Native Sun News Editorial: Craigslist rants slam Native people

The following editorial appears in the current issue of the Native Sun News. All content © Native Sun News.

Craigslist ‘Rants & Raves’ not good PR
By Jesse Abernathy
Native Sun News Editor

In this age of instantaneous communication via the Internet and other technologically advanced gadgets, the boundaries of freedom of speech and what actually defines that freedom and separates it from hatemongering, especially as it applies to ethnically charged “speech,” are continuously – and unjustifiably – blurred and challenged.

A perfect case in point is Craigslist, the Internet behemoth that serves as a worldwide community go-between for people hawking everything from clothes to cars to homes to sex, and with around 50 billion views, or hits, per month. More specifically, Craigslist is a classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, items wanted, services, community, gigs, resumes and discussion forums. The online site is a dinosaur in terms of Internet longevity, having been around since 1995, and also serves as an extraneous, and more exciting for many, newspaper classifieds section that bolsters local offerings for those busy bees who rather enjoy hunting for and finding what could be deemed a good bargain.

With regard to Craigslist’s so-called discussion forums, there is a section called “Rants and Raves” that quite oddly has been categorized within the personals feature rather than the discussion forums feature, although a good majority of the posts have to do with people expressing their unrestrained anger, hostilities, rage and hatred toward others, whether directed at another individual or an entire group of people as represented by another culture. For many white citizens living in the Rapid City area, the latter seems to hold true – a lot of their unleashed, hate-based emotions are directed at the area’s original inhabitants, the Native American populace.

And there are other white citizens who feed off of their hatred and post related or responsive entries of their own, much as discussion threads play out on other social networking websites. There are Natives who attempt to offer some semblance of sense included in the mix as well, but the overarching reality here is that there are white citizens in this area spreading their ethnically based hatred via the Internet. And for some, this is in addition to the hatred they spread in the real world. But for others, this cyberspace world serves as a shield for their cowardice, the only means by which these people are able to insidiously, anonymously and frighteningly spew their hatred for Native Americans and other human beings who may not quite look, dress, speak, think, work, celebrate, believe, feel, perceive, live or act the way they do. The key term here is “human being,” and many – but certainly not all – white people need to wake up and start realizing there’s not a damn thing wrong with diversity among all of us human beings and that the “white way” is not the “right way.” Life is too short to be consumed by hate.

The following Craigslist post, entitled “STUPID INDIANS: We DID NOT take your land!!! (RC)” and espousing murderous violence, from the Rants and Raves section of the personals category literally speaks volumes about what is being addressed here. It was taken from the combined Rapid City and western South Dakota region page of the Craigslist website and was originally posted on Oct. 21 at 2:09 a.m. MDT – although it appears to have since been removed from the site. Other posts of a similar nature, however, have been left intact by Craigslist site administrators:
“I am so tired of your whining, your complaining and your bitching how we ‘WHITES’ took your land. Seriously?!?! SHUT UP already, that was the past and you miserable excuses for human beings really make the rest of the Indian population look bad. Let me make it perfectly clear, you SIOUX INDIANS are the worst of your kind. You’re a bunch of drunks, moochers and you have ruined Rapid City in the worst possible way. Yet, you have the nerve to bitch to ‘WHITE’ folks how we took your land. I think you all have a few screws loose in your heads, because i do not remember that we ever took your land, you are all clearly mistaken. Besides, who cares as that was over a hundred years ago and you are still talking about it as if it was today?

“You are pathetic, so why don’t you take your TPs and move back to Alaska with the rest of your kind. You are a bunch of INDIAN SAVAGES. You can’t even keep your own people out of the creek, so how many more are going to die before you all clean up your act. It would be a lot better if Hitler erradicated the Indians instead of the Jews. The jews never did anything wrong, and here we have a bunch of mooching, low life, drunk and pathetic Indians running around causing more crime that we don’t need. You also cause more accidents in Rapid City, then you speed off and wonder why we all hate you. STUPID INDIANS, you’re a bunch of cowards and if there was a law like taking control of the deer population, only taking care of the INDIAN population, i would gladly gun you all down.

“Thank You very much, and yes we are damn proud we stole your land!!!”

Coward, indeed. An email address link to reply, gvxdn-3353958188@pers.craigslist.org, is included underneath the post’s heading, though it may now be disabled.

It is time to let Craigslist heads know such “Rants and Raves” will not be tolerated. Contact founder, chairman and customer service representative Craig Newmark at craig@craigslist.org or president, CEO and programmer Jim Buckmaster at jim@craigslist.org. Both men may also be reached via San Francisco headquarters at (415) 566-6394, (408) 988-6395 or toll free 800-664-0633.

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