Code

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Alex Kantrowitz, "Racist Social Media users Have A New Code To Avoid Censorship", BuzzFeed 10/1/2016:

Racist online communities have developed a new code for racial, homophobic and bigoted slurs in an attempt avoid censorship.

The code, using terms like Google, Skittle, and Yahoo as substitutes for offensive words describing blacks, Muslims and Mexicans, appears to be in use by various accounts on Twitter and elsewhere.

It's easy to find examples:

Or again:



19 Comments

  1. Mara K said,

    October 2, 2016 @ 11:03 am

    *shudder* Now what do we do?

  2. Rodger C said,

    October 2, 2016 @ 11:41 am

    Wasn't it Fr. Coughlin, or was it someone else of that era, who used to refer to the perfidious race of grasping international bankers as "the Eskimos"?

  3. Tom O'Brien said,

    October 2, 2016 @ 12:27 pm

    One week ago, I was visiting the Mittelbau concentration camp near Nordhausen, Germany, where thousands of slave laborers were worked or starved to death, or simply murdered. My father was one of the U.S. soldiers who liberated this camp.

    Today, seeing the vile, Julius Streicher style drawing, and a tweet from someone who dares to call himself @DolfysGasNGrill, I'm physically shaken.

    No one has to provide a forum to white racists, anti-Semites, and other bigots; but being human they will find ways to talk to each other, openly or in code to get around censorship. And current events embolden them.

    "May Internationale thunder and ring
    "When, for all time, is buried and forgotten
    "The last of antisemites on this earth."
    — Yevtushenko, Baba Yar

  4. Pat Barrett said,

    October 2, 2016 @ 1:58 pm

    I read that Pat Robertson wrote a book in which he used "Germans" as a code word for Jews.

  5. Lester said,

    October 2, 2016 @ 4:47 pm

    At my company, we fired some wise guys who referred to African-Americans as "Canadians."

  6. Marc said,

    October 2, 2016 @ 5:47 pm

    Puts an even uglier spin on Trump Jr.'s Skittles comments, as pointed out by the NYT.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/21/us/politics/donald-trump-jr-faces-backlash-after-comparing-syrian-refugees-to-skittles-that-can-kill.html

  7. Rebecca said,

    October 2, 2016 @ 6:46 pm

    Interesting observation, Marc. I wonder if Trump Jr's Skittle remark inspired this "code", or is it something that already existed and he's using it. Either way, not pretty.

  8. Charles in Toronto said,

    October 2, 2016 @ 9:08 pm

    Speaking as a Jew… if someone called me a "Skype" I'd have trouble feeling offended because they'd sound so ridiculous.

  9. Rose Eneri said,

    October 3, 2016 @ 9:14 am

    Is this is an example of a dysphemism treadmill?

  10. J.W. Brewer said,

    October 3, 2016 @ 10:04 am

    I have also heard of "Canadian" being used as code for "Jew," but I'm gonna guess Charles in Toronto might have trouble feeling offended by that one as well . . .

  11. January First-of-May said,

    October 3, 2016 @ 11:31 am

    Speaking as a Jew… if someone called me a "Skype" I'd have trouble feeling offended because they'd sound so ridiculous.

    Speaking as a (partial) Jew, I don't think I've even been referred to with *any* racial slurs yet (not that I know of, anyway), but if I was ever called a "Skype" I'd probably also consider it silly rather than offending, even if I knew it was supposed to be a racial slur.

  12. Vulcan With a Mullet said,

    October 3, 2016 @ 11:41 am

    "car salesmen"?

  13. david said,

    October 3, 2016 @ 12:11 pm

    Could Skype be a take-off on Kike?

  14. Viseguy said,

    October 3, 2016 @ 5:42 pm

    @Rebecca: I had the same question about "Skittles". Absent a preexisting meme, origin Trump Jr. seems likely to me. Who even thinks about Skittles, otherwise? (I'm a Good & Plenty man, myself, a brand name that's antithetical to Trump's gloom-and-doom narrative, thankfully.)

  15. chris said,

    October 3, 2016 @ 8:40 pm

    I think david is on to something: "Skype" is an ostensibly-innocent word that sounds a *lot* like a historical racial slur that they wouldn't be willing to use openly.

    It's ostensibly innocent because it is an actual word already in use to mean something unrelated; a property most of this code shares, probably to make it more difficult to locate or screen out, especially in automated ways.

  16. Nancy Friedman said,

    October 3, 2016 @ 10:35 pm

    According to Buzzfeed:

    "The code appears to have originated in response to Google's Jigsaw program, a new AI-powered approach to combating harassment and abuse online. The program seems to have inspired members of the online message board 4chan to start 'Operation Google,' using 'Google' as a derogatory term for a black person in an attempt to get Google to filter out its own name. The code developed from there."
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexkantrowitz/racist-social-media-users-have-a-new-code-to-avoid-censorshi?utm_term=.nmMwKza2B#.fkr5QVRDe

  17. Keith said,

    October 4, 2016 @ 3:23 am

    The term "yahoo" used to mean (in the UK, at least) a loud, obnoxious person.

    Merriam Webster online gives the definition "a member of a race of brutes in Swift's Gulliver's Travels who have the form and all the vices of humans".

    What is it used for in the context of "skittles and skypes"?

    [(myl) The quoted passage from BuzzFeed says that "he code, using terms like Google, Skittle, and Yahoo as substitutes for offensive words describing blacks, Muslims and Mexicans, appears to be in use by various accounts on Twitter and elsewhere."]

  18. Mateusz said,

    October 4, 2016 @ 3:46 am

    The code emerged right after google announced they'll employ a system that will censor youtube comments in real-time so that no racial slur and other offensive stuff can get through.

    This might seem as a good idea to some, however I think this type of censorship may prove to be very very dangerous. Imagine a day when some wisecrack back at google or wherever comes up with the idea that it will be great if no comments criticizing his company appear. Or a company A paying the online service to disallow people from expressing dissatisfaction with their product.

  19. Margaret Wilson said,

    October 4, 2016 @ 9:53 am

    My understanding is that the skittles thing pre-dates Trump Jr.'s remark. It was a re-tread of a common racist analogy using M&M's, changed to Skittles after Treyvon Martin.

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