One of my biggest peeves with the expanding digital age is the ability to use the medium to say things one would never say in person. In many ways the world wide web is a shield for those who want to talk reckless and speak louder than their real lives would allow them too. And while that is a personal peeve, it turns out it is also a dangerous cultural trend as well.

TIME Techland reported on the growing gap between online behavior and in person behavior as it applies to offensive slurs and found that the internet has made many go numb to seeing hurtful words on their cellphone, tablet and computer screens.

Some slurs like “slut” and “retard” vary in their perceived offensiveness to those polled, but also include some incredibly offensive words like the “N-word.” Curiously, when the respondents were surveyed broadly about offensive terms, half said they wouldn’t use them. However, 54% said they would be okay using such terms around friends.

There’s also something about the Internet providing a crutch for others. About 61% of those polled said that they wouldn’t be bothered very much or at all if they saw someone using the “N-word” online or in a text message. That doesn’t change the fact that about 60% of African-American kids included in the survey would still be offended if they saw that word used against someone, according to the poll results.

So what gives? Why are people more likely to see slurs on the internet as less harmful than ones in person? According to The Associated Press:

“Those surveyed are twice as likely to say biased slurs are used to be funny as they are to think that the user is expressing hateful feelings toward a group of people. Another popular reason: to sound cool.”


What do you think Clutchettes- does the internet desensitize us to racial slurs? Weigh in and let’s discuss!

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  • SAA

    while this is disturbing, its not very surprising. Even on this website in the comments section there are things people say that they wouldn’t dare say in a public space. My bottomline when it comes down to the n word is that everyone should stop saying it- blacks included. It may be a term of endearment to some people but in my opinion thats a load of crap. Jewish people do not go around greeting each other “what’s up my k**e” so why would it be any different when it comes to the n word.

  • African Mami

    It’s called e-thuggin! Thatisall.

  • Bunny

    This is why I don’t participate in MMORPGs, especially with live functions because you can be guaranteed some 13 yr old kid is going to be playing with you, should “nigger!” into the mic everytime they take a shot at something

    • beautiful explosion

      I agree. Little kids (and some adults) can be pretty offensive while playing online games. I stopped playing certain games because my black avatar was constantly being called the n-word…ridiculous

  • oraclebunny

    My issue with it is since when did it become an offensive thing to express your opinion – we do have free speech, don’t we? The word itself means ignorant person(oh, I’m sorry, many people may not know this because they took it out of the dictionary) and God knows there are many those in many different colors and races! Only attached to Blacks because of slavery – well that’s been 150 years, time to let it go…. The Black race has taken it upon themselves to have a “word” to hide behind, so they can automatically have another thing to complain about how hard life is. Let’s grow up and realize that the harder you try to stop it, the more it will happen because human nature is to pick on the weak! They know it gets to you – ignore it and it will stop.