Bennett Haselton writes "The anti-immigration site VDARE is publicizing the fact that it has been blocked as a 'hate site' by several Internet blocking programs, although some of them backed off and un-blocked it after receiving a letter from VDARE's lawyer. Since blocking software is bound to remain in use in most public schools for the foreseeable future, this raises the question: Is it possible for a blocking company to define a 'hate site' in a consistent way, without including conservative groups that might file a First Amendment lawsuit if their sites were blocked from public school computers? See what VDARE says about the content on their own site, and how blocking software companies have handled this issue in the past and what they might do this time." This is the first in a series of article by Bennett Haselton, writing for us from the Peacefire group. Read on for the rest of his piece.The anti-immigration site VDARE.com is publicizing the fact that their site is blocked as a "hate site" by several different blocking programs. They don't name the programs, although they say that four companies used to block VDARE and "backed off after receiving a lawyer's letter".
It seems to be working, since according to the online lookup forms provided by WebSense, N2H2, SurfControl and SmartFilter, only SmartFilter lists the site under "hate speech"; the rest either don't categorize it or list it in innocuous categories. (N2H2 lists it as "Web Page Hosting/Free Pages", which makes no sense -- but not only that, N2H2 is now owned by the same company that makes SmartFilter, which means the company has VDARE listed one way in one product, and a different way in another.)
VDARE says they decided that showing legal muscle was a good way to get unblocked, after reading about an experiment Peacefire did in which we found that censorware companies would block sites with anti-gay content when they thought the sites were run by individuals, but would not block the *exact same content* when it was hosted by "mainstream" groups like Focus on the Family. Concludes VDARE: "The obvious reason for the double standard is that the foundations have lawyers on staff, and volunteer lawyers, and the Censorware companies are afraid of them." True -- although we did nominate AFA.net as a "hate site" at about the same time, and it did get blocked by Cyber Patrol, so it is possible if the content is extreme enough.
I'm against blocking VDARE, even from people under 18, but only because I'm against such blocking in general. Polls show that most people under 18 are more liberally-minded about race than their parents, suggesting that if you want to end racism, give minors more rights and freedom of information, not less. There was a big flap when it came out that in some Islamic schools in New York, parents had their children taught with textbooks which said that "the Jews killed their own prophets" and "you will find them ever deceitful", but without more civil rights for people under 18 to seek information for themselves, there's not much that anybody can do about it.
But as for whether VDARE really should be listed as a "hate site", the site owner himself says that VDARE is not "white nationalist", but adds, "We also publish on VDARE.COM a few writers, for example Jared Taylor, whom I would regard as 'white nationalist'". Well even if VDARE itself claims not to be 'white nationalist', if they host white nationalist writings, it's still accurate to classify the site as a place where such content is located. VDARE itself is also listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. VDARE's founder insists they are merely anti-immigration, not white nationalist, although he admits he once thought about adding a chapter to his anti-immigration book Alien Nation about the "last white family" (not the "last non-illegal-immigrant family") to leave Los Angeles.
Like BoingBoing.Net did before them, VDARE is retaliating against the block by encouraging people to learn how to get around blocking software. I wonder if they looked closely at our site first, since we fight censorship from the point of view of advocating greater civil rights for minors, which would probably not be a popular view with VDARE's ultra-conservative base. And if that's not enough, I'm planning to contact WebSense, SurfControl, and any other company that doesn't currently list VDARE as a "hate site", and ask them why not. So, VDARE sends us traffic, and this is how we repay them.