Characterizing arguments as racist - OK? If not, it should be

Continuing the discussion from Banning menthol cigarettes:

This mod note from @What_Exit is in error. Specifically in response to my quote:

this note ensued:

No, this is wrong. You’ve quoted a text that literally features me saying: “What you keep doing… is racist.” I attacked the ridiculous post. I did not personalize the post to him. I did not call him racist, literally or “effectively”, or imply that he’s a racist person.

There is no “I’m not touching you” here. Attacking arguments is fair game, is it not?

Unless you meant that we’re not allowed to call arguments racist. Is that not allowed? I’m pretty sure we’re allowed to say “that’s a racist thing to say” or “that’s a racist line of reasoning”. Certainly my opponents in this thread have been freely throwing around loose implications that the menthol ban itself is “racist, actually” and none of them got modnotes.

Can we call arguments racist or not? If not, I’d appreciate the clarification. I look forward to using this rule against all the “actually, you’re the real racist” dreck on this board.

You replied directly to him saying that the he felt that the previous poster was calling him a racist with plausible deniability, and said that there was no plausible deniability needed.

Maybe you missed the context, but in the context of what you quoted, you pretty much flat out called him a racist.

As far as the comment about making a blackface sock puppet, I see that as pretty much calling someone a racist as well, with the plausible deniability which you had just said wasn’t needed.

You did not say that his argument was racist, you said that what he was doing was racist, and “offensively so” to boot. You were attacking the poster, not the post.

I’ve never seen that the type of hostility you expressed leads to better discussion.

Saint_Loser was the one who first personalized it against himself, and he was incorrect to do so.

I said “What you’re doing… is racist”. Literally and straightforwardly I spelled out that I was attacking the argument.

His dumb argument was abundantly racist and deserves to be called out. Nobody said “you’re a racist.” He inserted that verbiage himself. He decided it was hidden behind “plausible deniability.”

I don’t know that the man is racist himself. I find it weak and unproductive to say “you’re a racist.” I know his behavior in that thread… inventing an imaginary black man, inserting words in his mouth as an argumentative prop, was definitely racist. And offensive as hell. I think we’re allowed to state arguments are offensive, aren’t we?

What I want to know is whether it’s against the rule to call arguments racist, because if so, I look forward to reporting all the “actually you’re the real racist” posts.

You have asserted this, but you have made no actual argument as to why it is racist to think of one in another’s position. I found your accusation unfounded, and intended more for creating hostility than for being conducive to civil discussion.

It may be the case that he was wrong in what he thought that someone would feel in that position, but I see nothing racist about it.

Is it the case that anytime someone puts themselves into someone else’s shoes, they are making a caricature of them?

If he were “inventing” a poor man and considering things from that person’s perspective in a thread about UBI, would that be classist and offensive as hell?

In fact, he never “put any words” into that person’s mouth, he simply asked how you thought that that person would feel about the situation. No one answered the question, just implied that the question itself was racist to ask.

I don’t think the rules require me to explain why it’s racist. But I did in that thread, and I’ll repeat myself: it’s using a racial minority as an argumentative prop by putting words in their mouth, it treats a diverse ethnic population as a group-thinking monolith to be used for one’s arguing convenience. That arguing strategy is racist as hell.

For the record, I wasn’t the poster who invented that hypothetical. Review the thread – you’ll see that it wasn’t me.

I did think it was a good illustration of the effects of the ban. Shouldn’t every proposed law or regulation be considered in light of how it will affect individuals?

False. Look at these 2 quotes.

He’s clearly implying that his sock-puppet man would definitely find a menthol ban racist. So it’s incredibly ironic that I then characterize the entire contrivance as racist, and then he (or somebody) reports me as racist for pointing that out.

I’ll stipulate that probably everybody in that thread should probably withdraw from calling stuff racist, because most people are deploying it with “actually helping black people is the real racism” theme.

You sure found it convenient to use, though, didn’t you?

I absolutely think that how a law will be perceived by those most affected by it is a fair question.

Seriously – what’s wrong with that?

I don’t think it’s wise to relitigate here, though I’ve explained myself above.

But my broader question for @What_Exit remains: can we call arguments racist, or can we not call them racist? Is it too “hostile” or “uncomfortable” to call arguments racist, especially when we’re addressing an argument that itself is insinuating something or someone else is racist?

Modnote: Do not rehash the argument from the other thread here in ATMB.

Be Back Later.

There was no group think, there was the question of how an affected individual would perceive this policy.

By the logic that you have used, you claiming offense on their behalf is a strategy that is racist as hell.

Yes, he is. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong, but thinking of things in terms of how others would find them isn’t racist.

That’s not what happened. No one said that you were racist, they said that you were calling him racist. Please explain the reasoning that you have used to think that you were being reported as racist.

A policy that affects one racial identity group more than it affects another is a racially biased policy. There’s nothing wrong with pointing that out. You can argue that the benefits outweigh the disparate impact, but to point out that disparate impact is not wrong to do.

I disagree. I think that most people in the thread are not denying the disparate impact, but they are instead saying, “It’s for their own good.” which is racially paternalistic.

deleting response to the rehash, as we’ve been instructed to stop doing it.

The broader point is that “this comment is racist” is a legitimate point to make, just like “this comment is factually unfounded” or “this comment is fallacious” is legimate. All these claims may be wrong, but they shouldn’t be off the table.

“You’re a racist” is an essentialist claim, and I agree that it shouldn’t be on the table. But that’s different from “that comment is racist,” which describes an action, not a person.

If someone says, “People are trying to call me a racist while trying to maintain plausible deniability”, and you respond saying, “There is no need for plausible deniability”, you are saying that the person is racist. That’s pretty blatant.

If you only said that @Saintly_Loser was using racist tactics that would be one thing. A person can say or do things that are racially insensitive without meaning to, without realizing how that appears from the outside. Pointing it out is not an accusation that the person is racist, because you don’t have to be a racist to do it. I understand that.

But the way you addressed it did not put it that way. Your statement made it pretty clear that you were calling out SL as racist. Now it’s possible that you didn’t mean to do that, but that’s what you did. If I were to have written something like that and didn’t mean to make such an accusation, I would be inclined to apologize and make it clear that it wasn’t my intention rather than griping about the modnote. But that’s just me.

I’m not getting into whether or not the rhetoric used in that discussion was really racist, I’m just commenting on the issue that the OP in this thread is objecting to.

You could take one sentence and dig a hidden meaning out of it if you wish. Personally I’d look at the explicit part of my post… you know, the hundred or so words specifically attacking the argument and not the person, so as not to make faulty inferences about something I found unclear. But that’s just me.

It all matters. If I make a cogent, thoughtful, and very convincing argument for someone, and end it with “By the way, you’re a dick!” then I shouldn’t be surprised if that “one sentence” got a harsh response from the moderators or others.

My suggestion here was based on your whole argument both there and here, and my impression that you didn’t mean to call him a racist. But you did, even if you didn’t mean to. There’s no hidden meaning.

Let’s say I mean to type, “You are not the worst person in the world.” And in my haste to type that, I omit the word “not”. I have just made an extreme insult. When others point that out I had better retract that and clarify my mistake. We sometimes unintentionally convey things we don’t mean to, I did so recently on this board in a Pit thread when I tried to use an example to make a point and used a really bad example. I owned up to it and apologized. Everyone does it now and then. (What I did wasn’t worthy of a modnote, heck it’s the Pit so it takes a lot to get one there, but still it was a blunder.) That’s all I’m saying here. The way you wrote what you wrote was deserving of a note, if just to make sure you are more careful in the future.

Fair enough, I’ll take that.

Your post wasn’t just calling an argument racist, your post was insulting the other poster. It went too far in GD and got a modnote. A Modnote is just a note. We don’t track them and they’re usually forgotten about outside of the thread itself.

@Atamasama seems to have explained the situation well though.