YikYak app creates hostility between students

Tyler Elmore, Managing Editor

What was created to be a fun and friendly chat app has turned into a hostile and racist environment for DVC students.

When I first saw the advertisement about YikYak, I thought that it was a phone service provider.

However, it is actually an app similar to Twitter.

Users post thoughts on a forum with a maximum character count of 200, which is 60 characters more than Twitter. The biggest difference, though, is YikYak is completely anonymous and the “yaks,” posted by others, are based on your personal location.

There is no sign-up, login or personal questionnaire.

YikYak says in their “About” section that it was created for college students, but if you attend a school like DVC that is next to a high school, “yaks” from nearby high school students will come through.

Doug Gil, 20, said he used it just to kill time.

“(YikYak is) just one of those things you check in on during some down time, an awkward silence or in bed right after you’ve scrolled though all the new pictures on Instagram,” Gil said.

There are definitely some funny jokes that people either thought of themselves or they saw it some where else that they post on the app.

One “yak” read, “I have sex daily. I mean I have dyslexia.”

Another read, “If you can’t imagine dropping the mic after the final sentence of your essay, your conclusion needs to be stronger.”

A lot of “yaks” tend to be about sex, weed or wanting a relationship. Some even tend to be very vulgar in language, yet there is the even darker side of the app.

With anonymity comes a lot of bigotry, prejudice and intolerance.

It is a known fact that students from all over the world attend DVC, especially from Asia. Due to its anonymous nature, “YikYakers” seem to take more liberties by being politically, socially and racially offensive.

One “yak” read, “It’s my last year at DVC… It’s been great studying abroad in China.”

There were many people who commented on it and expressed “laughter,” while others commented “And that’s why I transferred to UCSB. Gloriousness of beautiful WHITE people!”

Users can like or dislike “yaks,” this “yak”  received a disturbing 27 likes.

While this is extremely racist and unnerving, it doesn’t stop there.

Posts like “I want to just hit all the Chinese people in the crosswalk.” Or “All these Chinese are so annoying.” are common.

First of all, not all Asian students are Chinese. Second, it is ignorant to group everyone into one small group which includes probably less than 50 people. Third, with comments such as the one’s mentioned, the lines between humorous and offensive get blurred, and ignorance breeds intolerant behavior.

As DVC students, we can feel privileged and proud to have so many different types of students from all walks of life among us. It enhances the learning experience when you open yourself up to other cultures and get exposure to other people’s knowledge and experience.

As we are getting to see more and more, the Internet and anonymity gives people the feeling that they should say offensive things to others.

Regardless if it is racist or even “cyber-bullying,” there is a weird sense with young people that they should say things online that they normally wouldn’t say out loud to someone’s face.

One person posted a “yak” that said “I feel like white people don’t talk to me because they think I’m one of the Asians that don’t speak English.” Someone followed with a commented, stating “You must be unfortunate looking.”

Honestly, what does that even mean?

These types of “yaks” just create an even more hostile learning environment for students who are already in a foreign place where they potentially don’t know anyone.

What conceptually could have been a great idea for people to communicate with each other at a college campus, has sadly turned into something rather disturbing.

If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it at all.