Casting Pearls at Wired Op-Ed by Malkia Devich-Cyril

Folks, I do occasionally try to understand other points of view but this article which appeared on was just begging for a response. Frankly, its hard to take this guy seriously, but he thinks he is. If this is the best the “Woke generation” has to offer, then Lord have mercy.

Banning White Supremacy Isn’t Censorship, It’s Accountability: Claiming that deplatforming racists violates First Amendment rights shows a distorted understanding of how speech, race, and power work online.

The piece starts with race and name calling disguised as facts. Not a good start.

EARLIER THIS MONTH, in the wake of the fatal incursion of an angry, mostly white and male mob into the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, Facebook and Twitter blocked Donald Trump’s accounts. YouTube followed with a temporary ban, which it has continued to extend in the weeks since. According to these platforms, Trump’s dangerous pattern of behavior violated their content management rules. Shortly after, Amazon Web Services ended its hosting support for the neo-Nazi online haven Parler.

The paragraph above starts with the incident at the Capitol Building. Why is it whenever Liberals write about this, they have to say some variation of “angry, mostly white and male mob”? What does race have to do with any of this?

Then the author goes after Parlor for being a haven for neo-Nazis. Classic strawman argument. Again, the author thinks he is being intellectual while throwing hammers at imaginary foes.

Then he celebrates the censorship of conservative folks with the following.

The collective sigh of relief that rippled through the digital spaces occupied by Black, indigenous and other people of color following the wave of deplatformings was visceral, and the impact was almost immediate. A study conducted by research firm Zignal Labs found that online disinformation, particularly about election fraud, fell by an incredible 73 percent in the week after Twitter’s suspension of Trump’s social media account. Online forums for Trump supporters are now fractured and weakened.

OK so how did “Black, indigenous and other people of color” benefit from censorship? Oh, and who talks like that anyway? Why is it that Black folks—which as you will see, the author considers himself—can never look at people by the content of their character but only by the color of their skin. Yet they celebrate MLK as their hero? Sir, have you never heard his I Have a Dream speech?

Folks, this brings up another issue. Why is any attempt to discuss the fraud that occurred in the last election somehow disinformation? The evidence is overwhelming that election laws were violated, ignored, and not enforced. This debate (or lack of one) is framed in a peculiar way. Liberals maintain that there was absolutely zero fraud in the last election despite many examples and Conservatives know there was rampant fraud. When Liberals acknowledge that there was fraud then at least we can have a discussion on whether there was enough to change the outcome of the election but until they recognize the same set of facts, there can be no dialogue on the issue. Denial is not dialogue. Ignoring facts does not make them go away it just makes folks ignorant or worse.

Before I continue, let me make these comments on the First Amendment.

First, strictly speaking the First Amendment applies to the national government. Via various laws and Court actions, the First Amendment has been extended to cover the various states.

The tech companies are private, but Congress has extended protections to them for the purpose of allowing free speech on their platforms and giving the companies legal protection, so they don’t have to moderate all posts on their websites. (I think this is intended to emulate the FCC regulation of broadcast media.) I’m fine with this arrangement as long as all points of view can be expressed. When only one point of view is allowed, and all others are banned or people that feel differently are intimidated to the point that they can’t express their point of view without fear of reprisal then the First amendment is not in operation. This is the current situation for both my wife and I and many others that we know. We cannot express what we believe either politically or religiously at work or on social media without fear of reprisal. While this blog in technically on the public internet, its just my corner to vent and not subject to the whims of big tech algorithms.

In addition, what frosts me, and my fellow conservatives is that the rules (whatever they might be) should be applied equally to everyone and they are not. The selective enforcement and resulting uneven playing field really grates on me.

In his essay, the author goes on to mention the First Amendment.

But many reacted to the social media bans with outrage. First Amendment fundamentalists across the political spectrum raised “free speech” concerns, claiming that the social media bans were a slippery slope. Though they’re being used to hold the powerful to account today, the argument goes, they could be used to repress minority groups in the future. Others worried that a digital oligarchy of big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, and Amazon with the unchecked power to silence individuals represents a threat to democracy.

I share the concern about the outsize influence of big tech on governance and the economy. But, as a Black activist who’s been fighting for digital rights and justice and against digital disparities, surveillance, and hate for more than a decade, the reaction that most resonated was relief and a sense of collective triumph. Finally, after years of organizing, movements for racial justice and human rights were able to hold these companies accountable to the demand that they give no platform or profit to white supremacy—at least momentarily.

To summarize the above two paragraphs, the author states that he shares the concerns expressed on the First Amendment but since his side won, it’s OK because his political opponents were silenced. He’s relieved that big tech put their thumbs on the scale to interfere. He calls this a triumph.

Now I will try to unpack the second paragraph. What caught my attention was this part, “…as a Black activist who’s been fighting for digital rights and justice and against digital disparities, surveillance, and hate …”

What does this even mean? This guy is talking in code and not the King’s English.

  • Digital rights are the copyrights on digital content which clearly is not what he’s talking about.
  • Justice is a meaningless word in the context used above. True justice is measuring man’s behavior by God’s Standard which is not what this guy has in mind.
  • What are digital disparities? Poor people need the Internet too? Heck every homeless person I’ve seen in California over the last decade has a cell phone.
  • Surveillance is how Apple, Google, Facebook, and most of the rest monetize your personal information. Most users, regardless of race, are OK with this. Whatever is the real concern, I sure can’t tell from this article.
  • Hate is another buzz word. The author doesn’t mean hate in the classic dictionary definition. This has to be another term related to race. Wanna bet he thinks only white people can hate or be racist?

Lastly, the author concludes the paragraph by again equating silencing President Trump as silencing White Supremacy. This is demonstrably a false claim and his insistence on making it proves that he is uninterested in an honest discussion of facts and is instead wedded to a political opinion which he must defend no matter what.

For the past decade, we have witnessed the resurgence of white supremacy in mainstream political and public debate, and it’s only been enabled by media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. While those already in power may rely on the Constitution and the democratizing promise of the open internet, Black people and other marginalized groups need more than the intent of the law to enjoy its equal protection.

OK, again what resurgence in white supremacy? The KKK was founded by Democrats and was at its peak just over 100 years ago. Virtually no Republicans were even Klan members, and none was a slave owner. The Democrats are the ones trying to keep Blacks on the plantation not me. (Note to Liberals, I’m quoting a Black man when I talk of Democrats trying to keep Blacks on the plantation.)

White Supremacy is routinely condemned by folks in both political parties so what is this guy angry about? Trump condemned both White Supremacists and neo-Nazis all the time, but it was a cold day in hell when CNN finally aired the comments during the second impeachment show. The mainstream media just denied that Trump ever said it because they would rather edit the tape than trust people to make up their own minds. Sadly, this supposedly informed author never bothered to do the research because he would rather have Trump lumped into the White Supremacist basket because then he can just dismiss the guy without having to hear what he actually said. In short, falsely labelling Trump and his supporters enforced his prejudice and presuppositions.

Please note that the author asserts that the First Amendment is not enough. Wrong. Dear Sir, the First Amendment is freedom of speech, assembly, press, and religion. There is no right to be heard or receive government subsidies if you’re not.

Then the article goes on to list various grievances that the author has with people due to real or perceived racism. None of the things he lists are the fault of Donald Trump, Parler, or the 75 million people that vote for Trump. Thus, why banning Trump, Parler, or others is a victory—since they’re not part of the problem—just mystifies me.

All of the above is used to justify Some Black Lives Matter as the hope of Blacks due to their “largely peaceful anti-racist protesters in almost every US city”. Sorry but I’ve never been to a peaceful protest that needs police, medical, and fire personnel on call because of how peaceful we were acting. I’ve never been to a peaceful protest where random people were dragged out of their cars, businesses, or homes and beaten because of the color of their skin. Doesn’t the fact that DR. King protested such thuggery mean its not ok to do no matter what color your skin is? How does playing the race card inoculate you from doing what you know is right?

I know BLM in Sacramento has had the District Attorney’s Office under siege for several years which as required the DA to install temporary fencing, hire extra security, and take other precautions due to their “peaceful” nature.

I’m not saying that all BLM protests end with violence and businesses being burned but I have never once heard of BLM trying to police their own and expel those who break the law or cause harm to life and property; thus, a reasonable person can only conclude that such violence is encouraged by the organization. Seems like a strange way for a billion-dollar corporation to behave. (Yes Virginia, Some Black Lives Matter is a corporation worth more than a billion dollars). They spend funds promoting violence while their supporters claim they are poor and voiceless. In the final analysis, it’s just another race based shakedown group.

As an early member of the Black Lives Matter Global Network in the Bay Area, I was among the leaders responsible for managing several BLM Facebook pages, and I witnessed the inequity first hand. I spent hours each day from 2014 until 2017 removing violent racial and gendered harassment, explicitly racist anti-Black language, and even threats to maim and murder Black activists.

I don’t agree with BLM, but I also don’t agree with online harassment. Its that old “do unto others” credo that Jesus taught. Bullying is out of bounds in civil discourse.

Again, I don’t know why Black people need different protection than anyone else. Why don’t we have the same protections for everyone? I thought we believed in equal justice under the law—a core biblical value by the way.

In this context, an absolutist interpretation of the First Amendment—that all speech is equal, that the internet is a sufficiently democratizing force, and that the remedy for harmful speech is more speech—willfully and callously ignores that all speech is not treated equally. A digital divide and algorithmic injustice has fractured the internet, and, together with the racial exclusion of mainstream media, has turned the remedy of more speech into a false solution.

Dear sir, try being a Republican or a Christian if you think Black folks are having a rough time of it. Better yet, take a look at the treatment of Black Republican Christian Conservatives on the Internet and then see how much better that you are doing. None of us has a billion dollars in our bank account to underwrite our movement or hire lawyers if we want to take someone to court.  Sharpton and Jackson don’t come to my aid or theirs when we get dumped on by “the man”.

The article has a few digs at the media and a token shot at “white liberal elitism”. Dude have you never watched ESPN or anything else sports related? The commentary is all about race and rarely about the sport. They spend way more time on athlete’s felony arrests than player trades. The entertainment industry has their diversity quotas to try and stay in your good graces as well. Truth is that the news media tends to give you cover and protection and amplify your message because they agree with you politically and are afraid of offending you. What more do you want of them? You’re just ungrateful; but it always circles back to that subject when discussing liberals.

The author then says that tech companies need to write algorithms to fight hate rather than promote it. However, who gets to write that code and then enforce it? The author presumes that we are stupid sheep and someone—either big government or big tech—needs to care for us. Sorry but trusting either—government or tech—is destined to fail.

Concluding Remarks

The bottom line is that the author is looking for a political solution to solve spiritual problems. Human nature is broken and neither BLM nor any other political interest group can fix the human heart. Civil government was established in part to restrain the acts of evil doers but only God and His Bride the Church can mend the flaws and brokenness inside people. Sin divides us from each other. Dr. King’s vision of a colorblind society is ultimately the work of God’s Holy Spirit. Until we get the logs out of our own eyes, we are ill equipped to get the splinter out of our neighbors. Malkia Devich-Cyril needs to start at the Cross not with Karl Marx if he truly wants to improve the lot of all lives; Black or otherwise.

If BLM was mobilizing their community to shun Planned Parenthood—an organization founded to eliminate Blacks via genocide—and advocating that they look to God and not Washington for assistance, then I would take them a lot more seriously when they claim to be a force for good. Until then, I regard them as a criminal organization using hate and intimidation to achieve political and social aims. Sadly, Some Black Lives Matter is a proudly Marxist organization and thus will never look to God for true justice. Ironically, theirs are much the same tactics that the KKK has historically used on Blacks. Is this an example of the saying that “you become like what you hate?”

Better to love the hell out of someone than beat it out of them.