Social media exposes Internet hate speech at Ohio State
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 16:08
Ohio State has shown its intolerance for hate crimes on campus, but one member of the community wanted to take it even further by exposing racist comments on the Web.
The @OSU_Haters Twitter account and the Tumblr account osuhaters.tumblr.com, were created in May to “expose the hate at Ohio State.”
The Tumblr account’s profile reads, “Ohio State is no place for hate. We expose tweets from haters here, especially those which were deleted.”
The Twitter handle simply retweets other tweets that are OSU-related and deemed racist, and the Tumblr account posts pictures of those tweets. The account had about 200 followers Thursday evening.
One tweet, which was posted onto the Tumblr account from a Twitter user read, “You are Asian, so I hate you. #notmadaboutit #annoying.”
Another tweet the Haters account posted read, “I like my men like I like my toilets, clean and white.”
An email to The Lantern from the OSU Haters groups said that “anonymity is key to the safety of OSU Haters” and would not disclose the number of participants in the student-made group.
The email said the group believes awareness is critical to breaking down racism at the university.
“Although there are multiple student groups and organizations within OSU that are tackling the issue, OSU Haters believes that awareness is a crucial step before taking further action,” the email said. “If people weren’t aware of these tweets, then we don’t believe we would have seen so many comments and discussions recently about racism and hate speech at Ohio State. By increasing awareness, not only will victims of hate speech take part in these organizations, but witnesses will also be compelled to do so.”
The tweets and Tumblr posts have been noticed by university officials.
Vice President of Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston said in an email to students Thursday that she was displeased to see some of the tweets posted.
“I was very disappointed to see (racist tweets coming from a few students at our university)” Adams-Gaston said in the email. “I know these views do not reflect the opinions of the vast majority of our students. We cannot allow the hateful messages from a few misguided people to tarnish our entire community.”
President E. Gordon Gee concurred with Adams-Gaston about the hateful tweets of several students.
Gee posted from his Twitter account on Thursday afternoon, “Appalled to see racist tweets by a few Ohio State students. We are better than that. #OSUStandYourGround.”
Last April, the OSU Stand Your Ground movement launched after a string of hate crimes occurred on and near campus. The Lantern reported in April that Gaston and board member Janet Reid formed a student-oriented task force called, “No Place for Hate” to “hear what concerns are to ensure Ohio State is no place for hate, and to come up with potential solutions to present to a diversity workgroup.”
Tumblr lists in its “community guidelines” that one should not “actively promote violence or extreme hatred against individuals or groups, on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation,” and states that they will “take down malicious bigotry, as defined.”
A representative from Tumblr was not immediately available for comment Thursday.
Some students on campus agree that OSU should not be a place for racism.
Maureen Magdalinski, a first-year in exploration, said she understands what the Haters accounts are trying to do.
“I guess maybe he (anonymous account holders) feels a sense of obligation to try and make Ohio State seem like a more open-minded campus instead of making it seem like a racist place,” Magdalinski said. “I think it’s definitely a different approach, and I have to admit I kind of like the way (Haters) is kind of using modern technology instead of, like, protesting out on the Oval, but that’s a different approach I never thought I would ever hear about.”
Adams-Gaston reiterated that OSU should reflect a welcoming environment.
“There is no place for hate at Ohio State,” Adams-Gaston said in the email. “Whether we are interacting in person, online or in the stands of a sporting event, we need to always remember to be positive, welcoming and respectful of all.”