Gee, it was only the day before yesterday when we learned that social media bullying was, like, the new scourge of the American youth. We spent millions of dollars in programs, campaigns, and safeguards to ensure that we stopped high schoolers from engaging in this novel form of interpersonal terrorism. And, with the knowledge that we couldn’t stop all of it, we devoted resources and therapies towards helping kids get through public shaming and online bullying without turning their thoughts to suicide.
But now, apparently, as long as the bullying teens in question really believe they have a good reason to name and shame their classmates, it’s perfectly okay! Take it from The New York Times, which ran a feature story on Monday celebrating the new generation of Social Justice Teens who are ready to rat out their peers for veering – even slightly – off the path prescribed by Black Lives Matter.
From the Times:
Students have repurposed large meme accounts, set up Google Docs and anonymous pages on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, and wielded their personal followings to hold friends and classmates accountable for behavior they deem unacceptable.
“People will post videos of people saying the N-word, or videos where they’re being racist or using derogatory words and stuff like that, and they go viral,” said Sophia Gianotti, 16, a sophomore at Whitesboro High School in Whitesboro, N.Y., where a teacher was recently criticized for stating that “all lives matter” in a virtual school event. (He later apologized.)
“These pages are popping up left and right,” said Ethan Ramirez, 18, a graduate of Bowie High School in Austin, Texas. “There’s ones that are region-specific, high school-specific and district-specific.” Several large meme accounts have also now devoted themselves to exposing racist behavior.
Students are invited to submit screen shots of problematic behavior, which are in turn shared to an audience of sometimes thousands online. “They allow people to submit anonymous info or images or videos. They’ll cross out the sender’s name but leave the racist person’s contact info basically for everyone to call them out,” Mr. Ramirez said.
Awesome! What could possibly go wrong?
Need we really mount an argument for why this is so deranged? Surely, it’s self-explanatory, no? First of all, since when do we entrust matters of moral certainty to teenagers? Secondly, with the expansive ideas of racism that we’re working with these days, these woke teens need not actually catch their peers using the n-word, right? Of course not. Merely saying something like “all lives matter” or admitting that they support President Trump would undoubtedly be sufficient cause for public shaming and doxxing.
The New York Times piece spends approximately one sentence in a 2,000 word+ report acknowledging the dangers of this sort of mob mentality. They spend the rest of the report using phrases like: “For students who have been on the receiving end of racial slurs for years, these Instagram accounts can feel like the only theater of justice they have.”
Or this beauty:
Many students believe the only consequence their peers will take seriously is having their college admissions letter rescinded. “I’m not trying to target freshmen or middle schoolers, but people who are about to go to college need to be held accountable for what they say,” said Anamika Arya, the 16-year-old administrator of @Smithtown_Racist_Callouts, which is focused on Smithtown, N.Y.
“People who go to college end up becoming racist lawyers and doctors. I don’t want people like that to keep getting jobs,” Mx. Arya added.
The Times doesn’t push back on this logic in the least.
What kind of country are we becoming?