So I’m on Twitter yesterday, as writers are apt to be (social media is CRACK for writers), and while wading through oceans of crap I came across this little gem from actor Seth Rogen:
If you’re not familiar with who @jack is, that’s Jack Dorsey, computer programmer, CEO and founder of Twitter. Rogen claims they had an 8-month-long DM conversation about racism and Dorsey’s lack of concern when it comes to White Nationalism flourishing on his social media platform.
Writer Mikki Kendall chimed in, saying she knew it to be true as well:
White guys like Dorsey, and Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, created these powerful new methods for people to connect to each other … except that what it’s also done is make it easier for White Nationalists, Nazis and “Alt Right” (what a stupid fucking name) assholes to connect with each other as well. Racists can now connect, plan, commiserate, communicate and go about their racist fuckery with ease. Because Dorsey and Zuckerberg don’t understand what it’s like to be targeted because of their race, they seem to believe racists have a right to free speech. I’ll address “free speech” in a minute.
When I was a kid, I thought that society moved in a linear fashion, always moving forward and becoming more progressive. Now I understand that societies move in circles, repeating the same horrors over and over and over again. Now I understand that just like weeds in a garden, racism will NEVER leave us. It will ALWAYS exist. And like those weeds in the garden, racism has to be plucked out of society wherever possible, because if you don’t, the weeds get hold of the whole damn garden until everything is destroyed and you can’t even feed yourself. It’s a lesson white people have the luxury of forgetting, because it doesn’t affect us. It’s only when the racism becomes so in-our-faces stomach-turning that we kinda stamp out the worse of the racist fires, but we don’t bother to extinguish all those burning embers because that’s just so much work. Besides, what if completely stamping out racism meant we didn’t get to keep all our white perks? White people are pretty fucking spoiled.
Martin Luther King Jr. said it better than anyone. But did white people listen to him and heed his words? Nah. Easier to name a few highways after him:
“First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”
-Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Back in the 1940s, a white writer and activist named Stetson Kennedy managed to infiltrate his local chapter of the KKK, but was frustrated as to how to stop them. He spoke with the people who produced the Superman radio program and asked if they’d take on the subject of the KKK, because, in the early 1940s, the KKK had grown so powerful American politicians were too chickenshit to take them on. But the Superman people agreed to help out, and they produced the 16-episode series “Clan of the Fiery Cross,” in which Superman takes on, and eventually defeats, the KKK. The Superman team, to their credit, brought in a New York Times reporter and a child psychologist to craft the series so as to have maximum impact.
When little white boys all over the country started playing Superman Vs. the KKK in their front yards, their racist daddies sheepishly left the KKK. Within a few weeks, KKK membership fell off so sharply the organization was essentially rendered powerless. All without violating anybody’s free speech and entertaining the country to boot.
The final thoughts from that Superman series are these:
“Remember this as long as you live: Whenever you meet up with anyone who is trying to cause trouble between people, anyone who tries to tell you that a man can’t be good American because he’s a Catholic, or a Jew, a Protestant or whatever; you can be pretty sure he’s a rotten American himself Not only a rotten American, but a rotten human being. Don’t ever forget that!”
I guess black Americans are the “or whatever,” which is obviously shitty and wrong. But the method was nevertheless extremely effective in delivering its message, and this is still the kind of thing we, as a society, should be actively promoting all the time, instead of waiting until things are critical.
While reading the thread under Rogen’s tweet, I clicked on various responders until I ended up in Racist Twitter, where, after just a few seconds, I found this account:
Now, if you’re not familiar, “Kek” and “Kekistan” is part of the branding of the new “Alt-Right,” along with Pepe the frog. Lest you think, “What’s the big deal about a frog?” please know that you’ll find racist scum using these symbols alongside swastikas and the white nationalist cross and you can find PLENTY of those symbols all over twitter. They are not difficult to find AT ALL.
I reported this particular account, which I ALWAYS do when I find a Twitter account sporting racist propaganda, language or imagery. But why should *I* have to be the one to do that? The name alone should’ve never been allowed and should’ve been a huge red flag to SOMEONE at Twitter. This account has more than 1,800 followers and has made 24.6 THOUSAND tweets, so clearly it’s been around a while. Why the fuck was it allowed to get so big? And what about everyone who’s following it? Those accounts should all be reviewed as well.
Now before you go screaming “FREE SPEECH,” at me, let’s talk about what Free Speech is, exactly, because lots of Americans don’t even understand what it means. The First Amendment protects your right to say whatever you want to say from GOVERNMENT intervention. That means you’re allowed to criticize the government — even the president — without fear of censorship or imprisonment. That’s it.
It does not mean that a private business can’t dictate a code of civility and demand that everyone adhere to it. It does not mean that power social media platforms shouldn’t ACTIVELY be weeding out racists and making it harder for them to connect, plan, commiserate and go about their racist fuckery with ease. It should be DIFFICULT AS FUCK for racists to do what they do. If they want to spend their own goddamned money to build their own social media platforms, they are free to do that. But if Zuckerberg and Dorsey are decent Americans, they would understand that racists should not be free to piss in the public pool of discourse. If racists wanna piss in a pool, they can build their own. America is supposed to be the land of the free. That means free for everyone. It does not mean “free to take others’ freedom.”