Author Topic: Sticks and Stones  (Read 4564 times)

D.W.

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Sticks and Stones
« on: October 17, 2018, 10:41:25 PM »
So a week or so back I read a short piece about a new "trend" in the social media battleground.  Apparently NPC is a slur-de-jour.  From what I understand it's typically employed against the same crowd labeled as SJW's.

As most of our more geekish population knows this is Non Player Character.  I read about it in at least 2 places but hadn't seen it pop up myself in discussions until tonight.  Was curious if others had seen this, and what they thought of it.

I get that people sling SJW and call people cucks to get a rise out of people who's opinions they don't like, or as a short hand to call out people who they believe are taking an issue too far, but this one worries me a bit.

Maybe that's just a knee jerk reaction to seeing a term I use a lot as a gamer (both video and table top) made "political"; but this one seems dangerously dehumanizing.  It seems to feed into a psychosis where someone believes other people or some class or political affiliation of people aren't even "real". 

Probably reading too much into this, but was wondering what  you thought.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2018, 11:39:52 PM »
I just saw it today. I thought it was very hurtful, degrading, and dismissive of people who obviously care a lot about issues such as gun violence, human rights, animal rights, climate change, social justice, and all that good stuff with the insinuation being that they only care about all that stuff because that's what they have been programmed to care about and that's what most of the people around them are constantly bleating about like good little sheeple* so they bleat about it too with all their heart but without much thought. *Maybe sheeple is the old word for NPC. The thing that makes it hurt so bad, as with most insults like the ones Trump is constantly hurling, is the element of truth to it.

D.W.

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2018, 12:15:03 AM »
Hmm good point on the sheeple.  Used that one myself more than a few times.

Fenring

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2018, 01:55:35 AM »
It's the first time I hear the term, but maybe my immediate interpretation of what it's supposed to mean isn't how it's actually being used. So I'll say what my first impression was, and you can let me know whether that's how it's intended:

NPC: Person who is involved in dialogues where dialogue choices are selected based on scoring the most points regardless of what the reasonable answer actually should be.

Is that it? It would be a sensible criticism if it's meant to mean this, insofar as it would be suggesting that people of that sort will resort to saying whatever is expected to accrue social cred. As a gamer we might call this powergaming, as opposed to role playing, the latter of which would mean to be yourself and say what you feel. I might add, if this is what it means then I would suggest it's a less insulting term than SJW, because SJW is actually an unfortunate term that hurts everyone. I think social justice is a good thing in principle, and what mires it is that there is a fundamental disagreement about what justice is. But I'm not fond of the fact that "social justice" has come to be a smear word, especially when in theory I believe strongly in justice in society. As for cuck...well.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2018, 04:06:47 AM »
I like where you just went with that because there is a reload type element that translates from role playing games I've played like Neverwinter Nights and Baldur's Gate with NPCs into real life as far as do-overs in the sense that though you may not quite get a do-over with the same person when you make a social faux-pas by not choosing the correct response the negative feedback you receive as far as losing reputation points, in game and in real life, let's you know the correct response to make with the next NPC you meet which doesn't work in games because each NPC has a different response tree but would work in real life because the whole point is all of these people have pretty much the same response trees and pretty much identical reactions.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2018, 04:20:48 AM »


When Linda asks you about Elizabeth Warren and you say she should be able to identify as Native American if she wants to because logically, if she could choose to identify as a man when she only has 50% of the required DNA to actually be a man she should be able to identify as a Native American since she has over 99% of her DNA in common with Native Americans and any other group of human beings she chooses. In fact we have over 98% or something like that of our DNA in common with chimps and orangutans so if shrub chose to identify as a chimp and Trump as an orangutan and behave as such that's their prerogative. Everyone is free to identify as whatever they want. If someone wants to identify as an Apache attack helicopter and swing their arms over their head and run around like they are flying while making pew pew attack noises then hey it's a free country. But... oops you just hit a social landmine that cost you fifteen reputation points which is of course that cultural appropriation is wrong. Gender appropriation is apparently okay though. But the next time the topic comes up you have learned your lesson and respond appropriately so you don't have to go through that reputation loss trauma again.

TheDeamon

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2018, 05:39:32 AM »
NPC: Person who is involved in dialogues where dialogue choices are selected based on scoring the most points regardless of what the reasonable answer actually should be.

Is that it? It would be a sensible criticism if it's meant to mean this, insofar as it would be suggesting that people of that sort will resort to saying whatever is expected to accrue social cred. As a gamer we might call this powergaming, as opposed to role playing, the latter of which would mean to be yourself and say what you feel. I might add, if this is what it means then I would suggest it's a less insulting term than SJW, because SJW is actually an unfortunate term that hurts everyone. I think social justice is a good thing in principle, and what mires it is that there is a fundamental disagreement about what justice is. But I'm not fond of the fact that "social justice" has come to be a smear word, especially when in theory I believe strongly in justice in society. As for cuck...well.

I wasn't aware of the new usage, and as per the other posts, I think it is the new variant of "sheeple" just updated to reflect something that Millennials in particular can relate to, as most of them probably are utterly incapable of properly relating the the "Sheep" part of the other one, as they probably have never seen one in person, never mind spend any time interacting with one.

But Non-Player Character? Oh, they'll get that one. Although I think it is more referencing the "Scripted response" part of all NPCs in games, and how most of their actions are determined based on various "trigger conditions" either being met or not met as the gameplay evolves.

Edit: The other part of the "Scripted response" portion of things is that also means "Limited response" in regards to ways they're going to respond to your actions, so they're highly predictable as well and might as well be an automaton or Robot for all of their demonstrated ability to differentiate themselves from the rest of the herd of sheeple, and utterly incapable of going "off script" when confronted with something outside their expected parameters.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 05:45:28 AM by TheDeamon »

Crunch

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2018, 07:46:20 AM »
I didn’t really care about it, just another meme. However, twitter has announced that anyone posting it will be immediately banned.

Advocating violence directed at conservatives is cool, so is anti-semetism, but posting a pretty harmless meme that is a ban.

It’s thing like this that will get social media regulated.


TheDrake

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2018, 08:15:25 AM »
here's why Twitter banned some accounts

I don't see any reference to Twitter announcing that anyone using the term or a graphic would be banned.

But I guess for the folks that have been red pilled it's all the same.

D.W.

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2018, 08:50:48 AM »
So there's another one.  "red pilled"
Is that related to The Matrix, or Red as in red-team as in Republicans?  Both?

Is this another way of saying "woke"?   :o

TheDeamon

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2018, 10:02:59 AM »
So there's another one.  "red pilled"
Is that related to The Matrix, or Red as in red-team as in Republicans?  Both?

Is this another way of saying "woke"?   :o

It's the American White Supremacist version of woke according to:

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/americas/2018/10/11/memes-infowars-75-fascist-activists-red-pilled/

Which I also linked to on the deplatforming thread. According to the article, and I'll agree there, it is a direct reference to The Matrix.

Only in the case of "those guys" I think the lighting must have been bad and they took a brown pill instead, threw on a brown shirt, and promptly dove into a septic tank and declared the swimming to be great down there.

Grant

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2018, 10:21:51 AM »
New flash:  There are jerks out there.  They love to congregate with other jerks on the internet because it is easy to find other jerks, nobody wants to talk to them in real life, and they can stay anon.  Hence, there will be much name calling on the interwebs.  Jerks, morons, tribalists, and the politically over-invested are all a part of our population.  They are not going away.  You can't fix them unless you figure a way to pharmacutically condense Jesus and forcefully inject it into the cardiac muscle. 

NPC is indeed the new "sheeple".  It's a name.  It's name calling.  Yes, it's generally derogatory in it's usage.  "Conservative" and "Liberal" can be meant derogatorily as well, depending on the user and the usage. 

Is it hurtful?  Cumon.  Don't grant the jerks that kind of power over you.  The only thing the complaints have done is spread the word to the non-jerks, who are going to be tempted to use it.

Personally, I find "NPC" to be less derogatory then "sheeple" or even "SJW".  I also find it to be somewhat clever as a criticism, though it's basically clever in a "so how's that working out for you?" kind of way.

D.W.

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2018, 10:42:21 AM »
Just to be clear, I wasn't asking if it was hurtful.

I was asking if it was more dangerous than just name calling?

Is it dehumanizing?  If an entity has no agency, (is not a "player") then is that license for inhumane treatment?

So far, it seems not. 

Fenring

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2018, 11:12:39 AM »
So there's another one.  "red pilled"
Is that related to The Matrix, or Red as in red-team as in Republicans?  Both?

Is this another way of saying "woke"?   :o

It's directly a reference to the Matrix, and in turn to a school of thought that preceded the Matrix and which suggests that we should shuck off the mental shackles imposed on us by interested parties. The term has been in use pretty much perpetually since the Matrix first coined it as such. It's used primarily by occult/spiritual/alternative thinkers to denote that one crazy moment when you suddenly realize that everything you've been taught is a curtain that, when pulled back, reveals the Wizard of Oz. It is alternatively used to reference political machination and people being cogs in a machine; or also very often in a more spiritual/occult context where the person gains an awareness of the broader world that exists behind the regular one. Generally redpilling is more of a feeling and an opinion or a position on some topic; that feeling is the one where your old sense of reality is swept away and you wake up to realize there's so much more. Robert Anton Wilson playfully refers to it as drinking the AUM (read: Om) juice. I've had moments like this before and it's the sort of experience where you feel your life changing irrevocably.

The new-fangled usage of "woke" is extremely recent and is mostly a bit hipster nonsense to self-referentially say "oh yeah, I'm totally with it and aware of stuff." In my opinion, people who use the term in this sense has most likely not been redpilled in the original sense. But as with all things the term then further becomes politicized and weaponized so that it can be used mockingly to refer to crazy conspiracy theorist nuts, or to people who have adopted an intractible position that seems divorced from reality. That's the old propaganda tactic, of either eliminating or else subverting words so that their original meaning becomes corrupted.

Is it dehumanizing?  If an entity has no agency, (is not a "player") then is that license for inhumane treatment?

If it makes you feel better, people who use weaponized terms are always dehumanizing their opponents. I guess that won't make you feel better...but at least it means that this isn't a sudden new phenomenon introduced with this word. In the case of "redpill" specifically, it's especially ironic because people in communities that have traditionally used that term would be the first people to believe in 'waking up' as being a subcultural political movement involving people becoming a brotherhood in opposition to power interests, very much in the classic anarchist sense. So this crowd would be the last to use dehumanizing terms for others who they see as being victims and pawns in a larger game.

TheDeamon

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2018, 11:12:45 AM »
Just to be clear, I wasn't asking if it was hurtful.

I was asking if it was more dangerous than just name calling?

Is it dehumanizing?  If an entity has no agency, (is not a "player") then is that license for inhumane treatment?

So far, it seems not.

I'm mixed on it. In some respects, its a step up from "sheeple" as at least the NPC is humanized to some degree. But the concern then runs into issue of NPC's often existing in games for players to "use and abuse"(kill) among other things. So while some connotations are quite clever, others are deeply disturbing and could serve as a pretext for a mass shooter "going after the NPCs."

Grant

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2018, 12:02:55 PM »
Just to be clear, I wasn't asking if it was hurtful.

I was asking if it was more dangerous than just name calling?

Is it dehumanizing?  If an entity has no agency, (is not a "player") then is that license for inhumane treatment?

So far, it seems not.

I find that calling people "animals" is far more dehumanizing.  Even then, most of the time, people are using it to denote unenlightened/unethical/unwoke/"inhuman" behavior.  A murderer is "an animal".  A rapist is "an animal".  But the danger is that when we convince ourselves, through poor/inexact language, that these people truly are animals, we open ourselves to grave miscarriages of justice.  Animals don't get trials.  Animals can be slaves.  Human beings are all animals, and display varying degrees of animalistic behavior.  But not all animals are human.  Not all humans are civil. 

Is NPC dehumanizing? Not sure.  From an RPG standpoint, an NPC can still be a human.  They are just not PCs.  NPCs, particularly good ones, do have motivation and agency, in the same way that PCs do, or any character in any story does.  The difference is that all the motivations and agency of all NPCs are controlled by a single entity.  The GM or the program.  PCs are controlled by individual players. 

The entire premise is false.  If you were to go hard materialist (where are you when you are needed hmmm?) you would say there is absolutely no difference at all between an NPC, a real human being, and a character in a Tolstoy novel.  We're all the determined result of the collective past run through an algorithm also determined by the laws of physics and the past. 

Seriati

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2018, 01:41:13 PM »
I hadn't seen this before, but it actually makes sense.  NPCs these days are generally interactive characters that can't think for themselves, can't vary their reactions based on new inputs - other than in deliberately scripted ways.  But they aren't limited to just being zombie followers the way sheeple implies. 

I think it's totally funny that people who routinely label half the country as "racist" which absolutely implies evil, are bothered by themselves being labelled NPCs. But I guess the latter really equates more to the idea of being a political "poseur" than to being inherently evil.  Honestly, maybe for the younger generation being labelled as neither unique or special is more damaging to self image than being called evil.

D.W.

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2018, 01:56:10 PM »
Maybe that's all there is to it Seriati.  I got no idea what the younger generation feels when they see this label. 

As pointed out before.  It only bothers me in so far as it may indicate a detachment from reality by those employing it.  Signifying they would be willing to perpetrate violence against someone because they are "just an NPC". 

Apparently that doesn't say much about me and how I treat actual NPC's in video games or role playing games.  :P

Fenring

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2018, 01:57:14 PM »
I suppose this means my guess was wrong...

Seriati

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2018, 02:26:40 PM »
Well D.W., there are NPC deaths that still bring a tear to the eyes of your average hard core gamers.  Some of the Final Fantasy stuff is famous for that.  I do agree with you that there are players who take a perverse glee in wiping out NPCs but honestly, they're usually the same ones that would prefer to grief real players.  If anything, they have less empathy for the human players than the NPCs.

D.W.

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2018, 02:40:35 PM »
You aren't wrong about the griefing trend.  A trend I never found appealing myself.

I treat NPC's as written characters in a book.  They are interesting or not.  But most of them are there to advance a plot.  Some good writing can be generally moving but I don't think I've ever lumped the FF series in that boat.

You make a good point though I don't think I've found anyone who treats NPC's better than other players in games with both.  Granted avoidance of players (as an unpredictable threat or source of grief) without the same aversion to NPC's is probably common.

Seriati

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2018, 02:48:54 PM »
Honestly, in Skyrim there are a few quests that I won't finish because they involve murdering an NPC (which is permanent in that game).  In World of Warcraft, it wasn't uncommon for raids to wipe out a town on the other teams side (which would respawn shortly thereafter). 

In EverQuest, occasionally someone would "grief" other players by killing an NPC that was necessary for something and rekilling the NPC every time it respawned.  And then of course there was Fansy the Famous Bard https://www.notacult.com/fansythefamous.htm, who managed to get rules added to the "no rules" server solely by being a creative griefer.

D.W.

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2018, 02:54:28 PM »
You sound a more upstanding virtual citizen than I.  I'm a pretty friendly and helpful person to other players but far more fickle with NPC's. 

One game I may go through the entire campaign as non-lethal such as Dishonored or Deus Ex, the next game I may murder some bystander for a quick advantage in the form of an item I know they drop... 

Because I'm such an unpredictable, and occasionally dangerous, virtual citizen, that no doubt colors my opinion of those dragging that terminology into the public/political arena and applying it to other people...

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2018, 07:15:36 PM »
Quote
I think it's totally funny that people who routinely label half the country as "racist" which absolutely implies evil, are bothered by themselves being labelled NPCs.
As I understand it, truly "woke" people routinely label *everybody* (including themselves) as racist (based on tons of scientific evidence suggesting that racism is culturally inculcated in all of us).

I recognize myself as likely possessing racist attitudes which I'm unaware that I possess, since I've read the scientific literature, and (unlike a lot of social science literature) the studies on this issue are quite convincing.

I don't find that absolute terminology like "evil" is usually very apt in non-hyperbolic contexts, but for folks that are wont to discuss issues from an absolutist perspective, I'd accept that this implies that there is evil in me--even though I'm trying hard to root it out...

This might should go without saying, but I don't think that people who claim that racism is always a one way street are very "woke" at all. They should read the literature, and wake up, IMO.

Fenring

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2018, 07:36:57 PM »
Quote
I think it's totally funny that people who routinely label half the country as "racist" which absolutely implies evil, are bothered by themselves being labelled NPCs.
As I understand it, truly "woke" people routinely label *everybody* (including themselves) as racist (based on tons of scientific evidence suggesting that racism is culturally inculcated in all of us).

I recognize myself as likely possessing racist attitudes which I'm unaware that I possess, since I've read the scientific literature, and (unlike a lot of social science literature) the studies on this issue are quite convincing.

I don't find that absolute terminology like "evil" is usually very apt in non-hyperbolic contexts, but for folks that are wont to discuss issues from an absolutist perspective, I'd accept that this implies that there is evil in me--even though I'm trying hard to root it out...

This might should go without saying, but I don't think that people who claim that racism is always a one way street are very "woke" at all. They should read the literature, and wake up, IMO.

SP, it seems to me that your comment here is a good reason to suggest that the "woke" people are mistaken in their notion that it's right to call themselves and everyone else racists (and I agree with you that this is their MO). If it's true that there is evil in all of us, and certainly the seed of evil, and from this we can still conclude that it's wrong to call all people "evil" out of context; so it would follow that if we accept that there is some racism or at least a seed of racism in all of us, likewise it's improper to therefore call everyone "a racist." OP that you replied to seems to be pointing out that disliking being called a pejorative name would seem to suggest that perhaps you should be careful which labels you apply to others; a good lesson, I think.

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2018, 11:57:19 PM »
Hmm.

I think it depends on how you define racism. A major part of what I was trying to say is that the absolutism in the term "evil" is what is problematic in the discussion regarding racism.

I don't actually accept that I am "evil" because I accept the fact that I have subconscious attitudes that are "racist." I merely accept that some people see the world in absolutes.

It simply isn't all black and white to me. I see the world in terms of shades of grey. To my mind, the problem is in believing the false dichotomy of "good" and "evil," and corrupting the actual shades of meaning by insisting that terminology that refers to a complex construct must be defined in such absolutist terms. I don't think meaning really works that way--but these days I'm a bit more willing to accommodate opinions with which I disagree, and more inclined to accept the logic which others seem to use.

That doesn't mean that I agree with logic with which I disagree--it merely means I'm more inclined to discuss issues discursively.

:)

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2018, 12:22:37 AM »
When I suggest that you or I (or anyone else) might improve our ethical paradigms by accepting the idea that we may have subconsciously racist attitudes, and by working to confront those socially maladaptive tendencies, I'm not actually saying that anyone is "evil" or that anyone has "seeds of evil" inside of them. I'm simply saying that I believe we can improve our society by improving ourselves, if we are simply willing to confront dysfunctional cognition that is operating subconsciously in our attitudes. ;)

To my mind, racism has little to nothing to do with the absolutist concept of Evil, except in the sense that I recognize that some people think of everything in terms of such an absolutist dichotomy.

Fenring

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2018, 12:30:02 AM »
SP, I wasn't linking being racist with being evil. I was giving an example of usage where your standard for whether you "are" evil, despite having seeds of evil in you (assuming we could define that clearly) should likewise be applied to whether you "are" a racist, despite having seeds of racism in you. I'm not discussing whether racism is evil, but about attributing the labeled attribute to the person as noun on account of them having the seeds of that thing in them.

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2018, 01:05:22 AM »
Hmm.

We might be on the same page regarding the noun vs adjective/adverb issue. I've actually had to rewind discussions about Trump before in order to point out that I wasn't using the term "racist" as a noun to describe our racist president--I was rather pointing out that Trump's racist actions justify the adjective form I was using.

I don't know what the noun form is really supposed to mean these days: what exactly is A Racist, anyways? Am I A Racist because I subconsciously maintain racist attitudes? What is the defining threshold of determining that someone is A Racist? I honestly don't know what that means, nowadays.

On the other hand, I'm fine pointing out that actions are racist, and people who have a pattern of racist behaviors are racist (adjective form). If you insist that a judge can't judge you in a case due solely to the fact that the judge has Mexican heritage, that definitively racist action means that you are someone who acts in definitively racist ways, and the adjective is an apt descriptor of your behavior.

So, I suppose I'd agree that calling a person A Racist is mostly about assigning a dehumanizing label. In my book, racist (the adjective) is as racist (the adjective) does.

But I would also guess that the noun/dehumanizing label is mostly used (or interpreted into adjective/adverbs) by people who subscribe to the false dichotomy of absolute good and evil. Call it a hunch, but in my experience, this has seemed to be the case.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 01:09:41 AM by seekingprometheus »

cherrypoptart

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2018, 03:27:35 AM »
Now I'm worried that if I ever become woke the process is going to transform me into an NPC.

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2018, 08:56:52 AM »
Lol!

Cherry, you’re clearly already one of the wokest interlocutors here, and you’re definitely not a NPC.

On the other hand, I feel like—of late—I have undergone something of an awakening, and I get the concern...I may well be turning into a non-player character now...

Lol

(ie: I don’t see myself as playing a game anymore, and I worry that even my laughter might just be a scripted action retained from my “player character” days... lol)
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 09:05:28 AM by seekingprometheus »

Seriati

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2018, 11:28:41 AM »
Quote
I think it's totally funny that people who routinely label half the country as "racist" which absolutely implies evil, are bothered by themselves being labelled NPCs.
As I understand it, truly "woke" people routinely label *everybody* (including themselves) as racist (based on tons of scientific evidence suggesting that racism is culturally inculcated in all of us).

I don't think there's any real basis that "woke" people are labeling people racist because of scientific evidence. 

I'd love to see the studies you think support the idea that racism is culturally inculcated into all of us.  Every study I've seen that comes to that conclusion, or tries to imply it, is based on a different definition of racism than the actual one.  The "google definition" of racism is "prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior."  The part that's lacking in most of those studies is the part where the belief is based on a belief that one's own race is superior.  They often confuse preference for similarity and the familiar with "racism" or they confuse stereotypes (which is a natural behavior) with racism. 

In any event, the topic fascinates me, so happy to look at the research.

Quote
I recognize myself as likely possessing racist attitudes which I'm unaware that I possess, since I've read the scientific literature, and (unlike a lot of social science literature) the studies on this issue are quite convincing.

Like I said, happy to see the studies if you can remember where you found them.

Quote
I don't find that absolute terminology like "evil" is usually very apt in non-hyperbolic contexts, but for folks that are wont to discuss issues from an absolutist perspective, I'd accept that this implies that there is evil in me--even though I'm trying hard to root it out...

Well, I think that people are deliberately misusing terms to push the debate.  If you read a study in which racism is not a fundamentally evil belief, you're probably reading one that has misdefined it.  It'll cover say items 1 and 2, but not the rest of the 10 things that should be on the list.  However, when it gets quoted back into debates, in the media and taught in class the finding "that there is racism in all of us" makes full use of the full definition and implies items 3-10 were covered as well.  People aren't labeling other people as "racists" in a nice way and they are always using it as a comparative (ie, those people are racist, with the implication that "people like us" are not racist), and that's completely inconsistent with the idea that "everyone" is a racist.

Fenring

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #32 on: October 22, 2018, 12:02:26 PM »
There's clearly a motte-and-bailey going on in the racism game, where the (I can never remember which terms signifies which) inner stronghold is "there's racist tendency innate in all of us" and the overextended field is "we need to stop the racists!!" I feel like the same people employ both claims, even though they contradict each other; that is, unless they are speaking of stopping themselves. I have no problem with the former claim (hence why it's fortified) as long as what it's claiming is potential, and not actual, negative treatment of others. But the latter seems to always follow closely behind, and it seems to me to be a clear us/them-good/evil system which is dehumanizing.

TheDeamon

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #33 on: October 22, 2018, 01:43:34 PM »
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I think it's totally funny that people who routinely label half the country as "racist" which absolutely implies evil, are bothered by themselves being labelled NPCs.
As I understand it, truly "woke" people routinely label *everybody* (including themselves) as racist (based on tons of scientific evidence suggesting that racism is culturally inculcated in all of us).

I recognize myself as likely possessing racist attitudes which I'm unaware that I possess, since I've read the scientific literature, and (unlike a lot of social science literature) the studies on this issue are quite convincing.

See this is where I take issue with that approach. "Racist tendencies" is a far cry from "being a racist" in my book, and a definition that turns everybody into a racist is a definition that needs to be expunged from the common vernacular of anybody who is truly serious about putting an end to Racial Supremacy groups in general. That or they need to be looking to find a new word to use to communicate what they're saying.

By the same token that "everybody is racist" it also is safe to say the "everybody is sexist" as well when you get down to it. The list of other words that can likewise be abused grows from there.

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #34 on: October 22, 2018, 04:14:01 PM »
Seriati:
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The "google definition" of racism is "prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior."
Obviously, the scientific studies don't pretend to be able to identify the internal motives and beliefs of individuals who act in racist ways. That's not how valid social science works.

If you believe that such a quibble justifies a dismissal of the scientific literature, then I suppose that is your prerogative. :)

TheDeamon
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"Racist tendencies" is a far cry from "being a racist" in my book, and a definition that turns everybody into a racist is a definition that needs to be expunged from the common vernacular
I feel like you must not have read everything I've said above, here, Deamon. I very much agree with you that there appears to be a difference between the adjective/adverb and the noun form. I haven't used the noun form "A Racist," and I agree that the conflation of the two highly disparate terms is highly problematic, due to the hyperbolic insinuations of the latter term in the present vernacular.

Seriati

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #35 on: October 22, 2018, 04:18:53 PM »
Seriati:
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The "google definition" of racism is "prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior."
Obviously, the scientific studies don't pretend to be able to identify the internal motives and beliefs of individuals who act in racist ways. That's not how valid social science works.

If you believe that such a quibble justifies a dismissal of the scientific literature, then I suppose that is your prerogative. :)

It's not a quibble.  That's like saying a study that tracks "deaths" is proof of murders cause we can't parse the internal motivations of those responsible.

If a study can't or won't deal in motivations it's NOT STUDYING RACISM.

But I didn't dismiss it, I specifically said I'd be happy to read it if you could remember where you found it.

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2018, 04:22:36 PM »
Honestly, it seems to me like it's just really politically biased individuals who are having such difficulty telling the difference between the adjective/adverb, and the noun.

There are perfectly valid reasons to use the adjective and adverbial forms of the term, but it seems that if people are swallowing one of the biased political narratives, they're unlikely to acknowledge any semantic difference between a valid adjective, and the hyperbolic noun.

This is a shame. As long as the two biased narratives rule, this inability of people who buy into the biased narratives to acknowledge the semantic difference will likely make this issue intractable to simple common sense. 

At least, that's how it looks to me.

 :-\

Fenring

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #37 on: October 22, 2018, 04:26:20 PM »
If a study can't or won't deal in motivations it's NOT STUDYING RACISM.

I think you're dismissing structural racism when you say this, which is very likely a real thing. Again, though, the false move is to equate being part of a structurally racist system with being a racist. I would suggest that Americans who pay taxes are part of a structurally murderous system and that this needs to be seriously addressed. It has to do with the structure of government, military special interests, and how foreign policy is conducted. But this type of statement by no means implies that I think those same Americans are murderers or even complicit in murder.

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #38 on: October 22, 2018, 04:29:42 PM »
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If a study can't or won't deal in motivations it's NOT STUDYING RACISM.
If you're a hiring manager who won't hire Kavon, but you will hire Michael--even if they have IDENTICAL resumes, then this is valid scientific evidence that you are racist (adjective).

This is valid evidence of a racist attitude regardless of whether a scientific study examining racial attitudes can determine the internal beliefs behind your behavior, Seriati.

You are welcome to disagree (you have a right to freedom of belief), but this is simply how valid behavioral science works.

:)

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #39 on: October 22, 2018, 04:36:06 PM »
A largely invalid form of behavioral science (in my opinion) is represented by qualitative studies which pretend that they are capable of determining internal beliefs.

People lie. They lie to scientists, and they lie to themselves. We don't presently have a valid epistemological mode of determining whether or not a person is lying to a researcher about their internal beliefs, much less any mode of determining when a person is lying to him/herself.

Shrug.

Seriati

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2018, 05:12:12 PM »
If a study can't or won't deal in motivations it's NOT STUDYING RACISM.

I think you're dismissing structural racism when you say this, which is very likely a real thing.

I think you mean systemic racism, and its not a real thing.  Racism requires intent, "systemic racism" has no active intent, ergo its not racism.  That's like saying that if one race is taller than another on average their is racism inherent in height.

While correlation is useful to identify places where their could be racist motivations at play, it is not proof of racism.

There's a tremendous amount of "scholarship" that exists on this point for no reason other than to try and redefine the common terminology of how we define racism to eliminate the need to show intent (or in fact for their to be intent).

Or maybe you can provide some examples of intentless racism?

Seriati

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2018, 05:16:23 PM »
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If a study can't or won't deal in motivations it's NOT STUDYING RACISM.
If you're a hiring manager who won't hire Kavon, but you will hire Michael--even if they have IDENTICAL resumes, then this is valid scientific evidence that you are racist (adjective).

Is it?  If you are of the same race as Kavon is it still?  If you once dated a Kavon and want nothing to do with another one, still racism?

I think you're misstating one of the studies that actual studies stereotypes into a claim about racism.  It falls apart when you're not tracking the specific race of the hiring manager.

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This is valid evidence of a racist attitude regardless of whether a scientific study examining racial attitudes can determine the internal beliefs behind your behavior, Seriati.

It is valid evidence of what could be a racist attitude.  That doesn't get you to your claim.  It also completely ignores that someone could be biased because of actual experience - ie not background cultural defaults.

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2018, 05:34:05 PM »
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Is it?  If you are of the same race as Kavon is it still?
Yup.

This is part of what is called "systemic" racism--and it does appear to be real.
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It falls apart when you're not tracking the specific race of the hiring manager.
Actually, it doesn't. When the race of the hiring manager is tracked, it bolsters the conclusions. There are tons of replicated studies using this particular design.

EDIT: Missed the "not." You are correct--studies that track the hiring manager race are better. This is the design that has been replicated by better researchers.
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It is valid evidence of what could be a racist attitude.  That doesn't get you to your claim.
Good point. Fortunately, valid scientific conclusions are always derived from "data," not "datum."
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It also completely ignores that someone could be biased because of actual experience - ie not background cultural defaults.
It seems that you are misunderstanding the scientific literature on this point. "Actual experience" is the same thing as "nurture" variable, which is closely related to "cultural" variables.

The assumption is that "cultural experience" informs attitudes. This assumption extends to all behavioral science study--it isn't unique to the issue of racism: it's the default assumption which researchers use regarding how culture/nurture informs attitudes...
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Racism requires intent, "systemic racism" has no active intent, ergo its not racism.
Welcome to Ornery...

I'm curious how you are determining so conclusively when there is and when there is not "active intent." The court system only pretends to be capable of determining this "beyond reasonable doubt." Science sets a much higher bar, and scientists haven't figured out a valid way of surpassing that bar on this issue yet.

Is it possible that you've achieved a major scientific breakthrough which justifies your conclusiveness? Researchers would be very interested in your methodology. ;)
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 05:38:07 PM by seekingprometheus »

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #43 on: October 22, 2018, 05:49:54 PM »
I suspect that--in spite of our multiple disagreements--there is much that we agree about on this topic, Seriati. (I tend to be highly critical of the social sciences as a general rule.)

For instance: research into "systemic racism" seems to me to frequently ignore the fact that the negative cultural experiences of "black" people frequently lead to an attitude with a great deal of resentment of "white" people. "Systemic racism" research tends not only to ignore the fact that behaviors based on such resentment are in and of themselves indicative of a racist attitude, but often directly contradicts this obvious fact.

SJW who study systemic racism are doing a lot of harm to the valid conclusions of some researchers by the blatant tilting of the field, imo.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 05:55:36 PM by seekingprometheus »

Fenring

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #44 on: October 22, 2018, 05:50:21 PM »
Or maybe you can provide some examples of intentless racism?

Sure, that's easy. But I'll preface this by saying that what I'm not talking about is the idea of racism being defined as uneven results. I'm talking about actually applied negative treatment, but where it's not coming from any one person. An example of this would be the War on Drugs, essentially a set of laws and girded by some bureaucratic institutions, which in my opinion had a definitely racist "intention" against black people. I put "intention" in quotes because in theory only a person can have an intention, but if one examines a non-human structure like a set of rules they can effectively have an intention (or the image of an intention) despite not being an embodied person. Now one might well argue that these rules were initially devised by racist humans to target black people, but it's certainly within plausible bounds that rules with racist "intentions" could result from people who didn't intend this result. But even if racist individuals were behind the creation of the rules, once created the rules exist on their own and are carried out by people not directly responsible for their inception; indeed even the "creators" may cease to be part of the picture past the point of creation. But we might recognize that perhaps at least the image of intent is necessary to call a person or structure racist, even if actual intent in a person isn't there. I think the concept of being ground up under the wheels of a faceless structure whose start and finish is undefined is a very real thing. And just as a structure can be racist, so can it be other bad things, such as sadistic, even if there is no individual sadistic person to be found behind the curtain, responsible for it all. This is one of the characteristics of a bureaucratic type of organization, actually, that it can have attributes that any individual part of it lacks, and where there is no one person to blame or to accuse on account of it. Frank Herbert discusses this in his Dune: Messiah book, and he suggests that a bureaucracy can, for example, be a far more effective tyrant than an actual dictator could. Likewise, I think it can be various things, good and bad, depending on its structure, and that in the case of it having pathological characteristic it's extremely difficult to take on because its structure is immaterial to an extent.

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #45 on: October 22, 2018, 06:00:08 PM »
Well said, Fenring.

The Harrison Act has blatantly racist reasoning which justifies the prohibition which is today called the War on Drugs.

The authors are all dead today, but the structure of the racist prohibition is still enforced.

Seriati

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #46 on: October 22, 2018, 07:30:21 PM »
I suspect that--in spite of our multiple disagreements--there is much that we agree about on this topic, Seriati. (I tend to be highly critical of the social sciences as a general rule.)

I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't agree about much of the topic.  I love social sciences, but I'm cognizant at how easy it is to derive research results to support your pre-existing conclusions in the social sciences.

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For instance: research into "systemic racism" seems to me to frequently ignore the fact that the negative cultural experiences of "black" people frequently lead to an attitude with a great deal of resentment of "white" people. "Systemic racism" research tends not only to ignore the fact that behaviors based on such resentment are in and of themselves indicative of a racist attitude, but often directly contradicts this obvious fact.

The biggest issue I have with this topic of research is the conversion of statistical disparity into "racism."  Disparity is not racism.  Disparity may be a result of racism, it also may not be. 

It's appealing as an argument.  Effectively, we look at a disparity in say professional basketball and try to decide if its the result of racism.  If you look at the "classic" definition, it's hard to show that more black men being professional basketball players than our national demographics would expect is the result of racism.

However, social science is going to say disparity = racism.  Accordingly, you have to explain it, and you come up with a compelling sounding story.  Something like, there is a long standing racist history that caused certain races to be overrepresented in certain economic groups with less advantages that caused a disproportionate amount of interest in "getting out" of those circumstances.  Professional basketball has been identified as a one way to "hit it big" and it generally is fun and doesn't require a lot of money to live the dream.  Hockey isn't similarly adjusted because those same socio-economic factors prevented those from that economic strata from being able to play it.  Ergo, the disparity in men's basketball is the result of a history of racist oppression, and accordingly, not because of purely economic factors, potential positive influences, or innate physical advantages.  But is that really true?  Did the statistical difference really prove it?

When it comes down to it, no matter where the disparity occurs, the same kind of "story telling" can be added to make a compelling argument.  Different heights by race?  Racist impact of economic stratification on healthy food options, and good medical care.  Different obesity rate?  Racist impact of food wastelands, and overwhelming impact of fast food targetting into certain communities.  Different crime rates?  Historic racism oppressing economic status, deliberate targeting by alcohol and firearms industry, etc.

It literally doesn't matter.  There's always a story that can fit.  But the thing is the "story" predates the "data" and it exists independently of the date.  The trick is to convince people that evidence of a difference when coupled with a good story is a "proof".  That's my point about racism requiring intent, and that being the missing part of the studies.  That's part of the reason we use the word racism as opposed to another term, and that's a big part of why they want to coopt the word to steal that power.

What the studies fail to do, is show that the data are caused by the "story."  So they label it "systemic racism" and then claim they don't have to show it because, you know it's obvious against the "story" in the background.

Or maybe you can provide some examples of intentless racism?

Sure, that's easy. But I'll preface this by saying that what I'm not talking about is the idea of racism being defined as uneven results. I'm talking about actually applied negative treatment, but where it's not coming from any one person.

I think you are confused.  Actual negative treatment without intent?  That would be some kind of accident.  It can come from multiple people - separate but equal wasn't just from one person, it was still actively racist (and is so totally different than "safe spaces" I promise, like really promise its soo different).

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An example of this would be the War on Drugs, essentially a set of laws and girded by some bureaucratic institutions, which in my opinion had a definitely racist "intention" against black people.

You've kind of buried the ball on the challenge.  How is the "War on Drugs" specifically racist against black people?  Which parts?  Are you talking about the much discuss difference in the sentences for crack and powder cocaine?  Something else?

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I put "intention" in quotes because in theory only a person can have an intention, but if one examines a non-human structure like a set of rules they can effectively have an intention (or the image of an intention) despite not being an embodied person. Now one might well argue that these rules were initially devised by racist humans to target black people, but it's certainly within plausible bounds that rules with racist "intentions" could result from people who didn't intend this result.

This is where you are confused.  A rule against interracial marriage is one that is created by people with an express racist intention.  The rule is inherently racist, though it's application could actually be race neutral (as it applies to all races equally).  A rule that punished a black man for marrying a white woman but not a white man for marrying a black woman, would be racist on both factors.

A rule that said no one over six feet tall can marry a woman under 5'6" would almost certainly have a racial impact, but it's neither inherently racist nor racist in application.  It's silly in all accounts.  It could be racist if it was adopted specifically to target a group based on race, but only in that context.  Much like minimum wage laws were expressly created to discriminate against black people and in that context were racist, but are neither racist inherently, nor racist in application as used today.  They will have racial impacts and that doesn't change the fact.

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But even if racist individuals were behind the creation of the rules, once created the rules exist on their own and are carried out by people not directly responsible for their inception; indeed even the "creators" may cease to be part of the picture past the point of creation. But we might recognize that perhaps at least the image of intent is necessary to call a person or structure racist, even if actual intent in a person isn't there.

When you're looking at a structural rule you should look at whether its being applied in a racist manner.  This is literally why stopping people for "driving while black" is racist, but stopping people generally based on conduct is not and is okay.  How the "generic" rule is applied is what's relevant.  A rule that, for instance, requires those under 25 to pay higher insurance on cars, is blatantly discriminatory (not on race, but on age), but is also completely reasonable based on accident statistics even if its application to an individual driver is not fair.  Those types of rules based on race have been virtually eliminated from our system and all we're dealing with are the uneven application versions.  But the fact that "driving while black" is a thing DOES NOT MEAN that every black person stopped is stopped inappropriately.

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This is one of the characteristics of a bureaucratic type of organization, actually, that it can have attributes that any individual part of it lacks, and where there is no one person to blame or to accuse on account of it.

True, but that's not what we're talking about.  We are talking about a system that generates a different result based on your race and no other factor.  if you can't identify - how - it's doing so then what are you identifying?  Is it really a systemic fault, if it's a mystery?  Fact is, even a "faceless" system isn't truly faceless, and you can identify where a specific decision "failed" if you dig.

What bureaucracies can do - if you let them - is hide the actual decision maker.  But that is just a choice we make, we cede too much authority to arbitrary bureaucrats and I'd be happy to take it back.

TheDeamon

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #47 on: October 22, 2018, 08:06:00 PM »
If a study can't or won't deal in motivations it's NOT STUDYING RACISM.

I think you're dismissing structural racism when you say this, which is very likely a real thing.

I think you mean systemic racism, and its not a real thing.  Racism requires intent, "systemic racism" has no active intent, ergo its not racism.  That's like saying that if one race is taller than another on average their is racism inherent in height.

"Structural racism" != " systemic racism" or a few other forms, at least how I think Fenring is using it.

The way I parsed what Fenring was trying to do was define "Structural racism" as a social structure that is constructed in such a manner that without respect to any intentional acts on the part of the involved parties, by virtue of how things are structured, the outcomes gives at least the appearance of being racist.

As to whether or not the outcomes are deliberately so, that's another matter. But with the couplet of "systemic racism" I'd be inclined to immediately call that a deliberate and premeditated system purpose built with the intent to be racist. Ie, they deliberately build it into the system. Nazi Germany, Apartheid South Africa, and the "Jim Crow" laws were examples of systemic racism. Arguably, "Equal Opportunity" as it was implemented also is a form of systemic racism(in various ways wildly different than the other 3).

The "structural racism" argument with regards to certain minority groups in the United States is that because they started out battered/broken/abused and impoverished, they were disadvantaged from the onset and the structure of society itself lends to that cycle of poverty continuing for those racial groups.

Now you could argue(and I would as well), that calling that structural racism is a misnomer, as it isn't deliberately  targeting a racial/ethnic group. But that's where I added the clarification of "giving the appearance of racism." Because even if there is no deliberate intent for that to be the outcome, it certainly is the result.

So there is room for improvement. The question is how to go about doing so, and that is where the proverbial fur starts to fly. For reasons I'm sure you're more than aware of, because people disagree wildly on what is an appropriate methodology for resolving that imbalances.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 08:14:24 PM by TheDeamon »

seekingprometheus

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #48 on: October 22, 2018, 10:16:20 PM »
Seriati:
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The biggest issue I have with this topic of research is the conversion of statistical disparity into "racism."  Disparity is not racism.  Disparity may be a result of racism, it also may not be.
I'm with you here.

And I agree with most of your points following below the above point, all the way through your valid point about preconceived narratives.

Where you lose me is here:
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That's my point about racism requiring intent, and that being the missing part of the studies.
Aside from the fact that I don't understand how this follows from your immediately preceding point about preconceived narratives, this seeming non sequitur also seems to me to defy common sense.

How are you proposing to determine the intent in a valid scientific way, Seriati?

Furthermore, how does this quibble (which you keep going back to without answering the arguments of your interlocutors) not break down in your highly logical mind when you simply apply common sense to the issue? Id est: How is this not simply an excuse for racist people to behave in blatantly racist ways, as long as they claim that their intent (which is internal, and cannot be objectively determined by others) is not based on a belief in the superiority of their own race?

Common sense is telling me that you are using this argument (which really doesn't seem to follow from the valid logic preceding this argument in your last post) as a way to deny that clearly racist actions aren't racist, simply because the perpetrator of an obviously racist action hasn't said the magical words (I believe my race is superior etc) or because the perpetrator denies that a sense of racial superiority motivated his/her actions.

People lie, Seriati. People don't admit their real motives to others when they understand they will be judged negatively if they admit their real intent. People lie to themselves about such things, Seriati.

This is just common sense.

To use an example you might appreciate, it's clear to me that Kaepernick was pouting about getting benched when he first started "protesting" the anthem. (I'm a Niners fan, and a fan of Kap, but the truth is just the truth--he wasn't trying to shine a light on social injustice, he stopped working hard after Smith got traded, and his level of play went down, then when he got benched he starting pouting.) But when the spotlight got put on him for his behavior, he didn't admit his real intent--he claimed his behavior was about something noble. That's how humans work--we lie to make ourselves look better than we really are.

We even lie to ourselves--just to protect our egos!

Here's the thing though--for anyone who agrees with my hypothesis here: how on Earth do you propose we "prove" what Kap's real intentions were when he first started pouting during the anthem, Seriati?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 10:23:26 PM by seekingprometheus »

Seriati

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Re: Sticks and Stones
« Reply #49 on: October 23, 2018, 09:41:31 AM »
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That's my point about racism requiring intent, and that being the missing part of the studies.
Aside from the fact that I don't understand how this follows from your immediately preceding point about preconceived narratives, this seeming non sequitur also seems to me to defy common sense.

How are you proposing to determine the intent in a valid scientific way, Seriati?

What makes you think you can?  Can you determine who would be willing to kill someone in a valid scientific way with such confidence that you could punish them ahead of time?

We are entitled to a jury of peers, not a trial by a scientist for a very specific reason.  Judging the intent of someone else is an inherently messy and not scientific process.  It's human. 

Scientists have an extreme bias towards finding meaning in what they can test, even if there are untestable factors that are obviously more important.  Accordingly, they try to use proxies they can measure like statistical disparity or similar traits.  Ergo, what's missing in studies of "racism" tends to be well racism.

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Furthermore, how does this quibble (which you keep going back to without answering the arguments of your interlocutors) not break down in your highly logical mind when you simply apply common sense to the issue? Id est: How is this not simply an excuse for racist people to behave in blatantly racist ways, as long as they claim that their intent (which is internal, and cannot be objectively determined by others) is not based on a belief in the superiority of their own race?

Are you under the mistaken impression that I believe we can't act to stop people from acting in a racist manner unless we can declare they are a racist?  I don't care what the internal motivations of someone are if their conduct results in racist application of a rule.  Does it matter if a police officer is a racist, or just uninformed, if they treat black suspects worse than white ones? 

On the other hand, if you do a study of your clerks and discover that one clerk rejects the applications of black candidates more than white ones do you just fire the clerk?  Or do you take the time to discover whether this is because of a racial bias, or just because black candidates tend to show up in the morning and that clerk rejects more candidates in the morning - regardless of race?  What good is a theory that labels things that have a non-race based cause as racism?

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Common sense is telling me that you are using this argument (which really doesn't seem to follow from the valid logic preceding this argument in your last post) as a way to deny that clearly racist actions aren't racist, simply because the perpetrator of an obviously racist action hasn't said the magical words (I believe my race is superior etc) or because the perpetrator denies that a sense of racial superiority motivated his/her actions.

The key word in your sentence is "obviously".  Obvious racism is illegal.  It's been torn down to the point where if you can find it most people find it appalling and everyone agrees its wrong.

The entire point of the research on this topic is to find racism where there is no "obvious" racism.  To relabel events that do have other explanations as racist on the theory that they also must have a racist element because of the disparity.  I mean honestly, the idea that "everyone is racist" is beyond useless.  It becomes a justification for any policy change, because only a racist would oppose it, any failures are because of obvious racist interference, any lack of perfection of result just means racists stopped it.  Any explanation for how its better than the existing?  Not needed, or why its okay to be unfair to others?  Some form of they deserved it, they were historically privileged and this is amends, or you are a racist for even asking.

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People lie, Seriati. People don't admit their real motives to others when they understand they will be judged negatively if they admit their real intent. People lie to themselves about such things, Seriati.

That's true.  That's also why we have a jury of your peers rather than just asking a defendant if they did it. 

My test here is fairly simple.  If you want to attribute racism in action there needs to be a direct attribution of the vector.  Calling a "faceless" system racist is a cop out, its done specifically to move the needle without exposing the claims to argument.  After all, who's going to jump in and claim they designed such a system and its not racist, there's no win there.  So a "system" without anyone invested personally in the defense is the "racist" that entitles the accuser to demand a major renovation.

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This is just common sense.

I agree it's common sense.  If you recognize you want to get to x, but the public disagrees with x, you need to either be convincing (too hard) or change the rules of the game.  Redefining racism into an unavoidable original sin is part of that rule change.

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To use an example you might appreciate, it's clear to me that Kaepernick was pouting about getting benched when he first started "protesting" the anthem. (I'm a Niners fan, and a fan of Kap, but the truth is just the truth--he wasn't trying to shine a light on social injustice, he stopped working hard after Smith got traded, and his level of play went down, then when he got benched he starting pouting.) But when the spotlight got put on him for his behavior, he didn't admit his real intent--he claimed his behavior was about something noble. That's how humans work--we lie to make ourselves look better than we really are.

Or did he lie?  Isn't it possible that he had more than one motivation?  Or even if it played out the way you said, does it matter if his first day cause was getting benched if it made him realize the bigger cause he wanted to serve? 

More importantly to me, does it matter why he's kneeling to anyone but himself?  I don't have a need to label his motivations as selfish or noble in order to decide I find the actions he's taking wrong (keep reading, I know this sounds like what you wanted to hear). 

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We even lie to ourselves--just to protect our egos!

Of course we do.  I think there must be some confusion here.  We are not incapable of determining if the actions of someone else are racist.  You seem to think that if we can't deduce a handful of indisputable objective facts somehow we're not able to reach a conclusion.  I can recognize that my neighbors who are hard core lefties oppose a public swimming pool because our neighboring town is most poor and black, which is racist even though they can't believe they are racists (it would destroy their self image), or that they raised the day rates on beach parking for the same reason (and I can laugh my ass off that Uber undid the entirety of their soft racist exclusion to the point they won't go to the beach anymore, yet they're "not racists" because they vote for Democrats).  We are capable of making judgments about the motivations, even the true secret motivations of others.  In fact we're designed to do just that, to jump to conclusions from partial information.  It doesn't mean we're always going to get it right, but that's okay, sometimes we have to act even if we're wrong rather than let some continue.

Fortunately, we literally have one of the best and most effective systems ever created by humans to redress the wrongs of racism in action in our justice system.  Now why would those looking for justice seek to undermine the validity of the very system that has delivered more than any other system created?

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Here's the thing though--for anyone who agrees with my hypothesis here: how on Earth do you propose we "prove" what Kap's real intentions were when he first started pouting during the anthem, Seriati?

For what purpose would we care SP?  Take a step past whether a study can be created to why its being created.   To what use would you put "proof" of Kaep's intentions, do you think it undermines or supports his claims - why would his motivation be necessary to evaluate his position?

These studies are being used to claim they can "know" what Kaep's internal motivation is.  They are declaring everyone "racist" (ie motivated by getting benched not the cause).  I'm pointing out that all they really have as evidence is the kneeling, and that jumping from kneeling - after getting benched - to kneeling because getting benched (when there are other possibilities extant) is not justifiable.

Was that unclear?