In defense of the right to defend La Shawn Barber

La Shawn Barber is an excellent blogger as well as a friend. While I don't agree with her all the time, that is completely irrelevant to considerations of friendship. (For starters, I don't know anyone with whom I agree all the time.)

But I'm starting to see a regular pattern of attacks on La Shawn which go beyond merely disagreeing with her, and which instead take on what strikes me as a mob mentality. An example can be found in the comment thread at this post, in which commenters attack not just La Shawn Barber, but the post's author for the crime of linking to her. And then they go on to attack Sean Kinsell, for daring to defend her. (Among other things, Sean was told that if he were a black man in the 1950s, he'd "be celebrating the fact that you got your own doorway, water fountain, and seats in the cinema.")

One of the reasons I started blogging was because I detest any hint of a mob mentality, and the blogosphere struck me as being for the most part above that sort of thing. While I tire of having to repeat myself, whenever I see mob thinking it makes me want to do whatever the mob opposes.

While it really shouldn't be necessary, in this case, I guess I should link to La Shawn Barber, simply because people don't want me to do that. Here's a post about Kwanzaa, and another one about Larry Elder.

Furthermore, because the best way to defend anything (including defending the right to defend La Shawn Barber) is a good offense, I'll do something worse than linking to these posts. I'll even agree with them. I think Larry Elder asks a good question ("When can we blacks get to the point where you and I can have a disagreement about racism, affirmative action, the War in Iraq, whatever without someone who thinks like me being a sell-out or an Uncle Tom? Is that at all possible?"), and I think that Kwanzaa is socialism disguised as religion that in my view gives Paganism a bad name.

(Sheesh. I don't see why I have to get so defensive about my right to be offensive.)

posted by Eric on 01.02.06 at 10:56 AM


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Tracked on January 4, 2006 12:14 AM


No need to defend defending La Shawn Barber, mate. Attacking her is a big mistake - though mistakes are something which have no meaning to the LLL, as does everything else.

Joe Peden   ·  January 2, 2006 10:12 PM

Well, the good thing is that attacks on her will have the unintended consequence of pushing more readers to her site. Someone may poke around her site to see what all the fuss is about. The seeds she plants can't help but corrupt their thinking.

Grand Stand   ·  January 3, 2006 11:42 AM

Joe you're right, but then I don't need to defend a lot of what I defend. . .

GS, the reason they'll get corrupted is that La Shawn is sincere and she thinks for herself. (A lot more than I can say for the unoriginal and self congratulatory mob attacking her.)

Eric Scheie   ·  January 3, 2006 10:27 PM

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