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face-jingoism-fiThe Internet is full of jibes of people’s nationalities. They appear on articles, blogs, reviews and comments. Often sarcastic and sometimes venomous, they run down the author’s or commenter’s nationality without any provocation.

Let me quote a few personal examples of where I’ve come across such remarks in the recent past:

 (A) BLOG

The Finextra article titled Brits expect cashless society within 20 years is about Britain, so Brit-specific comments are okay. Country-agnostic comments are also okay e.g.

John Candido – Black Cabs – Melbourne

I agree that the end of cash is not expected tomorrow or even next year. But the prospect for a cashless society’s eventuality is clearly inevitable to me, even if it isn’t something that a lot of people cannot foresee for the time being. There are just so many signs of cash’s inevitable decline that I don’t give cash a snowball’s chance in hell to survive the next let us say 50 years or so.

Now let’s take the following response to the above comment:

A Finextra member

Please tell me the signs of cash’s inevitable decline in the United States, Germany and the Arab world, where cash is still king and does not show any signs of declining in the foreseeable future. It may be the case in Australia, where less than half of one percent of the global population resides, but in many large, and often sophisticated countries, cash is still the preferred apyment (sic) method.

The reference to Australia in this comment is entirely unwarranted. It’s quite likely that the anonymous commenter picked it up from the reference to Melbourne in the earlier commenter’s profile.

Like his or her name, the anonymous commenter’s nationality is also undisclosed. This makes it a non-level playing field.

(B) TWITTER

Let’s take this thread on Twitter, which began with the following tweet from @BenedictEvans of the tech VC firm Andreessen Horowitz:

I retweeted it with my comment:

Now look at his reply:

Duh, how does “emerging markets” come into the picture?

I suspected where he was going with this but I replied, tongue-in-cheek:

Now he came to the point:

Maybe it’s only me but the implication that people in emerging markets only have low-end devices is obviously racist.

(C) LINKEDIN

linkedin-jingoismIn this post (www.linkedin.com/hp/update/6164098515766210560), LinkedIn member Susana Joseph writes about how fellow member Ian Viner sent her a promotional message to get her CV written and, when she declined his offer, made the following remark:

You wouldn’t have a clue how to write a CV – nor would anyone else in India either.

I don’t think the xenophobia in this message needs much explanation.

When I tried to locate this post now, I got the following error message: “Sorry, this update isn’t available. It may have been deleted.”

Maybe Susana Joseph has deleted her update. Maybe LinkedIn really retains members’ posts only for one month as I remember reading somewhere. Or whatever. But you probably won’t be able to find this thread.

 


The above remarks display racism or xenophobia or nationalism or whatever this behavior is supposed to be called. Despite looking up a thesaurus and consulting an MFA graduate in creative writing, I wasn’t able to find a single word for it. Therefore, I’ve used the term “jingoism” as a catchall phrase to refer to this behavior in this blog post.

If you have a better word than jingoism to collectively describe racism, xenophobia and nationalism and / or come across the behavior on blogs and social networks, please share in the comments below.

If jingoism gets your goat and / or affects your business, you might want to fight it. In a follow-on post, I’ll describe five ways to do that. Watch this space.

Ketharaman Swaminathan On November - 11 - 2016

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