The salaciously-titled Gizmodo post "Why I Stalk a Sexy Black Woman on Twitter (And Why You Should, Too)" has all the hallmarks of an off-the-cuff article intended to be witty and funny, but instead comes across "creepy", "clueless", "racist" and plenty of other unprintable things bloggers and commenters have called it. The writer, Joel Johnson, describes his experience following (or "stalking") a "sexy," black, religious stranger on Twitter, admiring her photos and finding her Christianity alternately "charming" and "frustratingly childish." Not knowing the woman personally, he urges readers to take part in "the joy of discovery that can come by weaving a stranger's life into your own."
The post ignited a firestorm of wildly varying opinions—many of them angry, offended, and confused.
- 'I Thought Trolls Were Only Supposed to Be in the Comments, not writing the articles..." writes Gizmodo Commenter, Randal T Scandal
- 'I Don't Think It's Sexist to Look at Women's Profiles on Facebook or follow people you're attracted to on Twitter. However, I do think that encouraging men to creep (even though he used the word "stalk," creeping is a more apt decision of Johnson's behavior) women on social networking sites can reinforce the idea that women -- especially women of color -- are always on display and accessible to men, which is the attitude that is at the heart of a lot of offline sexist behavior", writes Ann at Feministing.
- 'Joel and His Editor Either Didn't Understand or Didn't Care how
this would obviously be perceived. In America where minorities are
constantly looked at as 'other', the author and the site decided to
give an example of examining an 'other' to learn about how they might
work. Even if this was written with the best of intentions, the idea of
using this young black Christian woman as a 'data point' for hypotheses
on a culture is incendiary and would obviously draw sharp criticism,"
explains Elon James White at Giantlife.
- 'This Article Wasn't Racist. Just. Weird.' writes Gizmodo commenter Plexy.
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