HuffPo, Slate, and Vox: “It’s okay when people of color are racists”

Let’s begin with the Oxford English Dictionary‘s definition of “racism”, which gives only a single meaning:

Note that it says nothing about which race can be guilty of bigotry; it just notes that racism is the belief in the superiority of one’s group, the idea that other groups threatens one’s “cultural identity or well being”, or that members of other races have specific defining traits. All of this leads to prejudice and antagonism. This means that all groups, regardless of who they are, can be guilty of racism.

As we know, the definition has been changed by the Control Left to mean “a belief that Caucasians are superior . . ” and so on. Other groups, such as blacks, Hispanics, or Asians, can’t be guilty of racism because the crime, which can be committed only by whites, is the exercise of “prejudice plus power”. Apparently only whites have that power.  It’s unclear whether there is a hierarchy of groups so that a group can never be racist towards those above them on the oppression scale (i.e., less oppressed), but can be racist towards all groups that are more oppressed.

I reject this definition tout court. Racism is racism—bigotry against those who belong to different “races”.  And it has the same effect: dividing people and leading to unjustified hatred and unequal treatment. The idea that no person should be treated differently simply because of their race or ethnicity is a Leftist and Enlightenment value, and for good reason: racism is wrong because it has an inimical effect on society and isn’t justifiable on any rational philosophical or moral grounds.

But this morning I’m disgusted by how the Leftist media has reacted to an incident I described yesterday, excusing someone for being a racist simply because she’s Asian. That media is saying that racism is okay if people of color do it. The three examples below represent some of the slimiest and most disgusting behavior I’ve seen from the liberal media. (As always, I consider myself a liberal, but can’t abide some of the Left’s odious behavior.)

So yesterday I pointed out how Sarah Jeong, the newly hired head tech writer for the New York Times, had a history of making racist tweets against white people, and how the Times excused it by saying that she was simply responding to trolls and using their language. The paper kept her on despite having fired another tech writer, Quinn Norton, for the identical transgression. Jeong is Asian, Norton white. The Times’s defense of Jeong is blatantly hypocritical, for if a white person said the same kind of things about blacks that she did about whites—justifying herself by saying that she was simply using the language of her harassers—the Times would have fired her instantly, as they did Norton. (I still don’t believe the excuse that Jeong was simply provoked to racism by racist trolling.)

I expected that if I looked at the liberal media this morning, they simply would have ignored this story. I did not expect that they would defend Jeong, justifying her racism because it was inspired by the racism of others, or even claiming that it was just a joke. Needless to say, these same people would take a very different view if the racist were white rather than Asian. Thus, to the hypocrisy of the New York Times we must add the hypocrisy of HuffPo, Slate, and an editor of Vox.

Let’s start with the most execrable of the three: HuffPost, long a bastion of extreme and unthinking Control-Leftism, and the Breitbart of the Left. Click on the screenshot below to see how they excuse Jeong.

Travis Waldron’s piece begins by saying that the tweets were “stripped of their context,” and flatly denying that an Asian woman could be anti-white: that is, there is no racism possible from such a person:

But ignore the trolls you must. This includes the gleeful, snickering chuds who strip old tweets of their context and send them back out into the world. And this also includes the establishment figures like Ari Fleischer and publications like the National Review, the folks wailing about an Asian woman’s “anti-white racism,” as if there were such a thing.

Needless to say, they wouldn’t be singing this tune if Jeong had been white. The article goes on to say

This “controversy” started when the trolls dug up old tweets in which Jeong had openly mocked white people. “It’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men,” she wrote in 2014. “White men are bullshit,” she said in another. There were several more in this vein. All of them were utterly harmless unless you’re the exact sort of constantly aggrieved white dude she was pillorying in the first place, or the exact sort of white dude who believes a few throwaway tweets are equivalent to the actual racism and abuse women and people of color face in this country and on that godforsaken social media platform every day.

The Times’ statement may look like a staunch defense of its new employee. But the paper got rolled, and it got rolled because it’s more committed to conveying the impression of a surpassing reasonableness than it is to any actual ideal.

The Times had nothing to disavow, and Jeong nothing to regret. There was no reason for the paper to apologize on her behalf, no reason for her to issue an apologetic statement of her own, no reason to acknowledge people who were transparently acting in bad faith other than to tell them to go to hell. And yet here they were, cornered into a pious renunciation that legitimized the trolly “outrage” ― the Times’ statement, for some reason, admonished Jeong for her role in feeding “the vitriol we too often see on social media” ― and will only exacerbate the larger problem at hand.

The HuffPost article ends with its own bit of racism, calling out “white dudes” and “trolls”. How dare they discredit journalists, says Waldron, trying to get them fired? Needless to say, the Left has been doing exactly that for several years. In fact, Bari Weiss, a moderate Leftist who regularly flaunts Control-Left standards of purity, has been a victim of the same campaign—once for accidentally calling an Asian-American an “immigrant”, even though Weiss was praising her. The odor of mendacity at HuffPost is strong:

There are legions of white dudes who believe they are the primary victims of American oppression. And, for some time now, their mobilized networks of trolls have been orchestrating outrage campaigns to harass, intimidate and discredit journalists and their work in the hopes of getting them fired. The Times, at least this time, didn’t go that far. But this will keep happening, there and beyond. Liberal institutions will be undermined by the tools of liberalism itself, all because nobody is a better friend to a right-wing berserker campaign than a terrified executive at a respectable news outlet who still doesn’t understand the modern internet.

Regardless of who commented against Leong, or why, her responses were openly racist and offensive, there is no excuse for them. She is a professional journalist and simply shouldn’t engage in demonizing races (go look at her tweets at the first link if you want to see them). Note the dark implication that “liberal institutions will be undermined by the tools of liberalism itself,” presumably those tools including free speech. As for the “campaign” against Jeong, it was conducted by those who called out the hypocrisy of the New York Times, not “right wing white dudes.” After all, although I’m a “white dude”, I’m not a right-winger desperate to discredit Asian women.

Were her tweets “utterly harmless”, as HuffPost author Travis Waldron avers? I thought words of racism were considered harm. But I forgot that they’re only harmful when leveled at people who aren’t white.

Slate, which isn’t as shark-jumpy as HuffPo, nevertheless has an equally ridiculous defense of Jeong (click on screenshot), blaming “trolls” for unearthing her tweets and the New York Times for even criticizing those tweets. The author, Inkoo Kang, is, like Leong, an Asian woman:

Excerpts:

The alt-right is on the hunt for journalists’ heads, and their latest tactic, it appears, is to take tweets out of context and weaponize them against liberal writers. This week, the target of organized conservative trolls is tech and legal reporter Sarah Jeong, a widely respected thinker set to join the New York Times’ editorial board next month.

. . . The Times’ bigotry-on-many-sides explanation is infuriating for a number of reasons. The first is that, as Splinter News’ Libby Watson notes, Jeong’s tweets were clearly jokes, not policy proposals. When people of color rail against white people, that’s often shorthand for speaking out against the existing racial structure that serves to keep white people in power. The jokes that people of color make at the expense of whites are furthermore not supported by past and present state and corporate institutions. A white American telling an Asian American to “go back to where you came from,” for instance, isn’t the same as an Asian American saying the same to a white American, even if neither individual can claim ancestral roots as America’s first residents. To claim otherwise is to be blind to the history and social dynamics of this country.

Yeah, Leong’s tweets were just jokes.  As far as I know—and I don’t believe they were jokes—racist jokes aren’t seen by people like Kang as funny when they come from white people, but are simply alternative forms of racism. Is what constitutes racism for a white simply a joke when it comes from an Asian?  And note that the racism isn’t seen as racism, but as speaking out against a “system of power”. Go back again and see what Leong wrote: it isn’t a criticism of endemic or structural racism, but of white people themselves.

As for the “go back to where you came from” trope, yes, that’s racism, and in fact one could level that against whites given that they’re all more recent immigrants than are native Americans. But that example is just a diversion. In the last sentence above Kang simply claims that Asians can’t be racists because of the “history and social dynamics of our country.” Yes, Asians were discriminated against horribly, and less than a hundred years ago when they were put in camps during World War II, but now they are in fact privileged. Why are Asian Americans considered an oppressed minority now? They aren’t. In some ways they are privileged (I believe their average income exceeds that of whites in America, as do their SAT scores), so they should be the group most culpable for racist statements. They’re at the very top of the “privilege” ladder.

At the end, Kang calls out the New York Times for even chiding Jeong, saying that the paper is protecting its white readers:

As for the Times’ editorial board, it’s difficult not to notice how protective they’re being of white feelings at a time of renewed and active discrimination against people of color. Earlier this summer, the board published a treatise on the intellectual sidelining of the Jordan Petersons of the world. The following week, they put forth, practically back to back, pieces about how liberals’ meanness and smugness were responsible for a newly insurgent movement toward racism and misogyny. And earlier this week, a contributing writer essentially advised progressives to stop calling a racist person racist, at least to their face. It’s tempting to see the Times’ approach to the Jeong kerfuffle as tactical, given its older white readership who enjoyed decades in which people of color’s jokes about white people were forced to stay underground or out of earshot. But now is not the time to accommodate the already privileged.

Well, here I’m saying that Jeong is a racist, and I’m calling her out as one. As even the Oxford English Dictionary recognizes, racism is bigotry based on race, and that definition doesn’t include anything about the “already privileged”—like Asians.

Finally, we have a tweet from a senior reporter for Vox. I don’t know if this represents something the magazine will adopt as its position, but the claim that Jeong’s racist and anti-white tweets are not racist, but merely “expressive ways anti-racists and minorities talk about ‘white people'” is pure cant. It’s odious dissimulation—the transparent squirming of a Leftist who wants to excuse racism espoused by people of color. It is, in fact, Orwellian in its doublespeak.

The Left cannot afford this kind of hypocrisy. Not only is it inconsistent in application of our values, but it gives plenty of fuel to the Trumpian right. If racism is wrong when espoused by whites, and it is, then it’s wrong when espoused by anybody.

Finally, I sent these articles to Grania, who gave me her take, quoted with permission:

The “punching up” advocates are actually undermining the fight against racism by claiming that it is okay depending on the skin color of who is doing it. In addition, they would not be engaging in expressions of racial slurs and stereotyping if they didn’t know they were in a position of power to get away with it. Their claim of being in the marginalised / powerless position is bogus.

and

This is ye old “It’s okay when I do it” response.

What people who genuinely believe this newly-minted definition of racism don’t seem to realise is that they are basically making it impossible to discern why racism is wrong. If is okay when an upper middle-class university educated Asian woman does it, but bad when an elderly working-class uneducated hillbilly does it, the whole thing becomes absurd and no-one ought to take them seriously.

84 Comments

  1. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Racism is racism whoever perpetrates it and no matter who it’s aimed at.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    It is really perverted to think racism is only from the white section. It simply puts the left down in the same swamp with white wing Trump land. If that is where they want to be and it is wide spread, it is a losing strategy.

  3. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Is the Huffington Post really just as bad as Breitbart? I don’t visit the former although I’ve visited the latter a few times.

  4. Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    You’re so obviously right about this. I can’t really understand where the others are coming from.

  5. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Of course people can be racist whatever section of society they’re from. It’s a little more complicated than that though isn’t it? It’s why we implicitly understand that the phrase ‘whitey’ can be used in a humorous context, while the phrase ‘darkie’ or ‘nigger’ generally can’t. There is a power imbalance there that makes one significantly less threatening the other.

    It’s not a legitimisation of this odious woman to point it out, and to recognise that there’s a grain of truth to the claim that racism is related to power.

    Both sides in this debate want to flatten the complexities out entirely.

    • Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      More making excuses via the ‘power plus’ nonsense.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        If it’s nonsense, if there’s absolutely nothing in it at all, then why is it that the word whitey isn’t as offensive as the word darkie? Why is it that as a society that we implicitly understand there’s a difference? If you can give me a reasonable explanation for that then I’ll be impressed.

        Until then, I’ll consider people like you who say that power isn’t relevant in racism just as misguided as those who say power is the _only_ thing that’s relevant, and that only white people can be racist.

    • eric
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      It’s not a legitimisation of this odious woman to point it out, and to recognise that there’s a grain of truth to the claim that racism is related to power.

      She’s just become the lead tech writer for the New York Times at 30. She got her journalism degree from Yale and her law degree from Harvard. She’s already published a book.

      Now those are all great accomplishments, but they also mean she has power. She isn’t ‘punching up,’ she’s the definition of up.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 3, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Where did I say she didn’t have power or that she wasn’t racist? I certainly wouldn’t use this entitled, brattish woman as a test case of my point.

    • phar84
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      …there’s a grain of truth..

      Agree, many fail to get their point across by seeing things only in B&W.
      Additionally, adding power to [any action] does matter in tipping some sort of balance.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 3, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Of course you’re right. It’s absurd to just swing in the opposite direction and pretend that power plays no part whatsoever.

        This belief that ‘anything my enemy says must be 100% untrue’ isn’t healthy. And the idea that you can simply swap the words ‘white’ with ‘black’ in any pejorative situation and conclude that both instances will necessarily be just as offensive and racist as one another strikes me as simplistic.

        I’m not going to go to bat for this ghastly woman though.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 3, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Of course you’re right. It’s absurd to just swing in the opposite direction and pretend that power plays no part whatsoever.

        This belief that ‘anything my enemy says must be 100% untrue’ isn’t healthy. And the idea that you can simply swap the words ‘white’ with ‘black’ in any pejorative situation and conclude that both instances will necessarily be just as offensive and racist as one another strikes me as simplistic.

        I’m not going to go to bat for this ghastly woman though.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted August 3, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          So scintillating I posted it twice.

    • XCellKen
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Ever watch Dave Chapelle ?

      • phar84
        Posted August 3, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        You mean the comedian?

        • XCellKen
          Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

          Yes, the comedian

    • BJ
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      I’m having trouble seeing how Jeong and others like her are the ones with less social capital/power in these situations. Jeong, in attending Yale and Harvard, getting a position as an editor at the NYT, and getting away with dozens of vituperative racist comments over a period of several years, seems to be the one with far more social power than the vast majority of people for whom she has expressed vituperative contempt and hatred. What is social power, if not the power to normalize and/or get away with racist/sexist statements solely because you’re the one making them, and then being given a position of immense influence in the media despite them?

      In the contest of Jeong versus probably 90+% of white people, Jeong comes out on top. Jeong has far more power than them through her social class and network, her education, her status, and now her ability to get away with things that they could not if they were in her position (or that any white male could get away with in her position), and to impose her views through a newly gained position of power.

  6. Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    The argument that people of colour cannot be racist stems from a syllogism that is so obviously flawed it’s astonishing that intelligent people accept it. The syllogism goes: 1) Racism = power plus prejudice; 2) People of colour are without power; 3) Therefore people of colour cannot be racist. It’s a matter of logic! But the argument plainly relies on a fallacy known as the Fallacy of Equivocation – i.e. using the same word with different meanings in different stages of the argument. In Premise 1, the word ‘Power’ must mean something like ‘personal agency’ if we are to accept the truth of the premise. So if you have enough power (agency) to insult or assault someone, physically threaten them, daub graffiti on their door etc, you can be racist – even though your power (agency) may be very local and low-level. In Premise 2, however (‘People of colour have no power’) the word ‘power’ is obviously used in a different sense, meaning political or economic power. This premise may be broadly or approximately true but has no connection with Premise 1. Because the word has different meanings in the first two premises they cannot operate together to lead to the conclusion. Incredible that people swallow such childishly inept argumentation; but as we have seen, they do.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I expected that I looked at the liberal media this morning …

    That a typo in there, boss, or you joined the ranks of us occasional “if” omitters? You ask me, a bit of if-omitting (or the occasional omission of other subordinating conjunctions) can add a pleasant demotic feel, you use it judiciously. 🙂

  8. SweetPeavey
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    When I first saw this story I was ready to jump on her too.
    But, having read into it, knowing that the tweets were an attempt to slap back at some nasty racism being directed at her, I’ve started to change my mind.

    I would not say that her tweets weren’t racist or that she can’t be racist due to being Asian, the tweets were bad.
    So were the tweets of Roseanne, James Gunn and Sarah Silverman.

    I’m tired of people having their jobs threatened and reputations destroyed due to their Twitter history.
    If Twitter existed when I was 20, I would have tweeted things that would have made it impossible to work in media or politics in the future, and I’m sure the same could be said about a lot of people who are celebrating these takedowns with gloating, righteous satisfaction.
    I want there to be a way back for these folks, a chance to offer a sincere, and not-too-abject explanation or disavowal of previous opinions, and be done with it.

    • Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      I agree. Of course, this doesn’t make PCC’s point less valid. Racism is racism regardless of the race of the perpetrator. We should call Leong’s tweets racist but not let them destroy her career as punishment.

    • mikeyc
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Roseanne and Gunn both lost their jobs over their tweets. Do you think they should have lost them?

      FTR this is where I stand – Jeong – yes, Gunn- no, Roseanne – maybe, Silverman -you go girl.

    • Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Jeong’s racist posts are but three years old – not sure how much of it can be attributed to youthful indiscretion.

      In any case, the ‘way back’ would be for Jeong to admit they were racist, to issue statements expressly retracting each, and for her & her supporters to not double down on the ‘reverse racism is impossible’ malarkey.

    • eric
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      I thought a lot of her quotes sounded like mere sarcasm. But as PCC points out, we probably wouldn’t accept racist sarcasm in another instance, so why accept it here?

      As for giving her a bye on past poor judgment, I’m on the fence. Yes I agree it seems that in this day and age, online commenters are extremely quick to judge and forgiveness is pretty much extinct. Like you, I’d like to see more tolerance for youthful (verbal) indiscretions. I don’t necessarily have to agree with everything a person has ever uttered to think they deserve their job. But having said that, take a look at the dates on many of the tweets people are complaining about. They’re from 2013-2015. That’s not exactly some bygone era.

      I guess where I land is to say: it doesn’t bother me overmuch that the NYT hired her for his position, and I don’t care whether they keep her or not. I’m personally willing to judge her on her future writing at the NYT rather than her past twitter feed. But that’s me, personally. If others want to bring up her twitter remarks to the NYT and ask about them, ask her or the NYT for a comment on them, I also respect and understand that position. IOW I see it as a legitimate gripe that I don’t share.

    • BJ
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      It would be a lot easier for me to let all of it slide if (1) her non-apology statement involved an unequivocal repudiation of the things she wrote, rather than what amounted to a statement of “I’m sorry I expressed myself in this way and got caught, and it’s the fault of other people anyway”; (2) if she wasn’t being given a position of great influence at one of the most respected publications in the world; and (3) if she hadn’t previously advocated that other people should be fired for what were arguable less offensive statements made with less frequency.

    • Posted August 3, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      More tweets from her that do not fit that story. Note her trying to get a writer fired.

      https://pjmedia.com/trending/flashback-sarah-jeong-stoked-twitter-mob-against-andrew-sullivan-for-alleged-racism/

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve no interest in gettin’ bogged down in the semantics of the matter, but there’s a distinction between mere bigotry and bigotry plus the power to enforce one’s biases — the difference, say, between Marcus Garvey, on the one hand, and the White Citizens’ Councils of the Jim Crow south, on the other. Both are misbegotten and indefensible, of course, but the latter presents societal dangers the former does not, call them what you will.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      +1 again. You’re on form Ken.

    • mikeyc
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      + pile on with Saul

    • Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      So, the bogus ‘power plus’ false distinction once again.

      • mikeyc
        Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Come on, Matt you know there is a distinction sometimes. Consider what Saul wrote above;

        ” It’s why we implicitly understand that the phrase ‘whitey’ can be used in a humorous context, while the phrase ‘darkie’ or ‘nigger’ generally can’t.”

        It is true that those who say POC can’t be racist because it’s punching up are using a bogus definition of racism, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a power differential in many kinds of racism. It isn’t always present (as it isn’t with Jeong’s racism) but it does happen and it is often the most destructive form (which was Ken’s point).

        • Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          I categorically reject such gradations. What specifically about the words “whitie” and “darkie” — near exact antonyms — yield differing power? Your answer must rest on history, and thus must invoke some unconstrained present & future period of ‘evening up’. A sins-of-the-father punitive practice anathema to civil, just, equitable society.

          No, all racism is beyond the pale, wholly unacceptable, equally reprehensible, and meriting equal measures of disapproval and response.

          • James
            Posted August 3, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

            I would say that they are separate issues. Racism as such is odious. Power differences may exacerbate this; however, it’s a separate issue from racism. A guy spewing racist slurs in a gas station is annoying; a cop arresting black people for being black is criminal.

            The problem is, the notion that “white have power, blacks don’t” is itself inherently racist. More importantly, it grossly misrepresents the complexities of modern America. I mean, does this person really think that I, an environmental scientist, have more power than Obama, the former president of the United States of America? If not, we must accept at minimum that the issue is far more nuanced than many advocates of racism want us to believe.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 3, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            None are so blind as those who refuse to see all gradation. Such purblindness yielded racism in the first instance.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 4, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            Do you also categorically reject any gradation between simple assault and aggravated assault with a firearm — between a mere threat and a threat backed up by the wherewithal to inflict deadly force?

        • Taz
          Posted August 3, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          I disagree. I think you’re conflating racism with its affects. Power differential almost certainly makes racism more destructive, but it’s not a different form. The iniquity of racism (or any form of tribalism for that matter) is that it labels a group of people as inherently inferior. And we’re seeing more and more of that directed at white people. “Whites are inherently more prone to be slavers, war-mongers, a force for evil than non-whites”. It’s a problem that this racism is being accepted and allowed to fester on the premise that it’s not harmful. I think it’s harmful in and of itself.

          • Posted September 30, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            I agree. I find it very harmful and dangerous.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Sure, but the New York times editors have power and influence.

    • BJ
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I’m having trouble seeing how Jeong and others like her are the ones with less social capital/power in these situations. Jeong, in attending Yale and Harvard, getting a position as an editor at the NYT, and getting away with dozens of vituperative racist comments over a period of several years, seems to be the one with far more social power than the vast majority of people for whom she has expressed vituperative contempt and hatred. What is social power, if not the power to normalize and/or get away with racist/sexist statements solely because you’re the one making them, and then being given a position of immense influence in the media despite them?

      In the contest of Jeong versus probably 90+% of white people, Jeong comes out on top. Jeong has far more power than them through her social class and network, her education, her status, and now her ability to get away with things that they could not if they were in her position (or that any white male could get away with in her position), and to impose her views through a newly gained position of power.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 3, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        You’re knocking at an open door here, BJ. Think I’ve been pretty clear in denouncing Jeong’s actions — never claimed she was powerless, never endeavored to defend what she said.

        • BJ
          Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

          Yes, sorry, I meant to reply to someone else who was making the sort of “punching up versus punching down” argument. Wrong thread!

    • Posted August 4, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      + another

  10. Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Typos. Hey Jerry, there are a few instances where “Jeong” is falsely called “Leong”.

  11. Jon Gallant
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I have to object to the HuffPo’s offensive attack on my species, the trolls. For centuries, we have quietly gone about our business in the North, kidnapping maidens, throwing rocks at churches, and living in tree stumps in the forest. And what do we get for it? Abusive portrayal in popular culture like the Norsk movie “Trolljägeren”, and the transparent speciesism of HuffPo. We demand that the editors of that journal be handed over to our berg kung in his cave, where he will eat them.

    • Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      cue Grieg.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted August 3, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        I think the book was by Ibsen, Grieg put it to music.

        • Posted August 3, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          And ELO did the best cover.

          • Phil Giordana FCD
            Posted August 4, 2018 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            Bah, Kamelot did it better!

            • Phil Giordana FCD
              Posted August 4, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

              Oups, sorry for the embed.

  12. Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    “A white American telling an Asian American to “go back to where you came from,” for instance, isn’t the same as an Asian American saying the same to a white American, even if neither individual can claim ancestral roots as America’s first residents. To claim otherwise is to be blind to the history and social dynamics of this country.”

    It is true there are differences in history. Do they excuse any given behaviour? No argument given.

  13. Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    What is most distressing to me is that it is mostly the right-wing outlets that are pointing out the double-standard hypocrisy of all of this.

  14. Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    A decided streak of magical thinking runs through the regressive leftist Weltanschauung, whereby words are attributed with the power to alter reality.

    So one can cast a hex on another with mere words that are ‘literally violence’ or ‘erase’ someone’s very existence. By repeating the Charm of Making enough times, one may turn a transwoman into a woman, period. Altering the incantation from ‘determined the infant’s sex’ to ‘assigned gender at birth’, achieves a metamorphosis from biological fact into social construct. And, as we see in this instance, to protect oneself from the charge of racism, one need only inscribe the glyph of warding, ‘power plus prejudice’.

    My counter-spell to all this nonsense is but three words, beginning with F. T., and S.

  15. revelator60
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Excusing racism in people of color sets a double-standard, whereby a person can exercise more privileges of speech because of the color of their skin. It says that two wrongs make a right. It also stokes the racial tensions at work in this country and ignores the class distinctions existing within every racial/ethnic group.

    There are many working/middle class white folks across the country who now believe whites are discriminated against. On many structural levels this claim is simply not true. But in the media and online there have been a few cases like that of Jeong and they reinforce that false narrative.

    Lastly, speaking as someone of the left, it is sad to see other people of the left bend over backwards to excuse this sort of racism because it comes from someone on their side. Had someone like Condoleezza Rice tweeted “I hate honkies,” HuffPo would have screamed for her head.

    • Bob Murray
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      +1 for making me snort with the Condoleezza Rice joke!

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    It is an axiom of mine that whenever words get redefined we are in trouble. A special form of it was Orwell’s “Newspeak” though I like the less well-known term “Logocide” coined by Edmund Cohen.

    Even before this became an issue, I had concluded we needed to distinguish racism of stupidity and racism of malice. Call these perhaps “ignoracism” and “malracism”. If there is a degree to which even “To Kill a Mockingbird” is racist (a big IF), it isn’t the same phenomenon as the racism of Steve King.

    Now I would grant that racism plus power equals oppression, but racism without power is still racism, and classical liberalism nor classical conservatism should never ever be equated with the alt-right.

    Whites living in trailer parks may very well think of themselves as victims of oppression, but whites like JAC simply think of themselves as occasionally victims of basic injustice. Oppression and injustice are not the same, either.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Good post

  17. Posted August 3, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Part of the problem the ctrl left approach to racism has is that it ends up producing something like the South African situation.

    Essentially in South Africa right now there is a major shift in power going on – the ruling party is black.

    Which means that real power has shifted. Our government can nationalise the land, it can set up taxes and programmes to uplift the poor, it can do all sorts of things to address our economic imbalances.

    And for all this talk of changing the constitution it isn’t going to do any of it, at least not until it is in the same situation Zanu PF reached with Robert Mugabe. Why?

    Because all it needs to stay in power right now is simply by point to the unequal distribution of our economy along racial lines.

    Why would a party that is empowered by bitterness over that problem actually do something stupid like fix it?

    Particularly when that same government can claim any criticism of it, is due to white owned newspapers?

    The chief purpose of racism is and has always been to distract from power. It has always been the huckster claiming to be “one of us” pointing to an easily identifiable “outsider” in order to better pick our pockets while we fight.

    This I think is the chief suspicion a lot of people have of so-called “SJWs” – that it appears to be all about building this massive sense of offense, so that the truly offensive stuff gets knocked out of the news cycle.

    We talk about the highschool girl in the Chinese dress, and forget about how Amazon workers have to skip their bathroom breaks to keep their jobs.

    The letterhead looks nice and inclusive, but don’t look too closely at the shop floor. Lets fight this obscure nobody’s choice of words, so that we don’t fight that news corporation that pays its writers with “exposure”.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      “Which means that real power has shifted. Our government can nationalise the land, it can set up taxes and programmes to uplift the poor, it can do all sorts of things to address our economic imbalances.”

      Are you living in South Africa?
      What is the perception among the average South African regarding the proposed “expropriate land without compensation” legislation?
      Do they anticipate that the government will give “profitable farms” to the black workers on those farms, or to well connected ANC individuals?

      Or are people cynical and believe that it is just an election ploy?

      • Posted August 4, 2018 at 2:36 am | Permalink

        Its complicated. You get some naive idiots who think they’ll actually get the land and it will be a big free-for-all, but in my experience?

        For most South Africans, in my experience, they’re not the people who own the land right now.

        They don’t really expect to benefit much, but they also don’t see that they’ve got much to lose in this, so if it hurts my enemies and doesn’t hurt me, is it a problem?

        It is a bit like how Americans voted for Donald Trump. They didn’t expect anything from Trump, they just saw the corporations that had been fucking them over didn’t like the guy so they voted for him to spite those corporations.

        They didn’t see anything they personally going to lose, but it felt good to hurt those libtards right? Same deal here.

        It is why the debate is so mired in history and emotion, with very little actually being said about how the new economy would look.

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted August 4, 2018 at 4:12 am | Permalink

          “It is why the debate is so mired in history and emotion, with very little actually being said about how the new economy would look.”

          Ok, thanks for your insights.

  18. Angel
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Racism is independent of the color of the racist. I think we’re all at fault and somehow more or least racist (throughout our own cultural biases), but as rational people we need to “fight” those inner voices and overcome biases.

    BTW, I’ll be more worried about our president attacks on the press, that it was called by the UN, because of the power that emanates from the office, than a couple of on line left wing sites (would you have expected a different position?)

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Taz
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      And now Trump (or any other right-wing politician) can stand in front of a camera, read some of these tweets, and honestly say they’re the words of a NYT editor.

  19. Posted August 3, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Why is it so hard for so many people to deal with individuals? To resist the urge to unfairly generalize? It’s facile, and anyone who wants to be respected as ethical and intellectual should cut it out.

    • yazikus
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Well said. Building up a twitter following is one thing, applying for an editorial position with the NYT quite another. Troll-style tweets may be appropriate for one, but certainly not the other.

    • BJ
      Posted August 4, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Because the truth is she was never talking about specific individuals in those tweets. We see this invective with this exact language from the social justice crowd all the time. She really does feel this way about white people and men, and the fact that she failed to outright disavow the views she expressed in the tweets confirms this.

  20. JB
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I truly worry that this sort of thing just portends 4 more years of Trump… ugh

  21. J. Quinton
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Semantic redefinition to win points is the lowest form of argument.

    So I say fine; let them have the “only white people can be Racist(tm) or engage in Racism(tm)”.

    Just start saying the dictionary definition without using the word. E.g., Jeong is clearly a racial bigot, displaying animosity towards a race due to attributes she imagines all white people have.

  22. Kyle B.
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Vox has now put up a full article defending Jeong.

    https://www.vox.com/2018/8/3/17644704/sarah-jeong-new-york-times-tweets-backlash-racism

    While I am sympathetic to an argument for context, I am surprised and disappointed so many people seem to think that the comments aren’t problematic.

  23. Eric Grobler
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    “a belief that the members of different racial or ethnic groups possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities, which can be compared and evaluated”

    I think there are average differences between various human population clusters, not sure that this makes me a “racist”, however an unsophisticated and exaggerated view of human diversity can be an excuse for bigitory and far worse.

    To me the important question is if someone has compassion and empathy for people in the “out group” or the less fortunate.

    “or that other such groups represent a threat to one’s cultural identity, racial integrity, or economic well-being”.
    I think there are many examples from history where such a perception proved accurate.

  24. Eric Grobler
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    “As we know, the definition has been changed by the Control Left to mean “a belief that Caucasians are superior . . ” ”

    I think the Ctrl Left will find it hard to excuse Japanese racism in the early 20th century.

  25. Richard Sanderson
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    If racism can only be “prejudice + power”, then the charges of prejudice and bigotry still apply. Also, how would this work is a black person scrawled swastikas over graves in a Jewish cemetery? Anyone want to argue that *isn’t* racism?

    Of course, this postmodern definition has all kinds of faults, and only seems to inflate racism and tension even further. It is obvious that the definition of “racism” was changed so it could be weaponized, in the same way the alt-right weaponize “paedophile”.

    I have noted that the only people who subscribe to this postmodern definition tend to be regressives, New Racists, antisemites, and far left cranks.

    And now the Right have copied their MO.

    Oh, is this where I get to say: “I TOLD YOU SO”, again. Why, yes it is.

  26. Rich Sanderson
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and I forgot.

    For those defending Jeong on the basis that she was “responding to trolls”…

    …..”intent isn’t magic.”***

    ***PZ Myers.

  27. jay
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    If you want to know who holds the power….
    See who doesn’t get fired.

  28. Historian
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    “Yes, Asians were discriminated against horribly, and less than a hundred years ago when they were put in camps during World War II, but now they are in fact privileged. Why are Asian Americans considered an oppressed minority now? They aren’t. In some ways they are privileged (I believe their average income exceeds that of whites in America, as do their SAT scores), so they should be the group most culpable for racist statements. They’re at the very top of the “privilege” ladder.”

    The economic status of Asian Americans is much more nuanced than this paragraph suggests. The Center for American Progress Reports:

    ——————————–
    One particularly understudied aspect of wealth inequality is the distribution of wealth between and among whites and Asian Americans,1 the fastest growing racial group in the United States. In 2013, the last year for which complete data are available, Asian Americans represented a little more than 5 percent of the nation’s population and have grown faster than any other population group between 2000 and 2013.2 Compared with other ethnic groups, Asian Americans tend to have higher incomes than other communities of color.3 These higher incomes among Asian Americans have occasionally led to the popular view of Asian Americans as economically more advantaged than other groups.4 This notion, however, ignores the high degree of economic inequality of Asian Americans—inequality that is reflected in the data on wealth. Wealth among Asian Americans is highly concentrated, and many Asian Americans, especially Asian American seniors who need to live off of their savings, live in an economically precarious situation.5 Consequently, too many Asian Americans are far away from a secure retirement and ill-prepared to weather an emergency.
    This report contributes to the growing number of studies of the economic well-being of Asian Americans, showing that wealth inequality among Asian Americans is far greater than the already high wealth inequality among whites.6 Although many Asian Americans have wealth comparable to that of whites, a large share of Asian Americans have little or no wealth. Focusing only on average or median wealth of Asian Americans can thus be misleading because doing so ignores a large share of Asian Americans who continue to struggle economically.

    https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/reports/2016/12/20/295359/wealth-inequality-among-asian-americans-greater-than-among-whites/

    ———–

    So, to say that Asian Americans are privileged ignores that many are poor. This may change in the future because it is true that Asian Americans do perform very well academically. This fact has created turmoil in the New York City school system because Asian Americans now predominant in the city’s elite high schools, where admission to them is based solely on the performance of a special test. I attended one of these schools in the 1960s when the Jews predominated. Times have changed. Mayor De Blasio wants to change this system to one that would allow other minorities access to these schools. I won’t go into the details of the bitter debate, but I am opposed to anything that would diminish the academic excellence of these schools. Here is an op-ed in the NYT that criticizes the De Blasio plan.

    The bottom line of all this is that Asian Americans are far from privileged in American society. But they may get there one day. The parents of Asian American children should be applauded for the efforts and the sacrifices they make for their children. They remind me of my parents. They cannot afford the private schools that the privileged whites send their children. But they know that sending their children to one of NYC’s elite high schools is just as good. I had that attitude in my day.

    • Angel
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Weinstei article in the NYT is right on the money. Study hard, put the hours and watch less TV and interact less with social media, ask for help, etc, there would not be
      Guarantees , but might help to build your own future w/o being an instrument of others’ ambitions

    • BJ
      Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      I think the point of saying that they’re the most economically privileged is noting that it’s true by the standards of privilege set by those who constantly crow about it. Everything in that article is also true of the economic privilege of white people, or any other group.

    • Posted September 30, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      I agree. I have commented before that Asians can hardly be regarded as privileged if their children are shut out of universities because of their race.

  29. FB
    Posted August 3, 2018 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Words of racism are never okay because in the world there are billions of kids that can hear or read what adults say.

    It’s no more complicated than that.

  30. chris
    Posted August 4, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I always thought that racism=prejudice+power was supposed to be applicable to institutional racism, not to individual racism. But I never studied sociology so what do I know?

  31. CAS
    Posted August 4, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Historically, democracies have only lasted a few hundred years, eventually being destroyed by factionalism. Unfortunately, we now have the Control-Left joining the extreme right in sowing division in the US. Their nastiness towards others they disagree with destroys the cooperation required to make a democratic society function. Where are we going?


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