Ian Stuart Donaldson Skrewdriver

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

North Alabama walk-on football player dismissed after racist tweet about Barack Obama

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

FLORENCE, Ala. — The University of North Alabama says a walk-on football player won’t be allowed back on the team after sending a tweet about President Barack Obama.

Sports publicist Jeff Hodges said Monday coaches have informed lineman Bradley Patterson of Red Bay that he’s no longer welcome because of his social media comment.

Obama’s speech bumped Sunday Night Football off NBC briefly, resulting in a racist tweet from a North Alabama walk-on player who was quickly dismissed. (AP Photo)

“Take that (expletive) off the tv, we wanna watch football!” Patterson posted on Twitter.

Hodges says coaches acted after being informed of a message that refers to Obama by a racial epithet. The tweet complained that Obama’s speech about the Connecticut school massacre pre-empted an NFL game Sunday night.

Hodges says the school found that there’s no question the tweet was issued by Patterson. Patterson couldn’t be reached by The Associated Press for comment Monday.


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CBS Analyst Seth Davis Apologizes for ‘Homoerotic’ UFC Tweets

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

We run this town.

Some jackoff from college hoops named Seth Davis, who I never heard of until earlier this week, was recently running his mouth about the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). Specifically, the main event bloodbath between Georges St. Pierre and Carlos Conditlast Saturday night (Nov. 17) in Montreal.

The CBS analyst (via Mashable) tried to get all high and mighty on his official Twitter account:

“Looking on news sites showing picture of two muscular bloody men in homoerotic fighting pose….Sorry, I’ll never get this UFC thing. Maybe I’m a prude on this but I’m also a dad. I don’t mind my sons watching boxing, but I wouldn’t want them watching a UFC bout.”

Allow me to translate.

Davis saw St. Pierre, known primarily for his unstoppable wrestling, smothering Condit and working from side control. So what’s the first thing that popped into his head? Gay sex. And that’s something to be condemned in the Davis household, as he would surely fail as a parent if he allowed MMA to convert his children to homosexuality.


In addition to being a pompous jerk, he also thought he was too elite to be taken apart by the MMA community, which according to boxing blowhard Bob Arum, is comprised of “a bunch of skinhead white guys.” Man, don’t these fools every get tired of being wrong?

We lead, you follow.

Naturally, once Davis got shelled by the UFC fanbase and realized he woke a sleeping giant, he immediately tried to cover his tracks and delete the offending tweets. Silly little reporter, don’t you know how the Internet works? There is no escape.

The good news is, he was forced to apologized for his remarks.

“My tweets were stupid and thoughtless and you are right to call me out. Mea culpa.

Time to move on.

There’s a very real possibility that Davis isn’t a homophobe and simply tried to talk down to MMA with a couple of cheap shots. Only he knows for sure. But what I can say for certainty is that when you rattle the cage ’round these parts, the cage rattles back.

Apology accepted.

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Do you really know which state produces the most racist tweets?

Friday, November 16th, 2012

We all saw the headlines and heard the sound bites about racist tweets sent out during the election. Floatingsheep.org, a website founded by geography scientistsmeasured racist tweets across the country, and Alabama wound up producing the most such tweets among the 50 states. Mississippi came in a close second.

Floatingsheep.org counted tweets that were “geocoded,” meaning the senders had enabled the geo-location sensor on their smart phone or computer, so the scientists, and anyone else who received such tweets, could record where they originated.

For the analysis, these scientists defined racist tweets as those including the words “reelection” or “Obama” or “won” as well as the n-word or the word “monkey.”

They counted those tweets from Nov. 1 through Nov. 7, then compared the number of racist tweets they discovered to the total number of geocoded tweets from each state. This allowed them to compute a “location quotient inspired measure,” also called an LQ.

Alabama got the highest LQ, a whopping 8.2. Coming in a close second was Mississippi at 7.4, which was twice as high as the next state on the list, Georgia.

What I wanted to know is how many racist tweets came from each state, and I could not find that number anywhere in the Floatingsheep.org data posted on their website. So I called Dr. Matt Zook, a professor of geography at the University of Kentucky and one of the scientists who conducted the analysis.

Now close your eyes for a few seconds and try to guess how many racists sent geocoded tweets in Alabama over those seven days, resulting in our No. 1 ranking?

The answer is 14. And maybe not even that. The study found 14 racist tweets sent by people in Alabama, but some of those 14 tweets could have come from the same person. In fact, those 14 tweets could have come from a tour bus full of white supremacists from Boston, Mass., puttering through Alabama during that seven-day period.

I submit that 14 tweets is not a big enough sample to leave us with the ignominy of being the most racist state in the entire Twitterverse.

In fact, if you really take the study to heart, there should be cause for jubilation in Coastal Alabama. Look at the accompanying map produced by Floatingsheep.org. Judging from it, no more racists befoul south Alabama. They’ve all slithered upstate!

But we all know that’s not true: Our moderators at al.com play Whack A Mole with anonymous racist commenters just about every day.

Dr. Zook and Floatingsheep.org have shown that the age-old scourge of racial hatred has metastasized into cyberspace. For that they should be commended. I just think they need a lot more data before tagging us as Racist State Number One.

By the way, although Dr. Zook was mostly forthcoming and helpful, he would not share those 14 tweets with me, not even the twitter handles of the senders. He said Floatingsheep.org is concerned that releasing such data might cause Twitter to shut them out of future research.

But Twitter is a very public space. If you think you might have received one of those 14 racist tweets between Nov. 1 and Nov. 7, please email me. We’ll track down the senders and shine a light on them.

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Gap Forced to Pull T-Shirt After Backlash over ‘Manifest Destiny’ Slogan That ‘Normalizes Oppression’ of Native Americans

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

A Gap T-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘Manifest Destiny’ has been removed from sale, after consumers branded it racist towards Native Americans.

Shoppers complained that the slogan tee ’serves to normalize oppression’, as the term was used to justify American expansion into the west during the 19th century.

When the item of clothing went on sale as part of the Gap X GQ limited-edition collection on September 27, a Change.org petition quickly amassed almost 5,000 supporters.

Campaign groups emerged via Facebook and the retailer was also flooded with complaints.

Indian Country Today reprinted a letter sent to Gap by one of its customers, which read: ‘It is with great sadness that I notify you I will not be shopping at your store until you remove the Manifest Destiny T-shirts available at your stores.

‘Manifest Destiny was the catch phrase which led to the genocide of millions of my people, millions of Indigenous people throughout this country.’

‘I am also inviting the more than 1700 people on my Facebook page to boycott your stores and inviting them to shop with their conscience.’

While another angry shopper wrote: ‘Let me get this straight? The Gap wants to sell T-shirts that read; Manifest Destiny?

‘People, thousands of people, Native people, who were not even considered human beings, died during this arrogant and pompous proclamation.’

Gap has now removed the black and white tee from stores and its website.

A link to the product on its website currently displays a ‘product not found’ error.

The limited edition T-shirt was created in a collaboration with GQ magazine and designed by U.S. fashion designer Mark McNairy.

As shoppers made their distaste towards his design known, Mr McNairy caused further outrage by Tweeting: ’Manifest Destiny. Survival of the fittest’.

However the Tweet has since been deleted from his Twitter account, and yesterday he explained why he chose to use the ‘racist’ motto.

He Tweeted: ‘I first learned of Manifest Destiny in American history in junior high school.

‘To me it has always meant that one could set goals, work hard, and achieve their dreams.

‘Having the opportunity to design for the Gap was the realization of one of my dreams.

‘The phrase and the way I used it was in no way meant to be offensive or hurtful and I apologize to those who might have interpreted it in that manner.’

The designer is known for using offensive slogans.

His menswear collection, New Amsterdam, includes shirts printed with the words Be Nasty, F*** Ivy and Iowa Bumf***.

Gap confirmed that it will no longer be selling the item of clothing, and said in a statement: ‘Thank you for your feedback regarding the Manifest Destiny t-shirt.

‘Based on customer feedback, we will no longer offer the t-shirt in our stores or online.’

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Morganella expelled from Olympics after racist tweet

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Switzerland defender Michel Morganella has been expelled from the Olympic Games for posting a racist message on Twitter.

Michel Morganella has been sent home from the Olympics after making racist comments about the South Korean football team
(source: Getty Images)

The Swiss Olympic delegation opted to send Morganella home after the 23-year-old labelled the South Koreans “a bunch of mongoloids” in the wake of Switzerland’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Asian side.

Michel Morganella gravely insulted and discriminated against the South Korean people and their football team with his highly offensive comments on Twitter,” said Switzerland’s head coach Gian Gilli.

We condemn his comments, which are in fundamental violation of the IOC’s Olympic charter and Swiss Olympic’s own ethics charter.”

The account has since been deleted and Morganella, who plays for Serie A side Palermo, has apologised for the incident.

He said: “I made a huge mistake after the disappointing result.

“I wish to apologise to the people in South Korea and their team, but also to the Swiss delegation and Swiss football in general. I obviously accept the consequences for my actions.”

Morganella is the second athlete to be sent home from London 2012 due to an offensive tweet, following on from Greek triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou.

She was deemed to have mocked African immigrants and expressed support for a far-right party on the micro blogging site before apologising for the “unfortunate and tasteless joke”.

Switzerland will look to put the incident behind them as they take on Mexico in their final Group B fixture today (1st August) knowing that they must win to have any chance of progressing to the knock-out stages.

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Greek Olympian Booted From Games for Tweeting Racial Joke

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Greek Olympian Voula Papachristou has been kicked off her country’s Olympic team for a racial joke she posted toTwitter.

The triple jumper posted this tweet earlier this week, which roughly translates to: “With so many Africans in Greece…at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food!!!”

Papachristou later apologized for the message with a post that read in part, “My dream is connected to the Olympic Games and I could not possibly participate if I did not respect their values. Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races.”

According to Isidoros Kouvelos, the head of Greece’s Hellenic Olympic Commission, Papachristou wasn’t contacted before or after the committee issued a press released booting her from the Games.

Papachristou’s gaffe also had repercussions for Greece’s remaining athletes: a spokesperson told theAssociated Press that Greek Olympians are now banned by the country’s Olympic committee from talking about anything not related to the Games on social media for the remainder of the event.

While the IOC has a series of social media rules restricting what athletes are allowed to post to social media during the Games, Papachristou’s message doesn’t violate any of those and her punishment appears to be an independent decision by her Olympic team.

American swimmer Ricky Berens — an active social media user and advocate for Olympians’ ability to post freely during the Games — told Mashable in an email that he could see why the Greek committee took the action it did.

“I myself am enjoying what everyone has been posting and seeing what other Olympians are doing,” he wrote. “I hope that it stays that way and people aren’t freaked out by this. There is a line that you don’t cross and she crossed it.”

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Why Blacks Tweet More than Whites

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

The latest Pew Research report on Twitter use found that 28 percent of African-American adult Internet users tweet, compared with only 9 percent of whites. What’s up with that?

In contrast to Facebook, which was overwhelmingly white early on, Twitter has been dominated by black users since it was launched. As funny guy Baratunde Thurston, author of “How to Be Black,” pointed out two years ago when he was political editor at the Onion, Twitter’s top trending topics are often dominated by black culture, with hashtags like #YouAintHittinItRight, #blackis and #blackaint.

“Certain hours of the day, you will find Twitter is quite black,” he said.

Part of the reason is what sociologist Walt Jacobs calls “the digital divide” that saw blacks preferring mobile devices over laptops or PCs.  Another theory trotted out by earlier research is that blacks are more interested in celebrity and entertainment news, which are big drivers of Twitter traffic (critics found that conclusion racist).

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George Zimmerman’s bond revoked; prosecutors say he, his wife conspired to lie about donations

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

A judge revoked the bond of the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and ordered him returned to jail within 48 hours.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said Friday that George Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, misled the court about how much money they had available when his bond was set for $150,000 in April. Prosecutors claim Zimmerman had $135,000 available that had been raised by a website he set up.

Zimmerman’s wife testified at the bond hearing that they had limited funds available since she was a nursing student and Zimmerman wasn’t working.

“He can’t sit back and obtain the benefit of a lower bond based upon those material falsehoods,” Lester said.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said the fact that Zimmerman and his wife never used the money for anything indicated “there was no deceit.”

Prosecutor Bernie De la Rionda described the Zimmermans’ testimony as “misleading.”

“This court was led to believe they didn’t have a single penny,” said De la Rionda. “It was misleading and I don’t know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie.”

Read the prosecutors’ motion to revoke Zimmerman’s bond

Prosecutors also said Zimmerman had failed to surrender a second passport, but the judge dismissed that concern as the equivalent of someone who has lost a driver’s license, applies for a new one and then finds the old driver’s license.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder and claims self-defense. Zimmerman shot Martin in February during a confrontation at a gated community of townhouses in Sanford, Fla., where Zimmerman lived and where Martin was visiting his father’s fiancee.

The delay in an arrest for 44 days prompted protests nationwide and led to Sanford’s police chief stepping aside so emotions could cool down.

At Friday’s court hearing, De la Rionda and O’Mara also asked a judge to stop the public release of witness names and statements made by Zimmerman to police officers. Those documents normally are part of the public record under Florida law.

“What’s occurring, unfortunately, are cases are being tried in the public sector as opposed to in the courtroom,” De La Rionda said. “We are in a new age with Twitter, Facebook, and all these things I’ve never heard of before in my career. Everybody gets to find out intimate details about witnesses that never occurred before. Witnesses are going to be reluctant to get involved.”

A consortium of more than a dozen media groups, including The Associated Press, asked the judge to ignore the request, saying such records are presumed to be publicly available under Florida law.

Rachel Fugate, an attorney for the Orlando Sentinel, cited the Casey Anthony trial as an example of a highly publicized case in which a jury was able to be seated despite intense media coverage. The Florida mother was acquitted last year of killing her 2-year-old daughter.

“Discovery in Florida has traditionally been open … and Florida hasn’t encountered problems seating juries and giving defendants fair trials,” Fugate said.

O’Mara said Friday on a website that he doesn’t expect the case to be ready for trial until next year.

O’Mara said he expects to call on 50 witnesses who need to be deposed before he decides whether to file a “stand your ground” motion which would ask for a hearing before a judge without a jury. At the hearing, Zimmerman would argue self-defense under the Florida law which gives wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat in a fight if people believe they are in danger of being killed or seriously injured.

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Marion Barry: I Misspoke When I Said ‘Polacks’

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Councilmember Marion Barry says he misspoke when he referred to the Polish community with the disparaging term “Polacks.”

Barry made the remark when he was meeting with Asian-Americans. That meeting was set up after Barry made two offensive statements last month about Asians. He later apologized.

Barry was asked Thursday about racial tensions in the United States and he said: “The Irish caught hell, the Jews caught hell, the Polacks caught hell.”

In a seven-word statement Friday, Barry says he misspoke and should have said Polish.

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Reggie Bush backpedals after Nazi tweet during Champions League final

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush found himself in hot water with his Twitter followers for posting remarks about Nazis after German club Bayern Munich lost to England’s Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final Saturday.


Bush seemed to get a carried away watching Chelsea’s comeback in a thrilling final, tweeting repeatedly during the penalty shootout, which the English Premier League club won 4-3.


With just two minutes left on the clock in regulation play, Chelsea striker Didier Drogba forced the game into extra-time with a bullet-like header that tied the score at 1-1. He then coolly slotted home the winning spot kick in the penalty shootout.


Given his scoring prowess on the field in Munich, Bush obviously thought Drogba might have the same luck with German women after the game. Unfortunately, he chose to bring up Germany’s Nazi past as well.


“Shoot Drogba might even hit a Nazi chick tonight in Germany! LOL!” Bush tweeted.


His followers didn’t find it funny, bombarding him with complaints via Twitter.


“Oh goodness bunch of sensitive cry babies on twitter! It’s just jokes people send me your address and I’ll personally FedEx you some tissue,” Bush responded.


He then removed the offending tweet a short time later, writing, “There you go I deleted just for you guys! Big kiss.”


Bush won the Super Bowl in 2010 with the New Orleans Saints. He became well known outside sporting circles when he was involved a personal relationship with reality TV star Kim Kardashian from 2007 until they broke up in early 2010.

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Students could face discipline after tweets

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Twitter users — one a freshman at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge — who fired off racist rants about Washington Capitals hockey hero Joel Ward are facing possible disciplinary action from their schools.

One of the individuals, who has since apologized, said he’s getting death threats

“The B’s lost and I just said it,” said one Western Massachusetts Boston Bruins fan who called Ward a racial slur in a tweet. “The fact is, I’m not a racist. It was stupid of me. I would apologize to Joel Ward if I could.”

The fan said he’s received death threats.

After Ward, who is black, scored the series-clinching goal to end the Bruins’ NHL season, Twitter was flooded with tweets calling the 31-year-old winger a variety of racial slurs. Many were sent by students and hockey players, including some from Gloucester, Cumberland, R.I., and Vernon, Conn.

A spokeswoman for Franklin Pierce University said the student who tweeted there is facing disciplinary action for firing off an expletive-laden tweet using “vile racial slurs.”

“We consider the racism, ignorance, lack of inclusiveness and poor sportsmanship reflected in the student’s actions to be a matter of grave concern, and we are taking immediate action,” the school’s statement said.

The student apologized in a tweet Thursday night, saying: “I was in a state that had me frustrated. I am not racist and never will be. Sorry.”

The university spokeswoman had no update on the student this morning.

In Cumberland, R.I., school Superintendent Phil Thornton said a junior hockey player is facing possible sanctions for his actions.

“The comments … are deeply disturbing and not part of what we teach,” Thornton said. “We have been in contact with the family and are taking all steps to address this very serious issue.”

The NHL released a statement condemning the cyber racism as “ignorant and unacceptable,” while the Capitals said the team was “outraged” and the Bruins said the team was “disappointed” by the “classless, ignorant views.”

The comments sparked fury from some who said they bolster claims Boston is racist. But Mayor Thomas M. Menino fired back, saying: “Cowards that hide behind Twitter handles don’t represent the city of Boston nor our sports fans.”

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Keith Ellison retweets message calling Mitt Romney “douchebag,” claims it was accident

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Ellison square.JPG

Keith Ellison finds himself in hot water with conservatives after retweeting an offensive message from his official Twitter account.

Wednesday, Ellison took to Twitter to ask his followers who uttered the following quote: “… even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work.” The answer to the trivia question? None other than presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

In response to the question, a Texan named Tammy Talpas offered up the following answer: “A heartless douchebag who doesn’t like animals or small children. At least that’s what I’ve heard.”

Ellison retweeted Talpas’ tweet, meaning all the Congressman’s followers could see it. It stayed promoted for hours, until Ellison deleted the tweets containing both the Romney question and Talpas’ “D-bag” reply yesterday.

Conservative blog The Washington Free Beacon notes the irony of Ellison, a man who has a history of calling for civility in politics, resorting to using someone else’s incendiary language to take a shot at Romney.

Here’s an image of the tweet, stamped with Ellison’s endorsement:

Ellison douchbag tweet.png

Ellison, somewhat unconvincingly, claims through a spokesperson that the retweet was accidental. Yesterday, the Beacon quoted Ellison’s communication director, Jennifer Gore, as saying, “As with all Twitter accounts a retweet is not an endorsement. The congressman removed the tweet because it appeared to endorse use of a nasty term, which is not what we wanted.”

That quote doesn’t directly say the retweet was unintentional, but today Gore is being more straightforward in making that claim.

“Keith inadvertently retweeted something where some language was used regarding Mr. Romney, and that was not his intention,” she told the Strib.

“That’s not language he tends to use. It’s not something he intended to do, so he took it down.”

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South Africa: ANC Provincial Official Labels Zille a ‘Racist Bitch’

Monday, March 26th, 2012

As a debate over Helen Zille‘s use of the word ‘refugees‘ in relation to the education crisis in the Eastern Cape raged on the social network site Twitter yesterday, an ANC provincial coordinator raised eyebrows by calling her a ‘racist bitch!!!!!’.

The tweet by ANC Western Cape provincial coordinator Senzeni Mphila, whose Twitter name is @The6big read: “@helenzille racist bitch!!!!!”.

His tweet followed her post on Twitter saying: “When I make the point that most pupils in Eastern Cape schools are SADTU‘s hostages, there is no outcry. Why? #missingachance”, with the use of the hashtag indicating an existing or suggested subject thread.

Zille’s remarks on Twitter that Eastern Cape pupils were moving to schools in the Western Cape in order to access better educational resources, and calling them ‘education refugees’ on Tuesday sparked fierce debate on radio talkshows and social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, with Mphila’s reaction being particularly personal.

Asked why he called Zille a “racist bitch” on a public site, Mphila said: “She is racist and is behaving like a bitch.”

Mphila said what Zille said – calling black people who had moved from the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape refugees – “confirms that the DA is racist”.

Mphila said he tweeted that Zille is a racist bitch in his personal capacity, not as a member of the ANC but “as a concerned citizen”.

Mphila said Zille had the “nerve” to look for votes from black people and then “call black people refugees”.

Zille was not available to comment yesterday afternoon, but her spokesperson Zak Mbhele said the Premier “is not going to respond” to Mphila’s tweet.

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Collymore sticking to Twitter despite 200 racist remarks per day

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

London, Mar 10 (ANI): Former England footballer Stan Collymore refuses to quit using Twitter even though he receives up to 200 hate messages on the micro blogging site.

The former Liverpool and England striker said that he had considered quitting Twitter because of the amount of daily abuse he was receiving, despite a law student appearing in court after sending him racially abusive tweets.

The talkSPORT radio pundit re-tweeted one of the racist messages he had received from one user who wrote: @StanCollymore why are u black? U look like a monkey.

Using the code name Wpww-hooligan-88m, the user’s Twitter profile states My blood is my honour, my race is my pride and whose profile picture is a swastika with the words white power on.

Collymore, 42, immediately tweeted back saying he has had enough.

Had enough of twitter tbf but won’t go because it’s a great work tool, and too much positive feedback. Sick of the daily abuse though.

I must get 150-200 abusive messages a day now, just constant reminders of stuff that happened a long time a go. Not nice at all.

Easy to say ignore it when you see it 200 times a day.

Thanks for the support from people who support clubs all over the place. You’re why I tweet, it’s really that simple. Really grateful, he wrote.ormer Spurs and England striker Gary Lineker messaged Collymore to offer his support.

@StanCollymore My God! What is wrong with people? Actually he doesn’t qualify as a human being. He is the animal! the Daily mail quoted him as tweeting.

Collymore replied: @garylineker Cheers Gary.Legend.

Lineker replied: @StanCollymore You should never ignore it! None of us should!

The latest abuse comes after a law student admitted racially abusing Collymore on Twitter.

Joshua Cryer, of Jesmond, appeared before Newcastle magistrates to face a public order charge after a complaint from the radio pundit.

The 21-year-old Newcastle University student has previously denied sending messages in January that were grossly offensive.

Magistrates adjourned the case for a further hearing on 21 March.

Cryer was arrested in January after Collymore reported the incident police.

In a tweet at the time he wrote to the student: Not having this cr*p any more. Joshua, I see you’ve deleted your tweets. I haven’t. Two officers have a statement and evidence. See you in court.

It is not the first that Collymore, who has publicly battled depression, has previously spoken about offensive messages he has received on the social networking site.

In 2009, he decided to quit his account, although he later re-joined, after receiving several spiteful messages. (ANI)

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Dianne Abbott MP – A Racist Pig

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Just to prove racism cuts BOTH ways, here is lefty MP Dianne Abbott squirming with embarassment at Andrew Neill’s questions.
Watch as she refuses to acknowledge her public racist remarks, proving SHE is one herself.
If we are ever to treat the problem seriously we have to be honest with ourselves and Dianne is not being.
A champagne socialist, too.
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Pride and Prejudice

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

With Linsanity on full blast and the lens of the bball world focusing on the Garden as the Knicks take on the Lakers tonight, we’ve been inundated with emails, articles and videos about Knicks’ PG Jeremy Lin. Here, we present an academic look into JLin’s cultural significance for the Asian-American community. While the author’s opinions may not necessarily match those of SLAM’s editorial staff, we aim to provide the most complete forum for hoops commentary.—Ed.

by David J. Leonard / @DR_DJL

The recent success and national visibility afforded to Jeremy Lin has both inspired Asian Americans and has been driven by the adoration and pride he elicits from some within the community. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, or in the stadiums, it is clear that Lin is not simply a national phenomena but a treasure for the Asian-American community.

According to Jamilah King, “Regardless of how the rest of the season goes for Lin, and the Knicks, his moment in the spotlight is an important time to reflect on how the country views its Asian-American athletes.” Whereas past Asian athletes—whether it be Yao Ming or Ichiro—captured the global Asian Diaspora’s imagination, Lin is the most widely recognized Asian-American athlete on the American team sport scene.Timothy Dalrymple highlights the appeal of Lin to Asian-American males:

He particularly has a following amongst Asian-Americans. And some Asian-American young men, long stereotyped as timid and unathletic, nerdy or effeminate or socially immature—have fought back tears (which may not help with the stereotype, but is understandable under the circumstances) as they watched Jeremy Lin score 25 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds for the New York Knicks.

In “Asian Americans energized in seeing Knicks’ Jeremy Lin play,” J. Michael Falgoust elucidates his cultural power within the Asian American community in quoting the thoughts of several different people:

“I don’t care about the outcome. I just want to see him in action. He’s as good of an Asian American athlete as there is” — Rose Nguyen

“I’m so proud. I don’t care if he is Chinese or Korean. I had to see him… my boyfriend has been talking about him so much” — Christine Lee

“I’m really excited. He breaks so many stereotypes. And my friends are just as excited. If you go to my Facebook feed, it’s all Jeremy Lin. I like that he plays smart. But then he’s from Harvard. So that is expected. He is also humble. He reminds me a lot of Derrick Rose, who’s always crediting teammates” — Andrew Pipathsouk

Andrew Leonard similarly argues that Lin’s popularity among Asian Americans is emblematic of the power of social media and also the pride that athletic success garners for Asian Americans, otherwise seen as “nerds” not “jocks.” While problematically invoking the language of “genetics” that erases Lin’s tremendous athleticism/speed, Leonard concludes that Lin inspires Asian-American kids who yearn for a masculine role model given persistent invisibility and anti-Asian racism within the public square. “He’s a triumph of will over genetic endowment, a fact that makes him inspiring to an entire generation of Californian kids restless with their model minority shackles,” he notes.

On Monday, the social media world was also getting worked up about Michigan Republican Senate hopeful Pete Hoekstra’s racist Super Bowl ad, featuring a Chinese woman (labeled “yellowgirl” in the HTML code for the web version) gloating over all the jobs her country was taking from the US. Once thrown into the 24/7 crazy cultural mashup perpetual motion machine, it didn’t take long before anger about that ad ran head on into Jeremy Lin pride.

I have seen tweets urging Jeremy Lin to run for the Republican nomination for the Michigan senate seat, tweets warning that the only American jobs in danger from Asians are those belonging to New York Knick starting point guards, and even a tweet riffing off Kobe Bryant’s self-identification as “black mamba”—Jeremy Lin is suddenly the “yellow mamba.”

Lin has trended No. 1 on Twitter on three successive game days, was top-10 searched items on Sina Weibo and is all the talk of the sports world. For the moment, it is Jeremy Lin’s world and we are all just living in it.

The pride and possibility reflects the broader erasure and invisibility of Asian Americans within popular culture (minus this year’s Top Chef). “Asians are nearly invisible on television/movies/music, so any time I see an Asian on TV or in the movies, I feel like I’ve just spotted a unicorn, even though usually, I see them being portrayed as kung-fu masters/socially awkward mathematical geniuses/broken-English-speaking-fresh-off-the-boat owner of Chinese restaurant/nail salon/dry cleaners,” writes one blogger. “Anyway, this phenomenon is 10 times worse in sports. While there has been some notable progress with Asians in professional baseball, Asians are all but non-existent in the big three sports in the US (football, basketball, baseball).”

Lin breaks down, or at least penetrates, the walls that have excluded Asian Americans from popular culture. The pride, adoration and celebration reflect this history of exclusion, a history of erasure, and invisibility. The efforts to link Lin to Nike’s “Witness” campaign is illustrative in that we are all witness—maybe for the first time in history—of an Asian American sports hero, someone who challenges and defies expectations and stereotypes.

Amid the invisibility is a history of feminization of Asian American males. When present within media and popular culture, Asian-American men have been represented as asexual, weak, physically challenged, and otherwise unmasculine. Sanctioning exclusion and denied citizenship, the White supremacist imagination has consistently depicted Asian male bodies as effeminate. The entry of Lin into the dominant imagination reflects a challenge to this historic practice given the power of sports as a space of masculine prowess.

Whether shock or celebration, Lin’s cultural power rests in his juxtaposition to the stereotyped Asian-American male. According to Timothy Dalrymple, “their astonishment at the sight of Jeremy Lin outperforming the other players, their consistent references to how exhausted he must be, and how “magical” a night he’s having (rather than a natural result of talent and hard work) suggests that they’ve bought into the stereotype of the physically inferior Asian-American male.”

Lin’s recent ascendance is not simply about success or dominance within the sports world, a place defined by masculine prowess. It reflects the cultural and gendered meaning of basketball. Lin is excelling in a world defined by Black manhood, an identity the White racial frames construct through physicality, strength, speed and swagger. Unlike other players who burst onto the American scene (Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian, Wang Zhizhi), Lin is a guard, who has found success because of his athleticism and skills as opposed to his presumed freakish stature.

“The best part is how viscerally pleasurable it is to watch Lin play: His game is flashy, almost showoffy, and requires him to have guts, guile and flair in equal measure,” writes Will Leich. “The drama of it is, it’s obvious, what’s most fun for him. It is all you could possibly want as a feel-good story.”

In other words, Lin’s appeal comes from his ability to ball like a street player to face off and dominate against Black players at “their own game.” The celebration of Lin as a challenge to the denied masculinity afforded to Asian-American males reflects the ways in which Black masculinity is defined in and through basketball culture.

While surely offering fans the often-denied sporting masculinity within the Asian body, the power of Jeremy Lin rests with his ability to mimic a basketball style, swagger and skill associated with Black ballers. Pride emanates from the sense of masculinity afforded by Lin, a fact that emanates from stereotypical constructions of Black masculinity.

“Through no fault of his own, Lin stands at a bombed-out intersection of expected narratives, bodies, perceived genes, the Church, the vocabulary of destinations and YouTube,” wrote Jay Caspian Kang, who’s Asian American, about Lin’s electrifying play at Harvard. “What Jeremy Lin represents is a re-conception of our bodies, a visible measure of how the emasculated Asian-American body might measure up to the mythic legion of Big Black superman” (cited by King in Colorlines).

Fulfilling a fantasy for a “White American fantasy of an athletic prowess that can trump African-American hegemony in the League” (Farred, p. 56) and the appeal of a masculinity defined by its association with Blackness, the celebrations, parties, and various public adoration are wrapped in these ideas of race, gender, and nation. Writing about Yao Ming, Grant Farred reminds us about these issues:

The body of the athlete, which has a long history of standing as the body of the nation, is simultaneously reduced and magnified in the Yao event, in its micro-articulation (Asian American), it is asked to refute the myth of the feminized ethnic by challenging—and redressing the historic wrongs endured—those ‘American’ bodies that have been dismissed the physicality of the Asian male. As representative of the Chinese nation, Yao is expected to remain a national subject even as his basketball heritage seems difficult to unlearn and continues to disadvantage him in the NBA… In his representation of the ‘Chinese people,’ Yao will not become an NBA—which is to say ‘African American’—player. He will not trash talk, he will not develop an ‘offensive personality,’ in more senses than one, and to his detriment, he will not become more ‘physical’ (62).

Lin is confined by this trap, so his wagging tongue (that was blue during one game), his trash talk, his swagger, his reverse layups, his flashy speed, and now his dunk, all confirms that Lin isn’t just a basketball player but a baller.

Lin is therefore not breaking down stereotypes (maybe denting them), but in many ways reinscribing them. Celebrated as “intelligent” and as “a hustler,” his success has been attributed his intelligence, his basketball IQ, and even his religious faith. His athleticism and the hours spent on the court are erased from the discussion. And, in positioning him as the aberration, as someone worthy of celebration, the dominant media frame reinforces the longstanding stereotypes of Asians as unathletic nerds.

Likewise, the juxtaposition of his identity, body and basketball skills to the NBA’s Black bodies simultaneously reinforces the dominant inscriptions of both Blackness and Asianness. While JLin brings something new to the table—an Asian-American basketball role model; Knicks’ victories—we must not forget the many things that remain in place.

David J. Leonard is Associate Professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies at Washington State University, Pullman. He is the author of Screens Fade to Black: Contemporary African American Cinema and the forthcoming After Artest: Race and the War on Hoop (SUNY Press). Leonard is a regular contributor to NewBlackMan and blogs at No Tsuris. Follow him on Twitter @DR_DJL.

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Commercialism behind Twitter censor

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

The decision of the social networking site Twitter to selectively censor tweets on a country-by-country basis has set the proverbial cat among the pigeons. The move is music to the ears of the governments of various countries which have sought to check the unfettered right of social networking sites to host content.

These are not necessarily authoritarian states like North Korea or China; there are countries in Europe that ban Holocaust denial and pro-Nazi statements. Then, there are countries like India which has, in the past, banned books like The Satanic Verses, but is now demanding that other content, particularly that which may promote tensions between communities, be also banned.

Not a few skeptics say that Twitter’s decision is aimed at trying to get a toehold in the Chinese market from which it is excluded in entirety. If so, this would be sad and cynical.

Twitter’s value as a tool of freedom has been proved in the Arab revolts of last year. It also comes at a time when internet giants like Wikipedia and Google have joined forces to neutralise a major campaign to pass the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA), which would have had the effect of having the companies themselves censor their websites and users.

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Michelle Obama joins Twitter, rants begin

Monday, January 16th, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Twitter today, and the Internet exploded. Obama supporters and Michelle Obama fans, alike, were excited to subscribe to the FLOTUS’ tweets.

However, some tweeters weren’t pleased about this recent development. So what did they do about it? Bombard the First Lady’s account with some of the harshest comments they could make in 140 characters or less, of course.

Buzzfeed compiled a list of the tweets, aptly named The 25 Most Offensive Tweets At Michelle Obama. Here’s a quick synopsis: The First Lady, or “Moochelle” is an “angry black woman” who “hates white people.”

For example, @cheshirecat0025 tweeted [email protected] is on twitter great! We can all tell her how much we hate her! #America is not proud of you” – a snarky reference to a comment the First Lady made back in 2008 .

And according to @iyestogody “the next most hateful woman in America is Michelle Obama. She hates everyone and eveything. To bad for her. Sorry.”

Every public figure has critics, but there is a palpable hatred behind some of the things said about Mrs. O in this list. It’s especially upsetting because they don’t seem to be based on anything besides her race. I may be a bit biased, because I desperately want to be Michelle Obama when I grow up, but I’m confused.

She’s black, so she’s angry? OK, got it. I can’t recall even seeing the First Lady frown, but whatever. Let’s go with what we know. Black women are angry from birth.

And of course, people have a problem with Michelle Obama fighting to protect children from what the CDC calls a “dramatic increase in obesity”

There’s nothing wrong with the fact that only 18 percent of American children got the recommended amount of daily exercise in 2007. Nothing at all.

I’m not alone in being unable to wrap my mind around this intense hatred some Americans seem to have for the First Lady. Most of my friends almost idolize Michelle Obama. The majority of them are still in college, and she represents the lifestyle they are after: being a successful and educated black woman, married to a successful and educated black man, with two really cute kids. Even if they criticize the President’s decisions on occasion, they all love the First Lady.

Actually, I can’t wait to discuss this with my mom. She thinks “twittering” is a waste of time, but she’ll probably start an account just to voice her outrage. She has leapt through all sorts of technological hoops in her support of the Obamas. She taught herself how to text just so she could respond to President Obama’s campaign tweets back in 2008.

The anger she’ll feel is understandable. I just can’t imagine any one criticizing Abigail Adams’ “posterior.” No one got upset when Nancy Reagan went sleeveless. And no matter how many feet her husband put in his mouth, no one ever booed Laura Bush at an event.

Until any of these overzealous Michelle Obama critics are able to give me some concrete reason as to why they hate the First Lady so, I’m going to file it all as racist dribble and forget it as soon as possible.

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Labour MP Diane Abbott apologises after ‘racist’ tweet storm

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Diane Abbott (Pic: Getty Images)

Labour frontbencher Diane Abbott apologised today after claiming “white people love playing ‘divide & rule”‘.

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The shadow public health minister faced demands for her resignation over the remark, made on Twitter.

Diane Abbott's tweet

Diane’s tweet sparked calls for her to resign

Diane Abbott

Diane later defended her tweet

She was rebuked by the Labour Party, which said it was “wrong” to make such “sweeping generalisatons”.

In a statement, issued by Labour, Ms Abbott apologised for “any offence caused”.

She said: “I understand people have interpreted my comments as making generalisations about white people. I do not believe in doing that. I apologise for any offence caused.”

In an earlier interview with Sky News, she made no attempt to apologise and said that her comments had been interpreted “maliciously”.

She claimed she had been referring to “19th century European colonialism“, adding: “I think the Tweet was taken out of context and some people have interpreted it maliciously,” she said.

Asked to elaborate, she broke off from the interview to take a telephone call.

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi called for her resignation and insisted Labour leader Ed Miliband must sack her if she would not stand down.

“A healthy society should not tolerate any form of racism,” he said, adding that Ms Abbott, the first black woman to enter the Commons, “of all people should lead by example”.

The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP was addressing a freelance journalist on Twitter yesterday when she wrote: “White people love playing ‘divide & rule’. We should not play their game £tacticasoldascolonialism.”

A Labour Party spokesman said: “We disagree with Diane’s tweet. It is wrong to make sweeping generalisations about any race, creed, or culture. The Labour Party has always campaigned against such behaviour – and so has Diane Abbott.”

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