Online racism is getting worse, according to Langley City anti-bigotry activist Cran Campbell .
Campbell, 71, said intolerant language is getting uglier and more extreme on the Craiglist Vancouver online forums that he monitors.
“I believe, personally, its starting to crank up,” Campbell told the Langley Advance Times.
He thinks it is, in part, a reaction to the current chaos in the United States, which is struggling to control the coronavirus pandemic at the same time protesters are taking to the streets against racism, and an election looms.
“Racism thrives on conflict and despair,” said Campbell, who reports a tsunami of racist comment in the open forums of the Craigslist site.
“There are hundreds [of offensive posts on Craiglist],” Campbell estimated.
“They’re posting every day.”
Expletives include using anti-Semitic insults and variations of the N-word, among other things.
Campbell said he can’t bring himself to read most of the messaging beyond the headings.
“I can’t watch all this stuff,” Campbell said.
“It’s just too much. It’s mind-boggling.”
And he believes it’s “going to get worse” unless steps are taken to better police the internet.
“In my personal belief, Craigslist is not monitoring this section properly or thoroughly,” Campbell commented.
Langley Advance Times has reached out to Craigslist for comment.
Trying to enforce Canadian anti-hate laws is a challenge when messages in the forums section can be from anywhere and Canadian authorities may not have jurisdiction, Campbell elaborated.
“That said, Craigslist is using the Vancouver website, and Craigslist across Canada to transmit the Hate, Racist postings and Threats on their website,” he added.
”Websites that have corridors and sections within their sites that have potential to leave hate, racism, threats and postings of inequality must be held accountable for what is directly posted on their site,” Campbell stated.
“Hate may never disappear, but as human beings our role is to secure the future, and, now for the generations to come to be able to live their lives without abuse, without prejudice, with equality and respect. To transmit hate and misinformation, and racist trash that can be brought over the internet and into our homes and into the heart of our country without protection is utter stupidity”
Campbell stepped away from monitoring online bigotry about three years ago after a punishing battle to repair his reputation.
He was victim of an internet trolling scheme that tried to link him to unsupported accusations of criminal behaviour and had to spend months getting them taken down and de-linked from search engines like Google.
”I’m sort of refreshed now,” he said.
Campbell would like the federal government to restore section 13(1) of the Canada Human Rights Act, which allowed the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to go after online hate propagandists, fining them as much as $10,000.
The law was repealed by the then-Conservative government in 2013 following a ruling of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that the section violated freedom of speech.
The Federal Court of Appeal later declared the section was constitutionally valid and did not violate freedom of expression, but by then, it had been repealed.