Saturday, April 12, 2008

David Bullard...

was just fired for writing a racist column in the Sunday Times. I find this kind of stuff interesting because of the kinds of reactions you see. People on both sides of the free speech issue get things wrong. The Sunday Times should fire whomever they want and it isn't an assault on free speech to do so (though the fact that they did it in response to the outrage generated by the article is a bad signal). On the other hand, while free speech is not an invitation to racist speech, it does allow (at least some forms of) racist speech. Attacks should focus on what a horrible person he is, not on his actual right to write the article.

This kind of thing inevitably ends up with people discussing what they actually think of the offending item, as though that were relevant. Sooo... I didn't like the article and I do think it's a little racist, but only a little and with a little tweaking it wouldn't be. It was clearly written to piss people off but it was also muddled and unconvincing. This is a pity because I think most people have gone way too far in blaming colonialisation for every single ill faced by African counties and I'm interested to learn more about what the real effects were (Niall Ferguson's book on the British Empire is pretty high up on my list), so I wish he'd done it better.

Anyway, if you want to read a depressingly badly written article on this little drama, click here.

2 comments:

sid said...

Do you know what I find strange? The fact that a newspaper like Sunday Times obviously has a editor. Didn't the editor think to him/herself that maybe, just maybe the article is just a little bit racist and should be altered?

Erika said...

I love how even this kind of bad press can make you rich, Bullards book sales have gone up since yesterday.
Funny how many people are interested in reading what he has to say now...