Progressives Can Be Racist Too!

It’s no secret that I tend to view the claims of self-professed Social Justice Warriors with a critical eye. While it’s apparent that I will agree with them on certain subjects, such as the notion that racism and sexism is unacceptable behavior, in recent years, I’ve discovered that while we may stand in agreement on the statement itself, the understanding of the statement differs vastly. So, for that reason, among others, I feel I must distance myself from them. Not because I don’t care about justice, but rather because the common thread of their idea of justice is rather… well, one-sided.

Many so-called champions of social justice are heralded by progressive media as heroes and media darlings. Their stories are spread across the media, in everything from major news networks to small niche blogs dedicated to, it would seem at first glance, gaming and geek culture.

An example of this began last year, when, in the wake of the now-infamous Zoe Post, the subject of that expose, Zoe Quinn, received headline after headline after headline telling her side of the story.

But interestingly, not one major headline ever thought to cover the other side of the tale. The side of the story that prompted the now much-maligned GamerGate hashtag ‘movement’ to rise from all corners of the internet, from the anonymous messages boards to social media users to professional journalists, game developers and even academic professors.  The side that, at first recognized Eron Gjoni, the author of the Zoe Post as a victim of abuse. The side that later rose in unison to speak out against what they perceive as corrupt, unethical and ideologically-driven journalistic practices.

And, I have to say that, if I had not been privy to this information since the first day it was made public, I might even have believed the media. But I read the Zoe Post and felt sympathy for Gjoni because I had been through the exact same thing in the past, and I recognized how cathartic it was to simply vent.

But I also recognized something else entirely in that Zoe Quinn was a self-professed Social Justice Warrior, a particular type of progressive that I’d had experience with in the past.

I feel it’s important to note that there’s a vast difference between a social justice warrior and an advocate against discrimination.

Social Justice Warriors, by and large, claim to stand against racism. And this is true… somewhat. Allow me the chance to explain.

Racism, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, states that it means:

“A belief that one’s own racial or ethnic group is superior, or that other such groups represent a threat to one’s cultural identity, racial integrity, or economic well-being; (also) a belief that the members of different racial or ethnic groups possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities, which can be compared and evaluated.”

How I interpret this, as I’m sure many others do, is that it means that racism is indiscriminately discriminate. Anyone can find an ideology within racism, so long as they believe that one race is any more inferior or superior than another, no matter what that race is.

Now Social Justice Warriors, as you encounter them in some university classrooms, social media or, God forbid, tumblr, tend to by and large adopt a slightly different definition of racism, one that adds a particular caveat. That in order to be racist, the aggressor must have a position of power over their victims. A very similar definition is also applied to sexism, and discrimination against LGBT. I made a video on the topic not too long ago.

It might seem like a benign redefinition to many, and as such, people still offer their support to social justice warriors who happen to be on the receiving end of criticism and scrutiny for their opinions.

I feel that defending them is silly, because the revised definition isn’t as benign as they would like to believe.

Case in point: I’d like to introduce you to Goldsmiths, University of London’s Student Welfare and Diversity Officer, Bahar Mustafa.

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Bahar was recently put under the spotlight for some ‘controversial’ social media activity, which included, among other things, disinviting men and whites from an event about racism, calling someone ‘white trash’ over the university’s Twitter account and utilizing the hashtag #killallwhitemen.

There was a significant amount of backlash over her antics from all over the racial and gender spectrum. It wasn’t just white men putting her under scrutiny, it was women and racial minorities as well. Basically, anyone who believed that her role as Welfare and Diversity Officer should have come with some level of professionalism and less discrimination.

In response to the backlash, Bahar made a prepared statement refuting the accusations of racism, surrounded by a gaggle of her supporters, who all the while patted her on the back and told her she was doing the right thing.

It’s important to note that, by her own admission, Bahar is a proponent of the revisionist definition of racism and sexism. And at one point during her statement, she said:

“There have been charges made against me, that I am racist and sexist to white men. I want to explain why this is false. I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist to white men, because racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender.

And therefore women of colour and non-binary genders cannot be racist or sexist as we do not stand to benefit from such a system.”

She added:

“In order for our actions to have been deemed racist or sexist, the current system would have to be one which enables only women and people of colour to benefit economically and socially on such a large scale and to the systematic exclusion of white people and men who for the past 400 years would have had to have been subjected to colonisation.

Reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real.”

For what it’s worth, I agree with her last statement. Reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real. The reason they’re not real is because they simply describe regular old racism and sexism.

But as for the rest of it? In my opinion, it’s little more than a foolhardy over-justification. I’m of the opinion that Bahar literally cannot conceive that her words could be construed as hateful, because in her eyes, it’s ‘justice.’

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

I don’t think anyone with their finger on the pulse of history is going to deny that racism in the past never happened, or that it still doesn’t, even on an institutional level. But those of us who are capable of looking forward recognize that the proper response to discrimination is not to discriminate more.

Because even if she were correct in her assessment that, because she is an ‘ethnic minority woman’, she cannot be ‘racist or sexist’, that still doesn’t excuse her from practicing prejudice and discrimination.

Bahar is twenty-eight years old, and she seems to be lacking in one of the most fundamental truths conferred to us in elementary school: Two wrongs do not make a right.

But the concerning part is that Bahar isn’t alone in this. Rather, she is merely a cog in a much, much larger machine that has been pushing since 1970 for a redefinition to racism and sexism. A machine that has been working harder and stronger in recent years to justify discrimination against whites and males the world over. Whether this was meant as some sort of misguided revenge disguised as justice or not, who can tell?

But ultimately, it’s a machine that’s been noticed by a growing number of people every day. People from all walks of life. Men and women, black and white, gay and straight, trans and cis alike are taking a stand against this sort of immature justification for poor behavior, despite Goldsmiths’ Student Union offering her their implicit support.

And that shows in the response to a petition demanding she be removed from her position as Goldsmiths’ Welfare and Diversity Officer and that her degree be revoked, currently standing at just under twelve thousand signatures at the time of this writing, from all over the world.

In short, the machine has been noticed, and it’s not the system standing against it… it’s the people. A line has been drawn in the sand, and people are willing to defend it against the aggressive ‘progressive’ march.

Social Justice… Plus?

In 2012, blogger Jen McCreight came up with the concept of Atheism+, a self-described New Wave of Atheism that takes issues of social justice and pushes them to the forefront of the atheism conversation. Now, in my own experience of being an agnostic-atheist that was raised in an Evangelical Church environment, the conversation of separation of science, society and religion had always been important in my adult life. Also, I’d always made a point to stand against issues of racism and sexism, as can be inferred in many of my Trigger Warning videos.

At first glance, I wasn’t put off by the concept. But as I started to find myself exploring the concept, I noticed something very peculiar and off-putting about the community that had risen in its place. What I’d noticed is that it was filled with self-professed atheists who would go so far as to deny science because it didn’t fit into their worldview. I decided to let them be, and it was another year before I found myself butting heads with them.

I then discovered the Men’s Rights Movement. Now, I understand that many out there have their complaints about the MRM. And some of them, I will admit, are entirely valid. But that didn’t change the fact that the MRM had been the first group to publicly address issues I’d been dealing with my entire life, and some extreme issues I’d been dealing with for the past twelve years in particular.

That was when feminism found me to be an enemy. One that should be shouted down, my experiences mocked, and targeted at every opportunity. The issues I’d faced my entire life were nowhere near as important at the claim that women earned seventy-seven cents on the dollar. Nor were they as important as the claim that 1 in 4 women were raped in college. And even pointing out that both of these claims were not factual and inviting them to dig a little deeper and discover how, exactly, these claims came to be earned me a spot on feminism’s ‘Public Enemies’ list.

Another thing I’ve always been passionate about is gaming. And so, when I discovered that Kotaku Journalist Nathan Grayson had been sleeping with a game developer he had provided positive coverage to without disclosing, I was one of the voices who criticized the behavior. At first, it was something I wanted to throw my voice behind, and maybe offer up a comment or two. But when, in the genesis of the GamerGate controversy, I was called a misogynist, racist, sexist bigot for simply talking about ethics and disclosure in a context that had nothing to do with issues of gender or race, I butted heads. I fought back. GamerGate went from having my passive support to me throwing my full weight behind it.

Soon thereafter, the opponents of GamerGate came up with the concept of a Player. A Player enjoys video games, but holds issues of Social Justice and Feminism of vastly greater importance. Again, to the point of ignoring and avoiding any ideas or facts that do not conform to their particular paradigm.

I’ve long since believed that if you’re willing to ignore or deny facts without even looking into them, all because your ideology demands it, then you might just have thrown your weight behind the wrong ideology.

Everywhere I go, I’m now seeing self-professed “Social Justice Warriors” asserting their dominance. You like this thing? Well, if you like this thing, and the creator this thing has ever even been *accused* of saying or doing something that could be perceived as racist or sexist, then you’re the same as that person, even if you know nothing about it.

‘Social Justice Warrior’ was originally conceived as a derogatory term for the type of person who latches on to social justice theory and defends it aggressively in a shallow or not well-thought-out way. It has since involved into a personality cult of sorts, with certain ‘leaders’ chosen through social media popularity. I feel bad for these leaders. Because while they may receive much in the way of adulation from their followers, all it takes is one action that another so-called ‘leader’ takes issue with to create a rift, and unless that person apologizes and denounces their own actions or words, they tend to become pariahs. Their main tactics are to lambast and attempt to shame their targets. And in some cases even go so far as to dox them, or even make attempts to contact their employers or families. In many cases, simply for challenging assertions presented either without evidence or with flawed or incorrect information. To them, the worst crime a person can commit is to simply disagree.

Don’t believe me? Ask any former Social Justice Warrior, and judge for yourself.

But here’s the thing. I don’t honestly believe that Social Justice Warriors are explicitly bad people. I think that many of them merely got caught up in the mob mentality of radical social justice. Many leave the community. Many others get sucked in. And many more fervently believe that the ends justify the means. (Or, to quote a particular SJW, “There are no such things as bad tactics. Only bad targets.”)

Well, I don’t agree with them on that regard. There are bad tactics. If you wouldn’t do such a thing to your friend, then don’t do it to your enemy. Just because you disagree with them does not make them bad people deserving of whatever evils you can put upon them. Because even if that person is bad, attacking them tends to involve whatever innocents that are in their lives. It drags unassociated people into the line of fire. It’s like dumping napalm on a village just to eliminate one terrorist. If the government did such a thing, you’d be aghast. But if you do something similar, what makes it okay? Because ‘Social Justice’?

Do you think Adria Richards spared a thought for the children of the man she had fired because he told a puerile joke under his breath to a colleague that she happened to overhear, which didn’t involve her in the least?

It’s unlikely. And as I understand things, she still hasn’t spared a thought.

And so if you’re anything like me, you view such things as abhorrent and intensely problematic. But you also believe that issues of racism, sexism, and discrimination against people for accidents of birth should be addressed and dealt with, no matter who it is.

In modern Social Justice spheres, there are a number of theories floating around that present the definitions of both racism and sexism in different ways than it’s currently understood. More importantly, it’s presented in such a way that it’s become defined as a ‘one way experience.’ Basically a top-down experience that can only exist in certain contexts. Examples of this mentality include that racism against white people cannot exist, and that sexism against men cannot exist.

As a white male who has experienced both racism and sexism, I reject such notions.

And that brings me to Social Justice Plus. I, and others wholeheartedly believe the image of social justice we’re being subjected to is not only backwards, but self-defeating. It’s my belief that one cannot claim to stand for social justice, only to look the other way when others are in need of it. And so I’m interesting in gauging interest in an initiative to shake up the world of social justice. To introduce a form which takes racism against white people as seriously as it does racism against minorities. A form which explores issues of sexism against men with the same level of seriousness as sexism against women. One where misogyny and misandry are viewed in the same light.

I’m looking to join some others together to take another stab at Social Justice. To do it the right way, and to lead by example by holding the virtues of responsibility, nuance, fairness, self-discovery, empirical evidence, understanding and integrity with the same reverence as standing against racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination.

A group that understands the difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. Who recognizes the inherent biological and psychological differences between the sexes.

One that does not see either ‘feminist’ or ‘MRA’ as labels worthy of scorn.

But more importantly, one that can work toward manageable goals, debate in good faith, and not have to constantly go on the offensive to make our points known.

And so, I invite anyone interested in such an initiative to contact me on Twitter, leave a comment on this blog, or suggest a private forum in which we can discuss this idea in-depth and figure out exactly what such an initiative should stand for in order to stay true to responsibility, fairness.

Contact me, and let’s make a difference together.

Intel’s Diversity Initiative has Two Big Problems

Yesterday, Intel announced a new initiative designed to accelerate diversity in the field of technology. CEO Brian Krzanich announced during a press release that it was spearheading a $300 million dollar campaign to “help build a pipeline of female and under-represented engineers and computer scientists; to actively support hiring and retaining more women and under-represented minorities; and to fund programs to support more positive representation within the technology and gaming industries.”

An arguably laudable goal, and an uncomplicated premise. The idea is to open the doors for more female and ethnic minorities to be represented fairly in the tech industry. What they mean by fair representation remains to be seen, but taken at face value, I agree with such an initiative.

With that said, however, there were a few things with the presentation that caused more than a few eyebrows to be raised. Most notably, the fact that the International Game Developers Association and Feminist Frequency were partners in the initiative, among other, far less controversial groups.

As many are aware, the IGDA and Feminist Frequency have been actively involved in the GamerGate debacle almost since its inception and have come under heavy criticism from gamers, IGDA members and feminists alike for injecting themselves into the conversation that initially they had little, if anything, to do with.

Let’s break it down a little bit here.

IGDA had, at one point, wholeheartedly endorsed the infamous GamerGate Blocklist, a Twitter mass-blocking tool maintained by pseudo-feminist Randi Harper to protect innocent Twitter users from being harassed by individuals that were attempting to hold a bevy of games journalists found to be involved in nepotistic and incestuous relationships with their subjects. Initially, women and feminism was never a part of the equation. Regardless of how many people think it started, what it boils down to is that one woman in particular, an interactive fiction developer, was found to have been involved in a close personal relationship with a journalist who wrote favorable coverage of her project. Identity politics being what they are, it didn’t take long for third-wave modern feminists to equate the criticism received by both the developer and journalist to harassment of women in the video game industry. The journalists implicated in much of this mess then took it upon themselves to roll with that narrative. And thus, GamerGate was born.

Due to that, it didn’t take long for Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathon McIntosh to weigh in. Naturally, they believed the narrative. Gamers supporting increased accountability and ethics in games journalism were at a loss. What should have been a clear-cut acknowledge and apologise action by the games sites in question was blown entirely out of proportion. And the rhetoric, it seemed, was much more publicly acknowledged than the truth.

The gamers were quickly labelled misogynist, and less than two weeks later, no less than eleven articles were written proclaiming the identity of gamer to be obsolete due to the inherent misogyny and racism of video game culture.

When women and ethnic minorities spoke up to say they’d not experienced any such thing, the journalists were also quick to label them as sock puppets.

But I’m not here to talk about GamerGate. I’m here to talk about Intel’s initiative. I’m sorry, Intel. I cannot bring myself to support this initiative if IGDA and Feminist Frequency are in any way involved. And here’s why:

The Twitter blocklist endorsed by IGDA has been described by developers as poorly constructed and artbitrary. To the point where if you were following any of the so-called ringleaders of GamerGate (which include actor Adam Baldwin of Firefly fame and Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, feminist, New York Times bestselling author and philosophy professor) on Twitter, you were immediately blocked. It’s not uncommon for them to share followers for reasons completely unrelated to GamerGate. And yet, the blocklist was indiscriminate against them. Robert Rosario, president of the IGDA Puerto Rico chapter was one of them. Why? Simply because he believed the argument against collusion and corruption in games journalism had merit. This was not, in any way, a concern of IGDA. Rosario protested his addition to the blocklist and requested to be removed. His request was refused. IGDA received his resignation soon after.

Rosario had done nothing wrong. He had done nothing to prevent women from joining the industry. In fact, he’d done exactly the opposite.

But did it matter? Unfortunately, not. Why? Who can say. If I were to guess, it’s because his involvement didn’t fit the narrative. Mr. Rosario is no longer involved with IGDA. They were all too happy to throw him under the bus. A shining example of the diversity IGDA stands for.

And now we come on to Feminist Frequency.

There are a great many things to be said about Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathon McIntosh. But I feel it’s better to let them speak for themselves. Here’s just a small selection of tweets from the dastardly duo and how they truly feel about diversity.

Here’s Anita weighing in on what the real cause of mass shootings is. (Hint: It isn’t mental illness.)

And what about sexism? Surely someone interested in equality and diversity would have a balanced look at sexism, right?

… or not. I might remind you, Intel, that what she’s saying there has literally ZERO scientific backing. The Power + prejudice argument might sound nice to her, but it’s no more than opinion. Ill-formed, shallow opinion at that.

But enough about Anita. I don’t want to seem like I’m singling her out. Let’s talk about her partner-in-crime, Jonathon McIntosh. Surely he can’t be blindly sexist, right? Oh… wait.

Oh, but he can’t be all bad, right? Surely he’s not racist or anything. Especially against those in the tech industry.

Umm… Well… It’s not like he disputes studies or science or anything just because he has a pre-existing bias, right?

Right. So I leave the question to you, Intel. Are these clearly divisive people who are not only shouting down white males but women and minorities not because these gamers are bigoted misogynists, but because they value evidence over emotions, really someone you want in your corner?

To be clear, I’m all for the Intel initiative. Except for the involvement of IGDA and Feminist Frequency. I simply don’t trust anything that has their names attached to it. Because if this is their idea of diversity, shouting down men and white people and silencing their voices instead of including everyone, then I want nothing to do with it. I’d much rather surround myself with the logically-coherent and diverse voices of GamerGate than the incoherent, senseless ramblings of Jonathon McIntosh.