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MONGERING

Cindy Maddera

Recently I noticed this thing going around Facebook about a man raping a four year old girl and how the hospital where the little girl is getting treatment will get a $1 for every time you share the meme. At the bottom of the meme is a picture of the so-called rapist who just happens to be a young black man. When I first noticed the thing I just ignored it, but the more I thought about the more I could not ignore this. First of all, for any of you who are uncertain about this, NO ONE gets any money every time you share their meme. Bill Gates does not donate $50,000 every time you share something. Bill Gates just donates millions of dollars. Period. 

This is not the part of the meme that bothers me. It just makes me roll my eyes a whole lot. 

Wait. How do I know the meme is a lie besides the obvious "if it looks like a lie, it's probably a lie" reason? I looked it up. The hospital name they use in the meme issued a press statement on their website denouncing the whole thing. It took me less than two minutes to find out this information. I barely had to type my question because Google already knew what I was about to ask. It wasn't difficult. The thing that bothers me the most is how this meme links a horrific act of violence against a child with a man of color, thus perpetuating fear, anger and hatred towards a specific race of humans. The meme is dangerous.

Racist propaganda has been a tool since the invention of print. During World War II, the Nazi's distributed propaganda that depicted Jews as monsters. American cartoonists depicted African American men 'stealing' jobs that should be given to white men who were at war. In fact most cartoons tend to depict non-white characters as dumb, lazy, evil and dangerous. The intent is simple. It is to make you fear and distrust and to see the color white as 'superior' even though we know there is no such thing as a 'superior' race. The problem is that those earlier forms of racist propaganda were so blatantly obvious in their racism with their over drawn features and cliched dialects. The racist propaganda of today is bit more subtle. Tell a horrific story and attach a random picture of any person of color, claiming this person to be the perpetrator. It has become the most hateful and dangerous kind of gossip.  

You know what's more simple than making a racist propaganda meme? Not sharing it.