Sarah Jeong: Does anti-white racism exist?
Jeong: Just retaliating
To confuse Jeong’s tweets with “actual racism” is ridiculous, said Zack Beauchamp in Vox.com. When a person of color tweets out “#cancelwhitepeople,” it’s obviously satire, not a threat. Whites still remain firmly in control of the “underlying power structure in American society,” which means that the prospect of “concentration camps for whites is laughable.” When a white person tweets “#cancelblackpeople,” conversely, it carries a real “sense of threat,” because there is a percentage of this country’s white majority that really would welcome the mass imprisonment and deportation of black and brown people—and as we have seen, wields the power to make it happen.
Arguing that a young woman deserves another chance is one thing, said Yascha Mounk in Slate.com, but do liberals really want to defend, and even celebrate, Jeong’s angry rhetoric? In flinging racial vitriol back at Twitter trolls, she gave Donald Trump and his defenders “a lot of ammunition in the great national game of whatabouttery,” enabling them to deflect questions about their own race-baiting by pointing to Jeong and her hiring by The New York Times. Even if Jeong lacked the power to inflict harm on white people, said David French in NationalReview.com, her words dripped with real hatred. In one tweet, she said, “It’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men.” That is sick. And when “anti-white sentiment is embedded in The New York Times editorial board, it’s no longer powerless.”
“The Right has a point about Jeong,” said Max Boot in WashingtonPost.com. But how can conservatives be so bothered by the tweets of a 30-year-old tech writer while shrugging off the “far more prominent bigot” in the Oval Office, ranting daily about “s---hole countries,” “rapist” Mexicans, and “low IQ” black celebrities? The Left has a point as well, said Jonah Goldberg in NationalReview.com. For Jeong’s conservative critics to claim her tweets are equivalent to the racism and oppression experienced by minorities in this country is absurd. But that doesn’t mean “anti-white racism is just fine.” Making sweeping assumptions about a person based on his or her skin color is a practice that all Americans—liberal, conservative, and otherwise—should reject. ■