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Author Topic: race, justice, and survey methodology
DJQuag
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Nah, I'm still pretty sure that baseline income and free higher education, or even starting down the path to that, would help minorities a lot more then any of the recent protests have.

I'm talking European socialist style stuff. Europe is as much or more racist then the US and minorities and immigrants still manage to get their benefits.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Another counfounder would be newness of vehicle. AAs are more likely to be poor, poor individuals are more likely to have an older vehicle, older vehicles are more likely to be in disrepair.

And none of these "confounders" would exist in an unbiased system, unless you're are asserting an inherent, genetic cause for blacks to be poorer and work night shifts more often. These aren't "confounders" they're self-reinforcing consequences of a biased system.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
That would likely remove most of the difference in stops between AAs and whites - and all of the factors can be largely attributed to poverty related behavioural differences as opposed to race.
So, you're basically saying that blacks are just naturally more poor than whites again. There's no racial disparity, they're just straight up inferior by your calculations?

If you're not saying that, then you have to include the fact that they're disproportionately poor when looking for bias, not try to factor it out.

Right now you're basically highlighting a facet of racism in our system and then massaging the statistics to hide it rather than bothering to actually dig into why the disparity exist and trying to figure out how to address it.

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Pyrtolin
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And just so that the core point isn't lost here, I'll put it out on its own.

By justifying your assertions that racism doesn't exist based on the fact that black people are more poor that white people instead of recognizing that as one of the core ways that racism manifests in the US, you are effectively arguing that black people are inferior to white people and actualyl directly meeting your favored dictionary definition of racism here.

If you don't accept that black people are inferior to white people, then you should be asking "How do we work toward eliminating this disparity?" not "How do we control for it to hide evidence of it in the statistics?"

And you're right- was was being a little inaccurate and too generous with "arrested" since being killed in the process of being detained tends to preclude arrest. It's just different ways of expressing "being harassed, often fatally" by law enforcement based on racial profile, including all associations with poverty based on the bias that a given black person is more likely to be poor, as well as the fallout from lack of resources and connections that actually come from being poor.

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D.W.
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Racist policy (slavery) caused systemic poverty.
Poverty makes more likely negative social behavior.
Negative social behavior causes aversion.

That doesn't mean racism disappeared somewhere along the way. It does however mean that a lot of what looks like racism is now classism. Because of this, fighting against racism will fall short of improving conditions for many African Americans.

There is also a much higher level of backlash by whites (or at least discomfort) when attempting to "fix" racism compared to attempting to "fix" classism.

Taking the easy road, confronting classism, which many (myself included) believe would do far more good, seems like the obvious choice.

Idealism vs. pragmatism. It's not controlling for or hiding evidence. There is little disagreement on how we got here. We know we can't flip a switch and erase entirely our history and subconscious reactions to others. Addressing things that actually improve lives and counter stereotypes will slowly erode what racism remains once classism is no longer (or lesser of) a factor.

That or I'm just some white dude in denial and unwilling to accept responsibility for all those who came before me and acted like ****s, knowingly or through bigoted ignorance. How would I know the difference...

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Pyrtolin
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You talk like this is an either/or issue, when the truth is that any issue that isn't addressed in its own right will reinforce itself, getting worse instead.

quote:
There is also a much higher level of backlash by whites (or at least discomfort) when attempting to "fix" racism compared to attempting to "fix" classism.
The existence of such prejudice just under the surface- implicit support for inequity and resistance to trying to correct it- is part and parcel of why the issue has to be addressed directly. You'll note that actual efforts to minimize and eliminate classism similarly provoke resistance from people up the economic ladder as their comparable degree of power over poor people and corresponding sense of moral superiority is threatened. All systemic biases are self-protecting and self-reinforcing, that's part of their nature.
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Fenring
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Pyr, it may not technically be an either/or issue, but it might effectively be one. Assuming major steps were taken to address classist concerns (e.g. health care reform, campaign finance/political reform, Wall Street reform, even a basic income) if you still saw disparities on racial lines past that point you could start to question whether the economic and systemic fixes were really getting at the problem. But when you assume right off the bat the issue is something other than a class issue you're going to have a lot of people (even a movement) dedicated to solving something that, even if it really does exist, may be the secondary or tertiary cause of the discrepancy in results. In other words, you're potentially wasting time and energy on the one hand, diluting attention from the primary cause(s) on the other hand, and as D.W. mentioned also causing people to dismiss the situation out of frustration when you call "racism" and they think you're blowing smoke. Even if you're not blowing smoke the whole issue of how to get popular support for a change is one we've mentioned here time and again and is ignored every time.

[ September 14, 2015, 03:58 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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D.W.
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I suppose I see it as a racism problem represented by one circle and a classism problem represented by another circle. The racism circle is smaller and fits almost entirely within the classism circle.

quote:
The existence of such prejudice just under the surface- implicit support for inequity and resistance to trying to correct it- is part and parcel of why the issue has to be addressed directly.
It's not implicit support or resistance, it's largely helplessness to do anything about it. Other than vote. And voting to help someone else has always been a lot to ask of people. We will do it, eventually, but leveraging selfishness of a larger more inclusive group is a much easier battle to fight.

I honestly believe that in a self perpetuating cycle, treating the symptoms (or results of racism) can break the cycle more easily than treating the racism itself. Mostly because I don't understand how you would even do that; at least from the perspective of middleclass or lower-class employee. An employer or law enforcement officer I see how you can make a conscious effort to combat racism directly. For the vast majority of Caucasians what would be the course of action? Protest? Social media posting?

I can see voting for higher minimum wages, better social services, better benefits, fair employment practices, improved lending opportunities and the like. What does anti-racism legislation look like compared to any of those issues today? If you do name some, how do you garner interest / support from those who do not directly benefit from them?

If you go from end result and reverse engineer the problem, I think it is indeed an either/or issue.

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Seriati
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The problem with Pyrtolin's position is that by calling disparity, racism, he over attributes malice to the problem. It's inherent in his claims, and yet he never shows it, nor can he because the majority doesn't feel it anymore. So since he can't show malice directly, he goes out and finds disparity and claims that alone is enough to provide proof (not evidence, proof) of the malice and intent that a charge of racism requires. That ignores completely that disparity itself is something that is worth looking at and can be treated, it unnecessarily alienates potential supporters, it avoids looking at real solutions (because they are not politically correct) and ultimately, it fails to allow you to find any success because there will always be disparities to measure or find.

If you forget about calling it racism, then you can look at the things that LR tracked down that separate the connections between parts of the problem and race and start treating the different areas each on a rational basis. The poor generally need some solutions, some of which have been implemented, some of which we fundamentally disagree on (long term welfare a social good or social bad). And then look at what's causing a disparity between the races in that factor and correcting that as well.

Walter Williams the economist has written of number of things on the impact of social policies on race over time that provide some insight. The destruction of the black family (which like it or not is NOT a legacy of racism, but a more recent response most likely to the welfare state) has had a tremendous impact on family wealth and social class for black families and especially children. It would not be unfair to say, that correcting that one issue would reverse most of the impact of what Pyrtolin labels racism, yet that "solution" doesn't pass his politically correct solutions meter. How serious can one be about solving a problem of race if we're not looking at primary factors of how those problems are linked to race?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
The problem with Pyrtolin's position is that by calling disparity, racism, he over attributes malice to the problem.
I think here we have a difference in definition. Institutional racism does not require malice. People who do not understand the use of the word "racism" in this context often insist that the word is used incorrectly, because they do not distinguish between racism and bigotry and thus require malice for racism to be a consideration.
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AI Wessex
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Bureaucratic procedures perpetuate the problem, but if you dig deep enough you will find common cause. Otherwise, it's hard to explain why institutional racism isn't eliminated or remedied whenever and wherever it is found.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The problem with Pyrtolin's position is that by calling disparity, racism, he over attributes malice to the problem.
I think here we have a difference in definition. Institutional racism does not require malice. People who do not understand the use of the word "racism" in this context often insist that the word is used incorrectly, because they do not distinguish between racism and bigotry and thus require malice for racism to be a consideration.
The point is that the concept of bigotry (either through malice or ignorance) is so hard-wired into our concept of "racism" that to create an academic re-definition of the word that is descriptive of outcomes and doesn't speak to bigotry is going to be contradicted by what the subconscious mind says the word means. In short, as we've somewhat agreed on before, "racism" is just not a good word to describe this disparity even though we presently lack another decent word to take its place. Just look at how many explanations of this usage have been needed on this site alone; and we're actually talking about the subject. The truth is that the word "racism" is very charged and so this provides a convenient vehicle for the definition Pyr is using to trigger emotional baggage to make it sound very bad, while at the same time striking from the word the content to which the baggage is attached. That's a tidy arrangement but also guaranteed to have people speaking past each other.

You won't find anyone who will deny that racism is a very bad thing and should be stamped out. But the disparity we are discussing (aside from bigotry) is something that it's not so clear can be directly stamped out, so much as affected secondarily by addressing some more general issues of poverty and class.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The problem with Pyrtolin's position is that by calling disparity, racism, he over attributes malice to the problem.
I think here we have a difference in definition. Institutional racism does not require malice. People who do not understand the use of the word "racism" in this context often insist that the word is used incorrectly, because they do not distinguish between racism and bigotry and thus require malice for racism to be a consideration.
Which is an intentional part of the strategy of the social movement that uses that definition of racism. It's designed to change the understanding of the word by linking it to a word that's commonly used with negative connotations and ultimately to change how the term is interpreted in a legal sense. The real push on using it as you describe stems from a consistent legal interpretation that statistical difference in not actionable racism.

The party that is attempting to redefine a commonly used word, in a way that is disingenuous is the one that is held accountable for the intended (or unintended if you buy that) consequences.

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NobleHunter
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There's always been some racism that wasn't malicious though. The New England abolitionist could care deeply for the plight of slaves as he suggested sending them back to Africa and being horrified at the suggestion his daughter might want to marry a black man. Or white feminists suggesting that maybe black women should try to sound less angry when confronting injustice.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The real push on using it as you describe stems from a consistent legal interpretation that statistical difference in not actionable racism.
Actually, no. The modern legal interpretation is the opposite -- namely, that laws which disproportionately negatively affect a given "race" are unconstitutional, even if this effect is unintentional.
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D.W.
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It's almost like the belief that we are all sinners. No matter if you don't actively sin you still aren't going to heaven without admitting you are a sinner and asking Jesus for help.

All of us (or at least the white ones) are racists and we can't fix society until we accept we are racists and proclaim it. That AND not doing racist things just might do the trick.

Or you know, you could short circuit the dogma and just attack the problems and let the psychology self correct. Did anyone have examples of methods to combat racism which were not also methods to combat classism?

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AI Wessex
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quote:
The party that is attempting to redefine a commonly used word, in a way that is disingenuous is the one that is held accountable for the intended (or unintended if you buy that) consequences.
Not always. I think you're talking about words for which *you* have a fixed meaning that you don't want changed. If you controlled language evolution and semantics for everyone else, you could have your way. But words are infinitely malleable and adaptable to changing context, else dictionaries would carry only one definition for each.

For instance, at what point in time do you want everyone now to use what was the common understanding of "marriage" back then? And it what society and under what laws? Should we all agree that marriage can only be between men and women of the same race, that marriage makes the wife property of the husband, that marriage joins people for life with no exceptions? That marriage must be sanctified by God? We could declare that marriage was and remains a property transaction uniting the holdings of two families. What about polygamy or polyandry?

Racism is an odd term that originated with the Nazis, who used it to separate out animals (Jews among them) from true humans (Aryans), even though both groups were Caucasian (itself a mis-classification of all humans into three racial groups based mainly on skin pigmentation). Racist comes from race (and the act of separating people by racialism), which is rooted in an "understanding" that physical appearance implied fitness for different roles or social caste membership. Now we better understand that dividing people by race is a cultural affectation, where two nearly identical looking "white" people may be as genetically dissimilar from each other as any collection of random people on an urban bus.

But we still do it and still rank people according to which racial group to which they are assigned. I remember watching the movie "Black Like Me" (1964, starring James Whitmore) when it first came out and being stunned by the realization that once the main character stained his skin brown he didn't just look like a negro, but became one to everyone around him.

No rational person can explain why any two people of any race(s) should be treated as inherently different given that we are all of a single species, but we do it anyway.

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NobleHunter
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I don't know if the US has the metaphors and language to talk about classism efficiently. One the one hand, there's too much invested in using race as the key marker for a person's quality (outside of certain high society circles).

On the other, the rhetoric of wealth and respectability is too grounded in the reaction against European ideology (whether aristocratic or socialist or communist). It's true that sometimes people say race when they mean class and there's certainly class distincts among white people but, well, people say race when they mean class. How well something is understood and digested in the public sphere is worth keeping track of.

So you can talk about class in the US but I think it's too foreign and uncomfortable for people to think about. Racism is a failure of the American Dream; classism comes too close to a repudiation of it.

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D.W.
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All true NH but it fails to pull this out of an intellectual nose dive of a conversation and treat it as something solvable. If there is another path out of the mess, I don’t' see it.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
The party that is attempting to redefine a commonly used word, in a way that is disingenuous is the one that is held accountable for the intended (or unintended if you buy that) consequences.
Not always. I think you're talking about words for which *you* have a fixed meaning that you don't want changed. If you controlled language evolution and semantics for everyone else, you could have your way. But words are infinitely malleable and adaptable to changing context, else dictionaries would carry only one definition for each.
So it's just a coincidence that the dictionaries agree with me and not Pyrtolin? Really? I'm all for using commonly accepted dictionary terms here.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The real push on using it as you describe stems from a consistent legal interpretation that statistical difference in not actionable racism.
Actually, no. The modern legal interpretation is the opposite -- namely, that laws which disproportionately negatively affect a given "race" are unconstitutional, even if this effect is unintentional.
Lol, prove it. And while you're at it, why don't you look at the time on these decisions and match it to the academic and social movement usage of the term. Really did laugh out loud at this one.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
The party that is attempting to redefine a commonly used word, in a way that is disingenuous is the one that is held accountable for the intended (or unintended if you buy that) consequences.
Not always. I think you're talking about words for which *you* have a fixed meaning that you don't want changed. If you controlled language evolution and semantics for everyone else, you could have your way. But words are infinitely malleable and adaptable to changing context, else dictionaries would carry only one definition for each.

For instance, at what point in time do you want everyone now to use what was the common understanding of "marriage" back then? And it what society and under what laws? Should we all agree that marriage can only be between men and women of the same race, that marriage makes the wife property of the husband, that marriage joins people for life with no exceptions? That marriage must be sanctified by God? We could declare that marriage was and remains a property transaction uniting the holdings of two families. What about polygamy or polyandry?

NH, you've chosen a really bad example here in marriage. In fact, the definition of marriage was fairly stable and comprehensible in a secular context until the laws were recently changed. It's true that once the law redefined the word it would make no sense for anyone to claim the word meant what it used to; the definition was changed by fiat. Your example here would seem to validate Seriati's claim, that a legal redefining of racism is in the midst of happening. But in the absence of a redefinition by fiat the dictionary is not drafted in order to prescribe how words should be used arbitrarily. Rather, the dictionary tracks how words are used and how they used to be used. If you want to claim that Seriati's definition of racism is just some definition he wants to promote and isn't the norm then I challenge you to go out and interview 100 people and report back on how many of them associate racism with bigotry and how many of them associate it with income disparity regardless of bigotry. If Pyr's usage is in vogue in academia and certain "ism" circles then obviously anyone in those circles will insist that's what the word means. But when you impute that the classic meaning of racism is something Seriati is personally trying to force on others you've really entered doublethink territory. It's what almost everyone means by it, and people like Pyr know that very well even though they will never say so.
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NobleHunter
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Uh, you mean AI, not NH [Razz] Marriage hasn't been a particularly stable institution, either.

And dictionaries are proscriptivist as least as often as they are descriptivist. Even the descriptivist definitions are used by proscriptivists as an argument from authority.

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D.W.
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quote:
In fact, the definition of marriage was fairly stable and comprehensible in a secular context until the laws were recently changed.
quote:
Rather, the dictionary tracks how words are used and how they used to be used.
Actually, I would argue that the legal definition had to catch up with how the word was being used. It's not like gay couples weren't having ceremonies and introducing themselves as married prior to the legal change. If two men told you they were married prior to the change of law people still understood what they meant. They may disagree with the use or point out that it wasn't legal, but they understood the usage of the word. The same can apply to racism I suppose. Even if someone uses the word “wrong” most people will still understand what they mean.

You may take offense at the abuse of language when shoe horned into something so crude as verbal or written communication but if you comprehend what someone means, the word served its purpose. By all means attempt to correct someone when there is a better more concise means to convey what they “mean” compared to what they “said” but be prepared to have them offended. [Razz]

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AI Wessex
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quote:
NH, you've chosen a really bad example here in marriage. In fact, the definition of marriage was fairly stable and comprehensible in a secular context until the laws were recently changed. It's true that once the law redefined the word it would make no sense for anyone to claim the word meant what it used to; the definition was changed by fiat. Your example here would seem to validate Seriati's claim, that a legal redefining of racism is in the midst of happening. But in the absence of a redefinition by fiat the dictionary is not drafted in order to prescribe how words should be used arbitrarily. Rather, the dictionary tracks how words are used and how they used to be used. If you want to claim that Seriati's definition of racism is just some definition he wants to promote and isn't the norm then I challenge you to go out and interview 100 people and report back on how many of them associate racism with bigotry and how many of them associate it with income disparity regardless of bigotry. If Pyr's usage is in vogue in academia and certain "ism" circles then obviously anyone in those circles will insist that's what the word means. But when you impute that the classic meaning of racism is something Seriati is personally trying to force on others you've really entered doublethink territory. It's what almost everyone means by it, and people like Pyr know that very well even though they will never say so.
I can get past the misattribution easier than my misunderstanding of what you're trying to say. I'd say that the Supreme Court has similarly "redefined" many other words in pretty much the same fashion. In Virginia "marriage" didn't mean blacks and whites marrying each other until the SC said it did, and now it does. Do you want to argue with them about the "sudden" redefinition they made to the term?

I confess that I love dictionaries and etymology more than most people do. It helps me to understand how inextricably close language and culture have been tied to each other throughout human history, while at the same time it doesn't force me to accept the meanings that words were commonly assigned in times far before our own. As a consequence, I find it especially amusing that more than any other group I can think of, Christians insist that words mean what they supposedly did 2000 years ago and pretend to act accordingly. If you read my post on the biblical use of "slave" and "servant" about the many English language translations of those ancient Greek (not Aramaic) works, you should get a chuckle about how the "biblical" meaning of "marriage" is defended today instead of confirmation of your emotional biases for what it is supposed to mean.

ETA: DW, great post!

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Uh, you mean AI, not NH

Heh...whoops?
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Fenring
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My comment about marriage was only that a law can change the meaning of a word suddenly regardless of common usage. Al, why do you think I "want to argue" about that definition? I neither said that nor is it relevant to my general point, which is that definitions tend to reflect common usage, not prescribed usage, with the exception being with legal redefinitions. If you don't think marriage is a good example of that then don't worry, an example is all it was.

If racism means something in common usage then unless a law, for instance, redefines it suddenly no one can simply claim it means something else. Maybe it can to a small circle that agrees to use it differently, but to tell the majority their use is wrong is silly. It seems to me that you guys are actually agreeing with me; perhaps my last post wasn't clear enough. If language and culture are tied then you'd have to show me that U.S. culture now identities racism as a disparity in outcomes regardless of cause. I will repeat my challenge to any who disagree to literally go out onto the street and interview random people to find out what they think the word means.

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D.W.
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I do agree with your last post Fenring. My only contention is that the use is largely irrelevant when it comes to solving the issue it describes.

If our neighbor lives like us, works in a similar job, has similar hobbies, speaks the same language with a similar accent there are few (some certainly) who hold racist views or treat that neighbor differently based upon their race.

There ARE many who would avoid or treat with suspicion those who act differently, live in situations outside of their social or economical circles, or speak with different accents or different languages and have different hobbies or jobs they can’t relate to or feel are beneath them or envy them for what they have. Those instances very frequently happen along racial lines. This phenomenon looks effectively like racism. It can even cause racism.

In what way does framing a problem help solve it? In my experience framing is only useful in stalling or doing the minimum required.

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DJQuag
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I would think that ignoring generational poverty and class issues, and insisting that the number one priority should be giving people special treatment or aid based upon their race and not their circumstances, is likely to increase racism and bigotry in the country.

Giving out the metaphorical equivalent of forty acres and a mule, in whatever form that might take, is definitely going to make the rich and upper middle class white population feel really good about themselves. But the whites in poverty? They're going to resent that kind of policy, and they're going to resent the people benefiting from it. Because while intellectually people can understand that all things being equal, minorities have it harder in the US, life isn't a picnic for anyone who had become entangled in the all too often sandpit that is poverty.

A man staring at a fifteen foot tall wall that they need to climb over unaided is not going to like it if a minority, who is facing a twenty foot wall, gets a rope thrown down to him to help him out, while the first man gets told to suck it up and handle things himself, because he's already won due to the color of his skin.

[ September 15, 2015, 08:26 PM: Message edited by: DJQuag ]

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AI Wessex
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The largest and most disproportionately poor population group in our society has *always* been blacks. It only looks like favoritism to some people because needing the most help they get the most attention. It's odd that this same principle holds for Obamacare, that for a lot of people who need the medical care they would themselves be able to receive, they oppose it because others they think are less deserving would also get it.
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D.W.
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quote:
It's odd that this same principle holds for Obamacare, that for a lot of people who need the medical care they would themselves be able to receive, they oppose it because others they think are less deserving would also get it.
Do you really believe that? I assume people oppose it because they believe they themselves will either have to pay more (directly or through taxes), or will have their services degraded because of Obamacare. I don't expect there are a significant number who oppose based on what someone less deserving would get.

I'm always willing to believe people are selfish, but that level of spite knowing it will cost them seems ridiculous to me.

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AI Wessex
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That was the subject of a number of reports on NPR in previous years. In one case, a reporter spent time in Florida in a poor white community where one person was quoted saying exactly that, and the reporter commented that it was a theme she heard repeated by others. It's still an anecdotal report, but not fabricated.

I'll go further [Wink] , and say that I heard another news report over the winter where someone in Louisiana said he would never vote for a black person because everybody has their right place in the world. He was asked if he thought he was a racist and he said absolutely not, just saying what everybody knows. No malice there.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
quote:
It's odd that this same principle holds for Obamacare, that for a lot of people who need the medical care they would themselves be able to receive, they oppose it because others they think are less deserving would also get it.
Do you really believe that? I assume people oppose it because they believe they themselves will either have to pay more (directly or through taxes), or will have their services degraded because of Obamacare. I don't expect there are a significant number who oppose based on what someone less deserving would get.

I'm always willing to believe people are selfish, but that level of spite knowing it will cost them seems ridiculous to me.

Look at every argument against public support systems. THe primary assault on the best solutions to classism always come down to "Poor people are stealing your hard earned money, "Helping them will just make them dependent/leaches", "Public support destroys families", and the like. Even in the face of evidence that supporting poorer people tend to enrich everyone, people prefer to maintain the moral and economic power over those less fortunate that they get from the disparity.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:
I would think that ignoring generational poverty and class issues, and insisting that the number one priority should be giving people special treatment or aid based upon their race and not their circumstances, is likely to increase racism and bigotry in the country.


Which is the kind of sentiment the false argument implicit in the spurious characterization of "number one priority" is designed to engender. Working to solve the problem isn't what causes resentment so much as such lies told about efforts to solve the problem that stir up resistance from the majority to enforce the inequitable status quo.

quote:
Giving out the metaphorical equivalent of forty acres and a mule, in whatever form that might take, is definitely going to make the rich and upper middle class white population feel really good about themselves. But the whites in poverty? They're going to resent that kind of policy, and they're going to resent the people benefiting from it. Because while intellectually people can understand that all things being equal, minorities have it harder in the US, life isn't a picnic for anyone who had become entangled in the all too often sandpit that is poverty.

Indeed, which is why such solutions generally aren't proposed, but rather ones that work towards equalizing current opportunity, such that minorities aren't operating at a disadvantage to otherwise comparable members of the majority.

quote:
A man staring at a fifteen foot tall wall that they need to climb over unaided is not going to like it if a minority, who is facing a twenty foot wall, gets a rope thrown down to him to help him out, while the first man gets told to suck it up and handle things himself, because he's already won due to the color of his skin.
Indeed- and in the process misses the fact that the rope is only 5 feet long, serving only to lift the other person up to his current level, and the claim that it will get him all the way to the top comes from a politician that uses it to keep the second guy voting for him.

(And the guy would also by full weel right to insist that making the wall 10 feet shorter would help anyone, but that change wouldn't eliminate the fact that he's already 5ft higher along it than the first guy, and thus represent a larger relative benefit to him that to the guy further down.)

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
quote:
It's odd that this same principle holds for Obamacare, that for a lot of people who need the medical care they would themselves be able to receive, they oppose it because others they think are less deserving would also get it.
Do you really believe that? I assume people oppose it because they believe they themselves will either have to pay more (directly or through taxes), or will have their services degraded because of Obamacare. I don't expect there are a significant number who oppose based on what someone less deserving would get.

I'm always willing to believe people are selfish, but that level of spite knowing it will cost them seems ridiculous to me.

Look at every argument against public support systems. THe primary assault on the best solutions to classism always come down to "Poor people are stealing your hard earned money, "Helping them will just make them dependent/leaches", "Public support destroys families", and the like. Even in the face of evidence that supporting poorer people tend to enrich everyone, people prefer to maintain the moral and economic power over those less fortunate that they get from the disparity.
Pyr,

Your first statement was verging on suggesting that people will refuse to support something that helps the poor also, purely out of spite, hence D.W.'s comment. Your subsequent response says it a bit better but still won't let go of the classism-spite angle for some reason. You are conflating two different unrelated issues, one of which is the real issue that people don't want their income taken from them to support what they see as a dubious government program. The other and totally separate issue which you seem to be lumping in is the idea that people want to keep the poor in their place because that's where they belong. No doubt some people do believe this latter notion but it has no relation to the systemic argument about whether earners should pay for others' keep. Your conflating of these two ideas unnecessarily incorporates a malicious intention to anyone against Obamacare or the welfare system, and this is a dishonest construction.

In a way you should look to your definition of racism vs bigotry to make your terms on this topic more clear. The issue of not supporting a welfare/public system is to racism (systemic oppression, with no necessary malice or bigotry) what wanting the poor to stay in their place is to bigotry (well actually it just is bigotry). Since you are so insistent on bigotry not being tied into the definition of racism, so you should avoid discussing classism in the same breath as mentioning that people are concerned about paying more for things they don't necessary think will work.

[ September 16, 2015, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
If racism means something in common usage then unless a law, for instance, redefines it suddenly no one can simply claim it means something else. Maybe it can to a small circle that agrees to use it differently, but to tell the majority their use is wrong is silly. It seems to me that you guys are actually agreeing with me; perhaps my last post wasn't clear enough. If language and culture are tied then you'd have to show me that U.S. culture now identities racism as a disparity in outcomes regardless of cause. I will repeat my challenge to any who disagree to literally go out onto the street and interview random people to find out what they think the word means.

This is find except when you're trying to make an argument about what someone else, intentionally using the term in a specific way has said. At that point any argument that isn't grounded in the intended meaning is a false reply to what was said, regardless of being able to point to any large group of people and say "well, that's what they mean by it" despite the context making it clear that a different meaning is intended.

It's one thing to directly take issue with someone using "literally" to mean "figuratively" or "ignorant" to mean "stupid" as very commonly happens in current usage. It's quite another to represent someone as having intentionally used the words in their literal sense when the context makes it clear that they were using them in the figurative sense. What's more, it leads to unproductive encumbrance of discussions as more effort begins to need to be put into pedant-proofing statements to avoid the conversation from being derailed by people who deliberately miss intended meaning and instead try to cleverly "win" the argument by changing the intended meaning to one more convenient to their ends, even if they might be technically right about relative frequency or explicit dictionary support of certain usage.

English is a very context-based language; connotation is far, far more important to conveying meaning than technical denotation.

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LetterRip
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Pyr,

so it sounds like you agree that your usage of the word racism is very non standard, but that others are being unnecessarily pedantic and attempting to derail the conversation when they suggest that what you call racism isn't racism.

Am I understanding your argument correctly?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You are conflating two different unrelated issues, one of which is the real issue that people don't want their income taken from them to support what they see as a dubious government program.
EXcept, of course that the notion that it's dubious arises purely from bias and political machination, and not from any actual evidence. You see it even more in claims that fast food workers don't deserve a living wage, despite that it would actively mean that everyone else would make relatively more as well and in arguments against payroll transparency on the claim that people would try to tear each other down, and attacks on unions; a preference for trying to tear down people who have managed to negotiate a better deal instead of using the fact of that deal to negotiate better conditions for themselves.

You seem to be suggesting that I'm claiming that bigotry doesn't exist or is completely unrelated, neither of which is true. Classism and racism both actively give rise to bigotry on both sides of the line, which can help to feed them. It is one possible mechanism, where contextually relevant.

It is also something that can't be addressed directly by policy, so isn't really relevant to policy discussions (and certainly shouldn't be allowed to corrupt policy discussions) It can only- in general- be alleviated over time as policy decisions to fix structural issues stop providing fodder for it to feed itself or through direct, person to person communication and education efforts. (In specific cases, particularly where you're talking about the behavoir of state officials, it can and should be addressed directly as one method of breaking the overall cycle. Prohibiting police from using racial profiling and the like, despite the fact that there is a statistical correlation that might be used to justify it)

quote:
The other and totally separate issue which you seem to be lumping in is the idea that people want to keep the poor in their place, and that they deserve no better than they earn for themselves. ]No doubt some people do believe this latter notion but it has no relation to the systemic argument about whether earners should pay for others' keep.
It absolutely does, because the notion of deserving what one has nominally earned and the corresponding notion that each person earns what they deserve to are the root justification that even makes it coherent to argue that such support systems amount to taking away from one person to give to another instead of representing a common investment that increases what you're able to make in the first place. You seem to miss here that, rather than arguing on the merits of a given investment, the entire discussion is being hijacked by the false notion of taking away from the "more deserving" and giving to the "less deserving", completely displacing substantive arguments about whether or not a given policy is effective.

PUt another way if a policy is effective in enriching everyone by alleviating poverty, then it shouldn't matter if the nominal presentation shows some numbers being transferred from you to others, because you come out ahead in the end otherwise. When you put aside the question of "does this enrich everyone" and instead argue that the policy is bad because the numbers are going to people who don't "deserve" them, it's impossible to say that you're not making an argument based purely on moral principles despite the effective harm that you suffer in the process. (Spite is one possible way to characterize it, if that's the term you wish to use for such, but I see self-righteousness and moral dictatorship as more accurate descriptors. In many cases, people convince themselves that they're doing such for the good of the people that they're undercutting by forcing them to, hopefully, act in ways that comport with their own sense or moral justice)

[ September 16, 2015, 12:36 PM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
so it sounds like you agree that your usage of the word racism is very non standard, but that others are being unnecessarily pedantic and attempting to derail the conversation when they suggest that what you call racism isn't racism.

And even more so when they criticise arguments made from that particular academic meaning of the word and otherwise try to prove that it doesn't exist in that sense by relying on a switch to the colloquial sense as evidence, never mind actively avoiding addressing the fact that the academic sense has far greater utility in describing a specific class of problems than simply standing in as a vague synonym for prejudice.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Since you are so insistent on bigotry not being tied into the definition of racism, so you should avoid discussing classism in the same breath as mentioning that people are concerned about paying more for things they don't necessary think will work.
That relies on the false assertion that the current state of each problem is the same. While bigotry arising from racism is generally appealed to through dog whistles and other more subtle methods (though it's amusing to see how much Traction Trump is getting from being honestly and outright bigoted, dispensing with the cover) the bigotry being fostered in classis is actively and nakedly displayed, even to the point of being elevated to social and economic ideals. THe only relationship between the two is that they're systems of oppression- you can draw some degree of empathy from one to the other, but aside from that, each is a very different problem to actually tackle, even where they intersect with each other.
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