Not a lot of time today to really get into it, but this business with Jezebel/its commenters tracking down some teens tweeting racist garbage couldn’t go without comment.
As I’ve mentioned before, I do believe response to stupid things people say (online or off) can often be disproportionate, especially when the intarweebs mob mentality gets on board. It is true that it’s possible for naming-and-shaming efforts in this case to get out of hand.
However, school disciplinary action and the loss of potential scholarships is in no way disproportionate or unfair in this case. In fact, I’m utterly appalled at people arguing that what these kids have done should be basically ignored, as if “ratting” on a racist white kid is somehow worse than said kid furthering the oppression of others.
Yes, people can say what they like, but they also have to be prepared for the consequences of what they say. The first amendment, as I’ve noted before, only protects against government censorship and reprisals. It does not prevent private citizens from dressing you down, or bringing to the attention of others the fact that you’re a bigoted ass. If you’re going to say something, you have to own it, and if you say something awful, be prepared to defend it, or get educated about it.
As others have pointed out: shedding light on these awful tweets is not ruining these kids lives. They did that themselves when they wrote the tweets in the first place. One may as well blame a cop for putting you in jail for stealing. Getting caught is not your problem; committing the crime is.
And the sooner these kids learn that actions have consequences, the better prepared they’ll be for a real world in which mommy and daddy aren’t there to get them out of trouble of their own making.