Who Is 'The Facebook Racist'?

While many of us spent our weekends complaining about Irene and all media coverage of said under-performing storm, other things in the world happened! For example: South African police launched an investigation into a photo that depicts a smiling, pale-skinned man—rifle in hand—kneeling over what appears to be the lifeless body of a little brown-skinned boy.

Voice of America reports that someone at the Sunday Times in Johannesburg spotted the pic while viewing the Facebook page of a user going by the name "Eugene Terrorblanche." That moniker, VoA explains, is "similar" to the name of a recently murdered South African white separatist leader. The Times showed the image to police, who then began investigating the pic's origins.

The Times, for its part, published the image on its front page to see if anyone would come forward with any details. It also gave the happy hunter a brand-new nickname: the Facebook Racist. Now, there are many, many racists on Facebook! Any status-message search for race-related pejorative terms will prove this to you. But posing as though you have just murdered someone of a different race does much to place you ahead of the curve.

In a follow-up report, the Times says police have contacted the man in the photo, who explained that the pic—taken in 2007—was a prank. He only paid the child to pose as though he were dead—he didn't actually shoot anyone, see, ha ha. It's just a joke! A morbid, awful, racist joke. Police apparently conducted an investigation of the photo four years ago, but nothing happened; now police are asking why, and checking to make sure that the little boy is truly alive. Even if he fine, anyone involved in the pic's production is still subject to a bunch of criminal laws—and deserves as many awful nicknames as possible.

[Sunday Times, image via Times Live]