Jezebel and Lindy West fail at social justice

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Writing for, Lindy West mocked Caucasian Jeopardy contestants adding nothing to what could have been a productive discussion.

Lindy West, author at, recently wrote a piece titled “Last Night On Jeopardy No One Wanted to Answer Qs About Black History” [see here without giving Jezebel pageviews]. This piece ridicules “all-white” Jeopardy contestants, as she makes sure to mention, who selected the category ‘African-American History’ as their final category in the Double Jeopardy round. West claiming contestants “avoided” the category and, through the title, did not want to answer the questions.

West writes,

In other words, these kids were more confident in their knowledge of weird animals in New Zealand than black human beings in America.


When ultimately faced with the category, the kids got three out of five answers correct (missing questions about the Scottsboro Boys and the 1st Rhode Island Regiment).

The article — while it could have been a productive launch point for a productive discussion about Black History Month and the importance of African-Americans throughout history — mocks contestants and makes various dubious assumptions.

Rather than considering various plausible hypotheses such as ‘contestants selected this category last by chance,’ ‘contestants did not study Black History Month in preparation for the show and instead answered other categories first,’ and ‘contestants thought the questions would be difficult,’ West seems to find a problem which might not actually be a problem…and never really mentions what the problem is.

This is the type of ‘social justice’ frequently on display from feminists like Lindy West and websites like ridicule people, imply that there is a serious problem although plausible hypotheses suggesting there is no problem exist, offer nothing productive, and shame people. West contributes nothing positive, offers no solutions in her article, and fails to start a productive conversation.

Maybe I am unaware, but I hardly see individuals who claim to work toward social justice engaging in real-life activism such as working with community groups and volunteering for events. While writing can indeed lead to change in society, it often pales in comparison to on-the-ground work in communities…especially when writing is snark, ridicule, and shaming rather than educating, offering positive solutions, empowering people, etc.

Perhaps West could have instead written about problems which specifically impact the African-American community such as high secondary school dropout rates, incarceration rates, etc. Maybe she could have spoke about the lack of education about African-Americans in high schools. Hopefully West, in the future, will elect to — instead of ridiculing and shaming people — offer positive contributions.

As always, feel free to comment below.

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