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Author Topic: UN Peacekeepers to occupy Ferguson Missouri
D.W.
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
More like:

Black community: We are hungry.
Racist: Here is some poisoned soup.
Black community: Hey, you poisoned my soup.
Racist: Here is some more poisoned soup.
Black community: Hey, this soup is still poisoned.
Racist: Here, try this poisoned soup.
Black community: Hey, this soup is ALSO poisoned.
School president: Here, have this soup.
Racist: Here, try this poisoned soup.
Black community: Um, School president, offering us soup right now just makes you look like a racist.
School president: Oh, I'm sorry. Here, let me get you a pizza.
DW: But her soup was perfectly good!
Racist: Yeah! Are you saying that all people who like soup are racists? You soup haters!
Black community: *rolls eyes*

Tom, that helps more than the last 6 pages put togeather. That's not how I interpreted the response to the school president but if that is how it is seen by others, it changes the rest of the conversation.

Seeing Pyr and others state that the president did something wrong or hurtful that required an appology is what formed my position. I still caution that the "trap" I warned of is legitimate. There ARE people trying to turn you into "soup haters" and how you point out the racists and their poisoned soup matters.

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noel c.
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Tom,

"noel, do you agree, then, that ineffective torture is always immoral? "...

Are you still reading morality from a chrystal ball?

[ December 12, 2014, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: noel c. ]

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Brian
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quote:
DW: But her soup was perfectly good!
Racist: Yeah! Are you saying that all people who like soup are racists? You soup haters!
Black community: *rolls eyes*

But the Black community is rolling their eyes at the racists, while Pyrtolin is patiently explaining that DW must be on the side of racism rather than logic. Because emotions trump logic, apparently.

Because, let us be clear about this: HER SOUP WAS ACTUALLY GOOD.
Is the black community swearing off soup for ever more? Are they going to allow the racists to claim that they own soup?


And again with the posting while I am typing!
I agree that Tom's last rephrasing was very good.

[ December 12, 2014, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: Brian ]

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D.W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Brian:
quote:
DW: But her soup was perfectly good!
Racist: Yeah! Are you saying that all people who like soup are racists? You soup haters!
Black community: *rolls eyes*

But the Black community is rolling their eyes at the racists, while Pyrtolin is patiently explaining that DW must be on the side of racism rather than logic. Because emotions trump logic, apparently.

Because, let us be clear about this: HER SOUP WAS ACTUALLY GOOD.
Is the black community swearing off soup for ever more? Are they going to allow the racists to claim that they own soup?

I don't THINK Pyr is saying I'm on the side of the racists, but otherwise that sums up my point. I think we are both acusing the other of providing cover for the racists to cause their distraction.
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scifibum
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Here's what Pyrtolin's point is: making a stand on whether the soup that was offered was good, and criticizing the pizza capitulation, distracts from the actual issue. The hunger is more important than whether it was fair to reject the innocent soup.

It may be possible that criticizing such criticism ALSO distracts from the core issue, but - in my estimation - it's less problematic in how/whether it supports privilege.

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noel c.
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Tom,

I really do have to go, but I would like to get a response to the moral intimidation/moral torture permutation that was absent from your gloss on "immoral intimidation".

In your world, is there such a thing (assuming I grant that all CIA directors from the last two administrations were "liars"... for the sake of discussion)?

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Brian
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I would like to apologize for the tone of a couple of my posts today. I was feeling frustrated and took a couple of pot-shots at Pyrtolin.


Tom:
quote:
I'm giving this one a bit of a berth...
It is all your fault. You needed to step in earlier, not avoid it. [Smile]
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PSRT
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quote:
PSRT,

"You realize this is EXACTLY what you do, right noel? You ask questions but refuse to answer anyone elses questions? "...

Try me.

Looks like some people did, and you failed to answer the questions they asked.
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noel c.
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PSRT,

"Looks like some people did, and you failed to answer the questions they asked. "...

There is one person who asked questions that I found necessary to ignore, and he was not asked any questions by me. I also gave him the courtesy of a reason for not answering.

I you are feeling neglected, do something about it.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Seeing Pyr and others state that the president did something wrong or hurtful that required an appology is what formed my position.
How are you defining hurtful here? In Tom's example the accidental act of do the thing that is being done to hurt them _did_ merit an apology, which she offered instead of scorning them for not trusting her soup at this moment..
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TomDavidson
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quote:
In your world, is there such a thing
I can imagine scenarios in which intimidation and/or torture might be a moral option. Some of them -- especially when it comes to torture -- are highly unlikely and very artificial.

The problem, of course, is that postulating such scenarios leads to very rapid desensitization; once you tolerate what you think is justified torture, you have become a torturer -- and it gets easier and easier for you to justify it each time. I'm on record as saying that I would permit torture as a tool of policy only if the torturer were required to submit to the death penalty within three months of the torture, subject only to a personal and public pardon by the President.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by noel c.:
Tom,

"I believe there are many different sorts of activities that would fall under the rubric of 'intimidation.' I would consider some of them immoral, no doubt; others probably are not. "...

In the context of acquiring timely intelligence that results in preservation of life; is intimidation immoral?

"No one gives a ****, noel. "...

For purposes of my argument, it does. Is intimidation a torture modality, and if it saves lives do you consider it immoral?

If "cramped containment" i.e. putting someone in a small box in the dark for between 2 and 18 hours (sometimes with insects) or describing the sexual depredations you claim to have (or will) committed on their wives, mothers, or children or threatening to kill those loved ones counts as "intimidation" then, yes, it is a "torture modality" and yes, it is immoral.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Because, let us be clear about this: HER SOUP WAS ACTUALLY GOOD.
Indeed- which is why accusations that people who are pointing out that this was a bad time to offer soup are somehow perpetuating the problem are evidence of ignorance of the situation.

quote:
Is the black community swearing off soup for ever more? Are they going to allow the racists to claim that they own soup?
Not at all. And that's why false claims that turning soup down right now amounts to swearing it off forever are problematic.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Seeing Pyr and others state that the president did something wrong or hurtful that required an appology is what formed my position.
How are you defining hurtful here? In Tom's example the accidental act of do the thing that is being done to hurt them _did_ merit an apology, which she offered instead of scorning them for not trusting her soup at this moment..
And to be clear here "hurtful" in these situations is defined by what the person who was hurt perceives as hurting them, not by what an outside observer thinks should be harmful.

It doesn't matter taht she wasn't trying to hurt them. It doesn't matter that on the planet Vulcan her words would have been perfectly fine. It matters that her act, no matter how unintentionally, stepped on some pretty serious emotional toes. And she did exactly the right thing to do in such situations; instead of putting herself first, getting defensive, and trying to self justify, she immediately apologized and allowed the conversation to move forward. That's the way you have to act if you don't want to ensure that someone in that situation never wants to have anything to do with soup again, browbeating people about how it's wrong to feel hurt makes the injury worse, not better.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
More like:

Black community: We are hungry.
Racist: Here is some poisoned soup.
Black community: Hey, you poisoned my soup.
Racist: Here is some more poisoned soup.
Black community: Hey, this soup is still poisoned.
Racist: Here, try this poisoned soup.
Black community: Hey, this soup is ALSO poisoned.
School president: Here, have this soup.
Racist: Here, try this poisoned soup.
Black community: Um, School president, offering us soup right now just makes you look like a racist.
School president: Oh, I'm sorry. Here, let me get you a pizza.
DW: But her soup was perfectly good!
Racist: Yeah! Are you saying that all people who like soup are racists? You soup haters!
Black community: *rolls eyes*

Tom, that helps more than the last 6 pages put togeather. That's not how I interpreted the response to the school president but if that is how it is seen by others, it changes the rest of the conversation.

Seeing Pyr and others state that the president did something wrong or hurtful that required an appology is what formed my position. I still caution that the "trap" I warned of is legitimate. There ARE people trying to turn you into "soup haters" and how you point out the racists and their poisoned soup matters.

I would go further and posit that years of poisoned soup has made the community allergic to soup. At this point, perfectly fine soup is actually harmful to them in addition to giving the impression that they no longer need food as they have all this soup.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
In your world, is there such a thing
I can imagine scenarios in which intimidation and/or torture might be a moral option. Some of them -- especially when it comes to torture -- are highly unlikely and very artificial.

The problem, of course, is that postulating such scenarios leads to very rapid desensitization; once you tolerate what you think is justified torture, you have become a torturer -- and it gets easier and easier for you to justify it each time. I'm on record as saying that I would permit torture as a tool of policy only if the torturer were required to submit to the death penalty within three months of the torture, subject only to a personal and public pardon by the President.

Tom, did you read this? http://www.stonekettle.com/

quote:
“What if the terrorists had your family? What if they had an atom bomb hidden in a city with your family strapped to it and you caught one of those bastards and there was only an hour left and there was no time to evacuate and millions were going die? Including your family! Huh? What about that? Are you saying you wouldn’t do whatever was necessary to get that information? I bet you would!”

You’re right, I would.

I, me personally? I would do whatever it took, including torture, if that was the only way to save the city, if that was the only way to save my family, if that was the only way to save you. As a military officer, yes, I would. Absolutely. I wouldn’t order my men to do it, I’d do it myself. I shove a hose up the bastard’s nose and turn on the water. I’d shoot out his knees. I’d cut off his balls. You bet. If that’s what it took. I’d do it without hesitation.

And I’d do it knowing I was breaking the law, and I would expect to be tried for the crime and sent to prison.

I would.

Because even if I saved the day, I’d be wrong.

Good intentions do not justify evil.

quote:
If I tortured a terrorist, even if I saved the city, even if I was a hero, I’d still be wrong.

I’d still face trial, I’d likely go to jail.

And that is precisely what should happen.

The morality of this supposed situation is a choice for human beings. It is a moral choice for men, for women, for individuals.

The morality of nations is something else entirely.

Morality is a choice for people, not governments.

Torture, no matter how pure the motive is against everything this country stands for. Everything.

The men who founded this country, who designed our government, they knew this. But, they were not fools. They knew the pitfalls of absolutism and inflexible law. They knew that they couldn’t make the Constitution too rigid, or the new United States would rapidly outgrow it. So they made it fairly general except in the areas that they knew needed rigid and specific limits, such as habeas corpus and individual rights.

The Founders weren’t stupid, they were in fact brilliant, and they could play the “what if? game too.

So, they built in safeguards.

If I torture a terrorist into confessing the location of the bomb and I saved the city, I’d still be wrong. I’d expect to go to jail.

And that, my friends, is exactly what a presidential pardon is for.

It’s not to pardon corrupt politicians. It’s not to pardon the rich and connected. It’s not to clean the slates of hacks and flacks and flunkies and contributors and lobbyists. And it is most certainly not to pardon those who would turn us into our own enemies through abuse of power.

The Presidential Pardon is a safeguard built into the framework of our nation as a relief valve for exactly this type of situation.

While there may be times when brutal action might be justified by personal choice (that is the basis of most of our heroic action movies, isn’t it? And the source of that strawman nuclear bomb scenario above), the same should never be an option for government.


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Pyrtolin
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http://bittergertrude.com/2014/12/12/the-white-guy-problem/

No one here is even remotely as bad as the pathological example put forth in the article here, but the overall point is well in line with what I've been saying about the general issue of what it takes to actually be part of the solution above and beyond just declaring that you're not part of the problem.

quote:
Again, just to head off the inevitable YOU’RE BEING RACIST AGAINST WHITE MEN reactions, most white guys are great. Most white guys are empathetic people trying to understand the lives of others. But the entire nation is currently being dragged down by a small group of people whose reaction to the pain of others is MY PAIN IS MORE IMPORTANT, whose reaction to racism and the role of their own privilege in that is LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU, or worse, PRIVILEGE IS MADE UP BECAUSE MY LIFE IS HARD.

Here’s what I think is happening:

We all see ourselves as the “good guy” in the narrative of our lives, and these Defensive White Guys are no different. They believe in their hearts that they understand racism, and believe they understand the experiences of others. They believe in their hearts they are not racist or sexist, and that assertion is almost always a loud component of the DWG performance. They BELIEVE it. They grew up with Free To Be You and Me and learned in school about the many laws and customs we once had that barred women from participating in public life– voting, higher education, certain kinds of employment. They learned about the income disparity. And they said to themselves, “I am not that.” And they believed it. In school they learned about lynchings and listened as their teacher played “Strange Fruit” or read to them about Emmett Till. They saw pictures in their grade school textbooks of drinking fountains marked “WHITES ONLY,” they learned about the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, they learned about brave little Ruby Bridges, they learned about racism and they said, “I am not that.” And they believed it.

As they grew up, they demonstrated this by talking about how little they cared that their co-workers were Black, or their boss was a woman. They voted for women or people of color. They didn’t see anything wrong with interracial marriage. They BELIEVED they were not sexist or racist, and for that, they believed they were one of the “good guys.”

As our culture progressed, however, and became more and more willing to study racism and misogyny, and how they both operate systemically within our culture, we articulated the concept of privilege, we studied it and created a mountain of statistics to show its existence, we began to examine the myriad ways in which racism and misogyny are encoded into our culture. We realized the problem was deeper and wider than we thought.

And the definition of “good guy” changed. It was no longer just a public declaration that you weren’t bigoted and a lack of active oppression of women and people of color. Being a “good guy” now meant engaging in a difficult and complex process of understanding privilege, including your own privilege, acknowledging that, and understanding how racism and misogyny are created and disseminated, how much of that we’ve internalized, and how we work to end that. Suddenly a stated belief in “equality” and a simple lack of active oppression– both relatively easy to understand and believe you can accomplish (despite the fact the we now know this is much more complex than originally thought)– were no longer enough. Many white people had the courage and/or resources to meet these new challenges head on. Many had to slowly come to understanding. Most of us are still struggling with these issues and our place within them every day. But some white people, including these men I’m discussing, whose personal narratives and self-conceptions, like all of us, rely on being “the good guy,” are LIVID. The definition of “good guy” changed. It requires understanding and accepting something they do not have the will and/or ability to understand, and they are angry. They feel betrayed that “good guy” went from easy to difficult, was taken away from them while they weren’t looking, and is something to which they feel entitled, but is in reality something they now have to earn.


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D.W.
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I am indeed a DWG per Pyrtolin's quote. The definition of a good guy didn't change.

It went from definable to "never enough". For that, I am LIVID. It ASSUMES my lack of will and inability to understand. It refuses to BE defined because by defining itself it becomes attainable. The struggle became the point rather than the goal. Being a “good guy” became impossible. You are now either the enemy or delusional.

So ya, I’m a DWG. Defensive because we are being attacked daily for the sins of others, the past and the system that WE are a part of despite our actions, words and intents. It has nothing to do with reclaiming the "good guy" status I'm entitled to. It's that people are saying that under their new criteria, the "good guy" white person CANNOT exist.

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D.W.
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Actually, I would suggest it hasn't changed at all. Just the voices of those who want it to change have gotten louder and drowned out those who just want a world with more "good guys"
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kmbboots
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It isn't saying that at all. In fact, it gives examples, of good guys. "Being a “good guy” now meant engaging in a difficult and complex process of understanding privilege, including your own privilege, acknowledging that, and understanding how racism and misogyny are created and disseminated, how much of that we’ve internalized, and how we work to end that."

ItBeing a “good guy” now meant engaging in a difficult and complex process of understanding privilege, including your own privilege, acknowledging that, and understanding how racism and misogyny are created and disseminated, how much of that we’ve internalized, and how we work to end that." It, perhaps, means that a privileged but privileged is not the same as bad.

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D.W.
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quote:
It isn't saying that at all. In fact, it gives examples, of good guys. "Being a “good guy” now meant engaging in a difficult and complex process of understanding privilege, including your own privilege, acknowledging that, and understanding how racism and misogyny are created and disseminated, how much of that we’ve internalized, and how we work to end that."
Read this again, and explain to me how this translates to anything actionable other than intelectual masturbation.

"How we work to end that" is VERY important. It doesn't define it though.

All I get from the above is, "Parrot what I say, and you can be tolorated as a work in progress." Oh and don't ask what you are progressing towards. That's not allowed.

[ December 12, 2014, 05:00 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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kmbboots
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I am not sure what you are looking for. How are those things not actions? Learning is an action.

ETA: Pretending racism is already banished from existence is not the same as working to end it.

[ December 12, 2014, 05:03 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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D.W.
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Shall I treat it as a religion? Being a good person, a moral person who does no evil, will never get me through the gates of heaven. I must BELIEVE!

Now I'm not suggesting I do, but what if I DID understand everything above perfectly? What if I HAD learned all this? What if I was a creature of perfect empathy?

Then what? That is my question. What in my actions, speech and thoughts have changed from the person who held the old definition of "good guy"?

[ December 12, 2014, 05:08 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Pyrtolin
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This article, referenced at the top of the other one I posted also hits on recent themes:
http://www.salon.com/2014/12/09/to_my_white_male_facebook_friends

quote:
Your child comes to you and says, “Dad, I’m being harassed, bullied, threatened and terrorized at school.”

And you say, “That is impossible. You go to a good school. All the adults I know say it is a good school, so you must be fine. Go back out there.”

And you walk away, convinced that your child must be wrong. You’ve abandoned your child, because you’re not taking his or her report as possibly accurate.

Your wife or sister comes to you and says, “I am being harassed, threatened and terrorized out on the street by men. I experience gender inequality on a daily basis. I live in some degree of constant fear for my personal safety, just because I am a woman.”

And you say, “That is impossible. Sexism is over. Women now occupy relatively high places of power in this country. You are fine.”

And you walk away, convinced that your loved one must be wrong. You have abandoned her, because you are not taking her report as possibly accurate.

Your friends, community, neighbors, co-workers of color come to you and say, “I am harassed, threatened, terrorized on the street by police officers. I am experiencing systemic inequality on a daily basis. I live in constant fear that myself, my brother, my son, will be unfairly convicted of a crime, or shot on the street, simply because of what we look like.”

And you say, “That is impossible. Racism has been conquered. We have a black president. Everyone lives an equal life here.”

And you walk away, convinced that this person is wrong. You have abandoned them, because you are not taking their report as possibly accurate.

My question to you is: In any of these cases, have you done your best?

In each of these cases, the common thread is that you are being infantilizing.

You are not taking someone else’s reporting of their own, lived experience as accurate.

As hard as it may be to accept this, you may not take these reports as accurate because other people, who look like you, have told you that these things are not true, and whether or not you want to believe it, you might have been programmed with a bias toward taking things that white men say as more accurate than things anyone else says. You might not know you’re doing this. If you really were to think about it, you’d find the idea appalling. And yet, you are not taking these reports as accurate. Why?

Or, perhaps, because these things do not happen to you, you refuse to believe that it could or would happen to others.

This is the essence of your privilege.

You have the opportunity to denounce someone else’s lived experience, tell them there’s no way they really understand what’s happening in their own life, and walk away, comfortable in your rightness. You get to go back to your life where this does not happen to you, and ignore the plight of others.

This is a privilege because the others in this case do not have that option. When they leave the conversation, they are still a child, a woman or a person of color (or any combination of the three), occupying a position of less power than you. Living in a world where these things do happen to them, and what’s worse, they now walk away knowing that you, their father, husband, friend, teacher, community member, do not believe them. Won’t defend them. Aren’t willing to help.


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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Shall I treat it as a religion? Being a good person, a moral person who does no evil, will never get me through the gates of heaven. I must BELIEVE!

Now I'm not suggesting I do, but what if I DID understand everything above perfectly? What if I HAD learned all this? What if I was a creature of perfect empathy?

Then what? That is my question. What in my actions, speech and thoughts have changed from the person who held the old definition of "good guy"?

You might, for example, understand why "All lives matter" is not a useful substitute for "Black lives matter".
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D.W.
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I do. And have NEVER suggested in all of these pages that it was.

next

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
What in my actions, speech and thoughts have changed from the person who held the old definition of "good guy"?
Did you read the whole thing, or just the excerpt posted above?

Right from there, perhaps we can trace a difference. When confronted with an idea that suggests that your world view might be wrong, and that you might be doing harm without realizing it, do you react by saying "No way, it can't be true" or "Let me investigate this idea further until I've built enough context to fully understand what's being said?"

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PSRT
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quote:
Now I'm not suggesting I do, but what if I DID understand everything above perfectly? What if I HAD learned all this? What if I was a creature of perfect empathy?

Then what? That is my question. What in my actions, speech and thoughts have changed from the person who held the old definition of "good guy"

You wouldn't have defended the people saying "All lives matter." Instead, you would have been telling them "That phrase is harmful to the people who are already hurting the most."
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Pyrtolin
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I think the second article, when read all the way through, does a good job of directly answering your question DW- it gives a very concrete description of what active, positive contribution looks like, as well as links to further reading on the issue
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D.W.
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Pyrtolin, I'm in the middle of a deadline. I read what you copied in, not the link.

If I remove "thoughts" and just say this.

I believe that someone fitting the NEW definition of a "good guy" acts and speaks no differently than someone fitting the OLD definition of a "good guy".

Can you refute this? If the answer is in the links you provided, I will try to take the time to read them later.

P.S. I'm going to assume that the second excerpt you just posted was not in response to me. If it was, your failure to understand what I've been trying to say is quite distressing. I agree with every sentiment of that excerpt and hope it was just being shared rather than being presented as a response to me.

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Pyrtolin
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The excerpted part was definitely directed at others in the conversation, but the meat of the second article will likely give you a more satisfying answer. I'd end up pasting nearly the entirety of both of them if I went for anything more than just enough to get some of the headline ideas across though.

At the most fundamental I'd say something somewhat similar to what PSRT did. Not quite the same though- instead of complaining about how people were "letting" the bad actors ruin a perfectly good phrase, you'd have been more opening to seeing and understanding that they weren't the ones with the power over meaning in the situation- they were just trying to defend themselves from a barrage of attacks, and basically just saying "Ow, that hurts" over and over again because it had become increasingly impossible. Your annoyance would have, instead followed the line of those that were exercising the presence and power to taint the phrase. Instead of telling the people under attack "Please stop defending yourself, you're letting bad people ruin the phrase" You'd have told the bad people "please stop using that phrase that, you're ruining it for everyone" while respecting that, in the short term, there's a strong need to clearly distance yourself from the people using it abusively by helping point out how hurtful it is in the current context because of the ongoing attacks it's part of.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You can read some books or essays (links and suggestions below). You can go online and take an ethnic studies course, or a women’s studies course. You can start talking to your friends of color and saying, “Tell me about your experience.”

And then really listen, without arguing or stopping them or fighting or telling them that what they’re saying couldn’t be possible.

And when the things they say make you feel defensive, or cut your soul, you can stop, and breathe, and compassionately lean in to your discomfort, and ask yourself, “Why might this be true?” “What can I do to help?” “How can I best support you?” “How can I do my best for you?”

You can’t help if you don’t understand.

So first, seek to understand.

To really understand.

Not to dismiss, not to patronize. Not to argue.

Not to tell someone else why you think what they’re living must not be really what they’re living. But to really, truly, deeply, one living creature to another, understand.

See what can blossom in your life from that understanding.

Start with letting other people’s stories change you.

And then from that change, see if you can use your story to help change others.


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Pyrtolin
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That was another bit for the second, this is another bit from the first:
quote:
In addition to the fact that the qualification for “good guy” status has changed, the culture is changing all around them. While white men still hold almost all of the positions of power in our culture, and control almost all of the wealth, demographically their numbers are shrinking, and the culture is changing slowly to reflect that. The entire shape of the economy slowly changed since the Reagan Revolution, tipping the nation’s wealth to the hands of a few families, shutting people without wealth out of the political process, and almost entirely ending the American Dream of upward mobility. Many white men are hurting economically. Since all white American-born men have lived their entire lives in a culture that always put their needs first and was structured around their narratives, the idea that someone else’s narrative could be just as important, or, possibly, for even just a moment, more urgent and important, is, for some white men, literally impossible to understand. This subset of white men cannot comprehend that idea as anything but a MASSIVE injustice against them. They’ve been first in line for so long THEY NEVER EVEN KNEW THE LINE EXISTED, and they believe that being asked to wait in line like everyone else is bigotry against them. This subset of white men cannot comprehend that ending street harassment is a more urgent issue than their desire to approach women whenever and however they like; that actual rape is a more urgent issue than their fear that one day someone might possibly accuse them of rape; that the killing of unarmed Black men (and BOYS) is a more urgent issue than their fear of Black “thugs”; that the killing of unarmed Black men is a more urgent issue than a few broken windows.

This subset of white men cannot comprehend that the expression of the pain and anger of a long-oppressed group of people is a more urgent issue than their need to be seen as “a good guy.” It takes a truly mind-blowing amount of self-absorption, entitlement, and privilege to answer “White people are hurting us; please help make it stop” with “NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE.” What this response is saying is: “My need to be seen as a ‘good guy’ is more important than your pain. Please direct your attention to that and confirm that I am ‘good’ before I will consent to recognize your pain.” It’s the social equivalent of demanding that someone compliment your bitchin’ Camaro before you agree to roll it off their foot. OR HEAD.


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scifibum
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D.W., I think you're extrapolating further than the author intended in his description of people who simply try to treat others equally and not subscribe to bigoted beliefs.

If one simply assumes that not being/acted bigoted and professing a belief in equality is enough, then you aren't a bad guy. You aren't an enemy. You might be a bit complacent, but not a bad person. Just a little bit complicit in perpetuating the kinds of inequality that fly under the radar at this level of awareness and effort. I say complicit because this is typically the position of someone who is benefiting from a disparity that is harming someone else (not getting pulled over at 12 MPH over because the cop already pulled over a black guy at 8 MPH over. Maybe, sometimes, assuming that guy must have been doing 15 over, being skeptical when one hears about unfair treatment from police).

It's indirect complicity. It's easy, human nature. Understandable. But not good enough to help fix the problem.

quote:
...by defining itself it becomes attainable.
You said something along these lines more than once. If the problem is that people receive equal treatment, then the solution is to treat people equally, right? When someone says it's a more complicated problem than that, one that requires more ongoing sacrifice, it sounds like the goal is to instill some kind of perpetual liberal guilt, and make it your job to chase ever-diminishing returns on behalf of people who claim they aren't getting a fair shake, because you've been defined as the Privileged One. I get that.

But you don't have to read it that way. You can read it like this: We have lots of data that shows that life goes easier and better for certain privileged classes than others, and one of the prevailing/best explanations for some of these patterns is that this is the result of prejudice and discrimination, much of it out of sight of people who aren't facing it. While that's the case, actively working against those forces is a moral good. Choosing not to help is less good*. Working against those forces requires examination of ones own privilege, and may in some cases mean choosing to have that privilege actively dismantled. This is harder than treating everyone around you equally, but it's not chasing some undefined and indefinable penance for being a white male - it's addressing specific harms that can be documented and articulated, and have been.

The actual bad guys - the ones the author says are dragging down the efforts of others - are the ones who are more concerned with preserving their own self image than with addressing the injustices faced by others, and are unwilling or unable to conceive of a way to reconcile the two interests, so they choose to block/fight/shout down any message that threatens their self conception. I don't think this is you.

Some people are going to oversimplify or overreach, for instance by assuming that "equal pay for equal work" can't allow a man to make more money than a woman with the same job title, ignoring any other variables. You don't have to appease them. But if you assume unequal pay is a non-issue without looking at the facts, or you accept that it's a legitimate issue but don't speak out against it, that's less good than doing something about it, even if either way you don't let sexism affect how you pay the people who work for you. And if you shout down the people who say there is a unequal pay problem based on the conviction that you deserve your pay and a fear that others are going to get your pay cut, that's what the author is calling a DWG.

*This could always be in favor of some other priority which is seen as more good. We can't devote ourselves to every good cause. You get to choose how this weighs against your other priorities.

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D.W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
At the most fundamental I'd say something somewhat similar to what PSRT did. Not quite the same though- instead of complaining about how people were "letting" the bad actors ruin a perfectly good phrase, you'd have been more opening to seeing and understanding that they weren't the ones with the power over meaning in the situation- they were just trying to defend themselves from a barrage of attacks, and basically just saying "Ow, that hurts" over and over again because it had become increasingly impossible. Your annoyance would have, instead followed the line of those that were exercising the presence and power to taint the phrase. Instead of telling the people under attack "Please stop defending yourself, you're letting bad people ruin the phrase" You'd have told the bad people "please stop using that phrase that, you're ruining it for everyone" while respecting that, in the short term, there's a strong need to clearly distance yourself from the people using it abusively by helping point out how hurtful it is in the current context because of the ongoing attacks it's part of.

It’s not that I’m annoyed more at the people trying to stop others from diluting their message with “All lives matter”. I’m not just annoyed but sickened that others would use this message as a retort and distraction. I cannot tell a racist, “Hey, stop using that phrase! If you do that, the black community will react against it which could be misinterpreted by others as them being paradoxically against equality, or at least incomprehensible to some whom would use those two phrases interchangeably.” I cannot tell them this because that is exactly what they intended. They will just do their evil grin… or so I assume as they are likely hiding it behind a white hood…

Now if I try to explain the same thing to the protestors… maybe, just maybe they can use caution while trying to stay on message and unified in their cause. They may have to make the tough decision to just ignore the counter message because there IS no good response to it and ANY response to it will cause harm.

Now I can “learn” and “understand” that nobody wants to hear that from me. However if I quit pointing it out I have now elevated making sure nobody has to face a hard truth over helping end harm.

I know it’s probably useless to say this again, but there it is.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:

If I remove "thoughts" and just say this.

I believe that someone fitting the NEW definition of a "good guy" acts and speaks no differently than someone fitting the OLD definition of a "good guy".

I disagree. I used to think I was a "good guy". I have now learned that I wasn't. Even though I have a lot to learn, by being willing to listen, I am a better guy. Can we stop using "guy" and switch to "ally"?
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D.W.
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quote:
This subset of white men cannot comprehend that the expression of the pain and anger of a long-oppressed group of people is a more urgent issue than their need to be seen as “a good guy.” It takes a truly mind-blowing amount of self-absorption, entitlement, and privilege to answer “White people are hurting us; please help make it stop” with “NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE.” What this response is saying is: “My need to be seen as a ‘good guy’ is more important than your pain. Please direct your attention to that and confirm that I am ‘good’ before I will consent to recognize your pain.” It’s the social equivalent of demanding that someone compliment your bitchin’ Camaro before you agree to roll it off their foot. OR HEAD.
This, this sentiment right here, is racist. It says to me, accept being lumped in with the villains because no matter how good you are, claiming to not BE a villain, confirms you as one. If you lump the good in with the bad and judge everyone by their skin how is there any hope?

The intent is positive but the execution is a grotesque hypocritical abomination.

quote:
I say complicit because this is typically the position of someone who is benefiting from a disparity that is harming someone else (not getting pulled over at 12 MPH over because the cop already pulled over a black guy at 8 MPH over. Maybe, sometimes, assuming that guy must have been doing 15 over, being skeptical when one hears about unfair treatment from police).
This misses my question. What SHOULD I do? Drive 20 over so I get pulled over and the black guy gets a pass? What action should I take? Should I pull up behind the stopped car and berate the cop? Just sit and watch with my phone cam rolling so the cop knows he’s being watched? (Even that doesn’t appear to be an adequate measure today.) Pointing out that I benefit from it is not useful without suggesting a way to correct the disparity. You are pointing at it as if I did something wrong as an individual. THAT is my problem. You are accomplishing nothing but attempting to make me believe I should feel guilt. Of course it’s not good enough to fix the problem!

quote:
But you don't have to read it that way. You can read it like this: We have lots of data that shows that life goes easier and better for certain privileged classes than others, and one of the prevailing/best explanations for some of these patterns is that this is the result of prejudice and discrimination, much of it out of sight of people who aren't facing it. While that's the case, actively working against those forces is a moral good. Choosing not to help is less good*.
Excellent so far, I agree with all of this. I find it odd when people don’t seem to understand this. But then we go here.
quote:
Working against those forces requires examination of ones own privilege, and may in some cases mean choosing to have that privilege actively dismantled. This is harder than treating everyone around you equally, but it's not chasing some undefined and indefinable penance for being a white male - it's addressing specific harms that can be documented and articulated, and have been.
This, to me, is gibberish. HOW would I choose to dismantle that privilege? What action(s) are being suggested? Should I quit my job and suggest my boss hire a black man in the hopes he takes my advice? Doing this paradoxically because I can exploit my privilege and get another job more easily than any given black man? Should I break laws in an attempt to keep police officers occupied so they are not bored and out looking for a black man to beat? If I was an employer rather than an employee should I start a business and go out of my way to use affirmative action? What does the second part entail? That is the missing element so common to this path of thinking.
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scifibum
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I don't know how much of this applies to you, D.W., but in general:

1. Listen. Don't deny someone'e experience because it makes you feel guilty.

2. Advocate for others to do #1.

3. Put yourself in a position to be asked for help, and be willing to do something. This may mean showing up somewhere sometime, or it may mean signing a petition, or it may mean writing your representatives, etc. Nothing dramatic or big. When I talked about directly dismantling privilege, I am talking about people in power creating policies that could be seen as against their own interests - one example would be white male business managers empowering a committee to fix gender- or race-based pay or promotion disparities.

Note: the article that talked about DWG was all about #1. Some people are doing the opposite, and it IS a drag on progress.

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D.W.
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Thanks for posting that (#3) scifibum. In a lot of ways, I'm playing stupid. I have answers to some of my own questions, but as a white person, even suggesting them is something we are being trained to be weary of.
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scifibum
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Just to add: there's a way to construe your arguments about the "black lives matter" kerfluffle as denying those principally involved the right to represent and define the importance of the issue to them: when they say that "ALL lives matter" is problematic enough to warrant a correction, part of #1 is (can be) trying hard to understand why they think so, and what kind of help they want with it.

Telling them to try harder to avoid alienating people can come across as protecting and defending the DWG syndrome, which is seen as a drag on progress.

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