More

Heard of the Greater Internet $^@%#!* Theory? Here's a perfect example.

Not many people will admit to being racist ... if their name is attached to it.

How would you feel if you read "Bash that bitch's head in," and knew that the head they were talking about bashing was yours? Melissa Melendez says it was "disheartening." That's an understatement.

In meatspace, aka IRL, aka the physical world, it's pretty uncommon for people to just stand up and publicly state, "I want to bash that bitch's head in." You walk around in life, feeling like you don't really know that many blatantly racist people ... but in an anonymous forum, you might see something like:



There's a name for this. Sociologists call it the Online Disinhibition Effect. Penny Arcade more colorfully (and accurately) coined the phrase "The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory." It's an observable phenomenon.

Basic principle: When we know no one can see us, our worst selves come out.

The whole story is ... I mean, you've got to hear it to believe it. But here's the gist:

Melissa Melendez went to Colgate on scholarship. She'd never been in such a homogeneous place before. She grew up in the Bronx, where she hung out with Dominicans, Puerto Ricans (like her family), West Indians, all kinds of people. She was a bit of a novelty to her classmates, too.

They asked her all kinds of questions:

"Do you know JLo?" "How many baby daddies does your mom have?" And my favorite:

She wasn't the only one.

Other minority students experienced constant reminders that they didn't belong. They staged a sit-in to draw attention to the racism on their campus. They spent a whole day telling their personal stories.

And at first, they thought they'd won.

The administration agreed to make some changes, including a focus on diversity in hiring and recruitment.

Online, though, things looked different.

Students at Colgate, as at many colleges, use Yik Yak to post anonymously about what's going on. They started posting a response to the protest that was, well, crazy.

They had no idea who posted the hateful comments and threats.

The students who organized the sit-in started going places only in groups because they were concerned for their safety.

Melissa's friend Charity, who was also involved with the sit-in, said that she wondered all day long about every person she met. "I think, 'Who posted that terrible thing on Yik Yak? Are they in my classes? Are they my friends? Do I hang out with them at parties? Is that the person who said, “Black girls are hot, just not at Colgate"?'"

Imagine how that would affect your everyday interactions.

What if you thought maybe your lab partner was the person who responded to the sit-in by posting:

Geoff Holm, a biology professor, asked the faculty to join him in a “Yik Yak Take Back."

He asked them to post whatever they felt like on the site — congratulations for a student who got into a great med school, taunting about upcoming tough exams, dad jokes. The one rule: They had to sign their names.

In the words of "Reply All" host Alex Goldman:

The crazy thing is, it kind of worked.

It disrupted this pile of negativity. It made the student protesters feel safer and less alone. Just having someone speak up made a huge difference.

Check out the full episode here:


Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Roland Pollard and his 4-year-old daughter Jayden have been doing cheer and tumbling stunts together since Jayden could walk. When you see videos of their skills, the level of commitment is apparent—as is the supportive relationship this daddy has with his daughter.

Pollard, a former competitive cheerleader and cheer coach, told In The Know that he didn't expect Jayden to catch on to her flying skills at age 3, but she did. He said he never pressures her to perform stunts and that she enjoys it. And as a viral video of Jayden almost falling during a stunt shows, excelling at a skill requires good teaching—something Pollard appears to have mastered.

Keep Reading Show less