racism charges...a tricky problem

billc

Grandmaster
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2007
Messages
9,183
Reaction score
85
Location
somewhere near Lake Michigan
This came up due to a recent post...I'm sure those involved know who you are...

I think that charges of racism against people who post on the forum need to be looked at the same way any other name calling is...but with some exceptions...what do you guys think?

Recently, a post, that wasn't in the study, embedded a news article that mentioned the race of the perpetrators of a crime. Someone accused the poster of "race baiting," when it was obvious he simply reprinted the article and it never occurred to him that there was a problem, which in reality there wasn't since the race of the perpetrators was a fact and not something made up.

Charges of racism are as bad as any other name calling when the person isn't a racist. The mere accusation is damaging when it isn't immediately addressed and corrected. The original poster took on the accuser and those reading and participating in the thread were warned about thread drift in a non-study thread. I agree that thread drift should be dealt with if it is against the wishes of the thread starter, but the accusation needed to be addressed and couldn't be ignored.

Online like we are, an accusation of "race baiting," if simply ignored can take hold and get spread around about the poster. Someone can see the accusation, see that it wasn't responded to or condemned, and then later the accused poster is just accepted to be a racist when he posts elsewhere in the site.

Should accusations of racism be dealt with as harshly as any other name calling? Should the person accused be granted some leeway in addressing the accusation before the thread is locked for thread drift? I leave this to you guys...
 

Bob Hubbard

Retired
MT Mentor
Founding Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 4, 2001
Messages
47,249
Reaction score
767
Location
Land of the Free
Applicable sections of the TOS:

1.8 Threats, Racism, Sexism, and Challenges:

Messages that are openly hostile, defamatory, sexual, vulgar, or harassing, will not be tolerated, and may be in violation of the law. Threads or replies promoting or expressing intolerant views towards any group (race, religion, sexual preference, interracial couples, etc.) will not be tolerated.

No "physical challenge" posts are allowed. If there is a threat or physical challenge, real or perceived, issued, the person making said threat will be immediately banned from this board with no warning or recourse.

Indirect but still applicable sections of the TOS

1.3 "Freedom of Speech":


MartialTalk is dedicated towards allowing as much freedom in our member’s communications as we can. However, while we believe very much in the idea of freedom of speech & personal expression, you DO NOT have the absolute right to say whatever you want in this community.

Anything that goes against our core beliefs and the purpose for which this community was designed may not be allowed.

Posts and comments that are meant to incite conflicts between members or outside parties are strictly prohibited.

MartialTalk Staff have the absolute right to view, edit, modify, close or delete any content found in this community. This may include amongst other things the Private Message, Email, Blog and Other communications systems on this site in situations where we have concerns about the conduct of one or more of our members.

4.1 General Posting Guidelines
...
No "Offensive" Posts, Links or Images: Please do not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-orientated, hateful, threatening, racist, sexist, discriminatory, or otherwise violative of any local or international laws. This includes links in your signature, profile, bookmarks as well as posted images, photos and avatars. Staff will ultimately decide if something is appropriate or not.
...

4.2.5 Hate Speech

Hate speech is not allowed. Posts that contain material that is racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted, or otherwise offensive, are not allowed. While discussion of certain social and political issues may require the use of sensitive or potentially offensive terms, outside of those limited contexts the use of such terms is not allowed on this board.

Other sections may apply including but not limited to 1.9, 1.10.3, 4.3, 4.5 & 4.9
 

Tgace

Grandmaster
Joined
Jul 31, 2003
Messages
7,766
Reaction score
409
I suppose the question is does simply stating something like "two black males killed an elderly white man"...translate to "race baiting"?

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
 

arnisador

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 28, 2001
Messages
44,560
Reaction score
435
Location
Terre Haute, IN
I suppose the question is does simply stating something like "two black males killed an elderly white man"...translate to "race baiting"?

Or, "So, I guess now (according to this dillweed), we’re supposed to let black teenage thugs beat the crap out of us lest we become responsible for our own death"?

Charges of racism are as bad as any other name calling when the person isn't a racist.

But how can you know online? But that isn't even really the point. To my mind the bigger issue is: When racially charged material is posted that may not be clearly actionable, is it better to say nothing or to have someone state that that's offensive? My mind is: All it takes for evil to triumph is for people of good will to remain silent. When someone makes a racist comment in front of me, I say something about it rather than say nothing as though that kind of comment is OK. If policy forbids people from saying "That's inappropriate", then only clearly over-the-line posts will be addressed--and that's where the free speech policy cuts both ways: It may be beneficial to allow posts to be at the edge but it is also beneficial to allow posters to express their distaste.

Given Poe's Law, there's no way to know how a comment was meant--all we have is what appears on the screen. Do we discuss it to get at the actual meaning, or leave it hanging there?
 
OP
B

billc

Grandmaster
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2007
Messages
9,183
Reaction score
85
Location
somewhere near Lake Michigan
is it better to say nothing or to have someone state that that's offensive?

My point is that if someone does "say something" then the person who is accused needs some room to respond to the charge before it is locked down, even if it takes the thread off topic for a few posts. To level a charge of racism at an innocent person is wrong because it is a serious smear in our society right now. If the charge is leveled honestly, but the individual had no intention of posting something racist, then they deserve time to counter the accusation and challenge the call, especially if the charge of racism is simply an attempt to smear or silence the innocent party...wouldn't you agree?
 

arnisador

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 28, 2001
Messages
44,560
Reaction score
435
Location
Terre Haute, IN
My point is that if someone does "say something" then the person who is accused needs some room to respond to the charge before it is locked down, even if it takes the thread off topic for a few posts. To level a charge of racism at an innocent person is wrong because it is a serious smear in our society right now. If the charge is leveled honestly, but the individual had no intention of posting something racist, then they deserve time to counter the accusation

I'd agree that if a racist or racially charged comment is made, or perceived to have been made, and someone comments on that fact, then that's a fair topic of discussion. How you would determine who is "innocent" and what's an attempt to "smear" isn't clear to me, but yes, the person should have a chance to say either I was misunderstood, or that term isn't generally understood as racial where I live, or I was wrong to post it, or I stand by my comment as stated originally. Of course, some people will simply attack the person who noted their racist statement and that probably isn't a beneficial thread to keep going. How many posts do you think a person should need to be able to effectively respond to such a comment?
 

jks9199

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2006
Messages
22,035
Reaction score
2,201
Location
Northern VA
A few things...

First, the policy here is that we don't discuss actions against individual posters. You don't know what may have been done regarding someone else -- and they don't know what may have happened with you, either. The drawback of that is people don't always perceive that someone has been "getting away" with stuff when they've been being hit with infractions...

Second, we try pretty hard to avoid locking threads. Usually there have been warnings, nudges, and other attempts to salvage the thread. Occasionally, we look at a topic and simply decide that it's unsalvageable or will simply become an ongoing disruption. It may be personalities involved, it may be the way that a thread has drifted. Once in a while -- it's just plain that the topic is a nightmare.

Third... RTM! Report the suspected violations. Don't reply in kind, and watch how you defend yourself. There are not that many good answers to a question like "When did you stop beating your wife?" and there simply aren't that many ways to reply to an accusation of racism effectively. Let your posting habits and what you write speak for you, rather than arguing and taking shots.
 
Top