Racism and internet vigilantism

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Stengah wrote:

The site is not telling people to harass these people. It's not telling the internet to "go get em." It's collecting and reposting public information.

There's a kind of cognitive dissonance running through this thread and this statement seems to capture it nicely. If the goal isn't a clearing house for counter-harrassment, why publish the information at all? I'm not saying that collating this information isn't legal, but I don't think you can sit there and pretend it has any other purpose.

To have a lasting record of it; a place to go for proof when someone claims "pics or it didn't happen" when someone else reports their actions to their schools / places of business. Most schools have some sort of code of conduct policy for people involved in after-school activities, which these racist and/or threatening statements would violate. If the racist deletes their previous post, you have a copy of their statements that you can make them own up to.

Vector wrote:

Racism is very regional. The meaning and perception is completely different depending on where you live. It's a difficult subject, like most, because it is incredibly difficult to look at racism from the speaker's perspective. Then you add in age (teenagers say a lot of stupid things) and other factors. It's why I think it would be okay to report these people to whatever authority is most appropriate. There's a chance that they don't even really consider their words that racist.

I don't understand this train of thought. Someone expresses a racist opinion on the internet. Why is an appeal to authority required?

For Seth and others: There was a period of time and is still true in some places, where being outed as gay was enough to get you fired from you job and blackballed by society as a whole. Homosexuals lived in fear and secrecy for that reason.

Places where gay people could get together and be themselves were "public" but not public places that people they knew would come to find them.

And people have been outed for having their activity discovered and had their lives ruined.

My uncle, a doctor who contracted HIV, was outed when HIS doctor broke confidentiality and made sure that his colleagues and social circle knew that he was gay.

Regardless of morals, this is the exact same behavior that is at stake with this tumblr. Outing people's who thought their actions were within a limited sphere of public scrutiny to their social groups at large. I have an EXTREME distaste for how similar those behaviors are, even when pointed at Racists.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Vector wrote:

No, I'm saying if you are offended by something take a constructive action. Whether that actions leads to consequences is irrelevant.

But that type of thinking leads to McCarthyism, and "if you are offended by something" is an inherently subjective line in the sand. People in the past have faced secular reprisals in the workplace and school for expressing unpopular ideas such as pacifism or athiesm. Now obviously the ideas involved are vastly different, but sure you can see that the underlying pricnciples here are equally flawed?

Yes I do. But isn't it all about free speach? They have the right to say something and I (or anyone) has a right to complain about it? What is the alternative? To not say anything? If you are offended then speak out.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

You're saying people who hold and express ideas you don't agree with don't deserve jobs or education.

That's wrong.

He's not saying that and this very comment is an example of why I choose not to participate in P&C.

I hope you continue to participate but that *is* essentially what some of you are saying.

No it isn't. Not at all. I'm not sure how you are reading that.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Vector wrote:

Racism is very regional. The meaning and perception is completely different depending on where you live. It's a difficult subject, like most, because it is incredibly difficult to look at racism from the speaker's perspective. Then you add in age (teenagers say a lot of stupid things) and other factors. It's why I think it would be okay to report these people to whatever authority is most appropriate. There's a chance that they don't even really consider their words that racist.

I don't understand this train of thought. Someone expresses a racist opinion on the internet. Why is an appeal to authority required?

Because the racist opinion involves wanting to assassinate a sitting President?

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Vector wrote:

No, I'm saying if you are offended by something take a constructive action. Whether that actions leads to consequences is irrelevant.

But that type of thinking leads to McCarthyism,

Not according to J.S. Mill. Rather what it leads to is a society regulating itself in stating what actions and behavior are acceptable and not. And ultimately teaches the lesson of "keep your stupid thoughts to yourself."

You are the only person stating that this is big bad government, when none of the facts speak to that. You can go to the Book Club thread in the Everything forum if you want to discuss 1984 or Animal Farm.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
Vector wrote:

Racism is very regional. The meaning and perception is completely different depending on where you live. It's a difficult subject, like most, because it is incredibly difficult to look at racism from the speaker's perspective. Then you add in age (teenagers say a lot of stupid things) and other factors. It's why I think it would be okay to report these people to whatever authority is most appropriate. There's a chance that they don't even really consider their words that racist.

I don't understand this train of thought. Someone expresses a racist opinion on the internet. Why is an appeal to authority required?

Because it bothered someone and they feel strongly enough to do something about that. I am not saying it is required. It's personal.

Jolly Bill wrote:

For Seth and others: There was a period of time and is still true in some places, where being outed as gay was enough to get you fired from you job and blackballed by society as a whole. Homosexuals lived in fear and secrecy for that reason.

Places where gay people could get together and be themselves were "public" but not public places that people they knew would come to find them.

And people have been outed for having their activity discovered and had their lives ruined.

My uncle, a doctor who contracted HIV, was outed when HIS doctor broke confidentiality and made sure that his colleagues and social circle knew that he was gay.

Regardless of morals, this is the exact same behavior that is at stake with this tumblr. Outing people's who thought their actions were within a limited sphere of public scrutiny to their social groups at large. I have an EXTREME distaste for how similar those behaviors are, even when pointed at Racists.

In this situation though, the racists are outing themselves, the tumblr is just keeping track of who has outed themselves and the statements in which they've done so.

Jolly Bill wrote:

For Seth and others: There was a period of time and is still true in some places, where being outed as gay was enough to get you fired from you job and blackballed by society as a whole. Homosexuals lived in fear and secrecy for that reason.

Places where gay people could get together and be themselves were "public" but not public places that people they knew would come to find them.

And people have been outed for having their activity discovered and had their lives ruined.

My uncle, a doctor who contracted HIV, was outed when HIS doctor broke confidentiality and made sure that his colleagues and social circle knew that he was gay.

Regardless of morals, this is the exact same behavior that is at stake with this tumblr. Outing people's who thought their actions were within a limited sphere of public scrutiny to their social groups at large. I have an EXTREME distaste for how similar those behaviors are, even when pointed at Racists.

Right -- you're saying essentially what I understand Demyx to be saying, and I'm responding by saying your logic is fundamentally flawed. Racism is fundamentally different from being LGBT or having HIV, so any comparisons are of no real value.

To the contrary, in fact -- I support legislation making it illegal to fire people for their sexual orientation. I don't support legislation protecting the rights of racists beyond not being jailed for their opinion.

clover wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

I don't understand this train of thought. Someone expresses a racist opinion on the internet. Why is an appeal to authority required?

Because the racist opinion involves wanting to assassinate a sitting President?

If we were talking about a violence-only tumblr that would be salient I guess. Espousing violence is not the same.

Stengah wrote:
Jolly Bill wrote:

For Seth and others: There was a period of time and is still true in some places, where being outed as gay was enough to get you fired from you job and blackballed by society as a whole. Homosexuals lived in fear and secrecy for that reason.

Places where gay people could get together and be themselves were "public" but not public places that people they knew would come to find them.

And people have been outed for having their activity discovered and had their lives ruined.

My uncle, a doctor who contracted HIV, was outed when HIS doctor broke confidentiality and made sure that his colleagues and social circle knew that he was gay.

Regardless of morals, this is the exact same behavior that is at stake with this tumblr. Outing people's who thought their actions were within a limited sphere of public scrutiny to their social groups at large. I have an EXTREME distaste for how similar those behaviors are, even when pointed at Racists.

In this situation though, the racists are outing themselves, the tumblr is just keeping track of who has outed themselves and the statements in which they've done so.

I disagree. Yes, anyone can go anywhere on the internet and see what they want, but without other people drawing exposure to it the scope of people who would see the initial statement is small. It would be one thing if ONE person were finding whatever racists stuff they could find and posting it. The format of people posting and shaming other people they know does run the line up against McCarthyism.

Except, of course, those accused are not asked to then further identify more racists. That was the key factor of the witch hunt that was McCarthyism and why the analogy does not fully hold up.

If McCarthy was on a crusade to out every racist in the country, I would proudly have called myself a McCarthyist.

To be clear, no one is advocating physical violence. We agree that punching is wrong.

So, yeah, I agree that racists are jerks and should be called out when you see them. But I don't agree that public shaming by broadcast is an appropriate method to use for that purpose—because I don't believe it's an appropriate method to use for any purpose.

Okay, so you've removed the single nonviolent consequence from public racism. What do you recommend instead?

Seth wrote:

Right -- you're saying essentially what I understand Demyx to be saying, and I'm responding by saying your logic is fundamentally flawed. Racism is fundamentally different from being LGBT or having HIV, so any comparisons are of no real value.

To the contrary, in fact -- I support legislation making it illegal to fire people for their sexual orientation. I don't support legislation protecting the rights of racists beyond not being jailed for their opinion.

I come across a racist and a homosexual person. I punch both of them for what they are. I get that the racist is fundamentally different than the homosexual person and that my act of punching the racist can be considered justified by some people and my act of punching the other is a hate crime.

I'm just saying that punching people is wrong, regardless, and we shouldn't be congratulating people for stooping to that level.

edit: sorry for super editing. Just pointing out that the act of punching EITHER is justified by some, and that it is society that creates that justification. We should not be falling into that trap here.

^
| Hypatian said much better things above this post. Just different ways of saying "this is not the appropriate method"

I never thought I would agree with Norman. T_T

But yeah, that's exactly the difference of opinion here.

Some of us see this chain as "Person expresses sentiment X. Person is put in a list and has their name broadcast about. Person suffers reprisals." And to us, we don't care what X is, because we know that there are an awful lot of values for X which we think are perfectly fine sentiments, and that people lose their jobs over. Like supporting gay rights. Or opposing racism. Or whatever. The fact that in this specific case the sentiment expressed is vile doesn't matter, because we believe that the overall pattern of "public shaming by broadcasting information about people you may barely know" to "reprisals against people you may barely know based on the public shaming from people you may barely know" is a seriously bad thing.

The question, then, is whether the specific sentiment involved makes a difference. I don't think it can—because too many sentiments that society considers "normal" to have, we later come to believe are highly flawed. I'll bring up the trans thing again: If I'm fired for being trans today, there are places I'm protected. But there is still a very large proportion of the population that would be like "Eww, tranny, of course you fired them, who wants a freak like that around? They might scare the customers." Hell, the TSA [em]currently has a policy[/em] not to employ trans people in publicly-facing positions, because it might make people feel uncomfortable.

So, yeah, I agree that racists are jerks and should be called out when you see them. But I don't agree that public shaming by broadcast is an appropriate method to use for that purpose—because I don't believe it's an appropriate method to use for any purpose. Is it illegal? In some places, depending on how much information you share. Is it immoral? It depends on how you balance the wrongness of the method (I consider it to be highly wrong) against the wrongness of the action to be "punished" (which I also consider to be very wrong in the case of racism, but not as wrong as trivial actions that can trivially create a chilling effect on speech as people fear for their livelihood.) Is it spineless? In my opinion, absolutely.

And more fundamentally: I actually do want racists to be able to spout off racist stuff. Because the problem isn't that they say racist things: the problem is that they are [em]f*cking racists[/em]. Just because they don't talk about it in public doesn't make it any better.

Seth wrote:

Racism is fundamentally different from being LGBT or having HIV, so any comparisons are of no real value.

You've said this a few times. What do you mean by it, because I don't see how it is so fundamentally different, except by moral judgement (which, as I've established above, isn't trustworthy, and changes over time). We're not talking apples and muons here. (And don't forget things like the "about the same proportion of the population mistrusts rapists and mistrusts atheists". Yes, a rapist is a very different thing from an atheist: but they are distinct because of the law, and the penalties are in the hands of the law, and that's important. Because if they were in the hands of the mob... what *would* the difference be?)

Seth wrote:

To be clear, no one is advocating physical violence. We agree that punching is wrong.

So, yeah, I agree that racists are jerks and should be called out when you see them. But I don't agree that public shaming by broadcast is an appropriate method to use for that purpose—because I don't believe it's an appropriate method to use for any purpose.

Okay, so you've removed the single nonviolent consequence from public racism. What do you recommend instead?

OK, so can we agree that broadcasting personal details to the public at large with the intent of shaming the target is wrong as well?

Hypatian wrote:
Seth wrote:

Racism is fundamentally different from being LGBT or having HIV, so any comparisons are of no real value.

You've said this a few times. What do you mean by it, because I don't see how it is so fundamentally different, except by moral judgement (which, as I've established above, isn't trustworthy, and changes over time). We're not talking apples and muons here. (And don't forget things like the "about the same proportion of the population mistrusts rapists and mistrusts atheists". Yes, a rapist is a very different thing from an atheist: but they are distinct because of the law, and the penalties are in the hands of the law, and that's important. Because if they were in the hands of the mob... what *would* the difference be?)

Beyond the fact that I'm no moral relativist, being gay or having HIV is not rooted in a belief that a set of genetic and cultural markers make a group of people inferior to other people. LGBT and HIV groups are fighting for equality. Racists are fighting for inequality. It's silly to treat them the same because they are diametrically opposed. It's like pointing out the similarities between a no kill animal shelter and a dogfighting ring. The comparison is literally apples to anti-apples.

OK, so can we agree that broadcasting personal details to the public at large with the intent of shaming the target is wrong as well?

Whether we agree or not, that's not the question. We're talking about making publically available information. . .publically available. Shining a flashlight on a pile of crap does not change the consistency of that crap.

There is a big difference between rebuking someone for telling you a racist joke in person while waiting for the bus, and then getting on the bus and yelling at everyone on the bus that the person is racist. There are levels of response and we are just trying to point out that the BROADCAST level is too f*cking far for offhand comments jerks make on their facebook or twitter feeds.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

You're saying people who hold and express ideas you don't agree with don't deserve jobs or education.

That's wrong.

He's not saying that and this very comment is an example of why I choose not to participate in P&C.

I hope you continue to participate but that *is* essentially what some of you are saying.

IMAGE(http://darwinisms.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Nothing-to-do-here-300x225.jpg)

Jolly Bill wrote:

There is a big difference between hearing someone tell you a racist joke in person while waiting for the bus, and then getting on the bus and yelling at everyone on the bus that the person is racist. There are levels of response and we are just trying to point out that the BROADCAST level is too f*cking far for offhand comments jerks make on their facebook or twitter feeds.

I think we may disagree on the actual point of the Internet, in this case.

edit to clarify -- I consider the moment anything is available on the Internet to already be broadcast. aggregating and pointing those broadcasts out to others is...well no different than buzzfeed or failbook.

Seth wrote:
Jolly Bill wrote:

There is a big difference between hearing someone tell you a racist joke in person while waiting for the bus, and then getting on the bus and yelling at everyone on the bus that the person is racist. There are levels of response and we are just trying to point out that the BROADCAST level is too f*cking far for offhand comments jerks make on their facebook or twitter feeds.

I think we may disagree on the actual point of the Internet, in this case. :)

(I changed my post slightly)

I get the joke, but in this case, I don't find that funny. At all. And would likely quit the internet as a whole if I believed your implied point that the internet is for publicly shaming people and yelling at random masses of people about their faults.

Again, I get the joke.

Seth wrote:

To be clear, no one is advocating physical violence. We agree that punching is wrong.

So, yeah, I agree that racists are jerks and should be called out when you see them. But I don't agree that public shaming by broadcast is an appropriate method to use for that purpose—because I don't believe it's an appropriate method to use for any purpose.

Okay, so you've removed the single nonviolent consequence from public racism. What do you recommend instead?

No, I haven't. I've said that "shaming by broadcast" is inappropriate. And specifically, I was talking about the kind of digging up information we've been discussing.

There are sh*t-tons of consequences of publicly expressing racist sentiment. None of those are going away. The more of a public figure you are, the more significant the blowback can be. You don't need a list of racists collected by random people on the Internet to find out about Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster, for example.

But that doesn't mean that this kind of distributed mass shaming is a good thing. It doesn't mean that making a list that, yes, [em]has no possible purpose[/em] but to make life sh*tty for the people on the list, is a good thing. It doesn't mean that taking action in a way that doesn't get your hands dirty (because you're not the person who harassed them, after all, you just put their name on a list) is a good thing. If you're a real public figure, you've got some understanding of how to react when you're suddenly in the news and people are calling your phone at all hours. If you're J. Random Internetposter? Not so much.

And saying that those are all bad things doesn't mean that there are no consequences. If I lose my job because I didn't conceal my trans-ness well enough? I screwed up. I don't go out of my way to protect myself because [em]now it is pretty safe[/em]. I know my workplace and local government have protections in place. Twenty years ago? I wouldn't be f*cking talking to [em]anybody[/em] about being trans, out of fear, and the Internet wasn't even a thing most people knew about yet. The consequences are there.

It's just a question of whether people who make lists "not intended to be used for reprisal, just to call these people to the attention of others" are really doing a good thing. Or if, perhaps, maybe they should have considered the more directly personal approaches on their [em]own[/em] part first.

Seth wrote:

edit to clarify -- I consider the moment anything is available on the Internet to already be broadcast. aggregating and pointing those broadcasts out to others is...well no different than buzzfeed or failbook.

This is precisely my take. The act of aggregation is tantamount to pointing at something that already exists. Nothing more.

I think it also factors into the moral decision here that sites like these are probably trivially easy to game. Create a twitter account, link it to an existing facebook, create a facebook with an existing person's details, hack an existing account - in some ways, taking internet posts and assigning them to a real person is less credible than overhearing something in a bar.

Hypatian wrote:

There are sh*t-tons of consequences of publicly expressing racist sentiment.

One of which is having your racist sentiments captured for posterity somewhere.

Jolly Bill wrote:
Seth wrote:
Jolly Bill wrote:

There is a big difference between hearing someone tell you a racist joke in person while waiting for the bus, and then getting on the bus and yelling at everyone on the bus that the person is racist. There are levels of response and we are just trying to point out that the BROADCAST level is too f*cking far for offhand comments jerks make on their facebook or twitter feeds.

I think we may disagree on the actual point of the Internet, in this case. :)

(I changed my post slightly)

I get the joke, but in this case, I don't find that funny. At all. And would likely quit the internet as a whole if I believed your implied point that the internet is for publicly shaming people and yelling at random masses of people about their faults.

Again, I get the joke.

That's not his implied point though. His point is that these people have already broadcast (of their own volition) to the world that they're racist, the tumblr is just a collection of such broadcasts.

I cannot get behind that Jolly.

I like public shaming. It is efficient.

I think you have a high road to climb in equating shaming of racists and the shaming of homosexuals. Homosexuals have a history in Judeo Christian society of being singled out, castrated, killed, etc. They lack the numbers to have a great deal of political clout on their own. These are some considerations that go into evaluating if discrimination has occurred or is occurring against a group.

Now you can freely think that there we do not need to give special consideration to groups who have historically been oppressed, without lending that to groups that have not (or in some cases have been the oppressors). Actually, that is the stance of Clarence Thomas. I think that stance makes giving teeth to civil rights legislation or equal rights legislation difficult. It is that stricter view when applied to these groups that led to integration of schools, buses, colleges, that spelled the end of Jim Crow, that shed a light on sexual harassment of women in the workplace.

The lack of that stricter view, and the belief of after the 1875 Civil Rights Act, or after the passage of Woman's Suffrage suddenly everything was equal, did not serve the purposes of those acts. And for 100 years blacks and women were still second class citizens, could be openly discriminated against. To this day we still have not figured out wage disparity.

I think the attitude that everything is and should be equal and the same for everyone is noble. But not everyone thinks that way. Many people still do know that there is such a thing as white privilege. How do you cure the race disparity in our prison populations, as an example, without a stricter look?

KingGorilla wrote:

I like public shaming. It is efficient.

Me too.

I always find it startling when people, on principle, go out of their way to defend people who would not extend them the same consideration. I respect their dedication to their moral code, but do not share it.

I'd like to separate some things out here. The racism - whatever.

But do those of you who think this level of broadcasting is wrong, continue to believe this for threats against a sitting president?

SallyNasty wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

I like public shaming. It is efficient.

Me too.

I always find it startling when people, on principle, go out of their way to defend people who would not extend them the same consideration. I respect their dedication to their moral code, but do not share it.

And as I said a page or 2 ago. John Stuart Mill likes it too, one of the supreme thinkers on freedom and morality.