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Author Topic: Mizzou President resigns
Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Some times yes. Because you see insults at times when none are intended and assume ignorance without seeing it demonstrated.


As you say below, intent is not what matters. Something is insulting based on what it communicates to the person who hears, not what the speaker meant to say. And that definitively demonstrates ignorance, unless you assume the speaker meant to be insulting.

quote:
Everyone who reaches a conclusion which differs from your own is NOT by default ignorant.
Indeed. Those that reach conclusions despite not having information are ignorant. Particularly when they've admitted they don't have information, but are still jumping to conclusions absent evidence.

quote:
Everyone making a suggestion is NOT by default being rude.
If the person or people they are making the suggestions to did not solicit them, then yes, they absolutely are.PResuming that you know that others, without at least asking if it's okay to offer your advice is an assertion that they're less capable than you are, an assumption that is rude to make out of ignorance.

quote:
Everyone who tells you something you don't want to here is NOT by default being insulting.
Indeed, but not relevant to my position here.

quote:
As to your point about the exhaustive nature of being offered advice repeatedly or constantly, I take that as a damn good indicator I may have my head up my ass.
Indeed? And you don't see who it might not be just a little insulting or diminishing to communicate that to someone who actually knows exactly what they're doing? I mean, we're getting back to the notion of a microaggression here as discussed on another thread. You're an expert in your field, but because you have a minority status of some sort or another, every assumes that you need advice in you area of expertise. That they're doing you a favor by giving you advice. (Ref, also: "Mansplaining")

quote:
Some times, motives don't matter. I know that may seem like an awful thing to say but it's true.
Why would that seem awful to me? I've made that point over and over again.

quote:
Some times people don't NEED to know or research the history of a subject. They can tell you, "Umm, that thing you just did, here's how it looks to me. You may want to consider doing something else unless that's your intent."
SOmething that's fine to do to someone operating from the status quo- who's representing a a well established an known position that needs to be challenged. It's not okay when applied to someone coming from below- trying to bring new information or a request to change to the table.

quote:
Upon discovering the WHY, or your feelings on it, the "how it looks" or "here is the most likely repercussions as I see them" aren't going to change.
Sure, but your knowledge of whether that was the intended effect can very easily change, or whether the person cares about the repercussions you're talking about.

quote:
Now if that reaction is what was desired, cool. If it's not, arguing with me that I shouldn't see things that way or people shouldn't react that way is pissing in the wind.
the problem comes when that reaction is what was desired and you've become the 10,000th person that could have figured that out by asking a few simple questions first that might have held them explain the situation instead of jumping right in and summing they didn't know what they were doing simply because you didn't know what they were doing.
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D.W.
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Well said on it being insulting because that's how it's received. That does fit my point exactly. However that STILL doesn't demonstrate ignorance. Ignorance is just the logical conclusion you reach based upon the reaction you observe.


When I suggest I don't know something or don't understand it, that is typically because I have formed a picture in my head of the situation that does not follow my logic. When this happens I enter into a discussion with the full knowledge that one of three things are true.

1. I am missing key information and the situation is different than my assessment.
2. The situation is as I see it but there are repercussions which nullify or balance heavily against those I believe make the situation illogical or flawed.
3. It's exactly as I first thought, the situation is a mess and someone should probably point that out to those involved because they are either in error or possibly being manipulated into working against their stated goals.

So you suggest that one should not voice an opinion or raise an objection but should rather ask questions until they know for sure which of those is the case. But not of you, I should apparently walk up to a stranger on my local campus and strike up a conversation on the racism they experience. This MAY help inform me but honestly, I should get on a plane and head to Misou, just to be sure I have the right context. That is as long as doing so wouldn't be seen as intimidating and impose on their desire for a safe space?

OR... I could do what I do here.
1. Voice my assessment and see if anyone refutes it.
2. Voice my concerns about the repercussions of the situation as I see it and see what mitigating or nullifying factors may be present.
3. Blusterously claim I'm correct and get someone worked up enough that they "school me" by laying out the whole "how it really is" in a nice neat package.


In general I see "making others understand your motivations" to be a negative human desire far FAR more often than it being a positive goal. What you should strive for is to understand how your words and actions are perceived. Elicit feedback if it's not obvious. Then if that perception does not match your intent moderate your own behavior.

Sure you CAN change the world but it's going to be damn hard, you are likely to fail and the tide of apathy more than any active opposition is working against you. If there is ever an option to change your own views or behavior try that first.

If someone, particularly of say the majority, offers a suggestion and says, "I would be more receptive to X than to Y." You can either assume negative motives that they are attempting to sabotage you, because they are your opposition, or you could listen to them.

They may be totally superfluous to the discussion, much like I am when it comes to collage policies. If that's the case you can tune them out or decide for yourself if their words have any value. Or, you can get defensive. If they really are your enemy maybe you get some reverse scooby-do action. They put on a white hood and go, "And I would have gotten away with it to if it wasn't for you pesky kids!"

As to your point of "it's not okay when applied to someone coming from below" I reject that. Something is either OK or not OK. There is no double standard. Forcing a double standard exacerbates problems in race relations. You do not fight fire with fire when it comes to inequality. Unless...

Now if a group is talking in terms of revolution and seizing power, be it through force or democratic participation, then fine. Ignore the intrusive condescending outsiders who are terrified of them, and change in general. Go with that narrative, you don't need their permission or approval or even understanding.

If you want someone else to change by choice though, you better figure out what upsets them, what angers them, what frightens them, what strokes their ego and what common causes you have. If they are the majority, and have status quo on their side, that's on you to figure out. Unless you are going to render their desire to change moot at least.

Take power, ally with power, manipulate the powerful or pray.

These kids took power and it impressed me. But I'm jaded and don't see the payoff for their initiative. Maybe this president was an obstacle. I hope so for their sake. I fear that the schools will inoculate themselves from the same expression of power in the future. (That of the threatened football strike.)

To your other points. Taking offense, being insulted or feeling diminished are all choices I make, not things done to me. That is in all likelihood an outlook based on privilege. I have no problem avoiding or verbally shutting down anyone actively trying to psychologically abuse me. To those who say something potentially offensive out of ignorance or just a lack of social graces, I ignore it or try to filter out the noise if I feel they have something of value to say.

If 10,000 people all failed to understand something then either they are irrelevant to you, and you ignore them, or you reassess your methods to avoid the ambiguity in the future.

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Fenring
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quote:
quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
What about when you don't make a mistake? Do you want someone to jump on you and attempt to educate you, even though you know you did what you intended to?

This is a very funny question for you to ask. I hope you can see why.
Absolutely. And I'm perfectly willing to entertain the notion that you're intentionally being degrading and insulting if that's really what you want to cop to.

Do you mean to say I'm being insulting to the protest, or to you? I don't know if you understand my comment the way I meant it so here it is: You asked whether, when doing something correct, you would want someone else to jump on you and 'educate you' when you already know what you're doing. I was pointing out the irony that you have outright discounted the possibility that anyone in disagreement with you here does know what they're saying and what the implications are, and you're jumping on them anyhow to 'educate them'. I thought it was a cute omission of the possibility you might be talking about yourself inadvertently.

This isn't to say that we don't value your feedback, I learn a lot from it. But you might consider that you're not the only one who may have a reasonable perspective on issues such as this one, and that 'correcting us' - with the implicit premise that we must be definition be wrong simply because you see it that way - puts you in the position of doing what you accuse us of doing.

Just saying.

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D.W.
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It's not irony when there is a double standard in place because of an existing power imbalance. Now wipe that grin off your face Fenring. [Razz]
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You asked whether, when doing something correct, you would want someone else to jump on you and 'educate you' when you already know what you're doing. I was pointing out the irony that you have outright discounted the possibility that anyone in disagreement with you here does know what they're saying and what the implications are, and you're jumping on them anyhow to 'educate them'.
No, I fully get that you may intentionally be trying to undermine degrade the protestors, but I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you're not being malicious.

quote:
But you might consider that you're not the only one who may have a reasonable perspective on issues such as this one, and that 'correcting us' - with the implicit premise that we must be definition be wrong simply because you see it that way - puts you in the position of doing what you accuse us of doing.
If we were talking about perspectives on the issues, sure. But My point here is orthogonal to the issues, and specifically focused on the insults and dehumanizing attitude being convey though them that are preventing easy discussion of the actual issues.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
It's not irony when there is a double standard in place because of an existing power imbalance. Now wipe that grin off your face Fenring. [Razz]

Indeed- there's a huge difference between a revolt by people who are oppressed and police action to quell a rebellion by an oppressive established power. They may look similar abest context- they're effectively the same tool in the toolbox- buy why the tool is being applied and to what end matters far more than the tool itself.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Well said on it being insulting because that's how it's received. That does fit my point exactly. However that STILL doesn't demonstrate ignorance. Ignorance is just the logical conclusion you reach based upon the reaction you observe.


No, it's giving the benefit of the doubt. Ignorance means that they're are being unintentionally insulting and distracting. A lack of ignorance would mean that they're actively being malicious and trying to degrade the protestors to distract from understanding them.


quote:
So you suggest that one should not voice an opinion or raise an objection but should rather ask questions until they know for sure which of those is the case.
Rasing an option, stated as such is one thing. Stating that opinion as a fact is quite another. There's a wide difference between "Their behavior seems pretty aggressive from what I've heard" and "They're being unnecessarily violent" (especially when the facts of the situation suggest that they're not being violent at all, violence was just an accusation made by people looking to discredit the protest, without any factual basis)

[quote But not of you, I should apparently walk up to a stranger on my local campus and strike up a conversation on the racism they experience.[/quote]
Why not of me. I've said a few time that I'd be willing to help research if people would back off the accusations and ask non-judgemental questions instead.

what I did say, though, is that it's not your place to _demand_ that I answer questions. If I do so, it's because I've decided that it's worth my time to help you do the research necessary, not because I have an obligation to find answers for you. I'm willing to help on equal terms, I'm not interested in acting on subservient ones.

quote:
OR... I could do what I do here.
1. Voice my assessment and see if anyone refutes it.
2. Voice my concerns about the repercussions of the situation as I see it and see what mitigating or nullifying factors may be present.
3. Blusterously claim I'm correct and get someone worked up enough that they "school me" by laying out the whole "how it really is" in a nice neat package.

And in the process you churn up additional resentment toward the protesters, propagate false accusations against them that undermine and degrade them, and effectively try to manipulate people into doing research for you. All while conveying an attitude that suggests that you'r not honestly interested in understanding, just axe grinding.

I mean, it does get you results, but in the process it reinforces the social structures and hierarchy that create the problems to begin with. It feeds a narrative where the dominant factions of society see it as right and proper to demand service from the less dominant and be as disrespectful as they want with the weaker portions of society required to show a preponderance of evidence to defend themselves, while dismissing the notion that the more powerful should take equal responsibility to educating themselves and for making the effort to actively treat others with respect.

quote:
What you should strive for is to understand how your words and actions are perceived. Elicit feedback if it's not obvious. Then if that perception does not match your intent moderate your own behavior.
Indeed. And I'm giving you feedback so you can do just that.

quote:
If someone, particularly of say the majority, offers a suggestion and says, "I would be more receptive to X than to Y." You can either assume negative motives that they are attempting to sabotage you, because they are your opposition, or you could listen to them.
If your goal is to be a better servant of the majority, sure. But if you do that then the best you can achieve will be how to be the perfect servant of the majority. If your goal is equal treatment or the assertion of rights that should not be conditional on the sufferance of the majority, then that undermines your efforts.

quote:
As to your point of "it's not okay when applied to someone coming from below" I reject that. Something is either OK or not OK. There is no double standard. Forcing a double standard exacerbates problems in race relations. You do not fight fire with fire when it comes to inequality. Unless...
Fire is just a tool. A doctor using fire to cauterize a wound is acting a much different ethical ground than an interrogator using it to elicit information. Above and below do matter, because power applied downward is oppressive, while power applied upward is revolutionary. The result may not alway be what was intended in either case but it's a false equivalence to suggest that tit's the tool that defines the legitimacy of the act, not the context in which the tool was applied.

quote:
Now if a group is talking in terms of revolution and seizing power, be it through force or democratic participation, then fine. Ignore the intrusive condescending outsiders who are terrified of them, and change in general. Go with that narrative, you don't need their permission or approval or even understanding.
And there you're getting it. The status quo only changes through such strong pushes. It actively defends itself from anything less.

quote:
If you want someone else to change by choice though, you better figure out what upsets them, what angers them, what frightens them, what strokes their ego and what common causes you have. If they are the majority, and have status quo on their side, that's on you to figure out. Unless you are going to render their desire to change moot at least.
And the status quo _never_ chooses to change. It only ever changes when its been forced to. The kids at the university tried for a long time along those principles. They finally moved to protest when they had completely exhausted those possibilities and gotten no meaningful response. When they saw no option left but to make the situation untenable for everyone so that some form of change would have to happen, and to make it clear that they could do so again if the change did not include measures that would address their needs.

quote:
These kids took power and it impressed me. But I'm jaded and don't see the payoff for their initiative. Maybe this president was an obstacle. I hope so for their sake. I fear that the schools will inoculate themselves from the same expression of power in the future. (That of the threatened football strike.)
We'll see. They're not at the endgame yet, and if they pet themselves on the back and call this a victory before they've seen substantial change to rectify the problems that brought them out in the first place, then perhaps it will have been a wasted effort. It's not over till it's over, and we haven't seen yet what the ultimate outcome is.

quote:
To your other points. Taking offense, being insulted or feeling diminished are all choices I make, not things done to me.
You forget that these discussions are happening in a wider field. If you discredit the protesters as being violent and misguided, you will lead other people to take your word for it instead of looking into the situation for themselves. They don't even have to know you said something for your words and assumptions to do damage to their credibility, especially if you are asserting things about them without evidence to back up the assertions, because your words become evidence for other people to repeat or escalate.

quote:
If 10,000 people all failed to understand something then either they are irrelevant to you, and you ignore them, or you reassess your methods to avoid the ambiguity in the future.
It's not a failure to understand anything, It's making a different assumption about your knowledge and capability based on your appearance. This is something that happens with extreme frequency to women and minorities that are are professionals or experts in their field. (Many, many black and women lawyers will, for example be happy to tell you about being asked to go grab coffee when showing up to represent a client because people can't seem to realize that they're the expert and not a clerk or office staff, whereas a white man showing up in the same way gets asked or even assumed to be a professional)
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Pete at Home
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Back in the days when liberals had principles, the cure for ignorance was knowledge, not silence or public shaming
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D.W.
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quote:
No, it's giving the benefit of the doubt. Ignorance means that they're are being unintentionally insulting and distracting. A lack of ignorance would mean that they're actively being malicious and trying to degrade the protestors to distract from understanding them.
Pyrtolin I expect part of the issue is when I and Fenring poke at you for your attitude, we see your responding as if it's obvious any criticism and probing should be lumped in with those making accusations and being malicious or degrading. Now there has been a little of that early on that was openly hostile. Claims of thugary and violence when those labels must be stretched beyond the norm in order to apply.

So your points stand. Open maliciousness and degradation should be opposed. I think the part that strikes us as odd is your statements seem to illustrate a binary view. You are either on the correct side or you are a hostile opponent. There appears to be no room for criticism as far as you are concerned. Any attempt to do so is seen as a blatant insult and those who do so are lumped in with the defamers, saboteurs and bigots. Only questioning, if done in an acceptable format on the terms of those being questioned is a valid response; if we happen to be so dense we don’t grasp in its entirety what the protesters want and why they are going about it the way they are. (And it better damn well be followed up with some vigorous head nods and assenting noises)

quote:
Why not of me. I've said a few time that I'd be willing to help research if people would back off the accusations and ask non-judgemental questions instead.
Because you see nothing BUT accusations so void out your own offer. You are right though, you don’t owe any of us an answer. Though stating things as if you have the answer and infantilizing all those here by suggesting they just need to open their eyes and look to find them is another thing. If it were that easy there would be no question. What they are asking is to see the world through your eye’s because you are reacting to something different than what they see.

And honestly, I’m not picking apart the protestors or their tactics anymore. I threw out my two cents and it’s a wait and see situation. Either their actions will improve things or it won’t. It’s the attitude that you put forward that any group can be beyond reproach that I find disgusting. It is an attitude that precludes equality.
quote:
And the status quo _never_ chooses to change.
This is a fairy tale you are telling yourself. At least as it relates to the western nations. Are our societies still deeply flawed? Yes. But they do choose to change. And no, that doesn’t mean sit around and wait for them to do so. I’ll say it one more time, I agree with the students expressing power the way they did and making demands for action. I just have my doubts their demands will have any lasting effect. Maybe knowing they won the staring contest is enough? Maybe toppling a figurehead is enough? Maybe the safe spaces and systemic racism issues were all a smokescreen for highlighting the problems of big money involved in college football and how it distorts the priorities of an establishment of learning into a business. By taking out the businessman they can change it. How do you disprove ulterior motives or politely ask someone if their coattails have some extra weight attached?

Here’s another nasty tactic. If someone is frustrated to a point of defensiveness and their position remains steadfast, that’s a good sign they are being honest with you. Though they may not like you anymore and your assurances come at the cost of respect or likeability…

quote:
We'll see. They're not at the endgame yet, and if they pet themselves on the back and call this a victory before they've seen substantial change to rectify the problems that brought them out in the first place, then perhaps it will have been a wasted effort. It's not over till it's over, and we haven't seen yet what the ultimate outcome is.
And here you hit on my initial criticism. If you are throwing your weight around, everything aligned and you have serious leverage to get your demands, go for the end game! I see them now as a spent force. I see that they surrendered their power after getting their demand met. (the firing of the president)

Possibly that will be enough but to me, that’s a gamble. They wiped the board clean and rolled the dice. There is no guarantee they will get anything but consolation and words of sympathy and understanding and promises (that may or may not be empty). Why not go for the end game when they had the leverage? Is that impossible? Is the only route a glacial incremental one? What are the damages of pushing too far too fast? What would it look like once you get what you want? Will you know it once you arrive? Is it insulting to even ask these things? [Razz]
quote:
and effectively try to manipulate people into doing research for you.
Guilty.
quote:
All while conveying an attitude that suggests that you'r not honestly interested in understanding, just axe grinding.
I’ll have to work on my communication skills further then if that’s the case. Though I expect you are projecting a bit for that conclusion. I have no axe to grind in this. I mean you could believe I’m a closet racist and attempting open sabotage I suppose. That could lead you to attributing my statements this way. Though I think if you read back through them, you would see that I would be playing a very subtle game. This gives me too much credit and insults me all at the same time. I have no tools at my disposal to dissuade you from that conclusion if that’s the case. I try to be honest even when (or particularly when) I’m doing something ugly or rude.
quote:
I mean, it does get you results, but in the process it reinforces the social structures and hierarchy that create the problems to begin with. It feeds a narrative where the dominant factions of society see it as right and proper to demand service from the less dominant and be as disrespectful as they want with the weaker portions of society required to show a preponderance of evidence to defend themselves, while dismissing the notion that the more powerful should take equal responsibility to educating themselves and for making the effort to actively treat others with respect.
Yet it has an entirely different effect when applied “bottom up” instead of “top down” as you like to say. I do that too.
quote:
Indeed. And I'm giving you feedback so you can do just that.
And it’s appreciated. I mean, we’re still talking. When everyone just agrees this place is a snooze fest. You get a fragment of a story when nobody feels it’s worth scrutiny.

Diplomacy, intimidation, seduction, manipulation and force are all important tools. You can choose not to employ some but never forget they are available to all and some will use them even if you do not. You can choose your own code but not dictate the code of others. Well unless you are a forum moderator. Then I suppose you can. [Wink]

[ November 20, 2015, 11:44 AM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Back in the days when liberals had principles, the cure for ignorance was knowledge, not silence or public shaming

It still is, but the information is out there. What we're talking about is the response to those that are just looking to make you do busywork or otherwise not actually interested in learning, vs those who make the effort to ask for it earnestly.Why should I do your homework for you if you're going to imperiously demand that I feed you information that you could find yourself if you looked when there are other people that I could be engaging with that are expressing an honest and non-judgemental interest in learning?
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LetterRip
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Something is insulting based on the intent of the person making the statement. Someone can be insulted based on their perception of the statement.

So someone can be insulted by something that is not insulting; and something can be insulting without someone being insulted.

[ November 20, 2015, 11:58 AM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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D.W.
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What, pertinent to this topic, do you have to teach?
I'm not asking this to be rude, just that you seem to indicate you COULD do so but are choosing not to. Which is fine, but comes off as petty.

What homework would you suggest others do?
Again, you have no obligation to even do this much work, but stating it the way you do suggests that some of us are in need of this information but it's beneath you to point the way, let alone spell it out for us. Neither may be your intent, but this is the internet, we invent our own subtext as we read.


What happens if someone has the raw data and facts and fails to reach the same conclusions?

Is there a worthiness threshold that must be passed to earn such a lesson or be pointed towards the research material? Must one prove receptive to your conclusion before being given the information used to support it?

After all, an ignorant opponent falling at shadows is much preferred over one who is informed and can spot flaws. Better to bolster the ranks of zealots than to spend time on those who may be critical thinkers.

The enemies of equality and integration do this, it's a proven tactic. Why shouldn't one pick up the loaded gun when you see it's effectiveness as it's turned against you daily?

[ November 20, 2015, 12:23 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
d. I think the part that strikes us as odd is your statements seem to illustrate a binary view. You are either on the correct side or you are a hostile opponent. There appears to be no room for criticism as far as you are concerned. Any attempt to do so is seen as a blatant insult and those who do so are lumped in with the defamers, saboteurs and bigots. Only questioning, if done in an acceptable format on the terms of those being questioned is a valid response; if we happen to be so dense we don’t grasp in its entirety what the protesters want and why they are going about it the way they are. (And it better damn well be followed up with some vigorous head nods and assenting noises)
That's only because you seem to be equating a rejection of unsupported criticism with a demand for support. And the way you ask questions does matter significantly. if you signal, by how you phrase your questions that you're JAQing off, trying to ask loaded or leading questions, or otherwise suggesting that you're not actually interested in the answers, but trying to prove a point under the guise of asking questions.

quote:
Though stating things as if you have the answer and infantilizing all those here by suggesting they just need to open their eyes and look to find them is another thing. If it were that easy there would be no question. What they are asking is to see the world through your eye’s because you are reacting to something different than what they see.
Except that, by and large I'm not reacting, in fact I'm avoiding reacting, because I haven't really had the time to do the research. In fact I've been called several times on not clearly taking a position, almost in the same breath as being accused of wanting unconditional support at times. My point hasn't been "this is the position you should take because of information you don't know" but rather "you're taking an unfair position before you have all the information". The response has been to assert a false dichotomy along the lines of "IF you say we shouldn't attack them, then you must be saying we have to agree with them" as if there wasn't a middle ground, where one reserves judgment until all the facts have been sorted out.

quote:
This is a fairy tale you are telling yourself. At least as it relates to the western nations. Are our societies still deeply flawed? Yes. But they do choose to change.
Can you point to any major social change that's come about just because people asked really nice? Every major change has taken a fight. HAs taken people standing up and standing firm against attacks from the status quo until it became clear that they wren't moving until change was made. Not every protest has resulted in successful change, but not successful change has been made without pushing the majority until they accepted the change; it's never preemptively abdicated power simply on the basis of it being the right thing to do or being asked nicely to do so.

And that comes from the simple nature of day to day human awareness. You see the problems that are your own, because they're part of your life. You don't see the problems of others unless you make an effort to look for them. If you don't see and feel a problem, you feel no motivation to fix anything. You either need to make an exceptional effort to see and feel the problems of others, or others need to make an exceptional effort to make it impossible for those people to remain unaware of them.

quote:
It’s the attitude that you put forward that any group can be beyond reproach that I find disgusting. It is an attitude that precludes equality.
I don't think that they're beyond reproach; I think that reproach should come from a place of well informed criticism, not a superficial understanding without making an effort to find facts to back the accusation.

quote:
And here you hit on my initial criticism. If you are throwing your weight around, everything aligned and you have serious leverage to get your demands, go for the end game! I see them now as a spent force. I see that they surrendered their power after getting their demand met. (the firing of the president)
To my understanding they tried to get what they wanted, but the president wouldn't give it to them. Wouldn't even really try to understand what tehy wanted. I honestly don't know the degree to which they explicitly made having him step down a demand of theirs or if he stepped down because he simply wasn't up to the task.

The protesters couldn't directly accomplish what they want from the protests, because they're not the president, not the administration. They need changes that can only be made at that level to start making progress.

The lever they used for the protest is still sitting there. It won't be as much of a surprise next time, but that's not part of its power. They've proven they have a big stick, so perhaps talking softly will work better now that people respect it for what it is.

quote:
I’ll have to work on my communication skills further then if that’s the case. Though I expect you are projecting a bit for that conclusion. I have no axe to grind in this. I mean you could believe I’m a closet racist and attempting open sabotage I suppose
This is really a numbers game- it's not that it's what you wanted to communicate, but its what's communicated because the vast majority of people who evince the same attitude are conveying that. If you don't make yourself stand out from the crowd, then you blend into the crowd and end up getting treated with the same defensive skepticism as they do.

You double down on that when you say things that imply that you should get special respect from them because you've got the power of the majority on your side. When you apply exactly the kind of power that they're trying to escape to the argument, you blend even further in to the profile of people trying to attack, you don't help yourself stand out as someone actually willing to listen.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Something is insulting based on the intent of the person making the statement. Someone can be insulted based on their perception of the statement.

So someone can be insulted by something that is not insulting; and something can be insulting without someone being insulted.

Hmm. I think that definition of insulting is frighteningly reasonable. Do you know how many university positions would have to be eliminated if we took the word the way you describe? It would set university tuition levels back a decade.
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D.W.
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quote:
but rather "you're taking an unfair position before you have all the information".
When someone makes this statement, I expect them to fill in some of that information. Otherwise they would have said, “That seems harsh, are you sure you have all the relevant information?” I may reevaluate my statement and decide if I brought my own baggage to the position or feel comfortable with my initial position. By using the word “unfair” in your rebuttal you imply you have information I don’t or I am being intentionally unfair.

Through discussion we could possibly establish if I’m being intentionally unfair. If you follow up such rebuttals with insistence that the information is out there, but you are too busy to show it to me, I then become skeptical of your position. It’s not an invitation to more introspection and investigation before voicing an opinion as you seem to believe you are making. It reads as teasing, stalling or deflecting.

It’s the same reason some people of privileged classes balk at being told they are part of the problem.

You are being unfair.
How so?
You just are.
You are being racist.
How so?
You just are.

Now maybe I am being unfair and maybe I am doing something motivated by racism. However if one makes this accusation, if they want to be taken seriously, they should be able to articulate an answer. Preferably one which can be acted upon and changed rather than pointing out a stain on one’s existence that must be acknowledged yet can never be altered.

quote:
Can you point to any major social change that's come about just because people asked really nice?
With enough homework I’m sure I could… [Wink] But that wasn’t my point. My point was that those protests you say are a requirement for every social change are means to get the status quo to CHOOSE to “stop being ****ty.” I was going to say “share power” or “surrender power” but those assume that those in power have something to lose, which I am not sure I believe. Then again it’s possible we’re talking past each other on this point and agree.
quote:
And that comes from the simple nature of day to day human awareness. You see the problems that are your own, because they're part of your life. You don't see the problems of others unless you make an effort to look for them. If you don't see and feel a problem, you feel no motivation to fix anything. You either need to make an exceptional effort to see and feel the problems of others, or others need to make an exceptional effort to make it impossible for those people to remain unaware of them.
This isn’t wrong but it’s just one possibility. I see other people’s problem through the lens of my own experiences. “If it was ME I’d go about solving this problem by doing X not Y.”

I know full well that this line of thinking comes with its own pitfalls. However, a view from outside is often valuable. Moreover, a view from someone, nominally at least, of the status quo may hold the key to how you would influence them to change. Because that is what this is about right? The status quo needs to change. You are either in violent revolution or you are on a campaign to influence the group with power.

quote:
The lever they used for the protest is still sitting there. It won't be as much of a surprise next time, but that's not part of its power.
I fear you are wrong on that. Hopefully not, as I believe it’s a leaver they will likely need to employ again. Big sticks are sometimes taken away and broken by those telling you what you want to hear until you are disarmed.
quote:
You double down on that when you say things that imply that you should get special respect from them because you've got the power of the majority on your side.
I… what? Did I just get blended together with some larger “you”, or was this directed at me specifically? I really HAVE dropped the ball on my ability to communicate if you meant me!

[ November 20, 2015, 01:59 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:

quote:
You double down on that when you say things that imply that you should get special respect from them because you've got the power of the majority on your side.
I… what? Did I just get blended together with some larger “you”, or was this directed at me specifically? I really HAVE dropped the ball on my ability to communicate if you meant me!
No you haven't, you always err on the side of expressing doubts about your own position. Perhaps overemphasized at times, but a good sentiment. I usually take it as a passive premise that I will discuss points made by anyone if they think I've made a mistake, but you state that premise verbatim.

There is no exit (to quote Sartre) from a Kafkatrap of this type:

-I think those people should uphold a certain standard of decent behavior.
-Decent by whose standards?
-Just, you know, decent, like respectful people.
-So you want them to respect you even though you don't respect them?
-No, I think everyone should be respectful.
-So you're saying they should respect the majority and the status quo?
-No, I think some types of behavior will be counterproductive to their cause.
-So you're saying you won't acknowledge their cause unless they bow to your standards of decency?
-They're not my standards, they are just reasonable standards that allow humans from all over the world to have discourse with each other.
-The point of their cause is to change the standards.
-So anyone who is 'punching up' can behave any way and this is beyond criticism? There are no standards except for the majority?
-So you admit you want to force them to live by your standards! Now you see you are an oppressor after all.
-... (game over)

[ November 20, 2015, 02:13 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
What, pertinent to this topic, do you have to teach?
I'm not asking this to be rude, just that you seem to indicate you COULD do so but are choosing not to. Which is fine, but comes off as petty.


It appears, at least, that I'm somewhat more familiar with testimony about what life is like for black people in our society, given some of the questioning (if not outright denial) of their experience that's come up. I can talk a bit about what seemingly innocuous assertions are far more loaded they seem due to historical use and overall context.

But as I said, I'm not one to go on a deep dig here. My bone here was about the upfront attacks being made, despite people admitting that they didn't actualyl know enough to support those attacks.

quote:
What homework would you suggest others do?
Again, you have no obligation to even do this much work, but stating it the way you do suggests that some of us are in need of this information but it's beneath you to point the way, let alone spell it out for us. Neither may be your intent, but this is the internet, we invent our own subtext as we read.

Look into the situation at the university ask about how long the problems have been going on, what other ways that they've taken to try to address the issues. It seems like it would also be useful to dig into the modern black experience in the US- ask why they've be so threatened by the things that seem like they're just things that you could shrug off.

If you're concerned about the cold shoulder the reporter got, it would also be good to look at the history of media in relationship to protest events and explanations of why being able to control messaging are important.

quote:
What happens if someone has the raw data and facts and fails to reach the same conclusions?
Then we have grounds for discussion and explaining why we interpret the facts differently.

quote:
Is there a worthiness threshold that must be passed to earn such a lesson or be pointed towards the research material? Must one prove receptive to your conclusion before being given the information used to support it?
No, one simply must not communicate open hostility to it. And a bit of a sense of humility- keeping in mind that your favor or hostility aren't, ultimately relevant, particularly if you're already communicating hostility.

That's one of the key points regarding freedom and equality that's important to really get a handle on. If we're free and equal, the fact that you like me or don't like me doesn't, on a functional level, matter. It only matters if you have power over me, and thus are not actually equal.

I might want you to like me or agree with me on a personal level, but that's a personal matter, not a matter of power.

quote:
After all, an ignorant opponent falling at shadows is much preferred over one who is informed and can spot flaws. Better to bolster the ranks of zealots than to spend time on those who may be critical thinkers.
THink of it from the perspective of figuring out where to invest resources? Should I invest more energy in someone that expresses honest curiosity, or someone that expresses hostility? Remember, again, that I don't really need to convert you; I'm not looking to serve or reinforce whatever position of power you may represent. IF I'm going to make that kind of effort, why shouldn't I at least reserve it for someone with enough structural power to make a difference?
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D.W.
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quote:
I might want you to like me or agree with me on a personal level, but that's a personal matter, not a matter of power.
quote:
Remember, again, that I don't really need to convert you; I'm not looking to serve or reinforce whatever position of power you may represent. IF I'm going to make that kind of effort, why shouldn't I at least reserve it for someone with enough structural power to make a difference?
You dance right at the edge of my point but reach a conclusion opposite to mine. That’s why I find this so interesting.

If you have a stake in changing the status quo you absolutely DO need them to like you. The ONLY way you can avoid that is violent revolution. You may use shock tactics to make people pay attention but their use must be measured against your ability to make them like you at the end of the day. That assumes you want change.

This rational on my part for example cannot explain social media participants obsession with followers or likes or retweets. Sometimes attention for attentions sake is enough to motivate people. Sometimes a particularly shrewd politically minded student is building their networking and political chops and may not care if real change happens as long as it furthers their ambition.

Is it potentially insulting to bring up such possibilities? Absolutely, but I have this hair brained idea that everyone, and in particular college students, should be skeptical. Not paranoid mind you, but on guard against being duped, used or placated.

As to the last point of why invest time or effort in someone like me, who stated plainly is not in a position of influence as I see it? Good point. I just like typing to prove I exist. It sooths me as I clutch terrified to the back of the omnipresent beast of oppression while it crushes those beneath its feet.

[ November 20, 2015, 02:59 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
When someone makes this statement, I expect them to fill in some of that information. Otherwise they would have said, “That seems harsh, are you sure you have all the relevant information?” I may reevaluate my statement and decide if I brought my own baggage to the position or feel comfortable with my initial position. By using the word “unfair” in your rebuttal you imply you have information I don’t or I am being intentionally unfair.
The act of judging without complete information is, in and of itself, de facto unfair. I don't need to have more information, just to know that you're jumping to conclusions based on your own lack of information.

You may be right, even. The fact that you got there based on bias and not based on facts makes it unfair regardless.

think of a court case- it's possible for people who are clearly and obviously guilty to have to be let go because of prosecutorial error. It's not that they weren't guilty, but rather because the argument made against them was unfair.

quote:
This isn’t wrong but it’s just one possibility. I see other people’s problem through the lens of my own experiences. “If it was ME I’d go about solving this problem by doing X not Y.”
Which, as you note, has a major flaw- namely that hey're not you, and are operating from a different baseline. It may also have the flaw that they've already tried X and it completely failed to work.

quote:
I know full well that this line of thinking comes with its own pitfalls. However, a view from outside is often valuable. Moreover, a view from someone, nominally at least, of the status quo may hold the key to how you would influence them to change. Because that is what this is about right? The status quo needs to change. You are either in violent revolution or you are on a campaign to influence the group with power.
One of the features of the status quo is that it's visible. It's not exactly a secret where it stands. It makes itself know to everyone as part of how it maintains itself. And part of the status quo is that those that it factors control the gates to power. If you feed that dynamic you're not really breaking it just shifting around within it.

quote:
I fear you are wrong on that. Hopefully not, as I believe it’s a leaver they will likely need to employ again. Big sticks are sometimes taken away and broken by those telling you what you want to hear until you are disarmed.
If the NCAA and university funding system is overhauled as a result of this, so that sports have less power, that would be an unexpected and unintended windfall fix to a separate problem. That's going to take time in and of itself, though, so the stick is pretty clearly still sitting there.

quote:
I… what? Did I just get blended together with some larger “you”, or was this directed at me specifically? I really HAVE dropped the ball on my ability to communicate if you meant me!
That's definitely in the general, but you have been postulating that they should be seeking how to appease the majority, even in what I'm replying to here. You're setting the football up, suggesting that if they respect the power of the majority and try to appeal to it in just the right way, that maybe, for once, things will be different.

BUt it never works. You never break power by appeasing it, you just reinforce it.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
If you have a stake in changing the status quo you absolutely DO need them to like you. The ONLY way you can avoid that is violent revolution. You may use shock tactics to make people pay attention but their use must be measured against your ability to make them like you at the end of the day. That assumes you want change.

No you don't. We're not a purely democratic system, such that we need to win popularity contests. We're a republic founded on the principle that some rights are not subject to popularity contests. SO they don't really need to be popular, they don't need to get any given person to like hem, they just need to force the system to give them a hearing an make their case to the people with their hands on the levers of power.

In the case of the univeristy, they need to make their point to the president, or failing him, to the university board. IF you end up not likeing them in the progress, they may be perosnally sad, but it doesn't really matter in the long run if whoever steps up and makes the changes needed makes the needed changes. Each structural win makes your personal like or dislike of them a little more irrelevant. Eventually, when they hit the point of being equal, where your opinion of them truly doesn't matter, then perhaps they can go back and choose to rebuild bridges, but it'll be from a position of equality, not from a position of trying to gain the favor of your position of social power.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:


We're not a purely democratic system, such that we need to win popularity contests. We're a republic founded on the principle that some rights are not subject to popularity contests. SO they don't really need to be popular,
That's only true in principle. In practice our inalienable rights are subject to constant revision, can be added to and subtracted to by an unexpected oligarchy of "experts" to whom our courts defer their thought. Rights of religion and self defense are becoming unpopular among our oligarchs, and new rights and Orwellian reconstructions of old rights are the increasing norm. The new theology is Panglossian Progress. If a modish trend of thought among our oligarchs is towards X, then X must be all for the best. Because evolution never kills anything that deserves to survive. Right? Of course right.
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D.W.
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quote:
The act of judging without complete information is, in and of itself, de facto unfair. I don't need to have more information, just to know that you're jumping to conclusions based on your own lack of information.
You do realize you can’t know it’s unfair unless you know there is more information right? You may be technically correct in that you don’t need to know the specifics, but you would still need to know somehow that I wasn’t aware of, or choosing to ignore those specifics.

Fenring is correct that I have the personality quirk (or just insecurity) to state that it is likely I am missing key information. That doesn’t mean I AM, just that I accept it is possible. There is a difference. Now maybe you are saying that having “all the facts” is impossible and it is therefore NEVER acceptable to reach a conclusion or criticize?
quote:
One of the features of the status quo is that it's visible. It's not exactly a secret where it stands. It makes itself know to everyone as part of how it maintains itself. And part of the status quo is that those that it factors control the gates to power. If you feed that dynamic you're not really breaking it just shifting around within it.
I assume you meant “those that it favors”? Even with that correction I still don’t follow this paragraph at all. I THINK you are suggesting that my premise is flawed and there is a third way, which has proven effective in the past or, if tried is likely to succeed. If that was your meaning, I’d be interested in hearing it. If not… sorry, you lost me.

quote:
That's definitely in the general, but you have been postulating that they should be seeking how to appease the majority, even in what I'm replying to here. You're setting the football up, suggesting that if they respect the power of the majority and try to appeal to it in just the right way, that maybe, for once, things will be different.
Your use of appease and respect are totally misplaced here. I have never suggested, nor would I ever suggest that relying on pity or sympathy of those in power is the correct path. I have suggested you listen, and learn. If you want to get crude about it, I’m suggesting you manipulate those in power and show them whenever possible that getting what you want is in their own self interest. Forgive the use of “you” here for those attempting to disrupt the status quo. Anything else was just overly cumbersome to use.

I'm not saying, "Do as I say because I know better." I'm saying, "Listen to what I say and what reactions I (and others) have to your words and actions." Telling me I'm reacting wrongly is ridiculous. Use the tools your opposition hands you. Because they WILL hand you tools to get what they want even if they don't know it. Do it right, and they employ their own power towards the effort of distributing that power to you.

That I see some of the requests as asking for pity or sympathy rather than having real substance is, in fact, one of my critiques of this movement...

[ November 20, 2015, 04:05 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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D.W.
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Something just dawned on me regarding my observations and your problem with my generalization on how progress can happen. You cite protests and making people take notice and being disruptive as necessary because it's always taken those measures.

The issue is I'm narrowly focused on systemic racism as the issue. Blatant, "throw it in their face that they are breaking the law and you won't be ignored" brand of racism, your point stands. Anything where a concession in changing the status quo results in some background resentment by those in power that they were "forced" to change their ways does nothing to curb systemic / subconscious racism.

Hope that made at least a little sense or adds some context to my rambling.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You do realize you can’t know it’s unfair unless you know there is more information right? You may be technically correct in that you don’t need to know the specifics, but you would still need to know somehow that I wasn’t aware of, or choosing to ignore those specifics.
There are cases where it's ambiguous. I was not in the case of those opening this thread with attacks, ones that even contradicted information that had been posted here in response to the initial attacks, never mind purely speculative attacks that were presented without any evidence to support them.

quote:
I assume you meant “those that it favors”? Even with that correction I still don’t follow this paragraph at all. I THINK you are suggesting that my premise is flawed and there is a third way, which has proven effective in the past or, if tried is likely to succeed. If that was your meaning, I’d be interested in hearing it. If not… sorry, you lost me.
There is a third way which has worked. Gandhi, figured it out, as did MLK, it's the way that's being exercised by people holding protests and rallies despite the annoyance that others may feel at such actions. Those who stop serving the status quo and make an active effort to disrupt it until their needs are met by those with the power to do so.

quote:
Your use of appease and respect are totally misplaced here. I have never suggested, nor would I ever suggest that relying on pity or sympathy of those in power is the correct path. I have suggested you listen, and learn. If you want to get crude about it, I’m suggesting you manipulate those in power and show them whenever possible that getting what you want is in their own self interest. Forgive the use of “you” here for those attempting to disrupt the status quo. Anything else was just overly cumbersome to use.
It's the right word, no need to apologize for it.

That's exactly what protests, do though. They manipulate the majority through the only technique that's been shown to work; making them just as uncomfortable with the status quo as those that need change, and making it clear that you can keep them uncomfortable for as long as it takes to gain traction.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
The issue is I'm narrowly focused on systemic racism as the issue. Blatant, "throw it in their face that they are breaking the law and you won't be ignored" brand of racism, your point stands. Anything where a concession in changing the status quo results in some background resentment by those in power that they were "forced" to change their ways does nothing to curb systemic / subconscious racism.

IF the change is made to the system, the change is made. Individual resentment over having to make the change is transitory and doesn't really matter in the long run. IF the system no longer gives power to biases then the biases don't matter any more.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:

The issue is I'm narrowly focused on systemic racism as the issue. Blatant, "throw it in their face that they are breaking the law and you won't be ignored" brand of racism,

That last blurb made so little sense to me that I checked four times to be sure DW wrote it.

Refusing to be ignored is racism?

Emphasis against lawbreaking us racist?

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D.W.
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quote:
IF the change is made to the system, the change is made. Individual resentment over having to make the change is transitory and doesn't really matter in the long run. IF the system no longer gives power to biases then the biases don't matter any more.
Wow, and I thought I was in dangerous territory of being labeled an idealist.
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D.W.
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Pete, if you are protesting against the school ignoring people smearing feces swastikas on campus or violent hate crimes you can use antagonistic tactics to demand attention. The attention is important and action must be taken to deal with it as soon as it cannot be ignored.

If you are attempting to combat systemic racism, the type all who are grouped in the status quo are accomplices of (wittingly or not) then you need a different tactic.

One is a demand for the rule of law and justice. The other is in some ways a public relation campaign to erase the line dividing two groups.

Unlike Pyrtolin I don't think the facts on the ground make the sentiment and thinking of the public irrelevant. That sounds like, "People can be as racist as they want as long as they don't have any power over me." I suppose that would be an improvement over the status quo at least. I'll give you that.

And I agree after re-reading. "brand of racism" makes no sense. "racism so overt that you can..."? I don't know, I said I hoped it made sense. Guess not so much. [Razz]

[ November 20, 2015, 04:39 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Pete at Home
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Thanks for clarifying. I tentatively agree but need to think more about it.

Feces swastikas? Damn.

If those are the facts on the ground, why aren't the protesters doing more to get the word out?

Isn't incoherent noise, arguably just as much "unwitting support" of the status quo as silence or complacency?

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kmbboots
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Seriously? This is the first you have heard of that?
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Pete at Home
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Seriously.

If that was in your earlier links, I don't know how I missed it.

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Wayward Son
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I suspect its not so much that the word isn't getting out, but your sources aren't passing it on. [Wink]
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Pete at Home
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As one of my sources, Wayward, how do you explain yourself? [Smile]
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Seriously.

If that was in your earlier links, I don't know how I missed it.

I mentioned it several times, but it's actually irrelevant to the discussion because the protesters are concerned with black safety, not Jewish safety. It gets mentioned in some articles as a prime example of how the campus isn't a safe place, but all of the proposed solutions are unrelated to a potential threat against Jewish people (safe spaces for black people, black vigils, etc.). I guess a buddy-walk program would make everyone safe so on that account it's encompassing.
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Fenring
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I have a new question for anyone interested, although it pertains to things Pyrtolin has said.

One reason Tom, Pyr and some others don't like criticisms leveled against the protesters is because the protesters are "punching up" while criticism coming from white people in regards to a race issue are "punching down." Setting aside potential objections to those terms and accepting them as they are for the moment, we assume from these parameters that 'up' and 'down' in terms of one's punching direction have to do with whether the speaker is in the majority or minority. In terms of a race-based protest the majority, then, is white. That is how intersectionality defines it in this case. Here is my question:

How do you know what part of intersectionality my criticism is based in? Meaning: you assume that when I speak I speak as a white person (which I am) and that I am at least loosely represented by or supported by the majority. Or even more generally, I am empowered by being in the majority whether or not I share anything else with them. But does this interpretation of my position in the schema not presuppose that I, myself, am discussing something race-related? How can you know I should be assessed on a majority-white basis? If we had been talking about cooking recipes, for instance, and detailing how people of certain dietary restrictions aren't treated fairly, my whiteness would be irrelevant for that discussion and instead my majority/minority status would be based on whether I have majority dietary status (can eat most things) or minority (various food intolerances, vegetarian, maybe autoimmune, etc). The matter up for discussion, then, would dictate which intersectional trait is the relevant one to chart and assess as being majority or minority in the power structure.

So here's the question: Just because the protesters are discussing racial matters, why does a comment I make about them have to be evaluated as if it was part of a discussion about racial matters? Maybe I'm talking about food and assessing the diets of the protesters, even though their main interest lies elsewhere? Why must my topic of conversation be limited to the topic they are addressing? I can observe the protesters and conduct a conversation about their hair style preferences, views on racial issues, their favorite tv shows, or any other numbers of subjects that I find it interesting to discuss.

After all, I am surely not a majority-status person in all respects across the map. I can guarantee you, as a matter of fact, that I am in the vast minority in certain respects of my being, and that some areas of life that are probably easy for most of the protesters are hard for me. In the intersectionality schema I'm majority-white, but minority-other things. What if, for instance, I'm a sort of revolutionary-type who is in the vast minority in economic theories, or in politics? What if I wear a beret on my head and fancy myself the next Vladimir Lenin, but my topic doesn't happen to be race relations. When I address things the protesters do, why, then, must my status in relation to them be considered to be majority-white when what I'm on about may in fact have nothing to do with the intersectional interests of race or even of class? I could be coming from a place of oppression when I speak, for instance, and find it very odd indeed to be called a defender of the status quo and part of the majority. Majority in what category? But this question is never asked.

It's assumed that since the protesters discuss race that anyone speaking about them should be categorized on a racial power structure basis, but I don't see that as being sound. I could just as soon choose to discuss or protest what I see as oppression based on hair color (which can exist), and then when people address me on this topic should I feel entitled to them them whether they are among the powerful defenders of the status quo if they have a certain hair color but not another? That would seem to be a very odd way to sort the people who wish to discuss the matter of hair color with me. I would have to obtain a survey of the physical characteristics of those talking with me, and assess the validity of their comments based on their hair color and whether they are punching up or punching down on the subject. And yet something about this scenario seems very wrong to me.

So can anyone explain to me in detail how this all works? Who gets to decide which schema is the 'official one' with which to judge all responders to a comment on a subject? Which line of power is the correct one in a discussion where various people are talking about various things? This is a real question, not a joke.

[ November 21, 2015, 03:37 AM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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TomDavidson
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When in doubt, err on the side of the people protesting against the system. [Smile]

Obviously this isn't totally reliable, but the system isn't the system because it's lacking in power.

If there isn't a system, this concern doesn't generally apply.

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Fenring
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Tom, my question specifically points to this scenario: What if I'm also protesting something in the system, and my protest is about something different than these protesters? When I make comments about the protesters, whose framework is adopted to determine which of us is evaluated on whose power schema? Like let's say I'm making a class-based protest and I'm poor while these protesters are rich and privileged (the 1%, say), and similarly they are protesting against black discrimination and I'm white. Now I want to comment on their protest and criticize something. Am I punching up, since they're the 1%, or am I punching down, because I'm white? Whose protest prevails in this determination? Note that I may feel that their protest is screwing up my protest and I might want to criticize their methods as casting a shadow over my protest and making people wary about all protests. This would be a significant concern if they happened to get the media spotlight before my protest did. Also what if I felt that as the 1% they had no business advocating for the rights of people who I see as victims in a class-oriented sense, even though they see it as a race-based issue?

Do you see what I'm getting at? I'm trying to examine the precise calculus of punching up vs punching down, because in this thread Pyrtolin's entire argument is more or less based on the premise that when punching down you're more or less wrong out of the gate unless your knowledge is flawless. The standards of who can legitimately say what is determined by power-structure status. My question is, how does Pyrtolin, for example, get to assign a given power structure to the situation (in this case he chose race) and evaluate comments or criticisms based on that? Why don't I get to choose the power structure, which might be class, sex, neighborhood, or whatever else?

After all, without questions being asked how can someone know whether my comments are coming from a place of rebellion or from a place of majority status quo? This is especially pertinent since I most definitely am not only a critic of the system but would like to see it radically altered. So why do I not count as a protester too? Because I'm not in high-profile newspapers and holding a picket sign on campus? Pyr already said it wasn't about me physically going back to college and joining a protest there. So what is it about?

[ November 21, 2015, 01:26 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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TomDavidson
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Ah. So the question is: which competing underdog gets to be the underdoggiest? I don't think there's really a "precise calculus" that can be universally applied, here -- and neither should there be, since ruthless principle is often the enemy of sensible compassion. But certainly this question is part of why liberal coalitions and conspiracies and the like generally don't exist; it's like herding cats.
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Fenring
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Ok. But for the purposes of conversation in a place like Ornery, who sets the standard for underdoggiest in a given conversation? Is it fair for one participant to unilaterally decide that one axis of power is going to be the relevant one?
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TomDavidson
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I don't think "fairness" is something that can be expected in conversation. It can be begged, requested, or demanded, but everyone gets to decide if they're willing to pay the price for conversation with the person making the request.
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