So why is it that some tweeters choose to block followers? If you want to have a private conversation on social media I believe we still have email, discussion list-serves, and even password protected blogs. But if you are in the business of trying to enlighten as many as possible about how unjust U.S. society is, why do you cut off someone from hearing what you tweet and link?
I mean, not even Johnny Eric Williams was all that careful about his social media profile (Greg and those like consider this a trigger warning):
Williams’s case has attracted the interest of academic freedom and free speech advocates, partly because the sociologist is among a number of other scholars who have been physically threatened or harassed online in recent months for their public comments. Most of those comments concerned race in some way.
Williams last week shared an article from Medium called “Let Them Fucking Die.” The piece argues that “indifference to their well-being is the only thing that terrifies” bigots, and so people of color should “Let. Them. Fucking. Die” if they’re ever in peril. The Medium piece linked to another Fusion piece about Republican Representative Steve Scalise, who was shot earlier this month in Alexandria, Va. It says Scalise has previously opposed extending protections to LGBTQ people and reportedly once spoke at a meeting of white supremacists, while one of the black law enforcement officers who rescued him is a married lesbian.
In sharing the Medium piece, Williams used the “Let them fucking die” comment as a hashtag, and wrote that it is “past time for the racially oppressed to do what people who believe themselves to be ‘white’ will not do, put end to the vectors of their destructive mythology of whiteness and their white supremacy system.”
That post and a similar one prompted critical reports on conservative websites suggesting Williams was advocating violence against white people.
“Less than one week after a gunman opened fire on more than a dozen Republican members of Congress on a Virginia baseball field, a Connecticut college professor said that first responders to the shooting should have ‘let them die’ because they are white,” The Blaze reported, for example.
Williams has since apologized for his remarks and said he was not advocating violence against whites, only drawing attention to systemic racism.
Maybe this is a case where you want to block those who may disagree. But what fun is it to be provocative with those already #provake?