We don't have a forum for this kind of discussion

This is just so… bizarre.

Censorship is fine by me. I don’t own the site. But this is so weird that I cannot find a name for it. It’s some sort of intramural revisionism, I suppose. We may discuss pedophilia, twisted testicles, slang words for penis, and how young black men wear their pants. We may in fact discuss real and hypothetical wars of all kinds, between Jews and Palestinians, between the U.S. and any Arab nation, and even between angels and demons. But nowhere is there a forum to discuss a war among Caucasoids, Negroids, and Mongoloids.

Anyone who might accuse me of racism or bigotry is sitting on the far end of a slim twig. As a boy, I heard a man tell another man about my father, “You know you can’t trust Indians.” But this see-no-evil hear-no-evil speak-no-evil coyness about race is mystifiyingly absurd. It is talking out of both sides of our mouths when we deny on the one hand that race exists while discussing what new name we ought to call black people on the other, as we are presently doing in Great Debates.

Would it not make sense to ban any mention of race whatsoever, to close (rather than move) any thread that is argumentative, if indeed there is no forum for this kind of discussion?

When enlightenment faces ignorance and enlightenment is afraid, ignorance expands and elightenment fades into a pale shadow of retreat. We routinely dissect and refute the ramblings of creationists, new age gravity theorists, and even Lolo-type atheists who believe that all Christians are evil. Why would we fail if we contrasted the characteristics of ingenious and cunning African tribesmen against those of hapless and lazy European fops? Scientific American (warning, PDF file!) has no problem discussing it. The University of Virginia doesn’t recoil. The New England Skeptical Society isn’t afraid to confront these issues.

Why is there no place here?

Lib, May I suggest that the topic is simply a ground for the “more extreme” of us readers to wallow in, create a train wreck and ill will?

I don’t think it is censorship, per se, rather a preventative measure.

First of all, the OP was in the General Questions forum. As Dr Matrix correctly noted, there was no factual answer for the OP, and it was rightly closed.

Dr Matrix said that “we don’t have a forum for this kind of discussion”, and of course I thought of the Great Debates forum right away. But let’s assume that msc75 knew to put his moronic OP in the Great Debates forum in the first place. My guess is that it would have been closed there as well. The question is staggeringly dumb, and looks a lot like the handiwork of a creature waiting under a bridge for goats to cross. The question actually invites responses to speculate as to which race is the most superior and to provide reasons for why that is…this isn’t even fodder for debate.

Is creationism?

That’d be religious, and therefore always trendy to bash here at the grand and illuminated Straight Dope.


I’m on Lib’s side. If we can have “Jew=Christ Killers” threads, if we can have “scientific” Creationism threads, if that abortion of a thread by Sweat Willy about “I want to be an athiest Jew”:rolleyes: can go on for what…four pages?, I don’t see why this one is any different.

If (as I understood it) any questions, outside of the most blatent of trolls (and the post Lib linked was much less of a troll than Sweat Willy’s) are up for discussion, I don’t understand why there’s no place for this kind of discussion.

Yeah, it’s a stupid question based on a horribly faulty premise, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t/shouldn’t be discussed.


I thought the whole reason why it was closed was because the guy admitted he was starting “a purely argumentative thread”. Isn’t making threads with the sole purpose of starting an argument a no-no?

In GQ, yes. In GD, it’s the whole reason for that forum’s existance. Take away the purely argumentative threads and GD becomes a ghost-town (certainly all the political threads disappear, most of the religion ones, etc)

I’m not objecting to it being closed as much as I’m wondering about the "We don’t have a forum for this kind of discussion. " comment, given that…well…we do.


That’s exactly my feeling. I don’t begrudge closing or moving threads. That’s a mod’s job. It’s his job to apply his own interpretation in his enforcement of the rules. I have no say in it, and frankly I’m glad I’m not a mod. But it was the comment. It simply struck me as spooky.

I think that someone writing an OP for the sole purpose of stirring a shit-storm would be considered a troll in my eyes. I’m not sure that msc75 had the intention of starting a shit-storm, but his OP could have easily brought out the worst in that tiny minority of Dopers who subscribe to racist beliefs.

And really, what kind of discussion would that OP have led to? He/she was inviting readers to state which race is superior…essentially asking for racist responses. Even if the OP was put in GD to begin with, he wasn’t asking for a debate…he was asking for opinions on which race is the most superior and why. I don’t see a hell of a lot of good coming from such a thread…it seemed to me like just the kind of bait to draw racists out of the woodwork, and lord knows how much fun that is.

And yes, I think that Sweet Willy’s idiotic “I want to be an atheist Jew” thread should have been killed in its crib. I had read his handiwork in an earlier GD thread, and knew where he was going, and considering the repetitive and circular nature of his responses, it was amazing that the thread lasted 4 pages.

A “shit-storm” is your arbitrary spin on the term “argumentative”, a term that applies to every debate. The Opening Poster made plain that there was no consideration of superiority, a consideration that is implicit in every thread started by the board’s resident bigots. But dismissing a debate because you don’t think anything can come from it is parochial.

You’re assuming that I think that every argument is inherently a shit-storm. No. My personal definition of an SDMB shit-storm is one that happens in response to a trolling OP.

Yeah, I saw that. Then he blew that statement to pieces with this:

So he starts off by saying that he is “in no means suggesting that any race is superior to another”, and ends with a request for Dopers to state which race would turn out to be the superior victors in his little hypothetical race war.

I don’t think that the OP was asking for a debate. I saw him explicitly asking for racist opinions.

I think the thread, if it had been moved to GD, would have been either another good opportunity to combat ignorance and bigotry, or it would’ve become one of those train wrecks that spawn five or six Pit threads and end up with a banned poster or two. Or maybe both. Probably the safest thing to have done was to have closed the thread.

But I have to agree with Lib and Fenris that the stated justification for closing the thread is disturbing. This is a discussion board, after all.

I think it could lead to a semi-interesting debate, though I wouldn’t break it down into as many sides - Caucasian vs. Negroid vs. Mongoloid would be better. It wouldn’t necessarily have to become a racist discussion either or require participants to imply one race was inherently superior to another. We’ve had hypothetical war questions before. When it was argued who would win in a war between the USA and China one did not have to say that one was superior over the other to have an opinion. One could base it on location, numbers, technological advancement and industrial strength. For areas that have mixed populations assume that the minority groups migrate to be with their own ‘race’, that way North and South America would be on the Caucasian side while sub-Saharan Africa might be strenghthened by the influx of American Negroids…

Eh, not going to get into it, but just because a debate would probably draw input from racists doesn’t mean that the topic is racist in and of itself. We have debates on affirmative action and conflict in the Middle East, even though both subjects always draw a few racists.

I’m with Lib here. (And I can hear him now: “Thank God! Some dude with 90 posts agrees with me!”)

The first thing that came to mind when I read the OP was the rather lengthy book that Jared Diamond wrote on a similar subject. In his investigation of why some of the world’s people subjugated other of the world’s people, Diamond eventually came to the conclusion that the eco-geographical characteristics of the places they lived were determinitative – in other words, he rejected any argument of inherent racial superiority.

Had msc75’s argument been allowed to proceed, it’s entirely possible that a similar resolution would have been reached (whether he intended it to or not). In fact, even in the thread’s brief lifespan, at least one plausible, non-racist answer was posited by fatdave:

Granted, this isn’t ground-breaking stuff, but I do think there are ways to discuss the OP without devolving into a bigot’s buffet.

And if, in fact, the OP actually was trolling, it would have become apparent soon enough, and the thread could have been closed then. That seems like a more prudent course of action to me, anyway.

From the quoted, and closed, thread:

“First off, this is purely an argumentative thread, and I am in no means suggesting that any race is superior to another.”

OK, so far the OP has merely posted the thread in the wrong forum. Unfortunate, but no biggie.

“Now, if these 5 groups of humanity were assigned equally lucrative pieces of the globe and given the single mission to overtake the other 4 groups, who would win, why would they win, and how long would it take them?”

Yup, it’s definitely not a GQ. Because by his own sentiments, the answer would be “none would win”.

"I’m leaving a lot of the variables in this argument up to discussion, but I’m curious as to which race (if any), people think is superior. This is taking into account a lot more than just physical strength, like intelligence, creativity, etc… "

Rewording that, the OP is asking -again, according to his own sentiments- people to post their prejudices.

There is a gray area here, one that might be explored by a well-crafted OP in Great Debates. Although it would probably end disastrous as well. Because by definition, this question is asking people to attribute specific skills to specific races. While this may certainly have a factual basis in some physical aspects (if I say something like “white people get sun burn quicker than black people”, no one’s gonna call me a racist), it is always a slippery slope when factors of intelligence are concerned. I mean, ask ten people to define “intelligence”, and you’ll get ten answers.

In summation: in the wrong forum, poorly worded, and soliciting racist responses. DrMatrix was quite right in closing it, rather than moving it to GD.

This is pure unadulterated trolling. I’ve never SEEN trolling more blatant than this, and I hang out on the USENET Tolkien groups. (The easiest place to troll ever*.) If Sweet Willy’s posts are more trolling than that, then he has discovered a whole new level of trolling. I’d like to see one of these masterworks of trollery.

You ever notice that if you say a word enough times it becomes meaningless?

*Was it seeing the Balrog’s wings that made Frodo and Sam gay, or was it knowing that Tom Bombadil was actually the incarnation of Illuvatar?

No! It’s Risk! In that case I’m taking South America. Everybody’s gunning for Asia and North America, and Europe is simply undefendable unless you are holding Africa, too. :rolleyes:

Once again, Coldfire, I have no qualm about closing that thread or any thread for that matter. What perturbs me is the notion that even a discussion about racial superiority is forbidden here.

The question as to which race people think is superior is not “pure unadulterated trolling”. It is quite different from a question like, “are whites inferior to blacks?”. It was not asking about any general superiority in intelligence or culture (although those questions, too, ought not to be feared by people like us), but about a superiority in a hypothetical conflict of war.

As Badtz pointed out, there are many considerations (which I think even Cecil dealt with) about how Europe came to dominate the world, or at least a lot of it. We missed the opportunity to put on record scholarly arguments to debunk racism.

Yes, it could have blown up, but what debate is immune from blowing up? Again, there is indeed a forum for this kind of discussion, and the assertion that there is not rings awfully hollow.

No, it isn’t. It’s exactly the SAME question, because one is implicit in the other.

Which race is superior? contains the questions

Are blacks superior to whites?
Are whites superior to blacks?
Are Asians superior to blacks?
Are Asians superior to whites?
Are Native Americans superior to Asians?
…and so on.

He specifically reassigns all people to new, equally lucrative areas. The essence of the question was to pit each race against every other race to see which race was superior when all culture was stripped away.

The post had just flat out said, “Which race is superior?” everyone and their mother would know it’s trolling. Apparently all I need to do to sucker people is mix a board game in and phrase it as a ‘debate.’