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
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    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law

    West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.

    April 9, 2014

  • Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region

    Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
    That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
    When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.

    April 6, 2014

  • COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community

    There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
    I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.

    April 6, 2014

  • Putting a cost on safety issue has been culprit in 13 traffic deaths

    Would you believe that an item costing just 57 cents — less than the price of a can of pop — is being cited as the culprit in 13 traffic deaths?
    A simple 57-cent item.
    That’s how much fixing the fatal ignition switches that General Motors installed in new automobiles would have cost, and 13 lives would probably have been saved.

    April 4, 2014

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