When I started We Are Respectable Negroes I wanted to create a salon of sorts where different people could talk about topics and issues such as race, politics, popular culture, literature, history, ghetto nerd identity, military affairs, philosophy, the academy and higher education, teaching and pedagogy, and a wide range of other issues.
Sometimes these conversations can become impassioned. However, they should still be grounded in mutual respect, as well as intellectual honesty and rigor.
Ultimately, I write about the topics which interest me. I also enjoy learning from all the good folks who have found their way to WARN.
But, I do not write for the approval of others or to otherwise please people.
I am not subject to the whims of others who get upset because I do not parrot or mirror their political views, hobbies, or interests. I am not a ventriloquist dummy. I also do not write about topics which I have no expertise in, or for personal reasons choose to not discuss.
As I always say, the Internet is a big place; feel free to start up your own project where you can discuss whatever topics you like, and in a manner which pleases you.
I do not take requests, i.e. "why aren't you talking about x topic in y way and mirroring what I want you to say!" That is different from a kind heads up email which says something like, "hey, have you heard about this issue? Do you have any thoughts on the topic?"
We Are Respectable Negroes is not a democracy. It is more like a neighborhood tavern where folks can dialogue, have a good conversation, and learn from each other. But, patrons can be asked to leave at any time. Plus, there is no obligation on the part of the bartender to serve you. My basic rule for commenting here is a simple one: have fun and be good to each other.
1. Don't be impolite. Please be respectful of the other commenters. WARN is not a "chat site" or place to "try to get your name up" by "owning" other people. This site is also not an opportunity for you to blog by proxy. If you want to share your talking points, propagandize, write a treatise, or free ride, you should start your own web project. If you would like to offer up a guest post please email me and we can talk about your proposed idea.
2. Keep the conversation moving forward. Chime in on the topic at hand, relate it to other pertinent matters. Share some readings, links, or other material that could enlighten us. Conversations have a life of their own. This can be indulged without derailing the topic at hand. I will occasionally tell folks to "move along" from a comment thread. Sometimes conversations have become circular, or have descended into pettiness and silly-talk that is more about personal one-upmanship and trying to "cut heads," than in really learning. In those rare instances, I will close down the comments on said post.
3. Disagreement is welcome and encouraged. We Are Respectable Negroes is not an amen corner. However, if you cannot disagree without calling names, acting childishly, or generally being a jerk, then please refrain from posting. I am pretty flexible and pragmatic. Readers who have been here longer and have a track record get much more leeway than new arrivals. The rule still generally holds. Such is life.
4. I reserve the right to delete comments which are not moving us forward or that otherwise violate these very basic guidelines for civil conversation. I also reserve the right to ban repeat offenders. I have only done this on one occasion. I hope that I will never have to do so again. However, there is wisdom in occasionally pulling the weeds out of the garden in order to encourage growth and new life.
5. I believe in free speech. However, free speech is not a license to be rude, uncivil, harass, bully, or heckle others here on WARN. If this is your preferred means of interacting with people online it is not a good fit for We Are Respectable Negroes.
6. For now, I am going to leave the "anonymous" option available for those who would like to comment. However, I am going to be very robust in policing comments written under that category. I would suggest picking a name and using it for purposes of encouraging responsible dialogue where we can all learn by talking and listening to each other.
7. Please defer to your better angels. If you would not say something to a person face-to-face then you probably should refrain from writing it here. I am not a fan of profanity. When necessary, and no other language can fit the sentiment that you are trying to communicate, then by all means insert the proper turn of phrase. Swearing is often a crutch for those who are lazy and/or do not want to meditate upon the exact meaning of their words. Depending on my mood, I may delete comments which contain profane speech. I am also not too partial to racism, anti-Semitism, or the like. Again, please think before writing.