It’s cowardly to call for racists to be sacked

Following the violent rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, anti-racists on Twitter are calling for alt-right protesters, Nazis and white supremacists to be sacked from their jobs. An account called ‘@YesYoureRacist’ is helping people to name and shame those identifiable in pictures. One person has already lost his job at a restaurant.

Getting people sacked for expressing racist ideas is not fighting racism. Rather, it is the cowardice, sadly all too typical of what poses as anti-racism today. With no guts to challenge racist scumbags like those at Charlottesville, today’s so-called anti-racists are getting employers to fight their battles for them.

Racist ideas do not miraculously disappear if we threaten to censor people. Those calling for racists to be sacked are not interested in fighting for equal rights for blacks. Instead, they want to attack our freedom of speech and freedom of conscience – freedoms which are important to all of us, black or white. By demanding that others conform, or else lose their jobs and livelihood, they threaten our universal freedom to think what we like and say what we think.

More than that, we risk giving employers the power to fire anybody they think holds the ‘wrong’ ideas. Seemingly, today’s anti-racists believe that bosses have a better sense of morality and social justice than workers.

If you do not have the spine to stand up and fight against racist ideas, and if you do not have the will and energy to defeat those ideas, you should stay hidden under your bed. Sacking and censoring bigots only serves to prevent us from challenging racism out in the open. Driving these hateful opinions underground deprives us of the opportunity to win the argument in the public square, and prove that racism is a backward idea.

If you do not trust that others in society believe in freedom and progressive ideas – if you think that it is only you who can see the light – go and hide. The rest of us will fight for freedom – we will not let cowards run our lives.

Dr Christine Louis-Dit-Sully is a writer and researcher based in Germany.

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