Internet Abuse of Philosophers (2 updates)

Internet Abuse of Philosophers (2 updates)


A few weeks ago, George Yancy (Emory) published an essay in The New York Times philosophy column, The Stone, called “Dear White America.” In it, he calls for white Americans to acknowledge their racism and their complicity with racist institutions. Yancy asks his readers to “listen with love” to what he has to say. But he knows that what he is saying is bound to provoke:

I can see your anger. I can see that this letter is being misunderstood. This letter is not asking you to feel bad about yourself, to wallow in guilt. That is too easy. I’m asking for you to tarry, to linger, with the ways in which you perpetuate a racist society, the ways in which you are racist. I’m now daring you to face a racist history which, paraphrasing Baldwin, has placed you where you are and that has formed your own racism. Again, in the spirit of Baldwin, I am asking you to enter into battle with your white self. I’m asking that you open yourself up; to speak to, to admit to, the racist poison that is inside of you.

Yancy’s essay has generated a lot of discussion (over 2000 comments at the NYT), and a lot of hate mail. Professor Yancy wrote to me:

“Dear White America” has received so much hate mail. I mean, lots and lots of it. My inbox continues to be flooded. I have been called a “nigger” so many times (and so much more) since that piece came out. There are also the implied and explicit threats. White supremacist groups have also been “discussing” the piece. Fox News and other media outlets have contacted me, but I’ve declined. 

You know, there needs to be a discussion by philosophers on what took place with this piece. Where do we go when we are threatened? Does the APA even concern itself with these issues when “one of its own” is attacked like this? 

The American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Public Philosophy held a session at the Eastern Division APA meeting last week. Margaret Crouch (Eastern Michigan) talked about how universities do and could respond to internet abuse, and the difficulties of figuring out which of the policies developed for “in real life” situations best apply to the problems people are facing online. Karen Frost-Arnold (Hobart & William Smith) discussed some of the factors contributing to online abuse, as well as how individuals could best respond to various forms of obnoxious behavior online. And Jason Stanley (Yale) argued that a lot of the abusive online rhetoric from within the philosophy community is rooted in misogynistic ideology.

APA CPP Eastern 2015 2
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“Navigating the Perils of Cyberspace” panel at the 2015 Eastern APA. Photo by Lynne Tirell)

It was a useful and interesting session, but it was just one session with an average-sized audience, and it did not explicitly raise the question of what direct action, if any, the APA should take. And, leaving aside the APA, there is more to be said on the question of what any of us might do when we see a fellow member of the profession attacked, or are the target ourselves.

Discussion welcome.

UPDATE: From a follow-up message from Professor Yancy, which he gave me permission to share:

[Whether my] article was all that good is irrelevant. What is important is that the piece galvanized an entire industry of threats and vitriol. Also, it is not whether that person is good or not good, it is about my safety, our safety as philosophers. [The matter] is being handled here at my university, as it should. Yet, the point is larger. It is about what the APA can do, should, ought to do. Perhaps the APA can speak to how philosophers, since Socrates, will function as gadflies and that while it doesn’t endorse what said philosophers say, it does support the right of philosophers to philosophize, to engage in critical forms unnerving. There needs to be a statement from the APA that it will not tolerate such forms of abuse.

UPDATE 2 (1/18/16): Professor Yancy writes:

My objective is not to censor thought. It is my position that when something of this magnitude happens, the APA ought to have a way of addressing it. Perhaps the APA ought to have a statement  formulated as a matter of policy that while it does not agree carte blanche with what philosophers say, it will not tolerate such hatred and racist vitriol directed at one of its own. This need not (and should not) involve censorship; it is about stating a clear and principled position, a show of support for those of us who are philosopher-members (or not) of the APA.  I don’t know if such a statement already exists. If not, perhaps there ought to be one.   

Look!! It was one thing for me to be called “a dumb ass piece of shit” or “You are pure, 100% Nigger” or “You’re sick, Dude” It was something else to receive, “Someone needs to put a boot up your ass and knock  your fucking head off your shoulders.” This, by the way, is just a fraction of a fraction of stuff.  
 
And this doesn’t even speak to what is being said on white supremacist web sites or the conservative ones about me.
— George
P.S. My article came out on Christmas Eve, this is what I received as of this morning (Jan 17, 2016):  
“Professor Yancy,
All your studies have forced me to examine my self image and my white racist mind. You clearly state that no matter what I think, I’m a racist. OK, cool..thank you for clearing that up. Now I am forced to say, because you tell me I can say nothing else, FUCK YOU NIGGER!
as always,
the white guy”
UPDATE 3 (1/22/16): This is just to draw your attention to the petition in support of Yancy started by Anne Leighton, mentioned in a comment below.

(top image: detail of “Intersection” by Franz Kline)

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Karen Frost-Arnold
Karen Frost-Arnold
5 years ago

Philosophers experiencing harassment (and those who wish to be helpful active bystanders) may find these resources helpful:

(1) The Speak Up And Stay Safe(r) Guide to Protecting Yourself from Online Harassment: https://onlinesafety.feministfrequency.com/en/
(2) A DIY Guide to Feminist Cybersecurity: https://tech.safehubcollective.org/cybersecurity/#_=_
(3) This helpful blog post: http://www.ashedryden.com/blog/you-asked-how-do-i-deal-with-online-harassment-how-do-i-help-the-targets-of-online-harassment

Shameless self-promotion: I’ve put the text of my APA talk and my PowerPoint up on my Academia.edu page in case they are helpful to anyone (https://hws.academia.edu/karenfrostarnold).Report

Will Behun
Will Behun
5 years ago

What worries me most is that the line between “internet abuse” and physical violence is razor thin and too easy to step over. I suppose the one thing we must avoid, and I think that in general we do a good job of this, is suggesting that because these are “merely online” or “just email” or “simply speech acts” we oughtn’t to take them seriously as real violence, and really, really scary.Report

UG
UG
5 years ago

I don’t understand the thinking behind sending internet threats. And the weirdest part is that these types of threats come from all sides! For example, I know a person who is associated with a University that has a “statement of faith” (like Wheaton). This person had an email associated with the University and used it for a semi-public purpose. After doing so, they were subject to death threats.

To make it more personal, I, for example, didn’t think that Yancy’s article was very good. But the idea that I should threaten him because I disagreed never crossed my mind. That would be as absurd as threatening Daniel Dennett for some of the silly things that he’s published. In conclusion, what is going on with these crazy people who send threats because they disagree? Are they just stupid or what?Report

Brian
Brian
5 years ago

May I suggest that “death threats” or threats of violence are in a different category, legally and otherwise, than abusive or simply “obnoxious” on-line conduct. Prof. Yancy should be forwarding death threats and threats of violence or criminal misconduct in the first instance to the Emory University police and, if they are unequipped to handle this, then to the local police. Police are often able to trace e-mails and collect information about the senders to determine whether there is actual danger posed or whether, as is usually the case, it is just a random, harmless crank. Criminal cyber-stalking is now on the books in most states, which would cover repeated threats sent by e-mail or otherwise through cyberspace. The APA is not in a position to do anything about this, but law enforcement is.

The most dramatic change to on-line behavior would result from repeal of Section 230 of the so-called Communications Decency Act, the section that insulates website owners, including blog owners, from liability for unlawful speech that is posted on their sites by others, such as defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and invasions of privacy. (There is no legal remedy for other unpleasant speech, nor would it be desireable if there were in my view, but that is a separate debate.) Section 230 would impose heavy burdens of moderation on website owners, and would no doubt significantly reduce the amount of on-line speech, but it would also dramatically reduce the amount of vile garbage in cyberspace, the kind of speech that would never appear in, e.g., The New York Times or The Guardian or The Nation. It seems to me that tradeoff would be welcome. I discuss these and other possible remedies in a paper called “Cleaning Cyber-Cesspools: Google and Free Speech,” in a volume that will be of interest to anyone concerned about these issues, THE OFFENSIVE INTERNET, edited by my colleagues Saul Levmore and Martha Nussbaum and published by Harvard University Press in 2010.Report

Brian
Brian
5 years ago

The third-to-last sentence of the preceding comment should have read, “The repeal of Section 230 would impose heavy burdens….”Report

Kate Norlock
Kate Norlock
5 years ago

I know academics don’t always love their university administration, but I have found that my Dean and my Risk Management officers at my school are really splendid when the chips are down. This is probably not even close to what George Yancy is asking us to discuss, but I thought it worth stating, since academics writing while employed by institutions that offer such things may not think to turn to them. If you get flooded with hate mail, do consider looping in your supervisor and Risk Management, if you have such things.Report

coulhloc
coulhloc
5 years ago

I was not sympathetic to Yancy’s article. But I think it is inappropriate that people have written him hate male and used the language he describes, and this is uncalled for. What is surprising is that this is supposed to be the readership of the NYTimes and one might expect better. Maybe the best thing would be for the editor of The Stone to write an editorial addressing the issue and expressing the profession’s support for Yancy’s right to make his case without abuse.Report

Lynne Tirrell
Lynne Tirrell
5 years ago

The APA Public Philosophy panel was insightful and engaging, highlighting a complex set of problems, offering some strategies for individuals, and calling for systemic changes to our norms of communication. I’m grateful to Margaret Crouch, Karen Frost-Arnold, Jason Stanley, and Justin Weinberg, for their keen analyses and for leading us in a great discussion. It’s a start. The people writing back to Yancy aren’t likely to mainly be members of the APA, but as we learned at the session, our colleagues are just as capable of ugly and even illegal behavior. (Well, we might all have known it, but were reminded.) We need to call it out, name it, when we see it, especially bystanders, who are less vulnerable. The APA issued an interim report on a code of conduct, but I haven’t located a final statement. Explicit norms help, but cultivating civility should be an ongoing project independent of an official statement from the APA. And, by “cultivating civility” I don’t mean everyone has to agree, just express disagreements without the ad hominems.
http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.apaonline.org/resource/resmgr/codeofconductinterimreport.pdfReport

Kathryn Pogin
Kathryn Pogin
5 years ago

Last year or so (I don’t remember when exactly) I asked the APA CSW to look into the possibility of a general policy on bullying and harassment — they, in turn, asked the task force on inclusiveness to look into it. I’m not sure if anything happened on it since then, but the “CSW endorsed the thought that bullying and harassment in all forms merit the APA’s concern. ”

My thought was that there might be some value in the APA setting an example by way of a statement of values or expectations even if it weren’t (or couldn’t be, or shouldn’t be) the kind of thing that’s actually practically binding on anyone’s behavior. Brian’s right to note that if you receive violent threats, you ought to take them to law enforcement — but some of the cases of online abuse I’ve seen (some directed at me, some I’ve just witnessed directed at other philosophers) are sort of violent, in a way, but not really threatening (I mean, things like emails from folks telling me that they hope I die; that’s not a threat, but it’s not quite non-violent). That sort of thing, I think, can be more than just obnoxious.

Anyway — I’m really sorry to hear about this.Report

Komal
Komal
5 years ago

This is an important issue: I’m glad it’s been raised here. I have faced internet abuse too, as well the problem — not as serious, of course — of having my views dismissed without consideration by other people, including other philosophers, on- and off-line. Remarks like ‘I’m not going to bother responding because you clearly don’t know anything’ are not uncommon in my experience. For those of us who are already marginalized within the field, hearing older or more advanced people in the field (e.g. faculty) say such things to us is not helpful to our confidence, to say the least.

Sorry if that was off-topic; just wanted to air a complaint that’s been on my mind for some time.Report

Matt LaVine
Matt LaVine
5 years ago

As somebody sympathetic to both the content of Prof. Yancy’s original article and his right to philosophize without facing abuse, I think the APA ought to do something here. Furthermore, doing so clearly seems to meet the APA’s mission statement:
“The American Philosophical Association promotes the discipline and profession of philosophy, both within the academy and in the public arena. The APA supports the professional development of philosophers at all levels and works to foster greater understanding and appreciation of the value of philosophical inquiry.”
It also clearly falls under the “advocacy” portion of the stated principal activities of the APA:
“The APA is active in the defense of professional rights of philosophers. It advocates for part-time and under-employed philosophers and for philosophers whose professional rights are at risk…”.
I don’t know exactly how the APA ought to respond, but perhaps the new blog can be involved in one way or another (especially since one of its stated goals is to “provide a forum where the APA leadership and membership can communicate with one another more effectively.”).Report

JPL
JPL
5 years ago

I would like to see a rational and civil discussion, which should be possible here, of the issues Prof. Yancy raises. The continued prejudice among the white community is enabled by the fact that there has never been a proper atonement and compensation for the monstrous historical wrong of slavery. We can’t just say, well the time for atonement has passed; we are not the guilty ones, we don’t have to do anything, we only need to pretend that racial discrimination no longer exists. That can’t work. Our community is divided; the atonement still needs to be done. We are brothers and sisters now, as we were then. As we were then.Report

Justin Kalef
Justin Kalef
5 years ago

Interesting issue. There seem to be weighty considerations on both sides. Clearly, there’s no merit in subjecting people to racial epithets and other non-constructive forms of abuse. We’d all be better off if it were gone. At the same time, it’s difficult (though not necessarily impossible) to draw a reasonable line limiting free speech in a way that rules out mere abuse and leaves untouched legitimate, but socially unpopular, dissent. Some people can feel antagonized by writing on controversial issues even when there is merit in that writing, and those who feel offended by it are not always reliable judges of its merit. As philosophers, the whole point of our existence would be undermined if we did not take seriously the making of sometimes disturbing points through argument. Philosophers have served society by arguing for materialism, secularism, social equality, democracy, atheism, the legitimacy of abortion and euthanasia, etc. despite the fact that the making of all these arguments seriously offended many people. It’s our role in society to have, and encourage others to have, these difficult discussions and to have them reasonably and openly. So the APA should certainly not put in place any policy that threatens that.

If the APA does put in place a policy against verbal bullying and harassment to prevent hurtful comments that clearly have no dialectical merit, then it should be crystal clear what the policy does and doesn’t prohibit, and what it counts as bullying and harassment must be defined objectively, not subjectively. And there should be plenty of room for healthy and open discussion, without any side being ashamed or afraid to participate fully, about the policy before and after is is put into place.Report

Julinna Oxley
Julinna Oxley
5 years ago

Several people have mentioned the APA’s involvement regarding online harassment and bullying. As a quick (unofficial) update, the APA’s Task Force on a Code of Conduct (on which I’m serving) included two new sections in the proposed Code of Conduct that relate to this issue: one on electronic communications, and the other on bullying and harassment. Both statements offer recommended guidelines for interaction in related contexts for APA members and members of the Philosophy profession broadly defined. (Note that the document does not “prohibit” certain actions/speech because the APA is not an entity with jurisdiction over employment, etc., and does not really have a way to enforce such prohibitions.) This was submitted to the board in October of 2015, but we are still doing mop-up on some minor editorial issues, and so it has not been publicized, voted on, or anything officially. I’ll see if Cheshire Calhoun can give an update on where we are in that process.

That being said, the APA’s statements that I’ve been reading address the obligations and responsibilities of members of the profession, and how we treat each other as philosophers (or how we treat students, colleagues, etc.). I am not aware of any APA statements that address the treatment of philosophers by the general public, or statements respecting the rights of philosophers to philosophize in various ways publicly. Since public philosophy is becoming an important part of the discipline, and an important part of philosophers’ careers, this should also be on the APA’s radar. I’ll mention it to a few people and see what options there are. In cases like this, press releases defending APA members such as Professor Yancy, or some other sort of public statement made in the moment, could more effective than adding a sentence in the code (or or should be done in addition to that).Report

Justin Kalef
Justin Kalef
Reply to  Julinna Oxley
5 years ago

Julinna, you raise some important issues I had overlooked.

Putting them together: the APA has no jurisdiction over the employment of philosophers, and naturally it has even less power over anyone else. Also, it seems in the Yancy case (from what I understand) that the objectionable comments came from non-philosophers.

So now I wonder what the game plan is. Suppose that something similar happens again: a member of the profession is crudely attacked by some member of the public. It’s hard to imagine this _not_ happening again, sadly. What then? The APA can condemn the comments and the person who made them, and the APA can also have made clear in advance that it takes a very dim view of people who do this. But now I’m not sure why the member of the public who makes the comments (especially because he or she is the kind of person to make those comments) will be inclined to care what we, or the APA, think of him or her.Report

Naomi Zack
Naomi Zack
5 years ago

The American Philosophical Association should express support for philosophers (others also, but especially philosophers) who risk abuse and threats of violence in response to publicly airing views that anger members of the public. There should be a statement of support and a standing voluntary committee to provide support and advice when something like what has recently happened to George Yancy happens again. We can be sure that it will happen again, although Yancy’s situation is ongoing. I volunteer to be a member of that committee. Are there other volunteers and does anyone know how to make this official?
Please email me if you are a member of the APA and interested in taking this up. The name is simple and straight forward:
American Society for the Protection of Philosophers. (I’m suggesting that this be an umbrella committee and then depending on need, it can divide later to specifically address other magnets for hate, besides race, e.g., gender.)
Naomi Zack
[email protected]Report

Avi Z.
Avi Z.
5 years ago

I agree wholeheartedly with Naomi Zack. Perhaps the APA could provide some form of legal consultation or assistance (given that some APA members are members of the bar) to philosophers who are victims of harassment and bullying. If I were such a victim, I think I would very much like to be able to contact the APA and be able to get both legal and professional advice on my options in the particular situation. This would be valuable not only in cases arising from ‘public philosophy’ but where the abuses arise in other contexts (e.g., Cheryl Abbate’s treatment at Marquette) and it would be particularly valuable for younger, less experienced philosophers who may lack the savvy for dealing with these situations.Report

Fredrik deBoer
5 years ago

Of course, the fundamental problem is that every act of public self-indictment is really a form of self-aggrandizement. You’ll find the world full of white people who are willing to call themselves racists and acknowledge their white privilege. I’m sure the comments section of this post is full of such people. The problem is that, though this poses as self-indictment, as self-criticism, in the social world we live in it actually constitutes self-praise. Because when you publicly and loudly proclaim your own complicity in racism, you inevitably contrast yourself with those who don’t, and in so doing elevate yourself above them. It’s fundamentally an exercise in bad faith: it posits itself as a form of self-criticism and yet it leaves the person partaking in it in a state of pride, moral superiority, and righteousness. It’s a trap, a dodge; it’s just another form of hiding. Dr. Yancey proposes a solution that merely deepens the problem.Report

Helen Lauer
Helen Lauer
Reply to  Fredrik deBoer
5 years ago

Uh, try it. One way of beginning a change is acknowledging that there’s something that needs to change.
Another form of self aggrandizement is to sit back and criticize others for trying to take a step towards change, which proverbially begins from within, and starts within being aware of denial. The best bit is where you criticize Yancy himself who if he’s done nothing else has opened a polylogue that is otherwise wholly taboo in our discipline not to mention on the political stage. That last bugger you flick out takes the cake. Talk of moral superiority and self righteousness, your comment above epitomizes all three. How does that forward anybody’s interests apart from your own? Thanks so much for your trenchant condescension. We all appreciate it so much.Report

UG
UG
5 years ago

“Philosophers have served society by arguing for materialism, secularism, social equality, democracy, atheism, the legitimacy of abortion and euthanasia, etc. despite the fact that the making of all these arguments seriously offended many people.”

I wonder if Justin Kalef thinks that people like Saul Kripke, Hillary Putnam, and Alvin Plantinga have done a disservice to society for arguing against materialism and atheism? And God forbid they have doubts about abortion! I can’t imagine how damaging to society it would be to have the audacity to not support abortion or euthanasia. Only a truly sick person would hold those opinions. I especially don’t know how someone could seriously suggest that philosophers have helped society by arguing for materialism or atheism. What a bizarre thing to say. Moreoever, the fact is that philosophers just don’t *argue* for materialism (or atheism, really). You won’t find a single argument for materialism in e.g. Dennett’s “Consciousness Explained [Away].”Report

Justin Kalef
Justin Kalef
Reply to  UG
5 years ago

Hi, UG.

I think you’ve misunderstood me. My point — and perhaps the point of philosophy, really — is that those who argue intelligently for ideas that are controversial and sometimes even shocking or offensive thereby do us an important service. Even if those ideas turn out to be wrong, the process of addressing those intelligent arguments will help bring understanding, sophistication and clarity to the way we think about those things. So we have to be sure that, when we speak out against people who say things that are _merely_ offensive, we don’t at the same time prevent ourselves or others from hearing and taking seriously arguments that we or others happen to be offended by.

What do I think of Alvin Plantinga? That he’s wrong, and that in arguing for the wrong things, he’s done a service to philosophy. He’s made what I take to be the strongest case for theism, and I think the revival of theistic philosophy that he represents is a good thing, even though I think it’s incorrect. Actually, I once attended one of his talks with several undergraduates who dismissed him very quickly, and I spent the next hour or so with them arguing for Plantinga’s side of things and trying to show them that their criticisms of his talk were superficial. From the facts that A argues for P, B argues for not-P, and A is making a positive contribution to philosophy by arguing for P, it does not follow that B is doing philosophy a disservice by arguing for not-P. That’s really a fundamental feature of philosophy, I think.

I hope your claims that people who hold beliefs that you don’t happen to agree with are “sick” and that no philosopher has argued for atheism or materialism(?!) are not representative of your better judgments on the matter.Report

UG
UG
5 years ago

As for your first and second paragraphs: fine and well. Perhaps I misread your comment.

As for your final paragraph: I was being sarcastic in my comment on people being sick for holding certain positions–though, apparently I wasn’t clear enough about that. As for material ism: this point isn’t original to me (see William Lycan’s “Giving Dualism its Due” for a similar point about the rarity of materialists giving arguments), but is no doubt true: again, take a good hard look at Dennett’s “Consciousness Explained” and show me an argument for materialism. Or look at McGinn’s or Searle’s work and show me a (good) argument. You won’t find even one if you are even slightly skeptical. (I don’t want to suggest that McGinn or Searle’s work is as bad as Dennett’s–my only point is about the lack of (good) arguments. But this is a tangent.)Report

Anne Leighton
Anne Leighton
5 years ago
Sarah Hoagland
Sarah Hoagland
5 years ago

This country was founded on genocide and slavery. That is our legacy, our inheritance. It’s not about passing more laws, its about practicing a morality that enables us to acknowledge this legacy and work to undermine the resultant and currently thriving patterns it has produced in our daily lives. For George Yancy, this means speaking up. For me, as white, it means opening and listening. I will add that what I look for in men dealing with sexism and heterosexism, e.g., is the effort (which is not always successful). That is what I respect.Report

Helen Lauer
Helen Lauer
5 years ago

Thank you Sarah Hoagland, for generating awareness — thank you Anne Leighton for starting the petition — George Yancy is brave, and in danger, and to pretend otherwise is to perpetuate the system to which he is holding up a mirror. I can only hope he is getting all the support he needs from Emory to take care of himself and his family; these are very troubled times, and they are due to get rather worse in the near future, with the media being what it is and diverting attention of the American public, generating a political atmosphere at very high levels which endorses and celebrates the crudest forms of hate speech and stereotyping; I can’t imagine the backlash that Prof. Yancy is going to experience in the short term, but he is surely to remain a hero for many generations to come, at least in the halls of philosophy.

Thank you for your openness George. It is a boil that festers and cannot heal unless it is lanced, if it ever will heal.
Take good care; you walk among giants.
HelenReport

Jack Fischer
Jack Fischer
5 years ago

I’m very curious as to whether Professor Yancy ever weighed on his own statements. Calling a national population of whites as racists sounds as ridiculous as saying “I have found the principles of [name area of philosophy].” Of course, Yancy knows better than that; not everyone is the same. These kinds of comments are quite unbecoming of an APA-level-philosopher, and writing this doesn’t sound any less racist than some of the words Yancy has received in his inbox. Moreover, there’s no martyrdom singling out a good portion of a nation, based on their phenotype, on physical traits they can’t help possessing, and then calling them, under a single sweeping term, “racist.” After all, Isn’t that racist too? (Watch out, this might be the latest philosophical paradox!)

Now, Yancy may say, “Whites, whether witting or unwitting of their privileges, their practices continually oppress non-whites.” Doesn’t this beg the question? I mean, if persons of any religion, culture and ethnicity are all equals in America, that is, officially, and all have, roughly, equal access to those institutions, then doesn’t make all users of these practices, witting, or not, equally as racist as “those whites” as Yancy calls “racist”? Granted. Institutions, for example, may in practice, as opposed to officially, discriminate here and there, but I am in doubt that at least most Americans, most of the time, do indeed participate in oppressive practices. How many of you have gone to Walmart? Purchased an iPhone? Purchased Nike shoes, or shirts made from Bangladesh? Many of these products within these companies, or brands, were indeed made by children for pennies. Besides, whenever a company or an institution is called out for its racism, it gets destroyed by the media, the legal courts–everywhere.

So, maybe Yancy might want to take up whatever disrupts his mood in a more thoughtful and considerate manner, so that people will be more sympathetic to his concerns. You can’t simply single out a population and call them racist, without yourself being a racist. Even if their ancestors were largely racist and bigoted, they haven’t inherited this behaviour; likewise, the stolen North American land that a good portion of us were born on, doesn’t make us thieves, even as we still call our property “our property” when it is not.

Yes, most of you will bitterly disagree with me, but then again, who cares about what I have to say? Leave the sheltered campus life and walk outside in the “real world.” There’s a society around you, with people who have feelings, and some people react more strongly than others, whereas academians are trained to handle rather dry and abrupt argumentative statements. Maybe Yancy should learn how to reintegrate with the public? I doubt there’s even a normative, ethical answer to whether the threats towards Yancy were unjustified. Think about it, each and every one of us have things which, if insulted, would drive us to the point of madness. Does Yancy lack social sensitivity? I think that would be the more pertinent question.Report