Baltimore Riots stir racist comments in Yik Yak posts

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    The chat app Yik Yak urges users to get “a live feed of what everyone around you is saying.”

    But when the feed on TCU’s campus turned to the rioting in Baltimore Monday evening, some users found themselves in the middle of racist rants about the rioters and in some cases, African Americans in general.

    Demonstrators in the West section of Baltimore clashed with police hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray. The 25-year-old black man died April 19, days after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody.

    On Monday evening, CNN and other news outlets showed live coverage of rioting and looting.

    Yik Yak is an anonymous app that connects people within a 10-mile radius. Some “yakkers” in the TCU area denounced the rioting.

    “Peaceful protest my a – -” one post wrote. “Rioters should get bathed in tear gas.”

    “Blacks inherently have less income,” wrote another post. “Therefore, they are less educated and more prone to violence. These are proven economic theories.”

    “Black people make up the majority of the prison population but only make up 16 percent of the population,” one post said.

    “Forget the national guard. Send in the Marines and show these looters what a war zone really looks like,” wrote in another post.

    Kathy Cavins-Tull, vice chancellor of student affairs, said the university views the posts put on Yik Yak as “reality checks that we are not where we need to be as a community and as individual educators of students.”

    “They are disappointing and not a good example of the mission that brings us together as a community,” Cavins-Tull said.

    Beverly Anonyei, a junior Spanish major, wrote to Chancellor Victor Boschini about her concerns from reading these posts on Yik Yak. He provided a prompt response.

    “First, I hate Yik Yak because the people saying these things are not just racists but also cowards,” Boschini said in his email response.

    TCU’s Black Student Association released a statement on Tuesday afternoon about the posts on Yik Yak.

    “It’s sad that we have to deal with racism on campus,” said Mequilla Powell, president of BSA. “However, this is where BSA comes in. BSA is dedicated to being the voice of the African American community and also making sure that there is a positive presence of the African American community.”

    Some people objected to the comments.

    “This is absolutely disgusting in all circumstances,” wrote in one post. “All we can do here in Texas is respect each other, no matter where we are from and what our backgrounds are.”

    “Are we seriously calling blacks animals here? It’s 2015…There are sh—y and good people of all races,” wrote in another post.

    Cavins-Tull said she hopes people choose to build others up, but the reality is that some people choose to tear others down.

    “We all have responsibility to address things we know are wrong,” Cavins-Tull said.

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