Yglesias Award Nominee


“Argument is like all other human behaviors: subject to conditioning through reward and punishment. And we’ve created these incentives on the left: always politicize; always escalate; always ridicule. We’re living with the consequences of those tendencies now. Unfortunately, I don’t know how we build a new left discourse, given that the two current modes of left-wing expression appear to be a) showily condescending ridicule and b) utter fury.

I mean you can guess what the response by some will be to this essay: deBoer doesn’t think racism is real, he doesn’t think sexism is real, he wants people to just get over it when they’re the victims of sexism and racism. None of that is true. I write about the structural racism of our society constantly. I believe that we’re still a deeply, inherently sexist culture. (For example, you may have heard of #GamerGate.) And I absolutely believe that there are tons of daily encounters that demonstrate these problems, and that the victims of them should feel comfortable speaking out.

I just also think that we have to be able to say “you know, I don’t think that your particular political critique here is correct” without being accused of failing to oppose racism and sexism in general,” – Freddie DeBoer.

(Illustration: a visualization of the Twitterverse on Gamergate over 72 hours via Andy Baio, with the help of Gilad Lotan, chief data scientist at Betaworks. Look at the polarization. The data also found many many more misogynist tweets than those about ethics in gamer journalism.)