Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Censorship of racial slurs

The question here isn't censoring "racism" -- an ill-defined word -- but whether to censor racial slurs:

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to request that our visitors keep civility in mind and speak using the terms we find make the most sense out of politeness, for example, “African-Americans.”

It won’t kill you to do it, and it ensures your message is expressed clearly without throwing emotional bombs into the mix that are going to drive people away from responding logically.

{snip}

It would be great if other people saw the wisdom in what I’m trying to do here, and would voluntarily comply with civility, so that we don’t need censorship. As we like to say around here: no tyrant exists without a thoughtless population that needed and deserved him.

Human rights and censorship at this blog

I guess to me this was always a given: you can be a foe of diversity without (a) blaming the parties involved or (b) calling them derogatory names.

Similarly, you can be a foe of conservatism without (a) claiming that conservatives are vicious people who simply "don't care about others" or (b) calling them derogatory names like Shrub and Chimpy.

Further, in general, it seems to me that civility is useful because when we violate it, our leaders use that as an excuse for more power and more expensive, arrogant bureaucracies.

I don't write off the idea that at some point we will need to throw out some of the rules wholesale and achieve regime change, but I like the idea of avoiding uncivil manifestations of this like reckless revolutions that hand power to oligarchs.

The question of civility, or need for censorship, is one vital to civilization.

We either get ourselves organized or we require a centralized babysitter.

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