Greg Howard writes in Slate:
If someone called us these names to our faces, or even if we overheard them, how would we react? Ask them to stop? Throw a punch? Walk away? All of the above, and in that order? Now what would we do if those words popped up on our Facebook wall, Twitter feed or cell phone? Would we … laugh?
According to a recent national Associated Press-MTV poll of young people between 14 and 24, most teens and young 20-somethings think it’s alright to use slurs among friends or when joking around in cyberspace. Seventy-one percent say that people are more likely to use slurs online, and 51 percent encounter discriminatory words and images on social networking sites. Only half of those surveyed said they would probably ask someone using such language online to stop.
Most say they feel more comfortable with slurs online because people are just trying to be funny or cool. Fifty-four percent of young people think it’s okay to use discriminatory language within their circle of friends because people “know we don’t mean it,” according to the survey. In short, it’s become an accepted part of people’s experience online.
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