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Videos of Racists Being Racist Go Viral, and Then What?

Virginia woman videotaped calling a Latino man a “spic” (Twitter screenshot)
Virginia woman videotaped calling a Latino man a “spic” (Twitter screenshot)

Roses are red, violets are blue, America is full of racists, what else is new? That was my initial feeling when recently greeted by two videos floating around Al Gore’s Internet featuring two separate instances of overt racism.


The other was curiosity over how that loudmouthed woman in Walmart or that wheelchair-bound man who reminded me of Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump managed to hurl racial epithets and other strains of abusive language without catching a fade.

I’m in awe of how these folks just stand there and allow themselves to be verbally abused in this manner. Granted, the rent is high and the bail may be for assault, but my God. This is not so much a co-sign of violence as confusion over how people could just stand there and be berated (or have something thrown at them). I would love to learn such patience. Or is that masochism? Please advise.

Since each of those clips has gone viral, I’ve wondered if the intent behind the filming of each incident—exposure of racism in an effort to inform or, better yet, shame—may be an exercise in futility. There are some obvious cases in which such videos remain purposeful. Say, in the case of a person who is in a position of power (be it a school administrator, or a retail employee harassing customers), helping speed that bigoted employee’s journey to unemployment. Or anything related to law enforcement and its abuse of power.


In other cases, though, is this recording and sharing of their racist hate not giving them exactly what they want? What these videos share is that each one offers a racist looking directly into the camera and being racist. It’s not unlike those terrorists who actually court fame by committing acts of monstrosity.

When the president of the United States of America is an unabashed bigot who seeks counsel from avowed white nationalists and never feels compelled to speak out against hate crimes, aren’t those people now more emboldened than ever to follow his lead? Couple that with the insatiable need for content both in cable news and online media, and all these people do is end up with the sort of infamy they more than likely covet.

They are not ashamed of the way they feel, and it’s evident whenever you point phones in their faces and their prejudices are echoed with an even louder volume. You’re not going to change their minds. There is no way to make them feel bad about the hatred in their hearts. So why bother?

Perhaps it’s shocking for some to encounter that degree of racism, spurring them to turn on their phones and hit record. Still, it’s not an anomaly; it’s America. I increasingly wonder whether week after week of sharing images and scenes of bigots being bigots online, and these people subsequently appearing on local news, CNN and on late-night TV, does much in curbing that very problem.

Mariah Carey once sang, “Ain’t gon’ feed ya, Imma let ya starve.” I think that approach to dealing with those types may be better than giving them the attention they so desperately want. That is, after you tell them to fuck off, choke on their stupid and fall, genitalia first, into the fieriest pit of hell, and continue your grocery shopping in peace.

Michael Arceneaux is the author of "I Can't Date Jesus," which will be released July 24, 2018 by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, but go ahead and pre-order it now.

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What happens is that it’s been recorded for posterity and will eventuality come back to bite them in the ass.

Imagine trying to get a job with THAT easily found on the internet. And that’s just one possible consequence.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke