A toxic stew…
SARAH JEONG AND THE MEDIA ALT-LEFT
When we talk about the alt-Left, we’re talking about the media.
Ever since the New York Times decided to hire racist blogger Sarah Jeong, despite her history of hateful tweets about white people, “the world could get by just fine with zero white ppl and the thing stopping POC (people of color) is…a disinclination toward genocide?”, white women, men, heterosexuals and Christians, and then refused to part ways with her (unlike its treatment of previous hire, Quinn Norton, whom the left had accused of homophobia based on a few tweets, despite her being gay), the debate has been about all the wrong things.
Jeong isn’t really the issue. Her racism is typical of an influential subset of the left.
Some of the pro and anti Jeong essays briefly circle around the actual problem before quickly zooming away. Andrew Sullivan writes in his anti-Jeong essay of the “extent to which loathing of and contempt for ‘white people’ is now background noise on the left”. Vox’s Zack Beauchamp, wrote in his pro-Jeong essay that comments such as hers in the “the social justice left” about “white people” are typical.
But what part of the “social justice left” or “left” is really producing Sarah Jeongs?
To answer that question we have to talk about what no one really talks about, the alt-left. Unlike the alt-right, a subject of numerous essays, news reports and investigative pieces, the internet culture of racism, misandry and heterophobia that is the millennial alt-left is mostly undocumented.
The alt-left’s norms of discourse are defined by the same harsh contempt and winking racism that appear in Sarah Jeong’s tweets. It’s an internet culture where “white people” is an inherently derogatory term and new slurs, such as “caucasity”, are coined. Ironic racism is defined as “resistance” to whiteness. And what better way to resist whiteness than with racial slurs aimed at white people?
Sarah Jeong’s hateful tweets aren’t extraordinary examples of one woman’s bigotry. They’re variations on the typical memes and jokes on the alt-left. When we talk about Jeong’s racism, we’re really talking about the bigotry of an intersectional movement that is obsessed with punitively destroying the “privilege” of white people and other majority groups with racist memes, taunts and harassment.