I strongly believe twitter is a platform which is every bit a part of “real life” in that things said there can have huge consequences (see Anthony Weiner for example). And while I also believe Michelle Malkin is correct that social media “democratizes influence,” I’m of the opinion that there is a bubble of sorts in which some with less influence are treated as though they have more influence even though, for the most part, it’s only within the aforementioned twitter bubble that that’s true.
For the last few days, I’ve been one of those less influential people who have been puffed up for the narratives of others. It all started with this tweet:
Give me a gun. Put me in Darren Wilson’s shoes. I’d have shot Mike Brown right in his face.
— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) November 26, 2014
The normal outrage ensued, but once it was retweeted by Slate writer Jamelle Bouie, the outrage began to really take off. Of course there were countless charges of racism, most of those making the charge describing my tweet as “fantasizing about murdering an unarmed black teenager.”
@BenHowe you’re a racist asshole
— Brian Patton (@brianpatton614) November 28, 2014
Yeah you’re definitely not racist for fantasizing about shooting that black kid in the face, Martin Luther King. @BenHowe
— Jesse Berney (@jesseberney) November 26, 2014
Those 4 are some of the cleanest examples I could provide but the sheer number of racist accusations are legion. The last person on that short list, Jesse Berney, writes for a website called Blue Nation Review where he wrote about my tweet offering gems of insight such as:
Conservative writer Ben Howe lays bare the racism behind the right’s worshipful defense of Darren Wilson. Not only does Howe think Wilson is justified, but he fantasizes himself about shooting an unarmed teenager in the face. If you don’t think that has anything to do with the color of his skin, then you’re just willfully blind to what’s wrong in this country.
It could’ve died there but apparently someone at Talking Points Memo reads his blog, and that’s when things really got interesting. Blasted …read more