Tumblr has removed some of the blogs in question, and has stated their position:
First of all, I would like to thank you for your email. I’m sure that sounds a little strange, perhaps ingenuous, but if there’s a perception of unfair treatment, then it’s best that we be made aware of it and perhaps get to explain.
The fact is, we investigate what blogs are emailed in to us for hate speech and other issues. Having searched, it seems no one has actually emailed in about the blogs you mentioned. As you gave me blogs to look into, I did and I have suspended several of them. Of those I haven’t suspended, I have either removed content (in the case of [redacted] ) and warned the blogger or the blog itself did not seem to be using the term for hate speech or oppression. In one case, they seem to have been saving the URL to prevent others from using it. As for some of the others, their blogs did not seem to have any hateful content. While the word itself is and can be considered hate speech, there are some cases where it is not considered hate speech, such as when used by those it was used to oppress. As we don’t require ID for setting up a blog, we have no way of knowing if someone is a part of that group or not before hand and can only judge by the remainder of their actions whether or not they’re using the term in an offensive manner.
Previously, we have suspended blogs similarly only to be emailed back and told that the blogger was trying to make a point, reclaim a word, or otherwise post what would have been violating content in the context of pointing out it’s offensiveness and the nature of racism in the US. As such, we try to take a more careful hand on such cases.
Particularly in the case of ‘deathtoallwhitepeople’, I do not actually see a record for this blog. If we had suspended it, we would see the blog and see that it was suspended; I do not in this case. This would mean that the blog had been deleted, which is only done by the owner of the blog or someone with access to the blog’s information. As such, that would mean that we had no hand in the disappearance of ‘deathtoallwhitepeople’ in the first place.
I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about our process and our priorities.
In response to their email, I sent:
I am happy that you are finally taking our reactions seriously, as this is certainly a serious matter. Additionally, the list shown was a representation of the blogs that are allowed to remain, not necessarily a list of blogs that had been reported, or that needed to be deleted/removed. But I do happen to know that several of them were actually reported since my post, and I am happy to know that some of them have been removed.
However, I hope you are aware that this is indicative of a larger problem. In the past, blogs like those have been reported, and those reports were met with the “freedom of speech” excuse. Death threats have been sent, and reported en masse, each report being met with the same lack of reason. There are screenshots and emails recording this. And while this is certainly not your problem, personally, it is still a problem.
I want to you to be aware that the use of that word by anyone other than a Black person is hate speech, period. There is no reason for anyone else to use the term, ever. Any time it is used, specifically when used outside the Black/Afrolatino community, the denigration of Black people spreads, our humanity is diminished, and the wide perception of our very existence is diminished, debased, and reduced to a caricature, as it has been for far too long. There is no way it can be used and not refer to a Black person in some way. There is no way it can be used, and not be hurtful. That is the history of it, and that is the fact of it. It is abominable.
I don’t profess to speak for the entirety of Blackness, but you must understand that this is a struggle that we’ve been in for centuries. The eradication of the lackadaisical attitude of a nation is at stake, and that is why it is so important.
I realize that Tumblr is not responsible for the flood of this negativity, but every ripple begins with a single drop. Tumblr has a unique opportunity to stop this at its core — to halt the proliferation of these hateful ideas sitewide. Please consider a general announcement regarding your position against this sort of hate speech, as you did with the SOPA situation (though perhaps not as invasive), as well as a more accessible link to the Terms of Service, as most people haven’t even read them, and couldn’t find them if asked. Even a post on the staff blog would be helpful in making your position known.
Thank you again for your consideration, and for your responses and actions in this matter. Your help is appreciated by so very many people.
Again, thank you to everyone who reblogged the initial post in support of this action. Your support means more than you know. To Racialicious, thank you for your support as well. I was hesitant to send that to you, and perhaps should have done so earlier, but I am quite glad that I did. Thank you for being willing to address the situation publicly.
To those who reblogged my initial post with hate or contempt in your hearts, you have shown your true colors. We see you. We know you. We won’t forget you.
And finally, thank you to all my friends in TheBlackout. You guys are the shit. I love all of you.