- White middle school students on a Virginia football team took a video simulating sex acts on black team members.
- The video was captioned, “What really goes on in the football locker room.”
- Some experts see this type of behaviour online becoming more prevalent.
A Snapchat video of middle school students simulating the rape of black students ignited fire in the small Virginia community of Glen Allen, The Washington Post reported.
The video, which was captioned, “What really goes on in the football locker room” featured white football players at Short Pump Middle School bending black members of the team over benches and simulating sex acts on them. Another video was captioned “We’re going to f— the black outta these black children from Uganda,” according to The Post.
The video shocked and upset members of 25,000 person suburb of Richmond, Virginia. The team will not play any games for the remainder of the season and a Richmond-based group has said it will file a complaint with the Department of Education (ED).
But the video also highlights a disturbing a trend of racist behaviour on social media by young people, often minors.
At a school district in Pennsylvania high school students posted an image of themselves standing in front of pumpkins carved with racist messages like “KKK” and an image of a swastika, Philly.com reported. More than 200 students walked out of school in protest after the photos appeared online.
And in St. George, Utah, five white female high school students uploaded a video to instagram shouting “f— n——,” repeatedly, according to USA Today.
Posting racist and sexually explicit images online may be becoming more prevalent.
“Social media may elicit a kind of competitive or ‘one-upping’ culture that fuels peer competition around who is the most daring or carefree,” Dara Greenwood, Ph.D., a social psychologist and a professor at Vassar College, told Business Insider for a previous story about social media usage in young people.
Students “may want to push the envelope in ways that seem counterintuitive, as they attempt to both fit in and stand out from their peer groups,” she said.
Students may also be lured into a false sense of anonymity, as they aren’t directly communicating with the people they share their images with.
Greenwood cautions that social-media use among students can also become a form of peer pressure, enticing students to participate in behaviour they might not otherwise.
School districts must respond harshly to harmful racist imaging that appears online, Lorraine Wright, who is a member of the organisation filing a complaint with the ED, told NBC.
“Clearly, the intent was to dehumanize the boy of colour, and that’s something we can’t sweep under the rug and mischaracterize as ‘offensive and wrong’ because it was way beyond that.”
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