January 5, 2012 5 Comments
A bit of a twitter storm, eh what?
As reported all over the shop, Diane Abbott tweeted something last night that got a few people’s backs up:
I understand that the tweet was quite quickly deleted by Abbott, but not before it had been retweeted across the Twit-o-globe.
There have been myriad tweets of outrage and disgust at her outburst, and her attempt this morning to explain the comment away was feeble to say the least.
Toby Young thinks that her tweet was racist.
But the thing is this:
In and of itself, with or without context, the only thing that is wrong with Diane’s tweet is that it is logically fallacious.
I don’t care if it’s racist or not. Everyone’s a little bit racist, as the song goes.
I don’t even care that she is guilty of hypocrisy. We all are.
The problem is this. Diane Abbott has been a prominent member of a movement and a government that has lobbied and legislated for an environment in which people have to be careful what they say, for fear of being accused of racism, sexism, homophobia, sectarianism or some other bigotry.
Those who would seek offence have been empowered with the coercive force of the law.
Society and its discourse have been all the poorer for it in the last 10 years.
Those of us who hold forth views for discussion on the Internet, or in any other debating forum, are constantly walking on egg-shells around any number of ‘delicate’ subjects, lest the full force not just of opprobrium but of the law be brought down upon our heads.
So when someone like Diane Abbott breaks one of the eggshells, she has to be shown forcefully and mercilessly what the consequences of that are, in the stifling and oppressive environment that she has helped to create.
I’m given to believe that she has now issued an apology. Of sorts. She does not believe that she was making generalisations about white people. Well look, Diane, I don’t care, frankly and I wish that we lived in a society where your tweet ne’er raised so much as an eyebrow.
But we don’t, and it’s your fault. Suck it up.