White Supremacists Deplatforming Is Only A Slippery Slope Because You ONLY Defend The Worst

I’ve been simmering on the slippery slope argument that is the default out of tech bros when any freedom of speech argument emerges on the landscape lately. As some meaningful deplatforming of white supremacy is occurring, where tech companies are removing the accounts, data, content, and media of white supremacists, we see the predictable wave(s) of slippery slope arguments in response–if you start targeting the free speech of the worst, you are potentially damaging the free speech of everyone.

This is an argument I ignorantly made for many years, taking the messaging I’d heard around me, and parroted it out as requested by the machine around me. From my current vantage point, I can’t help but see this behavior as being in the service of the white dominated machine, and I am just doing my part to defend white supremacy, and working faithfully in service of the machine and the defense it provides me. All of this leaves me thinking: Why can’t we move the line back? Why does deplatforming hate speech from white supremacists a slippery slope?

It is only a slippery slope because us white dudes do not defend anywhere else along the slope. When you have friends of color up and down the slope, which you are defending free speech in the name of, the slope isn’t slippery at all–you have allies, and people you love all along the way. Because you have their back when it comes to free speech each and every day, they have your back. It is the fact that you only spend time defending the worst of the worst at the top, and do not have any friends you are defending regularly along the way, that the slope becomes slippery, and terrifying for you.

Why is the worst free speech white supremacy? What about sexual predators? Are you defending the free speech of sexual predators? To talk online about what they do? No. Because you have drawn the line between being a sexual predators as bad, and white supremacy speech as well, not that bad, because I’m white, or I need to perform for my white community because I need to remain part of what is going on. The worst free speech isn’t white supremacy, you have just made the decision to draw the line there, based upon where you feel comfortable, or do not feel comfortable. The fact that you don’t have any friends of color up and down the slope, is what makes you feel comfortable drawing the line here. The more friends of color you have, the less you will make this argument.

If you are making a slippery slope argument around the deplatforming of white supremacists lately have you thought deeply about why you feel it is a slippery slope? Do you know where you originally got this argument? I do. My racists, gun-toting, libertarian step-father. The current wave of deplatforming is only bad if we aren’t transparent about it, and do not engage in conversation with our platform communities around the deplatforming that is occurring. I think Paypal has done a fine job of making the language precise, and we can do this without it being a slipper slope. I feel that arguments against transparent, communicative, observable technology deplatforming is just in service of the current white dominated machine, which us white bros are programmed from an early age to defend.