Although calling Bomani Jones the Internet's greatest troll — which is how EBONY's Jamilah Lemieux introduced him to me through an email a couple years ago — might seem like an insult, it's not. It's actually a compliment. Because there are two types of trolling. The first kind is the most common and also happens to be the one (rightly) thought of in a negative manner. It entails a person inserting themselves into an argument to either derail the conversation or insult the people having the conversation. Although these people often think of themselves as anarchists and entertaining, they're usually just boring, redundant, and occasionally hateful idiots. Ultimately, it's the Internet equivalent of an atomic wedgie.
The second type of troll involves doing or saying something the person knows will both anger idiots and, most importantly, expose the anger — and the thought process behind the anger — as fruitless and/or illogical and/or hypocritical. Instead of spouting and spreading stupidity (which is what the common troll does) this type of trolling reveals it. Strips it of its clothing and allows everyone to see it bare-assed. Bomani Jones is great at this. His Twitter feed is a virtual how-to-manual for exposing, antagonizing, and making fun of the type of people who desperately need to be exposed, antagonized, and made fun of. (Adding insult to their injury is that, sometimes, these people don't even realize they're being exposed, antagonized, and made fun of.) And often these are people with witless, unconversant, and even dangerous views about race and racism.
Jones took this trolling to another level this morning, by appearing on Mike & Mike with a Caucasians t-shirt — an obvious take on Chief Wahoo, the mascot of the Cleveland Indians. This is one of those shirts where the only people who'd be upset at him for wearing it are people who don't realize how hypocritical their anger happens to be. They're reflexively offended by it, not realizing that them being offended by it proves the point of the shirt. Unfortunately, there happens to be a lot of these people. Especially among sports fans.
It's funny to see all the black people loving Bomani Jones shirt. If it was Greeny wearing a Blacks shirt they'd demand he be fired. Truth
— Chris height (@ChrisHeight) April 7, 2016
An argument could be made that this type of trolling — where you make fun of people's ridiculous views instead of attempting to educate them — is an ineffective way of healing any type of racial divide. And I get why someone might think that. But sometimes exposing and shaming the hell out of this type of stupidity works too. And, even if it doesn't work, as someone who has done that very thing in this space numerous times, let me tell you a little secret. It's fun!