NY Times columnist defends the hiring of racist Sarah Jeong

I suspected that the New YorkTimes would publish at least one of its regular columnists defending the hiring of tech editor Sarah Jeong, who over several years put out a hoard of racist, sexist, and anti-police tweets that, because she was Asian and her victims were SJW Approved Malefactors™ (mostly white), were excused by the Times. She was hired as their head tech columnist, yet you can bet that if her tweets were anti-immigrant or anti-black, she would have been out on her tuchas. The Times and Jeong both claimed that her racism was simply a response in kind to trolls, but there is no evidence that that was the case (see here, here, and here). Her hiring—after Quinn Norton, another writer, was fired when it was revealed she put out racist tweets—marks a new low in the history of the Regressive Left, and an ineradicable black mark on the name of the New York Times. Click on the screenshot to read the piece:

 

It is a sign of our times that columnists like Stephens, and the Times editors themselves, defended Jeong when other Times writers banded together to demonize Bari Weiss, an anti-SJW progressive who is far more sensible than is Jeong. When Weiss tweeted “Immigrants get the job done,” referring to a skater, Mirai Nagasu, who was the offspring of an immigrant (but praising Nagasu), Weiss was demonized by her fellow NYT writers for a simple error which was made in praise of an immigrant. How dare she call the daughter of immigrants an immigrant as well?

Yet when Jeong broadcasts pure hate, she is adamantly defended by both Stephens and the editors, and her racism is excused. What kind of world is this? (Weiss, by the way, hasn’t written a column since June 20, and I don’t know why. I suspect she’s lying low for fear of being fired. Weiss will never, I predict, call out Sarah Jeong, though she would if she weren’t writing for the NYT.)

In fact, Stephens says that Jeong’s tweets were indeed racist and that the Left’s defense of her is hypocritical. In fact, I have to agree with this conservative columnist when he begins his apologetics like this:

We should call many of [Jeong’s] tweets for what they are: racist. I’ve seen some acrobatic efforts to explain why Jeong’s tweets should be treated as “quasi-satirical,” hyperbolical and a function of “social context.” But the criteria for racism is either objective or it’s meaningless: If liberals get to decide for themselves who is or isn’t a racist according to their political lights, conservatives will be within their rights to ignore them.

Also worth noting is the leftist double standard when it comes to social-media transgressions. In February, my centrist colleague Bari Weiss celebrated U.S. figure skater Mirai Nagasu’s historic triple axel by tweeting a line from the musical “Hamilton”: “Immigrants: They get the job done.” Left-wing social media went berserk over this alleged “othering” of Nagasu, who was born in California to immigrant parents.

By contrast, the left has been nothing if not aggressive in its defense of Jeong. That’s the right thing to do, but it’s also rank hypocrisy coming from many of the same people who loudly demanded the ouster of Williamson, Weiss, or, well, me. The tests for who gets to work at publications like The Times or The Atlantic ought to revolve around considerations of liveliness, integrity, maturity, and talent. When ideology becomes the litmus test, we’re on the road to Pravda.

Note, though that the Times fired Quinn Norton for similar transgressions, described here in Wikipedia:

On February 13, 2018, The New York Times announced that Norton would join its editorial board as a lead opinion writer covering technology.  Within six hours, Norton stated on Twitter that she would not be joining after all. “Between the two statements,” the Times reported, “a social media storm had erupted, with Ms. Norton at the center of it, because of her use of slurs on Twitter and her friendship with Andrew Auernheimer who gained infamy as an internet troll going by the name ‘weev.'”

Norton first argued on Twitter that her use of the slur had been misconstrued, and later referred to her characterization on Twitter and in relevant press coverage, as a “bizarre doppelganger version of myself” which had nothing to do with reality. She highlighted that she herself was part of the LGBT community and words referring to gay people were covered by “in-group” referencing. She also pointed out that her friendship with Auernheimer, whom she called a “terrible person”, started when he was her journalistic source, and that her main effort with him was to discourage his racism. She pointed out that her idea was to engage racism to change it, rather than to shun racists. She noted she was not currently in contact with Auernheimer.

According to April Glaser, writing for Slate, Norton’s friendship with Auernheimer, regardless of whether she personally confronted him on his views, should be viewed as contributing to the culture of a larger group of Internet freedom activists who lionized Auernheimer for his hacking without denouncing his racism and anti-Semitism.

The Times responded to the online uproar within eight hours, claiming that this information was new to them. The firing led to debate over the ethics of free speech in the hacking community at large and the ethos of the  vis-à-vis Twitter.

So if we’re to forgive Jeong, why not Norton? And god forbid that a NYT columnist like Stephens would call out his own newspaper for hypocrisy. No, it’s the “leftist double standard,” not the New York Times‘s double standard!

So if Stephens finds Jeong an ill-intentioned racist in her tweets, and those who defend them misguided, why is he supporting her? Because of the “first stone” effect (look at the title) and his claim that Jeong has produced good journalism and that her tweets are the equivalent of losing it when you get drunk or stoned, which, he says, is what Twitter and social media do to people (my emphasis in the following):

My own misgivings about Jeong’s tweets have less to do with their substance than with their often snarky tone, occasional meanness, and sheer number: 103,000 over some nine years, averaging about 31 tweets a day. (Donald Trump only averages 11.)

But that’s the way we live now — unfiltered — and many of us, including me, have been late to appreciate Twitter’s narcotic power to bring out the worst in ourselves. Undigested thoughts. Angry retorts. Jokes that don’t land. Points made in haste. All the mental burps and inner screams that wisely used to be left unspoken — or, if spoken, little heard and seldom recorded.

That’s a reason to treat social media approximately the way we do opioids: with utmost caution. But it’s also a reason to temper our judgments about people based on the things they say on social media. The person you are drunk or stoned is not the person you are — at least not the whole person. Neither is the person you are the one who’s on Twitter.

I’ve spent the last few days reading some of Jeong’s longer-form journalism. It’s consistently smart and interesting and as distant from some of her more notorious social-media output as a brain is from a bottom. But you’ll struggle to find her articles on an internet search, because her serious work is overwhelmed by the controversy her tweets have generated.

Is it ultimately her fault for writing those ugly tweets? Yes. Does it represent the core truth of who she is? I doubt it. Anyone who has been the victim of the social-media furies knows just how distorting and dishonest those furies can be.

Note, two things. First, Quinn Norton said in her defense that she was doing exactly what Jeong was doing, producing a “doppelganger” version with “ingroup references”, and that she, Norton, was engaging with racists using their own language. To keep Jeong on for the same transgression for which Norton was fired is arrant hypocrisy.

More important: no, not everyone is a toxic Tweeter, pouring out a gaggle of racist tweets and hateful epithets. You will not find that on my site, nor, I suspect on most other people’s sites. I can cast a stone because I have no “bad” tweets of the kind hurled into the ether by Jeong. Jeong was neither drunk nor stoned on the Internet; she was just hateful.  In fact, the person you are on the internet is largely the person you suppress to get along in civil society, but the hate is still there, hidden from view. I refuse to accept that people cannot learn from others how to behave civilly on social media. If they can’t, then you know what kind of person they really are.

I don’t necessarily think that Jeong should be fired; but if they fired Quinn Norton, they should either fire Jeong or reinstate Norton. Absent either, the Times is reprehensible.

I’ll give the final word to Grania, whom I asked for her opinion:

NYT is losing the run of itself. Journalists are supposed to report the news, not be the news. This is soap opera level stuff. As for the twit who wrote “Let he who is without a bad tweet cast the first stone.” that may actually garner a crowd larger than he likes to think. Not everyone is an arsehole on the internet. Finally, “bad tweets” is a relative term. There’s a difference between someone who is occasionally an ill-mannered or bad-tempered jerk and someone who habitually harasses and stalks those they disapprove of.

61 Comments

  1. Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Seen this Jerry?:

    Sarah Jeong Is a Boring, Typical Product of the American Academy

  2. DrBryon
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Well, I could agree with Stephens that we all need to relax, and recognize that a series of tweets doesn’t represent the sum total of a person’s character, if, as you say Jerry, it didn’t smack of special pleading in the case. And why are “liveliness, integrity, maturity, and talent” the considerations for employment at the NYT? Why liveliness? What price professionalism? Objectivity?

    • Curt Nelson
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      A cynical interpretation is that lively is a substitute for perky and maturity is noteworthy when one expects ditsy.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Well, I’ll grant her “liveliness” and — if Stephens’s analysis is to be credited, “talent” — but her tweets hardly bespeak “integrity” and “maturity.”

    • AC Harper
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      One bad tweet could easily be an accident. Two bad tweets a coincidence. But a series of bad tweets going back over the years? That’s deliberate.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    [ thumb up ]

  4. GBJames
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    sub

  5. Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I am sure that, in fact, there are many out there who have never published a bad tweet. Even so, there is a big difference between a regretful tweet or two, and a long history of racist tweets dripping with hatred.

    • BJ
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      A long history of that coupled with calling for the firing (and having the people now defending her calling for the firing) of others who said far tamer things with far less frequency than she did.

      Really, what people like me want is for people like Jeong to be forced to play by the rules they have set up and vociferously defended for several years now, and for the people defending her to not suddenly abandon those rules they have also defended and enforced as soon as one of their own is caught up in them.

  6. yazikus
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Sigh. Were she younger and the tweets longer ago I’d be more willing to go with a ‘she didn’t realize the internet is forever/ youthful bad judgement’ take… but this is just pretty bad. If you know you want to go into a professional field, you should know that you have to mind what you say. Discretion is so often undervalued. Even if you have a rather salty personal opinion, it is best to temper that publicly, no? I loathe Trump, but I’m not running around the office shouting ‘F*ck Trump!’, because I’m a professional and that sort of behavior is not.
    So, at the end of the day, my best charitable take can only be that she has shown a gross lack of judgement which should indeed impact how her employers handle this situation.

    • Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      I think loathing Trump the politician and loathing white people (or any race) are quite different things. This more than an indiscretion.

      • yazikus
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Of course those are two different things. The least of it is indiscretion, the worst, much worse.

  7. Christopher
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    The chance to say something stupid (not necessarily racist, just I’ll-considered) is a great reason to shun (anti)social media, especially in the political realm. Be it due to drink or drug (illegal or OTC) or lack of sleep or even a general bad mood. That so many in the media, celebrities, or otherwise in the public spotlight are encouraged or perhaps required to have such accounts is an accident waiting to happen. Not that I make excuses for them, especially not those like Jeong who clearly haven’t made a late night boneheaded tweet, but repeatedly made hate-filled statements. Shame on the Times for not making the distinction and for doubling down on their error.

  8. Hal
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    It’s “Let him”, not “Let he”. A Times writer should know this.

    • Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      I was going to say the same thing. I guess the Times values liveliness over grammar.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      I suspect the problem stems from his having butchered a bit the passage adverted to: John 8:7 has it “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

      • Posted August 10, 2018 at 4:34 am | Permalink

        That’s only one version of the quote, from the King James which is not considered to be a particularly good translation. There are many others.

        Incidentally, the whole story is almost certainly a late addition to the gospel, probably added about 300 years after it was written.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 10, 2018 at 5:51 am | Permalink

          Understood, Jeremy. My point was merely that the issue regarding Stephens’s use of the nominative-case pronoun stems from his mash-up of the passage’s two clauses.

  9. Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Bret Stephens only addresses whether Jeong should be fired based on the attitudes expressed in her tweets. There’s no mention of what those tweets say about Jeong’s abilities as a journalist covering the subject of technology.

    • Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Coel’s link does though.

  10. tubby
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been a bit rude and pointed, perhaps even snarky or slightly trollish, but never felt a need to tweet about race or gender let alone twitvomit insults out into the vast, dark ocean of social media. Guess I can cast that stone then?

    And to be fair, Jeong seems to have also thrown a Chinese woman, Naomi Wu, under the bus on Twitter too. She gets a pass for that?

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Stephens is the house conservative at the NYT these days (albeit a never-Trumper). Maybe this was his way of showing he’ll still take one for the team?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Well, I’ve read Stephens’s piece in full now, and I gotta say I admire the man his magnanimity and bonhomie. For now anyway. Until the next time he starts in with that climate-change-denial quackery. 🙂

  12. Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Fundamentally it is about caste and power: who must look down as the other passes. Jeong may insult white people all she wants; you as a white man, especially an old white man, must not object — to object is to entrench white supremacy. You must not call her racist, racism is your sin, how dare you compare yourself to her. Avert your eyes uppity peasant!

  13. Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    It’s off point, but does Stephens expect me to believe “ideology” plays no role in getting a NYT byline?

  14. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I do not participate and never have been on twitter. So for all the folks over on twitter, just call me ignorant or stupid or whatever you usually say there. I was never crazy about writing on the walls in public bathrooms either.

    I am sure it is some kind of addiction for many to be involved with this part of the internet but not me. Any who do must realize they do so at there own risk. I think it falls into the same column with dating services on line. The results may not be what you expect and the risks are many.

    Public speaking in a private environment is bad combination.

    • DrBryon
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      A while back, I heard someone refer to Twitter as Blurt, which strikes me as just about right. Whose bright idea was it to make it easy for anyone to publish any damn thing that came into their head? And who takes advantage of it? Jeong clearly has, and combined with an obvious immaturity, she’s reaped the whirlwind. The things you might say among you circle of friends, when you’ve got a head of steam on, should be private.

    • Posted August 10, 2018 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      This quote

      But that’s the way we live now — unfiltered — and many of us, including me, have been late to appreciate Twitter’s narcotic power to bring out the worst in ourselves. Undigested thoughts. Angry retorts. Jokes that don’t land. Points made in haste. All the mental burps and inner screams that wisely used to be left unspoken — or, if spoken, little heard and seldom recorded.

      characterises the problem of Twitter pretty well. As Jerry said below, many people on Twitter seem to be able to control their tweets, but there are enough people who don’t to make it a problem. If one person in a hundred can’t self edit their Twitter outpourings, that’s still more than three million people screwing their lives up with stupid tweets.

  15. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    … Weiss was demonized by her fellow NYT writers for a simple error which was made in praise of an immigrant.

    I dunno, it’s been a while since I looked at (or even thought about) that squabble, but my recollection from the time is that Bari Weiss might’ve brought a bit of it on herself, since, when the first person to respond simply pointed out her error, she reacted with a something of a chip on her shoulder.

    Now it may be that the first exchange of tweets was written on a palimpsest bearing the traces of an old grudge. And there’s certainly no excusing the vitriol that was subsequently directed Weiss’s way. Still, I wonder whether the whole affair might’ve been avoided. (Heck, I like Weiss a lot, and miss seeing her in print.)

    • Eli
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Regarding Bari Weiss, she’s being transferred to Australia: https://www.nytco.com/expanding-our-journalism-in-australia/

      I am speculating here but I think it’s the result of regressives in the NYT HQ being unable to work with her showing how far the US-based Left are ready to go to move “undesirables” out of the way.

      See how the news of her transfer was greeted by other ctrl-left outlets and note certain repeated themes:

      “derided New York Times opinion columnist and “intellectual dark web” cheerleader Bari Weiss is to be shipped off to Australia like a 19th-century bread thief”
      https://theoutline.com/post/5752/bari-weiss-sent-to-penal-colony

      “Dipshit Bari Weiss is being banished to the colonies like an 18th century apple thief”
      https://splinternews.com/the-new-york-times-is-shipping-bari-weiss-to-australia-1828139158

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        That’s a crying shame. Thanks for posting this.

        We should be thankful they didn’t banish her to the Black Sea coast, to live among the Pontic Greeks, like the Roman poet Ovid, I suppose.

        • Posted October 6, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          I beg to differ. Here at the Black Sea coast, at the very least, not everything that moves is venomous!

      • Historian
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Yes, you are just speculating why Bari Weiss is being transferred to Australia. Several other journalists are going there as well. Are they also being exiled? It is just as reasonable to speculate that she looks upon the move as an opportunity. If she feels the NYT is screwing her, she can easily find another position with a publication more kindly to her ideological leanings. Therefore, I’d prefer to have some facts before reaching judgments. If Weiss has made a statement related to the move, a quick Google search hasn’t revealed it.

        • Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          A tweet by @NYTnickc:

          Excited to be a part of the first crop of Times journalists participating in our new residency program in Australia, with @rar, @caitlinroper and @bariweiss (plus the huge addition of @jamietarabay to the Sydney buro!)

          Bari Weiss’s tweet says “residency is for six weeks”

  16. dd
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    There is a very lively reader comment section accompanying in the Times accompanying this article. Most liked comments are critical of Ms.Jeong.

    Two reader comments, NYTimes “picks”, are of note. Below is the comment, then a response:

    Comment:

    “Bret Stephens accepts a definition of racism as a hostile attitude towards any ethnic group, and so he calls some of Jeong’s tweets racist. We need a word–and “racism” is our best candidate–that means not just prejudice, or a biased attitude, but the package deal that has consistently awarded power to one group of people while steadily disadvantaging others, so that the dominant group’s biases are now cemented into every aspect of our nation’s structure. Once that happened, those biases no longer needed to coincide with individual attitudes in order to continue to take effect. Racism is not something white people can disavow or people of color can suddenly deploy. It’s historically institutionalized discrimination with the weight of centuries of tradition behind it. By that definition, Jeong may be biased or bigoted or prejudiced, but she is not and cannot be racist with regard to white people. ”

    Response to it by another reader:

    “This argument isn’t original, and it’s unsurprising the Times opted to highlight it as one of its picks. Systemic racism isn’t the only form of racism that matters. It has greater impact than individual acts of racism, but that doesn’t excuse racial hatred or bias. The argument that minorities in the US can’t be racist with regard to white people is beyond absurd. As a white man born in South Korea to an American diplomat, I can tell you with certainty that Koreans can be very racist. Ms. Jeong doesn’t get a pass just because she happens to be a racist in a country where she’s not in the ethnic majority any more than I would get a pass using hate speech against locals while traveling abroad. ”

  17. Richard Sanderson
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    One minute the regressive left and New Racists are saying: “intent isn’t magic” (PZ Myers), and the next, they are saying there is a context to everything (Ezra Klein).

    These kooks and cranks are just as malicious, deceitful, and loopy as the alt-right.

    Both of these groups just love to single out targets and throw abuse and harassment at them.

    • Brian Jung
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Maybe that’s not “the regressive left.” Maybe those are just two different people with two different opinions.

    • Posted August 10, 2018 at 4:29 am | Permalink

      If you find a principled way to decide on whom you prefer–the wingnuts of the alt-right or the dingbats of the ctrl-left then I’d love to know it. For me? As long as both sets hate me then I feel I’m at least doing something right.

  18. Brian Jung
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Bret Stephens: “But the criteria for racism is either objective or it’s meaningless”

    I can’t see how this statement makes one lick of sense.

    Here’s the thing about racism and the language of racism: it’s complicated. It depends a lot on the speaker and the audience and the context, and yes, even the subjective views of the speaker and the audience. This, as it turns out, is true of all language. The significance of language surrounding race just brings those complexities into sharp relief.

    But it’s not meaningless just because it’s hard to figure out.

    The problem here is that the culture of outrage–both on the left and right–wants everything to be simple, so that condemnation can be swift. So we need some sort of “objective” criteria for racism.

    Instead, perhaps we need a little less of the knee-jerk condemnation.

    I’d agree with Professor Coyne. If the NYT hadn’t canned Norton, they wouldn’t need so much to defend Jeong.

    And we could talk about the complexities of what makes a statement racist or not without the stakes being so high.

  19. Angel
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I wish all the predicament put here in bashing Jeont (rightly so) can be used also to criticise Ingraham (from Fox news ) regarding her new racist tirade, even against legal immigrants (like me). My point, the NYT isn’t the enemy portrayed by some here, Fox, Brwibar, Jones (although some here likes him) and so on. We cannot confuse the main issue.

    • BJ
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Much as I wish Ingraham would suffer social sanction for her disgusting rants, the situations are very different. Ingraham is part of an organization that regularly engages in such things and, as a result, hires people for such things. Fox News has little to no credibility among anyone but their own base, and does not attempt to maintain any pretense of objectivity, nor fairness, nor justice.

      The NYT is the most respect journalistic publication in the US and perhaps the world. It presents itself as a publication that prizes good journalism and at least a modicum of objectivity. Hiring someone like Jeong at the NYT is very different from Ingraham being at Fox News.

      We expect the kind of bullshit Ingraham spews from Fox News. We expect better from the NYT, and the NYT pretends that we should. Moreover, the NYT would not tolerate this kind of language from others nor about others. They’re very different situations, even if I wish they weren’t and were dealt with in the same manner (firing both Jeong and Ingraham).

      The Times’ hiring and defense of Jeong shows their continued drift toward regressive leftism and social justice. The continued employment of Ingraham at Fox News shows us what we’ve all known for years, and which isn’t any sort of change, especially not to a respected institution.

      • Angel
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        You’re entitled to your opinions, but I don’t think the NYT has moved to the left; if any it’s opened its pages to a more diverse range of opinions. That’s how I see it, and I do really resent labelling the Times as “The ” enemy of free speech and press as some fellow bloggers suggest, It plays right into the hand of the right wing racist tribes;or perhaps I’m naive, and they’re already there?

    • Posted August 10, 2018 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      Its fascinating isnt it? While the left obsessively polices centrists and free thinkers (Harris and Peterson spring to mind) actual nazis are actually marching down actual streets chanting actual nazi slogans. But they dont have political clout. Yet. Leaders of the American government are trying to overturn the 14th amendment and pave the way for throwing out dark-skinned Americans who were born in the country. But, let’s gaze at our navels and worry whether halloween costumes are racist.
      It’s like a scene from a Mel Brooks movie

      • Angel
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        Peterson a free-thinker? Wow?

  20. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Or perhaps:

    Let (s)he who has never been stoned cast the first stone.

  21. Vaal
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Ugh, some of the Identity-Politics based defense of Jeong’s tweets are depressing.

    I maintain a large number of friends from growing up in a culturally diverse city (Toronto). That’s only grown wider as friends and family have married, widening the ethnically diverse friendships and family. So my close friends and extended family comprise white, Indian, Japanese, Chinese Filipino, Black, Guyanese, Jewish, Gay, Straight (etc).

    Race (or sexual orientation) has never been a negative or even salient factor among us (or anyone else I know). It’s just people, just friends and family.

    I can just imagine how poisonous and destabilizing it would be to import Identity Politics into my circle of friends and family, where we have to become suddenly hyper aware of any differences, especially our skin color, to “tribe up” with those of the same ethnicity, and have to begin couching any opinion we give with “as a white/black/Indian….it’s my view…”

    Let alone for all the white people among my friends/family to be suddenly seen as just part of an oppressing race.

    If there is anything as sinister and short sighted as Identity Politics, it would be hard to see what it would be.

    • Diane G
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 4:30 am | Permalink

      + 1

    • Posted August 10, 2018 at 4:35 am | Permalink

      I swear I’m not making this up. I had a conversation with someone online whose opening gambit was “As a cis-gendered, native American, disabled, lesbian single-parent…” (I managed to not shout out “Yahtzee!”, but it was an effort)

      • Diane G
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 4:38 am | Permalink

        Ha ha!

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

      Indeed. It’s a little hard to understand how the identity-politics-mongers can’t see that their approach to co-existence is the precise opposite of what it should be.

  22. eric
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    So if Stephens finds Jeong an ill-intentioned racist in her tweets, and those who defend them misguided, why is he supporting her? Because of the “first stone” effect (look at the title)

    This is utter malarkey. You’re talking about a professional journalist with degrees from Harvard and Yale, and tweets that she made after graduating and entering the workforce (in fact, after authoring a book). If she doesn’t know how to manage her public statements as a professional journalist and law degree holder, she should give her degrees back.

    Yeah sure, if someone drags out a tweet from her high school or early undergrad days, the ‘first stone’ defense might be valid. But it’s not a reasonable excuse for the professional public writing of someone whose high class degrees and chosen field are for public writing.

    I don’t think they should fire her. But all this excuse-making has to stop, its absurd. She made bigoted remarks. Give her a shot to be a professional in her new role, and if she is, great. If she continues her bigoted writing, axe her. No excuses or defense needed, just move forward.

    • BJ
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      She knows exactly how to manage her public persona and statements, and that’s what she has been doing. In her social circle and network, performative outrage and racism toward white people and misandry are the best ways to signal that (1) you are part of the “good progressive” club; (2) you can be relied upon to “fight the good fight” and toe the line; and (3) you understand how to play the game. The problem is that there are significant spaces that have great cultural (and some, even political) influence where actions and words like Jeong’s increase their chances of gaining access to there powerful institutions and circles.

  23. Roo
    Posted August 10, 2018 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    I can’t decide if the more troubling examples of liberal culture run amok are portent of something troubling in the world; or simply the emergence of business as usual.

    I share the feeling of being sort of uniquely appalled at being burned by self-appointed Representatives Of Liberalism, when it has happened in my own life. I don’t know if this is because of troubling changes in liberalism or simply my own naive assumptions. It feels like a slap in the face when I encounter liberals who are clearly xenophobic, hypocritical, power hungry, ladder climbers, preening to an imagined universal audience, and jaw-droppingly lacking in self-awareness. Then again, I am saddened but unsurprised by the most obnoxious and sometimes horrific excesses of the fringes of other groups, from the far right to abusive religious figures to fitness fanatics and on and on. It’s not that I am ok with such behavior, it’s just that I am not surprised by it, humans being humans and all. So I can’t decide if leftists are developing more problematic views or if they have simply fallen off a societal pedestal and now look a lot more like ordinary, flawed, often misguided humans. For eons humans have murmured with disappointed shock “I thought you were different.” I suppose the question is – is anyone who thinks that simply being foolish and denying humanity and the universality of human foibles, or is it that liberals really *were different at one point and have now, like most any movement that springs from the purest of motivations originally (think of the original Christians, after all), becoming corrupted with time and power politics?

    • Posted August 10, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      The older I get, the more it seems to me that there is no political niche which has suffered a lack of raging assholes. That’s not to say the philosophies of those niches are morally equal, of course. But humans are good at ignoring the principles they claim to follow.

      • GBJames
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        One old fart to another…. “ai-yup”.

      • Roo
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I think it’s worth remembering that both positive and negative human qualities cross partisan lines. That’s not to say that beliefs and ideology aren’t important, just that someone can subscribe to all the ‘right’ beliefs on paper and be a total jerk in person, or can subscribe to all the ‘wrong’ beliefs and be a ‘give you the shirt of their back’ type. Ideology and character are often quite different.

        Aside from that, I do think there is something uniquely awful about communicating via the intrawebz, which probably contributes to the problem. I feel like the preponderance of trolls in online communication has a way of cultivating both contempt and delusions of grandeur, ha ha! Contempt for obvious reasons, when confronted with online trolling and ‘road rage’; but it also messes with your baseline of the amount of rationality the average human is capable of when you go around about 20 times with someone who is stuck in mob-mentality autopilot, screaming the same talking points over and over. I have to admit, there are those days where I’m like “Oh my god. I am seriously the only person in this conversation who understands the difference between supporting freedom of speech and supporting content of speech… I think I must be a *genius! I mean, I can understand this concept that eludes literally *everyone else, this is like Matt Damon solving the math problem in Good Will Hunting all over again!!” And then you talk to a normal person and you’re like “Oh wait. Most people are capable of comprehending the first amendment, maybe I am not actually the next Descartes. Darn.”

  24. RPGNo1
    Posted August 10, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The hiring of Sarah Jeong was commented in the German media, too.
    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/hate-speech-die-doppelstandards-der-new-york-times-a-1222373.html


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