Friday, December 5, 2014

Lynch mobs never have due process

Racists are bad so anything we do to them is acceptable, right? Such as posting their personal information online (doxxing) and contacting their employer to demand that they be fired. That's exactly what the website Getting Racists Fired is doing.

But like all vigilante actions, eventually innocent people end up getting splattered. That's because lynch mobs don't necessarily go after guilty people. No, they go after the accused, and one of the first innocent causalities was Brianna Rivers, a normal everyday person with an angry ex-boyfriend.

Scott H. Greenfield doesn't make the lynch mob comparison, perhaps because it's become something of a cliche, but he does compare it to another social ill: revenge porn sites, where people share nude photos, often of ex lovers who they believe wronged them. The site is under both "Getting Racists Fired" and "Racists Getting Fired, and Greenfield uses the other name:

So RGF is, without a doubt, inherently evil. No, it doesn’t matter that you think she deserved it. No, lying about someone being a racist to harm her is still lying, no matter how truly you believe she (or he) deserves to be harmed. 
The point here is that angry people on the internet are nothing if not imaginative in finding methods of accomplishing the goal of causing people we don’t like harm. If it’s not naked images, it’s racist comments. And if it’s not racist comments, it will be something else. Don’t ask me what, as my mind doesn’t go there, but I’m sure others already have nasty ideas brewing. 

The vigilante website has responded by changing the guidelines for submissions. That's still going to end up harming innocent people, as there will always be ways to fool the gatekeepers. Ask yourself, are you really against doxxing in principal, or just against doxxing certain people. If not, you have some soul-searching to do. 

Whatever new form this crowd-sourced revenge approach takes, please do your part for justice and refuse to join in.

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