Why Yelp's New Policy is Concerning

Can a well-intentioned policy lead to abuse?

Yelp recently added a button where someone can report a business of being racist, and if a business receives racism complaints an alert will show on their profile. As somebody who historically called Racism the worst of humanity, stated we are all genetically related, and denounced hate numerous times, I am the type of person who believes that America and the rest of the world has no place for racism or even the view of “race”.

However, this doesn’t stop me from being against Yelp’s policy. Nowadays, people can take things out of context and even call you racist if you don’t agree with a certain political issue. Lots of people who can debate you on topics not even related to race, can call you racist instead of providing a logical counterargument to your claims.

Can racism reports be abused? Yes. Will this more than likely be abused? Yes. Will this likely mostly effect small business over large multinational franchises and corporations? Yes.

On the other side of the argument, let us assume a business owner is actually racist. Is reporting them in a way that effectively harms their entire livelihood and the livelihood of their staff, really going to make us better of a human being? This seems like a way to even create more devision. If reports like this get abused on the other side of the scale, this may actually divert attention to actual cases of racial injustice.

Instead of fighting oppression by tagging businesses, I feel like the best way to fight racial injustice is helping the oppressed directly or volunteering for causes related to racial injustice. Tons of great organizations like AAAH, BlackGirlsCode, and Big Brother Big Sisters can use some volunteer work. As role models like Daryl Davis have done, the best way to remove hate is through caring, not creating more hate.

Tools like what Yelp is proposing can also be greatly misused as a censorship and silencing tactic, and this is not the best way to handle such situations.