Read the whole thing on The Black Kids Table.
It looks like everyone on Tumblr’s support staff failed basic Civics and Economics, so let me tell you how freedom of speech works. Your freedoms end where mine begin. You may have the right to blog all you want about Neo-Nazism and Culturalism, but the moment you enter someone else’s space and threaten them, you have violated their freedom. Tumblr explicitly places the rights of white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and violent racists over the rights of black and brown people who’ve committed no other crime than talking about their daily lives.
To add the cherry to the bullshit sundae, Tumblr has been known to go as far as blaming the victims for their abuse. I once sent an email to Tumblr support about a user who had basically made his entire blog a dedication to adding racist commentary to everything I said. Tumblr’s response: “It sounds like you’re both to blame here.” There are dozens if not hundreds of users who can give similar accounts of Tumblr staff’s mismanagement of abuse complaints by blaming the victim for the problem. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I had the nerve to talk about racism, so a white person has every right to call me a nigger. Right. Okay. Cool story. It’s gotten to the point where most recent death threats aren’t even reported because users are not confident that Tumblr staff will help them.
This isn’t the treatment everyone gets though. When Laci Green, an inexplicably popular Youtuber, first came to Tumblr, she faced immediate criticism due to some Islamaphobic and cissexist comments she’d made in the past. A few overactive trolls hurled death threats in her direction. She, however, received the full cooperation of Tumblr staff and even the local police authorities. When a story about a Jewish man assuming a black woman was a prostitute began burning up everyone’s dashboards, people requested the story be removed from Tumblr so as to not cause judgement against the Jewish community. Not only did Tumblr remove the original post, they began deleting the post from people’s blogs once it was re-posted. Anyone have a guess as to why those complaints were responded to aggressively? Could it have been because those victims were white? Survey says…
They were white. The message is clear here: if you’re black or brown on Tumblr and want to receive messages, you have to endure abuse.
This probably dates me seriously, but I remember when Tumblr/David Karp changed its policies on when they would delete a blog to include harassment and personal attacks so that they could delete a handful of blogs that were being mean to Julia Allison. This resulted in a permanent change to Tumblr’s community guidelines to include:
Malicious Bigotry. Don’t actively promote violence or extreme hatred against individuals or groups, on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation. While we firmly believe that the best response to hateful speech is not censorship but more speech, we will take down malicious bigotry, as defined here.
Impersonation, Stalking, or Harassment. Treat the community the way you’d like to be treated. Don’t attempt to circumvent the Block feature. If you want to parody or ridicule a public figure (and who doesn’t?), don’t try to trick readers into thinking you are actually that public figure.
These guidelines were put in place specifically in order to justify taking action against bloggers picking on a white woman, so why am I not surprised these policies aren’t enforced when it comes to POC? In fact, it seems as if Tumblr’s unofficial, but obviously in-use policy for dealing with people being called racial epithets (often repeatedly) or receiving threats of violence and death from other users is in fact NOT to take action against harassers and instead to blame the non-white recipient of harassment. Of course.These policies weren’t meant to protect POC.
I have nothing to add to this, other than to reemphasize that Tumblr support routinely blames the victim and ignores harassment to POC. Read Dion’s whole article.
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