Racist Reddit Group Embraces Alleged Charleston Shooting Manifesto

Among the members of /r/coontown, the manifesto's author has found a sympathetic ear. One user wrote, "If this is the real deal...he's no different from me, really."

As the world digests the alleged manifesto of the Charleston church shooting suspect, the white supremacist document is finding a sympathetic ear in the depths of Reddit's racist /r/coontown community.

The diatribe wanders from a discussion of the "historical lies, exaggerations, and myths" of slavery to outlining disdain for Latinos and Jews. It concludes by saying, "we have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me."

/r/coontown's discussion on the manifesto has elicited a degree of sympathy and understanding from the subreddit's members.

"If this is the real deal...he's no different from me, really," wrote one redditor that received dozens of upvotes. "Except for that shooting up a church thing, that is."

The user has left more than 30 comments in /r/coontown since Wednesday, the day of the Charleston massacre.

Another redditor who has posted in /r/coontown more than 50 times since the shooting quipped, "one of us, one of us."

In the manifesto, the author credits the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and subsequent Google searches about "black on White crime" for leading to the author being "truly awakened."

"At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?" the manifesto's author wrote.

"Wasn't it for most of us?" a redditor ponders, the contentious Confederate flag nestled between their user name and the comment's 41 upvotes. In the last month, the user has posted several times to a subreddit dedicated to "ironically" calling for violence against Jews.

Other redditors chimed in to agree.

"Yep, it was the turning point for me as well. 100%," read a reply that garnered as many as 27 upvotes before being deleted.

Reddit's ongoing perception problem and the struggle to cull toxic communities was revisited earlier this month after the site banned several subreddits for violating its anti-harassment policies.

"Our goal is to enable as many people as possible to have authentic conversations and share ideas and content on an open platform," the June 10 announcement read. "We want as little involvement as possible in managing these interactions but will be involved when needed to protect privacy and free expression, and to prevent harassment."

In a subsequent comment, the company's interim CEO Ellen Pao explained that Reddit is "banning behavior, not ideas."

Angry redditors wondered why communities such as /r/coontown were allowed to continue existing.

"Like the rest of the Internet, our open platform sometimes includes content that is despicable. We do not agree with all the content on the site and neither do most of our users, but we are committed to promoting free expression," a representative for Reddit told BuzzFeed News. " There are some subreddits with very little viewership that get highlighted repeatedly for their content, but those are a tiny fraction of the content on the site. We are committed to continuing to improve our site."

The largest of the banned communities, /r/FatPeopleHate, had over 150,000 members when it was closed, easily dwarfing /r/coontown's 15,000 subscribers. The four other banned communities had less than 5,000 subscribers.

Meanwhile, some users distraught over /r/FatPeopleHate being banned have flocked to an "anything goes " Reddit imitation site called Voat. On Thursday morning, a link submitted to the site's version of /r/Coontown declares that "cross-site recruitment is a must." The link leads to the white supremacist website Stormfront.

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