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Reply #512: Is it the bottom line? Short answer: Yes. [View All]

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Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-11-11 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #75
512. Is it the bottom line? Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: I have come to this discussion with the intent of listening to your concerns and doing my best to understand and sympathize. But so far, I have not asked anyone to give any thought to how difficult it will be for me to make a significant difference -- especially if I am doing it entirely by myself.

I understand that many LGBT DUers feel hurt and angry. It bothers me very much that you feel that way, and I want to do what I can to help make things better. That is why I am here trying to mend fences, and to lay a foundation for reconciliation. Nobody should be made to feel unwelcome on Democratic Underground.

But I believe we will not make much progress unless everyone thinks a little bit about how complicated this problem is, and what will be necessary to fix it. I can promise you greater sensitivity from me and the moderators, and you will get it. But sensitivity alone is not going to be enough. I also need some concrete direction on how I am supposed to decide what or who is bigoted.

I posted a reply to Prism higher up in this thread which, I think, gets to the heart of the matter. I am really hoping that someone here will be willing to engage with me on the merits of my post. Not because I am looking for an argument. But because I am looking for some clarity.

There needs to be a clear standard for us to make these decisions. I am stuck in the middle here. It may sound self-serving for me to say this, but I believe that you might feel a little bit better about this situation if you give some thought to the difficult position where I find myself. Not because you like seeing me in a difficult situation. But rather because you might better understand the choices made by the moderators and me.

In an effort to better illustrate the position I am in, let's consider a related issue that has come up in this thread: Whether some DUers who criticize President Obama are racists. Obviously, people do not like being accused of being racists, and rightly so. We are all good liberals here, and we each know better than anyone what is in our own heart. And yet, there are some African-American DUers who believe we have a racism problem here on DU. As the administrator, is it my responsibility to take their claim at face value, and ban any person that an African American DUer tells me is a racist? Or do I have a responsibility to give the accused person the benefit of the doubt and evaluate their posts on the merits to see if *I* think they are racist? These are not rhetorical questions -- they are real questions.

Further complicating matters is the fact that I am a straight, white male. I do not know what it is like to be gay. I also do not know what it is like to be African-American. Or a woman. Or Jewish. Or Latino. You see where this is going.

So, if anyone would like to engage with me in a discussion about practical changes we can make to address the problem, I am ready and willing to have that discussion. I would encourage everyone to think of me and the moderators as a partners to work with in this effort, rather than as obstacles to be knocked down.

Having said all that: I would like to point out that may statement, "I'm not sure I can promise you much relief," was qualified by saying, "at least not within the confines of Democratic Underground and how we currently run it." As I said in my OP, we are going to completely overhaul the way the site is run, so much of this may end up being moot six months from now.
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