I have been through this before, but some of the reactionary Bigfooter nuts are trying to use this to smear me as “racist.”
There is no prohibition against racist commenting on this site, nor on sexist, homophobic, nationalist or whatever commenting. You can say anything you want here as this is a free speech zone. And specifically, racist comments are not a reason for banning or even deleting comments.
However! There is a certain amount of moderation on the site. That is, the commenters themselves moderate the site. Some commenters who go over the board with racist comments, in particular using racist slurs and insults like “nigger,” etc. may run afoul of their fellow commenters.
When I notice that a commenter has gone over the top with racist comments, especially slurs, I ask Alpha if she wants them banned. She gives me an opinion of whether or not they have violated the rules and even if they did not violate the rules, whether they should be banned anyway just for being obnoxious. I also might ask a few other commenters I am very close to whether they want the person banned.
Then I wait until other commenters start calling out for the commenter to be banned. Once a certain number of commenters call for the person to be banned (there is a formula but I will not tell you what it is for fear of abuse), the person is gone. The banned can petition the ban of course, but the type of folks who use racial slurs a lot are chaotic and emotional people who simply cannot seem to control themselves! So once they are reinstated, they tend to get banned again soon after due to lack of self-control which is apparently characteristic of most hardcore racist types.
So in other words, of course I do not like racial slurs. Racist comments that are not slurs are interesting, and while I am not wild about them, they are instructive in that they show us how a very large number of people continue to think in racist ways in our society.
I do not think that those who oppose racism should shy away, run away from or ban racist comments on sight. If you want to fight racism, leave it the nasty stuff up there and go take it on!
These comments are also helpful to remind people, especially Blacks, that we are hardly living in a post-racial era and that there is still quite a bit of anti-Black racism around. Not that Blacks need to wallow in that, but I think it is important for Blacks to realize that and not be in the dark about such things.
For the racist comments that do not use slurs, I often let the people who are offended take them on. The strongly anti-Black commenters are usually taken on by Alpha, Tulio, Jason or maybe some of the others at some point. This seems to shame a lot of them, and they often knock it off.
This site is intended to represent the world as it actually is. Sadly, there are still virulent anti-Black racists out there, and we need to see them for what they are and hold them up to the light. Hiding from reality does no one any good.