Friday, July 06, 2018
Should bloggers avoid reviewing work of "dangerous" people (to "protect" vulnerable minorities)?
Here’s a little word to the wise.
When I review books, music, films or other content by various authors, filmmakers, musicians or other artists, on any of my sites, I generally review what I see. I don’t guarantee the readers (or any platform servicing me) that I personally know about any misconduct about the person whose work I review, or about various remarks the person could have made in public venues that indicate extremist sentiments or possibly organizational connections. There are examples of writings and books by individuals (especially “conservative”) which seem reasonable enough when read, when their authors are later reported in the media (perhaps falsely) to have extremist connections or even sexual misconduct.
With books, especially, I will generally try to present opposing views on something when I can find them, and the opposition’s work is reasonably well stated.
There will be some parties who believe that giving certain writers visibility, or even certain positions credibility, is contributing to their group oppression, and should be banned. If I’m over leveraging my privilege, so be it; but I see how reviewing content by others with extremist connections could cause complaints about me. I ponder this as I recall that last December Twitter, for example, announced that it would close accounts to members of certain white supremacist groups, as if it were in a position to know about any person’s associations.
There is also a “bias” in my content toward content that somehow relates ultimately to what individuals should do on their own about a certain immigration, rather than simply about defending people in any group or caught in any situation (as at the border). For example, on the border crisis, I would be more concerned about asking what could be asked from Americans with resources (like inheritances or estates) to assist actual kids who are displaced, than with the idea that no mother should ever be separated from her children.
But the unprecedented incident in Charlottesville last August opened a new dimension in the pressure on service platforms to crackdown on speech that is somehow perceived as harmful to various minorities. (This continues a similar discussion posted June 22.)