Re: [Last-Call] Last Call: BCP 83 PR-Action Against Dan Harkins

Jay Daley <> Fri, 07 October 2022 09:50 UTC

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From: Jay Daley <>
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Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2022 10:50:37 +0100
Cc: "Bless, Roland (TM)" <>,
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To: Kjetil Torgrim Homme <>
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Subject: Re: [Last-Call] Last Call: BCP 83 PR-Action Against Dan Harkins
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> On 6 Oct 2022, at 16:17, Kjetil Torgrim Homme <> wrote:
> On Thu, 2022-10-06 at 16:51 +0200, Bless, Roland (TM) wrote:
>> First of all, expressing racism is not the same thing as expressing an 
>> "unpopular opinion". Racism is simply not tolerable and I see that the
>> leadership has an obligation to act upon that, therefore it is not about
>> suppressing opinions that IETF leadership does not like.
> Agreed.
>> Second, even if
>> we leave racism aside, it is clear from Dan's postings that he is
>> discriminating against people of groups that the IETF should not
>> exclude (and human dignity is non-negotiable).
> Can you give me any examples of this?  So far no one has been able to
> provide links to messages where Dan has expressed racist or
> discriminatory views, so I would be very interested to see.

I can’t speak for the IESG but I can speak as the moderator of the admin-discuss list who restricted Dan’s posting rights in response to this post:

>    Well the other thing to keep in mind about masking is that "it remains an
> act of solidarity & respect" for... BIPOC (natch). In other words it's a
> massive virtue signal and we cannot, and should not, discount members 
> desires
> to publicly proclaim they remain in solidarity with, and publicly express
> respect for, BIPOC. Basically, if you don't put on a mask you're just a bad
> person who does not respect BIPOC. So put on your mask. It probably won't
> impact viral load but it will signal your virtue.

To be quite clear, I do not believe that expressing an unpopular opinion is necessarily racist.  For example, if someone says that affirmative action exasperates racial tension, or that white people are subject to racism too, then I don’t believe either of those statements is inherently racist and I would defend the right of people to say those things (though not to use them to shout down or deny other views) and I respect those views as there are people who genuinely hold them based on where their life experiences have led them.

However, that’s not at all what Dan did here.  He introduced race out of the blue into a discussion on COVID mask-wearing.  He introduced out of the blue a third party view that wearing masks is an act of solidarity and respect for 'Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour'(BIPOC) because they are particularly hard hit by COVID.  I personally do not agree with that third party view, and I would even call it an unpopular opinion, but I do respect that view as there are people who genuinely hold it and regard it as a valid means of reducing what they perceive as racial inequality.  Dan however did not introduce it for any serious debate or other genuine contribution, he did so solely for the purpose of belittling and ridiculing it.  

When someone goes out of their way to introduce race into a conversation, where race is barely relevant to that discussion, and does so solely for the purpose of belittling and ridiculing the view of people who believe they are tackling racial inequality, then for me that is unequivocally a racist post.


>> His ridiculing and
>> belittling postings show a clear lack of respect for individuals of
>> these groups and it is unprofessional if the community repeatedly
>> requested to stop that behavior, but he nevertheless still continues.
> It seems to me Dan Harkins does not always suffer fools lightly (I hope
> that is the correct idiom), but he doesn't discriminate against
> "individuals of groups", but against "individuals".
> -- 
> venleg helsing,
> Kjetil T.