The Newspaper of Record has been in a tiny spot of bother lately, on the account of its decision to bring onto its editorial board an exciting new voice of Korean-American journalist Sarah Jeong. As is the case nowadays, upon hearing the news of the appointment the collective hive that is the social media has done some background research on Jeong, easily uncovering a string of tweets expressing her rather strong dislike of white people:
As it is apparent from the statement below, “The New York Times” has also been aware of the tweets but didn’t consider them a non-hiring offence, merely a she-is-a-victim-but-nevertheless-she-regrets-it-and-it-won’t-happen-again kind of situation:
Others, like the “Vox” journo, are springing to Jeong’s defence (he’s hardly alone as you can find out for yourself on Twitter):
A lot of people on the internet today confusing the expressive way anti-racists and minorities talk about "white people" with actual race-based hatred, for some unfathomable reason
— Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp) August 2, 2018
When you do it it’s actual race-based hatred, when we do it i’s “the expressive way anti-racists and minorities talk about white people”. And if you don’t get the distinction, you’re clearly not sophisticated enough to read “Vox”.
A few thoughts:
1. It would be nice if we, as a society, started right about now getting tired of grievance mining, where something someone once said or wrote somewhere is unearthed by diligent political sleuths in order to make the said person lose their job. The practice is getting somewhat tiresome.
2. I don’t want to see Jeong fired – and I’m glad that “The New York Times” stands by her. Own it, NYT. That way we all know unequivocally where you stand.
3. And where you stand is in a steadfast defence of double standards. Jeong is a young woman and a “person of colour” so “she will be an important voice for the editorial board going forward”. Imagine, however, anyone else – in particular someone white – tweeting similar thoughts about “black people”, “the Jews”, or indeed about “Asian-Americans” – and try to imagine if it would take an hour or as many as three before they get fired. In fact don’t wonder; just ask Roseanne Barr who lost her show over a lot less.
4. I accept that Jeong might have suffered racist abuse in the past. When you respond in kind, however, you essentially show yourself being the same sort of a person as your attackers.
5. Robby Soave writes in “Reason”, “A culture in which people are allowed to seek forgiveness, grow, and go on with their lives without losing their jobs is vastly preferable to one in which armies of trolls are constantly hunting for that one career-ending tweet, statement, or association.” I agree, but I doubt that Jeong is seeking forgiveness and growing; most likely she’s neither sorry nor regretful, continues to hold her bigoted beliefs, and will merely ensure she’s not as publicly open about them in the future.
6. I’m very tired of the left-wing sophistry on this issue: there is no such thing as reverse racism, because racism = prejudice + power, and people of colour have no power, therefore they cannot be racist. They are victims of oppression and prejudice so if they say something against somebody else in their “expressive way” they’re entirely justified. This is jesuitical garbage: if you hate whole groups of people without any distinctions you are garbage and not very smart to boot.
7. So here we are: Jeong is a nasty piece of work and “The New York Times” has done great public service by letting everyone know where they stand: with a nasty piece of work. No doubt, however, they and the rest of the mainstream media will continue to bemoan the fact that the public is losing trust in journalism and be outraged at accusations of bias, fake news and elitism. Trump is not the cause of your problems; you are the disease and Trump is just a symptom.