Recently I have posted this answer to this question. I was accused of racism (source: "And, expecting everyone in the world to accept western ideas and practice is also racist/classist and there is no way around this.") & ethnocentric chauvinism (source: one of the last comment on my answer now. "Religious intolerance is not a "liberal view". Neither is ethnocentric chauvinism.").

Anyone who reads my answer is absolutely clear about the truthfulness of these comments: I do not criticize any race, or suggesting that one race is better than the other, neither explicitly or implicitly, not between the lines, not in any other way. My post has absolutely nothing to do with race.

I generally support free speech, and I am ok to be ciricized. I think being falsely accused of racism is serious, and it tells more about the user who made those claims, than me.

Is this behaviour allowed here?

I don't think it is allowed, so I flagged those comments for moderator attention. I might well be wrong. I don't mind, I am able to handle criticism & reason for my views, but I am curious about this community's stance on this issue.

EDIT: the first comment mentioned above got removed.

  • 3
    Not an answer, but I will note that posting blanket statements that accuse wide swaths of the globe of "sexism" without acknowledging that the definition of sexist behavior varies widely between cultures and time periods is simply asking for trouble. I appreciate that you have a view on what constitutes sexism, and I also appreciate that others can reasonably disagree with you. Your post is, at best, mildly inflammatory, and at worst fairly insulting.
    – eykanal
    Oct 4, 2021 at 15:47
  • 11
    I find it important to mention here that you first called the OP, or at least his behaviour, sexist in your answer. In that sense I find it slightly disingenuous that you now frame the resulting unpleasantness as a CoC violation - OP could have very easily used the same line of argumentation to flag your answer (not sure if he did).
    – xLeitix
    Oct 4, 2021 at 15:58
  • 3
    I was just typing up a comment similar to what @xLeitix has said. As an example: "if you accept handshakes with people of a certain sex but not with people of the opposite sex, your behaviour is sexist, and there is no way around this" could just as easily be written as "accepting handshakes with people according to their sex can be perceived as sexist, even with a religious justification". This is, in fact, quite similar to how Arno's answer approaches things.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Oct 4, 2021 at 16:00
  • 1
    Two things: 1) I gave reasons why that behaviour is sexist. Accusing me of racism with explained reasons would've been entirely different than just a plain accusation, as it happened in my case. 2) @BryanKrause thank you for the improvement, I have edited my answer to incorporate your suggestion.
    – zabop
    Oct 4, 2021 at 16:07
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    @zabop The problem is that the difference between your reasons and the reasons of the commenters is that you agree with one set of reasons but not the others ;) anyway, I guess what I'm really trying to say is if you start slinging dirt (even if you feel it's justified dirt) you can't really complain that you will also get dirty.
    – xLeitix
    Oct 4, 2021 at 16:10
  • I can’t see your answer or the comment, and I won’t comment on them. But: your complaint seems to be based on an arbitrary and limiting definition of racism. In particular, you seem to be repeating the canard that racism is only about one arbitrary facet of the made-up concept of “race”, and doesn’t encompass other facets such as discrimination based on religion, ethnicity and culture. To say that that definition of “racism” is useless would be an understatement: in general it’s just wrong. In other words: things such as islamophobia are a subset of (any useful definition of) racism. Oct 31, 2021 at 12:53
  • Thank you. I deleted my post on the main site because although it's final state was ok I believe, it's history indeed contained parts which now (after reflecting on comments) seem not ok to me.
    – zabop
    Oct 31, 2021 at 16:10
  • (Cannot delete just the history so deleted the whole thing.)
    – zabop
    Oct 31, 2021 at 16:11
  • "In other words: things such as islamophobia are a subset of (any useful definition of) racism." - I disagree, but most people here probably agree with you. I agree with the main concern, that parts of my answer was not ok.
    – zabop
    Oct 31, 2021 at 16:16
  • (I still don't think it was racist, but too unkind.)
    – zabop
    Oct 31, 2021 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


(note: I'm writing this in my personal voice rather than with my moderator hat on, nothing here is endorsed or pre-approved by other moderators)

Generally, accusing others personally of racism, sexism, bigotry, or pretty much anything else is not in keeping with the Code of Conduct; the soundness of the foundation of any evidence used to support those accusations is not particularly relevant here.

However, on this particular site we frequently encounter situations in which it is necessary to describe behavior with one of these labels. I do not see a way around this without denying that behaviors that are racist, sexist, or bigoted exist in the real world. In those circumstances, the better practice on this website would be to ensure that these labels are placed on the behavior, rather than the person. It can be tempting to go a step further and extend those labels to the person, whether the goals in doing so are malicious, rhetorical, or merely sloppy writing; I certainly will not claim to be personally innocent of this though I try to be more thoughtful.

When encountering content that is itself blatantly racist or otherwise violating the code of conduct, in many occasions better approach would be to flag that content rather than raising an accusation (which is likely to spark an argument). In other circumstances, when it seems someone else may have written something inadvertently or that they have not fully thought through their position, I think it's okay to raise those concerns in a comment, but be mindful of what your goals and intentions are: if you're honestly hoping for the other person to see your point of view, starting with a serious accusation is not likely to be fruitful and put the other party on the defensive instead.

I'll end by acknowledging that there are counter-arguments to this stance in other venues. There are arguments that it is necessary to call out and name bigotry when it occurs and to refuse to allow people to be separated from their behaviors that impact other people negatively. I think there is room for academic scholarship on both understand why that is so important to people and also to understand what the implications are for making progress on these issues, and it's far from settled. With respect to this particular site, though, we're better off staying away from personal accusations.


I think it's a fairly complex issue. In general, and going strictly by the CoC, the comments as well as the original answer should be removed. The comments for obvious reasons that zabop lays out in their question, but if we are being honest the answer is also a pretty transparent personal attack on the original poster (prior to a recent edit, it plainly said "your behaviour is sexist").

That said, I am somewhat against deleting the answer. Mostly because it is a line of thinking that OP should be prepared for, because like it or not many of his colleagues will be thinking like that (even if few will be as direct about it). Pretending that none of OP's future colleagues will find his religious beliefs highly sexist and disagreeable would be a disservice to OP. So I think it is actually a useful answer for OP, even if other answers provide better solutions to the actual question that was being asked.

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