A reader called me Wednesday to say what an absolute abomination the
Register's Web site has become because of the racist comments some
readers are posting below stories about the state patrol troopers and their
KKK prank. I must immediately remove all these comments, she said, and the Register should cut off the reader comment sections on these stories.
I share her frustration.
But if we shut down the comments section on these stories would we simply be trying to hide the racism that exists in our community? If we do that will the bigots simply cease to exist? Should we deny everyone the opportunity to offer their opinions on this important story because some comments are extremely offensive?
Should we allow some people out there who would proudly wear the white hood of a Klansman to shut down the comments section on these stories?
Hide it all and it will go away?
We have removed dozens of hate comments and are being forced to act as an
uncomfortable censor in this situation. We may very well be forced to shut
down the comments section on these stories, as the caller suggested, but
what exactly will that accomplish? Everyone will get to pretend racist bigots do not exist, and all will be well in our community again.
Racism is like a cancer on a community. Isn't it better to know you have
cancer, to acknowledge and fight it or would it be better to simply hide it
That, it seems to me, is the choice. I don't know the correct answer.