Thursday, December 4, 2014

Is internet vigilantism ever appropriate?

Outing a CEO or a high-ranking employee with the executive power to actively discriminate against women or gays or minorities is one thing, but targeting average people who post racists screeds on their Facebook or Twitter pages, no matter how abhorrent, can turn into vigilantism run ruinously amok. It already has.

I get that the intentions come from a good place, but shaming people into behaving properly has never cured racism, or we'd be living in a racist-free society today. If anything, it pushes it further underground, where it breeds and festers.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not averse to the good, old-fashioned call out. But the gleeful nature of some activists whose goal is solely to punish (not educate or reform) smacks of entitlement. It's point-scoring activism.