How a racist Facebook photo cost a man his job and inspired an outpouring of love for a three-year-old - CVIEW NEWS

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Friday, 9 October 2015

How a racist Facebook photo cost a man his job and inspired an outpouring of love for a three-year-old

An Atlanta man has been fired as a result of racist comments made about his Facebook profile photo, which contained the image of a coworker’s young black son. 
Gerod Roth took a selfie while in the offices of Polaris Marketing Group, his place of work, reportsFox 5 Atlanta. He made the image his profile photo. In the background of the photo stands a little boy, three-year-old Cayden Jenkins. Cayden had been visiting his mom at the office, and Roth took and posted the photo without the mother’s knowledge or permission.
Cayden appears innocent and adorable, but what followed was anything but. 
Friends of Roth’s began posting disturbingly racist comments. Among them, “I didn’t know you were a slave owner,” “Dude, where the hell did you get a black kid,” and “But Massuh, I dindu nuffin.” 
Roth’s response to this alarming outpouring of prejudice? “He was feral.” 
If this seems like just another putrid example to throw on the ever-growing pile of evidence that the internet is a vile and scary place, what happened next shows just how quickly the web can turn on people like Roth — and become a force for good.
Cayden’s mom Sydney Shelton learned of the post through friends and, instead of firing back angrily, posted a collection of adorable images of Cayden, along with the following text:
“This is Cayden Jace! The love of my life, the apple in my eye, my EVERYTHING. All this lovely personality wrapped up into one small person’s body. When people hear about him, these are the pictures I want them to know about. Not that disturbing image and its comments. We are above all of this nonsense that has been going on. Cayden and I truly appreciate all of the love that we have been shown in the last 24 hours. You guys warm my heart, more than words could ever express. This little guys [sic] has every piece of my heart, he is my world and #HisNameIsCayden”
The hashtag quickly caught on, and it wasn’t long before Roth was fired by his employers, who issued a statement saying, “The atrocious lies, slander and racism he and his mother have been forced to endure are wholly intolerable. Myself and the entire PMG family in no way condones this kind of behaviour and would never willingly associate with anyone who does. It has no place in the world.”
Roth took to the airwaves to defend himself, telling Fox 5 Atlanta that his comments had been taken out of context and that he himself was also being victimized. Right.
According to the Atlanta Blackstar, Roth wasn’t the only one to lose his job in the fallout. Facebook user Emily Irene Red, who posted the comment “I didn’t know you were a slave owner” was reportedly let go from her job at The Conch Republic Grill.
At the end of the day, the whole regrettable episode did have a silver lining. Cayden’s godmother, a woman living in Phoenix named named Brittany Turner, was inspired to create something positive out of the story. She set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a college fund for Cayden, and in three days it has raised more than $3000 towards its $5000 goal.
Writes Turner: “Instead of continuing to shed light on all of the dark aspects of this horrible act, I would like to shed a lot of light onto the good things. This young man has a full life ahead of him. I wanted to create this for Cayden, simply for that reason alone.”

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