I'm not one of those Doc Marten, Nazi flag waving racists. I'm more like one of those spineless racists who hides behind a computer screen and harasses Warren Kinsella online.
Until recently I was using the Twitter alternative Quitter. I was posting links to such blog posts as:
-They Have Gay Black People In America Now
-People Of Color Overwhelmingly Agree That Albinos Are Sexy
-Seth Rogen Is A Fat, Stupid Bitch Of A Hollywood Jew
Suddenly I got this email from somebody called, 'Hannes2peer...'
The message even had a link to an article calling for the silencing of internet racists because they're constantly drowning out the voices of the oppressed like homosexualist and member of the 2% Peyton Head.
Here is the article with added visual commentary by me...
The Free Speech Delusion (Laurie Penny, The New Statesman)
Those who want to facilitate bigotry and shut down dissent among voices that have been silenced for too long are exploiting the language of free speech.
Oscar Wilde, who knew a few things about censorship, once wrote that he could "tolerate everything except intolerance". Today, the rhetoric of free speech is being abused in order to shut down dissent and facilitate bigotry. On behalf of everyone with liberal tendencies, I’d like to know why and how we’ve allowed this to happen.
Before we start, let's all take a deep breath and acknowledge that sometimes change can be scary. Right now, cultural politics are changing extremely fast. Right now, ordinary people can speak more freely and organise more efficiently than ever before.
That single fact is pushing culture to the left too quickly for some people's comfort, and the backlash is on – including from liberals who don’t like the idea that they might have to update their ideas. Writing on Facebook, Marlon James named this backlash "the Liberal Limit", and spoke about mainstream writers in every centre-left outlet from the Guardian to the New Republic who are:
“Tired of learning new gender pronouns . . . Tired of having to figure out how to respond to a Rihanna video. Tired of feminists of colour pointing out fissures in whatever wave of feminism we got right now. Tired of black kids on campus whining all the time. Tired of everybody being so angry because without their alliance all you coloured folk would be doomed. Liberal but up to the point where it scrapes on privilege.”
Instead of doing that hard, important work, today’s liberals – particularly older, established white male liberals – are dismissing the righteous activism of today’s young radicals as petty "outrage". They are rephrasing critique of their positions as ‘censorship’ so they don’t have to contemplate the notion that those critics might have a point. They are enraged that they are being challenged, and terrified, at the same time, of being deemed regressive. But liberals need a reason to think of themselves as just while ignoring alternative views, and "free speech'’ has become that reason.
I hear the phrase "freedom of speech" so often from people trying to shut down radicals, queers, feminists and activists of colour that the words are beginning to lose all meaning. So before that happens, let’s remind ourselves what freedom of speech means, and what it doesn’t. I didn’t want to have to write a listicle, but you brought this on yourselves...