Commentary: The Recent Spate of Notable Twitter Racists

In the past week, three high-profile men have exposed themselves as racists on Twitter.

Posted: 03/26/2013 05:46 PM EDT

Robert Zimmerman (Photo: CNN)

One of the more troubling trends of recent weeks has been a spate of high-profile people sending out racist, sexist and otherwise offensive bile from their social-media accounts, particularly Twitter.

Robert Zimmerman Jr., brother of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, went on a racist rant this week, alleging that two Black boys arrested for killing a white baby in Georgia had similarities to Martin. “Lib media shld ask if what these2 black teens did 2 a woman&baby is the reason ppl think blacks mightB risky,” tweeted Zimmerman, whose brother is still on trial for Martin’s killing.

Unfortunately, the vague suggestion that is “blacks mightB risky” seems tame compared to some other notable recent Twitter rants.

In less than a week, the New York Post uncovered two racist tweeters within the city’s ranks. The first was New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano’s son, Joseph, an FDNY EMT who was hoping to move up the ladder and perhaps one day take over his father’s job. Those dreams came to an end when it was discovered that Joseph had written reprehensible things on his Twitter profile, including this on MLK Day: “MLK could go kick rocks for all I care, but thanks for the time and a half today,” and this at a later date, "I like jews about as much as hitler #toofar? NOPE." Joseph subsequently resigned after being caught.

Just several days later, the Post also found a racist tweeter in New York EMT Timothy Dluhos. Dluhos’ Twitter profile used a picture of Hitler for its avatar, so you can expect that his tweets weren’t much better. Besides numerous instances of sexism, Dluhos’ Twitter feed also called Mayor Michael Bloomberg “King Heeb,” called Blacks “coloreds” and mocked the grieving mother of slain teenager Kimani Gray, saying, “He was a good boy who never done NUFFIN wrong. Unf--kenreal. He was a perp & died like a perp. Oh well.” Dluhos has since been suspended, but not fired — yet.

For some, the story about these three men is that social media is dangerous and people need to be wary of what they post online. I suppose that’s one way of looking at it. But for me, the greater lesson is in seeing how whimsically and casually these people are throwing around anti-Black slurs and calling Jews “King Heeb.”

I’m disgusted at their language, but I’m fascinated that they seem to have such little shame about it, which leads me to believe that that sort of thing has been normalized in the circles in which these men run. And when those circles are the highest echelons of New York’s emergency services organizations, it makes me nervous.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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