Saturday, August 21, 2010

James Baldwin can't get past Huffpo Censorhip

Here is a comment from Izzyidol that I thought was especially interesting so I'm making it a new post:

Once I realized (and later confirmed with a moderator) they use a robot sorter and editor, decided to test the Bot. I already knew the community moderation system was a ToadyTotalitarian mess because it is that way at dKos and I recognized the symptoms.
I got mad at this stupid woman pretending to be a progressive liberal who created her own little fascist empire. I calmed down. Then I complained to a moderator. Useless. So then I decided to create a test. I call it the Huffpo Consumer Censorship/Community Moderation Test. The results were fascinating.

I posted a quotation from James Baldwin on a thread about race and language. I did not know about the Bot, but I suspected it was there. The quote comes from the introduction to the Fire Next Time, a seminal book about race relations in America. There is no better indictment of using the N word than this sentence. But James Baldwin does not make it through the censor. The problem? In the quote James Baldwin uses a word the Bot does not like at all. How can you have a reasonable discussion when things you post that are relevant and poignant are censored. Here is the quote:

"You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a 'nigger.' I tell you this because I love you, and please don't you ever forget it."


  1. Thank you. There was more to the test I created:

    I posted two songs from Hair. For those who don't know the musical, it was a work of art that was a direct response to the Civil Rights struggle and racism. I will post the two songs below.

    Black Boys is one part of a two part piece. Black women sing about how beautiful white men are, and then white women sing about how beautiful black men are. A trio of White Women sing and dance:

    Black boys are delicious
    Chocolate flavored love
    Licorice lips like candy
    Keep my cocoa handy
    I have such a sweet tooth
    When it comes to love

    Once I tried a diet
    Of quiet, rest, no sweets
    But I went nearly crazy
    And I went clearly crazy
    Because I really craved for
    My chocolate flavored treats

    Black boys are nutritious
    Black boys fill me up
    Black boys are so damn yummy
    They satisfy my tummy
    I have such a sweet tooth
    When it comes to love
    Black black black black
    black black black black
    Black boys

    First, the song was censored by the Bot, which marked it as needing human intervention. A human then decided that it was not racist and the song reappeared.

    The second song was Colored Spade. There is no song that indicts white racism in America that is more scathing. It was censored completely:

    I'm a
    Colored spade
    A nigger
    A black nigger
    A jungle bunny
    Jigaboo coon
    Pickaninny mau mau

    Uncle Tom
    Aunt Jemima
    Little Black Sambo

    Cotton pickin'
    Swamp guinea
    Junk man
    Shoeshine boy

    Elevator operator
    Table cleaner at Horn & Hardart
    Slave voodoo
    Ubangi lipped

    Flat nose
    Tap dancin'
    Resident of Harlem

    And president of
    The United States of Love
    I said President of
    The United States of Love

    (and for dinner at the White House you're going to feed him:)

    Hominy grits
    An' shortnin' bread
    Alligator ribs
    Some pig tails
    Some black eyed peas
    Some chili
    Some collard greens

    And if you don't watch out
    This boogie man will get you
    So you say.

    Evidently in Huffpo land it is okay to screw black men but you should not let them speak. One more test to go.

  2. Many of us have been banned from Huffington Post and our profiles arbitrarily deleted without any reason other than censorship. We did not violate any of the posted rules and were neither rude nor vulgar in any way.


    1. A group has drafted a petition protesting the Huffington Post ‘s censorship, including “ongoing abuses of both HP policy and the principles of open democratic civil discourse.” The group plans to publish “incidents of arbitrary and ongoing censorship at the Huffington Post. Our main concern is a pattern of censorship extending far beyond the parameters of Huffington Post's moderation policies.”
    For more information: You can email:

    2. Have you been banned from commenting and/or had your profile deleted by the Huffington Post? Please send your examples to: for the blog, “Banned From Huffpo”:

    3. In addition to the above, can someone who has a related website/blog create a table or list on a website or webpage where people who have been banned and/or had their profile deleted by Huff Po could list the following:

    • their screen name
    • title of the article involved
    • date they were banned/profile deleted

    Posting such a list would let the facts speak for themselves! We could watch the list grow and then call out Huffington Post out on their censorship.

    4. There are a number of blogs, blog posts, and discussion groups about censorship at Huffington Post. A few are listed below:















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