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  #51  
Old 10-31-2017, 03:30 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Originally Posted by octopus View Post
Well, the only reason that that line of reasoning works is because in many religions there is the concept that everyone is born sinful. Which I think is a stupid concept but I didn't write the book.
I think a reasonable secular analogy in this case would be the concept "Nobody's perfect." That is, if you're an innately fallible human being living in the real world, you can't help screwing up sometimes, no matter how much you might like to be perfect.

Similarly, if you're part of a historically racist society which still has a whole lot of persistent racism in its culture and expectations, you can't help being somewhat affected by racist beliefs, no matter how much you consciously want or strive to not be a racist.

Neither of those positions seems to me in any way Orwellian or illogical.
  #52  
Old 10-31-2017, 03:36 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
I think you're misinterpreting what it is that I was describing as "weird". To make it absolutely clear, here's the double standard that seems weird to me:

Frequently encountered religious-person reasoning, part 1: "Only sinners claim to be free from sin, and the only way to overcome sin is to start out by admitting you're a sinner."

Frequently encountered religious-person reasoning, part 2: "Claiming that only racists claim to be non-racists and the only way not to be a racist is to admit you are a racist is ridiculously absurd Orwellian doublethink! Ha ha those dumb liberals!"

In other words, it seems weird to me that so many self-professed religious people think that their routine moral/theological reasoning about sin suddenly stops making sense if the sin in question happens to be racism.
Are you saying the reasoning is valid, or not?

Either everyone is a sinner and a racist, and so the reasoning is valid when you use it as well as when religious people use it, or the reasoning is not valid, and so both religious people and you are wrong.

The only way it could be valid is if you could prove that whoever said "I'm not a sinner" was really sinful, and if you could prove that whoever said "I don't see color" is really racist. You can't assume it any more than a religious person can assume that everyone is sinful.

So, have at it. Let's see your proof.

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  #53  
Old 10-31-2017, 03:44 PM
HMS Irruncible HMS Irruncible is offline
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When I hear someone say "I don't see color", it sounds like "Don't bother me with all that colored bullshit." Some people don't have a choice to "not see" color because it's thrown in their face all day.
  #54  
Old 10-31-2017, 03:52 PM
adaher adaher is offline
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I used to think I didn't see color, until I found myself actually making assumptions about people because of color. Chances are, we all have unconscious biases, so while not offensive, it's probably not being very self aware either.

That being said, our goal should be to be as color blind as possible. Race consciousness can lead nowhere good. Anything that emphasizes race is going to increase racism. Anything that deemphasizes it should reduce it.
  #55  
Old 10-31-2017, 03:55 PM
coffeecat coffeecat is online now
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If everyone's a racist, and racists should be harassed on Twitter until they're infamous and lose their job, that's a frightening syllogism. We should be more forgiving of racists if we're no better ourselves.
  #56  
Old 10-31-2017, 03:56 PM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
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Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
I think you're misinterpreting what it is that I was describing as "weird". To make it absolutely clear, here's the double standard that seems weird to me:

Frequently encountered religious-person reasoning, part 1: "Only sinners claim to be free from sin, and the only way to overcome sin is to start out by admitting you're a sinner."

Frequently encountered religious-person reasoning, part 2: "Claiming that only racists claim to be non-racists and the only way not to be a racist is to admit you are a racist is ridiculously absurd Orwellian doublethink! Ha ha those dumb liberals!"

In other words, it seems weird to me that so many self-professed religious people think that their routine moral/theological reasoning about sin suddenly stops making sense if the sin in question happens to be racism.
Would it help if you replaced racism with other sins? Only drunks claim not to be drunks, only thieves claim not to be thieves, only rapists claim not to be rapists. etc.
Someone who claims they are without sin is saying they are perfect, someone who claims not to be a racist is saying they don't have the one sin. Since no religion claims that every person has every sin there is no contradiction.
  #57  
Old 10-31-2017, 04:01 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Either everyone is a sinner and a racist, and so the reasoning is valid when you use it as well as when religious people use it, or the reasoning is not valid, and so both religious people and you are wrong.
Sure, but my point was about the weirdness of the folks who seem to think the reasoning is valid about sin in general but invalid about racism in particular. Logically speaking, that sounds rather weird, as you appear to agree.
  #58  
Old 10-31-2017, 04:03 PM
adaher adaher is offline
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Some sins are so broad though that a case can be made that nearly 100% of people sin in those regards. One good example is vice. Almost all of us have a vice. Likewise, almost all of us make assumptions about people based on how they look. We're wired that way.
  #59  
Old 10-31-2017, 04:05 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Would it help if you replaced racism with other sins? Only drunks claim not to be drunks, only thieves claim not to be thieves, only rapists claim not to be rapists. etc.
Hmm, that's an interesting perspective. By that analogy, you seem to be arguing that racism is only manifested in actions that one deliberately chooses to do, in the same way that thieves choose to steal and rapists choose to rape. You're putting racism on the same footing with crimes in which intent is a crucial part of the deed.

Do you in fact believe that it's impossible to be unintentionally racist?
  #60  
Old 10-31-2017, 04:07 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by Jake Bullet - Traffic Control! View Post
I follow a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter from all across the political spectrum and over the last year I’ve seen a big rise in the number of POC who consider the phrase ‘I don’t see color’ to be offensive

If, as I strongly suspect, most people who say ‘I don’t see color’ simply mean ‘I try to treat everyone as an individual’, is it really right to consider it offensive?

I dont think it is offensive in any way.
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  #61  
Old 10-31-2017, 04:16 PM
Tzigone Tzigone is offline
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That being said, our goal should be to be as color blind as possible. Race consciousness can lead nowhere good. Anything that emphasizes race is going to increase racism. Anything that deemphasizes it should reduce it.
Going to have to disagree. I'd likely agree if you said our goal should be for our society to be as color blind as possible. But so long as society is so very un-color-blind (and it very much is), an individual becoming color blind means they can easily fail to see just how differently society treats people of differing colors and then not work to fix that discrepancy because that particular individual just doesn't see the problem.

Pretending disparities in the treatment of different races don't exist when they do, or doing nothing about them, or just making yourself blind to them doesn't help anyone.

Last edited by Tzigone; 10-31-2017 at 04:18 PM.
  #62  
Old 10-31-2017, 04:21 PM
adaher adaher is offline
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Where problems are noticed, they should be addressed by government policies and awareness of the problem, and one thing I've actually thought is great about the more recent conversations on race is that a lot of things I was unaware of are coming to my notice. But I don't agree that the solution is to take race into account more when making decisions. To use an example, it's better for me to look at a bunch of applications without knowing the race of the applicants than to do so with that information and consciously using it to select applicants. The first makes bias a lot more difficult for me. The latter forces me to embrace bias and somehow make it "good". I just don't think it's possible for people to function well that way. What we're seeing is people being put into hierarchies because of it, and that is just not going to be very helpful.
  #63  
Old 10-31-2017, 04:59 PM
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
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For everyone saying it's not racist, just know that if you use that phrase, especially with a minority, you will likely be perceived as racist. So, if that's how you want to be perceived, go for it. Or, understand that the message the other person will receive will not be "I'm not racist" but rather "I don't care about your problems" and adjust your phrasing accordingly.

You won't have a debate forum where you can go through all the nuance and why you really aren't racist. What will happen is the other person will check the racist box and that will be the end of it.

People can't read your mind and word choice matters.
  #64  
Old 10-31-2017, 05:02 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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It's one of those expressions that you don't hear black, Asian, Indian, Native American, and Hispanic folks say. It's something only white people say--white people who aren't hip to notions like privilege and unconscious racism.

It's not offensive (at least to me). It's just stupid.

One day, a coworker's realtor mother was going to pick me up and take me to look at some houses. I told her to look for me--the tall-ish, slender-ish, light-skinned black woman--standing on the corner in front of my office building. Later, I playfully told my coworker that's how I identified myself to her mother. She totally freaked out on me. WE DON'T TALK ABOUT THINGS LIKE THAT!!! Another coworker cosigned. Very calmly, I explained to them there is nothing wrong with mentioning race in that particular context, but they insisted that there is. Seriously, you would have thought I had described myself as a chinky-eyed nigger or something, the way they were going on.

I later decided I wasn't ready to buy a house, but I probably would have felt uncomfortable using this woman's mother as my realtor. Housing discrimination for black folks is real. I don't know how I'd feel working with a realtor who had instilled in her kid that it is wrong to ever mention the dreadful r-word. I want a realtor (or any professional, for that matter) who knows they probably have shitty unconscious associations they need to work against. That requires being able to speak honestly about reality, even when it makes you uncomfortable.
  #65  
Old 10-31-2017, 05:02 PM
adaher adaher is offline
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Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
For everyone saying it's not racist, just know that if you use that phrase, especially with a minority, you will likely be perceived as racist. So, if that's how you want to be perceived, go for it. Or, understand that the message the other person will receive will not be "I'm not racist" but rather "I don't care about your problems" and adjust your phrasing accordingly.

You won't have a debate forum where you can go through all the nuance and why you really aren't racist. What will happen is the other person will check the racist box and that will be the end of it.

People can't read your mind and word choice matters.


You're right, but that's also silly and wrong. "I don't care about your problems" is not racist, it's just not giving a damn. For all you know, the person equally doesn't give a damn about anybody, his own people included.

Part of the problem is calling being wrong or clueless or insufficiently vigiliant against racism "racist". Expanding the definition of racism so that we have more racists is also not very helpful. It will not have the effect on people's behavior that some are hoping for. Unless they actually are trying to piss people off and make them stop trying.

Last edited by adaher; 10-31-2017 at 05:03 PM.
  #66  
Old 10-31-2017, 05:25 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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"I don't care about your problems" is not racist, it's just not giving a damn.
But when the problems in question are specifically ones affecting some racial groups more than others (because that's the context we're talking about, right? a white person saying "I don't see color" with respect to racial issues?), then it does come across as kinda racist.

"I don't care about your problems [caused by racial prejudice that doesn't negatively impact me]" implies, at best, an indifference to racism on some level, even if the speaker is sincere about not wanting to be intentionally racist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adaher
Part of the problem is calling being wrong or clueless or insufficiently vigiliant against racism "racist".
I agree it can be confusing to conflate deliberate, intentional racism of the KKK sort with unintentional enabling or condoning of racism due to pervasive racist influences in society rather than conscious prejudice. But what word should we use for that latter kind of thing if we want to reserve "racist" for the former kind?

Personally I find terms like "white-privileged" or "privilege-blind" helpful, but many people get very upset about them.
  #67  
Old 10-31-2017, 05:45 PM
octopus octopus is offline
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Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
For everyone saying it's not racist, just know that if you use that phrase, especially with a minority, you will likely be perceived as racist. So, if that's how you want to be perceived, go for it. Or, understand that the message the other person will receive will not be "I'm not racist" but rather "I don't care about your problems" and adjust your phrasing accordingly.

You won't have a debate forum where you can go through all the nuance and why you really aren't racist. What will happen is the other person will check the racist box and that will be the end of it.

People can't read your mind and word choice matters.
Since everyone is racist anyways, who cares?
  #68  
Old 10-31-2017, 05:48 PM
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As a white person myself, I don't consider those who use the phrase to be racist. I have, however, noticed that the only people who claim not to see color are those privileged to not HAVE to see color. If you can't see that color DOES matter to some people, and that some people's skin color DOES cause them problems with other people, then your life has probably not been spent around too many people of color.
  #69  
Old 10-31-2017, 05:52 PM
adaher adaher is offline
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Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post

Personally I find terms like "white-privileged" or "privilege-blind" helpful, but many people get very upset about them.

I actually like them, when properly used, and with the knowledge that we all enjoy privilege and to a varying extent we all experience discrimination. When discrimination becomes all about power, absolving people on the bottom for their hate, it becomes a problem. A good example is a gay student at a college who recently spoke out against oppression of gays in Muslim countries was disciplined. "No place for that kind of speech here!" But why are Muslims more important than gays? And who gets paid to decide that?

But to get back to the original point, thinking in terms of privilege really helped me to think about race in a way I hadn't before.

Last edited by adaher; 10-31-2017 at 05:53 PM.
  #70  
Old 10-31-2017, 05:57 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Originally Posted by octopus View Post
Since everyone is racist anyways, who cares?
Believe it or not, there are many people who don't have the luxury of not caring exactly how racist different people in a pervasively racist society may be.

For some people, the question of whether an individual they meet is an outright KKK-white supremacist type versus an ordinary complacent privilege-blind type versus a more self-aware pro-social-justice type can have a major impact on the outcome of their encounter.

Just because nobody in a pervasively racist society can entirely escape racist influences doesn't mean that the extent and type of individual racism levels is unimportant.
  #71  
Old 10-31-2017, 06:05 PM
adaher adaher is offline
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There are contexts where I can relate to that. For one, my wife, who is black, female(obviously), and disabled, faces more discrimination for disability than anything else, by far.
  #72  
Old 10-31-2017, 07:12 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Whenever I hear someone say "I don't see color", at best they're someone who hasn't talked to many people who experience racism and have chosen to remain ignorant about the reality of racism. At worst, they're in active denial and every time someone has pointed out how they do see color, they refuse to see it because their self-image of being "not racist" is more important to them than actively working towards racial equality.
Absolutely.

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Originally Posted by coffeecat View Post
I've never seriously engaged with a POC on the topic of racism, but I have hung out with them and made them baked macaroni. I am perplexed to be seen as just another sort of racist and am not sure what I should be doing in order to not be one.
And that quote from Shalmanese above should be a good guidepost. Stop worrying about your self-image and start worrying about racism in our culture. This is not about you. Stop trying to get yourself absolved from racism. We live in a racist society. Putting effort into individually being perceived as non-racist is not helping anyone.
  #73  
Old 10-31-2017, 08:34 PM
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I don't see color as well as other people. By that I mean that I seem to see a larger percentage of people as racially/ethnically ambiguous than most people do. If someone were to create a test that involved looking at images of different people and identifying their racial/ethnic background, I would score significantly worse than average.

I don't know whether or how that makes me more racist or less racist than I otherwise would be. But some people don't react well to "I didn't know you were X."
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  #74  
Old 10-31-2017, 09:58 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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But some people don't react well to "I didn't know you were X."
How often do you find yourself saying this and how exactly does the conversation get to this point? I can't think of many common contexts for which this would be a common result.
  #75  
Old 11-01-2017, 03:51 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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But some people don't react well to "I didn't know you were X."
Possibly because drawing attention to their X-ness suggests it matters to you in some way , when they might consider it irrelevant?
  #76  
Old 11-01-2017, 04:52 AM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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This is not about you. Stop trying to get yourself absolved from racism. We live in a racist society.
"stop trying"? I don't understand your logic here. Why do you assume that because someone does not want to be labelled racist, they must also have no interest in fighting racism? Or maybe they'll expend all their energy on protecting their reputation and have none left for being an agent against discrimination.
I think racism is a corrosive and despicable influence in society and actively act against it where I see it. Because I see it as so malign I will also fight against that label being thrown about willy-nilly thus diluting the concept. Lazy, unthinking categorisation is the same mindset that allows prejudice to spread in the first place.
We should all be actively critical of any bullshit accusations and at the same call out the bullshit of racism. Both efforts are important.


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Putting effort into individually being perceived as non-racist is not helping anyone.
How does that work? People should know that at least some of their fellow citizens are not racist and will treat them fairly and without discrimination. The more people that can honestly say that and show that must surely be a net benefit to society? Lazily painting everyone as racist is unhelpful in the extreme and the Kafka-esque "only a racist would say they aren't racist" only adds fuel to the fire.

If you really mean that "people shouldn't say that they aren't racist and therefore have no further obligations on the matter" then I'd agree but you should be clear that that is what you do mean.
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  #77  
Old 11-01-2017, 04:57 AM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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Possibly because drawing attention to their X-ness suggests it matters to you in some way , when they might consider it irrelevant?
Is it now OK to treat people as if their x-ness were irrelevant? Like not seeing someone's colour or other trait?
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  #78  
Old 11-01-2017, 09:25 AM
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
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Since everyone is racist anyways, who cares?
I guess I'd rather be perceived by my friends and acquaintances as not racist or racist and recovering. It's OK with me if you want to present yourself as someone who doesn't care about other people and their actual problems.

That's all I'm saying here -- whether you're racist or not, some phraseology will come through as uncaring at best, racist at worst. So, heed the advice to think before you speak or don't, but there's an actual reality here and us arguing whether that phrase is actually racist won't change how it's perceived.
  #79  
Old 11-01-2017, 09:50 AM
monstro monstro is offline
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I don't see color as well as other people. By that I mean that I seem to see a larger percentage of people as racially/ethnically ambiguous than most people do. If someone were to create a test that involved looking at images of different people and identifying their racial/ethnic background, I would score significantly worse than average.

I don't know whether or how that makes me more racist or less racist than I otherwise would be. But some people don't react well to "I didn't know you were X."
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
How often do you find yourself saying this and how exactly does the conversation get to this point? I can't think of many common contexts for which this would be a common result.
I have been on the other end of this comment. The last time I heard it, someone finally mustered up the courage to ask about my ethnicity, and when I told them, they responded that they didn't know. This person figured I was Hispanic. Which is always kind of weird to hear, seeing as there is no "Hispanic" race, but whatever.

FWIW, it didn't bother me. Being interested in a person's racial classification doesn't signify anything bad all by itself. Also, while sometimes it can be awkward to be asked "what" you are, I prefer it better than tip-toeing around the topic. Like when people ask where are you REALLY from after you've already given them an acceptable answer. That is way more annoying, IMHO.
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Old 11-01-2017, 10:59 AM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
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Hmm, that's an interesting perspective. By that analogy, you seem to be arguing that racism is only manifested in actions that one deliberately chooses to do, in the same way that thieves choose to steal and rapists choose to rape. You're putting racism on the same footing with crimes in which intent is a crucial part of the deed.

Do you in fact believe that it's impossible to be unintentionally racist?
It is possible to be unintentionally racist just as it is possible to be an unintentional thief or unintentional rapist.
However if most rape was unintentional rape then the problem would be pretty much solved.
  #81  
Old 11-01-2017, 11:30 AM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
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I think a reasonable secular analogy in this case would be the concept "Nobody's perfect." That is, if you're an innately fallible human being living in the real world, you can't help screwing up sometimes, no matter how much you might like to be perfect.

Similarly, if you're part of a historically racist society which still has a whole lot of persistent racism in its culture and expectations, you can't help being somewhat affected by racist beliefs, no matter how much you consciously want or strive to not be a racist.

Neither of those positions seems to me in any way Orwellian or illogical.
Of course you can help being affected by racist beliefs. Look at any totalitarian society, the government controls the schools, the media, entertainment, police, and yet people find ways to think for themselves and reject the state's programming.

Our society is not sending racist messages. When is the last time the hero of a movie, tv show, or popular book was an unrepentant racist? George Washington Carver the first scientist students study in school. 42 is the only number retired from every team in MLB. There hundreds of schools named after MLK, Rosa Parks, GW Carver, and Thurgood Marshall. There are only two holidays in the US celebrating the births of people, one is Christmas and the other MLK day. There was a black president for two terms. Black people are or have been recently the most popular TV hosts, athletes, movie stars, and singers. Our society is permeated in anti-racist messages.
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Old 11-01-2017, 01:48 PM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
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I don't see color because I am actually a dog.*

And we currently have a President who is an unrepentant racist, who hires unrepentant racists and who praises unrepentant racists, and millions of people voted for him despite it being very clear that he was so. We have people who are deliberately slandering those engaged in a peaceful protest intended to raise awareness of the disproportionate shooting of innocent black men by the police. We have self-proclaimed Nazis marching in the streets. Hell, we have people losing their shit because a black guy starred in a Star Wars film and there was a mixed-race couple in a Cheerios commercial.

We are better as a country than we once were, but if "Obama got elected, therefore we're not racist as a country" is considered a legitimate argument, what does Trump's election and concerted efforts to erase Obama's entire legacy say about us?


*Yes, I know.
  #83  
Old 11-01-2017, 02:08 PM
robsawatsky robsawatsky is offline
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Our society is not sending racist messages.
You are just touching on OVERT racist messages. The subtle ones that still pervade society are a hangover of the overt and legislated racism of the past. The overt ones certainly haven't vanished either they are just confined more now to the individual than collectively.
  #84  
Old 11-01-2017, 02:20 PM
robsawatsky robsawatsky is offline
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Now the funny thing is some people want the dichotomy of being seen and treated as an individual when it suits them and being treated as a member of pet group when it suits them. That's disingenuous.
That is neither a dichotomy nor disingenuous and goes back to the crux of the original question.

Of course, as an individual "some people" don't want to be pre-judged on the color of their skin.

And, of course, they also desire acknowledgement of the systemic racism and its effects on "some people" individually and collectively.

The co-existence of these two views is not a dichotomy but a paradox that exists because of the totality of circumstances.
  #85  
Old 11-01-2017, 02:25 PM
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You are just touching on OVERT racist messages. The subtle ones that still pervade society are a hangover of the overt and legislated racism of the past. The overt ones certainly haven't vanished either they are just confined more now to the individual than collectively.
It would be fair to say that twitler and Kelly have both conveyed overt racist messages lately.

If you start claiming the civil war was about states rights, from the oval office, you crossed the line. You are just talking to a racist base.
  #86  
Old 11-01-2017, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Of course you can help being affected by racist beliefs. Look at any totalitarian society, the government controls the schools, the media, entertainment, police, and yet people find ways to think for themselves and reject the state's programming.

Our society is not sending racist messages. When is the last time the hero of a movie, tv show, or popular book was an unrepentant racist? George Washington Carver the first scientist students study in school. 42 is the only number retired from every team in MLB. There hundreds of schools named after MLK, Rosa Parks, GW Carver, and Thurgood Marshall. There are only two holidays in the US celebrating the births of people, one is Christmas and the other MLK day. There was a black president for two terms. Black people are or have been recently the most popular TV hosts, athletes, movie stars, and singers. Our society is permeated in anti-racist messages.
So you think the orange baboon and his hand are permeating us with anti-racist messages?
  #87  
Old 11-01-2017, 02:59 PM
gatorslap gatorslap is offline
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
How often do you find yourself saying this and how exactly does the conversation get to this point? I can't think of many common contexts for which this would be a common result.
It's a reaction I sometimes have, when someone mentions their race in passing or talks about something in a way that heavily implies what they are. Sometimes it's in a conversation with a third person, in which the third person mentions their ethnicity in a way that assumes that I already know what it is.

When you're in a mixed group of people it's not unexpected to find yourself making a stray comment that implicitly acknowledges your race in some way.
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  #88  
Old 11-01-2017, 03:10 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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I'm trying to imagine this "overt racism-free" utopia, because I sure as hell ain't living in it.

It's not as bad as it used to be, true. But I can't spend more than five minutes on Reddit or online article commentary without seeing an overtly racist post.

Last edited by monstro; 11-01-2017 at 03:10 PM. Reason: typo
  #89  
Old 11-01-2017, 03:23 PM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
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Originally Posted by robsawatsky View Post
You are just touching on OVERT racist messages. The subtle ones that still pervade society are a hangover of the overt and legislated racism of the past. The overt ones certainly haven't vanished either they are just confined more now to the individual than collectively.
My psychology training makes me dismissive of people who claim that hidden messages all around us are controlling our minds. I don't believe they live was a documentary.
  #90  
Old 11-01-2017, 03:24 PM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
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Originally Posted by drad dog View Post
So you think the orange baboon and his hand are permeating us with anti-racist messages?
I guess not enough that people aren't uncomfortable making fun of people's skin color and comparing them to monkeys.
  #91  
Old 11-01-2017, 03:33 PM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I'm trying to imagine this "overt racism-free" utopia, because I sure as hell ain't living in it.

It's not as bad as it used to be, true. But I can't spend more than five minutes on Reddit or online article commentary without seeing an overtly racist post.
People being mean on the internet? That might be something other races have to deal with too.
  #92  
Old 11-01-2017, 04:17 PM
drad dog drad dog is online now
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
I guess not enough that people aren't uncomfortable making fun of people's skin color and comparing them to monkeys.
I don't make fun of the skin color someone was born with though. Maybe that's not a distinction for you?

Comparing shitler to a monkey does not = referring to other races as subhuman, in my dictionary anyway.
  #93  
Old 11-01-2017, 04:34 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
People being mean on the internet? That might be something other races have to deal with too.
And you'll see I didn't say anything about all the overt racism being "pro-white". Try reading for comprehension and not putting words in other poster's mouths, bub.
  #94  
Old 11-01-2017, 07:17 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
"stop trying"? I don't understand your logic here. Why do you assume that because someone does not want to be labelled racist, they must also have no interest in fighting racism?
This seems entirely a non-sequitur. I said no such thing. You very well might have the intent or interest in fighting racism, but by focusing on your status as a non-racist, you are not contributing to fighting racism.

Our society is absolutely steeped and soaked in racism. If you are a member of this society, then most of the conditions of your life and your interactions with other people are influenced to one degree or other by racism.

And racism has multiple manifestations, for example (non-exhaustive list):

1. Overt proponents of racist ideas and institutions
2. Proponents of racist ideas and institutions who generally don't admit to it in public.
3. Those who profess or want to believe that they are free of the stain of racism, but nevertheless behave in ways that perpetuate racism.

You may be none of these things, but these kinds of indivdiuals don't constitute the totality of the problem of racism in our society.

A huge factor is the racism institutionalized in our societal groups, institutions, processes, etc. These are the kinds of things that are often disguised by seemingly color-blind processes. And there is also the unwitting reinforcement of these things by people who want to believe that they are free of racism. And then there is a lot about human nature that is subject to instinctive tribalism, which may manifest in actions that reinforce structural racism.

If you are focused on making sure that no one thinks of you as an individual as racist, you are very likely to contribute to these kinds of structurally racist factors. And the more you fight to defend yourself as a "not racist," the more likely you are to overlook your own actions that support racist structures and to defensively deny the racism in your actions.

What we should be doing as individuals is not only looking for overt and structural racism in society, but also self-policing of our own actions, attitudes, thoughts, and decisions. By seeking "not racist" status, we are really giving ourselves a pass and making it more likely that we will contribute to racism.

Quote:
Because I see it as so malign I will also fight against that label being thrown about willy-nilly thus diluting the concept.
The thing is that pretty much every aspect of our society was created in a context of racism. That does make everything suspect. Racism is not just an undesirable trait in people and institutions; it's a part of the building blocks that created our institutions. There is nothing in our society that hasn't been profoundly influenced by racism.

If you see racism as an individual crime that some people are innocent of and some people are guilty of (but it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt if so), then you are basically giving racism the freedom to continue existing. No one is an innocent; nothing is above suspicion when it comes to racism.

The key to being an enemy of racism is not to seek the status of a "not racist," but to be constantly vigilant.

Quote:
People should know that at least some of their fellow citizens are not racist and will treat them fairly and without discrimination.
There is no way anyone can know this. As a non-white person, you can never be sure that racism isn't affecting some particular condition, transaction, or relationship. And there's nothing another person can do to prove it isn't. Seeking to do so is a waste of time. The task is to do one's best to not let racism color one's decisions or perceptions, but that only works if you are continuously self-critical, and not giving yourself the comfort of the status of "not racist."

Quote:
the Kafka-esque "only a racist would say they aren't racist"
I don't say that. What I say is the person who insists that he or she isn't racist is insufficiently aware of the nature of racism in our society and is seeking to be absolved of his or her responsibility and role in a fundamentally racist system.

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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
Is it now OK to treat people as if their x-ness were irrelevant? Like not seeing someone's colour or other trait?
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I have been on the other end of this comment. The last time I heard it, someone finally mustered up the courage to ask about my ethnicity, and when I told them, they responded that they didn't know.
Another person's identity is certainly not irrelevant. But statements drawing attention to it are off-putting.

So, you discover that Person X is a Y, and you didn't know that. Okay fine, take it in stride. Responding with "I didn't know you were a Y" is just a minefield of implicated questions.

E.g., you didn't think? What did you think I was? Why did you think that? Because of some physical characteristic of mine?


Quote:
Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Our society is not sending racist messages.
The list you give of proof is so stupid, it looks like something straight out of a Gamergate troll handbook, a collection of exceptions, incomplete pictures, and tokens. If you don't know about racist messages that our society sends, then you haven't bothered to study the issue.

There are schools named after King? Well, there are plenty of schools named after Lee and Stuart and Jefferson Davis. There is a holiday on King's birthday? Well, guess what, in Alabama, that's also Robert E. Lee day. A black president was elected for two terms? Well, the next election was won by a candidate who overtly appealed to racist resentments. Black people have been popular entertainers? Well, why do black performers still find it difficult to find roles, the vast majority of which are reserved only to white performers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
My psychology training makes me dismissive of people who claim that hidden messages all around us are controlling our minds.
This is either immensely naive or deliberately deceptive. This is not about "hidden messages controlling our minds." This is about overt and implicit attitudes that perpetuate and confirm both spoken and unspoken biases about people.

The fact that you can't even think of things that are otherwise well-known is evidence that you don't really want to look to closely at things. For example, you say that black people being popular entertainers is a sign of non-racism. So, okay, take Will Smith, a popular black actor, loved by the public. Indeed, possibly the only black actor who for many years is seen as being able to "open" a movie based only on his name. Many people have pointed out that film producers are very reluctant to give Will Smith a love interest played by a white actor.

Take another set of experiences, illustrated for example in one episode of Aziz Ansari's "Master of None" series, which show that non-white actors always have to face casting limits—"Well, we can cast one Asian actor in a major role, but not two, because then people will think it's an 'Asian' movie."

And the feelings that underly these things do occasionally erupt, such as when there's a hint that, say, Spider-Man, or Johnny Storm, or characters in the Hunger Games might be played by non-white actors.
  #95  
Old 11-01-2017, 07:34 PM
Crazy Canuck Crazy Canuck is offline
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Originally Posted by adaher View Post
You're right, but that's also silly and wrong. "I don't care about your problems" is not racist, it's just not giving a damn. For all you know, the person equally doesn't give a damn about anybody, his own people included.
Yeah, that's me. I'm a misanthropic asshole, not a racist. I don't give a fuck about your problems, but I don't care about anyone else's problems either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
What we should be doing as individuals is not only looking for overt and structural racism in society, but also self-policing of our own actions, attitudes, thoughts, and decisions.
That sounds like way too much work. I think I'll just keep being an asshole.
  #96  
Old 11-01-2017, 07:52 PM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
This seems entirely a non-sequitur. I said no such thing. You very well might have the intent or interest in fighting racism, but by focusing on your status as a non-racist, you are not contributing to fighting racism.
Sure, if all you do is focus on your own status then by definition you are not doing anything else, but can one not assert one's status as a non-racist and at the same time fight racism? I find it fairly easy to do, what a low opinion you have of people.

Quote:
If you are focused on making sure that no one thinks of you as an individual as racist, you are very likely to contribute to these kinds of structurally racist factors. And the more you fight to defend yourself as a "not racist," the more likely you are to overlook your own actions that support racist structures and to defensively deny the racism in your actions.
that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Again, one can assert one's lack of racism and at the same time fight against racism in all it's forms.
You have not supported your case at all. and despite your protestations it is clear to see that you do think those claiming to be "non-racist" are most likely racist. You disguise it rather clumsily but the implications of your words are clear.
You could be explicit of course, you could clearly state in your reply that you will accept that someone can honestly claim to be "non-racist"......would you care to do that?

Quote:
By seeking "not racist" status, we are really giving ourselves a pass and making it more likely that we will contribute to racism.
I don't "seek" that status, it isn't something that can be bestowed on me by a third party. I merely state it as a fairly banal fact. Do think it impossible for anyone to state that they are not a racist?

Quote:
If you see racism as an individual crime that some people are innocent of and some people are guilty of (but it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt if so), then you are basically giving racism the freedom to continue existing. No one is an innocent; nothing is above suspicion when it comes to racism.

The key to being an enemy of racism is not to seek the status of a "not racist," but to be constantly vigilant.
So in other words, seeking to be accepted as "not racist" must mean that one is not being constantly vigilant. What a black and white world you live in (clunky pun very much intended) You again seem incapable of accepting that someone is quite easily able to do both, why is that such a difficult concept for you?
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  #97  
Old 11-01-2017, 09:48 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Originally Posted by Crazy Canuck View Post
Yeah, that's me. I'm a misanthropic asshole, not a racist. I don't give a fuck about your problems, but I don't care about anyone else's problems either.



That sounds like way too much work. I think I'll just keep being an asshole.
That just means that race is just one of your problems—whether the biggest or the smallest, who knows. You're just a terrible human being.
  #98  
Old 11-01-2017, 09:59 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
Sure, if all you do is focus on your own status then by definition you are not doing anything else, but can one not assert one's status as a non-racist and at the same time fight racism? I find it fairly easy to do, what a low opinion you have of people.
No, I don't have a low opinion of people. It's that racism is too big and too deep for me to believe that anyone can declare themselves free of it. It's a basic fact of our existence for at least 500 years. It's soaked into us.

Anyone who declares himself or herself free of it is either ignorant of the depth of racism or is just fooling himself or herself. That doesn't mean that that person is the worst racist in the world, or even is a bad person. It's just someone who either doesn't understand the depth of the problem or is too quick to declare himself or herself free of something that is basically impossible for us to be completely free of.

Quote:
you do think those claiming to be "non-racist" are most likely racist.
Nope, not "most likely." Just not sufficiently introspective, and because of that likely to slip up.

Quote:
you could clearly state in your reply that you will accept that someone can honestly claim to be "non-racist"......would you care to do that?
Racism is simply not about whether any particular individual is racist or non-racist. It's about how society and culture and institutions are structured. Anyone who is thinking in terms of "am I racist or am I not racist" is simply missing the point.

Quote:
I don't "seek" that status
As soon as you say it, you want people to accept it as a label or description for you, so, yes, you are seeking it as a status marker.

Quote:
Do think it impossible for anyone to state that they are not a racist?
I do not accept "not racist" as a status for an individual person. It's like saying "It's blue o'clock" or "The post office is soggy miles east of here." That does not mean I believe "everyone is racist." It means that "not racist" is a status that has no meaning.

Racism is a cultural condition and a characteristic of a society and its institutions. So long as racism is structurally part of the institutions we interact with and live with we are part of a racist system.

So in other words, seeking to be accepted as "not racist" must mean that one is not being constantly vigilant. What a black and white world you live in (clunky pun very much intended) You again seem incapable of accepting that someone is quite easily able to do both, why is that such a difficult concept for you?[/QUOTE]
  #99  
Old 11-01-2017, 10:07 PM
octopus octopus is offline
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
No, I don't have a low opinion of people. It's that racism is too big and too deep for me to believe that anyone can declare themselves free of it. It's a basic fact of our existence for at least 500 years. It's soaked into us.

Anyone who declares himself or herself free of it is either ignorant of the depth of racism or is just fooling himself or herself. That doesn't mean that that person is the worst racist in the world, or even is a bad person. It's just someone who either doesn't understand the depth of the problem or is too quick to declare himself or herself free of something that is basically impossible for us to be completely free of.



Nope, not "most likely." Just not sufficiently introspective, and because of that likely to slip up.



Racism is simply not about whether any particular individual is racist or non-racist. It's about how society and culture and institutions are structured. Anyone who is thinking in terms of "am I racist or am I not racist" is simply missing the point.



As soon as you say it, you want people to accept it as a label or description for you, so, yes, you are seeking it as a status marker.



I do not accept "not racist" as a status for an individual person. It's like saying "It's blue o'clock" or "The post office is soggy miles east of here." That does not mean I believe "everyone is racist." It means that "not racist" is a status that has no meaning.

Racism is a cultural condition and a characteristic of a society and its institutions. So long as racism is structurally part of the institutions we interact with and live with we are part of a racist system.

So in other words, seeking to be accepted as "not racist" must mean that one is not being constantly vigilant. What a black and white world you live in (clunky pun very much intended) You again seem incapable of accepting that someone is quite easily able to do both, why is that such a difficult concept for you?
The thing is, your opinion is only your opinion. And your definition is so broad and encompassing that it's meaningless in utility.

Last edited by octopus; 11-01-2017 at 10:07 PM.
  #100  
Old 11-01-2017, 10:10 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Teachers impose harsher punishments on black students. Medical professionals are more reluctant to give black people pain killers, because of an inherent belief that they can tolerate more pain than white people. Both black and white cops perceive more danger from black men than white men. Babies are less trustful of people of a different race.

This is not because they are bad people. It's not because (most of them) explicitly adhere to a racist ideology. It's because of the entire society they have grown up in. They are perpetuating racism, but there is likely nothing specifically racist about any particular belief or attitude of any one of these individuals. If asked, the majority would say something like "I am not a racist" because they genuinely don't perceive racism in themselves.

So to actually make progress on racism, you have to get beyond this lane of thinking. It's not about you. It's not about a label or status that is given to you. It's about the totality of the society we live in. Concern about whether "I am a racist" does nothing to help make things better and likely keeps things from getting better.

It doesn't matter whether you think you are a non racist as a matter of status. That doesn't prevent you from taking actions, making decisions, playing roles that perpetuate the harms of racism in society.
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