my university's feminist society might ban me for calling out racism
the full story is on my other blog (with screenshots!), but here’s a summary and the important bits:
- racist member is passive-aggressive and racist for the nth time
- i call them a racist because they are
- i get warned
- (and somebody accuses me of both libel and slander. that’s not in the post but i found it amusing.)
here’s the warning i got (emphasis mine):
Having to get in touch about comments raised on one of the feeds today. In short, it’s not okay to call people racist on the group! It just goes against pretty much all the policies. You’re not the only one I’ve messaged but because of involvement on other feeds I’m going to have to give you a warning. Obviously please message me if you want to talk about anything raised on the feed or in the message!
Otherwise have a good rest of the weekend
wow! it gets worse.
i was pretty appalled, so i replied with this (for context, the person i called racist had used the n-word on a previous thread and the mods handled it awfully):
oh my god. did you literally just say it’s not ok to call out racism? does that mean it’s not ok to call out sexism too, or does the group policy only protect feminists who happen to be white?
i have actually been meaning to talk to you about some concerns i have with the moderation of this group and your comment has just made me regret i haven’t done it sooner. i personally am sick and tired of racism being tolerated on the group, particularly by [N Word Woman]. this is the third, perhaps fourth time i have noticed her saying racist things that have been tolerated by the admins of the page.
she literally said that i was jealous of white culture being “more popular” than my own. how is that not a racist comment? my father lived through apartheid. he was evicted from his home (which is now worth millions of rand) and made to live in a jungle. my mother is indian and i’m sure we don’t have to revisit britain’s policy on indian colonialism, do we. is that not aggressive? has she received a warning for it? i’d bet money she hasn’t. did she receive a warning for saying the n-word the other day? i would hope so, but i have no confidence that she did — no confidence in you or the other mods — because you never do this sort of thing in public. you never call it out explicitly.
when [N Word Woman] said the n-word and three people asked her to apologise, you said you were putting people on note for “derogatory language” when you should have said “racial slurs” and then you went on to say everybody who responded should have been ashamed of themselves too. and then you just brushed the problem under the carpet. by deleting the thread in which [N Word Woman] proved herself to be racist for the second or third time you just made it seem like everybody who participated in that thread was equally to blame. that’s not ok. that is actively saying to black feminists that people can call them racial slurs on this group and get away with it.
frankly, you need to start calling people out in public. you need to give them explicit public warnings. if it happens behind closed doors, the other members of the society will have no trust in your leadership. in fact, you have just proven to me that i shouldn’t have any. given how [N Word Woman] is still in the group after literally saying racial slurs and not apologising — given how she hasn’t been made to apologise — given how you’ve just protected her after she said some vile, absolutely racist things…
if i had come to you saying she was being racist, what would you have done? posted on the thread reminding everyone to play nice? would it have stopped her from saying something racist next time? current evidence points to no.
so tl;dr i won’t stop calling out racism until the mods make a concerted effort to stamp it out themselves. if that makes me the bad guy i’ll leave the group because i don’t want to be involved in a group that prioritises keeping the peace over being inclusive to women of all colours.
this was the response i got:
It is not your job to call out or reprimand racism. Doing so makes you guilty of breaking policy. This calls into question your place in the group.
I have messaged [N-Word Woman] several times and I’ve requested that when we review policy later this month that people start getting banned from the group for this continued aggressive behaviour. However responding to it and not to me means that you are now also guilty of that aggressive behaviour and could also be banned. So I hope that responds to some of your concerns about how we respond to policy.
I am not planning on calling people out in public, because that would, to my mind, not help the group shake it’s reputation of being an overly aggressive space. Hanging out someone to dry like that sounds like online bullying and I’m not going to do it.
I am very sorry that you haven’t come to me sooner about your concerns. For example the one about [N-Word Woman], as in the feed when she used the n word she got another warning and if you had come to me about it you would have known this instead of it upsetting you, as it obviously has done.
Until the review, which you are welcome to attend, I can’t start banning people from the group. This is something I’ve brought up and would like to do so I’m sure your voice in support would be useful!
call out racism? you’re as bad as the racist!
white feminism in action, you guys. i’ve replied but i want to wait for her to get back to me before i update any further.
i got kicked out of the group! i’ve updated my post and i would really appreciate if you shared this. your support so far has been fantastic — thank you so much!
thank you everybody who reblogged this and offered me support and kind words. i can’t believe the response this has gotten. i’m so grateful to have a wonderful, amazing, humbling community behind me!
i have written an update post, hopefully the last one. in short, i have been given an apology and i am satisfied with the way the committee are handling things.