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Author Topic: Interpreting actions through the lens of racism
philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:
If poverty disproportionately affects black people, then I ask again, why not focus on helping people based upon their SES rather then their race? African Americans would still get more of the aid and assistance then the majority, proportionally.

I think that one of the big reasons for having race based programs is that many of the things putting them at a disadvantage were race based.

However, most actual poverty programs are based strictly on SES rather than race.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Like I said in the other thread, correcting the marriage rate disparity could almost single handedly reverse the economic disadvantages that are complained of.
You've got that exactly backwards. Economic, social, and legal hardships undercut marriages. Fix the disparities and address poverty and marriage rates and longevity will improve.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Your company(1) has developed an antibiotic treatment which can cure a large spectrum of infections one of which is a specific STD(2), and another antibiotic treatment which cures only that specific STD(3).

You can invest in either or both antibiotics mass producing them.

What do you do?

Incase I'm not being obvious enough.
1: US Government
2: measures to combat poverty
3: measures to combat racism




That's a false comparison. You have two formulas- one that treats STD1, and one that Treats STD2. Yo also know that STD2 makes people much more vulnerable to STD1, so most people with STD2 also have STD1. (And, in fact there are many other diseases out there that similarly make people vulnerable to STD1, and you've got treatments for those in the pipe as well)

Now, do invest in both cures, or do you just invest in the one for STD1, on the basis that if you fix it STD2 is no longer worth worrying about and the subset of people who have it will get over it on their own?

WHen you say that the cure for poverty will magically fix other disparities as well, you're actively begging the question. there's no evidence that it will, and plenty of evidence that these disparities will still continue to perpetuate themselves because they don't fix relative positioning, they preserve other structural inequities but just move everyone a little further up the ladder in the process.

(I think you're also incorrectly assuming that a fix for classism only helps the poor- it helps the rich as. Similarly fixes for racism helps the majority race, fixes for sexism help all sexes, etc... Again applying the false "zero-sum" thinking that's used as a political wedge to preserve inequities and the power that comes from those who exploit them.)

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D.W.
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quote:
... Again applying the false "zero-sum" thinking that's used as a political wedge to preserve inequities and the power that comes from those who exploit them.)
And I believe that if you can address things which reinforce racial stereotypes and racism by adopting minorities into a larger group and showing common ground and shared circumstance you can untangle fear of the poor and impoverished social groups from racism.

Doing so you make the type of racists who exclude, hate or target for exploitation based upon race stick out like a sore thumb.

Every time you seek to put a spot light on minority issues you inadvertently reinforce the difference between groups rather than what makes us a whole.

I'm honestly not sure which of our two methods are more naive / fanciful.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
And I believe that if you can address things which reinforce racial stereotypes and racism by adopting minorities into a larger group and showing common ground and shared circumstance you can untangle fear of the poor and impoverished social groups from racism.
Which is what policies that directly address racial biases like Affirmative Action do. And why those that benefit from such biases actively resist and misrepresent them as attacks on the majority instead of ways to correct the inequities.

Or by "common ground" to you mean to suggest that they should discard their individuality and identity in favor of conforming to whatever the majority dictates they should be. (EG: their names/naming conventions are unfamiliar, so rather than "common ground" meaning the majority becoming familiar with their naming preferences as a valid and familiar alternative, they should abandon their names and adopt ones from the majority?)

quote:
Every time you seek to put a spot light on minority issues you inadvertently reinforce the difference between groups rather than what makes us a whole.
Only to members of the majority who enjoy the benefit of not having that spotlight constantly shining in their face every day of their life and can choose to ignore it.

The light is there, whether you like it or not, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. Those under it can't not see it regardless of whether or not anyone else is trying to help them get others to acknowledge it. TRying to deny that there's a light or blaming people from point out that there's a constant light for being the ones creating it only exacerbates the problem, shifting blame for it onto the people suffering under it rather than acknowledging their experiences and working with them to solve the problem.

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D.W.
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quote:
Or by "common ground" to you mean to suggest that they should discard their individuality and identity in favor of conforming to whatever the majority dictates they should be. (EG: their names/naming conventions are unfamiliar, so rather than "common ground" meaning the majority becoming familiar with their naming preferences as a valid and familiar alternative, they should abandon their names and adopt ones from the majority?)
That was a nice speech. Should I go get a white sheet and cut myself some eye holes before your next performance?
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Seriati
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Does anyone else find it ironic that the same guy who insisted everyone has to take his statements at face value, can hardly get through a single post on this topic without claiming someone else misrepresents something, relies on false statements or assumptions or is denying reality? Apparently, you only have to assume it a good faith statement that should be taken at face value if it's "right-speak".
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NobleHunter
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DW, the common ground versus difference thing is apparently a hot topic among people working for equality; assimilate or segregate. I'm not deeply familiar will all the details of the arguments but it seems far from settled that assimilating is the best way to go.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
DW, the common ground versus difference thing is apparently a hot topic among people working for equality; assimilate or segregate. I'm not deeply familiar will all the details of the arguments but it seems far from settled that assimilating is the best way to go.

Assimilation vs integration, not segregation might help you understand better.

Should a minority be forced to bow to the majority's power to dictate what is normal/familiar/acceptable, etc... and effectively define its inherited cultural wealth as substandard, or should it be the responsibility of the majority to use its power to define normal to help integrate and accommodate a wider scope of diversity.

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NobleHunter
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No, not integration. Integration still implies living with or within a system defined by the majority, even if it's no longer oppressive. There's been substantial discussion on whether or not that's an acceptable end state.
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Pyrtolin
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The majority will always define the system- that's impossible to avoid. the question is whether it applies that power in an inclusive or oppressive manner.
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NobleHunter
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Indeed. That's why some people want to leave the system or make their own subset of it.
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D.W.
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quote:
DW, the common ground versus difference thing is apparently a hot topic among people working for equality; assimilate or segregate. I'm not deeply familiar will all the details of the arguments but it seems far from settled that assimilating is the best way to go.
While I have thus far only been focused on socioeconomics I'll touch on this if it matters to some of you. You know, unless someone was attempting to defend a culture of poverty and thought I was trying to ruin that proud tradition...

I do not believe an end to racism is compatible with maintaining race based cultural identity within a larger whole. The whole 'melting pot' concept is the only one which has hope of “working” (reaching some ideal we’ve never really seen in human history I guess). People, as a whole, are NOT enlightened enough to identify and celebrate cultures different from their own and NOT make value judgments of how aspects of them are "better" or "worse" than their own. Sure SOME small slice of people can do it. Maybe you even believe you can do it. I can’t. I can treat people respectfully and as individuals but I automatically break down all the ways I’m similar and different from them.

We need to remove obstacles that are in place to keep cultures apart when they want to integrate. We need to encourage people to not isolate themselves within homogonous enclaves when they don’t want to integrate. Hell, we should probably give huge tax credits to all interracial couples. (I’d include divergent faiths there as well if it wasn’t too easy to game) I do not suggest that “White American Culture” is the shining example of how to do it right. It’s not like we don’t try to “protect our culture” from outside influence. In short, we are ALL idiots.

So no, assimilation may not be the ideal. But until we get over ourselves and see ourselves based upon our nation (or at least region?) rather than our skin color, or origin of immigration, we are screwed. Our human nature is VERY tribalistic. I don’t have any hope of breaking that programming any time soon. All you can do is wire yourself to see your tribe as a bigger group. Socioeconomics is a pretty solid shared experience in this country. It’s pretty easy to relate to someone who goes to similar schools, shops in similar stores and gets paid a similar amount as you do so they can afford to take up similar hobbies. To me the “ideal” solution is a no brainer.

[ September 23, 2015, 03:50 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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NobleHunter
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I'm inclined to agree that we'll only get rid of racism if we stop using race as an identity marker (likewise gender and sexism but that's another thread). But some people value culture that's attached to their conception of racial identity and don't want to risk losing it. In the same way, gay people and deaf people value the culture they've created while oppressive or marginalized and some of them don't want to lose it.

I'm not sure how much I agree with that particular point of view.

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D.W.
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It makes sense though NH. The more tangible things that are taken from or withheld from you, the more intangible things you will cling to. And the more you need to reinforce the bonds of support with those still with you.

I get why it happens. I just think we need to try and remove the causes of the behavior. Not look at it as trying to put an end to the behavior.

You don't see people putting qualifiers on American when they are not a minority or oppressed group. At least you don't by those not trying to be intentionally antagonistic.

Strait American. Caucasion American. Catholic American (ok maybe that one a little).

These titles are not used as part of someone's identity. Mostly because they don't NEED additional support from others in their group.

[ September 23, 2015, 04:24 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Fenring
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One thing bears mentioning, which is that "assimilation vs segregation" is a bit of a false dilemma. For instance a minority community can be segregate and yet have their culture prominent in the majority culture as a presence. An example of this would be white people listening to rap music even though they don't live among black people. The cultural intermingling happens even when the peoples are separate. Similarly a minority community can assimilate into the majority, adopting many of their cultural values and norms and yet retain some differences that can become integrated into their new life, which will also mingle in with the 'parent' culture. In both cases, which are extents of a yin-yang of intermingling, neither side has to 'win' the exchange. For a minority to adopt the customs of the majority does not mean they are giving in to the oppressors/majority, as they can make it their own version, and likewise their integration will inevitably change the majority culture itself, making the result a kind of blend where a large proportion - but not all - of the final culture will come from the majority and a smaller part will come from the minority. Which is kind of, you know, fair, if you think about it.
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Seriati
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One should consider though if that is the actual phenomena that we're seeing. Lots of cultures in America have blended, there is a lot less difference between the Italian, German, Irish, etc. people in the US than was true even 50 years ago. And lots of cultures have intentionally diverged. American black culture is not African culture (Africans often find it easier to blend into mainstream American culture than African American culture), it's also not mainstream culture. In fact, it's adopted a number hostilities to mainstream culture that didn't originate from either "historical" culture. You could try to point to the legacy of slavery as the cause, but again many of these divergences are far too recent in creation and wide spread adoption for that to be the case.

Is the argument that, irregardless of source, the mainstream culture must adapt to accept a sub-cultures deliberately hostile adoptions?

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D.W.
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quote:
Is the argument that, irregardless of source, the mainstream culture must adapt to accept a sub-cultures deliberately hostile adoptions?
The response seems to be that if the "deliberatly hostile" behavior is a reasonable / forseeable reaction to behavior of the mainstream culture, then yes, you must accept it.

Which is knid of, you know, fair, if you think about it. To borrow a phrase from Fenring. [Smile]

The more you can get out of your own way in justifying / excusing and start to work on fixing things, the better off you are.

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NobleHunter
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DW, I have theories about the relationship between majorities, oppression, and identity structures but I'm not sure how accurate they are or how useful.

Catholics in the US are weird because there's significant animosity towards them locally but they're part of a dominant group globally. Hard to build an identity around being persecuted when most of your co-religionists are living in countries where they are the majority.

Fenring, that risks bringing up cultural appropriation which is also, hopefully, a different thread. What some people object to, though, is when the minority culture assimilates into the majority, features of the minority culture can be lost.

Seriati, I suspect hard-core segregationists wouldn argue that mainstream culture should just suck it up. Though I'm mostly imagining them as analogous to the radical feminists, so I don't expect them to be reasonable from my point of view.

[ September 23, 2015, 04:51 PM: Message edited by: NobleHunter ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I get why it happens. I just think we need to try and remove the causes of the behavior. Not look at it as trying to put an end to the behavior.
And the number one cause of the behavior is being treated differently and as second class by the majority because you don't conform to its expectations of definitions of "normal". It's the majority that stamps the identity labels onto minorities and forces minorities to maintain constant awareness of them that leas to segregated cultures forming among those who share the common burden of being so labeled and judged.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You could try to point to the legacy of slavery as the cause, but again many of these divergences are far too recent in creation and wide spread adoption for that to be the case.
Why would you blindly point all the way back to slavery when there are actions within the last century and compounding effects continuing to this day that continue to breed hostility due to their oppressive nature?
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Fenring, that risks bringing up cultural appropriation which is also, hopefully, a different thread. What some people object to, though, is when the minority culture assimilates into the majority, features of the minority culture can be lost.

True, but the same can be said about the majority culture! Many things become nothing more than history, and this doesn't have to be a 'loss' unless one deliberately refuses to change. I'd say that white American culture, for instance, 'lost' some things when the slaves were freed, but not too many would argue that these cultural losses should be mourned. But maybe some good things were lost too in the process; Gone with the Wind addresses this very issue, where the noblesse and splendor of the old days was washed away and replaced with 'democratic' sentiment. This may well amount to a loss of something beautiful even though it was a for a greater gain. I think many of us would argue that developing ways for different peoples to live together as equals is indeed a greater gain that can justify various instances of cultural loss.

I assume someone would retort that the minority will end up being the culture to accept these losses while the majority can safely sit on their laurels. I would argue, though, that even doing nothing more than accepting new kinds of people into one's community one is already changing whether one likes it or not. And people are not so foolish as to reject things about the other culture (food, music, sayings, etc) that they really do like.

In our technological age I fear that many cultures (even the majority ones) are all simultaneously being subsumed by innovations, but this is an entirely different issue and is probably a far greater threat to any culture than integration ever could be.

quote:
Seriati, I suspect hard-core segregationists wouldn argue that mainstream culture should just suck it up. Though I'm mostly imagining them as analogous to the radical feminists, so I don't expect them to be reasonable from my point of view.
In my opinion the weakest part of intersectionality is that in zeroing in on countless specifics and pointing them out people end up becoming divided for no other reason than the terms employed by the theory itself. In other words, by placing people and their traits into neat little boxes they are dehumanized and reduced to their components. One can even see the results of this process in American culture, where people begin to self-identify by particular traits and wonder which label applies to them best. I remember in the 80's there was a big cultural campaign of "label jars, not people" and now the reverse is in full force. In short, I tend to agree with you that "ism" groups will end up standing in the way of integration rather than aiding it. In fact this may even be their stated agenda, depending on how you look at it.
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NobleHunter
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I can't argue effectively for more separatist solutions to inequality so I'm not going to try. Except to note that it's not for the majority to dictate what parts of minority cultures can be lost for the "greater gain."

The think the intent of intersectionality is to recognize differences in experience so that structures of privilege are not duplicated within marginalized groups. It can result in a focus on traits rather than people but it also allows for greater diversity within labels by preventing less common or less palatable experiences from being erased.

The problem with "label jars, not people" is that labels tend to come from either the mainstream or in reaction to it. Not much point in encouraging people not to self-identify if the powers that be are going to police their identity anyways. Dehumanizing boxes are the tool of the oppressor first. They can be re-purposed or resisted but are difficult to eliminate without wholesale change of the majority culture.

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Fenring
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I know the stated intention of the theory; I'm saying what I think it actually does in practice.
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NobleHunter
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How can you tell? It's not exactly taking the country by storm.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
How can you tell? It's not exactly taking the country by storm.

Observe the manner of people speaking about themselves, not only online but in person. It's not the same as it was 20 years ago. I kind of think it is taking the country by storm. Not the academic descriptions, but rather the actual psychological disposition to think of people in those terms. Call it an 'identity meme' that is becoming quite prevalent. I also think it's extremely harmful.
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NobleHunter
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I don't actually know a lot of people in person who talk about identity in detail. [Razz]
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Pyrtolin
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http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/09/white-people-black-names/

A good dig into the names part of the issue.

quote:
However, one thing I’ve stopped doing is going to other white people for help. That’s a recipe for disaster.

It almost always turns into an exercise in subtle racism and white supremacy. No matter who the person is, no matter how kind, caring or empathetic, the reaction to unique black names is most often derision.

White people snicker and use the situation as the impetus for telling stories about other black names that they thought were even more outrageous. It’s not that we’re trying to be hateful. I don’t think we even recognize it as racist, but it is.

We use the situation as an opportunity for bonding. “Those people who are not like you and me – they name their children things like this! Not like you and me who name our children more respectably!”

Make no mistake. This is racist behavior. We are emphasizing the otherness of an entire group of people to put ourselves over and above them.

The assimilation vs integration issue is very much a question of supremacy. If you insist on assimilation you are expressing supremacy- "Your culture is 'bad' and you must discard it and adopt our more powerful 'good' culture instead".
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
In my opinion the weakest part of intersectionality is that in zeroing in on countless specifics and pointing them out people end up becoming divided for no other reason than the terms employed by the theory itself.
You've got it backwards, because you're trying to use prior ignorance of divisions are evidence of their non-existence. The point is that the divisions exist and are causing harm to the people on the short side of them while the people on the advantaged side tend to overlook them because they don't constantly live with that acute harm.

When you pretend that the process of illuminating them so that people can understand them and better navigate them is "creating" them, you're actively marginalizing the people suffering from them- invalidating their testimony and telling them that your majority status makes your opinion of their situation more important and more valid than their own personal experiences.

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D.W.
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quote:
And the number one cause of the behavior is being treated differently and as second class by the majority because you don't conform to its expectations of definitions of "normal".
Yes. The majority is going to define the majority of what is “normal”. When demographics change so does “normal”. I guess the difference is your response is a sort of outrage to this fact. Mine is to roll my eyes and say, “Duhhhhhh” like a junior high kid.

Fenring is probably right to be weary of the technological age as it pertains to this subject. It will either be the best thing to happen in terms of cultural homogenization (if like me you are rooting for that) or it will be the downfall of society. [Big Grin]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I guess the difference is your response is a sort of outrage to this fact. Mine is to roll my eyes and say, “Duhhhhhh” like a junior high kid.
The issue is that being effortlessly "normal" is precisely the sort of "privilege" that people talk about when they reference "white privilege." There's also the implicit assumption that people who are not normal deviate from the norm because they are inferior or otherwise less able to comply with the norm.

No one is saying that this is a shocking thing can be magically be "cured." But when people talk about keeping privilege in mind, this is the sort of thing they mean: the idea that black people are "weird" is pervasive and underlies a lot of majority behavior, so it behooves someone who can pass as a member of the majority to stop and think, "Am I acting this way or holding this opinion for valid, rational reasons, or am I just expressing a position rooted in my unacknowledged privilege?" Being able to second-guess your first impulses is a useful skill for anybody, and it's worth cultivating.

[ September 24, 2015, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
In my opinion the weakest part of intersectionality is that in zeroing in on countless specifics and pointing them out people end up becoming divided for no other reason than the terms employed by the theory itself.
You've got it backwards, because you're trying to use prior ignorance of divisions are evidence of their non-existence. The point is that the divisions exist and are causing harm to the people on the short side of them while the people on the advantaged side tend to overlook them because they don't constantly live with that acute harm.

When you pretend that the process of illuminating them so that people can understand them and better navigate them is "creating" them, you're actively marginalizing the people suffering from them- invalidating their testimony and telling them that your majority status makes your opinion of their situation more important and more valid than their own personal experiences.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
quote:
And the number one cause of the behavior is being treated differently and as second class by the majority because you don't conform to its expectations of definitions of "normal".
Yes. The majority is going to define the majority of what is “normal”. When demographics change so does “normal”. I guess the difference is your response is a sort of outrage to this fact. Mine is to roll my eyes and say, “Duhhhhhh” like a junior high kid.
What outrage? The only outrage I see is from people who, on having that pointed out to them, become outraged at the suggestion that maybe, just maybe, just should try to be judicious in applying that power and try to do so inclusively instead of using it to demand that everyone else conform to their expectations.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
In my opinion the weakest part of intersectionality is that in zeroing in on countless specifics and pointing them out people end up becoming divided for no other reason than the terms employed by the theory itself.
You've got it backwards, because you're trying to use prior ignorance of divisions are evidence of their non-existence. The point is that the divisions exist and are causing harm to the people on the short side of them while the people on the advantaged side tend to overlook them because they don't constantly live with that acute harm.

When you pretend that the process of illuminating them so that people can understand them and better navigate them is "creating" them, you're actively marginalizing the people suffering from them- invalidating their testimony and telling them that your majority status makes your opinion of their situation more important and more valid than their own personal experiences.

For a moral relativist you have a rather Newtonian view of the world as fixed and subject to only illumination but not alteration depending on point of view. I believe that point of view governs most human affairs and that what is perceived is mostly what there is to perceive. If people feel that others are weird, then they are, but if they don't feel that, then they aren't (from the point of view of the speaker). It makes little sense to talk of the speaker being right or wrong about this, since "weird" is a perception, not a set of facts. Some things are facts; skin color, height, etc. In the same sense that weirdness is entirely subjective, so too is the understanding of which categories are proper for the description of people. There is no actual answer for this qua ontological set of correct categories to employ. It depends on one's priorities in thinking of oneself and others. In an honor-based society the main categories would likely be "honorable" and "dishonorable". We don't employ these because we largely don't care about them as pertains to identity theory. We do employ many physical and preference-based categories, which both serve to reinforce that a person is a combination of what they look like and what they want; both proud materialist values.

It is not false that a person looks like something and wants various things, but it is identity-assignment based on these that I believe is harmful. So while intersectionality theory does not create these facts, necessarily (although it can in the case of wants, which are fluid), it creates the importance of these facts as primaries of what a person is.

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D.W.
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quote:
The issue is that being effortlessly "normal" is precisely the sort of "privilege" that people talk about when they reference "white privilege." There's also the implicit assumption that people who are not normal deviate from the norm because they are inferior or otherwise less able to comply with the norm.

No one is saying that this is a shocking thing can be magically be "cured." But when people talk about keeping privilege in mind, this is the sort of thing they mean: the idea that black people are "weird" is pervasive and underlies a lot of majority behavior, so it behooves someone who can pass as a member of the majority to stop and think, "Am I acting this way or holding this opinion for valid, rational reasons, or am I just expressing a position rooted in my unacknowledged privilege?" Being able to second-guess your first impulses is a useful skill for anybody, and it's worth cultivating.

Here’s the thing, physical characteristics being seen as “weird” is a problem. That is not the type of “try and act normal and things will go easier for you” I’m rambling about. THAT, bias based upon physical characteristics, is racism. It should be stamped out whenever possible.

Habits, hobbies, mannerisms, speech, dress: These are all used consciously and unconsciously to differentiate yourself from others. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s drawing negative attention to you. Do you want to take risks and attempt to steer “normal” out of its comfort zone? Cool, your choice. Don’t complain if it doesn’t work out well for you.

You are right that those who are “most normal” (read as has the majority of cultural/political/financial power) need to not dismiss everything different. They need to look at what works for others and what about themselves doesn’t work. If you see someone who lacks the things you have or lacks the hope that they have a fair chance to achieve what you have it is a useful skill to think about (or better yet ask) why that is. If the answer is (only) “because I’m black and don’t have your white privilege”, and I accept that as a valid response, I slip into defeatism and apathy. Now if they say, “Because the schools in my neighborhood suck and the job opportunities are almost non-existent.”, well, that sounds like an attainable goal to change.

quote:
What outrage?
I knew that word choice would bite me. Sorry, didn’t have a better one to convey my point. I still don’t have a valid replacement to it. I unapologetically suggest that we as a human race will be far less ****ty to each other in direct relation to how similar we seem to each other. Note, I did not say, “when we all seem white enough to each other.”
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NobleHunter
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quote:
It is not false that a person looks like something and wants various things, but it is identity-assignment based on these that I believe is harmful. So while intersectionality theory does not create these facts, necessarily (although it can in the case of wants, which are fluid), it creates the importance of these facts as primaries of what a person is.
(bolding mine)
Mainstream ideas are what put importance on those facts as the primary definer of a person. Sexual orientation as an identity didn't happen until greater society decided to define it as such. We took the idea and ran with it, sure, but only after you lot coerced us into the closet and made it the one of the defining qualities in how people treated us.

That there's a sub box for "women" called "black women" isn't because of intersectionality and ignoring that division just tends to erase the experience of people who fit into "black women."

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
It is not false that a person looks like something and wants various things, but it is identity-assignment based on these that I believe is harmful. So while intersectionality theory does not create these facts, necessarily (although it can in the case of wants, which are fluid), it creates the importance of these facts as primaries of what a person is.
It recognizes the importance of these facts in light of the constant and active effect they have on people. If you ignored them and convinced yourself that they did not exist, they would still do harm and be impossible to ignore by those that are harmed by them.

THE questions isn't "weird" or "not weird", but rather "is harmed" or "is not harmed" and when you goal is to minimize the degree of harm, then it's the addistestimobney of those that are harmed that matters for sorting it out (along with separating actually damage from claims of damage simply due to the loss of freedom/power to cause damage, even if unknowingly)

If you're standing on my toe, it is perfectly true that you do not perceive pain, while I do. But it is not valid to suggest that the inconvenience of moving your foot is a harm to you, nevermind one comparable to the damage that your doing to my foot by not moving and even refusing to acknowledge that I'm reacting to pain that you don't perceive.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
If the answer is (only) “because I’m black and don’t have your white privilege”, and I accept that as a valid response, I slip into defeatism and apathy. Now if they say, “Because the schools in my neighborhood suck and the job opportunities are almost non-existent.”, well, that sounds like an attainable goal to change
The only objection I have here is that the former statement is a sign post to the latter statement. It is not a "just" answer, but a summation of all the factors that play into the latter statement to help people coherently refer to them as a collection. The shape of the term itself helps more clearly indicate that there are a set of benefits that one side has and the other is excluded from that are so taken for granted by the side that has them, that it makes it difficult, if not impossible for the side with them to meaningfully comment on the problems of those disadvantaged until they take a step back and unwind their assumptions about what other people may or may not have access to.

"Let them eat cake" expresses a complete disconnect from the notion that the poor people who are hungry don't have a kitchen staff ready and waiting to provide them with alternate baked goods just because they happen to be short on bread at the moment.

Most real expressions of privilege are far more subtle than that, but it still means that solutions preached from above tend to be non-viable, explicitly because they're so loaded with tiny assumptions of common resources and experiences that aren't actually common as to be actively harmful when people make policy that tries to impose them.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
If you're standing on my toe, it is perfectly true that you do not perceive pain, while I do. But it is not valid to suggest that the inconvenience of moving your foot is a harm to you, nevermind one comparable to the damage that your doing to my foot by not moving and even refusing to acknowledge that I'm reacting to pain that you don't perceive.

And what about someone standing on their own toe? What if a certain manner of observation makes your toe feel like it's being stepped on? You will argue "it's either being stepped on or it's not", to which I revert to my comment about a Newtonian view of the world.

Or even better, who says that because a toe is stepped on that there is a stepper to be found? As Nietzsche put it, for every deed it is not the case that there must be a doer. But constructing the scenario as one of "oppression" and framing it as people stepping on the toes of others throws us back to the slavery paradigm where in zero-sum fashion one people gain at the expense of other people.

I don't think white people in America, for example, gain at the expense of black people, since whatever those aggregate successes are they can be shared by all with no losses for any. But if someone is truly gaining at the expense of others I would suggest it's certain circles of rich people. You are no doubt going to say that these are primarily white people, but I would suggest that they have no more in common with poor white people than they do with poor black people.

[ September 24, 2015, 12:49 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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NobleHunter
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Except there is a stepper on toes. It seems rather premature to discuss a situation with no stepper until we've dealt with the one we have.
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