The New York Times recently found itself in the midst of a storm of controversy over a new hire for its editorial board, former Verge tech journalist Sarah Jeong. Less than 24 hours after she was announced, old tweets emerged of her expressing unambiguous racism and bigotry toward white people and men.
Despite this, NYT stood by her, issuing the following statement:
Our statement in response to criticism of the hiring of Sarah Jeong. pic.twitter.com/WryIgbaoqg
— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) August 2, 2018
Defenses of Jeong took two primary forms. Firstly, as seen in NYT’s statement and Jeong’s own words, her tweets are referred to as “satirical” and a reaction to racist and sexist messages that Jeong herself had received from other Twitter users. A Washington Post article defending her quoted as part of its argument a statement claiming that “This type of harassment, that combines racism and sexism, is something only women of color experience online,” which is rather amazing considering that her own tweets displayed those exact same characteristics. A Huffington Post article similarly tried to draw a connection between online abuse Jeong had received and the language she herself had used; even going so far as to crow that her reference to whites as “genetically predisposed” to “live underground like groveling goblins” was a subversion of Charles Murray’s “The Bell Curve,” without offering any evidence that the latter academic work was actually false.
Ultimately, attempting to claim that a journalist in a position of institutional power making consistent blanket statements about the inferiority of whites and men was “satire” justified by receiving hateful messages from strangers online (something which, obviously, is exclusive to neither Jeong nor the left in general), is both ridiculous and dishonest. The second defense of her was more consistent and serious: the familiar Marxist claim that, as someone possessing minority membership tokens (non-white, female), Jeong by definition could not be racist, because racism can only come from a place of power.
Overall, this incident is simply an inevitable continuation of the left and its subservient media class’ embrace of Marxist narratives and deconstruction of Western society. Conservative commentators pointed out the obvious: that such statements could never have been acceptably made about any other groups; that it is obvious that there are many cases in which whites possess less or no power comparative to non-whites; that the left’s racial logic can only serve to further deepen divides; and that racism is an expression of hatred regardless of power, and redefining it is dishonest and inaccurate, as hatred does not need power to exist and even to do harm.
The left’s responses, much as some tried to repackage them with nuance which ended up simply circling back to the same conclusion, were completely predictable. Only whites can express racism, because white societies have been historically dominated by whites (who created them) at the expense of every other group, even groups currently objectively higher achieving. Racism cannot be divorced from power, even though on an individual level no rational person can deny that many whites can and do suffer institutional abuse, and there is no mechanism within the left’s rhetoric to bring justice to them. Negative blanket statements (or what one would be tempted to call “textbook racism”) about whites are fine, because many on the social justice left apparently understand that they are intended as systemic critiques, which makes them ok. Or perhaps they don’t, but that doesn’t matter.
Forcing all of these logical puzzle pieces together, only one picture can emerge. It was only a matter of time before the newspaper which recently ran a story about the struggle to make an entire state less white hired someone like Jeong. Conservative journalists are right: she should not be fired. It is up to the right to respond, and most of all, up to ordinary white Americans to finally acknowledge the writing on the wall.