Things That Matter

ICE Is Going After A Twitter User For Spreading ‘Fake News’ But The Story Might Actually Be Real

As much as anything else, resistance against the increased pressure that ICE is putting on migrant communities is a matter of access to information. From shady facilities to lack of any details on the whereabouts of some detainees or the actual processes through which people are located, caught and processed, there is certainly a lack of clear information or even transparency on how the agency operates. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  recently pointed fingers at a Twitter user who made a claim that might sound over the top, but that is actually sort of plausible in this day an age. 

ICE accused a Twitter user of falsely accusing an agent of posing as a homeless woman to track down a family.

Credit: San Francisco Chronicle

A Twitter user (whom we are not going to identify here, because misinformation or not this can put them at risk of harassment) claimed that an ICE agent pretended to be a homeless person in order to identify and follow a family of undocumented migrants. The tweet was shared by the agency. It read: “An ICE agent posing as a homeless women (sic) tried to access our shelter last night to look for a family, disregarding the fact that we are considered a Sensitive Location. Not only are we are religious organization, the shelter is located in a church.”

If this was true, it would shed light on a totalitarian-like operation that would be highly unethical. If this was indeed the case, the agency would have also violated the unspoken rule of religious buildings being safe places for undocumented migrants. 

It might have been a dubious claim but the crazy thing is that it might very well have been true!

The agency was quick to rebut the claims, perhaps aware of the severity of the claims and the precarious PR situation that it would put it in. They stated: “The allegations that ICE entered the Redmond United Methodist church this weekend, or dressed as a homeless woman to enter a homeless shelter located within the church, are false and do nothing but promote fearmongering.”

We can see here that the reputation that ICE has garnered is in so much trouble that even claims like these, which would have been outlandish a few years ago, are today totally believable and force the agency to discredit them. One of ICE’s strategies has been to promote the idea that their work is a matter of public safety, highlighting cases of detainees with criminal records. This paints an alarmist picture that can lead to dangerous generalizations.

Misinformation damages any democratic society, and social media platforms might not be doing enough to ponerse a la altura de los tiempos.

Credit: FactCheck.org

It doesn’t matter where it comes from, any type of misinformation damages democracy, as citizens do not have the right tools to make informed and conscious decisions when it comes to electing public officials. Social media platforms have been recently under fire for their propensity to be used to spread false information and to stir public opinion by creating information bubbles.

This means that if you receive news and political commentary primarily from your social media feeds, you are likely to receive a very similar range of news and opinions. If you insert an alarmist or misleading news story then the bubble’s general worldview is only validated. ICE has the power and the channels to discredit information they deem misleading, but that is not always the case. 

Real or not, the story got some pretty serious discussions going on Twitter.

One of the most vulnerable points ICE has when it comes to public opinion is the ruthlessness in which they seem to carry out their duties, as they seem to be intentionally punitive. They have been compared to the Gestapo on social media, and some users have highlighted the cruelty of their methods. Whether ICE agents posed as people in need to track down a family of undocumented migrants is ultimately not the point: the point is that it is not beyond the realm of reason to believe that was the case. 

And in the public’s mind digital media monopolies are also to blame

How much do we share online that could reveal key demographics including migratory status? ICE has gotten folk real paranoid, or at least highly weary, of the potential surveillance that individuals and communities could be subject to under the Trump presidency. This feeling of social and cultural uneasiness can lead people to mistrust each other and is fertile ground for even the most outlandish conspiracy theories. It is not that people are suddenly being too melodramatic: the lack of transparency of an agency such as ICE, that can literally decide over matter of life and death, is harmful beyond control. 

15 Of The Most Tragic And Outrageous Fails From 2019

Entertainment

15 Of The Most Tragic And Outrageous Fails From 2019

When Swedish model Hilla Abrahamson spent her first moments of the year being drenched by a bottle of champagne:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=525824791154393

She really took poppin’ bottles to the extreme.

When this little boy tried to place a couple of rogue water bottles back where they belonged . . . and then this happened:

credit: reddit user tw272727

He was just trying to be helpful!

When Space X’s Mk1 Starship failed its nitrogen pressure test:

https://i.gyazo.com/93a7ec56047fd30a9cf11bd0aedb29cb.gif

Credit: r/Piscator629 | Reddit

Just last month, SpaceX’s Starship Mk1 prototype suffered a major structural failure on its Boca Chica launchpad in South Texas. Looks like the Mk1 won’t make it to the moon (or Mars), after all.

The time someone stamped this on at least one $5 bill:

Yeah…that’s definitely not the White House. Although, let’s be real—even if it was, Trump barely even lives there. He owns a long list of properties, and until September of this year, he listed New York as his primary state of residence. Since then, his primary residence has been listed as Mar-a-Lago, Florida—not Washington, D.C.

When this person tried to get a pentagram tattoo, but ended up repping the Star of David:

Credit: r/iamtheundefined | Reddit

There’s nothing wrong with getting a Star of David tattoo, especially if it holds special meaning for someone. But if your aim was a pentagram . . . well, those symbols mean very different things. At least this person didn’t notice until someone broke the news to her.

Oh, and the time Ariana Grande got the kanji for “Japanese BBQ Grill”—later “Japanese BBQ Finger”—tattooed on her hand:

Poor Ari . . . it’s an honest mistake, and she’s definitely not the only person to get a badly translated tattoo. This whole ordeal was truly an epic saga for the internet, though. In case you missed it: Ariana Grande wanted to get a Japanese kanji tattoo to celebrate the release of her album Seven Rings. But when her tattoo was finished, it quickly became clear that it read “shichirin,” which means is a Japanese-style grill. Later, when she misinterpreted advice from her Japanese tutor and tried to edit the original tat, she ended up with ink that now means “Japanese BBQ finger.” Yikes.

When a street in Brooklyn was mysteriously covered in raw chicken, with no explanation:

BuzzFeed tried to investigate this bizarre occurrence, but still hasn’t come up with answers. Whether the chicken fell off a delivery truck or was placed there as experimental art . . . this was an undeniably epic fail.

When Joe Biden said he wasn’t ready to legalize marijuana, and Cory Booker responded like this:

Joe Biden’s stance on marijuana is seen as a problem by many reform advocates. Not only does the criminalization of marijuana put Black and Latino folks at a disproportionate risk of incarceration, but it can create difficulties for people who require the use of medicinal marijuana products. However, Cory Booker’s response, though it definitely drew laughs, apparently got him in trouble with his mom.

She allegedly responded like so:

“Did you really accuse the vice president of the United States of smoking marijuana on national TV? Did I raise you better than that?”

When this hamster was photographed “eating oats” and “not” engaging in illicit activities:

Credit: r/starrycub | Reddit

Suuuuure.

The time an audience member of RuPaul’s talk show won a ticket to see Paula Abdul in Vegas and reacted like this:

Maybe this woman was uncomfortable being in the spotlight. Either way, please note how Paula is clapping. Please also note how this woman just does not react. Hilarious.

When teens were doing the #KylieJennerChallenge to the horror of dermatologists everywhere:

In response to the #KylieJennerChallenge, dermatologists warned against its dangers. Turns out treating your lips this way can not only produce immediate bruising and swelling, but it can also damage the collagen in your lips and make them even less plump in the future.

When a large, mildly-poisonous snake escaped inside the Bronx zoo:

Did they ever find it? We don’t know.

When the fortune cookie factory forgot to hire a proofreader:

Credit: reddit user Mercury90210

When this Twitter user almost burned down her house on Thanksgiving:

She didn’t even get to calm down with a piece of pumpkin pie! Well, better to burn the dessert than your entire house.

When Trump tried to get away with abuse of power that may end up in impeachment (oops!):

CNN/ Twitter

Video of Boy With Down’s Syndrome Hugging an Autistic Boy Goes Viral

Things That Matter

Video of Boy With Down’s Syndrome Hugging an Autistic Boy Goes Viral

videohub / Twitter

It may not be obvious to everyone due to misrepresentation in the media, but according to the World Health Organization, there are more than 1 billion people in the world who have some form of disability. That statistic corresponds to about 15% of the world’s population, which means that a large chunk of people on the planet are not adequately or accurately represented when it comes to the media. Thankfully, there’s been a recent uptick in activism aimed at shining a light on positive stories that center around folks with disabilities. As these movements are quick to point out, there is no one way to be disabled, and not all stories of folks’ with disabilities are sad or depressing.

This point couldn’t be illustrated any clearer than by the video that the Spanish Language Facebook page Jalisco Oculto shared on Friday. The touching video of two young Mexican students interacting with each other quickly made waves, but not for the usual shocking or click-baity content. What made this video different from the usual internet distractions was that these boys both had special needs. According to the video description, one boy had Down syndrome while the other had Autism. The video’s caption reads: “A Down syndrome boy with a huge heart comforts his autistic classmate in his own way”. 

The video quickly struck a chord with people, especially those who have family members with special needs. 

The video first shows the boy with Down’s syndrome playfully waving his hand in front of his autistic classmate’s face. The classmate’s face visibly expresses emotion and, in response, the boy with Down’s syndrome leans in and wraps an arm around him, giving the boy a hug. The autistic boy appears to become more emotional and leans into him, his emotions seeming to grow on his face. The boy with Down’s syndrome simply hugs him harder, at one point rubbing and patting his back and appearing to wipe away his friend’s tears. After they break the hug, the boy with Down’s syndrome continues to try and cheer him up, holding up both of his friend’s hands playfully, seeming to urge him to dance. 

The video became an almost instant phenomenon, wracking up 140,000 likes, almost 10,000 comments, and over 450,000 shares. Quickly, the video was shared to other social media platform like Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram, veritably taking the internet by storm. 

On each platform, people flooded the comment sections with stories of the empathy and kindness that their loved ones with special needs have shown them. One Twitter user wrote: “This child remind us that love is instinct and love is innate and that hate is taught”. 

The video seemed to resonate with people because of the unexpected friendship between these two boys. 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every 700 babies is born with Down’s syndrome in the United States. Additionally, the CDC estimates that one in 68 children in the U.S. have autism. Needless to say, this means that children with special needs aren’t “unusual” in any way–they are part of our community like any other child. 

The internet’s strong reaction to this video is proof that the world craves wholesome and uplifting stories. 

While the news inundates us with stories of horror and tragedy, it is videos like this one that show us a lesson we all need to acknowledge: that empathy and love surround us all, even if we don’t see it all the time. 

This woman made an astute observation about the high emotional intelligence of children with Down syndrome

Believe it or not, many of us have family members with disabilities. Many of us are disabled ourselves.

This person explains how mixed special needs classrooms can benefit all students 

There is no need to segregate students with special needs, like some schools have trended towards doing. As Ari Ne’eman of The Autistic Self Advocacy Network states,”Segregated schools lead to segregated societies. Inclusive schools give us the opportunity for inclusive societies”.

This person expressed his gratitude for having children with special needs in his life. 

As we mentioned before, not all stories of those with disabilities are stories of sadness and tragedy. Many are stories of love, kindness, and learning.

This woman expressed her admiration for the Mexican school that encourages behavior like this.

One could argue that this video went so viral because it showed the world behavior that we’re not shown very often. It would benefit all of us to act like the boys in this video and and express selfless empathy for no reason at all.