Sarah Jeong- editorial board member at New York Times has received backlash for her racially insensitive tweets. Even when her tweets date back to years, they recently resurfaced. Sarah Jeong joined the NY Times on Wednesday. Later, everybody came up against the newspaper for hiring a person who has openly supported racism. Despite public opinion, the NY Times intends to stick to its original hiring choice of Sarah Jeong. It claimed that it reviewed the candidate’s social media accounts before taking her on board. And that the content of the tweets under discussion was unacceptable, but it was before she joined the company. Further, the NY Times added that Sarah Jeong’s hiring was solely based on her exceptional work of covering both the internet and technology at a range of respected publications.
NY Times even made an attempt to justify Sarah Jeong and the controversial tweets. The press company added that being a young Asian woman, Jeong had often been the subject of online harassment. And that she responded by imitating the rhetoric of her harassers. Further, the NY Times said that such responses are not condoned by the company at any cost. Sarah Jeong herself has seen that her previous approach was just adding vitriol and has expressed her regret for those tweets. She claimed that she understands that her posts were hurtful to the general audience. But she reassured people that they were targeting the harassers only. In a statement, while regretting her tweets, Sarah Jeong added that,
I engaged in what I thought of at the time of counter-trolling. While it was intended as satire, I deeply regret that I mimicked the language of my harassers.
What is Sarah Jeong blamed for?
A few years back, Sarah Jeong made a couple of tweets voicing her opinions on white people. Her comments can be regarded as offensive, racist and insensitive to a large audience. The tweets have now been deleted. In one of them, Sarah Jeong was expressing the joy she got from being cruel to old white men. In another, she abused white people for adding their opinions on the internet. She even made a comparison to a dog pissing on a fire hydrant. In the third tweet from 2014, Sarah Jeong targeted the white people’s ability to get sunburnt faster than other people. She added that considering the quality, they are meant to live underground like goblins. Around the same time that year, Jeong started using a hashtag that once again attacked white people- #CancelWhitePeople.
Does Racism have a definition anymore?
Considering the diversity and trends in society today, it has become practically impossible to place the ‘racist’ label on anyone anymore. So who is exactly racist? For every situation, we can find people who agree with somebody’s comments and people who go against it. Be it tweets from James Gunn or Sarah Jeong.
Even when it comes to Jeong’s racist tweets, a huge number out there would believe that she was right and might even join her spreading hatred against white people. These could be from any ethnicity, Asians or African Americans or white people themselves. But most of the white people seem to condemn Jeong’s racist tweets and consider it spiteful and hurtful. What’s confusing about all this is the fact that it’s not clear whether all these white people are genuinely hurt or perhaps some of them don’t like the taste of their own medicine. History clearly states that it has almost always been the white people who were perpetuating racism and hatred against the non-whites. But does it make all right to spew hatred against every white person in the world? Isn’t there a little hypocrisy going on here then?
Where Do We Draw The Line
In the world that we live in today, it has become impossible to draw boundaries between what is offensive and what is not. An honest opinion from somebody could offend another person. As a society, we might have just become so sensitive that one’s personal beliefs or support for a particular agenda are deemed as offensive by many. So practically, there is nothing universally or objectively offensive anymore. It might just be your audience and timing that can determine if a comment will become a controversy or not.
With people like Sarah Jeong, who made racist tweets just to imitate her harassers, a whole new culture of bitter vengeance is taking over. Fighting fire with fire is just adding to the current racism we have in society. Evil by no means wipes out evil, and this is clearly obvious. Degrading another person just the way they targeted you is depriving us of ethics collectively and no good solution will ever emerge to this complex problem such as racism.
Even when we can’t pick sides as to whether Sarah Jeong’s racist tweets have a justification or not, one thing can is for sure, defining racism is no longer that simple, and labeling content to be racist or offensive is not an easy task either.