To what extent can a group member's character be inferred from others'?

Spinoff from this thread, which was getting hijacked.

There are racists in the GOP – that is, that is where most white American racists who vote ended up after they exited the Dems in the 1960s and 1970s. No one (on this board, at least, AFAIK) seriously disputes that.

Some argue that the GOP has grown even more racist and otherwise intolerant/hateful/stupid – sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-science, anti-intellectual – with the rise of movement conservatism in the '80s and more recently with the growth of the Tea Party. Let us assume arguendo that is also true. (It is true, BTW; if you want to dispute that, please start your own thread.)

Now, of course, that does not mean any particular Republican you meet is, personally, a racist or otherwise intolerant/hateful/stupid, etc.

But, does some blame or stigma attach to every Pub just for choosing to remain within such a party?

Same question applies, perhaps, WRT Dems and left-extremists, etc. – though, N.B., not with the same force; Weathermen and such being a thing of the past now, and not likely to re-emerge in your lifetime or mine.

Wikipedia: Stereotype

But that’s exactly the argument some have been making in this hijack!

It’s far worse than that - the Democratic party (of which I am a proud member) was once half composed of racists who upheld a racist system in the South for 100 years!

As I asked in my JFK example, did that mean JFK or those who supported him responsible for racism?

Not really an applicable analogy; the Democrat Party at the time was fiercely internally divided on the issue. The only comparable division in today’s GOP is between the crazy and the not-crazy. WRT racism, nobody in today’s GOP is against it in the “We’ve got to do something about this!” sense, that’s a Democratic monopoly now.

From my understand, JFK actually made actions in order to help reduce the amount of racism in this country. He was a part of a racist party, but he was a leader that actively fought against it. So “suspect, but not necessarily racist.” because I admit I don’t know the full story. But on the other hand, if he willingly courted the racist vote, and did nothing to attempt to fight against it or educate his own party - and just had them vote for him and shrug off the implications and whatnot - yep I consider that a pretty big issue.

The difference is, Republicans really don’t fight against their own party’s bigotry. Can you point me to any well known Republican leaders who have called for the party to stop being homophobic, racist, anti-Muslim, anti-intellectual, and so on? The republican party in some states says it’s literally outright against teaching critical thinking - when the actual stated goals of the party look like that, I will judge anyone who chooses to willingly fall under that banner. You can, at any time, just NOT be a republican.

And before you ask - yes, I do harshly criticize democrats for the actions of their leaders, especially in respect to being spineless against homophobia, too pro-war, etc. It’s why I’m not a democrat, because democrat leaders don’t represent my opinions.I will vote for them, but it’s as much because I don’t want bigoted, evil republicans voted into office.

I think when several factors, all of which are perfectly arguable points for debate, are met. Personally, off the top of my head, I can think of these criteria (warning, pedantry forthcoming!):

When the majority of a group are of a particular bent (lets just use racists as the example) are racist and express it openly

When the majority of a group are racists but don’t express it openly

When a plurality of a group are racist and open/are racist but don’t express it openly

When an influential minority of a group are racist and open/are racist but don’t express it

When the leadership that dictates group policy are racist and open/are racist but don’t express it

When some important faction of the group that needs to be placated and catered to in order for the group as a whole to achieve their goals are racist and open/are racist but don’t express it

More debatable are those opposing the racists. The above assumes the non-racists are passive, there are also varying debatable points when there is a voice actively opposing the racists.

If you take the above and add an opposing and equal voice, then its far more difficult to slander the whole group as racist. The debate, at least for me, then comes down to the success, influence, and/or vehemence of that opposing group.

Of course, another delineation point can be where we are talking broadly about the group or about an individual within the group, or a small subsection of the whole group. In lance’s example, JFK may or may not be a racist when the Democratic party as a whole are racists, his character is defined by himself only since we are only talking about him. Humans are capable of making the transition between speaking broadly or narrowly, lance, and that’s the point I think you miss often.

With the case of the GOP, I agree with many that they are a racist organization. They fit several of criteria above. Their leadership has said horribly racist things, supported racist things, and they have a faction of varying size that has been very racist in its public sentiments. They have racist pundits, influential individuals, vocal minorities, you name it. And I do not see a significant push by opposing voices in their party to shut those racists down. Factually, I think, the GOP can be described as racist. Individually, maybe there are non-racists that outnumber the racists, but they are certainly keeping quiet and don’t make waves. Where are the moderate Republicans anymore? Quitting the party, changing parties, or getting out of politics.

Lance, if you want to claim everyone’s the same, then you come up with a set of criteria which you think can be used to define a group, I’ve given mine already

Ah. So what you do matters, not what someone else does. Got it.

Really? That’s incredibly unfair.

Sure I can. But that’s not even the point - this isn’t about the leadership, it’s about the everyday Republicans. The claim was that if a person even votes for a Republican, he’s a racist.

So yes, you think anyone who voted for JFK was a racist because they could have chosen not to?

But no, I won’t ask, because I wouldn’t insult you to presume you are a racist homophobe just because you haven’t proven it to me. And I would expect the same from you.

LOL. Yeah, you’re a Democrat. Vote for them and you are them.

And you’ve introduced yet another excuse - you can vote for bad guys as long as the other ones are worse! This is getting complicated.

Sure has gotten complicated. But it’s a big improvement.

I think we’d be better off if you listed every group you’re affiliated with so we can judge you, or you can end all association with that group. I’ll wait.

Leave lance alone. He’s one of the good ones.


Not every Republican is racist. For all his faults, George W. Bush did not harbor any racism as far as I can tell. But- Republicans virtually uniformly will exploit the racism of others by promoting:

Voter ID laws which are intended to suppress minority vote.

Outrage over “illegal aliens” and their supposed drain on society.

Outrage over “welfare queens”, a quite audible dog whistle for “blacks are coming for your money”.

So while the individual Republican may not harbor racist feelings, they have absolutely no qualms about exploiting racism in their base.

As I’ve often said, you don’t have to be racist to be Republican but you do have to be Republican to be racist.

Every 'Pub? No. As long as we have our two-party, first-past-the-post electoral system, both parties will be unwieldly coalitions with a tremendous degree of internal variance. The political beliefs of 228 million adults just don’t compress into D or R cleanly. Compromise, and nose-holding, is the inevitable consequence.

To the extent that’s true, it’s true of only one sub-set of racists: white ones. White people have no monopoly on racism.

I’ll grant you that one. There are non-white racists, many of them are Democrats.

It mostly depends on factors such as whether the people being cited as evidence are social/political leaders of the group and whether the characteristics cited are definitive traits of the group.

Dude, it’s a top down, two party state. That’s what, at least twice as good as a one party state? Rein in your expectations.

Now you could say the two are so similar on most issues already that those who remain Rs must support some of the crazier social stuff, including that sweet race baiting, or guns, or whatever, and I hear ya, but you have to realize your TP counterpart would say the exact same thing about you.

You can’t really know until you find out which groups I associate with and whether there are any bad people in those groups.

Wait - so what’s that say about others who associate with them by being Democrats?

So now all racists are Republicans?

This is getting complicated.

But he ran on the Republican name! He was a Republican leader! He associated quite closely with the Republican party! By the logic of those who I’m arguing with, there’s no possible way Bush wasn’t either a racist, or responsible for racism. His actual personal feelings and behavior dont’ matter.

No. Imagine the group of Republicans to be a circle. Now put a smaller circle entirely within the larger circle. Those are the racists. All racists are Republicans, but not all Republicans are racists.

Again, except for the racists who aren’t Republican, such as most of the non-white ones.