Techdirt's think tank, the Copia Institute, is working with the Trust & Safety Professional Association and its sister organization, the Trust & Safety Foundation, to produce an ongoing series of case studies about content moderation decisions. These case studies are presented in a neutral fashion, not aiming to criticize or applaud any particular decision, but to highlight the many different challenges that content moderators face and the tradeoffs they result in. Find more case studies here on Techdirt and on the TSF website.

Content Moderation Case Study: Talking About Racism On Social Media (2019)

from the what's-racist,-and-what's-a-discussion dept

Summary: With social media platforms taking a more aggressive stance regarding racist, abusive, and hateful language on their platforms, there are times when those efforts end up blocking conversations about race and racism itself. The likelihood of getting an account suspended or taken down has been referred to as “Facebooking while Black.”

As covered in USA Today, the situations can become complicated quickly:

A post from poet Shawn William caught [Carolyn Wysinger’s] eye. "On the day that Trayvon would've turned 24, Liam Neeson is going on national talk shows trying to convince the world that he is not a racist." While promoting a revenge movie, the Hollywood actor confessed that decades earlier, after a female friend told him she'd been raped by a black man she could not identify, he'd roamed the streets hunting for black men to harm.

For Wysinger, an activist whose podcast The C-Dubb Show frequently explores anti-black racism, the troubling episode recalled the nation's dark history of lynching, when charges of sexual violence against a white woman were used to justify mob murders of black men.

"White men are so fragile," she fired off, sharing William's post with her friends, "and the mere presence of a black person challenges every single thing in them."

This post was quickly deleted by Facebook, claiming that it violated the site’s “hate speech” policies. She was also warned that attempting to repost the content would lead to her being banned for 72 hours.

Facebook’s rules are that an attack on a “protected characteristic” -- such as race, gender, sexuality or religion -- violates its “hate speech” policies. In this case, the removal was because Wysinger’s post was speech that targeted a group based on a “protected characteristic” (in this case “white men”) and thus it was flagged for deletion.

Questions to consider:

  • How should a site handle sensitive conversations regarding discrimination?
  • If a policy defines “protected characteristics,” are all groups defined by one of those characteristics to be treated equally?
    • If so, is that in itself a form of disparate treatment for historically oppressed groups?
    • If not, does that risk accusations of bias?
  • Is there any way to take wider context into account during human or technological reviews?
  • Should the race/gender/sexuality/religion of the speaker be taken into account? What about the target of the speech?
  • Is there a way to determine if a comment is “speaking up” to power or “speaking down” from a position of power?
Resolution: In the case described above, Wysinger chose not to risk losing her Facebook access for any amount of time, and simply chose not to repost the statement about Liam Neeson. Facebook, for its part, has continued to adapt and adjust is policy. It streamlined its “appeals” process to try to deal with many of these kinds of cases, and has announced (after two years of planning and discussion) the first members of its Facebook Oversight Board, an independent body that will be tasked with reviewing particularly tricky content takedown cases on the platform.

Filed Under: case study, content moderation, content moderation case study, racism


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  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 4:27pm

    "[race] [sex] are so fragile"

    The problem is I understand why facebook blocked the post. If you change the race and gender, and it becomes 'offensive', then you probably can't create a policy that is enforceable.

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  • identicon
    Pixelation, 24 Jul 2020 @ 5:07pm

    "White men are so fragile," she fired off, sharing William's post with her friends, "and the mere presence of a black person challenges every single thing in them."

    Seems like a borderline racist comment to me. If it was reversed to say black men are so fragile and the mere presence of a white person challenges them, would it be considered offensive/racist?

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 6:05pm

      Yes, it would be offensive/racist. The key difference is that, in the United States, White men have held so much social, political, and economic power that mocking the group as a whole for their supposed fragility comes off as marginalized people (and their White allies) punching up at that power. And before someone points out the obvious, yes, every White person doesn’t have that kind of power. The statement generalizes White men as a whole — not entirely unfairly, but still.

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      • identicon
        Pixelation, 24 Jul 2020 @ 7:04pm

        Re:

        Which just shows, it's easy to become that which you despise.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 7:27pm

          When people of color generalize White people, it comes off as people of color taking potshots at the group of people who have historically oppressed/degraded people of color for literal centuries. When White people generalize people of color, it comes off as White people using those statements to justify oppressing/degrading people of color. The difference between the two ultimately lies in the power differential between “oppressor” and “oppressed”.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 12:58am

            Re:

            Racism refers to prejudice against a group because of their race and no other factor. That doesn't change just because a traditional victim of racism does it. A comment doesn't magically stop being racist just because someone ways "all crackers do X" rather than "all n***s do Y". Same with any kind of prejudice. A comment doesn't stop being sexist just because a woman said it about men.

            It has a different connotations in society and its impact, but it's still prejudice, and thus still racism. Weirdly enough, this is what actual equal rights looks like. If you're being treated the same way as a white guy would get treated if they said the same thing about you, you've achieved equality. If you want special rights to get away with what a white man wouldn't get away with if he said it about you, you're not asking for equality.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 4:09am

              I present to you a hypothetical.

              Mike, a Black man who uses Facebook, joins a group intended for other Black people. One day, Mike — fresh off a shitty meatspace encounter with a White person — says something generalizing and derogatory about White people in the group’s posts. He watches as comments roll in from other members, many of whom agree with him. The next day, he opens up Facebook to discover that Facebook deleted the group and suspended his account because of that “racist speech”. Mike eventually deletes his Facebook account out of grief for having destroyed the group only by venting his frustration.

              Any talk about “fairness” in this regard must answer a potentially uncomfortable question: How can a service treat everyone with “fairness” if its policies could deny marginalized voices a place to discuss their concerns about the people doing the marginalizing?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 4:21am

                Re:

                So, you're saying that Facebook should have explicitly racist practices (treat posts by one race differently from posts by another)? Or, are you saying that explicitly racist comments by white people should be ok so long as the group they post in doesn't have black members? You seem to be saying that racist attacks are ok so long as none of the target group can read it, which is not a good thing.

                There's no easy answer here, but if you want equality, you have to accept it. Yes, the social and emotional response is different depending on the history of who is saying it, but racism is racism.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 8:57am

                  So, you're saying

                  I don’t respond to otherwording.

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 11:23pm

                    Re:

                    A shame, since that is exactly how you sound to me. Racism is OK; so long as a black man is racist, and they should not be treated as equals so that they can be racist.

                    I prefer actual equality, thank you.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Leigh Beadon (profile), 26 Jul 2020 @ 12:28pm

                  Re: Re:

                  racism is racism

                  Is it, though?

                  I would say that racist comments backed up by centuries of occupying the oppressor role and myriad oppressive power structures, and racist comments made in frustration out of being on the other side of that history and structure, are two very different things - and any analysis of "racism" that fails to grapple with that difference is woefully incomplete.

                  That certainly doesn't provide an easy answer for a question like social media content policies, of course. I don't have a clear solution for Facebook. But the idea that equality can only be achieved by magically jumping straight from centuries of oppression to total colourblindness is also silly and harmful, and smacks of a "gotcha!" mentality.

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2020 @ 10:52pm

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    "Is it, though?"

                    Yes. People here seem very confused about this for some reason. The effect of racism differs depending on the power and privilege of the subject and target, but racism is still racism no matter who is being racist. This is not difficult to understand.

                    "That certainly doesn't provide an easy answer for a question like social media content policies, of course."

                    No, the easy answer is to treat all racism equally, and not try to carve out exceptions so that one group can be more openly racist than another. It's when you start treating one race differently to another that it becomes a problem.

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                    • icon
                      Leigh Beadon (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 10:31am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Again, I'll just reiterate that I think you are operating from a very basic conception of racism - not a useless or never-applicable one, but an extremely incomplete one - and I recommend reading some of the more contemporary social scientific literature on the subject, such as what I linked in my other reply.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2020 @ 4:04pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I find myself siding with PaulT on this one. Racism is racism. You can't, by any means, justify it against one race and not another. That in itself is racism. So saying you can't be racist against a specific race, or it's marginalized or treated as a lesser offense, that in itself makes you a racist.

                        " prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized."

                        Seems pretty basic to me. Doesn't matter what color you are, racism is racism.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          Leigh Beadon (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 5:06pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Notice that last part of the definition - "typically one that is a minority or marginalized"

                          Even in such a neutrally worded definition, it is necessary to point out that discrimination against a marginalized minority is distinct.

                          If you want to say, "it all falls under the broad umbrella of racism in the most abstract sense" then fine. If you want to say "racism is racism" - as in, it's all exactly the same, and there is no meaningful distinction to be drawn between a white person's expression of hate against black people, and a black person's expression of frustration against white people, then... no. And I think you know that's incorrect.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            PaulT (profile), 27 Jul 2020 @ 10:45pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            "it is necessary to point out that discrimination against a marginalized minority is distinct."

                            On a societal level, to ensure that it's understood that all racism is not equally powerful and damaging, yes. As a definition of what it is on its most basic level, no.

                            " If you want to say "racism is racism" - as in, it's all exactly the same, and there is no meaningful distinction to be drawn between a white person's expression of hate against black people, and a black person's expression of frustration against white people, then... no."

                            Nobody's saying that. We're just saying that the fact that a black man might face greater problems due to racism does not change the underlying prejudice. You seem to be intent on taking a narrower focussed clarification on the effects of racism and pretending that this has replaced the broader definition. It has not.

                            To me, this is important to understand, so that as a society we can eventually do away with racism, rather than call for special treatment that just changes the victims of it over generations. I'd rather have a society where nobody's allowed to be the victim of racism, rather than one where it's acceptable to have a group of victims because of something their ancestors once did.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Jul 2020 @ 5:04am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Racism is a definition which isn't hard to understand. The only issue is that some expressions of racism are more loaded than others because in some cases racism kicks up toward an entrenched and unthreatened majority - but usually it kicks down on an already vulnerable minority.

                            Racism is itself is very clearly defined. It's when you assign an ethnic or geographical group of people malignant traits entirely based on the aspects of their birth which they can do nothing about.

                            A black man saying white people just suck is expressing as racist an opinion as a white man saying the same about black people. It's just that in one of these cases you aren't kicking someone who is already taking a knee.

                            Factual observation is not racist. Talking about "white privilege" or african ectomorphism isn't, for instance, racist - as long as it isn't hijacked and shoehorned into a twisted argument about why <ethnic minority X> is inferior (as we see most clearly in pseudoscience such as eugenics).

                            The aforementioned "power differential" between two demographics may be the result of racism but is, in itself, not a helpful variable in defining what racism means or not.

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              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 11:09am

                Re:

                In fine Scathing Atheist fashion, 'let's make it black':

                Mike, a white man who uses Facebook, joins a group intended for other white people. One day, Mike — fresh off a shitty meatspace encounter with a black person — says something generalizing and derogatory about black people in the group’s posts. He watches as comments roll in from other members, many of whom agree with him. The next day, he opens up Facebook to discover that Facebook deleted the group and suspended his account because of that “racist speech”. Mike eventually deletes his Facebook account out of grief for having destroyed the group only by venting his frustration.

                That some forms of racism may have more impact due to historical and cultural situations does not mean acting derogatorily towards a given race isn't racism just because the one doing so is in the minority. If a person/group slamming a particular race violates the rules then it shouldn't matter who is doing it, as otherwise the only message you're sending is 'racism is bad, but only if you're the 'wrong' skin color'.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 12:43pm

                  That some forms of racism may have more impact due to historical and cultural situations does not mean acting derogatorily towards a given race isn't racism just because the one doing so is in the minority.

                  Whether what Mike said in the hypothetical is racist somewhat misses the point. Even if we grant that it is racist, how is it fair to Mike and the group he was in that they be punished for airing their grievances about the people who have historically oppressed and marginalized people like Mike?

                  But maybe I drew my example a bit too broadly. So let me narrow things down a bit with a lateral pass to a different group.

                  Donovan, a gay man, posts a link to an article about “conversion ‘therapy’ ” — an actual anti-gay practice that is actually done to actual people around the actual world — in a Facebook group for LGBT people in his area. He posts a single comment alongside the link: “I regret to inform you that the straights are at it again.” The rest goes as with the first hypothetical: Group deletion, account suspension, yadda yadda yadda.

                  So. Clearly, the comment Donovan made about straight people is derogatory. It disparages all straight people for the actions of a few. If we changed the wording to turn “straights” into “gays”, we would like call it homophobic.

                  And yet, his “heterophobic” comment comes alongside an example of a physically and psychologically torturous practice that straight people actually do that actually harms actual gay people. Donovan was discussing an thing done to gay people by straight people that harms and marginalizes them, but Facebook decided to punish him for his generalizing comment about a broad group of people because “it’s bigoted”.

                  How can a service treat everyone with “fairness” if its policies could deny marginalized voices a place to discuss their concerns about the people doing the marginalizing?

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                  • icon
                    That One Guy (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 6:03pm

                    Re:

                    How can a service treat everyone with “fairness” if its policies could deny marginalized voices a place to discuss their concerns about the people doing the marginalizing?

                    That kinda strikes me as a false premise. If bigotry against one group is worthy of punishment then it is fairness to treat bigotry by that group as likewise something worthy of punishment, lest you run into the problematic idea I noted above of 'bigotry is bad... depending on who you are'.

                    In the hypothetical above it would have been entirely possible to discuss, object to and protest against a horrific and vile 'practice' without slamming all straight people for example, and while the disgust and frustration of those involved bleeding out might have been understandable one could just as easily say the same for the hypothetical man I noted in my counter-example, and at that point rules against bigoted speech goes right out the window as a person can simply claim that they were venting after a particularly frustrating experience with [insert group here].

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 7:33pm

                      The key difference between a hypothetical homophobe and my hypothetical “heterophobe” is simple: One is part of a historically marginalized community, and the other is not. Try and guess which is which~!

                      Marginalized people need spaces to vent with one another about their negative experiences. That includes online spaces. And sometimes that venting can involve generalizing the group(s) of people who do the marginalizing. A service denying the marginalized a place that allows them to vent their frustrations because what they post sounds bigoted can come off as that service further marginalizing them.

                      Don’t think I’m saying “treating their prejudice differently isn’t a double standard”. That absolutely is a double standard. And if we lived in a vacuum, punishing “heterophobia” and homophobia in equal measure would be fine. But we don’t live in a vacuum. We live in a world where queer people are still marginalized by straight people. So if a service like Facebook punishes queer people for venting about homophobes because those queer people didn’t post “well, not all straight people…” or something else that shows sufficient respect to straight people in general, how does that help queer people?

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                      • icon
                        That One Guy (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 7:52pm

                        Re:

                        A service denying the marginalized a place that allows them to vent their frustrations because what they post sounds bigoted can come off as that service further marginalizing them.

                        That is an argument I'm not buying, and in fact that sounds all too similar to the 'conservative persecution' narrative in the sense of 'forcing someone to obey the rules is discrimination'. A person can vent without crossing the line into outright bigotry, complaining about individuals engaging in objectionable actions without painting an entire category(race, gender, sexual orientation...) as deplorable and acting accordingly.

                        So if a service like Facebook punishes queer people for venting about homophobes because those queer people didn’t post “well, not all straight people…” or something else that shows sufficient respect to straight people in general, how does that help queer people?

                        My thought wasn't 'how does it help them' so much as 'bigotry remains bigotry no matter who is engaging in it', but reading your question an answer did in fact pop to mind, in that equal enforcement of the rules prevents a loophole/attack vector for the other side to exploit. If one group is allowed to blatantly violate the rules then the question becomes why have the rules in the first place, arguments being made that if a violation is being allowed then the site must not actually care too much about the offense, and/or arguments put forth that other groups should be allowed to violate the rules as well.

                        It's one thing to try to even the playing field for a historically disadvantage group but when that reaches the point of giving them a pass for the same actions that their oppressors are rightly criticized for that's going to far in my opinion.

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                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 11:34pm

                        Re:

                        "The key difference between a hypothetical homophobe and my hypothetical “heterophobe” is simple: One is part of a historically marginalized community, and the other is not. Try and guess which is which~!"

                        ...and that makes no difference as to whether the speaker is a bigot. They both are.

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 11:31pm

                    Re:

                    " Even if we grant that it is racist, how is it fair to Mike and the group he was in that they be punished for airing their grievances about the people who have historically oppressed and marginalized people like Mike?"

                    It fair, because he wants equality and he's being a racist dickhead. He can rant about the specific white person who has wronged his all he wants. If he started ranting against all white people, he's racist and deserves to be treated a such.

                    "He posts a single comment alongside the link: “I regret to inform you that the straights are at it again.”"

                    Which is a bigoted comment. A lot of straight people find the practice as offensive and disgusting as gay people do, and I appreciate not being attacked because I happen to share an orientation with an evil bigot.

                    You are supporting racism and bigotry here, that's the simple truth.

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Jul 2020 @ 5:13am

                    Re:

                    "Donovan was discussing an thing done to gay people by straight people that harms and marginalizes them, but Facebook decided to punish him for his generalizing comment about a broad group of people because “it’s bigoted”."

                    Because a bigoted comment is, basically, a bigoted comment. Sure, a reasonable person will acknowledge all that you say about the relative power and historical persecution of LGBTQ minorities...

                    ...but at which point did you end up with the misconception that the voices that will be heard are those of reasonable people?
                    The first and loudest voices which will be heard will be those of bigots screaming in hysterics about Donovan and raising the argument that he's saying what they are saying but they are the only ones taking a hit over it.

                    And once they do the entire LGBTQ community loses a lot of their ability to be heard, drowned out by the incessant babble of the trolls.

                    Hence if the LGBTQ community wants to actually be heard it's all the more important that no single troll can point at Donovan - or anyone else - and start running the tired old whataboutist rhetoric so historically successful in stalling or destroying important public debates.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 5:41pm

                Re:

                "... if its policies could deny marginalized voices a place to discuss their concerns about the people doing the marginalizing?"

                Isn't that what Parler is for? ;)

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 2:15pm

              Re: Re:

              Racism refers to the group in power diminishing those of other races. Racial prejudice might be a thing with some in the out-group races, but it isn't racism. It's merely non-nuanced sometimes, even if entirely accurate sometimes. White + man = the most in-power group still, and they are the ones whose fee-fees get hurt even when called on racist behavior without being labeled a racist on the whole. (Then they generally double-down, get defensive, other people get apologetic for them, they choose not to think at all about the thing which was suggested to be racist, and frequently reveal themselves to be generically racist.)

              Yeah, it is different when an out-group member does it. You can't separate it from the racist system in which they live.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 11:36pm

                Re: Re: Re:

                "Racism refers to the group in power diminishing those of other races"

                No, it refers to prejudice again others due to their race. The society power differential is an important factor as to the effect of the racism, but a black guy hating on white people is still a racist.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Leigh Beadon (profile), 26 Jul 2020 @ 12:39pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  No, it refers to prejudice again others due to their race. The society power differential is an important factor as to the effect of the racism, but a black guy hating on white people is still a racist.

                  You can argue that, but you will find that it's not in line with most of the modern conception of racism in social science over the past several decades.

                  Today, racism is much more commonly defined as "an ideology of racial domination" - in which it is not solely about prejudice or even "hate" but specifically a prejudice of racial inferiority that is used to justify a group's inferior treatment or social position.

                  The conception of racism as primarily about individual psychological prejudice or expressions of hate is considered to be something of a relic of the first half of the 20th century. Since the 50s and 60s, the social scientific conception has become much more focused on power, and the understanding that "racialization becomes racism when it involves the hierarchical and socially consequential valuation of racial groups."

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2020 @ 7:30pm

        Re:

        The key difference is that, in the United States

        Facebook is a global platform. Should they just ignore the rest of the world? Should they moderate based on the nationality of those posting content, or those reading it? If they allowed racism against certain groups, there'd be no end of trouble, including potential legal trouble if a court found it was "hate speech" and FB were intentionally allowing it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Jul 2020 @ 7:52pm

          My comment wasn’t about whether Facebook is right or wrong to moderate such speech. Besides, Facebook admins can do whatever the fuck they want in that regard, no matter how I feel about it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 4:43pm

            Re:

            Sorry if I was unclear: those were meant to be rhetorical questions. As Mike has said, it's impossible for a platform operator to please everyone with their moderation policy. Without any moral judgment, I'd say their decision is "right" because any attempt to allow subjective exceptions is certain to lead to a neverending quagmire. We can't even agree what's acceptable in the USA, and we're talking about policy for a global platform.

            Nobody should have difficulty understanding that the statement was racist and sexist, and thus violated the policy. Putting moderators in the position of deciding whether it's moral to be racist and sexist in each instance is going to give them a lot more work, with a lot more opportunity for error—and very little corresponding benefit.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2020 @ 7:33pm

      Re:

      Seems like a borderline racist comment to me.

      How's it "borderline"? It's directly referring to a specific racial group and sex. It's debateable whether it should be considered an "attack", but its racism and sexism are in no way disguised.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2020 @ 6:19pm

    This post feels strangely abortive, compared to some others in its series. It stopped before it got going.

    In other news, I'm curious if y'all have a look at Techdirt's mod style planned.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 5:54am

    Stop buying into the whole racism exists in the USA troupe .
    Are there racists in the world ? YES
    Is the whole Country racist ? NO
    Everyone in the USA has the same opportunity .
    There so far are no Racist laws on the books .
    (well Cali might of just passed one)
    The only thing racist is you personally thinking someone else
    is holding you back (victim hood mentality)
    As you're to weak to put in the effort to do better and blame others
    for your failures .
    You want to see racism first hand ?
    Go to South Korea , Yemen , South Africa , China , Iran ,
    the list goes on and on .
    Name the one Place on earth where the whole world wants to live ?
    AMERICA.
    So take all your Racist , BLM . Victimhood , Reparations , narratives
    and go pound sand .
    For all the so called faults America is better today than yesterday
    So be grateful you were Born in a place that allows you to spill your
    virtuous nonsense now go back to the kids table and let the adults have dinner in Peace

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 7:18am

      Re:

      "Everyone in the USA has the same opportunity"
      you made me spit soda out my nose!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re:

        It is disingenuous to claim that but opportunity is there for almost everyone. It just comes in different flavors for different people.

        The wealthy (of any color) obviously offer much more opportunity to their offspring than the poor. Semi-public stepping stones, such as scholarships offered only to African Americans, are also not universally available. Even some laws such as Affirmative Action offer unequal opportunity. If you examine the breadth and depth of "opportunity" as a whole you'll find that the least advantaged group in the USA is poor white males. This is the group with no opportunity other than that which they create themselves. Everyone else can get a helping hand up if they're willing to reach out and take it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 25 Jul 2020 @ 1:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If you examine the breadth and depth of "opportunity" as a whole you'll find that the least advantaged group in the USA is poor white males.

          The level of opportunities a person has is directly related to their family's level of income. Saying that white males is the least advantaged group doesn't correlate to available statistics on poverty:

          Natives: 24%
          Black: 22%
          Other: 15%
          Hispanic: 19%
          Pacific Natives: 11%
          White: 9%
          Average: 13%

          From the above it's clear that white people is the least disadvantaged.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 5:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The level of opportunities a person has is directly related to their family's level of income. Saying that white males is the least advantaged group doesn't correlate to available statistics on poverty:

            That's a flawed analysis. One obvious problem is that nobody's said which kind of "opportunities" are under discussion—what the goal is. We therefore cannot know whether income is a reliable proxy for that. Another problem is that better or worse results do not necessarily mean better or worse opportunities. If you define a group of people with "equal" opportunity by any criteria, we're going to find widely divergent incomes within that group—meaning that things other than opportunity are relevant.

            But, if "high income" is the goal, more rigorous studies have been done, and I haven't seen any showing white males as a particularly disadvantaged group. (IIRC, it seems to be more about parents' income rather than skin color per se—but given American history, these can't reasonably be treated as unrelated traits.)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 7:45pm

              better or worse results do not necessarily mean better or worse opportunities

              Counterpoint: Regardless of results, certain groups of people have privileges when it comes to finding, landing, and making the most of those opportunities.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Rocky, 25 Jul 2020 @ 8:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That's a flawed analysis. One obvious problem is that nobody's said which kind of "opportunities" are under discussion—what the goal is. We therefore cannot know whether income is a reliable proxy for that

              It's not flawed, it's just a very simple one with some caveats but in general it holds true. Being poor means everything is expensive which severely limits the upward income-mobility - which translates to having less available/usable opportunities to change the situation.

              And asking what kind of "opportunities" are under discussion is disingenuous at best, since if you can't avail yourself to an opportunity because you are poor it doesn't really matter what kind we are talking about.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2020 @ 3:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                since if you can't avail yourself to an opportunity because you are poor it doesn't really matter what kind we are talking about.

                It matters when you skin colour can tip the scales when it comes to things like competition for a job.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Rocky, 26 Jul 2020 @ 6:51am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  No, if you can't get a job because of your ethnicity for example - that means you never had the opportunity to get that job in the first place (because of racism) and that's why talking about what kind of opportunities being discussed is disingenuous when the original point was about the amount of opportunities being available to someone when the AC claimed white people have less opportunities than others.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Jul 2020 @ 9:50am

                    if you can't get a job because of your ethnicity for example - that means you never had the opportunity to get that job in the first place

                    No, it means they had an opportunity but were denied that opportunity because of a racist.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Rocky, 26 Jul 2020 @ 10:15am

                      Re:

                      We are wading into semantics now.

                      If having an opportunity is dependent on something you don't have you never had that opportunity. For example, a company want to hire an engineer but that isn't an opportunity for someone who isn't an engineer.

                      Now, if you happen to be an engineer but you can't afford to relocate to get the job you had the opportunity but you couldn't take advantage of it.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2020 @ 10:18am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                And asking what kind of "opportunities" are under discussion is disingenuous at best, since if you can't avail yourself to an opportunity because you are poor it doesn't really matter what kind we are talking about.

                So, you're talking about opportunity for upward income-mobility. That's fine, and it's well documented that children of poor people do not achieve incomes as high as the rich. That doesn't mean the opportunities aren't there—they're not, but it's not a conclusion we can jump to based only on their poor results. I could use the same logic to "prove" that lazy people have fewer opportunities than non-lazy (in practice, the poor tend to work more than the rich, which rules this out as a primary cause—any good statistical analysis needs to consider complicating factors such as this, and rule them out).

                If you can't avail yourself of an opportunity, I'd count that as an opportunity you don't have. The poor, for example, do not have the same opportunities for post-secondary education. They theoretically had the same opportunities for primary and secondary education—but maybe not in practice, because their parents would have been less likely to live near good schools or have the ability to move near them. Students of poor parents are also more likely to have jobs that interfere with schoolwork—i.e., they don't have the same opportunity for study-time.

                The poor do have more opportunities for government financial aid, but the resulting advantages still leave them less advantaged overall.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2020 @ 4:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "It is disingenuous to claim that but opportunity is there for almost everyone."
          I guess that depends upon one's definition of opportunity.

          " It just comes in different flavors for different people.:
          For example, the poor have the opportununity to join the military. It is not just a job ... it is an adventure.

          If you polish a turd long enough, eventually it begins to look like a gem.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TFG, 25 Jul 2020 @ 7:42am

      Re:

      Congratulations! You're part of the problem.

      I invite you to demonstrate that everyone has the exact same opportunity by moving into a low-income neighborhood and sending your kids to the publicly-funded district schools of said neighborhood. I look forward to your results.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2020 @ 6:24am

        Re: Re:

        Really ???
        Remove your foot from ass .
        How many of professional football players basketball came from the hood ?
        What did they do ? they worked hard and got out .
        The only ones who held themselves back was themselves .
        How many broke Asian families came here and worked hard are now millionaires
        That's the great thing about America , YOU get to decide where you want to go in life . No one tells you what where how why you get to do with your life .
        You want that Go to North Korea .
        Stop playing up Victim hood and grow a set .
        No one said life was easy .
        We may have the 1% elites in the USA that we somehow hold in contempt for their wealth .
        But as a whole country we are The 1% to the rest of the world
        330 million who have far exceeded the other 7 plus BILLION on this planet
        who would KILL to get just a % of what we have FREEDOM .
        Don't think so ? go to Hong Kong and see how much they're liking how their
        new overlords are treating them .

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 26 Jul 2020 @ 6:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          How many of professional football players basketball came from the hood ?
          How many didn't make it?

          How many broke Asian families came here and worked hard are now millionaires
          How many didn't make it?

          It's easy to show examples of success when you disregard all those still stuck in poverty.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2020 @ 7:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          tldr:
          Just pull yourself up by your own bootstrapes like I did.
          Maybe just get a loan from your folks.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2020 @ 12:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          who would KILL to get just a % of what we have FREEDOM

          Well that's true. Killing is one way to make armed officers come and unilaterally execute you or, if you're lucky, add you to a staggeringly huge and ever-expanding prison population, aka American freedom.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Jul 2020 @ 5:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The only ones who held themselves back was themselves ."

          Except that's not true. When one in a thousand people born in the hood can ever make it anywhere but anyone born to the white middle-class only needs to be vaguely interested in college to go to higher education that's not a level platform.

          "How many broke Asian families came here and worked hard are now millionaires..."

          One in ten thousand, if that. You are pinning your entire argument on winning the lottery ticket of life.

          "That's the great thing about America , YOU get to decide where you want to go in life . No one tells you what where how why you get to do with your life ."

          Except if you're the 999 out of a 1000 for which there is no opportunity and the miracle didn't come through. Those remain screwed, even if only because they drank a little too much of the flint river as kids so they grew up with mild brain damage.

          "But as a whole country we are The 1% to the rest of the world "

          That may have been true in 1970...but hasn't been the truth for about 30 years or more. The gap closed and today you are nowhere near the top of "great countries to live in".

          "330 million who have far exceeded the other 7 plus BILLION on this planet..."

          Except for 95% of the chinese, 95% of europeans, half of the russians, etc? Taken a look at the immigration numbers from the rest of the G20 lately? The US isn't the land of opportunity to very many who already live in the first world. Not any longer.

          "we have FREEDOM ."

          Oh yeah, because the last time I watched or attended a protest march where I live I had to watch out for tear gas and rubber bullets...No wait, I didn't.

          I really love it when uneducated fuckwits try to argue "We're number ONE" without a single clue what other countries actually look like in comparison these days...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2020 @ 10:00am

    It's obvious that poor people have less opportunity than rich people. That has nothing to do with race--there are poor people (and rich people) of all races.

    Now if we can eliminate the racist overtones and undertones and blatant generalizations, we can begin to consider what we as individuals can do to make opportunity more generally available.

    And also, society can do things. Universal access to general education would be a beginning. Means testing (rather than racist quotas) for financial aid at the vocational level would be a good thing, if it could be done. (Previous attempts have often been subverted by students claiming they got no support from their parents; the courts unfortunately supported that.)

    Elimination of arbitrary barriers, wherever they are found (trade unions have been one of the most powerful, determined, and effective maintainers of racially-based barriers) would be a good thing.

    But many barriers aren't explicit, and might show up only in statistics--which, as has often been discussed before, are misused 78% of the time, even when they aren't just made up. The traditional racial quotas are an example of badly abused statistics, since (above scutwork jobs) they have nothing to do with the availability of qualified people; beyond that, they have done more than anything else to reinforce the evil bigotry that no people of certain races will have jobs unless more-qualified people are passed over.

    Then there are cultural barriers--people just don't know how to work with people from other cultures (ANY other cultures). As a programmer, I was privileged to work with people from all over the world--a constant learning experience and well worth it. Maybe this is something that needs to be promoted at the elementary-school level.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 25 Jul 2020 @ 1:53pm

    what is easy?

    When you compare problems..
    White on black
    Black on white
    Man hurts women
    Women hurts man
    Spouse abuse
    Child abuse
    This and that and all the rest..

    Which is easiest?
    To delete it all or SIT and debate it?
    If you deleate one over the other, you have problems. If you let it be posted, you will get problems..

    Politics can be easy(erase it all) or hard let them speak, and let THEM be responsible, but DONT let them advert of distribute. LEt those that wish to read it, GOTO THAT SECTION. And everyone is warned, that they are liable.

    There are good/bad about FB, REQUIRING REAL NAMES...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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