This teenager was, of course, the 19-year-old singer and pop star Justin Bieber.
|I blurred the face of the inmate - he is not accused of raping Justin Bieber|
The picture has been "liked" by roughly 400,000 people and shared close to 150,000 times on Facebook. In the comments section thousands of individuals expressed happiness about how gangs of black men will now rape the pop star and how he deserves it. Many of the commenters also uploaded manipulated images featuring black men raping Justin Bieber.
Assorted commentsThere are about 17,000 comments to this image. Here's a very small selection of them.
- Matteo Paola: "I still wish that upon him. He is one of the worst human beings ever. And he gets away with it all because of his stupid idiotic fanbase."
- Jeremy Sxe Jagoda: "who cares its still funny"
- Fernando Chali posted an image showing Justin Bieber pregnant after said prison rape.
- Rhys Chalmers posted a picture suggesting that the rapist will not use lubricant, thus causing more pain.
- Jordan McElhinney, among others, posted pictures suggesting that big black men tell Bieber to drop the soap before raping him.
- Eru Electroboy: "respect this comment, hes gona get raped in jail"
Several people also suggested that Bieber deserves to get sexually abused because a girl committed suicide after Bieber had taunted her publicly. This story is, of course, a hoax.
Several commenters also said that others should not call for raping and mutilating other people just because they don't like them. Brian Klipp answered "Found the butthurt Biebs fan" - and many others said "Welcome to the Internet", suggesting that on the Internet it is customary and permissible to say anything. Sorry guys, that is 4chan, not the whole Internet.
You are on Facebook, showing your real names and photos of you smiling with your kids, with your professors and friends, saying how happy you are that another person gets raped in prison. By a black man.
Rape shameOf course, we know that rape is mostly not about sexual intercourse - it is about shame, humiliation, degradation. That is why it was so common during the French revolution in 1792 and Soviet occupation of Berlin in 1945, for example. Even though Bieber is a popular recording artists, his music and image irritate many so much that they want him to suffer the ultimate humiliation. Which, to many, is being raped by a black man in prison.
Now, in many cultures, homosexual intercourse is a shame by itself. A true man will only show his worth by having sex with women, and others are "faggots". Even worse is being raped, because then a man is lowered into a "bitch". This is precisely the situation where so many individuals want Justin Bieber to be.
Feminist activists often mention "rape culture" - idea that quiet acceptance of sexual abuse, humiliation and harassment is integrated to the society so much that we don't even recognize when we support abuse of women. While I don't agree with the prevalence of this type of "culture", the idea still makes sense on some level. However, I do not often see people openly claiming that some certain woman (celebrity or not) should be raped, to "teach her a lesson" or to just to humiliate her. I didn't see it even when Paris Hilton or Britney Spears were jailed, even though they were also disliked by many. Yet now I can see thousands of people publicly fantasizing about sexually abusing Justin Bieber. Is this rape culture? Or just light-hearted Internet humor?
Black man, the rapistPeople openly fantasize about what kind of sexual violence they would like Justin Bieber to experience while detained. All of these fantasies have one thing in common: the rapist being a black man.
So, it's not just that people claim they want Justin Bieber to get raped, the idea is that the rapist is the worst of all - a big, mean, dumb black man, who is apparently the lowest of all lowly creatures. Somebody who has no value, and will probably be executed soon anyway. He probably doesn't even have a name, or if he does, it's "Bubba".
I don't exactly like calling all stupidity "racist" but this consistent use of black men as stereotypical prison rapists is getting a little racist.
It's humor, right? The idea that a rich pop star would be raped by another man is funny because it plays with taboos and shame. It is so funny that almost half a million people have "liked" this joke - probably more than any other picture I have ever seen on Facebook. It must be the funniest joke ever! If the rapist was a white guy, or a female guard, it wouldn't be that funny any more.
Sexual abuse in prisonsAccording to Just Detention International, estimated 200,000 inmates are sexually abused every year in United States alone while in detention. Only a very small minority of the cases is reported to authorities, and of them only a small number leads to disciplinary action.
From their website: "For its victims, prisoner rape is a nightmare that does not end. Most survivors are sexually abused again and again. Abusive staff and inmates target people they see as most vulnerable, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender detainees and those who survived sexual abuse prior to being detained."
Prisoners, those lowly rats. Criminals who deserve to be humiliated for their crimes and never forgiven?
Sometimes there is news about prisoners complaining about abusive guards, lack of protection and violations of their legally stipulated rights. In the social media you see commentary saying that they deserve whatever they get in prison because they are criminals and this is their punishment. In the case of people convicted of violent crimes, especially sexual and especially committed against children, there are even calls for lynching. I've seen people say guards should be encouraged to beat up, mutilate, rape and even kill these prisoners.
Oh, and suspects are the same thing. Some years ago there was a Finnish Facebook group distributing personal information of people who are or have been suspected or convicted of rape or violent crimes against children. This group was public and there were hundreds of ordinary-looking citizens there. The group had many photos of (alleged) rapists and scans of court documents. The comments in the photos were very much like what the Justin Bieber picture had - people fantasizing about what kind of sexual violence the alleged criminal should experience while detained. Some commenters said they would personally want to commit these acts of abuse, as a revenge and humiliation that the (alleged) criminal deserves, and invited others to join their manhunt to kill these people. These were ordinary mothers and fathers, posting their comments with their real names for the world to see.
Thanks, JustinThanks to Justin Bieber we have once again witnessed the rage of the Internets. Bieber is, of course, a celebrity and icon instead of a person to Internet commenters - just like a black man in prison uniform is a symbol of crime and sexual violence to these commenters. Combining these is almost innocent - and natural, and if you don't understand this, then you are a butthurt Bieber fan, like Brian Klipp said.
If these are normal and natural expressions of (justified?) rage, then perhaps calls for lynching and killing alleged rapists and other criminals are, too. You can always say that it was a joke - on the Internet - and you didn't really want to kill that guy, even though you said you wanted, and you offered your help, with your own name, to kill somebody, and even described how you would do it.
Just yesterday I saw a Finnish far-right political activist post an image of two female politicians of the Left Alliance on Facebook, with the comment "leftist lesbians should be shot". That was, of course, just a funny joke, suggesting that he does not approve of their political views, right? Just as innocent as saying that because you do not like the music he makes, Justin Bieber should be raped. By a black man.