After the England football team lost to Italy in a penalty shoot out, its black players were subjected to what has been called “racist abuse”, overwhelmingly on-line. Any story about race that reflects negatively on white people is click bait and cannon fodder for the news media, be it on-line, press, radio, or TV, and this was no exception. The British police were of course more than willing to play along rather than chase real criminals who might have guns and shoot back.
After the BBC reported that five people had been arrested, the Chief Constable of Cheshire was quoted: “If we identify that you are behind this crime, we will track you down and you will face the serious consequences of your shameful actions”. Crime? Yes, that’s what they call crime nowadays.
Anti-censorship campaigner Jerry Barnett brought more sense than most to this issue, and if you can tolerate his use of the hideous phrase “people of colour” – English spelling – you can find his essay on his Substack.
In particular, he draws attention to an earlier abuse campaign, and to the fact that not all abuse comes from people who target innocent victims, their real target is something very different. In January 2014, two people from the North of England were given short prison sentences for the on-line abuse of loony feminist Caroline Criado Perez. They had bombarded her with messages from 86 (eighty-six) Twitter accounts. One was a dude named John Nimmo; the other, and apparently the major player, was Isabella Sorley.
Although the feminist narrative dictates women are always victims, even when they are perpetrators, it is difficult not to feel sorry for this pathetic young woman, who was an alcoholic (sober since June 29, 2016) and has apparently been diagnosed with autism. It remains to be seen how many abusers of black soccer players are cut from the same cloth, probably not many, but as Jerry Barnett points out, not all of them are real human beings. Other sources have made the same claim, in particular, most of this abuse came from overseas Twitter accounts, including from bots.
Unless and until the actual people behind these accounts are identified, it will be impossible to state with any certainty what were their real motives. The chances of that happening are close to zero, but we can speculate intelligently.
One possibility is that these are simply spiteful trolls like the two mentioned above.
A second possibility is that this is some kind of low level campaign by a foreign intelligence agency to show the UK in a bad light.
The third possibility, and perhaps the most sinister, is that the people behind this and similar campaigns are genuine bad actors who do so with the intent of promoting Internet censorship. And the first step on that road is…an end to anonymity.
Anonymous posting or simply anonymous surfing have their upsides. Does MI5, the NSA or even your spouse have the right to know who you are messaging, to monitor your e-mails, or to see the kinds of articles you read? There are though, those who want to control everything we read, hear and see. And everything we say. This is probably the main reason there is so much hysteria over racism, and why everything from “cultural appropriation” to punctuality has been branded racist.
No one should be taken in by the thinly disguised campaign to control our speech and ultimately our minds; like on-line bigots, these people should be treated with the contempt they deserve.
Finally, it should be pointed out that a fair amount of this on-line abuse is probably generated by faux victims, certainly when it targets individuals. In the real world, we call these hate crime hoaxes – think Jussie Smollett, who by the way is about to face justice at last.
A couple of examples will suffice. In 2008, University of Florida cheerleader Lauren Beard sent herself threatening e-mails, and in 2013, student airhead Meg Lanker Simons sent herself rape threats through Facebook.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.