Driving Through Klan Country

Note: Today is Day 8 of my 30 day blog challenge. If you want to get my random thoughts about random stuff in your inbox, you can subscribe at the bottom of any post or mash the RSS button if that’s how you roll. 

Back when I was in college the first time, a friend and I decided to drive to the coast over one of our school breaks. We were in Eugene, so our route took us through several little towns on the way to the coast, including Noti.

Map of Noti, OR, between Eugene and the Oregon coast

Someone told us that the nickname for Noti was ‘Nazi’ because it was rumored to have an active chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. I have no idea if it was actually true, but we believed it and we spent the whole time during that part of the drive, praying her little car wouldn’t break down and leave us–one Black and one mixed-race woman–stranded in enemy territory.

We made the drive OK, and had a great time at the coast.

Sites like Reddit and Hacker News feel like the Noti of the Internet. There might be perfectly nice people who live there, but because of some of the neighborhoods, it’s not worth the risk of visiting. If the wrong people find out you exist, they gather their army and launch and all out assault.

Reddit is basically the equivalent of the dark alley you don’t want to walk through alone at night. Most of the women I know in the tech field have similar feelings about it.

Are you a woman who actually uses and enjoys Reddit? I’m not hankering to give it a try, but I’d be curious to hear about your experience.

As for me, I’ll stick to the safer neighborhoods.


  1. I tried Reddit for a while. I found they had lots of neat links and interesting conversation. At first, I thought it was a pretty neat place. Then I started noticing more and more misogyny. This made me increasingly uncomfortable. The breaking point, for me, was the Violentacrez incident. Violentacrez ran a subreddit dedicated to “creepshots”, i.e. surreptitiously photographs of women and photos stolen from women’s Facebook pages, posted without the women’s permission for the purpose of leering. A reporter at Gawker exposed Violentacrez’s real-life identity. The reaction of the Reddit community was to hold the Gawker reporter in contempt for the identity exposure, while continuing to embrace the person who ran the “creepshots” forum. I agree that the identity unmasking was morally problematic, but I couldn’t understand how it was worse than the “creepshots” The only explanation that made sense to me was serious misogyny. I decided that I couldn’t continue to frequent that community after that.


  2. Yeah they seem to value ‘freedom of speech’ over just about everything else, and that appears to mean ‘everyone gets to be an asshole.’ Scary and sad.


  3. You forgot one element of this trip: The HUGE fluorescent pink triangle on the bumper sticker of my car.

    Hope you’re recovering well from surgery. Don’t try to overdo it at WC Portland.


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