CATHY YOUNG: In Defense of The Letter.

One very telling critique of The Letter is offered by Jillian C. York, a writer and activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

It is a summer of justice, the summer of reckoning, the summer that the movement for Black lives went truly global. … And in the middle of this revolutionary summer, a group of elites from the worlds of media, publishing, and think tanks decided to publish a letter — not in support of the movement for justice (though they give a slight nod to it), but out of concern that perhaps the left has gone too far in pursuing it.

Likewise, CNN Opinion contributor Jeff Yang opines that among other things, the signatories of The Letter are guilty of “bad timing”:

As the streets fill with protesters shouting “Black Lives Matter,” they’re metaphorically shouting “Our Words Matter.” As society becomes increasingly aware of the devastating impact of police brutality, these signatories have chosen to shift attention to an imaginary political correctness police. …

In this uncertain, turbulent era especially, beset as it is by crisis and challenge but also suffused with real hope for transformative change, it’s puzzling that these prominent individuals would choose to stand athwart history.

Sorry, folks, but if you’re chiding people for raising a voice of dissent in a moment of crisis and mass emotion, you might be the baddies. And if your “revolutionary summer” has no room for people who “stand athwart history” by insisting on an open space for debate … it’s a sure sign that winter is coming, and not a nice one.

As Atlantic columnist Conor Friedersdorf points out, moments of crisis and mass emotion are ones in which it is especially important to heed dissenting voices. We should not be shutting off or shouting down debate on such questions as, “Which police reform proposals will work?” and even, “How much of a factor is racism in police brutality?” If a movement insists on unanimity and refuses to tolerate dissent or even neutrality, that should be a huge red flag.

Lengthy, but well worth a read.

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