IRC on American Tea Party Racism:
Truth to Power
By J. Swindler and DragonLady
Some ask why there is no national dialogue on racism, especially the racism that is continuing to be exposed within the Tea Party. The media argues back and forth as to the existence of such among the Tea Party rank and file. Sarah Palin is shocked at even the very suggestion of racism among her faithful followers and instructs us not to listen to the "lamestream" media but, rather, to believe only her. Fox News tries to paint the Democrats as the true racists and left wing pundits blame the Republicans for not taking the matter seriously.
Certain bloggers try to trump up racism where it doesn't even exist, case in point being Andrew Breitbart, the blogger recently busted on national television for doing same. National polls tell us one thing one day and another the next but seldom tell us who paid for the poll to begin with. Some Tea Party candidates have had to re-explain what seems at first blush to be very racist remarks, while others won't offer an explanation or even a hint of apology for their own more than obvious racist words. Even the Tea Party leadership argues amongst themselves about racism within their midst. So many pointing fingers but what are we to believe? Who are we to believe?
Many say we should simply just talk about racism openly, often lamenting that we don't, but are unaware millions of us do discuss it in depth every single day. There is and has been an ongoing conversation on race available to all since the early 1990's, not just in America, but internationally as well. This open conversation is an often rough and tumble smorgasbord of views on the subject, a discussion which, no matter the course it takes, is generally thought provoking and interesting, but never dull. It may be too uncomfortable for some, shocking and disgusting at times to many, but what each of us contribute to this national discourse on race is always, always, revealing to and of ourselves.
This discussion on racism is not taking place in what is obviously biased corporate media, nor is it taking place during polite political fund raisers or even less than polite political rallies. It's not the word of any one blogger, one pundit, one politician or some twitting queen holding court. The words of the conversation are not under the control of televised commentary by the few nor can these words be controlled by any of the above. It is an unlimited, highly uncensored discourse on race that all are able to join in if they can take the heat, if they can stomach the view and if they can tolerate more than a few political trolls who are more into themselves than they are actual debate.
This national conversation occurs 24/7 on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) which is a form of Internet text messaging called chat that allows for real-time communication in channels, which are also referred to as chat rooms. IRC has been used by people in various countries during governmental media blackouts as an underground source of communication. IRC was also used with great success as a tool for families to connect with each other immediately after the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attack, as well as a way to stay up with the news minute by minute through a wide range of sources as these events unfolded. IRC even helps families stay connected through time of war.
The millions of chatters using IRC present us with a national collage of the American thought process on racism. The various views on this and other subjects come from your neighbors, your co-workers, your bosses and your relatives, friends you know and friends you've yet to meet, strangers and the strange, enemies you will immediately recognize and some you will make. IRC also gives us international opinions as to our American and sometimes not so American actions and attitudes. It is people you won't forget and views you wish you could. It is a multitude of conversations held by the multitudes, some of which you won't be able to put out of your mind and may even spur you on to further political action. It is the actual real-time voice of Americans and internationals giving their own opinion in their own style through their own particular and sometimes peculiar political and personal perspectives. IRC is an upfront, in your face Internet dialogue which reveals far more than than intended. It is a painfully truthful mirror of our collective and individual mindsets.
You want to know what the Tea Party thinks and how they behave? Watch them in action while they type their hearts out under the guise of anonymity. Visit their chat channels and ask them questions. Tell them you are a black person who supports Obama or a Hispanic who supports the birthright of those born in America to parents without citizenship and watch their reaction. Tell them you are Muslim and support the building of the Cordoba mosque near the WTC site and see what goes down. Watch and learn. Listen and lurk.
Visit many types of political channels in order to decide for yourself if the numerous Tea Party chatters you find on IRC walk the talk and practice what they preach regarding their supposed absence of racism. Make it a full chat research experiment before you make up your own mind regarding any label for any group pushed on us by those in power. If you truly want to see what the Tea Party actually thinks, rather than blindly accepting what those in power tell us we think, then use the way and the means offered by IRC. See for yourself. See it with your own eyes.
IRC is the perfect political window pane you need to view the Tea Party soul as the anonymity provided contributes to the freedom of expression necessary for a clear view. It offers the same view into the soul of all of who dare to join this Internet vehicle for open and anonymous conservation. It is the last remaining public frontier of the collective global voice and an untapped source for political activism.
There are thousands of IRC networks and most of the moderate or large sized networks contain political channels of all shapes, sizes, ideologies, and purpose. One is able to navigate IRC successfully and safely with a few commonsense tips. This personal political fact finding tour, and adventure I may add, into the American mindset on racism and other issues requires less than even the basics of computer knowledge. It's easy, it's free and it is ours.
Well, how do we get there, how do we join or watch this great national debate on race? Where do we find this discussion held not by politicians nor force fed us by paid news pundits, but a real talk with everyday people about racism? I suggest starting with one of the largest networks, Undernet, and connecting to their servers through their website using Java. If an IRC newbie, it's probably a good idea before venturing out into the huge IRC world of unbridled chat to get your feet wet by starting with with one of the more moderated channels that hold the chatters to simple rules of civil debate such as #political on the Undernet.