YouTuber JonTron Tries To Clarify His Controversial Views On Race

Last week, YouTube personality Jon Jafari made a series of offensive remarks about race during a debate over on Steve Bonnell's Twitch channel. Earlier this morning, he released a video on the Jon Tron Show YouTube channel to try and set the record straight.

"I said lots of stuff that could be misconstrued in all sorts of ways," said Jafari, better known to his fans as JonTron. An alumnus of the let's play group Game Grumps, the YouTuber has become better known for making comedy videos ever since he left the group in 2013.

In an effort to clarify statements like "if they immigrate they need to integrate, but also we don't need immigrants from incompatible places," and "I don't think a pure society is possible, but in terms of a demographic majority, I don't know that a nation can exist without one," the YouTuber tried to lay out his views in a more prepared and ordered manner, away from the "pressure" of his almost two hour debate on Bonnell's stream.

"I was trying to speak to the increasing tribalisation of our culture," said Jafari, and he believes the remarks brought up offhand late at night on a "random" Twitch stream viewed by tens of thousands of people didn't accurately reflect this.

Specifically, he feels that the national discourse is too racialised, and that double-standards prevent people from recognising "discrimination" against white people. "Discrimination certainly exists but I do believe it goes all ways," he said. As evidence of this, Jafari pointed to a sketch by Samantha Bee, where she jokingly blames white people for Trump's election. "I suppose you could guess the reaction if Samantha Bee said black people ruined America for voting overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, which they did both times," he said. As far as Jafari is concerned, the "same standard" should apply in both examples.

Despite the perception by some that Jafari wants some form of racial segregation after talking about how "white people are aggressed against in their own nations," the YouTuber says that he doesn't think that white Americans are superior, and admitted the nation's dark history regarding white supremacy.

"We as a country have had a terrible history of dealing with race ... from slavery to Jim Crow to even the Irish," he said. At the same time, Jafari believes that people ignore "uncomfortable statistic[s]" that paint certain races in a bad light, like his unsubstantiated claim that wealthy black Americans commit more crimes than poor whites. Only whites get criticised for thinking in negative "racial categories," he seems to feel.

The video is no doubt an attempt to quell the fears, frustration, or confusion of some fans who said his remarks about "demographic enclaves" and "immigration" have made them feel uncomfortable about supporting his channel going forward.

"People looking at this think I'm some kind of explicit ethno-nationalist, but I'm not," Jafari said.



Comments

    Is it over yet?

      Seems Jon wants it to be. Kotaku, on the other hand... Well, why only milk something when you can bleed it dry.

        Of course he does, it's general negative discourse about him and his views and he's being called out because of it. It's a good thing for places like Kotaku to do that. Not doing so is what led to things like the pewdiepie nazi deal blowing up, so better to do it earlier rather than later.

      One more article and it will be. "How YouTubers should use their fame"

    This whole stupid system relies on rational people being shamed into shutting up.

    Well, that's a predictable response. "People are trying to convince me I'm wrong but it won't work because I'm a rational person, just ask me."

    Sometimes when you come under intense criticism it's because you're making people uncomfortable with the truth, yes. But sometimes it's because what you're saying really is stupid. It's important to keep an open mind at all times to the possibility that you might not be as informed as you imagine you are on any given subject.

      Unfortunately this relies on everyone having this humility to see their ignorance, even that uncomfortable truth is like a flipping of a situation like this, where the audience is now the one that is misinformed.

      Damn man, I have to say - I know we have disagreed before, but you've been on a roll lately. Not (just) because I agree with the content, but you've made your points well across a number of threads now.

        I'm glad to hear I'm communicating well then, I've done pretty poorly at times in the past!

      This may be true in some circumstance, but if you look at all the evidence: news, videos, etc. Many people who do bring RATIONAL thoughts are told they are wrong through harsh words and violence, due to their opinions differing from the more PC audience, though I will admit (like I said at the beginning) it CAN be vise versa.

        I think that last part is pretty disingenuous. It should be plain for anyone to see that extremism and rigid adherence to doctrine is a problem on both sides of the political spectrum. If you only really notice one side, odds are it's because you're on the other side.

        I don't doubt that JonTron has experienced responses both rational and screeching. The problem is that the comment he made that I quoted is being used as a shield in two ways: it's an excuse to dismiss all criticism simply because some of it is inappropriate, and it unjustifiably reaffirms that his thoughts must be right because people are resorting to telling him to shut up. Both lead to closed-mindedness and undue self-righteousness.

    Xenophobic bigot opens mouth, says bigoted xenophobic things, starts to lose money, tries to walk it back, isn't smart enough to do so convincingly.

    The psychology of these people is so sad. They think being told not to say nasty things online is the same as being followed around a shop because of the colour of your skin, or forced into detention because of your religion.

    Because that's the only, actual way in which 'the white man' is being oppressed.

    Berrrrrt Derrrrrrr tekkkkken urrrrre jerrrrrrrbssss?

    That's late stage capitalism sparky, not ethnic oppression. And it happens because kleptocrats are creating a simple narrative to make you freak out about 'immigrants' instead of taking the five seconds of critical thought required to work out what is really happening.

    Before the release of the Switch, every time there was something about Nintendo, the article always seemed to wedge in a couple links to other stories about Nintendo articles that had nothing to the theme or topic.

    Bit different now because obviously it's not every day you see a new console release.

    My point is, no matter your views on this particular Youtuber and what they think, imagine if every time Youtube was even mentioned on this site, links to things like this were seen as somehow vital to the story and needed to be posted.

    It'd get pretty annoying real fast wouldn't it?

    As someone who gets fiercely illogical if i have to debate (if i got in a heated debate with someone I'd probably come across as a screaming Marxist), I'm sympathetic to his performance during the previous debate and think it's a good thing that he clarified his position in a medium his comfortable with.
    I really don't share this guy's point of view, so I'm not looking to comment on whether he is right or wrong. The internet is becoming more and more insular (I wanted to call this the Reddit effect, but apparently that's already a thing), it's only going to lead to more extreme feelings about any issue. Fighting with or about a Youtube personality is not a hill worth dying on.
    Everyone, remember to show kindness to others, especially those whose opinions differ to yours.

    He says ""if they immigrate they need to integrate, but also we don't need immigrants from incompatible places".
    If he applied his own standard then he wouldn't have been born because his father is from Iran, a place easily flagged as one of those "incompatible places".
    Thanks for your deep insights jonny boy!

    According to the all the research I've seen, race plays an insignificant role in crime when controlling for other factors (see, e.g.: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449156/#!po=24.4048 ). Similarly, the demographics of the US aren't particularly fractionalized and other OECD countries like Canada and Switzerland are much more diverse with no noticeable increase in instability. I'm also not sure how it's possible to not have a demographic majority in a country. It just might be of a different race some day (and there's no evidence that that is a bad thing).

    It concerns me greatly that someone with such a large audience (3 million YT subscribers, God knows what on twitch) of quite likely a young age can freely spout such uninformed nonsense. It also seems worrying that it's not expected that the media issues a rebuttal when a media personality says something incorrect and controversial. Kotaku is a media outlet, so it only seems reasonable that they do so.

      I'm pretty sure his 'demographic majority' comment was specifically about the non-Hispanic white demographic. I think he feels that America wouldn't be America if non-Hispanic whites weren't the largest demographic.

    No JonTron, people aren't saying that discrimination can't go both ways. That's what you think they're saying because it explains why they don't agree with you. What they're actually saying is that you're racist because you made a bunch of racist, xenophobic statements and assumptions.

      To be fair to this misguided and almost entirely wrong Jontron dude, you obviously haven't seen the equations and could politely be called "reboots" of dictionary definitions of the word "racism" i've seen people use to explain away their racism towards white people ("racism = institutional power + gender + my own personal prejudices against the messenger" etc.). It does happen. And while this guy doesn't have the mental capacity nor the properly researched argument to properly articulate this, we've got a huge problem with the extreme left shutting down discourse rather than fostering it (ie: the only way you'll ever change someone's mind).

      The political and ideological spectrum is not a line, but a circle, and many self-identified leftists online use quite "fascist" tactics to shame, shun, and character assassinate their designated "fascist" targets. It'd be pretty amusing to watch if it wasn't so dangerous for the very fabric of the society we're living in.

      You've probably seen this, but it feels particularly relevant to the state of the internet today.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLG9g7BcjKs

        The fact you think that someone telling you to shut up being a bigot on the internet is 'fascist' tells us:

        a) You don't know what the word 'fascism' means;
        b) You live in a bubble of privilege;
        c) You probably get a lot more of your ideological notions from right wing places than you're comfortable admitting. Such as Jonathan Pie, who despite his occasional claims otherwise, is pretty much Centre-right in his attempt to appeal to angsty males to turn a quick buck.

        Racism IS about power. If a race-focused comment or action has no impact on you because of your race, then that's because you have a position of power - and it's not racism.

        I'm going to assume you're white, because it's white people who generally misunderstand this.

        You can SCREAM a race-related comment in a person's face. If they are only impacted by the fact that someone is screaming in their face, that is a negative experience, but it's not racism. If the racial CONTENT of what is being screamed hurts the other person, then it is.

        The problem is, white people in positions of privilege simply don't understand how racial content can be hurtful - because it simply can't be hurtful to them in that situation. There are some white people who are forced into being minorities in a few nations around the world and these people can indeed grasp it. But that's not what this is ever about.

        It's about privileged people with an utter lack of understanding equating their own sensitivity to being called on their bollocks with being thrown in a detainment camp.

        Not the same thing, not even close.

        And for your information, the only 'fascism' that is dangerous to the 'very fabric of our society' is the ACTUAL fascism that has come back into vogue in the far right of our society.

        There's pretty simple historical guidelines that delineate what fascism is, based on Mussolini's 'fascisti', and pretty much every single one of those boxes is ticked by the Trumps and Pauline Hansons, not the Bernies, of our world.

        So no, no point being fair to a bigot like JonTron. He's the kind of person who causes human beings to be thrown in camps.

        Last edited 21/03/17 7:24 pm

          Fascism:
          • Totalitarianism: no limits to authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. A distinctive feature of totalitarianism is an "elaborate ideology, a set of ideas that gives meaning and direction to the whole society".
          • One Party State: If the left cannot even hear the arguments of the right without attacking immediately, it's clear that they want a one party state.
          • "Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature" - I direct you to any of the half dozen articles written by major publications about if it's "Ok To Punch A Nazi? Probably. (or at least someone we've identified as a Nazi based on our own ideology)"

          The left are just as guilty of these things as the right are these days, and while this is just a snapshot of what makes a traditional fascist, the right-wing people that are often labeled with the term don't fully fit it either. If you're allowed to redefine what "racism" is outside of a hard dictionary definition, then you must permit the redefinition of "fascism" to fit our modern world as well.

          --

          Let me be very clear here: The fascists are not, and never will be the Bernies of this world, Bernie would have been amazing, a man who fully understood that equality is about coming together not pushing people away. Much like Jonathan Pie seemingly attracts "angsty males" who believe they are like him but are utterly wrong, Bernie attracts the intolerant left who frequently spout ideologies that are bordering on some sort of neo-apartheid utopia. The biggest problem is the extreme left share far more similarities with the extreme right than they care to admit. Ideas like cultural appropriation, inter-sectional privilege, racism not counting against white people, etc. all contribute to the continued segregation of our society, and that is all they do.

          So while you're assuming many things about me, let me assume something about you based on your reaction to my comment: You're exactly the sort of left-wing individual who would rather shoot themselves in the foot than listen to advice from your allies. You've taken my comments about these self-sabotaging keyboard warriors to heart and then proceeded to very specifically and personally attack me, whereas my comment was referring to a collective group that while not specifically in reference to anyone in particular in my comment, does actually exist.

          The fact that you see Jonathan Pie, the fictional character who frequently states that he is left, and that his rants stem from his frustration with the hypocrisy and ineffectuality of his own party, as some sort of borderline right wing character, speaks volumes. Jonathan Pie is part of an ever growing group of former left-wing identifying people (including myself) who have realised that claiming that you are part of a black and white system (right vs left) does nothing but make your ideological goals that much harder to attain. He's part of an ever growing group that looks to those who are supposedly part of their group of political people with a combination of frustration and embarrassment.

          Stop using terms like privilege and patriarchy that use circular reasoning and only serve to shut down people, stop pushing your metaphorical finger into the chests of those who are on your side of the fence and telling them they are part of the problem when they won't agree with you without question. Stop treating white maleness as some sort of original sin that must be made up for.

          Don't try to make ridiculous statements that the kind of language you're using when you're screaming at someone, or the colour of their skin and of your own, somehow adds nuance to the fact that you're screaming at someone. It doesn't make it less uncomfortable for the person knowing they are part of a group that another group designated as "privileged". The end result is always the same; someone feeling attacked and upset.

          I'm not saying that someone calling you a fascist for saying bigoted things is fascism, i'm using a point Jontron tried to make as a jumping off point for a discussion that desperately needs to be had about the way the left are behaving lately. And you provided the perfect case-in-point to back it up with your hypocritical, hyperbolic and needlessly incendiary response.

            Congratulations on confirming all my assumptions. I'm not sure which cereal packet you got the definition of fascism from, but it's considerably more nuanced than that.

            The primary defining characteristics of fascism are:

            - Anti-liberalism/communism/conservatism. Fascists HATE 'Leftists'.
            - Corporatism.
            - Authoritarianism
            - Romanticisation of concentrated power in elite structures
            - Abandonment of democratic ideals
            - Racism
            - Jingoism
            - Promotion of masculinism and positive view of violence

            Basically everything that ISN'T 'Leftist'. This isn't complicated, the only people who equate leftism with fascism are those who think that National Socialism is 'left' because it has the word 'socialism' in it, and that Stalinism is 'left wing'. You know, morons.

            Again, you're entire argument comes down to equating 'people saying things in comment sections of the internet' with 'pushing people into gas chambers'.

            NOT THE SAME THING

            You're a Centre-right person who gains personal gratification by assuming a false sense of moral superiority over 'Leftists'.

            Exactly the same as Jonathan Pie, who may SAY that he's a 'leftist' but most certainly is not. Chairman Mao made the same claim, as did Stalin, and both of those authoritarians were far to the right of the political spectrum.

            You're just pointing fingers either because it makes you feel good, or you're not smart enough to work out that your attitudes are precisely informed by the power structures you claim to oppose, or both.

            The unfortunate fact is that the smug self assurance of many people like yourself act as the primary enable of fascists and their ilk - and you're always the first people to be surprised when they start kicking down doors.

            Thing is, it won't be YOUR door they kick down for a while - and that sense of privilege is what informs your attitude.

            Again, you speak through an almost impenetrable bubble of privilege. The fact you can't tell that racial abuse adds 'nuance' to someone screaming at you is pretty mind blowing - but then you admit 'The end result is always the same; someone feeling attacked and upset.'

            No son. A white person feeling attacked and upset because someone yelled at them is NOT the same as an Aboriginal person feeling attacked and upset because someone yelled at them AND the content of what was yelled reinforces that they are third class citizens in their own nation, come from a heritage of abuse and slavery and will never, ever have the full rights as their aggressor.

            Because you simply don't understand what that might be, and are so comfortable with your position that you don't want to be.

            Which is why you're happy to enable bigots, because it doesn't affect you, and their position is closer to you than their victim's is.

              Holy shit. The only person in an impenetrable bubble is you.

              What part of "while this is just a snapshot of what makes a traditional fascist" did you not understand? Your definition of Fascism is pulling from a time decades ago where things were dramatically different for governments, political parties and society in general. It's ironic that you want to pull from such an outdated concept as "fascism = gas chambers" and then claim that there are any real world instances of fascism in first world societies today.

              Wikipedia itself says:

              Fascism was influenced by both left and right, conservative and anti-conservative, national and supranational, rational and anti-rational. A number of historians regard fascism as either a revolutionary centrist doctrine, as a doctrine that mixes philosophies of the left and the right, or as both of those things. Fascism was founded during World War I by Italian national syndicalists who drew upon left-wing and right-wing political views.

              And if you're going to discredit Wikipedia like some out-of-touch baby boomer University professor let me just remind you that a hot button topic like Fascism on the page has "Semi-protection" and that any unsubstantiated edits would be immediately rectified.

              I'm glad i could confirm all of your suspicions and that you were kind enough to return the favour. I'm also glad that we've got someone like you who has the omniscience to determine where exactly on a theoretical political spectrum everyone truly lies, ignoring their obviously misleading and misguided self-designations and real world actions.

              And in answer to your comment below as well, the left actually lose because of people like you. People who promote infighting, who attack allies and people who (like me) any regular person on the street would call "way Left" and votes for Greens at every. single. election. Specifically for their position on social issues.

              I'm going to put this in bold for you:
              Nobody in the history of mankind has ever said "Yeah it's weird, I didn't agree with them at all, but as soon as they started yelling at me and personally attacking me, it all made sense and I realised they were right!"

              You can't brute force your way to getting what you want (much like a Fascist would), the only way to make any kind of lasting progress is communicating with those who you disagree with in a civil and pragmatic discourse. Attack ideas, not people.

                And again, you confirm your bubble.

                You don't get fascists to change their minds.

                You're talking about people with a lifetime of mental issues that push them into advocating for the most awful things humans can imagine.

                Nobody in the history of mankind has ever said "Yeah it's weird, I was all about throwing Muslims in torture camps and then someone engaged me in civil and pragmatic discourse and suddenly, it all made sense and I realised they were right!"

                You can't reasonably talk to people who are actually happy to see women and children tortured because of their religion or skin colour.

                What you can do, and what has been done for most of the last sixty years since the LAST time we let them talk openly, is shut them down and tell them that no, we do not accept this kind of thing in our society.

                The fact that you think encouraging them to speak openly and spread their ideas will end up in some kind of hand-holding utopia speaks volumes again for your inability to pick up a history book.

                Seriously, I am guessing you're very young. Go do your research on early 20th Century fascism and find out about the very obvious, simple chain of circumstances that led to WW2 and gas chambers.

                As has been pointed out many a time, this took place in the dining rooms of the middle class, not the halls of power or factory floors.

                It's because 'good, decent people' like yourself stood by while windows were smashed and slogans chanted.

                So what is the exact point where you decide to take action?

                And after you give a trite answer, really think about it.

                Just exactly when would you put any risk on the table, especially when it means you or yours could be threatened?

                Last edited 22/03/17 8:53 pm

                  Look, you're being completely hyperbolic on almost all counts.

                  You're not some guerrilla freedom fighter fighting against a police state. You're not a hero saving victims from the gas chambers and kill squads. You're a (and i truly believe this) well meaning person who got mixed up and encouraged by those around you in your particular echo chamber (we're all in one of some kind) that the world is black and white, good and evil, that Fascists are among us and that Trump is one more tweet argument with Snoop Dogg away from pushing the big red button.

                  The fundamental problem with Trump's travel ban was that by not allowing people from certain countries into America, he was confirming the rhetoric that is used to recruit young disillusioned people from third world countries into terrorist cells. He didn't understand that he was his own worst enemy and perpetuating a cycle of hatred that helps nobody. What young muslim men (those at highest risk of radicalisation) need is to be a part of their society, to be accepted by others outside of their own echo chamber. When they say things that we in our first world country would consider sexist, racist, hateful and or xenophobic, they need someone to correct them calmly and show them a better way, not loudly vilify and condemn them. That only results in them getting pushed further into their echo chamber.

                  It's the exact same with those who exhibit what you have decided is fascist behaviour. If you need an easy and enjoyable way to learn about this, I suggest watching American History X. You can't shake hands with a closed fist, and fascists need correction, not eradication. That's not up for debate, that is what the good guys do, they don't say "they are a lost cause" and treat them like an enemy and bay for blood.

                  While we're still, endlessly, futilely talking about privilege, it's time that you accept your own. It seems unfathomable to you that someone you designate as a fascist isn't mentally ill. But you likely come from a good family and background with many cultures, education and a general environment of acceptance, is that correct? Well these people rarely have that, they might have limited interaction with people of different races, they might have hateful and poorly educated parents. That world might be all they know. Sometimes all they need is someone to pull back the curtain and show them something more.

                  Now you keep making the same argument. I'm not saying congratulate bigots for expressing themselves, regardless of what they are saying. I'm not saying give them a megaphone so they can broadcast hate. I'm saying be the bigger person, show the guts and the brains and take the difficult path and listen, learn, and then use that information to formulate your own well structured counter argument. When you unfriend all the people who vote for Trump or Abbott or whoever on your Facebook, all you do is remove one more good influence in their life.

                  And you know what, I could very well be younger than you. But I sure hope not, because if so, you've got some real growing up to do.

        I understand what you're saying and I find that really irritating myself. However JonTron is racist. It's been clear since long before he started this stuff that he groups people by race and has a distaste for other races. His 'frank and open discussion about racism' is typically 'it's racist that I can't say nigger'. It's clear he has no genuine interest in equality because he only argues the white power points. He's not up there arguing against discrimination he's up there arguing against discriminating against white people.

        In this case I'd argue JonTron is shutting down discourse. He's made it clear he's making these arguments to support his racist views, not to explore the topic. It's sort of the opposite of 'I'm not racist but'. This is 'I'm racist, but someone who isn't racist could potentially make this point'.

          Yeah definitely not defending him, more using a point he made as jumping off point of a different but related conversation. There is so much Us vs. Them rhetoric thrown around lately and the left (who are supposed to be the good guys, right?) are just as responsible for perpetuating hate as the people they are fighting against.

          Whatever tactics the Left think they are using clearly aren't working, there's more discourse about these issues than ever before and still we see unending oppression and hate. The left lost on the biggest world stage they have to a man who openly preaches hate and incompetence, despite their party being, on most issues, 100% right. How does this happen? How do you tell the truth and argue for an objectively better world in such a way that you still lose? The left seem to be masters at it.

            The reason they aren't working is because people like you are stepping in and enabling the perpetuation of hatred. The Left is trying to stop the actual detainment and torture of people, while folks like yourself are saying 'Oh no, don't say anything nasty to the bigots, let them speak.'

            If you think the authoritarians of the world will back down because you're nice to them, then that just illustrates a poor grasp of history or a confidence you won't end up in a camp.

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