By Ray Charlston
Racists around the world have discovered a new way of promoting hatred. Following the recommendations of Edward Thompson, an online blogger, racists have begun re-naming their wireless networks “Race Realist” or “Race Realism” in an attempt to intimidate minorities and spread their intolerant views. Authorities are currently investigating whether this action constitutes hate-speech, which is illegal in most of Europe but not in the US yet.
For those who do not know, a wireless network refers to a computer network. In this case, one operating from an individual’s home or business which provides wireless internet access for him or her, often for a family, or an office. For some time now, individuals have been able to select a name or designation of their choice for their wireless network. Computers in the vicinity of a wireless network will often automatically detect it, listing the name of a local network or networks.
On his very offensive, racist, sexist, and homophobic blog, Edward Thompson states that his purpose is to “Spread an awareness of Race Realism.” He states that “when a computer detects the wireless network, and people see the name ‘Race Realist’ it may spike their curiosity or interest. They may do an internet search to find out more information. Its great free publicity that costs nothing more than one’s existing internet service subscription.”
Thompson, while claiming that “Race Realist” is his favourite wireless network name, also suggests that racist individuals might alternate between names or vary them in order to reach neighbours or others in their vicinity with multiple offensive concepts. Among other network names besides “Race Realist” or “Race Realism” Thompson suggests “Gender Realist, Gender Realism, Sex Differences In IQ, Race IQ Differences, Race Crime Statistics, Immigrant Welfare Rates, and Immigrant Crime Stats.” Thompson also notes that individuals could use the name of a favourite race or sex realist web-site in order to spread their hateful views, telling his readers to “be creative and think outside the box.”
In the UK, a new government agency was recently created, the Department of Internet Activities And Regulations. The new department approves the use of wireless network names. Five days ago Tom Beckett was sentenced to 6 years in prison and a £ 20,000 fine for naming his wireless network “margaret is a big fat fatty.” Fat shaming is also illegal in the UK under new laws. According to Reginald Ferguson, a spokesperson for the new department “Freedom of speech and expression is a great western tradition. It is an important value we recognize, however, it is not the only value. No person has a right to say something that may hurt someone else’s feelings or injure their self-esteem. Such ‘speech’ is a crime, an attack upon another person.”
According to Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center “Unfortunately, it is not a crime under present US law for individuals to designate offensive racist names for their wireless networks. We want to change that. Our experienced legal team has formulated a strategy to use the power of the judiciary to create new laws to criminalize dangerous hate speech. Clearly these offensive and disgusting wireless router names constitute terrorism! Unwilling individuals are forced to read racist views against their will when their computers detect and list local wireless networks. Victims find these views emotionally traumatizing, in many cases psychiatric counselling becomes necessary.”
Let us hope that the SPLC is successful in their attempt to ban this latest form of internet terrorism. Until that time, psychologists, social-workers, teachers and human rights activists urge parents to watch their children if and when they use the internet. Children and teenagers should be expressly told not to look at the names of wireless networks for their own protection. If a child has seen a racist or sexist wireless network name, or seen a web site of a racist nature, he is urged to talk with his parents and a counsellor immediately.
Children and teenagers especially, but also adults who casually surf the net, must be warned about the existence of web-sites promoting hatred. A dangerous new breed of white supremacist sites seek to propagate ugly racist views by persuading individuals that different races of people exist, and that they differ in IQ, brain size, testosterone levels, crime rates, and the rate of use of government welfare programs.
If you have seen a hateful or racist web-site, experts urge you to add the site address to the block list on your internet browser immediately for your own protection. Fortunately, organizations like the Anti-Defamation League offer a special software program for libraries and schools which filters out hate sites, blocking access to them to protect the public.
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