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Friday, April 4, 2014

The Rise of the Anti-Liberal Left

Posted by on Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 7:45 AM

Michelle Goldberg diagnoses what increasingly ails us at The Nation:

It’s increasingly clear that we are entering a new era of political correctness. Recently, we’ve seen the calls to #CancelColbert because of something outrageous said by Stephen Colbert’s blowhard alter ego, who has been saying outrageous things regularly for nine years. Then there’s the sudden demand for “trigger warnings” on college syllabi, meant to protect students from encountering ideas or images that may traumatize them; an Oberlin faculty document even suggests jettisoning “triggering material when it does not contribute directly to the course learning goals.” At Wellesley, students have petitioned to have an outdoor statue of a lifelike sleepwalking man removed because it was causing them “undue stress.” As I wrote in The Nation, there’s pressure in some circles not to use the word “vagina” in connection with reproductive rights, lest it offend trans people....

At times like this, politics contract. On the surface, the rhetoric appears more ambitious and utopian than ever—witness, for example, the apparently sincere claim by Suey Park, creator of the #CancelColbert hashtag, that Twitter activists intend to “dismantle the state.” But at the same time, activism becomes less about winning converts and changing the world and more about creating protected enclaves and policing speech.

Go read the whole thing.


Comments (106) RSS

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That sleepwalking man statue.... it wasn't just a "trigger" thing, I thought it was a general safety hazard. A man, naked except for tighty whiteys, walking along THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. Put it in a museum where it can't be confused with a real human, and have people rush to its aid. It was/is a public disturbance that could lead to injuries (car wreck, in particular.)
Posted by bareboards on April 4, 2014 at 8:00 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 3
@2: People demanding it to be removed universally weren't worried about the safety of drivers.
Posted by undead ayn rand on April 4, 2014 at 8:04 AM · Report this

I have the same complaints within Republican ranks or within the Environmental-Eco-Warming communities.

I'm a "mix-n-match" ideologue, whereas everything is presented as a choice of Everything-A or Everything-B.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 4, 2014 at 8:07 AM · Report this
"Anti-liberal left."

I wouldn't call these people left at all. Just good old fashioned anti-liberal right. If you want to ban statues and the word vagina and cancel satire, that puts you in the conservatives
Posted by GermanSausage on April 4, 2014 at 8:19 AM · Report this
theophrastus 6
here's my acid-test (or in my case jack-acid test) if any political ideology fits a "you're either with us or against us" mindset (that is, the 'membership' has some sort of absolute purity test) then it's broken and should be avoided. mind you, i'm not absolutist about that definition.
Posted by theophrastus on April 4, 2014 at 8:23 AM · Report this
fletc3her 7
Bleah, I think the students at the school deserve some say in how their campus is decorated.
Posted by fletc3her on April 4, 2014 at 8:24 AM · Report this
kitschnsync 8
It seems Suey Park accomplished something after all.
Posted by kitschnsync on April 4, 2014 at 8:49 AM · Report this
"liberal" "progressive" these are labels for centrists. Liberals are still staunchly into that whole free will/individualism stuff.
Posted by Foonken2 on April 4, 2014 at 8:51 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 11
"We had to close the Math department to make way for Bisexual Asian Studies."
Posted by Original Andrew on April 4, 2014 at 8:59 AM · Report this
I'm not buying it. This isn't about being PC, it's about a certain segment of the populace that seems trigger-happy with 'outrage'. Say anything at all in public and someone will be OUTRAGED and vocal about it.
Posted by drawn on April 4, 2014 at 9:00 AM · Report this
It seems that I am not alone in my thoughts on this topic:…
Posted by drawn on April 4, 2014 at 9:03 AM · Report this
trstr 14
What's really going down is that people in a position of power are seeing their pedestals being eroded away by upstart peons. Boo hoo.
Posted by trstr on April 4, 2014 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Fnarf 15
What's really the problem here is dim-bulb opinionists like Michelle Goldberg pulling together random, unconnected current events like Suey Park's vacuity and the completely bogus "trigger warning debate" into her own fumblesome effort to make a name for herself. This article has nothing in it but gas.
Posted by Fnarf on April 4, 2014 at 9:15 AM · Report this
seatackled 16
Well, would we include the Mozilla CEO stepping down an instance of being victimized by the anti-liberal left? I mean, Mozilla has the right to drop him, but there's a fair amount of support here what happened to him. (And I don't have a problem with him stepping down or getting fired or whatever technically happened.)
Posted by seatackled on April 4, 2014 at 9:19 AM · Report this
@15 yep
Posted by drawn on April 4, 2014 at 9:26 AM · Report this
Zealotry comes in any and all flavors. Lennon/ McCartney had the perfect answer to this all the way back in 1968.
Posted by Westside forever on April 4, 2014 at 9:27 AM · Report this
There have always been anarchists. And idiots. And, yes, the two can often overlap. What's the question?
Posted by stating the obvious on April 4, 2014 at 9:32 AM · Report this
@18 Was that "Why don't we do it in the road"?
Posted by Orozco on April 4, 2014 at 9:38 AM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 21
Bullshit. American liberalism is just as much an anti-individual rights doctrine as conservatism.

Liberals, especially extreme Seattle liberals, are just as bad as conservatives about running people's lives. It's just a matter of what part of our lives they want to run.

Give me an option to opt-out of Social Security (which won't be there when I'm ready to retire anyway) my rights to use a plastic bag without fear of arrest and stop trying to take my gun, and you may have a point.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on April 4, 2014 at 9:43 AM · Report this
raku 22
People who are not white dudes who want to stop white dude violence or hatred = anti-liberal oppressive.

White dudes who want to stop people from complaining about their violence or hatred = lovers of freedom.

"Liberal" is just a specific type of "white male supremacist". When people are fighting for the right to continue to hurt you, they no longer have any relevance or right to be listened to.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 9:46 AM · Report this
ferret 23
The statue at Wellesley is just bad art.
Posted by ferret http://!/okojo hide on April 4, 2014 at 9:49 AM · Report this
@21, and don't forget them new fangled lightbulbs. Crazy wacko liberal agenda right there, trying to oppress us all.
Posted by GermanSausage on April 4, 2014 at 9:50 AM · Report this
Let's thank Raku once again for proving Dan's point.
Posted by maddy811 on April 4, 2014 at 9:52 AM · Report this
AFinch 26
@25 - snork!

@15 is sadly correct, and it's depressing because I think Goldberg's investigative work on the extreme religionist right is quality stuff.
Posted by AFinch on April 4, 2014 at 10:00 AM · Report this
Fart gas
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on April 4, 2014 at 10:09 AM · Report this
Sorry folks, we on the left have our own issues with dissent opinions and we should actually deal with that rather than plugging our ears and screaming "LALALALALA"
Posted by Solk512 on April 4, 2014 at 10:21 AM · Report this
I was really hoping this article was going to address the Tumblr social justice warrior phenomenon across the internet of ascribing everything to "blah-privilege" and making up -isms for everyone who disagrees with you. But I did not get my juicy validation.
Posted by The CHZA on April 4, 2014 at 10:34 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 31

That would require a book.
Posted by keshmeshi on April 4, 2014 at 10:46 AM · Report this
venomlash 32
I liked "political correctness" when it meant avoiding deliberately inflammatory terms for the sake of not alienating others, not the establishment of endless hugboxes self-alienating from the larger community.
Posted by venomlash on April 4, 2014 at 10:47 AM · Report this
raku 33
#30: Here you go!…

"Social justice warrior" is another word for women, racial minorities, queers and others disenfranchised by people in control. We all flocked to Tumblr because it's the only mostly-safe large space on the Internet. You don't get the direct harassment and violence from other sites.

We're just talking on tumblr, and because we're complaining about being hurt by people in power (almost always white dudes), you dismiss us and label us "social justice warriors". We're not talking about anything new, it's just now we have a relatively safe space where we can connect en masse and people in power can actually see what we're talking about now.

Dismissing "social justice warriors" is just dismissing the experiences of everyone who isn't the standard-issue white dude. Another term for that is "white male supremacy".
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Report this
trstr 34
This is all playing out exactly like the conservative backlash against "political correctness" (i.e., not being a dick) a couple decades ago. Those participating in the backlash now should recollect that.
Posted by trstr on April 4, 2014 at 10:56 AM · Report this

>"Social justice warrior" is another word for women, racial minorities, queers and others disenfranchised by people in control.

>Dismissing "social justice warriors" is just dismissing the experiences of everyone who isn't the standard-issue white dude. Another term for that is "white male supremacy".

No, please do continue to fuck off.
Posted by The CHZA on April 4, 2014 at 11:00 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 36
@33: No one in power is reading Tumblr rants. No one is reading Tumbr rants but people posting Tumblr rants. Hate to break it to you.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 4, 2014 at 11:01 AM · Report this
raku 37
36: I completely agree, they see them and dismiss them as "social justice warriors" or whatever slur to demonize and dismiss them, but white dudes as a group certainly don't read or listen to what other types of people say.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 11:07 AM · Report this
"We all flocked to Tumblr because it's the only mostly-safe large space on the Internet. You don't get the direct harassment and violence from other sites. "

>it's a hugbox and echo chamber where we can ignore criticism and pretend our shit don't stink

fixed that for you.
Posted by GermanSausage on April 4, 2014 at 11:12 AM · Report this

>but white dudes as a group certainly don't read or listen to what other types of people say.

If you're building your worldview around "X huge category of people can automatically be written off" you're being pretty fucking dense.
Posted by The CHZA on April 4, 2014 at 11:22 AM · Report this
raku 40
So social justice warriors on tumblr just criticize everyone all day long, but at the same time don't criticize anything. OOK.

If you had any experience with any part of the community, you'd realize there's plenty of criticism, more than probably any other large forum on the Internet. Even that post I linked to is full of criticism. The only difference is that white dudes with power don't control the entire conversation and dismiss just about everyone else, unlike TV, talk radio, Reddit, Slog, congress, etc. Criticism usually comes in the form of actual communication, instead of a downvote, a "fuck off", dismissal, or a slur. Eg, not something white dudes in power are willing to do.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 11:27 AM · Report this
AFinch 41
@37 - No, I enjoy good satire and parody - I love Colbert - heck, even self-parody, though sometimes I have a hard time watching it because I get so embarrassed on behalf of the actors. I read tumblr, I do!

- establishment, std. issue, privileged white male.

@34 - many of us are quite well aware and recall extremely well that libelous attack on genuine criticism - that would be criticism of content not style, on the merits not delivery. That's why it's extremely disturbing to see so many giving legitimacy to what were false charges - suddenly it's making those conservatives look prescient. Or maybe that is your point.
Posted by AFinch on April 4, 2014 at 11:30 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 42
@9: "Liberals are still staunchly into that whole free will/individualism stuff."

You appear to be confusing liberal with libertarian. Good god.
Posted by undead ayn rand on April 4, 2014 at 11:33 AM · Report this
raku 44
41- When people (like me) criticize "white men" they're criticising the culture and power structure. Individual white men can clearly be allies to everyone else by working to change their own culture to be less hurtful and oppressive, and by listening to other types of people, which is a very rare trait in that culture today.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Why the fuck do any of you care what some people choose to blog about? If it's not harming anyone, what's the big deal?
Posted by clashfan on April 4, 2014 at 11:40 AM · Report this
raku 48
People in power attacking unprivileged groups = oppressive, violent, hateful.
Oppressed people attacking people in power for being oppressive = just, transformative, equitable.

When people in power attack unprivileged people it literally impoverishes them and destroys many of their lives.
When unprivileged people attack people in power the most it can possibly do, if they are entirely successful, is make the people in power equal human beings.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 11:57 AM · Report this
@44 bullshit, you said in the past that no white hetro man is welcomed on capitol hill. You often cross the line between hating white privilege and hating on all white men, which makes it hard to not be put on the defense by your posts, even the ones that have some valid points in them.
Posted by j2patter on April 4, 2014 at 12:01 PM · Report this
Jesus Christ, all of you are being willfully trolled.
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on April 4, 2014 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Posted by venomlash on April 4, 2014 at 12:20 PM · Report this
raku 53
49- I have no power to change whether white men are welcome or not. White men are clearly more welcome on Capitol Hill than anyone else, especially on the weekends. I'm doing a little bit to balance that. Most other people have to think about where they're going is safe or welcoming to them. If white men have to think about it too, that's wonderful, because they control whether everyone else is welcome.

Would Colbert & other comedians make jokes out of racial slurs if he felt any kind of equivalent? Would administration put a statue of a mindless naked man in a women's college if men felt an equivalent threatening image? Would white men backlash against trigger warnings if most of them felt any kind of trigger themselves?

I'd love for empathy to happen on its own, but it's clearly not.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 54
This all started when we decided the word "retarded" was offensive.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on April 4, 2014 at 12:24 PM · Report this
raku 55
52: People tell others to "check their privileges" when they're oppressing other people. Have you ever been walking down the street and told to check your privilege? It only happens when someone does something fucked up that they can learn from. The belief that oppressing other people unchecked is "freedom" is so bizarre.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 12:28 PM · Report this
pg13 56
"Would Colbert & other comedians make jokes out of racial slurs if he felt any kind of equivalent?"--raku

Posted by pg13 on April 4, 2014 at 12:34 PM · Report this
Raku, I hope someday you grow intellectually so that you can consider a very simple premise: if you tell people that only some people can speak because only they have been presumed to have experienced the kind of oppression you want to discuss, you're speaking with such self-evident contradiction, hypocrisy, simplistic thinking, and presumptuousness that every claim you make toward a more just world becomes a masturbatory fantasy. The politics you're advancing are self-defeating.

There's no such thing as a "just world" if you authorize yourself an ideological gatekeeper who knows a person's experiences and politics just based on the category the gatekeeper assigns to/at them.

You allow yourself no room to be wrong, no room to grow toward someone from your out-group whom you may have misjudged, no room to draw away from someone in your in-group whom you should have judged, and no room to consider that "oppression" isn't so simply experienced, let alone countered. You're advancing a cartoonish world where only white men are evil/misguided/clueless and everyone else are victims in need of "safe spaces," as though "safe spaces" mean shit at voting booths, or when applying for mortgages, or when the police show up after you've smoked some pot, or what sentence you get after being arrested for that pot...

This presumption that "If we just tell white men how awful they are until they 1. shut up and 2. beg forgiveness" is an academic fiction, a conceit, that has no efficacy in real world politics. I assure you, the Koch brothers know exactly what kind of power they wield in this world and they do so without apology. In the meantime, we fight about the artistic interpretation of a naked male statue as though this means something in a world where female genital mutilation is but a cultural practice.

The arguments that consume this faction of the left are, in themselves, an indictment of "the privileged" in how asinine, pointless, intellectually lazy, and politically self-damaging they are.

To put it more simply: I am a queer woman. I do NOT find that statue offensive. So, clearly, I am self-hating. Or I've internalized my oppression. Or I just am not aware yet because I'm blinded by my white privilege. Or I'm not in a "Safe Space" so I"m not able to speak freely...

.. how about I just fucking disagree with you? Or am I not allowed that within your Oppression Rubric?

Posted by maddy811 on April 4, 2014 at 12:52 PM · Report this
trstr 58
@36: Which is why everyone's complaining about them. Including:…
Posted by trstr on April 4, 2014 at 12:55 PM · Report this
trstr 59
@57: Why the hostility?
Posted by trstr on April 4, 2014 at 12:57 PM · Report this
trstr 60
@41: Well, no, my point is that all of you are acting like Neanderthal conservatives because a few non-white people got uppity and, gasp, visible. Y'all really need to step back and look at the dynamics here. It's really startling.
Posted by trstr on April 4, 2014 at 1:00 PM · Report this
@57 Because I have a decade of experience teaching courses on race and I can tell you from firsthand experience that students and teachers with raku's approach do more harm then good. The end result of these kinds of politics is that (1) decent people bow out of the conversation because they conclude, rightly, that they can contribute nothing useful to the conversation or will never be heard; and (2) the reactionaries in the room, the people everyone should be worried about, become free-speech martyrs.
Posted by maddy811 on April 4, 2014 at 1:01 PM · Report this
trstr 63
@61: In other words, white person lectures everyone about race, criticizes non-whites who shatter the worldview of "decent" white people. Yep. I see exactly where you're coming from.
Posted by trstr on April 4, 2014 at 1:18 PM · Report this
@61 Ad Hominem attack. I see exactly where you're coming from.

Posted by maddy811 on April 4, 2014 at 1:22 PM · Report this
raku 65
57: I'm not telling you to stop speaking or to be offended by something. I don't know where you're getting that.

The Wellesley statue thing is very clear-cut whether you're offended by it or not. Lots of people who are actually there are saying that it's hurting them. People who want to keep it there don't care that it's hurting them and won't accept even a small change.

That's the whole point of this post. People (usually not white men) who say "you're hurting me" and people in power (usually white men) say "I don't care" and won't even make the smallest change because they believe hurting people is somehow noble ("freedom").
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 1:25 PM · Report this
AFinch 66
@60 - I'm perfectly happy with the dynamics here - for exactly the reasons @61 concisely and beautifully explained. I have no desire for "liberal" (enlightened, empirical and progressive) thinking to go the way of the whackadoodles of the far right:captured again by the rabid and unreasoning extremes of their movement. That appeal to reason and logical consistency, which are the genuine heart of justice and 'fairness' , more than anything, is what makes us subjectively superior to the fear and loathing set on the far right. Part of that is pushing back on the idiocy on our own side. Nobody takes 'moderate' republicans seriously because they are so clearly ruled by the fundamentalists (libertarians and evangelicals).

@44 - maybe I was too delicate before: I read "social justice warriors" on tumblr because they are unintentionaly funny self-parodies. I watch Colbert because he is intentionally parodying the same type of idiocy.

All the meta-crap gets tiresome - Derrida gets tiresome. You want to criticize something, do it on the merits, on substance don't play word games policing vocabulary.

--Atticus Finch
Posted by AFinch on April 4, 2014 at 1:26 PM · Report this
@61 And go back and read my comment and see if by "decent" I meant only white. Or male. Or straight. Or Cis. Didn't. Didn't. And didn't.

Or that by people I criticized I meant only people of color. Didn't say that either. Have you ever tried teaching a class on racism with a few self-declared "white allies" in the room?

You did EXACTLY what I was complaining about: my whiteness is the only thing you had to go on instead of engaging with the substantive points I raised.
Posted by maddy811 on April 4, 2014 at 1:29 PM · Report this
raku 68
57: This post isn't about politics, but you mentioned it. Cultural oppression is clearly very relevant to politics.

The vast majority of elected officials, talk show hosts, news reporters, movie stars & makers, and business owners are white men. There's no mass-media counter to Colbert making racial slur jokes except on tumblr/twitter. There's no resourceful counter to Seattle journalists interviewing fellow white men about how increased wages would hurt them. We've only had one woman mayor of Seattle, and that was a hundred years ago.

The reason for that is that white men (as a group) don't listen to anyone but themselves unless they've decided to use someone for a strategic reason like Obama (and still, Romney won the white guy vote by a 25% margin). They don't vote for them, they don't read what they say, they don't watch them on TV. Other people (as a group) do listen to white men, which is how they so easily gain a majority of support despite only being 33% of the US population.

If white men continue to demonize and ignore other people, while everyone else is OK with this and continues to submit to them, we'll continue to have only white men in power who listen to white mens' concerns.

We, as a culture, can't influence white men's culture if they refuse to listen to us. We can, however, influence our own culture to stop submitting to white men. We're 67% of the US population, and if we vote and listen to and buy from people like us, we'd solve the political power differential immediately.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 1:43 PM · Report this
trstr 69
@67: You know exactly which populations you were predominantly defending and which ones you were predominantly targeting. Everyone knows what demographics are being criticized by the other commenters here, by you (white), by Dan Savage (white), and by Michelle Goldberg (white), and who are being defended by them.

Your "substantive" points are basically telling people who are being hurt to fuck off. That's bullshit. The only reason why you're not being laughed out of the room is because liberal white folks are bristling at the idea that their worldview is being challenged, sometimes forcefully, and have rallied around noted famous folks like Savage and Goldberg who dare to speak power to truth, who provide cover for those who think that we magically live in an equal and just world and don't want those angry people affronting their "decent" sensibilities.

And the solution is so fucking simple that it's almost terrifying why there's such a backlash against it. People just need to listen, be open to criticism, roll with the punches sometimes, and proceed on from there. It's not that fucking hard.
Posted by trstr on April 4, 2014 at 1:47 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 70
@68: Wow. I wish I could let myself see the world this simplistically. It seems like it would be a delightful self-indulgence.
Posted by aureolaborealis on April 4, 2014 at 1:52 PM · Report this
So, wait, Raku isn't a parody of Raqu? Or is it the other way around?

I'm missing something.
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on April 4, 2014 at 1:53 PM · Report this

You keep claiming that people aren't listening to you.

Your problem isn't that people aren't listening to you. Your problem is that people are listening to you.
Posted by GermanSausage on April 4, 2014 at 2:20 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 73
@71: the one with the Q is the parody account, I believe. (I think there's also a "ragu" parody.) But if ever there were a case study in Poe's law, this is it.
Posted by Doctor Memory on April 4, 2014 at 2:31 PM · Report this
raku 75
72: I'm not claiming people aren't listening to me. I'm saying people in power aren't listening to other people with grievances based on their identity & experience. They say racial slurs hurt them, they say sexual assault jokes hurt them, they say a threatening statue hurts them, etc. And the people in power (mostly white men) say, effectively, "I don't care" or just dismiss them and make fun of them.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 2:55 PM · Report this
I thought raku was a japanese form of ceramics created for the tea ceremony ritual. When did it become a vessel for bitterness? I can ask this, not being white and all.
Posted by kwodell on April 4, 2014 at 2:59 PM · Report this
Michelle Goldberg is, indeed, (white). Here's an Asian woman—the co-creator of #NotYourAsianSidekick—calling out Suey Park:…

Enjoy, Raku.
Posted by Dan Savage on April 4, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Delishuss 78
Stephen Colbert needs to learn that the words he uses have ramifications and consequences beyond his own personal perception and understanding of those words. Suey Park needs to learn that offense, outrage, and demanding a chilling effect on speech (i.e. "canceling" the show) does nothing to either foster awareness of the issues she's concerned about (because it makes her look like a reactionary), nor to foster a better understanding on his part (because he's inclined to dismiss reactionaries).

Errybody fucked this one up. But this "anti-liberal left" horseshit sounds to me like a privileged person saying, "Stop bitching, oppressed classes! Being responsible about my speech and aware of the effects of my words is inconvenient for me!"
Posted by Delishuss on April 4, 2014 at 3:05 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 79
@73: +1. Raku achieved full parody-proof self-parodying status a while ago. When I first saw a Ragu comment I remember thinking, "Wow, Raku's really out of the zone today."
Posted by aureolaborealis on April 4, 2014 at 3:13 PM · Report this
@69. Ok, I admit it. You got me. Who you imagine I'm speaking of is who I really was thinking of. My experiences can only be filtered through white denial, and I think all accounts of people of color suffering are exaggerated and unfairly inflicted on well-intentioned white people. That's precisely what I argued. Thank you for clarifying for me...

... that you're completely full of shit.

Want some irony? My dissertation was a critical analysis of white liberal racism!!! Try again, honey!
Posted by maddy811 on April 4, 2014 at 3:23 PM · Report this
@78 Everyone fucked up? On this logic, Stephen Colbert should never have been on the air ever because he's been doing this colorblindness-as-cover-for-reactionary white conservative schtick since The Daily Show.

Posted by maddy811 on April 4, 2014 at 3:31 PM · Report this
raku 82
#77: Huh? An Asian person said something critical about something?

She was writing against cyberbullying and harassment against activists. That's obviously a serious issue, but has nothing to do with the article you posted about valuing hurtful speech. It bolsters the point that some "free speech" is harmful -- whether it's harassment or racial slurs or triggering or whatnot.

And, regardless, you clearly know that saying "I have an Asian friend who agrees with me" or "I have a gay friend who agrees with me" is a garbage argument. Everyone has different experiences.

Again, the point is that when someone says "you're hurting me" -- LISTEN TO THEM especially when they ask you to do the smallest possible thing like to stop using racial slurs or to stop making rape jokes without warning.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 3:51 PM · Report this
I look forward to the impending announcement that Park has officially accepted a PR position with the Washington Redskins after her outstanding informal efforts.
Posted by Impulse on April 4, 2014 at 4:14 PM · Report this
@82 Do you see the intellectually dishonest trap you're setting?:

"You only see it this way because you're white; you're silencing those who are suffering."

"Well, this person isn't white and he/she agrees with me."

"Oh, so now you have 'an Asian friend' as cover? Please just listen."

Why is it so hard to concede that these traps will lose people, and not just white people, who are genuine progressives and not racists, whether conscious or otherwise? You're advancing a tacit rule of forced deference, thus denying the possibility of genuine disagreement or debate. Not all disagreements are psychological dodges.

The reason why the Colbert shakeup and the statue are poor examples of the self-masking of white/gender privilege is because **reasonable people can disagree about them.** When you turn every incident, no matter the context or the debate, into, "You just cannot handle having your privilege challenged so you have to silence all suffering of people of color," YOU'VE LOST THE ARGUMENT because you're not being intellectually honest. I cannot speak for everyone here, but I think it's quite unfair to characterize this forum as a bunch of unthinking blowhards who just cannot hear the truth.

The SCOTUS decision this week? The gutting of the Voting Rights Act? The incarceration of an entire generation of men of color for minor drug offenses? GOP gerrymandering and Voter ID laws? The disproportionate loss of wealth by people of color after the 2008 crash? Disparate rates of unemployment after the 2008 crash? The increasingly successful turning back of affirmative action? The attacks on the social safety net? The collapse of public education (vouchers are token racial covers, not progress)?

Are you really gonna tell me that Colbert doing the satire he's always done is more important? That every microaggression ever experienced anywhere is grounds for this kind of endless cycles of outrage-a-thons? Yes, microagressions are very real and very common--but no one is going to effectively build a movement around them.
Posted by maddy811 on April 4, 2014 at 4:39 PM · Report this
trstr 85
@84: If your movement comes at the expense of individuals, fuck your movement. It's the grossest form of mass politics (and white privilege, to boot) to say "your hurt doesn't count - I know what's best for you."
Posted by trstr on April 4, 2014 at 5:32 PM · Report this
raku 87
#84: That's not a "trap". I didn't say or even imply those quotes you attributed to me.

If someone says you're hurting them, just stop or accept that you're being a hurtful/oppressive person, especially if it's something as simple as using racial slurs or rape jokes. You seriously think that's something reasonable people can disagree about? You're fighting for the right to feel good about ignoring people's complaints about oppression.

Give me a break about there being bigger issues. Might as well give up abortion rights, gay marriage, and suffrage, since there's still genocide. People can do things simultaneously.

Criticism of cultural oppression (race, gender, ability, etc) are clearly building a movement. Check tumblrs with hundreds of thousands of followers, extremely popular black/latinx/native/feminist/trans/queer blogs, even mainstream sites like Jezebel. Even Colbert's anti-Asian joke was supposed to be satire of an issue that bubbled up from Native cultural criticism blogs. We're deep in the 3rd wave now.
Posted by raku on April 4, 2014 at 5:46 PM · Report this
Ophian 88

Your posts are hurting me. Stop it.
Posted by Ophian on April 4, 2014 at 5:56 PM · Report this
@87, you're hurting me. Just stop.
Posted by Relling on April 4, 2014 at 5:59 PM · Report this
@88 but you're a WHITE DUDE so it doesn't count
Posted by chi_type on April 4, 2014 at 6:30 PM · Report this
No Raku the vast majority of Social Justice Warriors are young white women desperately trying to make themselves feel special by being offended by everything and ignoring real problems.

Because dealing with real problems means dealing with other people in a place where your online minions can't chase them away, and you might actually have to deal with being wrong.

If you want things to change, get out there and work for it. Don't spend all your time on your blogs with your internert buddies parroting the things you want to hear.
Posted by msanonymous on April 4, 2014 at 9:32 PM · Report this
I'll add am I the only one who find the 'you're hurting me' concept to be condescending?

I mean yes you shouldn't be an asshole to people. Especially about things like their sexuality, what gender they identify as, their race, or how their physical appearance isn't to your liking.

But at the same time learning to cope with disappointment is an important trait for people to have.

You are going to get your feelings hurt, things aren't always going to go your way, and sometimes you won't get what you want. But I think real maturity is doing the best with what you've got even when the situation is less than ideal.

And too often what 'you're hurting me' really mean is 'you're not agreeing with me, giving me what I want, pumping up my ego'.
Posted by msanonymous on April 5, 2014 at 2:13 AM · Report this
McJulie 93
The problem, as I see it -- activism, whether it's lefty or righty, involves a whole spectrum of motivations from "want to change the world for (what I see as) the better" and "raging narcissism." When it's the right, I don't have a conflict -- I can just be against them, sincere or narcissistic, because I don't want what they want. But when it's somebody whose ostensible goal is something I do support, but I suspect that in this particular instance they're more interested in outrage posturing? I don't have any good options. Saying, "you're not really interested in addressing racism/sexism/anti-gay bigotry/etc., you're more interested in being the center of attention for a news blip and making everybody dance to your tune" NEVER ends well. "Ignore it until it goes away" is the only workable strategy.
Posted by McJulie on April 5, 2014 at 3:45 AM · Report this
McJulie 94
@77 Thank you for that link. That's exactly what I was talking about.
Posted by McJulie on April 5, 2014 at 3:55 AM · Report this
venomlash 95
Raku, my people have a deep and long-standing tradition of hair-splitting and argument for argument's sake. (source) By co-opting our traditions, you're oppressing us. Check your goyish privilege!
Posted by venomlash on April 5, 2014 at 6:19 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 96
I love clicking on some high-comment-count slog post to find that it's everyone arguing with either Seattleblues or raku. Well trolled, raku, well trolled.
Posted by Matt from Denver on April 5, 2014 at 8:44 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 97
I love clicking on some high-comment-count slog post to find that it's everyone arguing with either Seattleblues or raku.

Raku, remember this - self expression feels good, but only accomplishing change means anything. Please be sure to assess everything you write, whether here, on tumblr, or anywhere else, through that lens if your goal is to make a difference.
Posted by Matt from Denver on April 5, 2014 at 8:44 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 98
Hey, that's neat - Slog posted both the comment that I was editing (but not intending to submit) AND the one I edited and submitted. Pretty cool trick, Stranger webmasters.
Posted by Matt from Denver on April 5, 2014 at 8:45 AM · Report this
Post_Mortem 99
I welcome the inclusion of illiberal lefties to the broader cultural conversation. The Internet and 24-hour news networks are rife with imbeciles and ideologues of all sorts. What's a few more hurt?

Besides, exposure to both real conversational exchange and rhetoric of various sorts is healthy. Free exchange of ideas and all that being a tenet of both classical and American liberalism, one might expect those who claim to support liberal ideals to welcome the addition of even shrill new voices. The trick is to do rhat while being engaged, open, thoughtful, and not letting oneself get pushed around. One might say, I'm glad you're here, but I disagree with you and your approach for these reasons. Let's talk.
Posted by Post_Mortem on April 5, 2014 at 9:11 AM · Report this
Delishuss 100
Man. I stayed off Slog for a couple of months and this is what I come back to.

Raku might be confrontational and strident, but she's no Seattleblues. She's not openly advocating for the oppression of minority groups the way he does. In fact, just the opposite, she's challenging most of you to dig a little deeper.

And the reaction of most of you (presumably) liberal white folk - including you, Dan - is to pile on, misappropriate her words, and dump all over her instead of trying to understand what she's saying or engage with honest intent. Cuz she's a "troll," right? Her points are so easy to dismiss and ignore, since she's clearly a "young white [woman] desperately trying to make [herself] feel special by being offended by everything and ignoring real problems."

Hey, way to erase all of the POC who consider themselves social justice warriors, msanonymous.

I haven't seen her post anything offensive enough to warrant the vitriol you people throw her way. In fact, she raises salient points - that oppressed groups should be the ones who define what constitutes offensive language and actions towards them. Not the people using the offensive language, not Stephen Colbert, and definitely not Dan Savage -- even if they call themselves allies.

Man, I was considering moving up to Seattle from the Bay Area, but if Slog commenters are representative of the community, that's enough to make me reconsider. Y'all a bunch of progressive poseurs, a stereotype of overprivileged white liberals who are just "open-minded" enough to take a conservative stereotype like Seattleblues out to the woodshed on every thread, but not enough to listen to someone to the left of your side when she points out to you that you're all showing your asses.

Raku, I feel ya, girl. This is clearly not the place to discuss intersectionality, though. Peace, Slog, I don't need you. And Dan? I thought you were a better ally than this. I'm disappointed in you.
Posted by Delishuss on April 5, 2014 at 9:38 AM · Report this
The proposition that there's a deeply illiberal strain among some on the left is hardly news. There's a deeply un-conservative strain among some on the right.

The farther you go, either right or left, the greater the number of loons with delusional, deeply dangerous notions. Nazis and the Khmer Rouge, the Great Leap Forward and Jonestown: beware of Utopian absolutism, especially with charismatic leaderships, for that way lies genocide and madness.
Posted by Functional Atheist on April 5, 2014 at 9:40 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 102
@ 100, I don't knkw who takes a blanket condemnation of any group of people as a mere challenge to dig deeper, but it isn't anyone who wants the best for our society. That takes dialogue, not monologue.
Posted by Matt from Denver on April 5, 2014 at 10:34 AM · Report this
Ophian 103
Delishuss @100 "...dump all over her instead of trying to understand what she's saying or engage with honest intent."

If/when raku can get over her simplistic, racist and sexist myopia, I'll be happy to engage. But as long she continues to approach melanin-challenged penis-havers, like myself, with ears closed and knives out, she is merely a hypocrite who is more of an enemy to what she thinks she supports than those she dismisses.
Posted by Ophian on April 5, 2014 at 12:32 PM · Report this
@#100 Being a SJW isn't a good thing no matter what your skin color. And if Raku is unwilling to listen to me due to the color of my skin, which is kinda, I don't know, racist, why should I bother listening to her?

She's already made it clear that what she wants is attention and asspats, not any sort of discussion or debate where she might have to acknowledge being wrong.

And what is she doing off-line to support her causes? Is she working at soup kitchens? Volunteering? Giving blood? Is she helping in anyway besides ranting on Tumblr?
Posted by msanonymous on April 5, 2014 at 3:31 PM · Report this
@104 There's a difference between being willing to listen to you irrespective of your skin colour, and being willing to accept your opinion/experience as central/authoritative irrespective of your skin colour. I haven't read this whole thread but as far as I can see, Raku seems to be making the point that it's most important to take into account the experience & opinions of those who are actually targeted by an 'offence', not those of random bystanders. When the incident is racial, generally the random bystanders can be identified by their whiteness. This doesn't seem so crazy to me.

Sarah Silverman makes a great point in one of her bits that people modify their language/behaviour according to who they are scared of, rather than any deeper principle. This is why Colbert could comfortably make the joke about 'ching-chongs' and not about 'nig-nogs'. Suey Park may have misstepped by calling for cancellation over it, but it's amazing how this misstep among a couple of others is being escalated over and over again into a discrediting of online dissent, while the point that some Asians could be genuinely bothered over the satirical use of the slur, and have a right to say so, is taken as preposterous.
Posted by diner mo on April 5, 2014 at 11:55 PM · Report this
Stephen Colbert didn't make the joke, Comedy Central did. And Suey wasn't doing anything but garnering attention for herself and making whatever valid points she has look crazy.

We wouldn't even be having this discussion if Park had said something like 'That's not cool', or 'I don't think that's funny, it's actually insulting'. Instead of trying to get him canceled.

And this the problem at the heart of it. If you want to get your point across you need to treat the people you're talking with respect, and not blame them for every emotional slight or tragedy that''s ever happened to you.
Posted by msanonymous on April 6, 2014 at 1:05 PM · Report this
milemarker 107
There has long been evidence that, at the extremes of ideology, the Right and Left are virtually indistinguishable. So Goldberg has a point.
Posted by milemarker on April 6, 2014 at 2:49 PM · Report this
No, Colbert made the joke. CC just moved it out of context. It's also true that if Park had just said "that's not cool" no one would have paid any attention to the issue or thought twice about any of it, so I can see strategically why she escalated, though personally I think it wasn't worth the loss of goodwill. If you can see that there's a valid point there, you can see that there was more to it than personal attention seeking. It's not blaming for every tragedy to want slurs against you to be seen in the same light as slurs against others.
Posted by diner mo on April 6, 2014 at 5:56 PM · Report this
diner_mo the discussion we're having right now is one I can't have with raku and people like her. You're actually listening to me and countering my points instead of yelling and throwing buzzwords around. I think that's the issue a lot of people have with her and those like her.

And yeah I did make a unfair generalization in my earlier comment and I apologize for that.

In the end I think all Park did was make herself look bad, and make people less likely to listen or acknowledge the real issues she was trying to bring to light.
Posted by msanonymous on April 6, 2014 at 8:18 PM · Report this
oh oh oh! *I* get it. So when centrist-white-men want to be listened to because they're fighting for expansion of the status quo to include, say, *gay* white dudez into the White Privilege machine, that's something worth paying attention to because of course they deserve it being all white and dude-like and all. But when someone brown or female or Other wants the same thing, they're hysterical chicken littles. Okay.

How is that attitude different from the Fawks Noooze, again?
Posted by happyhedonist on April 6, 2014 at 10:20 PM · Report this
Thanks for proving my point 110, and for showing that you have nothing worthwhile to say.
Posted by msanonymous on April 7, 2014 at 3:24 AM · Report this
msanonymous, I get deeply irritated with buzzwords too. But I do think the idea of 'privilege' has a few things to offer. One is that some people cop more shit in their lifetimes just because of who they are. That's obvious, but the thing that doesn't seem to be obvious about it is that those people are likely to be grumpier! They've got more to be grumpy about! And they are less likely to have comfortable language to identify and describe their experience, just because their experience isn't everyone's experience. AND if that's not 'me', what they say/describe might sound off-putting anyway, just because I don't relate or recognise the experience. For these reasons when someone tries to make a point that runs against the mainstream, I'm inclined to try to cut some slack and listen through whatever irritations I have with it, because those irritations might be part of whatever conditions they are actually describing.
Posted by diner mo on April 7, 2014 at 3:43 AM · Report this
I think you're a good guy diner_mo and you've given me some things to thinks about. Nice talking to ya but I'm bowing out for now.

Thanks for being willing to listen to me, I do appreciate it.
Posted by msanonymous on April 7, 2014 at 4:00 AM · Report this
Ditto msanonymous - you have a good one.
Posted by diner mo on April 7, 2014 at 5:27 AM · Report this
how do you assholes not see this?? call yourselves "progressive" all you want but your NOT Liberals. Your in fact the opposite. Your progressing toward a technocratic corporatism.
Posted by carsten coolage on April 7, 2014 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Naming names of people of privilege who pretend to be on the left and do not act like it. Chris Hedges
Posted by Linda J on April 7, 2014 at 5:33 PM · Report this

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