Huffington Post’s troubling list, “The 10 Most Anti-Semitic Reactions To The Ryan Braun Suspension On Twitter”

anti-semitism

‘Anti-Semitism.’ Flickr/Quinn Dombrowski


Some anonymous producer over at Huffington Post aggregated a list of the most anti-Semitic Tweets responding to the suspension of Ryan Braun, who has a Jewish parent.

The post is troubling for (in the spirit of organizing the entire world into lists) a few reasons:

  1. However one defines the word anti-Semitism, and it’s certainly a tough thing to pin down exactly, it ought to have something to do with intent. The list that HuffPost created has no context, and does little in the way of conveying the tones of the Tweets. If the blog had a reputation for always carefully vetting the Twitter profiles it cast into the spotlight and making sure that the Tweets in question weren’t meant ironically or humorously, that would be another story, but…
  2. Some of the Tweets, such as “Nothing good ever happens to Jews” sounds more like a Talmudic statement than an anti-Semitic one, and the notion that Jews need to take steroids because they aren’t good at sports is one that would get laughs on the night shows.
  3. The whole idea of a top 10 list of anti-Semitic responses to a baseball player being suspended is difficult to comprehend. Is the suggestion that there is an overwhelming surge of anti-Semitic hate speech being directed at Braun — for some reason — or is this something that all (the very few) Jewish ball players have to endure? Or, if these are 10 Tweets that needed to be dug up out of thousands upon thousands of Tweets about Braun, why bring attention to these ones?
  4. Looking at the post now, it’s interesting to note the following about the people quoted:
    1. @JMahoney26 (feed is now blocked, which begs the question of whether it was blocked since the post, or how and why the Tweet was shared)
    2. @JimmyJabs5 (no longer exists)
    3. @JMahoney26 (who notes that the Tweet was taken out of context, and added to his bio that he’s a “Proud Jew who is disappointed in Ryan Braun)
    4. @bornin93 (no longer exists)
    5. @TylerWinslett1 (no longer exists)
    6. @Just_In_Time618 (who has Tweeted it was a joke)
    7. @THEFREEMAN24 (still active, no comment yet)
    8. @DJTHAImyshoes (no longer exists)
    9. @FakeDirks (who calls it a joke)
    10. @JustinMagic_ (who says it was a joke)

The responses seem to indicate that this post was ill advised (and perhaps even hurtful) to begin with…

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3 Comments

  1. I pulled really anti-Semitic ones; I don’t think there’s a whole lot of doubt about the context of these and, to be honest, bigoted jokes (or someone later claiming it was just a joke) are still bigoted, right? Anyhow, here are more than ten and none, I think, that aren’t clear in their intent:

    http://tmblr.co/ZjF_YyqPvMNO

    • Menachem Wecker

       /  July 23, 2013

      That’s a much better argument than HuffPost made, and your concluding sentence, “One of the real virtues of Twitter is that it can show you, in real time, how much progress we haven’t made,” is very well said — although of course sad. Do you think this is anything near a sizable minority on Twitter though? Or is this just a handful of people in an enormous landscape of Tweets?

      • I think it’s not clear. All I did was a quick search for “Ryan Braun Jew” and got hundreds and hundreds of tweets. I suspect that additional searches would turn up more of this sort of thing. It’s still obviously a pretty small subset of what’s going on online at any given time, but it’s noteworthy, I think, how many are young people and how many are so open with their bigotry being tied back to them (with their names, faces, and even locations attached to their tweets).

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