By engaging in such flagrant projection, the Times has highlighted once again the problem with groupthink in the climate discussion.
Racism is an ugly thing, one that can have enormously harmful effects on society. One would hope that this would be recognized by people on all sides, but sadly this is not often the case.
In recent years, I have noticed an increase in racism. First, there has been an increase in antisemitic language on various sites that appear to be associated with people who identify as the alt-right. Second, there has been an increase in anti-white language from people, especially minorities, on the left.
Both trends are disturbing. But I find the latter trend to be more dangerous in one important way. While the racists on the alt-right are generally condemned by “respectable” society, the racists on the left are often tolerated by the left wing part of such society.
There is no justification for this differential treatment. Racism – hatred of racial groups rather than of individuals for their actions – is pernicious. Since humans are so group-oriented, racism appears to be tempting, but that means that social norms need to condemn it strongly and consistently.
The most recent, high visible toleration of left wing racism is by the New York Times, which hired Sarah Jeong. Jeong has a first-rate left-wing resume, but her Twitter feed is filled with outrageously racist tweets, such as “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men” and “Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.”
If these were tweets of a white person or a right winger, the New York Times would never, ever hire that person. Why would they hire Jeong?
Her public apology for the tweets is very weak – it suggests she did it in retaliation of harassment, but it does not appear all of the tweets were in response to such actions.
This is sad. I am not one who looks back on a golden age of the New York Times when it was a neutral newspaper. But I have to admit things appear to have gotten much worse in recent years. This type of action not only harms society, but also harms the reputation of an institution which it is hard to respect, despite it being the “leading newspaper in the nation.”
Update: The more I find out about this person, the less I like her. Or the New York Times for hiring her. See here for her attempts to get others fired for their views.