It’s an article of right-wing faith that white people are oppressed by people of color, enabled by nefarious liberals (who are, in this scenario, always imagined to be white). Last week the conservatives got a chance to indulge this fantasy big-time when it was revealed that the New York Times’ latest hire, tech journalist Sarah Jeong, who is Korean American, had over the years made a bunch of OMG-white-people jokes on Twitter; wingnut shit-stirrers circulated these, proclaimed Jeong (everybody say it with me now!) the Real Racist, and demanded white people be treated like a protected group under the 14th Amendment.
“Jeong’s Twitter account is replete with racial insults against white people, whom she has described as ‘groveling goblins,’ ‘bullshit,’ ‘miserable,’ and ‘dogs,'” harrumphed National Review.
“At one point, Jeong tweeted a crude graph claiming that as whiteness increased so did awful,” said Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Thursday. “Later she said that white people smell like dogs.” Carlson suggested Jeong’s tweets could lead to a Nazi purge of white people — a honkycaust, if you will: “Is there really an entire race of people so repulsive, so morally repugnant that it is ‘literally impossible’ to wrong them?… It’s not hard to guess where ideas that like that wind up. We’ve seen it. All of us should be afraid of it.” First they came for the Caucasians…
As an old white man I guess I’m supposed to be offended by Jeong’s tweets, too, but maybe I’m not watching enough Fox News, because to me they’re just bitchy-funny eye-rolls — like her complaint about “white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants”; to me that’s a laugh, while to Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media it’s “not only a profanity-laced tirade, but a tirade comparing people to dogs because of the color of their skin!”
Then there’s her apparent response to news stories about declining white birth rates, “White people have stopped breeding. You’ll all go extinct soon. This was my plan all along,” and sass like “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men,” etc. Not nice, but I mean are these guys new to Twitter?
Some Jeong material conservatives just wrenched out of context. Take her 2014 tweet, “Are white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins,” which PJ Media’s Tyler said “suggested a whole race of people were unfit for above ground habitation due to the color of their skin”; but that tweet Jeong had preceded with “G O T T A H E A R B O T H S i d e s — Andrew Sullivan,” suggesting it was a reaction to Sullivan’s widely-known insistence that he only promotes Charles Murray’s theory that black people are intellectually inferior to whites because otherwise that theory would be unfairly suppressed.
Still, many conservatives pretended Jeong’s “White Guys Drive a Car Like This” jokes were hate crimes and leapt to defend white people from her genocidal rage.
When people tried to explain that minority-group punching up is different from majority-group punching down, conservatives pretended to be mystified. At Hot Air John Sexton said Jeong was “the elite punching down, not the victim punching up,” because “the average household income of Asian Americans is higher than it is for whites or any other group,” plus she went to Harvard, while “there are plenty of white people out there who are not doing particularly well in terms of wealth, or drug addiction, or life expectancy at the moment.” Jeong’s the real oppressor, attacking whatever poor hillbillies were following her on Twitter.
David French even suggested at National Review that Jeong’s tweets might get white people killed: “The problem with anti-white racism is…it can and does create individual injustice in those instances where anti-white racism manifests itself in more than just tweets and academic journals.” It’s an intersectional knockout game!
At The Federalist Joy Pullmann actually topped French, comparing Jeong to alt-right neo-Nazis. “Put the shoe on the alt-right foot, and it fits perfectly,” Pullmann claimed. “‘We were just imitating the rhetoric of people who called us racists by actually being racists.’ ‘We were just counter-trolling.’ ‘Our racism was intended as satire.’” Of course, the alt-right guys, unlike Jeong, actually physically attack their enemies, and in fact killed a woman in Charlottesville — which Pullmann knows, because she mentioned that in her first graf.
“If it wishes to be consistent,” Pullmann continued, “The New York Times owes President Trump, Jordan Peterson, and the alt-right an apology for labeling them racists for doing the precise same thing The New York Times did this week.” Wait, so the Times put brown-skinned immigrant babies in cages to be sexually abused, and deported a U.S. veteran’s brown-skinned wife? The Mainstream Media is more powerful than I ever imagined!
“‘Cops f—king suck’ and ‘they’re f—king horrible,’ according to this Harvard Law alumna, who hates the men and women whose job it is to enforce the law,” sputtered Robert Stacy McCain — yes, the American Spectator honest-to-God got McCain, a former member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, to bitch about Jeong. McCain also wrote, “Ms. Jeong has routinely expressed her total contempt for males,” and lamented that “no one at Harvard or at the New York Times will speak a word in favor of white people, Christians, heterosexuals, or police officers.”
Andrew Sullivan inevitably weighed in, seeming less mad at Jeong than at the white race traitors who refused to be as enraged as he was: “Scroll through left-Twitter and you find utter incredulity that demonizing white people could in any way be offensive,” he gasped. “That’s the extent to which loathing of and contempt for ‘white people’ is now background noise on the left.” They’ve gone native, like the white captives in The Searchers!
Sullivan iced the cake by complaining about the “goblins” line — he said Jeong was treating “an entire race as subhuman” — without knowing, or at least pretending not to know, that Jeong had been responding to his own writing.
Amazingly, the Times didn’t fold like wet cardboard, but said they’d had a talk with Jeong, asked her not to do it again, and would keep her. Not exactly John Peter Zenger, but not bad for the Times. And Jeong’s former employer, The Verge, basically told the wingnuts to fuck off, saying “journalists have been increasingly targeted by people acting in bad faith who do not care about the work they do, the challenges they face, or the actual context of their statements,” and “online trolls and harassers want us, the Times, and other newsrooms to waste our time by debating their malicious agenda…. This is not a good-faith conversation; it’s intimidation. So we’re not going to fall for these disingenuous tactics.”
Once it sunk in that Jeong wasn’t going anywhere, conservatives responded that they didn’t want her fired, really — they just wanted to make the point that Jeong, The New York Times, and liberals are racist against white people.
“We don’t want to see her fired because of a mob,” wrote Twitchy (which, given their ten posts on Jeong in four days, clearly qualifies as part of that mob). “The whole thing just makes it perfectly clear who The New York Times considers a good addition to the team.”
“Jeong should not be fired…. But we must be clear that The New York Times is being dishonest,” wrote David Marcus at The Federalist. “It is now acceptable to insult and denigrate white people as a whole in a way that even a decade ago was viewed as entirely unacceptable.”
“It is actually better for us that the NYT not fire Jeong,” wrote one of many “free-speech activists” on Twitter. “If they were to fire her, it might cause anti-whites to hide a little more, but keeping anti-whiteness in the shadows prevents redpilling. Not firing her provides clear evidence to all of the NYT‘s anti-whiteness.”
They obviously think this’ll work out for them. After all, their leader has shown that you can win the presidency at least once with almost no POC support — why can’t conservative media do the same? In fact, for many of them it’s obviously liberating: Last weekend on Fox News, Jesse Watters, a racial humor expert, had comedian Terrence K. Williams on to call Jeong “Chinese, Japanese, or Crazy-nese” and say “something is wrong with the fortune cookies Ling Ling is eating.”
Conservative commenters on Twitter exulted over this: “I’m sorry but the press just got done saying racist comments were ok,” “Aren’t these fun new rules the NYT created great for everyone!” etc. Count me in, too: I’m looking forward to these guys coming out with ever more racist material and explaining to the public that it’s the fault of some tech columnist 99.9 percent of them have never heard of. Let’s see what normal people think about that. One way or another, it’ll be an education.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 6, 2018