The popular knitting site Ravelry (eight million followers) has banned expressions of support for Donald Trump or the Trump administration from its site. The ban is based on a pre-existing site policy banning support for white supremacy.
It’s modeled on a similar ban put in place several months ago by RPG.net, a roleplaying game site. Here’s the policy:
We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry.
This includes support in the form of forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles, and all other content. Note that your project data will never be deleted. We will never delete your Ravelry project data for any reason and if a project needs to be removed from the site, we will make sure that you have access to your data. If you are permanently banned from Ravelry, you will still be able to access any patterns that you purchased. Also, we will make sure that you receive a copy of your data.
We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.
You can still participate if you do in fact support the administration, you just can’t talk about it here.
We are not endorsing the Democrats nor banning Republicans.
We are definitely not banning conservative politics. Hate groups and intolerance are different from other types of political positions.
We are not banning people for past support.
Do not try to weaponize this policy by entrapping people who do support the Trump administration into voicing their support.
Similarly, antagonizing conservative members for their unstated positions is not acceptable.
(1) These aren’t government fora so there are no first amendment issues, although obviously these sorts of decisions implicate “free speech” in a broader cultural, as opposed to formal legal, sense.
(2) I imagine very few people object in principle to sites such as these (that is, sites whose primary subject matter is non-political) banning the expression of certain sorts of political opinions, such as white supremacist opinions.
(3) Of course most Trump supporters don’t consider themselves white supremacists, so they will see this as the epitome of their favorite bogeyperson, the dreaded “political correctness.”
(4) These people are mistaken about their political affiliation. Supporting Trump makes you a white supremacist, whether you think of yourself as one or not. Trumpism is an authoritarian ethno-nationalist movement, whose core principle is that America is and should be a country run by and for white people.
Therefore bans of this sort are not only defensible, but affirmatively good. White supremacy should be opposed in every legal way possible, which means Trumpism should be opposed in every legal way possible.
Social ostracism in general is a powerful tool, and should be employed against Trump supporters at every opportunity. This includes telling Trump supporters on non-political websites such as these that their political affiliation is beyond the pale, and needs to be hidden if they wish to socialize with people who oppose white supremacy.