Twitter hasn’t been kind to black commentators lately. CNN’s Roland Martin put his proverbial tweet in his mouth last week for anti-gay remarks, and earlier this week Fox News columnist Jason Whitlock riffed on a common stereotype when he took aim at Chinese American basketball phenom Jeremy Lin’s masculinity.
Too bad there’s isn’t a firewall for stupidity. But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that the Internet makes for a hell of a forum when it comes to attitudes regarding race.

Several stories of late posted on the NAM Web site stirred readers to open up about their own views. Here’s a sample:

“another asian whiner. So tired of these people. Why didn't I get promoted? Racism! Why did I get a ticket? Racism! Why do my coworkers hate me? Racism!” This in response to a story about a Starbucks employee who drew slanted eyes on a cup in place of the names of the two customers, who happened to be Korean.

“typical blacks,” commented another on a piece about black-Korean tensions in Dallas. “always playing the race card.” Another wrote, “Blacks are more powerful than Koreans in the US. So they pretend like they are white people and can say anything they want and get away with anything they want to other minorities.”

Obviously none of these come from high-profile personalities the likes of a Martin or Whitlock. Rather they come from that vast anonymous sea that is the Internet blogosphere, where what you say or write will not necessarily require a public apology or the loss of your job.

It’s hard to know what to make of comments like this. Are they the ranting of a loud-mouthed minority, or the rumbling of a majority steeped in bigotry? One hopes the former, but fears it’s the latter.

In any case, what the above cases demonstrate is that as a nation we continue to labor under a mountain of stereotypes about one another. And it’s only thanks to the Jeremy Lins out there (and even the Martins and the Whitlocks) that we become aware of them… and maybe eventually break through them.

PS. For a great take on Whitlock’s linanity, see Gwenn Knap in today’s Chron.