Thursday, January 2, 2020

Political Bullshit To Watch Out For In 2020


Happy New Decade! It's an election year, so regardless of the outcome, there's going to be more than the usual political hell. As more Democratic candidates drop out (RIP Julian Castro), we're already seeing bot accounts and general bullshit surging on social media, and the best way to combat bullshit is awareness.

I'll probably be doing a number of posts on this subject, but let's start with the recycled Bernie Sanders issue. Just like in 2016, there's a split between more centrist liberals and die-hard Bernie fans and both sides are being fucking horrible about it. Whether you support Bernie or not, you need to be aware of two key bits of bullshit happening right now.

The first is a right-wing attempt to smear Bernie Sanders as being antisemitic. And yes, Bernie is Jewish. Worse, to counter the obvious point of "uuuhhhhhh he's fuckin' JEWISH," some of the far-right is trying to claim that he's not REALLY Jewish because blah blah blah the reasons don't matter, any of this kind of shit is antisemitic. Me and my fellow gentiles, especially, do not get to decide who is Jewish enough or whatever, nor do we get to decide if/how Bernie should act if one of his staffers or supporters does or says something antisemitic, and we don't get to decide what is or isn't antisemitic.

There is such a thing as internalized bigotry, but any of this kind of rhetoric coming from someone who is not Jewish needs to be shut the fuck down.

Secondly, people are already noticing the emergence of mass numbers of Twitter bots dedicated to sowing hatred between Black and Jewish communities. Keep an eye out for accounts claiming to be of Black individuals being grossly antisemitic as well as accounts claiming to be of Jewish individuals being grossly anti-black. One of the latter in particular was so egregious that even CNN picked up the story.

A fake Twitter account stirred tensions between Jews and African Americans. Trolls celebrated.

The trolls were of the 4chan variety, of course.

"As a fellow Jew who was frightened by the string of anti-Semitic attacks, I am frightened," the fake account, which used the name "Elaine Goldschmidt," tweeted Wednesday. Using the n-word to describe black Americans, "Goldschmidt" added they "were supposed to be on our side. Now, we have lost control of them."

This is not to say that Jewish individuals can't be racist or that Black individuals cannot be antisemitic, but if you see something particularly heinous, check the account first. Check the date the account was made, do a Google search on the profile image, and generally be suspicious. We can't stop trolls and bots from happening, but we can lessen their effect by being diligent. With a little work, we can make sure 2020 isn't a repeat of 2016. I hope.

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