It’s no doubt that a few people were devastated when Romney lost the election. And by “few people,” we mean everyone on this site. Oh, and this young kid, too. The 48 percent of the country that wanted Romney in (or, more so, wanted Obama out of) the White House was defeated by the tyranny of the 47 percent (which, really, was closer to 50 percent) majority. It was over – Obama had solidified another four years crashing America into the ground and there was nothing more that could be done.
Except, of course, resort to the 21st century version of sore-loser-ism: when all else fails, go on Twitter. You have 140 characters to broadcast to all 132 of your followers the post-election anguish, pain, night terrors and, according to Jezebel, good ol’ fashioned American pastime known as heartless racism.
In the report, writer Tracie Egan Morrissey collected a ton of tweets a few days ago that are just…. yeah, they exist. That’s all. The South will rise again and all that jazz. Here’s a quick preview:
@Walken4GOP: “Why did Obama’s great grandaddy cross the road? Because my great grandaddy tugged his neckchain in that direction.”
@pukingvagina: “So the nigger is still living life in that big white apartment.”
@KG39baseball: “The movie 2012 first New York floods and there is a nigger in office also. See a coinensadince.”
Yes. A coinensadince.
Well, two of those lucky contestants were fellow New Yorkers like me and you. And not even old enough to vote yet.
The first case is Ricky Cantanzaro of Xaverian High School in Brooklyn. On Election Night, reeling from Romney’s concession, the teen took to social media to tell us all how he was feeling about this Obama victory:
@madhouse12345: “No NIGGER should lead this country. #Romney”
@madhouse12345: “Only thing black people are good at is basketball #run #shot #steal”
There’s something really unsettling about dropping a hashtag after statements like that, right? However, since then, the teen’s Twitter has been taken down and there has been speculation that someone (read: a really racist hacker) might’ve tapped into Cantanzaro’s account. Mostly because of this final tweet he posted:
@madhouse12345: “Whoever is on my twitter stop making tweets.”
The second case is Lou LaDonna of West Islip High School in Long Island. The tweets represent the highs and lows of LaDonna’s night on November 6th. Here’s one before the ballots came in:
@LouieeMaggsz: “When in doubt, kick the nigger out. #Romney!!”
And after the ballots came in…
@LouieeMaggsz: “If your black and did NOT vote for #Obama, clap your ass.”
LaDonna’s father also denied his son was responsible, pointing to the fact that there was no hate speech law in this country (which is technically true – the only provision is in Supreme Court precedent that the comments cannot attempt to incite action). Also, West Islip High School gave the same answer as Xaverian: it’s being taken care of.
But no one should be surprised that these tweets exist for two reasons:
One, the past four years have demonstrated how unbelievably hated this President can be to some people. Whether it’s Tea Party signs connecting Obama to Mao or that one dude showing up a town hall with a loaded assault rifle, there’s a whole cache of racist events to draw from since 2008 to show that White America has gone insane. Or what’s left of it. We’re not living in a post-racist age but an age where the racist have become much more racist.
Second, it’s Twitter – if millions have prescribed to 140 characters, you’re going to have a strata of those aforementioned racists. But what’s great about social media is that a side-effect of self-inflection is public stupidity. That Jezebel article has gotten over 7 million hits. You should feel better knowing that majority of those 7 million other people think these people suck, too. And that the entire school probably read that article and will now shun the two kids for the rest of their high school careers. Humiliation in numbers. (On the other hand, Slate doesn’t agree).
Now, the question of what the school should do is a completely different conversation. A very peculiar aspect of constitutional law is that any student who enters a school leaves his or her inalienable rights at the door. Yeah, of course, First Amendment, no hate speech laws, yada yada yada; we get it. But the school doesn’t have to – the Bill of Rights is not applicable to the classroom.
But this event didn’t happen in class. The students took to Twitter (notwithstanding the fact that it might not have been them) and posted their personal opinions. Given, it was a really shitty thing to say but it was their Twitters, not ours. The situation is similar to an employer who refuses to hire someone based on pictures found on Facebook of that someone taking shots at a strip-club. Social media can provide us with an infinite amount of shit we don’t want to see but what gives us a right to reprimand them? We can all agree that the Internet can be a dark and scary place. And there’s nothing we can really do to quell that negativity.
In the end, the punishment in the end depends on the wall of privacy the schools can breach and what they make of those statements. In my high school, a few kids were kicked off a sports team because pictures popped up on Facebook of them drinking underage. That’s different, though: they were caught in the act of something that is illegal. But these are the personal views of Cantanzaro and LaDonna – they just happened to put them on the Internet for everyone to see. And racism isn’t illegal; it’s just terribly immoral.
Remember: you have to be 18 to vote but Twitter is for all ages.