The premise of [Racists Getting Fired] is simple, and a perfectly representative product of 2014 Internet: send screenshots of people saying racist shit on Facebook or Twitter to their employers, get them canned, and thus end American racism, or something. This is foolproof until someone uses the formula to frame someone who didn’t actually say anything racist. Take Brianna Rivera, who apparently said some terrible things on Facebook. But according to the operators of the RGF Tumblr, this turned out to in fact not be Brianna Rivera at all, but her ex-boyfriend, who changed his Facebook profile to resemble hers.
As with carceral feminism, this kind of thing seems to stem from the presumption that good outcomes flow naturally from good intentions, which just isn’t how the world works. Honestly, it reminds me of nothing more than the whole Lena Dunham “sexual abuse” fiasco.
It was mind-blowing to me to see someone like Kevin Williamson so easily able to whip up an old fashioned sex panic among leftists. But it’s an inevitable result of associating the work of progressive politics with having a hair trigger, with demonizing those who ask us to be careful and restrained, and of treating overwhelming digital character assassination as a useful political tool.
Beyond the obvious ugliness of situations like this, the problem with a site like Racists Getting Fired is that it reinforces the notion that fighting racism is easy and fun. Look, we’re fighting racism! All it takes is some screencaps and a Tumblr account!
Meanwhile, a reader calls me out:
Last week you said you “love this approach” when the vile comments of misogynists get forwarded to their moms, but if someone calls Obama a stupid nigger on Twitter and I pass it along to his coworkers, I’m part of the PC identity police. Aren’t these the same thing?
I think a simple recourse to an abusive boy’s mom is a sane, non-flaming way to get the abuse to stop. That’s all. Trying to get an adult fired is something much more serious.