Two glasses of champagne and Jack-o-Lantern

IRL newsletter: Boos and brews

Plus: Aunt Karen infiltrates racist Facebook groups.

 

Kris Seavers

IRL

Published Oct 29, 2021   Updated Nov 1, 2021, 10:01 am CDT

Welcome to the Thursday edition of Internet Insider, where we explore identities online and off. Today:

  • Black influencer Aunt Karen is infiltrating ‘white lives matter’ groups to expose racism
  • Viral school assignment asks students to justify destroying Native Hawaiian burial ground
  • Self-care: Boos and brews

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Denise Bradley is exposing anti-Black content in 'white lives matter' groups on Facebook

BREAK THE INTERNET

Black influencer Aunt Karen is infiltrating ‘white lives matter’ groups to expose racism

The Black TikToker who’s known as “Aunt Karen” says she is “infiltrating” Facebook groups that have “white lives matter” and other white supremacy messaging in an effort to expose racism and get the pages removed. 

“We have to take this group down,” Aunt Karen, real name Denise Bradley, says in a now-viral video on Oct. 10. Since being posted, the video has been viewed more than 240,000 times. 

Bradley shared screenshots of posts in the Facebook group White Lives Matter 2.0 of white people saying they’re “terrified” of Superman being Black alongside a photo of Michael B. Jordan in a Superman costume. 

“I want them to feel uncomfortable,” Bradley told the Daily Dot. “They shouldn’t be able to display so much hate and bigotry. They don’t deserve a space on any platform.”

Facebook told the Daily Dot on Tuesday that upon review of comments, the platform removed the White Lives Matter 2.0 group in the wake of our inquiry due to its violation of the community standards of the platform. 

The campaign comes at a price. In a follow-up video, Bradley said that some of the members of the White Lives Matter 2.0 group figured out her agenda and tagged her profile in their posts while calling for her personal identifying information to be shared online. 

“Someone mentioned trying to sue me,” she said. “I’m always worried about my safety.”

The comments were hateful. Posts about Bradley included a pro-Nazi meme and referred to her as a “sub-form of a human.”

Read the full story here.

Samira Sadeque, contributing writer


broken pencil on a keyboard

POOR TASTE

Viral school assignment asks students to justify destroying Native Hawaiian burial ground

In a viral tweet that has since been made private, user @emorydominique shared a screenshot of a school assignment asking students to justify desecrating a Hawaiian burial ground.

Before the tweet went dark, commenters expressed their outrage in the replies. 

“I am actually shaking right now reading this prompt like what the actual fuck,” @emorydominique wrote. 

The prompt in the attached screenshot laid out a scenario between a hypothetical student and their three best friends—a real estate developer, a scientist, and a Native Hawaiian—who have different ideas for what to do with a piece of “choice land that has recently become available.”

The “choice land” is revealed to be a burial ground on which the developer wants to build an “upscale residential development.” The scientist wants to excavate the site “as a contribution to knowledge,” and the Native Hawaiian wants the remains to be “respected and undisturbed.”

The assignment asks students to argue each friend’s case, determine the best and worst outcomes, and decide who should get the land. Students must also explain their answers, including what “feelings and emotions” influenced their decision.

Commenters were outraged that the prompt asked students to justify colonialism and reduced the problems Indigenous people face to a “fun hypothetical” or “interesting discussion.” 

“What can be gained from ‘both side’-ing this?” @kjalexander_ wrote about the assignment.

Read the full story here.

Sabine Joseph, contributing writer


Two glasses of champagne and Jack-o-Lantern
zef art/Shutterstock

SELF-CARE

Boos and brews

I’m really getting into the Halloween spirit this year. My partner and I are hosting a small gathering to mark the occasion, and we quickly went from hanging a few bats to transforming our living room into a fake cobweb and plastic spider-infested paradise.

Maybe it’s because last Halloween was spent in quarantine (we still dressed up using only items we already had). But the DIY bug bit me, and already this week I’ve spent time spray painting wine bottles to use as candle holders and wielding a hot glue gun to make our costumes. We’re dressing as default characters from The Sims, so plumbobs were in order. Thanks, Pinterest!

There are still vampire-themed cupcakes to bake and hot apple cider to mull before the day arrives. But I can’t wait to spend some time with friends dressed as not myself and enjoying the spooky szn vibes. Happy Halloween to all who celebrate, and a merry end-of-October to any who don’t.

Kris Seavers, IRL editor

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*First Published: Oct 29, 2021, 9:55 pm CDT