The New Tolerance Campaign (NTC) is an independent non-partisan grassroots initiative dedicated to upholding consistent standards of tolerance in mainstream American society. NTC promotes “unbiased tolerance” by encouraging organizations, businesses, elected officials, and government agencies to maintain clear standards of acceptable conduct.
The New Tolerance Campaign was founded to address a growing confusion and inconsistency in mainstream American society over how to address intolerance. Decisions to condemn, ban, censor, de-platform, boycott, and break partnerships are too often driven by raw emotion or political calculations rather than principle. Certain individuals and organizations are suddenly and swiftly ostracized while others are coddled – even when both display bigoted behavior. How mainstream American society responds to intolerance is too often driven by the identity of the perpetrator rather than a uniform commitment to decency.
The New Tolerance Campaign has a simple but powerful mission: to promote the consistent use of uniform standards of tolerance by mainstream American institutions. NTC recognizes the Constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of consciousness held by these institutions, and therefore we seek to achieve our mission by empowering concerned citizens to take action when these institutions fail to apply their own standards consistently.
Promoting tolerance and countering intolerance are integral to a healthy society, yet in recent years mainstream American society has struggled to maintain clear standards of tolerance.
In America’s increasingly polarized environment, tolerance is too often treated in a manic manner. Social media companies engage in sudden frenzies of de-platforming that ban some extremist users but leave others untouched. Universities historically renowned for free-speech commitments arbitrarily ban speakers from campus. Some groups and activists are marked hateful and blacklisted while other groups and activists with equally controversial views and tactics are embraced, defended and praised.
The result is an opaque set of social rules, with tolerance wielded selectively as a weapon to achieve zero-sum outcomes: the intolerance of one side is spotlighted while the intolerance of the same side is defended or dismissed. The identity of the perpetrator of intolerance often becomes a determining factor for how mainstream society responds. In this heated environment, mainstream institutions appear increasingly confused.
The result is an unhealthy “biased tolerance” where a lack of clear standards tears at the fabric of our society and hurts Americans of all backgrounds. The New Tolerance Campaign was founded to empower Americans to take a stand and restore a strong, tolerant, and free society.
In February 2018, The New York Times fired Quinn Norton from its editorial board for Tweets that included derogatory slurs for gay people and African-Americans. While apologizing for poor tweeting, Norton defended herself, saying that “[w]hen I speak to communities, I used their language to do it” and claimed that “context collapse is what happened here…”
In response to this information, The Times’ editorial page editor released a statement saying that “[d]espite our review of Quinn Norton’s work and our conversations with her previous employers, this was new information to us. Based on it, we’ve decided to go our separate ways.” The New York Times thus went on the record, establishing that their editorial board was to be free of those who use bigoted and racist language, even if the author had a rationale for doing it that some might find reasonable given the context.
On August 1st, 2019, The New York Times announced that Sarah Jeong would join its editorial board. Soon thereafter, reports came to life highlighting Tweets from Jeong that criticized white people along racial lines. Jeong and others defended her Tweets similarly to Norton’s defense, saying that they meant to mimic her harassers and detractors.
The New York Times responded by announcing that Jeong would remain on its editorial board, and despite saying that it did not condone her behavior, The Times accepted it because “[h]er journalism and the fact that she is a young Asian woman have made her a subject of frequent online harassment.”
It is problematic that a mainstream arbiter of news and opinion such as The New York Times would apply a double standard to the line they draw on intolerance on their editorial board. In this case, we have two very similar situations – journalists who were hired to join the editorial board of The New York Times making Tweets in poor taste who both defended those Tweets as contextually-appropriate – being treated in two different ways by the same mainstream actor. As a source that millions of people look to daily to make sense of the world, The New York Times must do better in deciding on and practicing a single standard on tolerance.