The marriage of social media and politics is always a hot topic. For better or worse, all people with internet access can get into the conversation, and the networks themselves don’t scrutinize these words. Accountability is then assuaged through a simple disclaimer, generally issued by the proprietor of each particular forum. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), as one such proprietor, does just that through a “comment policy” on its Facebook page:
Comments and posts that do not follow these guidelines risk removal and repeated violations could lead to being blocked from the page without notice […] We do not allow graphic, obscene, explicit, sexist or racial comments or submissions nor do we allow comments that are abusive, hateful or intended to defame anyone or any organization.
That seems reasonable.
Surely, then, FAIR wouldn’t allow someone to disparage an entire people:
Obama is like any other Negro. You can’t teach him a damn thing. (Monday, June 6)
Oops. It looks like someone was sleeping when that rolled in Monday night. While FAIR has been ever so diligent to distance itself from its white nationalist founder, John Tanton, the machine he forged apparently chugs on.
Though claiming that they remove such comments, in practice FAIR has a poor track record of checking the bigotry on its networking sites. Its Facebook becomes a monument to the nativist attitudes it disseminates, leaving us with a conundrum: why does an organization purportedly opposed to racism attract so many racists?
Perhaps FAIR should appraise its magnetic allure to bigots rather than dole out ineffectual disclaimers.