It seems like a great time to be a bully. When I was a kid, even the most productive bullies could only manage a handful of victims at a time. What used to take a lot of effort can now be handled with a couple thumbs and some wifi. A hateful rumor can spread a lot faster on Facebook than it could on the school bathroom wall.
And while it used to require a certain set of characteristics to thrive as a bully, the internet makes it simple for almost anyone to graduate from cowering weakling to kicking virtual sand in the face of friends and strangers in no time. If you’ve spent more than five minutes reading Internet comments, you know that being a cyberbully requires about the same level of exertion and fortitude as screaming obscenities at other drivers while you cruise down the freeway with your windows rolled up.
And the bullies have figured this out. Cyberbullying has become so prevalent that several states are considering the enactment of laws targeting its perpetrators. The federal government even has a site dedicated to the troubling trend.
The connection between bully and target is so seamless that hate speech can often spread more rapidly than its originator ever intended. One assumes that’s the case with UCLA student Alexandra Wallace, who recorded a three-minute rant against Asian students, in particular those who use cell phones in her school library. In the video, which she posted on YouTube, Wallace shared her version of the Asian language (including several ching chongs and ling longs), urged Asians who come to UCLA to first adopt “American manners,” and for good measure even managed to work in a reference to the tsunami in Japan.
The video went viral. Its contents and the reaction it generated made it all the way to the pages of the New York Times. In a previous era, it would have taken Alexandra Wallace several lifetimes to even encounter as many Asian students as she managed to offend in three minutes.
I’m sure Wallace regrets posting that YouTube video — and will likely continue to suffer the repercussions thanks to the web’s reach and permanence.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com