Wednesday, November 13, 2013

About My New .AVI And Racist Commenters...

While I love (duh!) and love interacting with you guys here, I spend time elsewhere on the interwebs. I love a variety of sites like Mediaite, The Atlantic, Salon, Slate, The Fox Nation, BreitBart, and The National Review, mostly because I love occasional trolling and these sites have some dimwitted people more than willing to feed me.

That prior sentence was only partially true: sometimes I like attempting to engage people with opposing viewpoints. Not because I'm trying to impose my opinion on them, but because I genuinely want to know what makes people tick. Some websites (like this one) are pretty reasonable places for people to actually debate topics without things descending into name calling. Mostly because I don't write the sort of content that draws morons, and also because you guys are pretty darn good at self policing. Take a bow.

Every site isn't as civil as this one, of course. Many of the sites I named above are little more than SEO machines troll bait disguised as intellectual discussion. And more times than not, my geniune inquiries on these sites results in someone hurling some racist, ignorant drivel at me without even paying any attention to what I actually typed.

This drivel almost always seems to mention the words "Obama", "welfare", "liberal", "ghetto", "moocher", "plantation", "Africa", "below-average intelligence" "hood", "goverment check", and sometimes the dreaded "N-word". It's almost as if people can't deal with any substantive rebuttal of their own opinions without resorting to time tested racial slurs, overt and otherwise. And yes, I already know this is the sign of a feeble minded person who doesn't deserve a reply. No need to remind me.

That said, I suspect 90% of these replies are knee-jerk reactions to my Disqus profile name (AverageBro) and my accompanying avatar (the handsome cartoon version of the real-life handsomer me). This of course makes me wonder if people would respond without resorting to name-calling if they didn't have a basis on which to form said name-calling.

In short, if people didn't know I was black, would they automatically resort to name-calling? Would I just judged by the content of my comment, rather than the color of my jpeg?

So to that effect, I'm going to momentarily genericize my Disqus profile just to perform my own social experiment. Maybe I'll do a followup post in awhile. Until then, don't be thrown off. My new screen name is "A/B" and my new avi is that little guy holding the American flag. And if ya' don't know, now ya' know...

I'd be interested in knowing your Avi Adventures as well.

Question: Do you find people respond a certain way based on your screen name/avi? Do they make certain assumptions based on this? How/why did you choose your avi/name?

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