DC Trawler

Avoiding High-Crime Areas Is Racist, Says Valleywag Racist

If you don’t know what Valleywag is, that’s not surprising. It’s Gawker’s response to the American public’s insatiable hunger for gossip about Silicon Valley nerds. It’s also a great place to be called a racist for trying to help people avoid crime!

Here’s the Valleywag headline about a new phone app called SketchFactor, which allows users to read and contribute to real-time maps of local neighborhoods, marked with scenes of crimes and various other “sketchy” occurrences:

sam_biddle_racebaiter

If you think this headline is dumb and racist, that means you’re a racist.

From Sam Biddle’s post:

Is there any way to keep white people from using computers, before this whole planet is ruined? I ask because the two enterprising white entrepreneurs above just made yet another app for avoiding non-white areas of your town—and it’s really taking off!…

With firsthand experience living in Washington, D.C., where white terror is as ubiquitous as tucked-in polo shirts, grinning caucasians Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington should be unstoppable in the field of smartphone race-baiting—they’re already finalists in a $20,000 startup contest!

Biddle is reacting, hysterically, to Thornton McEnery’s story at Crain’s:

SketchFactor, the brainchild of co-founders Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington, is a Manhattan-based navigation app that crowdsources user experiences along with publicly available data to rate the relative “sketchiness” of certain areas in major cities.

So: Sam Biddle sees the words “sketchiness” and “certain areas” in the same sentence, and the first thing that pops into his head is “black people.” Then he assumes that those other white people must think the same way he does. He can’t imagine anybody else being less racist than he is.

Therefore, they’re racists. And so am I. And so are you. Yes, you.

The creators of SketchFactor respond:

It’s no secret. We’ve seen the negative press.

Setting the record straight: SketchFactor is a tool for anyone, anywhere, at any time.

We have a reporting mechanism for racial profiling, harassment, low lighting, desolate areas, weird stuff, you name it. When people actually download the app, they see that this is truly a tool for everyone.

Yeah, but you’re white! Nice try, racists.

Here’s the cherry on top of the racebaiting sundae, courtesy of Rachel Stoltzfoos:

A Washington D.C. news crew was robbed Friday while investigating an app that warns users of sketchy neighborhoods…

The crew was conducting interviews about the app “SketchFactor” in the Petworth neighborhood in Northwest, D.C. when their van was broken into and burglarized. A purse, several backpacks, photography gear, laptop and other electronics were stolen…

The crew eventually located the intern’s phone and some of the other missing items in a dumpster using the “Find my iPhone” app, but [WUSA9 reporter Mola] Lenghi said thousands of dollars worth of items are still out there.

Lenghi was uncomfortable disclosing the location of the recovered stolen goods.

No wonder. Somebody might call him a racist.