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A Very Suddenly Dangerous Volatile Firestorm Erupts Aroun

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A Very Suddenly Dangerous Volatile Firestorm Erupts Aroun
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A very suddenly dangerous, volatile internet firestorm erupts around businesswoman Justine Sacco.

It started as a whimper. A snide comment perhaps. There are many misperceptions of Africa. There are many perceptions of Africa. A white American woman associated with the left-wing of their politics, made an unexpected and controversial likely intended to be humorous statement. Certainly it must have been intended as a humorous statement. She said that she was going to Africa but that was okay, because according to her tweet white people cannot get AIDS in Africa.

Fate waylays the best intentions. A woman working for a company responsible for the left-wing rag The Daily Beast, a dating site for black people,,, and so forth might be considered an extremely liberal left wing woman. She might be considered to have very good views of Africans or at least African-Americans. The same woman by the name Justine Sacco however made a comment very insulting to African-Americans and to Africans of an African ethnicity. Media have since discovered that the woman in question has made other jokes which might be considered highly inappropriate, such as about a sex dream about an autistic person.

‘Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!’ Went the anthem of her terribly inappropriate tweet.

There can be several ways to read this inappropriate tweet. She certainly is going to Africa. She says she hopes she doesn’t get AIDS. Then she says she was just kidding because she is white. This therefore can be interpreted in two ways: firstly that she doesn’t mind if she does get HIV Aids because she is white. In context this statement does not seem to make sense. The second way in which this can be interpreted is that a white person need not hope that they won’t get AIDS because they won’t get AIDS. Either way HIV AIDS is associated by the individual in question with Africa. The way I read the tweet the first time I read it: was that the author of the tweet was mocking social perceptions of Africa and of black Africans and African Americans. After all, black Africans are often portrayed in Western media as infested with HIV AIDS: perhaps she was mocking this perception. This would seem to fit with the ideological base seemingly represented by the company she worked for. That is not how most users of Twitter interpreted it.


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