Born in Sudan to Ethiopian parents, comedian Solomon Georgio grew up and lived in Seattle for many years before moving to Los Angeles to propel his comedy career. He usually uses Twitter to make 140 character jokes, but on Martin Luther King Day he did something different. On Monday he used Twitter in hopes of promoting love and acceptance.
"I sent the initial Tweet, For my MLK Day I'm going to find maliciously racist tweets and tell the author I love them. Then I typed the word n****r into the Internet and my computer almost blew up."
He spent the day reading and responding to tweets like this one:
"In honor of MLK Day I'm not going to shower so I stink like a n****r. I responded with, I assure you that I shower everyday and smell quite pleasant. Regardless of that misconception, I love you."
Sometimes the Tweeter would respond, sometimes they wouldn't.
"Richard Sherman posted a tweet: Thanks for all the racist remarks, this is exactly what you should do for Martin Luther King Day. This one guy is like, If you act like a n****r you get called a n****r. It has nothing to do with race. I responded to him with, I don't understand or care for that logic but I still wish you the best. I love you. And he just sort of gave me this rhetoric. It's not like people are mad at him for being black, they're made at him for being stupid. And I responded with Well then, you can just call him stupid."
Solomon says, in the end, most of the people he Tweeted ended up deleting their original Tweets after they were retweeted and exposed to thousands of people.
"I didn't want to attack or shame people. I just can't imagine somebody being that hateful all the way through. As much as I would rather dismiss someone entirely, I've just reached that point in my age where I'm like, maybe it's best to find redeeming qualities in people who are cruel."
Solomon says the results of the experiment surprised him.
"My expectations were to be called a n****r a lot. I literally had just one somewhat racist response. For the most part, no one was genuinely mean at all. I received a lot of wonderful output from people that I wasn't talking to directly. It actually turned out to be a great experience for me because I didn't experience as much hate as I expected. There were people who said, I love you too."
In the end, he received nearly a thousand messages from people who saw the Tweet exchanges and wanted to commend him on what he was doing. Solomon says in the past he'd responded very negatively to racism, but his goal this year was to be more loving.
"Why don't I try to approach something in a positive angle? I approached this with care and love and what's the worst that can happen? The worst that can happen is somebody just keeps being who they are, which is already the case. What happened is more people showed love, more people want more stuff like this. Which I think is something that I definitely want to do and I'm trying to figure out another project of this caliber so I can start pushing it forward."