Bizarro World Ethics: A Vicious Young Jerk’s Unethical Act Is Celebrated And His Victim Vilified In A Cautionary Tale Of What Happens When Society Allows Its Values To Be Turned Inside Out. Part I: Jimmy Galligan, Ethics Villain

The New York Times published a long and detailed account of what can and will happen if society allows its values and ethical norms to become distorted. It enters the world of Bizarro Ethics, where, like the fictional and allegedly comic planet of Bizarro World in old Superman comics, everything is backwards and inside out. In such a culture, I have explained here many times, being unethical is ethical, and being ethical is wrong. A black student set out to use an old social media post to destroy the reputation of a white classmate after she had been admitted to the college of her dreams. And he succeeded. The Times story is a cautionary tale of what is happening in our culture, but that’s not its objective. Its objective is to rationalize and justify what the black student did.

In 2016, when she was a freshman and 15-years old, Mimi Groves sent a three second video SnapChat message to some friends that said, “I can drive, nigger!” She has explained that she used the dreaded “N-word” because it was common in the music she and her friends had been listening to. It was not intended to be seen by or to upset anyone; it was just a one-off social media message like millions of others that are sent every day, by an immature child lacking common sense, experience and a fully formed brain. As such, it should have been ignored, especially by her peers, who suffered from the same maladies.

But because of the scourge of social media and a culture which increasingly encourages cruelty, vengeance, personal destruction, and the elevation of doing harm to those who “deserve it” to a societal norm, the message became a ticking time bomb in the hands of those who felt they had a right to destroy her.

Somebody send a copy of the message to Jimmy Galligan’s phone last school year. Galligan is black, and Mimi was a fellow classmate whom he knew and had spoken with earlier in their high school days.

Ethics Point 1: Whoever saved the message and set out to make sure that someone would see it who would find it upsetting is the first and the catalytic ethics villain in this story. There was no justifiable reason to send the message to Galligan except to upset and trigger him, which someone who knew him obviously believed it would. A fair, rational and ethical person would know that a years-old message on SnapChat is meaningless, and the Golden Rule would have taught him or her that circulating such a message is something he or she would never want anyone to do with an ill-considered video of their creation.

Here the Times attempts to prejudice the reader in Jimmy’s favor with a trail of irrelevancies:

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