Update #3 (from Wed, 2/22): Aaaaannnnndddddd…
@ProducerMatthew has stopped following me on Twitter. That was actually quicker than I thought it would be.
Update #2: Also, this.
Update: Keys contacted me tonight on Twitter and said:
You’re right. That’s the wrong idea to put out there. And if that’s what you took from my post, then I absolutely apologize.
That definitely was not my intent. I don’t like making my personal opinions known — because, honestly, I don’t think they matter.
But if I did, and this once I will, I would say this: I don’t think it’s okay in any circumstance. I think we can both agree on that.
It’s not what I took away, it’s what you said, the space you opened up with that line of questioning.
I appreciate that it wasn’t your intent but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t offensive.
And I still believe there is a HUGE distance btwn what we say about ourselves and what others say about us.
If one doesn’t mean to offend, and yet they do it anyway, they’re still at fault. It wasn’t my intent, and I do apologize.
There already exists a Rush Limbaugh and a Glenn Beck. I don’t aspire to join their ranks.
Thank you. And – WOW – one would not ever aspire to that, right?
I like being honest with people: I worked at a FOX station for 2.5 years. I couldn’t handle it anymore.
I think there’s another point that even I missed: Just because Lin used the word then doesn’t mean he doesn’t regret it now.
Now he and his boss (@AntDeRosa) are following me on Twitter. Sorta think they’ll unfollow me tomorrow when I’ve moved onto something else.
(I’m using screen shots because, as we shall see, Mr. Keys deletes things)
Just wanted to be clear, since, you know, we’re firing ESPN headline writers for being insensitive and criticizing ESPN anchors for using the word during play-by-play.
At what point do we draw the line between “acceptable use” and “unacceptable use?” Do we further divide people by saying it’s okay for some people to use the word, while barring others?
Or can we all agree that nobody should use these sorts of words, in any context?
I have a Tumblr. I have a few, actually (here and here). They are all very specific, content-driven sites. None of them address issues of sports or racism or people talking out of turn. So, I chose not to respond on Tumblr to this. I responded on Twitter (@scatx):
If you don’t know diff btwn Lin calling himself a “Chink” & ESPN doing it, @ProducerMatthew, I don’t know what to say. http://producermatthew.com/post/17948546396/so-were-all-just-going-to-ignore-the-fact-that-jeremy
I can call myself a bitch but you sure as hell can’t call me that. Especially if I have endured week of slurring. @ProducerMatthew
Wow. What a white dude thing to say.
And yes, @ProducerMatthew, we do complain when some people use certain words in certain contexts when talking about certain ppl. #decency
The part Mr. Johnston wrote:
Here’s the thing that burns me up most about this tired, absurd argument: nobody would ever offer it in any other circumstance. The “if you ever use a word to describe yourself, it gives everyone else on the planet the right to use that word to describe you in every situation ever for the rest of your life and you don’t ever get to complain” rule is a rule that doesn’t exist.
It’s not a rule. It’s not a thing. It’s just completely made up and spurious.
Mr. Keys then blogged on Tumblr about what Mr. Johnston wrote but has since deleted that post (you’ll see why in a few moments). But Mr. Johnston then re-blogged it so it is still saved in the Tumblr-sphere (so this is Mr. Keys’ follow up to Mr. Johnston’s original response followed by Mr. Johnston’s response):
Mr. Keys wrote (if you click on the link to his post, it takes you here):
Student Activism has a great follow-up piece to a Tumblr post I made earlier today.
Definitely check it out, lots of good points made.
Let’s be clear about some of the opinions or topics posted on here: They aren’t meant to be an accurate representation of my opinion, just something to get you thinking in a different way. If something I post provokes thought, dialogue or debate, it’s doing its job.
Mr. Johnston responded to this with:
When the “dialogue” your posts are provoking includes such gems as “last time i checked chink wasn’t even that offensive to the orientals” it’s maybe time to consider rethinking your approach.
What I tweeted to Mr. Keys in response to this new post:
.@producermatthew: your post trying to get people to think “in a different way” was just getting people to think in racist ways.
This isn’t true, @producermatthew. “If something I post provokes thought, dialogue or debate, it’s doing its job.”
If your “job” is to provoke dialogue about how what you wrote is racist, then, I guess, you’re doing your “job,” @producermatthew.
Seriously, @producermatthew: everything both of your posts said about Lin today can be filed under “things oblivious white dudes say.” #ugh
He NEVER responded to me AT ALL during all of this.
At the same time, though, he was tweeting with Mr. Johnston:
Johnston said: “.@ProducerMatthew When “last time i checked chink wasn’t even that offensive to the orientals” is the “dialogue” you’re provoking, rethink.”
Keys responded but has since deleted the tweet. Basically he said, “I didn’t say that.” To which Johnston said, You didn’t say it. One of the commenters on your post did. That was the kind of “dialogue” your post provoked.” Again Keys must have responded but the tweet is now gone. You can tell he said something, though, because Johnston next tweeted to him, “Sure. But the people backing you up are creepily, aggressively racist. If you’re okay with that, I am too, I guess.”
Keys’ next tweet is still on his TL as is Johnston’s response:
Keys (I still have received NO response): “Are you free to chat on the phone for about 5 minutes? Probably easier to talk there than it is in 140 characters.”
Johnston: “If you’d like to email, my address is on my website.”
Then this… (the screen shot is from @studentactivism‘s Twitter timeline – he had re-tweeted my tweet that you see at the top here):
Me: “And clearly Producer Matthew is NOT going to engage with me, which says a lot about what voices he thinks matter. Fuck.”
[I guess Producer Matthew must have had a tweet that said I was "hostile and irrational" but I never saw it and it's since been deleted]
Johnston: “I called your position absurd idiocy, and you wanted to talk on the phone. But @scATX you dismiss as hostile & irrational?”
Keys: “You offered a rebuttal on a post I published; they attacked me on a completely different foundation – https://twitter.com/#!/scATX/status/171627396598988800“
[So you know what tweet he is linking to, a screen shot:
Of course, he picked the one that simply said, "Wow. What a white dude thing to say." Now, back to dialogue above.]
Johnston: “For the record, what you said WAS a totally white dude thing to say.”
Keys: “Alright. My phone number is in my Twitter bio for a reason, but I think I need to end this conversation now. Thanks.”
Johnston: “Don’t post poorly-reasoned racially provocative crap online and then pout when you’re criticized. It’s not a good look.”
In the middle of all of this and in response to whatever Keys said when Johnston wrote, “You didn’t say it. One of the commenters on your post did,” I wrote two more tweets, each of them went to both Keys and Johnston:
The point is that you provided them ready, open space to say such things. That = condoning such garbage.
And now you are acting like you are somehow neutral when in fact you are instrumental.
Keys has still not responded to me and I believe he has blocked me on Twitter. And he, at some point, deleted his post on Tumblr that pointed to Mr. Johnston’s complaints about his original post.
Once I finally saw the tweet which called me “they” and linked to my account without actually linking to my handle or directly engaging with me, I re-tweeted the one where he linked to me and then said, “The fact that you picked that one tweet of many to highlight, @ProducerMatthew, says way more about you than it does about me.”
It basically ends there. Keys did tweet, “You don’t “reclaim” a word by using it. That’s stupid. You educate people on the offense of a word. Using it in any context is offensive.”
What he said was racist. Reclamation of words and language is a real thing that affects actual people, whether Keys acknowledges that or not.
The interesting things here are:
1) Keys deleted a lot of things. He clearly feels embarrassed or, rather, doesn’t want a trail of what he said. BUT not embarrassed about the initial post, which is beyond problematic.
2) Keys works for Reuters. He is their “deputy social media editor.” From the link:
He will produce online content for Reuters.com, expand Reuters’ presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and new platforms, and play a key role in helping to train Reuters journalists on best practices in social media.
Matthew was recently nominated for an Online News Association award in the category of “Breaking News excellence” for his coverage of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
Matthew is a recognized leader in helping journalists turn social media into valuable reporting tools. His online tools – a journalist’s guide for Tumblr, a guide for finding breaking news video on YouTube, and a guide for finding breaking news images on Twitter – have helped many journalists take their first steps into social media.
The man who wrote the original post and then basically ignored my complains but fielded and responded in earnest to the other white guy’s complaints does all of that for one of the world’s leading news-reporting agencies. He’s been recognized in his field and awarded for his work.
Who knows why he chose to ignore me initially. Not enough Twitter followers? Mr. Johnston has many more than Mr. Keys. I’m not a dude? Eventually I called what he wrote “racist” (and I happily stand by that assertion) so I can see that as shutting the conversation down on his end. But there was plenty of time before that.
I don’t want an apology. I don’t really care what Mr. Keys has to say at this point. I just want it known how the deputy social media director of Reuters handles himself. And also WHO he considers important and WHAT writing he deletes/hides and what he does not.