In a world so full of racists that you can’t walk down the street without tripping over a “likely suspect” (you can usually identify them by their lily-white skin), an enterprising group of activists in Brazil has devised a method for erasing all doubt.
Called Virtual Racism, Real Consequences, the group rents out billboards and emblazons them with larger-than-life screen grabs of racist messages found on Facebook. And to make sure the bigot responsible for a given post gets his just deserts, the billboards are localized — based on geolocation info from Facebook — and go up on the streets where the racist lives. Just supply your own noose and tree, and instant justice is served.
According to Opposing Views:
The group says its campaign isn’t designed to shame Facebook trolls — while the posts and content are reproduced on the billboards, the names of the posters are blurred out, and their avatars are heavily pixelated.
It is hard to imagine in these emotionally charged times that those offended by the messages won’t at least try to track down the offenders — or, in the event they can’t find them, hapless surrogates — and seek vengeance.
A video at the site explains that the campaign was developed in reaction to racist comments left on the Facebook page of Globo TV — Brazil’s major television network — celebrating the country’s National Day to Combat Racial Discrimination. Many of the comments were directed at Maria Julia Coutinho, the first black female meteorologist to work in prime time.
Don’t get my wrong. I am in no way condoning this behavior, which sounds abhorrent. But vigilante justice usually comes at a high price. Some innocents have already paid it.