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Why is The Daily Dot, smooth and sassy website of ‘the internet community’, publishing racist nonsense?

23 July 2014

The Daily Dot, founded less than two years ago, is best read while sipping the flattest of flat white coffees. I love it, even though it’s not pitched at me: most of its 11 million monthly unique visitors are ‘millennials’. No UK site integrates tech news into the broader culture so expertly. This is what you can find on the Daily Dot home page right now: ‘A guide to Silicon Valley’s top political donors’; ‘How the paleo diet developed into a cult of nonsense’; ‘Anonymous goes to war with Israel’; ‘Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler freaked out by giant reporter’. Those headlines were brewed by some of the world’s best digital baristas.

Alas, when it comes to America’s culture wars between liberals and conservatives, the Daily Dot follows the lead of Salon and Slate: nuance flies out of the window. Also on the homepage: ’17 things white people need to know about #YesAllBlackPeople’, a post by Derrick Clifton, a black journalist and activist. ‘YesAllBlackPeople’ is a Twitter hashtag that ridicules the mantra that ‘not all white people are racists’. Clifton insists that all black people experience racism, sometimes in the form of white anti-racism.

That’s a defensible position. But Clifton’s ’17 things’ range from crude generalisations to race-baiting garbage. For example:

#YesAllBlackPeople contend with whites dictating to us how we should talk about racism, instead of taking our lead in the conversation… 

#YesAllBlackPeople know better than Webster’s Dictionary what racism actually means. We’re living it. Don’t whitesplain it to us. (Webster’s and Oxford English Dictionaries are largely white-controlled purveyors of language.) 

#YesAllBlackPeople have to often racially code switch as a method of survival and getting ahead, because our authentic expressions are seen as inferior to whites. 

#YesAllBlackPeople would prefer to share their lives, experiences and struggles without being seen as the representative of all people from their racial group.

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With that last point Clifton blows his own argument to smithereens, but he doesn’t seem to have noticed. As for the other stuff, it’s patronising, infantile – ‘whitesplain’, for God’s sake – and, yes, racist. All black people do not ‘racially code switch’, a creepy concept which implies that when they speak the same language as whites they are suppressing their ‘authentic’ voices. Can you imagine a conservative writer being allowed to make that claim?

This crazy rant isn’t the only nonsense about race on the Daily Dot. Dexter Thomas, a ‘scholar of hip-hop and contemporary culture at Cornell University’, has written an article entitled ‘Is “Black Twitter” dead?‘ His argument is more complicated than Clifton’s. In fact, it’s so messy that it’s hard to describe, but his conclusion is that white society now dictates what black people are supposed to find funny – to the extent that it can dispense with actual black people.

‘We might not have gotten there yet with machines, but it looks like black culture has probably hit a point of Cultural Singularity. We’ve spent the past 400 years as a society generating data points about what black people are supposed to look, think, and act like. Now, finally, the machine that is capitalism has begun to move on its own. It is creating its own content. Don’t get me wrong: the idea of black people is still entertaining, but black people are no longer required to provide that entertainment.’

Would the Daily Dot publish such loopy, inflammatory material if it related to, say, the architecture of the internet or the regulation of Bitcoin? No. But race, along with abortion and the fortunes of the GOP, falls into the category of hot-button topics in which debate is policed by the liberal tribe. Editorial standards fall victim to the exigencies of the culture wars.

This sickness has infected so much of the smartest online journalism; I’m constantly on the verge of banishing Slate from my Twitter feed because its tweets are written by the Left-wing equivalent of Michelle Bachmann. The problem won’t be solved until ‘millennials’ reject the Manichean division of society into liberals and conservatives, white and black. The Daily Dot could help abolish these blind allegiances. Instead, it commissions Derrick Clifton. That’s a crying shame.

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Show comments
  • Kevin T

    Just more of the Balkanisation so beloved of the left. Everyone can be put into a group that is oppressed by all the people not in it. Thank god the State (ie: well paid left wingers) is there to save us!

  • FrankS2

    What is the “flat” coffee referred to in the first par?

  • tjamesjones


  • The Masked Marvel

    Damian, you should check out @SalonNotCom, @FakeSalonDotCom, and @vauxnews (a parody of their fellow travelers, Vox). Then see if you can tell which is the real one before you’ve had your morning coffee.

    • clavdivs

      Those are pretty good!

      • The Masked Marvel

        The Progressive non-liberals at Twitter shut the original one (@Salondotcom) down after the Progressive non-liberals at Salon made an infringement complaint. Otherwise known as crushing dissent.

  • Julie

    Apply the law of diminishing returns when (for example) real and serious conversations on ‘corporate colonialism’ are evaded, and the distant promise of a female presidency elides into sexual innuendo, allied with those culpably elite campaigns for eugenics and the abortuary.

    • mohdanga


  • ohforheavensake

    Dear me. The argument’s simple: if you’re black, you get stereotyped (see most of the people who post here, on the DT’s blogs, and on Mail Online for a pretty exact idea of what the stereotypes are). What he’s pointing out is that the stereotype bears no relation to the truth; so it’s self-perpetuating.

    And along comes Damian, fresh from the DT (and I’d guess still smarting from his ignominious exit), and writes a whole load of rubbish on the topic. This, at least never changes.

    • GraveDave

      Unfortunately, some racial stereotypes do bear relation to the truth.
      I too wish it were not so. But in some communities it so often is.

    • Kevin T

      FFS everyone stereotypes and gets steorotyped. You manage to stereotype people in the very same sentence you’re using to critcise the stereotyping of blacks but hey, those are people that CAN be stereotyped because you don’t like them, isn’t that right?

  • fundamentallyflawed

    Its always “white” people who are racist. Who is white – I presume they mean anyone who isn’t in their own particular ethnic group. Are mixed race “blacks” black or white? Should we lump Jamaican Black in with African Blacks for cultural referencing purposes. The problem with anyone who attempts to frame the debate from a racist point of view is that they cannot do so without being racist, but this simple point is simply ignored within their own outpouring of hate.

    • GraveDave

      Thirty odd years of showing the evils of slavery in all its graphic illustrative glory, and then a smiling white face behind it all.

    • mohdanga

      Of course whites are racist, that’s why blacks, Asians, Arabs, Hispanics want to get into white, Western countries.

  • sarahsmith232

    Race – ‘the category of hot-button topics in which debate is policed by the liberal tribe. Editorial standards fall victim to the exigencies of the culture wars.’
    Absolutely spot on with that. One of the things I rail against on a daily basis, never been able to put so well though.
    The moment offending a minority group became a sackable offence was our downfall. Enoch Powell was it’s very first casualty. Ray Honeyford 16yrs later. The list is now endless, the sackings reaching into every little corner of society for the merest transgression, teens convicted for the crime of being drunk, obnoxious and armed with a Twitter account.
    No independent mind can now legally take on the likes of Abbott, whoever this Derek idiot is, Alhai-Brown and all the rest of their idiot ilk. Viciously humiliating Abbott and Alhai-Brown can’t legally take place on television. Making a documentary that tears the likes of these Lee Jasper-esque blathering half-wits apart would have you up in court facing a hate crime trial (in fact, that’s already happened, the male that worked to get the Bangladeshi community established in Tower Hamlets was heavily criticizing him on the internet, he had him up, he’s now been convicted of a racially motivated hate crime, he’s no longer legally allowed to write anything on the internet.)
    So they get to stew in their stupidity, with nothing that’s willing to bring them up short by explaining their stupidity and hypocrisy to them. It’s the Labourite Left that created the laws, the quango’s policing this are their appointees, our TV is heavily regulated by them, the result is that non-white’s can’t understand themselves and how they relate to their ‘the white’ outside of these confines dictated to them by the looney, extremist, (oh, the irony – the absolutely white) Left.

    • GraveDave

      Yes, the ‘Labourite Left’ certainly enacted lots of bad legislation. But it wasn’t The Labourite Left sacked Enoch Powell.

      • sarahsmith232

        I don’t agree that it wasn’t their doing.
        Why do you think it was the East End dockers that were lining the streets in support of Powell? He was a Birmingham constituency MP. His speech covered what was taking place there. Most people believe it was because they were just the most stupidiest e.g’s of the white working-class that wanted immigration ended, possibly the most well organised because of their jobs.
        Actually, it was because they’d worked like slaves during the blitz, the government had promised them that their reward would be brand, spanking new homes. The conditions that they were living in were a national disgrace, they all desperately needed new homes.
        Well, what was it that the Labour gov’ did the moment they began with their immigration? No prizes for guessing – were only too happy to screw them out of their promised homes so that they could give them to the newly arrived.
        What’s the reason why you wouldn’t know that? ‘Cause the Left dominated media has effectively emerged histories victor and has rewritten our social history to suit their Left-wing politics. Society would have been viewing Enoch Powell’s speech via their (the BBC’s) prism, limiting your understanding it’s rights and wrongs. Plus, also, he was a rival for the Tory leadership, leaping at the opportunity to cut down a rival is hardly surprising but it was due to the understanding of his speech set out for society via the Left.
        They did for him alright, he was absolutely right to give that speech, if only more had listened.

    • ButcombeMan

      ‘Viciously humiliating Abbott and Alhai-Brown (sic) can’t legally take place on television’

      And watch Portillo’s face.

  • Mike Stallard

    I never read the Daily Dot.
    I am never going to.
    As to racism – honi soit qui mal y pense. (It is best left to racists.)

    • GraveDave

      I’ve never heard of it either.

  • Liz

    So, in a nutshell, you’re dictating how black people should talk about racism.

    • mohdanga

      They can talk about it any way they want, it’s all going to be the same ending anyway, ‘whitey is racist, England is racist, the West is racist, we want reparations, we want special treatment’.
      And yet blacks continue to stream into the UK. Funny that.

      • Liz

        If it’s so good being black, why don’t you get a skin treatment and reap the rewards?

        • mohdanga

          Brilliant response! The typical leftwing ‘whitey is racist’, ‘white privilege’ mindset. Africa is 99.9% black/Arab yet the place is a cr*phole…is this whitey’s fault? Once the white countries are overrun who will they blame next? The Chinese? The Muslims? The Hispanics?
          Again, why do blacks continue to come to white countries? It would seem illogical to migrate to countries that are so racist and bigoted. Surely they would feel more welcome in other black countries?

          • Liz

            I guess for the same reason English people keep pouring into Spain even though the Spanish hate them.

            • mohdanga

              Yes, a perfect analogy. Let’s compare poor, 3rd world blacks/Muslims with a foreign cultures who don’t/won’t assimilate into Britain and collect massive social benefits and who are permanently changing the demographic makeup to British pensioners who buy vacation properties in Spain to spend the winters or British vacationers who spend a week in Ibiza.
              I’m sure if the British pensioners sold their properties and British vacationers stopped holidaying in Spain the Spanish gov’t and tourist industry would be doing their utmost to get them to come back. Don’t think the British public, who have seen their country irreparably damaged by this influx of enrichers, would be going to the barricades if the gov’t stopped this massive immigration.

              • Liz

                So, it’s okay to irritate the locals as long as you’ve got money?

  • edlancey

    “Whitesplain” is catchy. Blackspain doesn’t quite capture it’s Black equivalent though.
    Cracksplain works better.

  • The_Missing_Think

    Comments are open.

  • mattghg

    “Editorial standards fall victim to the exigencies of the culture wars.”

    Sounds like nearly every linked post on my Facebook news feed.

    mattghg’s conjecture: the older you get, the more that things your “friends” post on Facebook will p1$s you off.

  • alabenn

    All people are racist, the worst of all are those who deny it, birds of a feather is what rules ethnic groups.
    The people who came over in the fifties are still a homogenous group basically living in the same areas.
    White people in the ex colonies in Africa still live in little European enclaves, no mixing with the natives, that is why they will never be able to say they are African, they probably will never want to.
    Even different religious groups mainly flock together, nothing will change nature, get over your multi culti fantasies it will never happen, even Asians and Africans grade themselves on skin tone, a paler woman is regarded as more desirable in most racial groups.

    • Mike Stallard

      All cultures are different and, of course, different cultures stick together. French people and English people on holiday keep to themselves although all are of the same race. On the other hand, I have no more difficulty in teaching a Ghanayan than I do a Lithuanian, although we are both of different races.

  • Julieann Carter

    A passionate piece & one where the overriding theme is how liberals still control the debate. I couldn’t agree more.
    I’ve just read yet another online “debate” where conservative thinkers are crushed into reframing and modifying their arguments to suit the terms of modern day acceptability. Where “passion” is defined as reactionary and aggressive, should that persons sincerely held views not conform to the liberal consensus. Where the blatantly racist comments of one, are either ignored, or protected as “understandable” with often drawn out, historically explained, counter supporting arguments.
    Discuss favourite flavour of crisps, or such like; and all are free to opine on equal terms.

    • Jack

      A lot of people who label themselves liberal, or are labelled that way by others, aren’t really liberal in the slightest, by any definition of the word. There are some liberals who live quietly and have great respect for conservative values; in fact, there are very liberal people who are, for example, economically conservative. And weirdly, some people who claim to be conservative seem oddly, and very enthusiastically, radical. The debate, especially in the abyss of the internet, is poisoned by reactionary people on every supposed ‘side’.

  • Damian Thompson

    The “gotten” is from the Dexter Thomas article: the machine accidentally stripped out the indentation but it’s been fixed now. Actually, “gotten” is one of the few Americanism I like.

    • salieri

      Mea culpa. Oratio obliqua is such a minefield, inni’ bro

    • Colonel Mustard

      Actually ‘gotten’ is from Middle English but has just fallen out of use here.

      • JoeDM

        Like many other so-called Americanisms.

  • salieri

    But Damian, did you really need to go online – “gotten”: what a give-away – to discover that nobody is more ‘racist’ than people who lecture on racism, define racism and rant about racism (of the wrong kind, of course)?

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