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[personal profile] amorpha
...about the fact that a lot of people are genuinely shocked by the fact that a person on Tumblr got a death threat from someone in the Tumblr SJ community. (Not so much the person whose post we linked, but... a lot of other people who were responding to it.)

Don't get me wrong. It is NEVER, EVER OKAY to send someone death threats over the Internet or anywhere else. It is never okay to send people threats of violence, and it is definitely not okay to send death threats together with someone's address and a picture of their apartment. No matter whether they've made transphobic and racist comments, no matter what they've said.

I guess... I'm not sure what to think right now. There are a lot of conflicting thoughts going through our head.

One of them is how the Tumblr SJ community has frequently attempted to slap down various people by insinuating that those people are all spoiled privileged teenagers who know nothing about, as a friend put it, The Horrors Of Real Life (tm).

Another one is that we have several friends who have been the targets of death threats. For saying the things they said online. We have friends who have had people post their address and pictures of where they lived online and encouraged other people to go there and kill them. We have friends who have gotten death threats from anonymous people saying that their webpages supposedly encouraged abuse survivors to stop seeing their therapists and taking their meds, and if even one survivor was harmed from doing this, the anonymous person would supposedly hunt down the webmasters and do something violent to them, implied to be murder. (And seemed to believe their case would hold up in court.)

We know other people, friends of friends, who have had people threaten to go to their workplace and take pictures of them, and post the pictures in places where people were already talking about killing them. We've seen, in general, quite a few instances of people in oppressed and hateable communities having pictures and addresses posted on the Internet, along with either death threats or encouragements for other people to kill or hurt them.

So it is horrible. It's never not horrible. But it's hardly something we've never seen before.

This is part of the "real life" that the Tumblr SJ community keeps accusing various people of not understanding or having never seen. A world where people will stalk you and threaten to kill you or encourage other people to kill you because you said something they didn't like. Or even just had an identity they considered hateable. Or were even just accused of having one.

There's irony there that I can't easily put words to. Except that that's not the only vicious thing I've seen done to people, that I've seen people throwing accusations of "you've never seen the real world the way I have" be shocked by. Telling people to kill themselves and sending them detailed suicide instructions. Trolling people by posting hundreds of pictures of dead cats because you know it will trigger them. (As well as people suddenly backing off on being quite so horrified when they learned the target was being targeted for being in a hateable group. Which makes us feel even more cynical.)

And we also wonder, after seeing the way the Tumblr SJ community seemed to be going, how people could expect that this wouldn't happen sooner or later. Given that in many places it seems to be based on... soundbites and encouragement of knee-jerk rage and me-tooing of it. Given how it's developed some nasty memes that seemed to come out of "turnabout is fair play" mentality, like the "die cis scum" thing, that had absolutely fucking nothing to do with any definition of justice as we understand it. (The fact that it's an oppressed group attacking a privileged group doesn't change the fact that it is a nasty thing to do and helps no one.)

I guess in a way, I'm just surprised it took this long for people to start noticing that large portions of the community are not so much interested in "justice" as they are in tearing people down, and in finding more and more and more things and people to attack and convincing themselves they're doing it in the name of righteousness. And not giving a crap about whether the target ever admits to having made a mistake or shows interest in wanting to talk things out, just the shiny promise of having someone new to add to their shit list, someone who Broke The Rules and whom they can now consider an acceptable target.

-S. and Riel
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January 2013

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