Social justice activist DeRay Mckesson praised Twitter on Monday after the social network suspended a conservative blogger who threatened his life.
According to Re/code, Charles “Chuck” Johnson tweeted over the weekend that he was accepting donations for “taking out” Mckesson, who called the remark a “serious threat.” Thanks to a new policy against trolls, Johnson’s account was quickly suspended.
In a statement to Re/code, Johnson accused Twitter of “censorship.”
“I was speaking metaphorically about exposing DeRay in much the same way Slate was speaking metaphorically when they talked about ‘taking out’ a Supreme Court justice,” he wrote.
But in an interview with CNN on Monday, Mckesson said that Johnson should have known better.
“For someone who considers themselves a journalist, I firmly believe that he understands the power of his words,” Mckesson explained. “And his words are his words. ‘Take out’ functions in a certain way. And if I got on any media outlet and said something to the effect of ‘take out the police,’ nobody would think that I was talking about an exposé.”
“I was proud that Twitter took the action to move so quickly, and remember that racism doesn’t exist only in the extremes,” he continued. “It’s not just slavery and the n-word. It functions in these subtle ways too. He, again, knew very clearly what he was doing by using this language.”
Mckesson speculated that Johnson made the death threat as a way to remain in denial about the way police treat people of color in the U.S.
“Hate is organized in America, and hate has always been organized in America,” Mckesson pointed out. “Me and many other protesters have simply been telling the truth, and the truth is that the police are killing us. The police have killed about 400 people this year, and that people of color have been particular victims of police violence.”
“It seems to be a truth that he is denying, along with the people that follow him,” the activist added. “The only thing I can think of is that hate is organized, and it has never wanted people of color to come together around state violence.”
Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast May 25, 2015.