Is online bullying of writers who transgress against “social justice” norms a form of censorship? Some scoff at the notion, arguing that “anti-SJW” commentators are actually the ones attacking a basic form of free speech: criticism of a book. But there is a massive difference between criticism and public shaming. A collective attack that includes such declarations as, “[R]acist ass writers, like Amélie Wen Zhao … you’re going to be held accountable” is less criticism than a show trial.
The notion that books can cause “harm” if they don’t handle identity issues in accordance with ideological diktat is a prescription for censorship no matter how that censorship is carried out.
On the bright side, this ugly episode may serve as a wake-up call for a number of liberals who think “social justice” culture is fundamentally benign despite a few excesses. Between the censorship-by-pressure and the public vilification of young female minority immigrant, this scandal is not a good look for the identitarian Left.