Tempest in a Tweet

If you were on Twitter yesterday it was nearly impossible to miss the huge showdown occurring over the following messages, tweeted by the GOP in honor of Rosa Parks Day:

Screen shot 2013-12-02 at 2.30.21 PM

It’s immediately clear why people were so outraged.  The idea that racism has ended, that discrimination and prejudice are things of the past, is laughable.  Now, I don’t believe that the GOP’s social media managers and the GOP in general actually think racism is over.  It’s completely possible that the tweet was just hastily and thoughtlessly written or wasn’t proofread.  I think it is pretty remarkable though that a single misplaced or omitted word can transform what could possibly have been an innocent, sincere message into a focus of ridicule for thousands of readers.  No matter the intent of the person who wrote it, that statement is now out in cyberspace for people to judge as they choose.  When you think about it, it’s amazing how many things- reputations, elections, etc- depend entirely on appropriate use of language.  It’s important to think before you speak, but even more important to think, deliberate, and edit before you post online; tweets, comments, and videos spread like wildfire, and the damage often cannot be seen until it’s too late.

– Mary Kate


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