Last night, Baratunde Thurston decided to count the number of black people attending the Republican National Convention (SPOILER ALERT: there weren’t very many). As Thurston explains:
Obviously, I needed a hashtag, and #blackcount, #blackGOPcensus, and #negrorollcall were all boring. Inspired by the Food Spotting app, I went with #negrospotting. It rolls nicely off the tongue and clearly communicated my activities. Besides, if you’ve ever been the minority in the room (white people too), you know you’ve probably counted members of your own population. I just wanted to add a unique branding and some methodological rigor to the generally implicit practice in which we all engage.
And then, “something magical happened.” Michelle Malkin, conservative lady of color and mean-spirited bigot, tweeted this tweet:
This moment deserves special consideration, because it changed everything. First, it exploded my Twitter, opening the floodgates to all sorts of angry, ignorant, horrifying, hateful, confused, and stupid comments. Apparently, calling out the GOP for racism makes you a racist, and I do understand that if you just stumbled across “negrospotting” sans context, that might actually be offensive. I ignored most of this blowback or else interacted in a way that preserved my sanity.
Indeed, conservatives on Twitter, who were VERY VERY UPSET, because of all the racism! Stop being so racist, they yelled at an invisible chair, after white people solved racism, ages ago! Some examples:
But this backfired, because it meant that SUCCESSFUL TROLL HAD BEEN SUCCESSFUL. For America! Baratunde concludes:
[the conservative blowback] gave me a deep sense of satisfaction. I had managed to upset Michelle Malkin, and that meant I had done something wonderful for my country. It was the greatest reward and gave me the energy to Keep. Counting. Negroes.
I am excited the see what kinds of
thoughtful discussions about race incoherent name-calling #negrospotting inspires amongst the people hired to incoherently name-call, on television!