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MigL

Discussing racism/bigotry (split from The Killing of George Floyd: The Last Straw?)

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On 6/16/2020 at 6:33 PM, MigL said:

I was going to say that a discussion ( which America needs to have ) has to have dissenting views, or there is nothing to discuss.

The only solution to this problem is for people to talk to each other, no matter their opinions, so that they are made aware of how others feel.
Calling people 'racist' or continuously down-voting their opinions only entrenches their opinions.
And banning them removes any opportunity to change their dissenting opinions.
And the problem remains ...

Just my opinion, for whatever it's worth.
If only one viewpoint is 'allowed', as all other opinions are 'racist', then there is no discussion.
So what then, is the point of this thread ?
May as well lock it.

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The person needs to be here in good faith, MigL. Talking to trolls helps none of us when they’re always disingenuous and intellectually dishonest.  

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53 minutes ago, MigL said:

If only one viewpoint is 'allowed', as all other opinions are 'racist', then there is no discussion.

This is artificially proscribed. One of the tenets that holds this site together is that one group of humans isn't inherently inferior to any other group of humans, and we're getting lots of folks like essereio who disagree. Please explain your position on the spectrum of "all other opinions", if you feel you aren't being represented fairly by one of our core values.

 

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

If only one viewpoint is 'allowed', as all other opinions are 'racist', then there is no discussion.

That is a pretty enormous straw man you have constructed there. Possibly the biggest I have ever seen. Do you need a hand with it? 🙂

1 hour ago, MigL said:

Calling people 'racist' ...

You are (I think) Canadian/Italian.

I have grey hair.

He is a racist.

It is just a statement of fact. I'm not sure why it is considered offensive or problematic to say that someone who plainly and openly espouses racist opinions is a racist. (Bizarrely, the BBC's code of conduct seems to say that it is OK to say that the British PM or US President "deliberately said something untrue" or "made a racist statement" but it is not OK to call them a liar or a racist. That makes zero sense. That is like insisting that I must be described as "a man who has been known to have some hairs that are of the greyish persuasion".)

I'm sure you are right that it is not going to change their opinions. But I'm not sure what is. Certainly not rational argument. Maybe accidentally falling in love with someone of the race they despise? But outside of rom-coms, I don't see much hope for people like that.

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This discussion is depressingly familiar. Society demands a huge burden of proof before the label "racist" is allowed to be used. If someone demonizes a whole group of people wholesale while alluding to racial stereotypes it is not racist. Even if such attitudes lead to unjust laws it is not systemic racism. Even if someone uses precise language by folks who at some point were deemed racist, it is not racism. That is not new, few folks really think that they themselves are racist. Heck, even during Jim Crow most folks found racism distasteful. Sure, folks think that it is a way of shutting down conversation, but on the same note they do not realize that by using such labels, those folks are invalidating other folks. Moreover, it plays to the assumption that the society as a whole is actually egalitarian and that there are only few if any systemic issues. This, results in significant challenges for those folks that feel differently (say having worse evaluations despite similar peformance, less or no callbacks relative to comparative peers and so on) as it invalidates their experience and speaking out is quickly construed as playing the race card. This historically results in shutting down as obviously no one feels racist, therefore no one is racist. And if something does slip out which goes beyond the acceptable level, it is easily excused with phrases like, "well I do not mean you, you are one of the good ones."

Sure, there may be value in engaging racists IRL, but a forum is usually just used to propagate these views and to paint them in  reasonable colour (i.e. shifting the overton window). It is only recently that the ones on the receiving end are getting a platform. But then just look at the demand of treading careful lest someone might get offended. 

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3 hours ago, MigL said:

Calling people 'racist' or continuously down-voting their opinions only entrenches their opinions.

Yeah, that is possible. On the other hand I have better things to do than convince racist strangers on the internet that they should see the error in their ways.

3 hours ago, MigL said:

If only one viewpoint is 'allowed', as all other opinions are 'racist', then there is no discussion.

I have a difficult time knowing what to think about comments like this.

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If you are of the opinion that a large portion of American society is 'racist', how do you go about changing that ?
Certainly not by name calling, and banning their point of view.
That solves nothing; you still have a large portion of society who think that way.
The only way to move forward is with dialogue, try to understand their position/opinion ( or fears ), and help them see your position/opinion.

So, you have to ask yourselves, do you want the 'status quo', or do you think it's time for understanding and change ?

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

Certainly not by name calling

You mean calling him a "racist"? That is no more "name calling" than referring to someone a "physicist" or a "plumber". Name calling implies an insult. "Racist" is a title he earned all by himself. I don't see what is to be gained by dancing around words to spare people's feelings. This place is not a quilting circle.

 

1 hour ago, MigL said:

So, you have to ask yourselves, do you want the 'status quo', or do you think it's time for understanding and change ?

So there is the "status quo" and there is "your way". 

Some people feel there are other means to change the status quo, and they don't involve allowing others a platform to share hatred and bigotry. I allow no room in my heart for showing understanding for racism. Hatred of others based on the color of their skin is never acceptable to me. I will not stand by while others spew hate without calling them out.

There is a reason people lose sponsors, advertisers, and even jobs after making racist comments. It is not acceptable. I don't see why we should be an exception.

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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance
 

The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. 

Karl Popper described it as the seemingly paradoxical idea that, "In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance."

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8 hours ago, zapatos said:

You mean calling him a "racist"? That is no more "name calling" than referring to someone a "physicist" or a "plumber". Name calling implies an insult. "Racist" is a title he earned all by himself. I don't see what is to be gained by dancing around words to spare people's feelings. This place is not a quilting circle.

 

 

I think this is a problem. Few get to bestow the title of "physicist" or "plumber". It seems almost anyone is allowed to bestow the title of "racist". All you need is an opinion and an interpretation of what someone might have said or done.

Yesterday the Leader of the NDP in Canada, Jagmeet Singh, called another member of the House of Commons "racist" because he voted against his Bill that proclaimed the RCMP in Canada systemically racist, and he considered him to have done so in a dismissive manner. 

I think if you use that term you have a major onus to explain yourself. Because it was said in the House, and not apologised for, Singh was ejected from that session. He later explained that he "saw" racism at the time the Member voted,

We obviously have different rules here. I get the need not to give a platform for certain ideas, and the necessity of removing individuals that espouse them in certain ways, on this privately owned forum. The goal for some is to also insult them, often in a manner that would be totally unacceptable if they had views we agreed with.

Singh may or may not have been right in his interpretation of the Member, but in the House that's not OK, and for good reason.

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39 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I think this is a problem. Few get to bestow the title of "physicist" or "plumber".

Nope. Anyone who has someone come round and do some plumbing (or, less frequently, some physics) can call that person a plumber. 

You just have to see them engaged in the act of plumbing. They can then be called a plumber.

40 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Yesterday the Leader of the NDP in Canada, Jagmeet Singh, called another member of the House of Commons "racist" because he voted against his Bill that proclaimed the RCMP in Canada systemically racist, and he considered him to have done so in a dismissive manner.

There are certainly edge cases. It is not always, if you'll excuse the phrase, back and white. 

I would be suspicious of someone's motives who voted against something like this if the RCMP is systemically racist (and I have no idea if they are or not). 

However, that is not the sort of possibly implied racism we are discussing here. 

So both your analogy and your example fail to hit the spot, I'm afraid.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I think this is a problem. Few get to bestow the title of "physicist" or "plumber". It seems almost anyone is allowed to bestow the title of "racist". All you need is an opinion and an interpretation of what someone might have said or done.

It's an excuse, not a reason; the problem is, so many people don't understand the difference:

An excuse is the reason an opinion seems valid. 

A reason is, often, why an opinion is wrong.

I think the real problem is, some people are just arseholes.

And I can tolerate a nice stupid arsehole, any day of the week...

Something I've learned, on this site... 😉 (Edit for context, I'm the nice stupid arsehole).

Edited by dimreepr

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All of you guys who have made valid points, are the first to assert that certain words have been 'weaponized' by some groups of people.
These words have hurtful connotations, like the 'N' word, or calling a gay person a 'cigarette' in the UK.

Calling someone a plumber or physicist doesn't stifle discussion; calling them a 'racist' does, exactly because it is meant to 'hurt'.

And it furthers the divide between those who consider the other group 'racist', and those who consider the other group 'liberal commie pinkos'.
These two groups should be coming together, and, have a meaningful discussion where they recognize that they are both groups of human beings, that have much more in common than differences. That will bring about change, not further polarization.

America is already polarized in terms of politics, race relations, global warming, etc.
If they don't start coming together soon, they might as well have split into two countries in 1861.

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12 hours ago, MigL said:

If you are of the opinion that a large portion of American society is 'racist', how do you go about changing that ?
Certainly not by name calling, and banning their point of view.
That solves nothing; you still have a large portion of society who think that way.
The only way to move forward is with dialogue, try to understand their position/opinion ( or fears ), and help them see your position/opinion.

So, you have to ask yourselves, do you want the 'status quo', or do you think it's time for understanding and change ?

Racism isn't about labels, it's about hate.  Hate is an issue of emotion not intellect. As emotion, the afflicted may only be solved or remedied by therapy rather than by reasoned discussion as we may find in open forums like this.  In this forum, we can intellectualize the causes and cures for hate but we can no more treat that condition via our online debates with racist than we can remotely remove a tumor.   There's a reason why this science forum discourages visitors seeking medical advice.  Similarly, there are reasons why hate filled sufferers are equally discouraged in this forum.  They need help we can't render here.

 

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28 minutes ago, MigL said:

Calling someone a plumber or physicist doesn't stifle discussion; calling them a 'racist' does, exactly because it is meant to 'hurt'.

It isn't meant to hurt. I don't understand why it would. If someone hates broccoli, would it hurt them to say they are a "broccoli hater"?

If someone hates some ethnic group, why would they care if that is pointed out? Wouldn't they be quietly pleased that their beliefs have been acknowledged? 

And is "white supremacist" an insult? It seems to be used pretty freely, even by respectable media. And I thought it was a label people used to identify themselves and their beliefs.

But "white supremacist" == "racist". By definition.

Would it be rational if someone said "I am a white supremacist but don't you dare call me a racist"

34 minutes ago, MigL said:

These two groups should be coming together, and, have a meaningful discussion where they recognize that they are both groups of human beings, that have much more in common than differences.

Ahh. Bless. 🙂

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Posted (edited)

This thread has drifted quite a bit away from the killing of George Floyd, but it's a good discussion and can maybe be split?

There are a few issues here. One is how "racist" has become such a charged and loaded term. Even some people who are very obviously racist will say, "I'm not racist!" simply because they know it's seen as unacceptable to society as a whole. They know it's viewed as bad, and even though they meet the definition, they don't want to be ostracized or seen as not conforming with group norms and expectations. They often don't want to see themselves that way... "I'm not racist, I just speak my mind and tell it how it is!"

We also can always be better about applying these labels to specific statements or actions, instead of applying them to the person as a whole. It's one thing to say something racist or make a comment that is racially insensitive, but it's quite another to BE a racist. Often, these areas get conflated. 

Also, anytime we try to distill a human being down to a flat one-dimensional label, we're dehumanizing them a bit. Instead of recognizing them as a complex being with many different components... different colors on the palette... different instruments in the band... a tapestry of personality traits and characteristics... the moment we use a single word like "racist" (or liberal or leftie or commie or snowflake or whatever), we immediately reduce them down to that one single word... They're no longer a person, but instead become a caricature. We're talking to the map, and not the territory...

It's helpful to focus on individual statements and behaviors. I think we can all agree, but let's also be honest... if there are enough of those racist statements and behaviors, eventually a threshold gets crossed and it's simpler to just acknowledge... yep, that person is a racist. Where that threshold exists will differ for all of us, and likely from one person or situation to the next... but there's always a threshold between racist and not.

Finally, we could also use more precise terms like jingoistic or xenophobic or segregationist, but alas... most people in racist discussions aren't educated enough to grasp those bigger words. :)

Edited by iNow

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There are two somewhat different issues here: one is discussing racism in general, and another is discussing it on this site.

As for the latter, as iNow and Phi (and possibly others) have pointed out, we want arguments to be in good faith. Disagreement must maintain a certain amount of civility. So if someone shows up dropping N-bombs, or disparaging religions, they will be shown the door. We are not obligated to make people suffer written abuse in an effort to change a bigot's mind. If that's the price of participation, for us it's too high.

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I think this is a problem. Few get to bestow the title of "physicist" or "plumber". It seems almost anyone is allowed to bestow the title of "racist". All you need is an opinion and an interpretation of what someone might have said or done.

There is no question in my mind that the term "racist" has been misused in some cases. As more and more racists no longer feel the need to keep their racist thoughts to themselves, more and more people are responding by calling them out. This is bound to lead to some mislabeling.

But that is the nature of words and people. Not everyone thinks through what they are saying, not everyone distinguishes between racism and bigotry. But if used correctly there is no reason to avoid the use that word.

1 hour ago, MigL said:

Calling someone a plumber or physicist doesn't stifle discussion; calling them a 'racist' does, exactly because it is meant to 'hurt'.

Can you show where someone in this thread called a person a racist with the intent to "hurt"?

1 hour ago, MigL said:

These two groups should be coming together, and, have a meaningful discussion where they recognize that they are both groups of human beings, that have much more in common than differences.

Unfortunately meaningful discussions about race with racists is a fool's errand. As is said so often on this site, you cannot reason someone out of a belief that they did not reason themselves into.

Frankly I don't care if someone is a racist or not, just as I don't care if someone believes in god or not.  But I draw the line if that person hurts another, either through speech or action. There should be consequences for mistreating your fellow human beings, whether through job loss, public shaming, or banning.

 

Edit: Sorry, I was in mid-edit and didn't see the split.

Edited by zapatos
Edit: Sorry, I was in mid edit and didn't see the split.

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

Calling someone a plumber or physicist doesn't stifle discussion; calling them a 'racist' does, exactly because it is meant to 'hurt'.

This is where I feel you're wrong-wrong-wrong, and it's a fundamental mistake that's polluting your whole outlook on this issue. Calling out reprehensible behavior is NOT meant to hurt anybody, it's meant to STOP THE HURT. Once again, you're making the wrong person the victim. 

1 hour ago, MigL said:

And it furthers the divide between those who consider the other group 'racist', and those who consider the other group 'liberal commie pinkos'.
These two groups should be coming together, and, have a meaningful discussion where they recognize that they are both groups of human beings, that have much more in common than differences. That will bring about change, not further polarization.

Perhaps you should decide on a definition of racism that allows no equivocation. For me, anybody who considers any group of humans to be less than human is a flat-out racist. And you know what? If that's truly the way they feel, if they think they're better because of the color of their skin, I want this divide you're talking about to be spotlighted. I want to know who persecutes other humans in this way, and I want the whole world to know I disagree with them completely. 

I have no problem spotting racism, and I feel racists can't be trusted to live among others in a gun culture with a lack of informative media like the US. They undermine the very meaning of living together in a society. I'm more concerned with racism's true victims than with alienating obvious racist assholes. 

 

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1 hour ago, DrmDoc said:

Racism isn't about labels, it's about hate.  Hate is an issue of emotion not intellect. As emotion, the afflicted may only be solved or remedied by therapy

You want to put nearly half the American population in therapy ?
Commendable, and sometimes I even think it's justifiable, but it's not gonna fly, Doc :-) .

 

1 hour ago, Strange said:

It isn't meant to hurt. I don't understand why it would.

'Hurt' is apperception of the 'victim', not the 'perpetrator'.
I could call my good friend a "N' word in a friendly gesture, but he may not perceive it as such; what I meant has little impact on how he feels.

 

11 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Perhaps you should decide on a definition of racism that allows no equivocation.

And that is exactly the point.
Racism has come to mean that the racist doesn't agree with my point of view on race relations.

 

14 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

For me, anybody who considers any group of humans to be less than human is a flat-out racist.

Please quote me me where Essereio stated any group of humans is less than human, and deserved to be labelled 'racist', per your definition.
Sure he made many dubious statements, especially the ones about A Hitler, but I thought all others were discussable, and allowed for changing his mind about at least, some of them.

I still maintain that's how we move forward; not by alienating/dividing a large part of the US population.

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2 hours ago, MigL said:

All of you guys who have made valid points, are the first to assert that certain words have been 'weaponized' by some groups of people.
These words have hurtful connotations, like the 'N' word, or calling a gay person a 'cigarette' in the UK.

Calling someone a plumber or physicist doesn't stifle discussion; calling them a 'racist' does, exactly because it is meant to 'hurt'.

There is absolutely no symmetry in the usage of these words. Words such as 'thugs', the n-word and other slurs are designed to dehumanize folks and are part of a larger effort (knowingly or not) to dismiss concerns of minorities (it is not the system, it is their culture), explain away disparities (we gave them all the opportunity but they just failed to make the right choices), justify uneven application of the law (they need more policing, they are superpredators) and thereby create a system that at best is "just" unfair but more commonly (and especially in the US) creates a form of indirect subjugation where even things like health are racialized. Because the effects of racism are baked into the system and perpetuated enormously by the use of racial stereotypes, the weaponization has huge effect beyond mere hurt feelings.

It is OK to overpolice certain areas, because they are thugs and drug dealers. We do not need to look into the body count because "those folks" are violent and criminal- there is obviously no solution to it so one does not need to address it. "They" are obviously unable to govern themselves or make the right decision, therefore there is  no need to address injustice, broken treaties or any other range of measures that could have been employed. It is OK to sterilize them, it is for their own good. 

This mindset is fairly common and many folks having them would balk at the idea of being racists. Yet this mindset does perpetuate these issues from which certain minorities are suffering from by denying the inherent injustice of the system. In order to perpetuate systemic racism one does not need to be a full fledged member of a white supremacist group, although many feel that this is the minimal threshold before one should call out racism. So to add insult to injury we are now kind of beginning to accept that there is systemic racism (to absolutely no surprise to any minority) but then we put such a high threshold on it that it becomes impossible to actually point it out.

The concept of minority stress, i.e. the stress resulting from conflict between minorities and dominant values has been well documented for a few decades. Especially immigrants learn to not rock the boat and take abuses with a smile to be successful. These attitudes do result in chronic stress, which have been measured in the blood. But not surprisingly some of the highest levels have been found in African Americans, i.e. folks who are a minority but are actually part of the population since pretty much nation existed.

If it really was just folks hurling insults at each other, the world would be objectively a better place. But one form of abuse has resulted in huge, huge damages to a large swath of the population, which does include worse health outcome and even death. There is no symmetry.

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12 minutes ago, MigL said:

Racism has come to mean that the racist doesn't agree with my point of view on race relations.

 

 Do you think that is what we are doing here?

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12 minutes ago, MigL said:

You want to put nearly half the American population in therapy ?
Commendable, and sometimes I even think it's justifiable, but it's not gonna fly, Doc :-) .

We might all benefit from some therapy of sorts but not in this forum.  Racism in America or anywhere for that matter isn't rooted in fact or reason.  If I understand, you see essereio's ban as a stifling of meaningful discussions where opinions and ideas, regardless how heinous, are freely exchanged without rebuke.  In this science forum, as I believe, our opinions and ideas should have some basis in reason or fact.  If you read any of essereio's comments, you'd know they were based in neither.  His "opinions" were clearly rooted in his dislike or hate for what he saw as the distasteful social proclivities of fellow human beings he appears to distinguish solely by skin color.  This was not a expression of ideas but rather a spewing of hate. Although what happened to George Floyd has awakened our global consciousness to the hypocrisy of racism in America, America's racist and systemic racism won't be solved by therapy or discussion.  Racism is a social disease that require social solutions and pressures to remove from our society as essereio has been removed from discussions in this forum. 

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

Please quote me me where Essereio stated any group of humans is less than human, and deserved to be labelled 'racist', per your definition.

Referring to a group of people as "trash" falls under my definition of racist. As in, "Hitler wanted good for people. It's just that his actions were incorrect towards taking out the trash(religion)." He also referred to Hitler as an OK leader, neither good nor bad. And in this context, I'm surprised you don't see this as supportive of the Nazi stance on Jews being sub-human. 

But please, feel free to defend him since you found no offense in how he spoke about black humans. I invite you to point out where his stance educated you.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, zapatos said:

Do you think that is what we are doing here?

As I said to Phi, quote where Essereio states that black Americans are less than human.
He made some points about certain groups being loud and obnoxious, and that is certainly true, about blacks, whites, indigenous, etc.
One could say the protesters are loud and obnoxious, and they were composed of many different ethnic groups.
And he made the point about A Hitler trying to do good...:doh:

1 hour ago, DrmDoc said:

His "opinions" were clearly rooted in his dislike or hate for what he saw as the distasteful social proclivities of fellow human beings he appears to distinguish solely by skin color.

Nowhere does he mention he 'hates' any group based on skin color.
That is an assumption you ( and others ) jump to, based on his opinion about loud obnoxious people.
Sometimes Dimreepr is loud and obnoxious, but I love the guy :D ( we kid each other a lot ).

In my opinion, divisiveness, as in "you're a bad person"/" No, you are", only leads to more of the same.
If, instead, you try to educate a person on what may be offensive/oppressive to a certain group, you try to understand his 'fears', and assure him that his 'fears' of an equitable world are unfounded, then maybe we can get to that equitable world, together.

 

 

16 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

"Hitler wanted good for people. It's just that his actions were incorrect towards taking out the trash(religion)."

I do believe "trash' refers to religion, not a specific group of people.

 

16 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

But please, feel free to defend him since you found no offense in how he spoke about black humans.

Please quote the part about Blacks being sub-human.
I think you're reading more than is written...

 

16 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

I invite you to point out where his stance educated you.

He, and many like minded people ( yes there are many in the US; and probably a large number in Canada also ), don't understand that putting certain oppressed groups on equal footing, doesn't take anything away from him. That is the 'education' I received from Esserio. He is afraid of a 'change' in society, that will affect him very little ( if at all ), but will make a world of difference to oppressed people.
His banning has resulted in the loss of an opportunity to reassure him of this, and bring another ( or any lurkers who think similarly ) over to 'our' side.
Ad the situation remains the same ...

Edited by MigL

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