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Racism on 500px?

Published November 7th, 2011

I was checking out the new Editor's Choice photographs today when my heart skipped a beat. There's a wonderful portrait, "We All Scream for..." of an African-American man holding an ice cream cone. While perusing the comments (and trying to figure out this new voting system) I was shocked to see one commenter use the "N" word.

I know I'm naive if I believe that the photography community is somehow different from society at large, but I've always found photographers to be more open-minded than most. I wouldn't be suprised to see a comment like this on some online news sites, but found it pretty disheartening to find it here.

The comment may well be gone by the time you read this (although it's was apparently left two months ago) because I just reported it to 500px, as I'm sure others have.

On a separate note, it's nice to see some "older" work being showcased in Editor's Choice. There are many, many undiscovered gems of work out there.

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Mark & Elizabeth Bush  over 6 years ago

Wow. The content of the comment REALLY disappoints me. I would like to think that narrow, racist, bigoted thinking is a rarity, but the sad truth is that it is not. Unfortunately, this is one sad side of freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to express themselves regardless of how small-minded and ignorant it causes them to appear. Thankfully, 500px has the good judgement to remove hate speech. It is one thing to ALLOW speech, but quite another to sponsor it by leaving it to be read.

Jay B. Wilson  over 6 years ago

Thanks for the comment. Agreed that there are certainly different meanings associated with words based on geography. In this particular case, the word was followed by "die" so I'm fairly confident that it wasn't meant innocently. But your point is a valid one, and I'll be doubly sure not to jump to conclusions in the future, given that one of the key attributes of the 500px community is its diversity and global reach.

Mark & Elizabeth Bush  over 6 years ago

While I can't speak to the specific comment you refer to in terms of either commentator or intent, I can share that in some countries, Brazil, for instance, "the N-word" is the legal (constitutional) term for a person of color. I learned this last year from our Brazilian exchange student after her first day in an American high school. Thank goodness that she asked us how we in the US refer to persons of African-American descent before blurting it out in the middle of the hall at school. Our lessons: "a little social understanding goes a long way", and "it is not always what it seems to us that it is."