Twitter Caves To Demand Of French Jewish Students To Reveal Identifies Of Posters

150px-Twitter_2012_logoIn a disappointing concession by Twitter, the company has  agreed to hand over the details of people who post racist and anti-Semitic abuse anonymously on its site.  We previously discussed the effort of Jewish students to strip anonymity from posters and punish people for using language that they consider anti-Semitic.  It is in my view another major attack on free speech — part of a worldwide reduction of free speech rights.

In October 2012, Jewish student bodies asked Twitter to remove a number of messages which appeared under the hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew) and posters who wrote such things as “#agoodjew is a dead Jew.” France has sweeping hate crime laws that criminalize such speech. It is a fundamental difference in the understanding of free speech. Civil libertarians believe that people have the right to express thoughts, even reprehensible and racist thoughts. It was particularly disappointing to see students (historically advocates for civil liberties) leading this fight for censorship.

The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) and three other similar groups took Twitter to court to demand the names. They accused Twitter of being a platform for anti-Semitism simply by allowing people to speak freely. It is part of a move globally to restrict the world’s greatest forum for free speech. Governments are obviously fearful of the power of the public in being able to speak freely, particularly repressive governments like China and Iran. Yet, citizens are also attacking free speech to require such sites to conform to their sensibilities and demands. I agree with these students that this is viral and disgraceful speech. However, they are leading a fight that will ultimately limit all speech and kill the single greatest vehicle of free thought ever devised by humanity. It is a Pyrrhic victory to be sure.

Source: Daily Mail

54 thoughts on “Twitter Caves To Demand Of French Jewish Students To Reveal Identifies Of Posters

  1. They need to get the Word Press censors on board their site.

    Like Pilgrim’s Pride chicken (“There is nothin’ in our chicken but chicken”) there is nothing in comments on Word Press but Word Press.

  2. I won’t say I understand how twitter interest folk but hey… Each to there own… This seems a little unreasonable…..

    Dredd, can you explain your comment….not sure what you mean….

  3. Sometimes we need to take a look @ how much communication has changed in just the past two decades. We have gone from bag cell phones[I still have mine in my office closet] to phones that are akin to a business office. We have gone from a bulky computer in the home, w/ dial-up service, to a computer in our hands. Social media, well we really only need to go back a decade or so to see a fundamental change in how we communicate worldwide. There weren’t many blogs a decade ago! So, while I agree w/ Mr. Turley, being a fellow libertarian, I’m a bit more philosophical. Many of us welcome this free speech. Some fear it. The fear is not all the same. Repressive governments fear it for evil reasons. But, some people just have problems w/ change and w/ the dark side of free speech. We need to remain diligent regarding the former. We need to have some empathy toward the latter, w/o pandering to their fears.

  4. At least I put my pictures up, showing off and my email address.   Hahahahahahaha! Lovely day, lovely day, lovely day. A Lovely Day.   

  5. One of my close friends…. ”INVITED” me to join Twitter, just yesterday. I call her to tell her, I don’t join ANY of those types of sites… Don’t need them, don’t want them. Thank you!

  6. While hate speech is a real thing, to attempt to stamp it out by legislation is a stupid thing. You cannot regulate how people feel or think and attempting to do so is akin to the Thought Police. You can combat hate speech though by using the disinfectant of sunshine combined with reason, logic and evidence to stop their poisonous memes from spreading. Even then, you’ll never change everyone’s mind. Hatred, like emotions often are, can be irrational. Never underestimate our species capacity for irrational behavior.

    Speaking of irrational, I have to go with AY on this point: I still don’t get the attraction of Twitter.

  7. Anonymously Yours 1, July 16, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I won’t say I understand how twitter interest folk but hey… Each to there own… This seems a little unreasonable…..

    Dredd, can you explain your comment….not sure what you mean….
    ==========================
    I commented:

    They need to get the Word Press censors on board their site.

    Like Pilgrim’s Pride chicken (“There is nothin’ in our chicken but chicken”) there is nothing in comments on Word Press but Word Press.

    If they did that it would be like here: “it ain’t Haines until Word Press says it is Haines.”

    You never run into the censors because, well because you are AY, a mild mannered reporter for the Gotham City Chronicle ;)

    Some of the rest of us get all rogue and mavericky sometimes … and put more than chicken in the chicken.

    The dominatrix Word Press then sends our bad goy stuff over to the sausage grinder.

    Sorry, I can’t give you and example. ;)

  8. Twitter came into existence shortly after blogs started to catch on in popularity. I’ve always considered it a somewhat symbiotic relationship between the two. Blog comments can be rambling, Twitter 140 characters. They tend to provide some balance, which is always important.

  9. Or . . . 140 characters caters to a people with short attention spans and little of substance to say.

    It all depends on how you look it, nick.

  10. Twitter is “the single greatest vehicle of free thought ever devised by humanity?” That seems to be a tad bit hyperbolic.

  11. Agree with Gene H – hate speech will always be with us. I’d much prefer to see where it is. This is a foolish move by both Twitter and an own-goal by those who have made the demand.

  12. Thanks Dredd… Never used it… Don’t do much in the area of social media…. I have gray pride….in some areas….

  13. Gene, Absolutely Twitter attracts short attention spans. I live in a college town. Ever take note of young people’s attention span? It’s frightening. Where the hell are we going to get our neurosurgeons? Wait, I know..Asia.

  14. Twitter should be ashamed of themselves just as Microsoft and the others that worked with the NSA should be ashamed of themselves.

  15. No.

    Free speech is responsible speech, people who believe in free speech own their words whether posting to Twits or opining on blogs and in other public forums. Antagonistic speech of an anonymous persuasion is no better than a lie and is no different than yelling fire in a crowded building.

    That said, we haven’t enjoyed true freedom of speech in the USA for a long time….we have a strange twisted version of it where truth tellers are tortured and chased down for process murdering and ‘wordsmiths’ profit by the twisting and isolated abbreviations of it.

    I miss Free Speech.

  16. This is a bit more complicated than it seems. And, that’s even setting aside mistakes made by folks in equating “Free Speech” under the First Amendment, with similar, but not necessarily identical concepts elsewhere.

    For reasons beyond discussion in this Blog, antisemitism has existed in France for at least 1000 years. For every Napoleon, who really didn’t care about religion all that much, there was, well, about every one else! Even the military officer in the Intelligence Division who played a key role in gaining justice in the Dreyfus Affair, Georges Picquart, was antisemitic. Although hindered, threatened, sent to N. Africa, accused of being a forger and courtmartialed, his sense of duty overrode his personal feelings about Jews.

    The French helped the Germans round up Jews in unoccupied France, and maintained a streak of antisemitism through the time I had the most direct exposure (1980’s) with day to day France. That’s just the way it is in Europe, with a few exceptions. However, I can attest to the fact the French antisemitism bubbling up quite publicly in the past 10-15 yrs. is quite different than 99% of France’s “traditional” antisemitism during the past 200+ years.

    This “new” antisemitism is not really about money, control of the world, etc., it is a throwback to the antisemitism of pre-Enlightenment France. A “blood based” antisemitism, if you will. Kidnapping non-Jewish children and using their blood to make matzoh sort of stuff. And where has it come from? Unfortunately, it has arisen as Muslims have flooded into France. Whatever good, bad or otherwise things one has to say about Arab, Persian & Pakistani Muslim cultures (Sunni or Shiite), the cultures include a type of antisemitism that, for the most part, died out in Western Europe several centuries ago. This seems to be particularly true of Arab Muslims.

    While its true Nazi Germany utilized this type of antisemitism, it was done on a sophisticated, “marketing” type of basis. That is, if this was what worked in a given area, town, or class of persons, it was used. If Jewish domination of department stores worked, that was used. And so on. And, of course, in so many ways Nazi ideas about Jews akin to a bacteria or virus to be eradicated, if not originating w/the NSDAP, were taken to unbelievable extremes.

    Europe is not the U.S. There are countries, like the Netherlands, where the population of Muslims has grown to a size where Western values, freedom of speech & religion, equality of women, are truly being threatened. And the lessons from the incident regarding the political cartoons in Denmark should not be forgot. I realise Twitter providing names is nothing to be sneezed at, but I would withhold judgment until the names are made more public.

  17. People keep forgetting that Twitter and facebook and blogs etc are Public places. Before I quit smoking I was made conscious of the ills of same by reading the scary warning on the side of the very pretty packages…..why are similiar warnings not required to be posted by the sites warning people that they may ultimately have their identities revealed and to be cautious in their speech? Words are significantly more dangerous than cigarettes….

  18. “You can combat hate speech though by using the disinfectant of sunshine combined with reason, logic and evidence to stop their poisonous memes from spreading”

    Right on! The proper answer to bad speech is more speech.

    Bad speech is like a biological poison. We cannot make ourselves safe from it by locking it away. Even if we try to repress bad speech it will still take place in the dark recesses of society. In those dark corners the haters have free reign. There will be no reasonable person to engage, contend and expose their illogical and fallacious arguments.

    Bad speech can only grow stronger when there is no reasonable person there to dispute the lies, expose the prejudice, oppose the hatred. Under those conditions the poison of hate speech does not dissipate. It grows more dangerous.

    It is only by bringing bad speech in the open and exposing it to the light of reason that we have any hope of defeating it.

    We may never stop bad speech completely. But we may reduce its influence. The best chance we have to disarm bad speech is expose it to public scrutiny, engage with it, and expose it’s lies with logic and fact.

  19. I support Twitter’s action! Having the freedom to express oneself is our right. Doing it at the expense of others is another matter. If some one is racist, their opinion has meaning to me and I want to hear it … From them. To use these “blogs” annonymously isn’t free speech, it is cowardice. If some one has something to say, say it … And own up to it.

  20. ” To use these “blogs” annonymously isn’t free speech, it is cowardice.”

    Maybe so. But unless you reason by authority, who made a statement should not affect your view of the validity of the statement. Who made a statement does not change the truth of the statement.

    The real issue is the content of the message, not who said it.

    Besides, if an anonymous statement is a real legal problem, such as a threat or a slander, it is easy enough for law enforcement to trace and identify who made the statement.

    Let them make their anonymous statements. It should not affect the discussion at all.

    And anonymous statements may offer some small protection for those who speak truth to power. We could certainly use more of that.

  21. bfm,

    In this country (and on this blog), anonymous political free speech is a protected right. To address Gwen Moore’s comment, there are exceptions to free speech: defamation, incitement and threats/fighting words. All of which have legal remedies and, through subpoena power, may seek to breach the right of anonymity. However, it is not the place of a corporation to decide when and how to breach anonymity. That’s a matter for the courts. Saying “the only good Jew is a dead Jew” while hiding behind anonymity may be odious and it may be cowardly but it is not illegal. Saying “you lot should go kill some Jews and soon, here’s where some live” is not protected in the slightest (it’s incitement). Having an adverse or unpopular political opinion is at the heart of dissent and political free speech. It needs to be protected even if you find what the speaker is saying to be vile so long as it isn’t tortious or criminal in itself.

  22. Warspite: “Unfortunately, it has arisen as Muslims have flooded into France. Whatever good, bad or otherwise things one has to say about Arab, Persian & Pakistani Muslim cultures (Sunni or Shiite), the cultures include a type of antisemitism that, for the most part, died out in Western Europe several centuries ago. This seems to be particularly true of Arab Muslims.”

    ——————
    Blaming the rise of virulent anti-semitism on the muslims in France? LOL, just Google this and read at your leisure:

    french anti-muslim groups

    Nice carom shot against the muslims but it doesn’t pass the smell test- the French, or at least enough of hem to make news, hate muslims too.

  23. To Gene H.

    The are legal remedies for defamation, etc., however it is not always possible or practical to litigate. Sometimes it is even impossible to get legal authorities to get involved. The racism displayed on Twitter was intended to incite others. I would rather see the author take the responsibility of pleading their case so he/she can get direct responses from others.

  24. Gwen,

    Incitement can be a crime depending upon the circumstance and the jurisdiction and may not require private suit be filed, instead falling to the duty of the public prosecutors. Just because a legal remedy may be difficult to prosecute – publicly or privately – doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist nor is it sufficient grounds to terminate or restrict a fundamental right like political free speech. What you’d rather is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Was the speech incitement? That’s no more your call to make than it is mine or Twitter’s. You can allege it’s incitement all you like, but that’s for the courts to decide if you believe in the Rule of Law. If it is found the speech is prime facie incitement and subject to criminal prosecution then and only then should anonymity be breached in instances of political free speech and only by court order. But limiting political free speech simply because you don’t like it censorship; political correctness when done (attempted) by the individual and oppression of dissent when done by the state. I hate Nazis for example, but I will defend their right to have their say regardless of how odious I find their beliefs. Free speech is a messy thing, but the good far outweighs the bad and is well worth the cost of some being disgusted and offended. The unwritten corollary for free speech is that at some time you are pretty much guaranteed to be disgusted and/or offended.

  25. Commercial enterprises are increasingly treating the Bill of Rights (with the exception of the Second Amendment, of course) as a nice list of suggestions.

    And Gene H. is correct.

  26. Lottakatz:

    I prefer “bank shot” to “carom”, and I think you misunderstood my point.

    With the enormous influx of Muslims, I have no doubt a substantial amount of obscene, hate-ridden anti Muslim feeling & materials have come into being.

    My point, however, was that the particular “type” of antisemitism brought into France by (largely) Arab Muslims had pretty much disappeared from France about 250 years ago. It has been revived by the Arab Muslim immigrants. Antisemitism has never disappeared from France, and considering the amount of antisemitism the French have been able to periodically muster against a relatively small number of Jews (though, in fairness, balanced by events such as the the “Popular Front” gov’t in the second half of the 1930’s), I am sure a large number of Muslims can inspire the French to enormous anti-Muslim feelings.

    I find it interesting that while the anti-assimilation stance of Muslims inspires severe hatred & prejudice, the assiduous attempt of French Jews to assimilate didn’t dent traditional French anti-Jewish feelings all that much.

  27. Define “anti-semetic”.

    Nearly every time that label is hurled at me, it’s because I said something like, “Israel used white phosphorus on Gaza in 2009″, “the Israeli military fired cluster bombs on civilians in Lebanon in 2006″, or “the Israeli government itself added ‘go back to Auschwitz’ on the recording from the Rachel Corrie”.

    When people keep crying wolf, they shouldn’t act surprised when no one believes them anymore.

  28. OK. I will entertain that question. I’m not getting into definitions, because I’d rather avoid the “Arabs in the Levant”, the so-called Palestinians, “are also Semitic peoples”.

    The point you are attempting to make has two principal defects. First, I absolutely agree it is theoretically possible to criticize Israeli policies without being antisemitic. But, my experience has been people who start ticking off a bunch of problems regarding Israel, never seem to disclose the (probably) greater problems with Palestinian policies and actions. I have invariably, and sadly found antisemitism at the core of the motivation for the criticism of Israel. After all, these same folks seem rather unconcerned with severe problems in, say, Mexico.

    Still on the first point, as a father I felt it was necessary to prove this anti semitic motivation to my kids while we were visiting N.Y.C. I told them to watch and listen. I then engaged several very nice young anti-Israel protesters near Washington Square. As I asked smiling, friendly questions, and allowed the young folks to clearly guess from my appearance that I was not Jewish. They became more and more comfortable, and it only took until the 5 or 6 minute mark for “Jewish domination” of the media and Hollywood, the control of the “Jewish Lobby”, etc., to be uttered by these very nice young people. Local students, in fact.

    I was thus able to discuss AND show my kids how at heart of every anti-Israel advocate, group, etc., is prejudice against the Jews.

    Second, your point is flawed in the light of any historical analysis. Towards the late 1930’s an international conference was held in Evian about the “Jewish Problem”. The underlying motivation was to see if other countries would step up and accept immigration of Germany’s unwanted Jews. Guess what- NO takers. (Actually I think Cuba was open to accepting a few hundred Jews).

    And no one, absolutely no one, believes there is any offer of reduction in land that would satisfy Arab interests in the area. In addition, the maintenance of the issue is too useful a diversion for the surrounding, corrupt Middle Eastern countries.

  29. This should be interesting. I mean free speechj and all that. I have seen very few people coming to the defense of Paula deen because she said to her husband, in the privacy of her home, that a nigger put a gun to her head during a bank robbery. So, all you free speech advocates. What is your response to my use of the word nigger?

    Would it make a difference if I told you that I am black. Light black? Asian? Hispanic? White? Black passing as white? Jewish? Jewish and black? Suppose I said that I was shot by a nigger? That last sentence is actually true?

    As Jesus said.
    “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?

  30. Like George Carlin, I’d say there are no bad words. Bad thoughts. Bad intentions. And wooooords. The inappropriateness of the word nigger is defined by usage, intent and context. In itself, it is just a word and has no power other than what people give it.

  31. You have a right to use the word.

    We have a right to use your use of the word and other facts to evaluate your actions and perhaps conclude that you are racists.

    As individuals we have a right to make personal decisions regarding our association with those we consider racist.

    What am I missing? Is this a trick question?

  32. Oh! Sorry for the incomplete answer:

    Your race, the context in which you use the word, and the social conventions of your ethnic group may influence my conclusion as to whether you are racist, rude, in casual conversation or something else entirely.

  33. Is there a statute of limitations applicable as to Ms. Deen’s actions? Because a woman of her age, background, education (when was it she graduated H.S. in Georgia. 1966? 1967?), I’m not sure it’s appropriate to ruin her life over what she did 25 yrs ago.

    It’s funny how its perceived as impossible for White people to grow wiser, more tolerant, etc. Especially if, G-d forgive they are Republicans, Conservatives, or Christians. If they are liberals, actually even if they are mere Democrats, I’m not even sure they have to abjure their prior beliefs. (e.g., the late Sen. Byrd).

  34. “Is there a statute of limitations applicable as to Ms. Deen’s actions?”

    On a different thread on this blog that was almost entirely devoted to Deen, one of the key questions posed by many was whether the remarks attributed to Deen reflected the current Deen or if she had changed since she uttered them.

    Of course, for some racist actions and words are unforgivable.

    But it is clear from that other series of comments that many believe that change is possible and that the important issue is the quality of the person as they are today.

    Unfortunately for Deen, many also concluded that there does not seem to be a lot of change in Deen.

    Some even cited her current explanations and appeals for forgiveness to argue that Deen just does not seem to get it.

    I, myself, am struck by the recollection of an interview in which she calls an employee to the stage and makes a supposedly friendly joke regarding the persons skin color.

    Some might argue that the ‘joke’ demonstrates close, comfortable, friendly relationship.

    I would question if an employee/employer relation can ever be that close, or whether it is reasonable to make that kind of display to a studio audience and a national audience of strangers where nuances can be lost and misunderstanding can easily occur. And if I did not make it clear, the humor of the remark seems clearly based on singling out a person on the basis of skin color so that other, mostly white people, can laugh at them.

    Is Deen a raging racist prone to violence in the manner of the old time Klan or neo Nazis ? No, of course not, at least we have no evidence to suggest that.

    But does it seem likely that Deen is comfortable with a system if hierarchical relations in which Deen can assume permissions and familiarity that others might find uncomfortable, belittling or limiting.

    Over all it seems to me that Deen has little appreciation for the implications of her words or how her actions may be perceived by others.

    The fact that these insensitivities seem to occur repeatedly in regard to African Americans leads me to the conclusion that Deen has made limited progress in overcoming the racism prevalent in the community of her childhood.

    But I am a sucker for a story about change and uplift. So tell me Paula. Tell me about your epiphany. Tell me how it came to you that it has to stop, it has to stop here, it has to stop now. Tell me how you are going to use your influence, how you are going to appeal to your audience and tell them that change is possible and necessary. Tell me.. I am listening…

  35. Yea… But you may have noticed that I am the first person in this discussion to use that sacred word; one that is, apparently reserved exclusively for blacks. Speaking of which here is a riff by Chris Rock on how black people hate Niggers. Notice the lack of white people in the audience. I guess that if a white person hears the word nigger more than five times in a minute, live, then his head will explode.

  36. I am not sure who “We” are. But that is not how it is done. A woman, in the privacy of her home tells her husband something to the affect that “a nigger put a gun to her head” and she is condemmed. Condemmed, I strongly suspect by white managers who, if they are about her age, on more than one occasion called a black subordinate a nigger.

    So, this is just blacks and white liberals, and other various categories of intellectuall dishonest people jumping on a bandwagon to show how nobel and unracist that they are.

    It is similar to the same class of people getting all upset because Zimmerman was acquitted. If all these people really cared a crap about blacks, they would put just half of that effort into trying to figure out and prevent black men from killing other black men at a rate of about 20 per day, about eight times greater than the white homicide rate.

    Or perhaps the fact that they do not make this effort is because they all realize what the true value of the life of a black man is. NOt much, judging by the lack of effort put into protecting them.

  37. The meaning of “I was shot by a nigger” changes because of my race, social conventions or ethnic group — why exactly?

    I should tell you that I have aspergers and do not abstractions well. Crap, I do not do them at all unless they are built on specifics. I understand “He moved like a cat” He is bad … not so much. So when you answer this, please try hard to use simple english and specific examples :-)

  38. Republicans forgive dirty old men, as long as they did not have sex with boys (unless they are priests) or are democrats. Democrats forgive anybody except financial people and republicans.

  39. It would be nice if you were specific and docummented your allegations about these perceived offenses with links. Another factor, is I have yet to hear about any of these people who were allegedly offended, voicing any offence.

    It would be nice if the white people here complaining how these poor black people have been put upon, stop assuming that these blacks are innept children who need white people to defend them. Specificially, has any black anywhere who was allegedly offended come forward to complain. If not than perhaps your paternalistic attitudes are, themselves, racist. But in a nice way meaning no harm of course.

  40. “It would be nice if the white people here complaining how these poor black people have been put upon, stop assuming that these blacks are innept children who need white people to defend them.”

    Why would it be nice for anyone to stop pointing out racist and racism.

    Why would anyone assume that pointing out racist acts and words is based on the assumption that someone else is inept or childlike.

    I think it is completely illogical to assert that a clear statement about one person necessarily implies belief about a completely different group.

    I think we all have an obligation to deal with racism when it presents itself. It is a bit of a tangent but I would also include sexism and ageism along with racism. I will leave it to each to consider and decide his or her level of commitment and involvement in dealing with racism, sexism and ageism.

    And even if that does not quit rise to the level of an obligation, I don’t think we need to ask anyone permission to make statements and present evidence of racism and racist speech.

    Our words and actions against racism might, in fact, help someone. But just in case you don’t get it – the main reason for calling out racism and racist is that racism is offensive and dangerous. The main reason for opposing racism is for our own self interest.

    If acting in our own self interest in fact aligns us with others and gives strength to our cause then that is a wonderful thing. And if some of those we support in common cause are less capable, for example frail elders, then our efforts is even more important.

    Why would anyone suggest that it is inappropriate to oppose racism? The only reason that occurs to me that anyone would suggest we stop opposing racism is that the person wants to make the world safe for racist and the expression of racism.

  41. At approximately 1:22 into the interview clip, Paula Deen introduces Hollis Johnson to the audience while making a joke regarding his skin color. She immediately states that it is what is inside that counts. The audience responds appreciatively.

    It may be reckless to presume Deen’s intentions, but I would guess that she is saying, in effect, she can’t be racist because she has a close relation with a person with dark skin color.

    I will leave it to the viewer to decide for his or herself if making a joke about skin color reflects racism or a progressive view of interpersonal relations.

    http://www.nytimes.com/video/2013/06/22/us/100000002296089/paula-deen-on-race-in-2012-timestalk.html

  42. “Why would it be nice for anyone to stop pointing out racist and racism.”
    Ahhh. Because there is no evidence of racism? If I understand the term correctly racism involves a kind of hostile behavior, either verbal or physical, directed to another based on the persons race. Silly me, I would assume that someone with high room temperature IQ, let alone one in the triple digits, would know if another person has directed hostile behavior towards them. I have yet to hear any black person actually voice a complaint about Paule Deens behavior towards them or towards someone that they know. Hence no actual racism.

    Describing a person as a nigger if that person is actually, as Chris Rock so well describes them, a nigger is not racism.

    And what, exactly, is a racist word? Do blacks have a sacred word that only they can use? Are blacks somehow so special that they get their own words that only they can use? Boy, talk of racist.

    If you are claiming that Ms,. Deen acted in a racist manner than who, exactly did she act agains? Have they complained? I have not heard of any such complaints.

    I have yet to see a single point out, with regard to Ms. Deen “pointing out racist acts and words.” Certainly you have not pointed out any. I have seen people claiming that she acted in such a manner, but since no one has come forward to say that they or a known friend were the victims of such behavior than we must assume that those making the accusation are clearly stating that the alleged victims are to inept and childlike to realize their status as victim

    “I think we all have an obligation to deal with racism when it presents itself.”

    And how, exactly do we know when it presents itself if no one who is the alleged victim complains? I mean without assuming that the poor victim is to much the fool to realize that they are a victim?

    I don’t think we need to ask anyone permission to make statements and present evidence of racism and racist speech.”

    Where is the evidence? When, exactly, assuming that I was actually shot by what everyone would consider a very dark skinned person, would the statement “I was shot by a nigger during a holdup” be racist?

    Why would anyone suggest that it is inappropriate to oppose racism?

    I do not know. I, personally, think that granting blacks the exclusive right to use the word niggers is a form of racism. It means that they get the exclusive right to use a word. They are entitled to something that no one else is because of their race. Sounds like racism to me.

  43. “I will leave it to the viewer to decide for his or herself if making a joke about skin color reflects racism or a progressive view of interpersonal relations. ”

    She kissed the man for gods sake. Any person who thinks that her remarks reflects racism is several cards short of a full deck, and any person who thinks that normal person could think that is, themselves, a few cards short of a full deck.

  44. “I have yet to hear any black person actually voice a complaint about Paule Deens behavior towards them or towards someone that they know. Hence no actual racism.”

    Once again, whether the target of racism complains is irrelevant to the measure of racism. Is the institution of slavery less evil if the slave never complains? Of course not. Is a racist remark ok if the target of the racism does not challenge the remark. I think not.

    There are many reasons why the target of racism might choose not to challenge the racism at a particular time or place. They might fear retaliation in the form or being fired from a job. They might fear other forms of institutional retaliation. They might believe challenging racism would provoke further verbal attacks. They might believe challenging racism would escalate verbal attacks to physical attack. They might conclude that the person making the racist remark was so inconsequential that it was not worth their time or effort to challenge that particular remark at that time.

    I am sure the reader can image many other reasons why the target of racism might choose to challenge racism at a different time in a different place. And if the target of racism chooses to never challenge that particular event, that still does not change or lessen the racist characteristic of the event.

    ” since no one has come forward to say that they or a known friend were the victims of such behavior than we must assume that those making the accusation are clearly stating that the alleged victims are to inept and childlike”

    Why do we have to assume that? If one were to make an assumption, why shouldn’t we assume that the target of racism is powerful and, likely to prevail in their battle against prejudice? The fact that targets of racism have withstood slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, attempts to drive them from their homes and may other forms of abuse would suggest that they are adaptable and powerful. There is a saying that ‘if it don’t kill you, it makes you stronger’. Considering what some minorities have been through, they must be very strong indeed.

    I have already stated that we should challenge racism because of our own self interest. Racism reflects limited, stereotypical thinking. Racism is dangerous and objectionable for many reasons. When we choose to challenge racism and racists, we don’t have to make any assumptions regarding the target of racism .

    “Describing a person as a nigger if that person is actually, as Chris Rock so well describes them, a nigger is not racism.”

    Some people who defend the use of the word seem to be claiming that it is ok to use the word if the referent actually matches the definition. This approach leaves out the fact that the meaning of the work is fundamentally pejorative. The meaning of the word includes more that just a specific characteristic such as ‘dark skinned person’. The meaning also includes offense, disrespect, an insult. It is that aspect of intended insult that is part of the meaning of the work that suggest that use of the word is likely racist. Nevertheless, I do not believe that a single word or a single action determines racism. Racism can be inferred from a pattern of speech or behavior over time.

    “She kissed the man for gods sake. Any person who thinks that her remarks reflects racism is several cards short of a full deck, and any person who thinks that normal person could think that is, themselves, a few cards short of a full deck.”

    How many times over the decades have we heard the claim that African Americans are like family members. The implication seems to be that if African Americans are like family members then we (the southerner) could not be racist. The fact is that the ‘family relations’ are frequently hierarchical and limiting to the African American. The ‘family relation’ frequently presumes the role of African American is subservient, dependent or child like and not that of a fully capable, independent, equal adult.

    Decades ago it was common for some to observe ‘in the south they don’t care how close you get as long as you don’t try to act equal’. In the old south it was not uncommon to have very close physical interactions. It was perfectly fine for minorities to prepare the meals or suckle the babies. Just don’t try to sit down at the dinner table. An African American might have full access to the home and knowledge of all manner of personal, intimate activities, but trying to vote could lead to a beating.

    I personally do not believe that a kiss or other close physical contact can tell us anything regarding racist belief or activity. Once again, we can infer racism from a pattern of actions or statements. However, one act or one word can only tell us something when placed in the context of other words and actions.

    Whether I am dealing with a full deck is irrelevant. I am not the issue. The issue is the issue. The issue we have been discussing is Deen and facts that might suggest if she is racist or if she has changed her opinions over the years. There is nothing about me that can possible change anything about Deen or the evidence we have about her.

  45. “. Is the institution of slavery less evil if the slave never complains?” Non sequiture
    “Of course not. Is a racist remark ok if the target of the racism does not challenge the remark. I think not. ” True but not relevant. I did not state that that to be a racist that everyone has to complain, or even that most people have to complain. What I said was that if NO ONE against whom the racism was committed complains, than there is no evidence of racism. Is this really such a difficult concept for you to understand?

    “… alleged victims are to inept and childlike”

    Why do we have to assume that? ”

    Again because NO ONE complained. ZERO, NADA. The only evidence, such as it is, is the interpretation of racists who are working under the assumption that they can see racism, whereas ALL these poor benighted victims are just constitutionally unable to see or react to racism, or are to afraid, or whatever other rationalism suits her accuser.

    ” Considering what some minorities have been through, they must be very strong indeed. ” Yes, but not strong enough to do anything about this alleged racism. Are you even aware that you have managed to present an almost classi example of doublethink. You have these “very strong” people who are afraid to protest against racism. And people of at least moderate intelligence being unaware of being the targets of racism.

    I do not quibble with your statements that racism is something against which people should fight. The problem is that you have not shown any evidence of racism in the context of this discussion. ZERO NONE. Your statement that an action or remark is racist is not evidence. It is simply your opinion. You could have a million people of the same opinion and it would not matter. What you need is an actual victim to say that he was the target of racism. And the nigger who shot me, or the nigger who held a gun to the head of Ms. Deen do not qualify because you see — As Chris Rock would say, they are actually niggers. It is descriptive. A criminal or otherwise bad black person. Usually not all that smart. Go see his You tube riff.

    I love your paragraph on family members. There is no evidence of actual racism, no one has complained of actual racism or of having been the recipient of racist remarks or actions, but we know what those ignorant bigoted white southerners are like. They are all really racists. And the kind and good way that she treated this black man is evidence of racism.

    As near as I can tell, all white southerners are racist by definition of being white southerners. Nope no stereotyping there.

    ” Once again, we can infer racism from a pattern of actions or statements. ”
    I suppose you can. Where exactly is that pattern, other than in your own prejudicial mind? You have yet to present one instance, let alone a pattern.

    There is nothing about me that can possible change anything about Deen or the evidence we have about her.

    So far, the only evidence you have about her is her very positive and healthy relationship with a black man. And her remark about not being visible against a black background is about as offensive as the comment that white men can’t jump. News flash. White men can’t jump. That is probably the primary reason for the three point line is basketball :-)

  46. “NO ONE against whom the racism was committed complains, than there is no evidence of racism. Is this really such a difficult concept for you to understand?”

    I don’t think that I could agree that evidence of racism can come only from the targets of racism in the form of complaints. It seems to me that there are many possible sources of evidence of racism. We might look at the effects of the action. We might use other facts in addition to the acts in question to infer the intention of the actor. We might check the definition of the words used and other facts regarding the actor to infer racism. We might consider the opinions regarding the incident of those knowledgeable about racism including but not limited to philosophers, law enforcement, community leaders or victims of racism. We might interview the target of racism in private to obtain a candid response. We might collect data and check for statistical patterns that demonstrate racist action or effect.

    “working under the assumption that they can see racism, whereas ALL these poor benighted victims are just constitutionally unable to see or react to racism, or are to afraid, or whatever other rationalism suits her accuser. ”

    I think it is clear that sometimes we can identify racism. Do you really want to argue that only the target of racism can identify racism. It seems to me that if the act is racist or has racist overtones then most anyone with an open mind and knowledge of the situation can identify the racist act.

    I have not made any assumptions regarding the capability of the targets of racism. I did pose the question why one would assume qualities such as ‘inept’ rather than “powerful”.

    Once again, Opposition to racism does not require any assumption regarding the characteristics or capability of the target of racism. We oppose racism in part because it reflects limited, stereotypical thought, it poses a danger not just to its immediate targets but potentially to anyone, it sometimes leads to violence, and for other reasons as well.

    “Yes, but not strong enough to do anything about this alleged racism. Are you even aware that you have managed to present an almost classi example of doublethink.”

    I never claimed that the target of racism could do nothing about the racism. You are the one who keeps mentioning ‘inept’ or suggesting the target of racism can’t do anything about it. I pointed out there are many reasons why the target of racism might choose not to challenge the racism at that time in that place. None of those reasons imply that the target of racism is incapable of acting.

    I have been clear and consistent. It does not matter what the characteristics of the target of racism. We have a right and an obligation to oppose racism. Our own self interest requires that we oppose racism.

    ” you have not shown any evidence of racism in the context of this discussion.”

    You are entitled to you opinion.

    But I do believe that making a joke about someone’s skin color qualifies as racist. Making the joke before a national audience demonstrates a failure understand the implications of the words and the act. Deen does not get it.

    In a different thread on this blog specifically related to Deen I did point out that Deen expressed approval for a restaurant with wait staff that seemed to recall the antebellum south. Deen’s description of that restaurant and her consideration of a similar theme for a wedding seemed, to me, to express approval for the kind of hierarchical relations typical of the antebellum south. Deen seems to like the idea of plantation life and being served by slaves. I think that qualifies as racist.

    All one can ever do is present evidence for evaluation by others. Some get it. Some not so much.

    “As near as I can tell, all white southerners are racist by definition of being white southerners.”

    I did not say that. You said that.

    Half my family are southerners. Some are in fact racist. Some marched during the darkest days of the civil rights movement. Southerners, like most any group, have great diversity as well as similarities.

    I am necessarily responsible for my own statements. I have no obligation to be responsible for remarks you make about me.

    “News flash. White men can’t jump.”

    The remark speaks for itself.

  47. “… We might consider the opinions regarding the incident of those knowledgeable about racism including but not limited to philosophers, law enforcement, community leaders or victims of racism. …”

    We might ask the invisible flying sphagetti monster. You might do a lot of those things. You did none of them, and you produced no evidene.

    “I think it is clear that sometimes we can identify racism. ” 1. What you think does not matter. I am sure that if you go outside, that it is clear to you that the sun goes around the earth. The actual physical world does not care what you thin. and 2. no racism has been identified. You have spent probably well over a thousand words simply trying to justify your position, as thought if you througn enough words out, perhaps they will transmorgify into actual evidence. Maybe in a courtroom they might.

    ” It seems to me that if the act is racist or has racist overtones then most anyone with an open mind and knowledge of the situation can identify the racist act. ” A classic example of what I believe is called beggin the question. Perhaps not. Perhaps the great spirit who moves in all things has annointed you as the grand arbiter of what is and what is not racism. Sorry, but I did not get tha memo :-)

    “, Opposition to racism does not require any assumption regarding the characteristics or capability of the target of racism. ”

    Of course not. Say, that a black mans 1/2 brother who is white, comes up to him and says “yo nigga — wassup??” And this poor benighted black man does not recognize that his 1/2 brother is racist because he is — what?? Clearly he is going to need you to explain to him, because of his simple minded ignorant state that his 1/2 brother is a racist and just did a racist thing. His 1/2 brother is racist because enlightened white you has decreed it.

    “You are the one who keeps mentioning ‘inept’ or suggesting the target of racism can’t do anything about it. ” No I did not. Your words imply that the “victims” either do not recognize racism or can not do anything about it. I am stating that, at least as far as this discussion is concerned, that it has not occured. The only way that it can have occured, as you claim, and not been acted upon, is that all the victims of it were either stupid or powerless. Or do you have a third alternative?

    I did not say they did not act on it at “that time and place” I claim that they NEVER acted on it. Do you have evidence to the contrary? No you do not. All that you have said is conjecture and speculation based on nothing but your fantasies and state of mine. A fairly prejudiced one (towards white southerners) I might ad.

    “” you have not shown any evidence of racism in the context of this discussion.”

    You are entitled to you opinion. ”

    Point it out to me. Tell me the act that you consider racist. No strike that. Point out the alleged victim who claims to have been a victim of racism.

    “But I do believe that making a joke about someone’s skin color qualifies as racist. Making the joke before a national audience demonstrates a failure understand the implications of the words and the act. Deen does not get it. ”

    Well you are certainly entitled to hold dearly to your own prejudices and beliefs. But please do not pretend that they conform to how the world is, or that they in any sense are an accurate reflection of a persons state of mind.

    Fantasies are not reality. This may come as a surprise to you but a sizeable number of women fantasize about being raped. It is the 3rd most popular fantasy. That does NOT mean that they actually want to be raped, or are mentally ill or crave abuse.

    ““As near as I can tell, all white southerners are racist by definition of being white southerners.”

    I did not say that. You said that.”

    I could be wrong, but I am fairly certain that you made some coment about white southerners.
    ” The implication seems to be that if African Americans are like family members then we (the southerner) could not be racist. The fact is that the ‘family relations’ are frequently hierarchical and limiting to the African American. The ‘family relation’ frequently presumes the role of African American is subservient, dependent or child like and not that of a fully capable, independent, equal adult. ”

    You are welcom to spin it differently

    ““News flash. White men can’t jump.”

    The remark speaks for itself.”

    And what does it say? That I am racist agains blacks or whites.

    How about this: Blacks have more of a high blood pressure than whites. But in the interest of not being racist, lets just ignore that fact, and pretend that blacks and whites are genetically the same for purposes of disease. Would that make you feel better?

  48. “We might ask the invisible flying sphagetti monster. You might do a lot of those things. You did none of them, and you produced no evidene.”

    Your claim was that only a complaint from the target of racism could count as evidence of racism.

    I mentioned several ways that we can produce evidence of racism. Clearly there are many ways to produce evidence of racism including direct observation of racist action, words of the racist, statistical data demonstrating racist action, statistical data demonstrating racist effect.

    The claim that Deen is or was a racist does not depend on a complaint of racism by the target of the racist act – which is what you argued.

    In particular, in regard to Deen her words in the video of the NYT interview are evidence of racism. That evidence may not be conclusive that Deen is right now a racist. You may not agree. But that video is clearly evidence and a joke about skin color of an African American clearly has racist content.

    In particular her expression of appreciation for the antebellum style restaurant is evidence of racism. Again that may not be conclusive and you may disagree. But the documentation of that event which was widely publicized is clearly evidence. And admiration for a restaurant which recalls the antebellum south and the institution of slavery clearly has racist content.

    “2. no racism has been identified.”

    Deen’s racist joke regarding sking color of an African American.

    Deen’s admiration for a theme restaurant based on slavery and the antebellum south.

    Deen’s plan to use a similar theme of the antebellum south for a weeding.

    “” It seems to me that if the act is racist or has racist overtones then most anyone with an open mind and knowledge of the situation can identify the racist act. ” A classic example of what I believe is called beggin the question. ”

    Are you seriously going to argue that direct knowledge of the situation cannot be used to identify racism and develop evidence???

    ““You are the one who keeps mentioning ‘inept’ or suggesting the target of racism can’t do anything about it. ” No I did not. ”

    Let me remind you:

    ” white people here complaining how these poor black people have been put upon, stop assuming that these blacks are innept children

    those making the accusation are clearly stating that the alleged victims are to inept and childlike to realize their status as victim

    poor benighted victims are just constitutionally unable to see or react to racism,

    people who are afraid to protest against racism. And people of at least moderate intelligence being unaware of being the targets of racism.

    can have occured, as you claim, and not been acted upon, is that all the victims of it were either stupid or powerless.”

    There might be more examples but I got tired of looking.

    The general pattern seems to be if someone opposes racism and there is no complaint from the target racism, then you claim that the one who opposes racism is racist themselves and must also believe the target of racism, in some sense, lacks capability.

    As I have stated before, I do not believe that is a reasonable inference. Any reasonable person can see for themselves that one who opposes racism could, in principle, at the same time hold any possible belief regarding the target of racism. It is not possible to infer the belief regarding the target of racism from the fact of opposition to racism.

    “Your words imply that the “victims” either do not recognize racism or can not do anything about it.”

    My words were about why we should believe racism was present and why we should oppose racism.

    I don’t believe my words imply anything at all about the targets of racism. It seems clear to me that one may oppose racism and believe (1) the targets are powerful (2) helpless (3) anywhere in between. The claim that opposition to racism necessarily implies anything at all about the target of racism is therefore unreasonable.

    “The only way that it (presumably the ‘it’ is the occurrence of racism without a corresponding complaint – bfm) can have occured, as you claim, and not been acted upon, is that all the victims of it were either stupid or powerless. Or do you have a third alternative?”

    I have presented several reasons why a target or racism might choose not to complain at a particular time or place, or not at all.

    The target of racism may have chosen not to complain at that time in that place because they believed the racist would retaliate, they believed the situation might escalate to violence, they thought they might have a better opportunity for success at a different place or time, they wanted to consult with counsel, or because they wanted to file an official complaint.

    I am sure there are many, many more reasons why the target or racism might choose not to complain at a particular time or place.

    ” I claim that they NEVER acted on it. Do you have evidence to the contrary? No you do not. ”

    As I have repeatedly stated I think complaint from the target of racism is irrelevant to evaluation of the fact of racism or to the question of opposition to racism. It simply does not matter if they (the targets of racism) acted on it (that is complained) or not.

    “Tell me the act that you consider racist. No strike that. Point out the alleged victim who claims to have been a victim of racism. ”

    Again, the claim by the victim that racism occurred is irrelevant to the question of whether racism exists or the issue of opposition of racism.

    As I clearly stated I consider Deens joke regarding color to be racist, and I consider her approval of the antebellum style restaurant to indicate a racist view. The fact that she gave serious consideration to having a wedding in the antebellum style similar to the theme restaurant is further evidence of a racist view.

    “I could be wrong, but I am fairly certain that you made some comment about white southerners.”

    I made many comments about white southerners. And, lets be clear about, some white southerners are in fact racist. But I never stated or implied that all white southerners are racist which is what you claimed I said. On the contrary, if it needs to be said, I have met many white southerners who deeply oppose racism.

    ” The implication seems to be that if African Americans are like family members then we (the southerner) could not be racist. The fact is that the ‘family relations’ are frequently hierarchical and limiting to the African American. The ‘family relation’ frequently presumes the role of African American is subservient, dependent or child like and not that of a fully capable, independent, equal adult. ”

    I said that and by my personal observation that is true. But your claim was that I stated that ‘all white southerners are racist by definition’.

    Nothing I have said states or implies that all white southerners are racist.

    The fact that these so called ‘family relations’ frequently have racist dimensions does not imply that all southerners are racist which is what you claimed.

    The fact that these so called ‘family relations’ frequently have racist dimensions does not imply that all ‘family relations’ between white southerners and African Americas are based on racism.

    But the fact that ‘family relations’ frequently have racist dimensions clearly and reasonably suggest that when a white southerner claims ‘family relation’ as a defense to the accusation racism then we should examine the relation carefully. We should not assume the relation is positive or benign. There is the possibility that the words provide cover for a detrimental, racist relation.

    I think it is important to mention that ‘family relation’ can be a cover, a euphemism for ‘racist relation’ because many reading this may not remember all the times over the decades that white southerners have explained that ‘outsiders do not understand race relations in the south, because they are like family to us’ while at the same time crosses burned, demonstrators were beaten, school rooms and churches were blown up, or the supposed family member was mistreated, abused or otherwise humiliated… I could go on.

    “You are welcome to spin it differently”

    You either made your case or you did not. That is for the reader to decide.

    So far as I can tell most of you argument comes down to two main points:

    (1) Deen cannot be racist because the target of the supposedly racist action did not complain

    (2) if some one who is not the target of racism opposes racism, then they must be racist themselves because opposing racism when there is no complaint from the target of racism implies they believe the targets of racism are inept or child like or otherwise unaware.

    I argue that both of those points are unreasonable to believe and unsubstantiated by you. But the reader can make up their own mind.

    Again, I am not the issue. Deen’s racism is the issue. Even if you convince someone that I am wrong or racist that has nothing to do with the broader issues of racism or with the particular case of Deen and her racist acts.

Comments are closed.