-Black comments of some sort. If that Black person is to respond with his dissatisfaction in regards to some Whites, a slew of Whites will join in on that in defense. As another example, the African Americans who have access to the internet must constantly deal with racial harassment and bullying from Whites, while Whites have to deal with very little.

In conclusion, I\'ve proven my point with evidence provided and I\'m ending this debate. The key for a outnumbered minorites like myself is to prove your point effectively enough so that it is understood whether others want to acknowledge that or not and move on; not remain in the situation for simply for unreasoning Whites to continue to use their White privilege. Anyways, laterz! Won\'t be back to read your replies! :D

\"Brad\":

For the record, and because you couldn\'t make the determination based on information available on the Internet alone, I am mostly Asian.

Cutting and running (and simply repeating yourself without engaging in the substance of the discussion) is not a valid form of rational argument, and does not relieve you of the consequences of arguing from misinformed or misguided repetition.

First, what math are you using to determine that the majority of Internet users are white? There are almost more Internet users in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, than there are warm-bodied people in Europe and North America:

http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

Africa: 67,371,700 Internet Users
Asia: 738,257,230
Europe: 418,029,796
Middle East: 57,425,046
North America: 252,908,000
Latin America/Caribbean: 179,031,479
Oceania / Australia: 20,970,490

I\'m not sure how your assertion would support a claim of global white privilege on the Internet, unless you\'re only considering U.S. telcos who aren\'t generally in the business of running or posting to public Internet and social media forums which you cite as evidence.

Second, I make no stereotypical assumptions about Nursall\'s ethnic background from his or her name alone. But (because you inspired me to Google the one-drop rule) if that person self-identifies as being white, there\'s a 30 per cent likelihood that the author has some black heritage (http://www.isteve.com/2002_How_White_Are_Blacks.htm).

Third, how was Alberta Williams King\'s assassination (or the Baltimore police strike? or Roe v. Wade, or Watergate? or Skylab? or Lucy? or The Rumble in the Jungle? or Robert E. Lee\'s posthumous pardon? or the Milgram experiment? ) a significant turning point by that time in the race component of the civ-lib movement and why will its significance last five centuries?

Fourth, I\'m unsure as to how your consistent attempts at demanding special attention to the largest minority group in the U.S. (while ignoring all the other racial badness in the U.S. and the rest of the world) possibly advances your claim against white privilege, except by counterexample to show that any institutional race-based privilege is probably undesirable.

Fifth, you\'ve not made the connection between silly comments on YouTube and your primary assertion of ignorance in the original article. (If you expanded your horizons a bit, you\'ll find that almost every Web 2.0 social media site, from whatever culture or language or ethnic group, consists of a majority of people who act like 12-year-olds.)

It\'s OK if you do not personally come back to read the replies, because Google will make the replies available to millions of people around the world, with or without your further input. I would be mostly fine with using the debaters\' privilege in that way.