An investigative report by East Bay Express found that white residents of an Oakland community were using a website to broadcast “suspicious activity” about their black neighbors.
At issue is how the Nextdoor.com website, intended as a private social network, is being used to warn white neighborhood residents about blacks doing ordinary things.
Over the last two years, their neighborhood has become overrun with racial profiling — but not by police, rather by mostly white residents incorrectly assuming that people of color who are walking, driving, hanging out, or living in the neighborhood are criminal suspects. These residents often don’t recognize that they may have long held racial prejudices or unconscious biases, but recently, they’ve been able to instantly broadcast their unsubstantiated suspicions to thousands of their neighbors with the click of a mouse.
White residents have used the website to organize against blacks in the community and target them for police harassment. They have deemed people of color suspicious for minor things such as walking and making U-turns in the street.
White People Use Nextdoor Website to Report “Suspicious” Black Neighbors 4 Walking & DrivingClick to tweet
“These posts cast such a wide net on our young Black men,” Shikira Porter, an Upper Dimond resident, told Express. “You start seeing this over and over again, and you understand quickly that, oh, it’s the Black body that they’re afraid of.”
Now Nextdoor.com co-founder and CEO Nirav Tolia is planning to make some changes to the website to combat the rampant racial harassment of black and brown people.
“We are incredibly saddened that some neighbors have used Nextdoor in this way. Simply stated: we consider profiling of any kind to be unacceptable,” he said.
He continued: “Moving forward, we are creating ways to remind members of these Guidelines when they post in the Crime and Safety section. We are investigating better techniques for keeping divisive discussions productive, and we are partnering with conflict resolution experts for training and product feedback. This is an important cause for us and we won’t let up.”
Watch the report below: