Have you guys heard the one about the kids across the country saying some pretty amazingly hateful things about President Obama? There is no punchline to this. There are a bunch of kids under the age of twenty-one (and of course, older people as well but we are talking about the children here) who are using social media to hate-bomb in increments of one hundred and forty characters or less. And on Facebook. And on Tumblr. And wherever else those crazy kids these days connect with other crazy kids.
I’m a mom. I’ve got kids. My kids are dumb. Your kids are dumb. All of our kids have said some dumb things. The majority of all of our kids don’t say racist stuff. In the case of my kids it’s usually a swear word directed at a door that mysteriously got in their way, or a hurled insult of “dork face” over a video game defeat or a frustrated complaint about a classmate or friend. Normal stuff. Dumb stuff. The sort of thing we can time-out them over or use to foster a discussion about how words can hurt others.
Our friends at Jezebel outed the racist kids. And a few other media outlets have as well. When I first read the piece at Jezebel I virtually high-fived them in my head. But then I started to feel bad for the dumb kids. If colleges or future employers happened to do a google search on these kids they would find out what racist hate speech these kids were spewing and it could affect their futures. All kids are dumb and say dumb things and something typed in the heat of the moment out of frustration or the recycling of whatever hate speech their parents are spewing at the dinner table should not be held against these kids. How dare news outlets bully these kids by calling attention to the fact these kids are saying dumb things on the internet? Freedom of speech for everyone!
But no. Bully away, I say. Call them out. Call them out everywhere. When you really start to read what they are saying and see the sorts of images they are posting it’s horrifying. These kids need to learn that their actions have consequences, even if they are just engaging in freedom of speech. They need to know if they are going to say hateful, vile, repulsive things on the internet that it will have consequences. These aren’t babies. They are old enough to sign up for accounts, engage in social media, share links with their friends, and photoshop images in vulgar, disgusting, purely evil displays of racism. It’s not okay. Even more importantly, call out their parents for raising such ugly little mouth breathers.
I’m fully aware it’s probably from the parents that these kids are learning this stuff. If parents aren’t happy with our president or don’t share his political views, they are capable of discussing it with their kids without resorting to saying foul things about him. Racist parents raise racist kids, but I think even the most idiotic parent can understand that if their kids are saying this shit on social media using their real names it may have real life consequences.
I’m so thankful for my kids. I’m so thankful I have normal children who would never think or type this sort of garbage on the internet. I used to feel bad for those kids who were making such giant mistakes, but now I just feel like they all need a fuckton of community service, a permanent bar of soap in their mouths, and to never be allowed on the internet. Ever.