The Times West Virginian


October 28, 2012

Should Twitter comment lead to repercussions?

”I can’t bring myself to think about voting for that colored man #Romney2012”

If I were scrolling through my Twitter feed, that statement would certainly make me stop. What is this, 1960? The use of the word “colored” isn’t just old fashioned; it’s offensive because it directly relates to a time prior to the civil rights movement when black Americans had to follow Jim Crow laws and their individual rights and freedoms were suppressed. It’s just a word, right? But by using the term, it’s almost as if you are relating to that time period, that shameful time period, when “separate but equal” was legally acceptable.

But when you find out that the word is used by a West Virginia University athletic trainer in his 20s, not an some 80-year-old who doesn’t recognize the faux pas, you have to wonder. Athletic department spokesman Mike Fragale told The Associated Press he couldn’t comment on what consequences the student, who works with the football and baseball teams, will face because he is protected by federal student privacy laws. The university is calling it a personnel issue that will be handled internally.

Too bad his statement wasn’t made internally. Too bad his statement was tweeted to the hundreds who followed him and the exponential number of people who saw retweets.

Was it racist? That’s between the kid and God. Was it inappropriate? Most would agree his use of the word “colored” was tasteless and ignorant. Should he face consequences? That’s what we asked readers last week on our online poll question, which can be found each week at Last week, we asked, “A student WVU athletic trainer has been accused of tweeting about the presidential election in a way that could be considered racist. What are your views on the issue?”

And here are your responses:

If you’re in the public spotlight or a public employee, you’re likely to offend someone just by commenting on the weather — 7.14 percent.

If you wouldn’t say it (or show it) on national television, don’t say it on Twitter — 14.29 percent.

You can’t unring a bell. If you’re irresponsible on social media, you should face consequences — 30.61 percent.

Big Brother is watching you ... and apparently follows you on Twitter. Freedom of speech is being stepped on 47.96 percent.

This week, without bringing race into it at all, the biggest question is who will get your vote come Nov. 6.

Log on. Vote. Email me or respond directly online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor


Text Only
  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

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