Making the world a worse place, one Twitter mob at a time

Suffice it to say that the proper solution here would have been for Amy Cooper to apologize and recognize the implicit racism in her own statements, for Christian Cooper to forgive her and for everyone to move on.

Instead, Christian Cooper posted the video. Twitter went wild. The outcome: Amy was labeled a racist and fired from her job, and had to surrender her dog. Her life was effectively ruined.

The world of social media has not made us any more responsible, any kinder or any more decent. It has made us far worse. That’s because Twitter isn’t about signaling virtue. It’s about signaling commitment. It’s insufficient to merely analyze events and give an honest take. You must be for or against something. And you demonstrate full commitment to that position. Your entire online identity rests on others retweeting or liking your purity of heart. There is no risk — only reward — in dunking on Amy Cooper, tweeting at her employer, encouraging her destruction. You will be rewarded for your anti-racism, amply demonstrated with just a few clicks. If you suggest any motivational complexity — that perhaps Amy Cooper said something racist and over-the-top but wasn’t lying when she said she felt threatened — then you will be tarred as insufficiently committed to the anti-racist cause.