Author Topic: "Trigger" words  (Read 13752 times)

GuitarStv

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #250 on: June 12, 2019, 08:49:03 AM »
Not to digress too far here . . . we still don't really have an example of someone publicly humiliated and having his/her career unjustly destroyed by the PC police.

Is the following the type of thing we are looking for? These aren't "Happy Holidays" level, though. Unjust is debatable: these firings were probably employer decisions that they would lose business by having a person like this representing them.
https://abcnews.go.com/US/woman-fired-video-yelling-racially-charged-statements-public/story?id=58831977
https://www.theroot.com/mcdonalds-employee-serves-racial-mcslurries-to-black-cu-1831835406

There are also many firings for racist behavior that was not limited to words. A lot of these involved calling the police on darker skinned people just living their lives.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/07/06/idadam-the-white-man-who-called-police-on-a-woman-at-their-neighborhood-pool-loses-his-job/?utm_term=.3b584b42db08
https://www.thedailybeast.com/missouri-woman-fired-after-blocking-black-man-from-entering-his-home
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/29/black-couple-white-woman-gun-picnic/?utm_term=.be0babf6dc92
etc, etc.

If you google "white fired after racist" you will turn up dozens of these incidents.

The 'unjust' part is pretty important.  If someone is behaving in a racist manner and you're an employer . . . it's a good thing that you're firing those assholes!  The original concern in this thread was not for racists having to deal with the consequences of their actions, but that the PC police were out of control and causing significant damage to people unjustly.

sol

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #251 on: June 12, 2019, 08:53:51 AM »
I'm not really sure that being overtly racist (which most of these examples are) is on the same level as someone lamenting the "PC police."

To a racist, it's just a matter of degree.  What one person calls funny jokes, another calls overt racism.  So from their perspective, being fired for overt racism IS an example of the PC police running amok.

Malkynn

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #252 on: June 12, 2019, 08:56:50 AM »
I'm not really sure that being overtly racist (which most of these examples are) is on the same level as someone lamenting the "PC police."

To a racist, it's just a matter of degree.  What one person calls funny jokes, another calls overt racism.  So from their perspective, being fired for overt racism IS an example of the PC police running amok.

So, so, sooooo true.

Nick_Miller

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #253 on: June 12, 2019, 09:25:48 AM »
When you are the "status quo" in a country (read white, straight, Christian) your have your blinders up to such an extent that you don't see that most things are catered to you. You only notice the times when your expectations of being catered to are not met. And then you lash out with "PC" or "SJW" or the like.

White people don't see movies with 95% white casts as "white movies." They just see them as "movies."

But when they see Black Panther, with a 90% black cast, they see it as a "black movie."

All of this applies to the words we choose as well. White people, especially men, tend to feel like that they should just be able to say whatever with few (if any) social repercussions because either: 1) they have historically been allowed to do so because of unequal societal power, or 2) because they figure everything goes "both ways," meaning they feel that minorities, gay folks, atheists, etc., should just accept being bludgeoned by the majority.


Kris

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #254 on: June 12, 2019, 09:28:14 AM »
I'm not really sure that being overtly racist (which most of these examples are) is on the same level as someone lamenting the "PC police."

To a racist, it's just a matter of degree.  What one person calls funny jokes, another calls overt racism.  So from their perspective, being fired for overt racism IS an example of the PC police running amok.

So, so, sooooo true.

Yeah. That's the thing with racists, sexists, homophobes, and bigots of all kinds. They want to be the ones to set the bar. They want to be able to move it around so that their actions are always okay, on the "fine, no big deal, it was just a joke, I'm not really racist" side. They see themselves as "the good guys"... but that's because they get to control the "good/bad" line, and coincidentally they just happen to always be on the "good" side of it. Tell the average straight dude who thinks he's not sexist that he's said something sexist, and watch this in action.

What they object to, essentially, is anyone else being able to draw the line. Like, the people they're actually being racist/sexist/homophobic to. When other people try to draw the line and not the racist/sexist/homophobe, then the racist/sexist/homophobe pulls out the "PC police" label.

Which is kinda ironic, because it's actually the person him/herself that's so determined to be the one in control of policing/enforcing the situation.

« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 09:37:29 AM by Kris »

Poundwise

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #255 on: June 12, 2019, 09:43:02 AM »
I'm not really sure that being overtly racist (which most of these examples are) is on the same level as someone lamenting the "PC police."

To a racist, it's just a matter of degree.  What one person calls funny jokes, another calls overt racism.  So from their perspective, being fired for overt racism IS an example of the PC police running amok.

Which circles back to the original premise for this thread.  Why can't the customer at the McDonald's tough out being called the n-word? Why can't your co-worker just deal with being called a dumb c*** if she makes a mistake at work? Is it okay to make dumb blond(e) or fiery redhead jokes? Why do some groups go unpunished for racial humor? Why is everybody such a snowflake these days? They are just WORDS!!

Here's my summary of the answers
1. Insults and controversial language of any kind, even humorous, are not usually part of a healthy and professional work environment.  Because it can cause you to lose customers, collaborations, and cause a hostile work environment. Un/fortunately, because of widespread handheld cameras, what you do in public during your time out of work, also can affect your work status.
2. Insult jokes are only funny between social equals (punch down/punch up discussion). If your friend is also your boss, your employee, your grandmother, your student, or even just a friend who is outnumbered 5:1 by race/sex/etc. in your social group, then there's a power inequality which needs consideration.
3. Jokes using slurs were never very fun for disadvantaged groups but only recently have they been able to speak up.  It is a means of "otherizing" groups and splinters society.
4. Self-deprecating humor is okay (because of #2). Stay in your own lane and make jokes about your own ethnicity or group.
5. Manners and politeness were invented for a reason, and that reason is to prevent conflict.  In times of rapid social change, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Another thought. Jokes are sometimes needed to relieve stress.  But it's better to base them on what people do, not what people are.

Nobody's perfect. If somebody didn't mean ill, educating them gently works better and makes allies, not enemies. If you are an ally, you can do the work within your own group of speaking out.

Also, some people just don't have the emotional intelligence to know when and what kind of joke or language is appropriate. This is why a list of (don't use, or use with extreme care) trigger words probably needs to be codified.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 09:49:09 AM by Poundwise »

jeninco

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #256 on: June 12, 2019, 10:58:58 AM »
I'm not really sure that being overtly racist (which most of these examples are) is on the same level as someone lamenting the "PC police."

To a racist, it's just a matter of degree.  What one person calls funny jokes, another calls overt racism.  So from their perspective, being fired for overt racism IS an example of the PC police running amok.

Which circles back to the original premise for this thread.  Why can't the customer at the McDonald's tough out being called the n-word? Why can't your co-worker just deal with being called a dumb c*** if she makes a mistake at work? Is it okay to make dumb blond(e) or fiery redhead jokes? Why do some groups go unpunished for racial humor? Why is everybody such a snowflake these days? They are just WORDS!!

Here's my summary of the answers
1. Insults and controversial language of any kind, even humorous, are not usually part of a healthy and professional work environment.  Because it can cause you to lose customers, collaborations, and cause a hostile work environment. Un/fortunately, because of widespread handheld cameras, what you do in public during your time out of work, also can affect your work status.
2. Insult jokes are only funny between social equals (punch down/punch up discussion). If your friend is also your boss, your employee, your grandmother, your student, or even just a friend who is outnumbered 5:1 by race/sex/etc. in your social group, then there's a power inequality which needs consideration.
3. Jokes using slurs were never very fun for disadvantaged groups but only recently have they been able to speak up.  It is a means of "otherizing" groups and splinters society.
4. Self-deprecating humor is okay (because of #2). Stay in your own lane and make jokes about your own ethnicity or group.
5. Manners and politeness were invented for a reason, and that reason is to prevent conflict.  In times of rapid social change, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Another thought. Jokes are sometimes needed to relieve stress.  But it's better to base them on what people do, not what people are.

Nobody's perfect. If somebody didn't mean ill, educating them gently works better and makes allies, not enemies. If you are an ally, you can do the work within your own group of speaking out.

Also, some people just don't have the emotional intelligence to know when and what kind of joke or language is appropriate. This is why a list of (don't use, or use with extreme care) trigger words probably needs to be codified.

Quoting because I wanted to see this again.

Also, I went away yesterday and thought about it, and I agree with Madge AND Poundwise  -- it shouldn't be the job of the person on the downhill side of things to gently educate the person committing the offense. And if you can't, you can't. But if you can say something gentle, in the moment (or later, if you have a relationship) that's probably the most effective way to get them to think about the effects of what they're saying/doing.

Unless the other person's an asshole. Then just move on, or chalk it up to an example you can use for other people.

Also, in #5 above, I'd say that manners and politeness don't only exist to prevent conflict, they exist to remind us to be thoughtful of each other in a more general sense.  Not only do I not want to fight with you, we might want to be friends -- but we'll never find out if our initial interaction is rude and insult-y.

sol

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #257 on: June 12, 2019, 11:43:53 AM »
Another thought. Jokes are sometimes needed to relieve stress.  But it's better to base them on what people do, not what people are.

Nobody's perfect. If somebody didn't mean ill, educating them gently works better and makes allies, not enemies. If you are an ally, you can do the work within your own group of speaking out.

Also, some people just don't have the emotional intelligence to know when and what kind of joke or language is appropriate. This is why a list of (don't use, or use with extreme care) trigger words probably needs to be codified.

"Jokes" are a pretty minor part of the problem, in my opinion.  The real problem with bigotry isn't that it hurts someone's feeling, it's that it literally hurts people.  Getting your feelings hurt is just a side effect, and one we all have to deal with sometimes.

As an example, I've never shouted racial slurs at someone while stomping on their head, but I've certainly had racial slurs shouted at me while someone stomped on mine.  We used to just call that "bullying" back in the 80s, instead of a hate crime, but it does sort of leave you acutely aware of the level of hatred that some people carry around with them.  Even back then, I was victim-blamed in the worst possible way.  It was my own fault for being a white boy venturing into the wrong part of town, I didn't belong there, they were just acting out of frustration because of a history of oppression by my ancestors of their ancestors.  I was literally beaten by black people for being a white person, then blamed for it, and that's racism in action.  The fact that they called me cracker while doing it may hurt my feelings, but not really in a way that bothers me so much as the bruises.

So far most of this discussion has centered around people getting their feelings hurts, and I understand that we take offense when offense is intended.  In both directions.  But let's not pretend that someone being visited by HR for making an inappropriate joke is ANYTHING like being dragged behind a car, burned alive, or hung from a tree.  The real problem with bigoted language, IMO, isn't necessarily the language itself but the way in which it way normalizes violence.  Making sexist and demeaning remarks to women makes you a creep, but not the same kind of creep who rapes.  I think we're probably well served to remember that words are just words, but we regulate them because they lead to specific actions.  Just like we regulate swastika graffiti, not because the graffiti itself is a problem but because it normalizes behavior that is a problem.

If you're a majority-group member who feels that the PC police are on your back all of the time, you probably need to STFU until you can show me your cuts and bruises.  I don't really care that your feelings are being hurt.  But by the exact same token, if you're a minority-group member who gets your feelings hurt, let's try to remember that the purpose of our objections is about stopping the violence that follows, not JUST about protecting your feelings.

ender

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #258 on: June 12, 2019, 11:58:30 AM »
The real problem with bigotry isn't that it hurts someone's feeling, it's that it literally hurts people.  Getting your feelings hurt is just a side effect, and one we all have to deal with sometimes.

That is certainly part of the "real problem" (as much as we can distill the whole issue of race/gender into a single problem) but there are far more insidious consequences to gender/race issues than "just" violence.

Quote
If you're a majority-group member who feels that the PC police are on your back all of the time, you probably need to STFU until you can show me your cuts and bruises.  I don't really care that your feelings are being hurt.  But by the exact same token, if you're a minority-group member who gets your feelings hurt, let's try to remember that the purpose of our objections is about stopping the violence that follows, not JUST about protecting your feelings.

What do you define as "violence" with respect to this?

Because frankly, I disagree entirely with this paragraph as being the end goal of any gender/race conversations happening in the USA right now.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 12:04:48 PM by ender »

sol

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #259 on: June 12, 2019, 12:25:28 PM »
That is certainly part of the "real problem" (as much as we can distill the whole issue of race/gender into a single problem) but there are far more insidious consequences to gender/race issues than "just" violence.

As in all such matters, you get to make up your own mind.  If you feel that job discrimination or unequal pay scales are violence, I won't argue with you.

Quote
Because frankly, I disagree entirely with this paragraph as being the end goal of any gender/race conversations happening in the USA right now.

It was really more of an aspirational wish list than an attempt to accurately describe our current reality.  Part of the reason I sometimes feel sympathy for the anti-PC crowd is that we seem to have elevated feelings to a position of primacy.  Yea, it's great if everyone gets along and is happy, but we don't fight against racism so that people can attend dinner parties.  There are larger problems afoot here, and sometimes the common complaints about being offended seem kind of shallow and silly by comparison with the real drivers behind the equal rights movement.

merula

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #260 on: June 12, 2019, 12:26:50 PM »
The real problem with bigotry isn't that it hurts someone's feeling, it's that it literally hurts people.  Getting your feelings hurt is just a side effect, and one we all have to deal with sometimes.

That is certainly part of the "real problem" (as much as we can distill the whole issue of race/gender into a single problem) but there are far more insidious consequences to gender/race issues than "just" violence.

Quote
If you're a majority-group member who feels that the PC police are on your back all of the time, you probably need to STFU until you can show me your cuts and bruises.  I don't really care that your feelings are being hurt.  But by the exact same token, if you're a minority-group member who gets your feelings hurt, let's try to remember that the purpose of our objections is about stopping the violence that follows, not JUST about protecting your feelings.

What do you define as "violence" with respect to this?

Because frankly, I disagree entirely with this paragraph as being the end goal of any gender/race conversations happening in the USA right now.


I'm sorry, what are these "far more insidious" consequences than violence? And if you aren't defining what is and is not violence, is it difficult to determine what might be more insidious than that?

sol

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #261 on: June 12, 2019, 12:32:28 PM »
I'm sorry, what are these "far more insidious" consequences than violence? And if you aren't defining what is and is not violence, is it difficult to determine what might be more insidious than that?

I suspect ender was referring to things like preferential hiring/promotion practices, section 8 housing vouchers, standardized testing, popular movie casting decisions, the acceptability of certain types of clothing and outfits, etc.  These are "insidious" consequences of our current race and gender problems because they are less obvious than literal violence.  They are still harmful, just harder to see and deal with.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 01:00:11 PM by sol »

PoutineLover

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #262 on: June 12, 2019, 12:45:09 PM »
I've been following along with interest, and I think the following pictures help clarify how all of the "little things" fit into the whole picture. Individually, people may see things at the base of the pyramid as not that bad, but when these are widespread points of view in society they support the structure that enables the severe violence at the top. We can use laws and punishment to fight the top of the pyramid, but the problems won't go away unless we dismantle the whole thing from the bottom. That's partly why I think it's so important to bring awareness when someone uses language that supports rape culture or white supremacy - if they choose to ignore it that shows what kind of person they are, and if they make an effort to change their language, it's a small step towards equality.

ender

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #263 on: June 12, 2019, 12:50:33 PM »
It was really more of an aspirational wish list than an attempt to accurately describe our current reality.  Part of the reason I sometimes feel sympathy for the anti-PC crowd is that we seem to have elevated feelings to a position of primacy.  Yea, it's great if everyone gets along and is happy, but we don't fight against racism so that people can attend dinner parties.  There are larger problems afoot here, and sometimes the common complaints about being offended seem kind of shallow and silly by comparison with the real drivers behind the equal rights movement.

My experience is nearly all the people focusing conversation to being around "offended" types of topics is instigated by people who are in a position of privilege. Are there many people pushing for racial/gender issues primarily focusing on not being offended or its various derivatives?

This whole quote just trivializes all concerns other than "violence based" and is a nice way of saying "get over it, get a thicker skin."


EricL

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #264 on: June 12, 2019, 12:58:14 PM »
I’m not super comfy with employment getting jeopardized by the online outrage mob. They tend to fire without gaining positive identification.  But if a person genuinely does something racist in the conduct of their job duties, I got no sympathy. 

sol

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #265 on: June 12, 2019, 01:27:59 PM »
My experience is nearly all the people focusing conversation to being around "offended" types of topics is instigated by people who are in a position of privilege.

Do you include Poundwise in that description?  How about Madge and Kris and GuitarStv?  Lots of people in this thread have spoken about how a person's words, or even their very participation in this conversation, are offensive in ways that don't seem to support discrimination or violence.  We had several pages of discussion about negative stereotypes about overweight people, with overweight people telling me I was being offensive by suggesting that being overweight is unhealthy.  I was literally arguing for LESS discrimination against people based on body size, and I STILL offended people.  Those people told me they were offended, and that I needed to listen to them and believe them when they told me I was out of line.  They were not arguing from a position of privilege.

I do come from a position of privilege, by contrast, and so far I'm not offended by anything in this thread.  So at least in our current discussion, trying to blame the privileged class for focusing on perceived offense doesn't seem like a winner.

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Are there many people pushing for racial/gender issues primarily focusing on not being offended or its various derivatives?

Sure there are.  Including me.  They pyramid graphics above make clear why I think it's important to intervene in cases of inappropriate language.  The offended party gets to determine what is offensive these days, and we rely on them to offer everyone guidance on how to not piss people off.  If you're pissing people off, then you're not listening.  If they are pissed off, it's usually because some other people who used similar language to that which you are using also used that language to support and normalize negative behaviors above and beyond just making offensive comments.  The "punching up/down" argument makes clear that a history of violence and active discrimination makes certain words unacceptable, while similar words in the other direction are still socially accepted because they have not historically preceded rape/lynching/genocide.  They're still not polite, though.

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This whole quote just trivializes all concerns other than "violence based" and is a nice way of saying "get over it, get a thicker skin."

Meh.  I'm saying the exact opposite of that, but apparently I'm not getting through.

Every time a white male Trump voter complains about The War on Christmas, I roll my eyes because his grievance is silly.  He feels offended, but there is no harm behind it.  No one has ever attacked him for hanging a stocking by his fireplace, and so his offense is easy to ignore.  Every time a black kid in a hoodie gets held at gunpoint by the cops, he knows there's a very real chance he's about to get shot in the back by a racist cop, because that shit happens all the damn time.  That kid is also offended when the cop calls him a thug, but we all understand that he's offended because that language has historically been a precursor to racial murder.  His grievance is not silly.  And it is because of that history of violence that we can differentiate these two cases of feeling offended.

I'm not suggesting that racism (sexism/homophobia/etc) aren't systemic problems in ways that far exceed direct violence.  I'm saying that a history of violence is the way that we decide which forms of being offended are worth taking seriously and which aren't.  So far, the anti-PC crowd is pretty easy to ignore.  Yes they get attacked all the time and oftentimes in viciously discriminatory language, but without any actual harm to offer as evidence they can sit and spin.  If you're a woman, a gay person, a black person, a Jew, or any of a hundred other classes of people that have been regularly shat upon by European society, I tend to take your "I'm offended" comments a little more seriously.

madgeylou

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #266 on: June 12, 2019, 01:55:19 PM »
My experience is nearly all the people focusing conversation to being around "offended" types of topics is instigated by people who are in a position of privilege.

Do you include Poundwise in that description?  How about Madge and Kris and GuitarStv?  Lots of people in this thread have spoken about how a person's words, or even their very participation in this conversation, are offensive in ways that don't seem to support discrimination or violence.  We had several pages of discussion about negative stereotypes about overweight people, with overweight people telling me I was being offensive by suggesting that being overweight is unhealthy.  I was literally arguing for LESS discrimination against people based on body size, and I STILL offended people.  Those people told me they were offended, and that I needed to listen to them and believe them when they told me I was out of line.  They were not arguing from a position of privilege.

Your characterization of the conversation shows me that you're still missing the point.

The problem isn't people having their feelings hurt. It's that certain ways of thinking and talking about people -- fat people, women, black folks, disabled folks, whoever -- constitute bricks in a wall that says these people are less than.

Continuing to use the word "overweight" feeds into an idea that there is a good weight and a bad weight, and that idea hurts actual people in a million ways from street harassment to shitty medical care to fat people being less likely to have good jobs and more likely to get paid less than straight-sized people even if they do.

Continuing to allow men to make sexist jokes and unsolicited evaluations of women's bodies contributes to a culture where women are seen as less people-y than men. Continuing to allow white people to talk about how black people are like this or that contributes to pushing black folks into the margins of our culture.

It's not just about a person in a marginalized group having their feelings hurt or being offended. It's about recognizing that sexism, racism, ableism, fatphobia, all of these biases are IMMENSE. They show up everywhere all the time. If you're a man, or white, or able-bodied, or straight-sized, you honestly don't know shit about how big these biases are unless you try really hard to learn.

It's like if our water supply had poison in it, but that poison only impacted people from some groups. The more groups you belong to, the more the poison impacts you. If you're not in one of those groups, you would have literally no idea about the poison. You might even think that the people who have poison sickness are making it up, or they're weak, or they need to try harder. And you'd be wrong, but you would have no way of knowing you were wrong unless you adopted some humility and tried to listen to what the poisoned people were telling you.

The process of recognizing the poison and working to get it out of the water is uncomfortable and, unsurprisingly, lots of people on this forum and in the world are completely unwilling to do it. But it is rewarding in ways both immediate and far-reaching, for those who are brave enough to do it.

jeninco

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #267 on: June 12, 2019, 03:14:08 PM »
^--- I don't think Sol is arguing against most of these points, and in fact he's just used PoutineLover's pyramids to argue that not interrupting "offensive" language provides a basis for more serious forms of discrimination and harassment and violence. (Sorry if I mis-summarized that: I'm trying to say that Sol is arguing that biased language SHOULD be called out, because it's support for "bigger" baked in biases.) 

I think he just used "overweight" in his paragraph because he's been conditioned not to call people "fat". So his autonomic impulse to be civil overrode his inclination to use a different word. (Which I get -- there are adjectives I don't use either.)

sol

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #268 on: June 12, 2019, 03:39:13 PM »
^--- I don't think Sol is arguing against most of these points, and in fact he's just used PoutineLover's pyramids to argue that not interrupting "offensive" language provides a basis for more serious forms of discrimination and harassment and violence. (Sorry if I mis-summarized that: I'm trying to say that Sol is arguing that biased language SHOULD be called out, because it's support for "bigger" baked in biases.) 

There's a lot going on in this thread.  I suspect some people are sort of skimming instead of reading as carefully as you are.  It's okay though, I'm accustomed to people who agree with me trying to argue with me instead.

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I think he just used "overweight" in his paragraph because he's been conditioned not to call people "fat". So his autonomic impulse to be civil overrode his inclination to use a different word. (Which I get -- there are adjectives I don't use either.)

Fat is a harder subject than gender/orientation/race.  We have accepted and non-accepted terminology for gay people, as determined by gay people, and for various racial groups, as determined by people of those races.  We have way less consensus on what to call overweight people.  Some people find "fat" offensive but "overweight" acceptable and some people (like madge, apparently) find "overweight" offensive and "fat" acceptable.  Until someone gives me clear direction on this one, I'm just going to assume that some fraction of readers are going to be unhappy with any terminology chosen, and trust that they can see I have no ill intent and am not trying to be offensive.

I think that the disabled community is also still in this weird in-between stage where they can't agree on what terminology is going to be acceptable.  Some people find the word "handicapped" terribly offensive, and some don't like "disabled" because they want to be considered just as able as everyone else.  We've moved past words like "crippled" which pretty much everyone hates, but haven't yet settled on a widely used alternative because suggestions like "differently abled" don't really capture the community.  And then despite objections to "handicapped" by large swaths of the population, we still tend to use "mentally handicapped" with relative impunity to encompass a wide variety of cognitive states, from genetic conditions to people with traumatic brain injuries.

So it goes with fat.  Most of my age cohort find the word offensive and accepted "overweight" as the appropriate medical alternative, and are still struggling to disentangle that medical descriptor from generations of unwarranted judgment and derision.  A new generation of people has recontextualized that whole debate and decided that overweight is offensive and thus settled on "fat" as an acceptable and hopefully judgment-free alternative, but this flies directly in the face of decades of precedent and I think it's dumb to expect everyone else to pull a 180 just because you consider yourself more evolved.  The intent behind the words has to matter for something, right?

My doctor is not trying to make fun of me if he tells me I'm overweight.  If a kid on the playground tells me I'm fat he IS trying to make fun of me, and I'm not going to answer with "why thank you for noticing my perfectly acceptable physical shape" just because I believe the word fat should be acceptable.  It's not, to most people, and language depends on consensus of usage.

Then again, to some people the intent is irrelevant when there's a personal grievance to air.  I won't call madge overweight because she doesn't want to be called overweight and I can respect her wishes, but that didn't stop her from showing up to tell me what to call everyone else.

ender

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #269 on: June 12, 2019, 04:17:21 PM »
I'm not suggesting that racism (sexism/homophobia/etc) aren't systemic problems in ways that far exceed direct violence.  I'm saying that a history of violence is the way that we decide which forms of being offended are worth taking seriously and which aren't.  So far, the anti-PC crowd is pretty easy to ignore.  Yes they get attacked all the time and oftentimes in viciously discriminatory language, but without any actual harm to offer as evidence they can sit and spin.  If you're a woman, a gay person, a black person, a Jew, or any of a hundred other classes of people that have been regularly shat upon by European society, I tend to take your "I'm offended" comments a little more seriously.

There is a significant difference and continuum between "this was offensive to me" and your focus on physical harm being the dictate for whether or not something is problematic. Perhaps you do not mean this to be your intent but you have repeatedly said things implying the threat of violence is what determines when things are unacceptable (a few selections from this thread):

  • The "punching up/down" argument makes clear that a history of violence and active discrimination makes certain words unacceptable, while similar words in the other direction are still socially accepted because they have not historically preceded rape/lynching/genocide
  • Yes they get attacked all the time and oftentimes in viciously discriminatory language, but without any actual harm to offer as evidence they can sit and spin
  • And it is because of that history of violence that we can differentiate these two cases of feeling offended
  • If you're a majority-group member who feels that the PC police are on your back all of the time, you probably need to STFU until you can show me your cuts and bruises
  • I think we're probably well served to remember that words are just words, but we regulate them because they lead to specific actions.

Whether or not you are intentionally doing this, you keep framing the discussion of "acceptable or not" societally in terms of physical violence. If your intent is to communicate there is more nuance to "trigger words" and this gender/race conversation as a whole it would be beneficial to stop framing it only on a "implied violence=trigger, everything else is just feelings" approach. Or if your intent is communicating that the implied threat of violence is not the sole factor at play.

In either case, most of your language in this thread has split it into that divide. Either physical violence or it's something to just get over.

This is why you come across as turning the conversation to whether or not people are "offended" or not. The implication to your approach here is "if it's not language which has a clear trail to physical violence, people need to just get over it."

jeninco

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #270 on: June 12, 2019, 04:20:07 PM »
^-- There's a great book I read a while ago (speaking of "trigger words")  https://www.amazon.com/Cunt-Declaration-Independence-Expanded-Updated/dp/1580050751 The point was sort of "what can you call your parts that isn't derivative of male body parts?"
Spoiler: show
(the word "vagina" comes from Latin for "sheath", or "scabbard", so not a great option if you want to have independently named parts.)
It appears that the attempt, um, didn't really catch on... (It still sounds really crass to me, but I'm older then dirt, apparently.)

Edited to add: I don't see that Sol is dividing this discussion into "oh, my precious feelings are being hurt" vs. physical violence. In fact, I think he's arguing (again, per @PoutineLover 's pyramids) that not calling out the language provides cover and support for the biased behavior, subtle, and outright discrimination, and, yes, violence that lives higher on the pyramid.  The punching up/punching down thing is a way to clarify the social dynamics involved: calling Richard "Dicky" when he's asked you to stop is one thing if he's your boss, another thing if he's your peer, and something completely different if she reports to you.

Honestly, I don't think the 6 or so of us on here right now are disagreeing much. And this is interesting to me, because I've been reading pretty carefully through this thread (for once -- often times I get disgusted and bow out).  And I'd like to point out that we're basically all being civil, even though we disagree (or think we do).
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 04:27:09 PM by jeninco »

expatartist

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #271 on: June 12, 2019, 09:26:18 PM »
What they object to, essentially, is anyone else being able to draw the line. Like, the people they're actually being racist/sexist/homophobic to. When other people try to draw the line and not the racist/sexist/homophobe, then the racist/sexist/homophobe pulls out the "PC police" label.

Which is kinda ironic, because it's actually the person him/herself that's so determined to be the one in control of policing/enforcing the situation.

+1. Also this image made me think of this thread today.

EricL

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #272 on: June 13, 2019, 12:26:00 AM »
What they object to, essentially, is anyone else being able to draw the line. Like, the people they're actually being racist/sexist/homophobic to. When other people try to draw the line and not the racist/sexist/homophobe, then the racist/sexist/homophobe pulls out the "PC police" label.

Which is kinda ironic, because it's actually the person him/herself that's so determined to be the one in control of policing/enforcing the situation.

+1. Also this image made me think of this thread today.

And so we come to BS Facebook memes.  People complaining aren’t people whose heyday was the early 1960s when Jim Crow was a thing. Those people are pushing 75+ and statistically almost, if not already,  dead.  It’s Gen Xers from the 1980s and 90s before everything was an outrage mob immolation worthy offense who complain - justifiably or not justifiably.  I guess the comparison to Nazis isn’t far behind.

This is why I ditched Facebook.  It wasn’t memes from dumb ass right wing trolls and that pissed me off. It was thoughtless shit memes from my own side. 

expatartist

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #273 on: June 13, 2019, 01:34:31 AM »
It's metaphorical. The old man is white America personified. In the 1950s people like my grandfather (who 'attended' at least one Midwestern lynching and bragged about it to my mom) wouldn't have wanted to share fountains. Now, that same demographic a generation or three later - who continue to benefit from past racist policies as I do - complains about the sensitivity of others.

The reason I posted the meme: from my perspective as a white American late GenX female who's lived over a third of my life outside the US, the legacy of Jim Crow still forms part of our society, and even has repercussions overseas. Echoes of it certainly shaped that of people around me as a kid in the lily white Midwestern catholic pocket I lived in.

2Cent

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #274 on: June 13, 2019, 03:13:41 AM »
Quote
The "punching up/down" argument makes clear that a history of violence and active discrimination makes certain words unacceptable, while similar words in the other direction are still socially accepted because they have not historically preceded rape/lynching/genocide.
That's definitely not true. In fact the hate against white people is one of the main drivers of radicalization of Muslim youth. They are being told that white people are evil and to blame for all their troubles, and at least in my country this has led to violence and rape and people feeling like stealing from white people is more like justice than a crime. The most irritating thing is that a lot of them complain about racist things that are happening only in the US, and try to make that an issue here.

Kris

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #275 on: June 13, 2019, 06:02:03 AM »
Quote
The "punching up/down" argument makes clear that a history of violence and active discrimination makes certain words unacceptable, while similar words in the other direction are still socially accepted because they have not historically preceded rape/lynching/genocide.
That's definitely not true. In fact the hate against white people is one of the main drivers of radicalization of Muslim youth. They are being told that white people are evil and to blame for all their troubles, and at least in my country this has led to violence and rape and people feeling like stealing from white people is more like justice than a crime. The most irritating thing is that a lot of them complain about racist things that are happening only in the US, and try to make that an issue here.

And there it is. We’ve come full-circle.

The real problem — if you haven’t been paying attention, folks — is hatred against whites.

Dabnasty

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #276 on: June 13, 2019, 06:13:07 AM »
Quote
The "punching up/down" argument makes clear that a history of violence and active discrimination makes certain words unacceptable, while similar words in the other direction are still socially accepted because they have not historically preceded rape/lynching/genocide.
That's definitely not true. In fact the hate against white people is one of the main drivers of radicalization of Muslim youth. They are being told that white people are evil and to blame for all their troubles, and at least in my country this has led to violence and rape and people feeling like stealing from white people is more like justice than a crime. The most irritating thing is that a lot of them complain about racist things that are happening only in the US, and try to make that an issue here.

And there it is. We’ve come full-circle.

The real problem — if you haven’t been paying attention, folks — is hatred against whites.

Is there not room for two problems in the world?

2cents, if you don't mid sharing, where do you live?

Dabnasty

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #277 on: June 13, 2019, 07:28:57 AM »
Had an interesting and timely conversation with a family member last night. She works as an elementary school teacher in a black majority rural town in the southern US. She mentioned how difficult and frustrating it is to live around people who constantly question her motives and are suspicious of her, referring to students, their parents, and the community in general. She has students who make negative comments about white people and tell her things like "this is why my mom hates white people" when she does something they don't like. She said these comments are not rare, they are the norm. I don't think her concern is just about her feelings, it's that these comments and the prejudice behind them make her job more difficult and makes her students less likely to succeed. They maintain the divide between white and black in that community. They are not harmless words.

Now obviously if a large portion of a community says and does things like this, there's something bigger going on than individual people being assholes. I don't accept the idea that an entire population can be inherently better or worse, something happened in this community's history to create this situation. But that doesn't make prejudiced words ok. It still creates tension and frustration, particularly for my relative who could've easily moved to a more white area after she got her degree. She moved to a poor community (with terrible teacher salaries) to do something good. She's been there ~10 years now so I don't know if she'll stay, but I can't imagine putting up with that by choice. Good teachers may be the best hope to improve that community, and words are chasing them away. Perhaps the most virtuous among us could endure that situation and be fine with it because it's societies fault and not the individual's fault, but when your average white person hears someone say "I hate white people" their reaction is going to be, "well fuck you too then".

Perhaps in a deeper sense, "punching up" is ok, but the real world doesn't care. Defending the right of the oppressed to speak their prejudice is defending their right to maintain their oppression. In the end, we're all just animals and if you poke an animal with a stick, it's going to bite.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 07:33:43 AM by Dabnasty »

GuitarStv

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #278 on: June 13, 2019, 07:59:49 AM »
Had an interesting and timely conversation with a family member last night. She works as an elementary school teacher in a black majority rural town in the southern US. She mentioned how difficult and frustrating it is to live around people who constantly question her motives and are suspicious of her, referring to students, their parents, and the community in general. She has students who make negative comments about white people and tell her things like "this is why my mom hates white people" when she does something they don't like. She said these comments are not rare, they are the norm. I don't think her concern is just about her feelings, it's that these comments and the prejudice behind them make her job more difficult and makes her students less likely to succeed. They maintain the divide between white and black in that community. They are not harmless words.

Now obviously if a large portion of a community says and does things like this, there's something bigger going on than individual people being assholes. I don't accept the idea that an entire population can be inherently better or worse, something happened in this community's history to create this situation. But that doesn't make prejudiced words ok. It still creates tension and frustration, particularly for my relative who could've easily moved to a more white area after she got her degree. She moved to a poor community (with terrible teacher salaries) to do something good. She's been there ~10 years now so I don't know if she'll stay, but I can't imagine putting up with that by choice. Good teachers may be the best hope to improve that community, and words are chasing them away. Perhaps the most virtuous among us could endure that situation and be fine with it because it's societies fault and not the individual's fault, but when your average white person hears someone say "I hate white people" their reaction is going to be, "well fuck you too then".

Perhaps in a deeper sense, "punching up" is ok, but the real world doesn't care. Defending the right of the oppressed to speak their prejudice is defending their right to maintain their oppression. In the end, we're all just animals and if you poke an animal with a stick, it's going to bite.

I'm not sure that what you're describing is "punching up".  The term is used specifically to describe jokes.  Saying 'I hate white people' in a non-joking context isn't a joke . . . it's just racist.

Adam Zapple

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #279 on: June 13, 2019, 08:24:25 AM »
Had an interesting and timely conversation with a family member last night. She works as an elementary school teacher in a black majority rural town in the southern US. She mentioned how difficult and frustrating it is to live around people who constantly question her motives and are suspicious of her, referring to students, their parents, and the community in general. She has students who make negative comments about white people and tell her things like "this is why my mom hates white people" when she does something they don't like. She said these comments are not rare, they are the norm. I don't think her concern is just about her feelings, it's that these comments and the prejudice behind them make her job more difficult and makes her students less likely to succeed. They maintain the divide between white and black in that community. They are not harmless words.

Now obviously if a large portion of a community says and does things like this, there's something bigger going on than individual people being assholes. I don't accept the idea that an entire population can be inherently better or worse, something happened in this community's history to create this situation. But that doesn't make prejudiced words ok. It still creates tension and frustration, particularly for my relative who could've easily moved to a more white area after she got her degree. She moved to a poor community (with terrible teacher salaries) to do something good. She's been there ~10 years now so I don't know if she'll stay, but I can't imagine putting up with that by choice. Good teachers may be the best hope to improve that community, and words are chasing them away. Perhaps the most virtuous among us could endure that situation and be fine with it because it's societies fault and not the individual's fault, but when your average white person hears someone say "I hate white people" their reaction is going to be, "well fuck you too then".

Perhaps in a deeper sense, "punching up" is ok, but the real world doesn't care. Defending the right of the oppressed to speak their prejudice is defending their right to maintain their oppression. In the end, we're all just animals and if you poke an animal with a stick, it's going to bite.

This is the double-edged sword of identity politics and political correctness, in general.  This article articulates that point much better than I would be able to.

https://hbr.org/2006/09/rethinking-political-correctness



Ideology and employment conflicts:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/09/google-diversity-memo-conservatives-react

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/google-engineer-fired-writing-manifesto-women-s-neuroticism-sues-company-n835836

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/wisconsin-supreme-court-rules-marquette-wrongly-fired-conservative-professor/

https://dailycaller.com/2018/11/09/moreno-california-professor-conservative-views-legal-victory/

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/03/13/students-sarah-lawrence-want-review-tenure-conservative-professor-who-criticized

https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-disappearing-conservative-professor

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/03/18/for-tim-allen-being-a-non-liberal-in-hollywood-is-like-being-in-1930s-germany/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.bb2a6cc2ca17

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/business/media/kevin-williamson-atlantic.html

Dabnasty

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #280 on: June 13, 2019, 09:05:44 AM »
Had an interesting and timely conversation with a family member last night. She works as an elementary school teacher in a black majority rural town in the southern US. She mentioned how difficult and frustrating it is to live around people who constantly question her motives and are suspicious of her, referring to students, their parents, and the community in general. She has students who make negative comments about white people and tell her things like "this is why my mom hates white people" when she does something they don't like. She said these comments are not rare, they are the norm. I don't think her concern is just about her feelings, it's that these comments and the prejudice behind them make her job more difficult and makes her students less likely to succeed. They maintain the divide between white and black in that community. They are not harmless words.

Now obviously if a large portion of a community says and does things like this, there's something bigger going on than individual people being assholes. I don't accept the idea that an entire population can be inherently better or worse, something happened in this community's history to create this situation. But that doesn't make prejudiced words ok. It still creates tension and frustration, particularly for my relative who could've easily moved to a more white area after she got her degree. She moved to a poor community (with terrible teacher salaries) to do something good. She's been there ~10 years now so I don't know if she'll stay, but I can't imagine putting up with that by choice. Good teachers may be the best hope to improve that community, and words are chasing them away. Perhaps the most virtuous among us could endure that situation and be fine with it because it's societies fault and not the individual's fault, but when your average white person hears someone say "I hate white people" their reaction is going to be, "well fuck you too then".

Perhaps in a deeper sense, "punching up" is ok, but the real world doesn't care. Defending the right of the oppressed to speak their prejudice is defending their right to maintain their oppression. In the end, we're all just animals and if you poke an animal with a stick, it's going to bite.

I'm not sure that what you're describing is "punching up".  The term is used specifically to describe jokes.  Saying 'I hate white people' in a non-joking context isn't a joke . . . it's just racist.

Perhaps punching up was the wrong term although I've seen it used to refer to more than just jokes. I wasn't responding to anyone in particular because different posters have defended the idea of using negative language against the "privileged" or the "oppressor" to varying degrees. Not to mention it's difficult to draw a line between what is a joke and what is a sincerely held belief. They often overlap.

Even so, if we were referring to "just jokes", they still support these more direct comments in the same way that the base of the white supremacy pyramid presented earlier in this thread supports more harmful actions. These kids obviously learned this language somewhere and they can learn it just as easily from jokes as sincere comments, they often don't know the difference.

Also, "I hate white people" is in fact used as a joke. I grew up in a different but very similar community to the one described above and "I hate white people" or "fucking white people" were commonly used to be funny. It was a different version of "first world problems", although the majority of white people in that area were also quite poor. The teacher I described didn't explicitly say that kids used that term jokingly, but I assumed that this and some of the other comments she referred to were meant to be funny based on context of the conversation.

GuitarStv

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #281 on: June 13, 2019, 09:13:11 AM »
Had an interesting and timely conversation with a family member last night. She works as an elementary school teacher in a black majority rural town in the southern US. She mentioned how difficult and frustrating it is to live around people who constantly question her motives and are suspicious of her, referring to students, their parents, and the community in general. She has students who make negative comments about white people and tell her things like "this is why my mom hates white people" when she does something they don't like. She said these comments are not rare, they are the norm. I don't think her concern is just about her feelings, it's that these comments and the prejudice behind them make her job more difficult and makes her students less likely to succeed. They maintain the divide between white and black in that community. They are not harmless words.

Now obviously if a large portion of a community says and does things like this, there's something bigger going on than individual people being assholes. I don't accept the idea that an entire population can be inherently better or worse, something happened in this community's history to create this situation. But that doesn't make prejudiced words ok. It still creates tension and frustration, particularly for my relative who could've easily moved to a more white area after she got her degree. She moved to a poor community (with terrible teacher salaries) to do something good. She's been there ~10 years now so I don't know if she'll stay, but I can't imagine putting up with that by choice. Good teachers may be the best hope to improve that community, and words are chasing them away. Perhaps the most virtuous among us could endure that situation and be fine with it because it's societies fault and not the individual's fault, but when your average white person hears someone say "I hate white people" their reaction is going to be, "well fuck you too then".

Perhaps in a deeper sense, "punching up" is ok, but the real world doesn't care. Defending the right of the oppressed to speak their prejudice is defending their right to maintain their oppression. In the end, we're all just animals and if you poke an animal with a stick, it's going to bite.

I'm not sure that what you're describing is "punching up".  The term is used specifically to describe jokes.  Saying 'I hate white people' in a non-joking context isn't a joke . . . it's just racist.

Perhaps punching up was the wrong term although I've seen it used to refer to more than just jokes. I wasn't responding to anyone in particular because different posters have defended the idea of using negative language against the "privileged" or the "oppressor" to varying degrees. Not to mention it's difficult to draw a line between what is a joke and what is a sincerely held belief. They often overlap.

Even so, if we were referring to "just jokes", they still support these more direct comments in the same way that the base of the white supremacy pyramid presented earlier in this thread supports more harmful actions. These kids obviously learned this language somewhere and they can learn it just as easily from jokes as sincere comments, they often don't know the difference.

Also, "I hate white people" is in fact used as a joke. I grew up in a different but very similar community to the one described above and "I hate white people" or "fucking white people" were commonly used to be funny. It was a different version of "first world problems", although the majority of white people in that area were also quite poor. The teacher I described didn't explicitly say that kids used that term jokingly, but I assumed that this and some of the other comments she referred to were meant to be funny based on context of the conversation.

As always, context is important.

sol

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #282 on: June 13, 2019, 09:14:31 AM »
Had an interesting and timely conversation with a family member last night. She works as an elementary school teacher in a black majority rural town in the southern US...

You should be prepared for backlash after sharing this story, D.  Some people here are likely to give you the same responses they have previously given me in similar situations.  Let me summarize for you..

1.  You should stfu because no one cares what a white person thinks about racism. Your story shouldn't even be part of this discussion.
2.  By sharing your story you are harming our conversation about race by drowning out real stories of racism.
3.  You're only displaying your privilege by forcing your views on the rest of us, like the patriarchy always does.  Your racism is so inherent you don't even see it.
4.  Your framing of this town as "poor and black" is just another example of your inherent racism denigrating these good hardworking people.
5.  Black people can't be racist against white people, because of your ancestor's history of oppression.

I could go on, but you get the point.  Despite your attempts to add to this discussion in a productive way, I can guarantee you that you've alienated some forum members with that post.  I've had different versions of all five of those points patiently explained to me, some in this very thread.

Quote
when your average white person hears someone say "I hate white people" their reaction is going to be, "well fuck you too then".

I totally agree, but I have tried to explain this to many people here, many times, only to be met with one of the arguments I listed above.  Some people feel fully entitled to voice their "I hate white people" or equivalent opinions, and see doing so as a form of social justice totally unrelated to actually trying to improve relations between races (genders/orientations/etc).  See for example page four of this thread...

As former "white trash," it irritates me to no end to see rich educated people throwing "white trash" parties. Meanwhile I love guillotine memes and making fun of rich white dudes unreservedly. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And before anyone jumps down my throat, no I'm not saying white people are victims and I'm not making an anti-PC argument and I'm not equating ridiculing one part of society with actually oppressing one.  I'm only saying that, in my personal opinion, we don't make these problems any better by attacking each other, in any direction, rather than seeking common ground and some modicum of mutual respect.  Yes, even for people you like to make fun of.  I'm sure someone will find that offensive too. 

Quote
Defending the right of the oppressed to speak their prejudice is defending their right to maintain their oppression.

This part very much echoes of "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" arguments, which I generally support.  You don't solve racism by being racist in the other direction, but by supporting minority communities.  And you don't solve sexism by denigrating men, but by uplifting women.  Every time I see someone say that it's okay that they're being a jerk because they're only being a jerk to people who are jerks, I hang my head a little.  Are we really brought so low? 

In a factual and historical sense I think the Bible is about 90% bullshit, but even our semi-literate nomadic desert ancestors had this whole "love one another" thing figured out better than we do.  Modern society has moved so far away from "turn the other cheek" that the POTUS literally recommends "hitting back ten times harder" and the public eats it up.  I think that comments like "I hate white people" and "I love guillotine memes" are just liberals embracing the same evil they are supposed to be fighting.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 09:18:34 AM by sol »

Dabnasty

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #283 on: June 13, 2019, 09:22:21 AM »
Even so, if we were referring to "just jokes", they still support these more direct comments in the same way that the base of the white supremacy pyramid presented earlier in this thread supports more harmful actions. These kids obviously learned this language somewhere and they can learn it just as easily from jokes as sincere comments, they often don't know the difference.

I'm quoting myself here because I'd like to pull this out as I think it is a standalone argument for why punching up is not ok. It doesn't need any of the anecdotal evidence.

Jokes based on prejudice (against anyone) are harmful because children.

Anyone who would like to dispute other points I've made, feel free, but what I'd really like to know, does anyone disagree with this statement?

ender

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #284 on: June 13, 2019, 09:43:29 AM »
1.  You should stfu because no one cares what a white person thinks about racism. Your story shouldn't even be part of this discussion.
2.  By sharing your story you are harming our conversation about race by drowning out real stories of racism.
3.  You're only displaying your privilege by forcing your views on the rest of us, like the patriarchy always does.  Your racism is so inherent you don't even see it.
4.  Your framing of this town as "poor and black" is just another example of your inherent racism denigrating these good hardworking people.
5.  Black people can't be racist against white people, because of your ancestor's history of oppression.


You do not seem to understand the reason why that type of response comes up. That type of response to diversity issues derails the actual discussion and considered viewpoints away from issue and more systemic issues being presented. A common pattern goes like this:

1. Someone brings up a topic involving sexism/racism
2. A bunch of people not in the affected demographic jump in saying "hey this happens to me too" or "this isn't me!"
3. The person making the original point basically has their point obscured and instead of talking about the original issue, the conversation becomes about the majority experience

This is a good article talking about this - https://medium.com/@KirstyStricklan/why-men-should-stop-saying-notallmen-immediately-f657e244f7a1

An example or two:

* Say someone posts an article about how men overwhelmingly don't shoulder the burden for child/home care. A bunch of men post about how they aren't the problem/etc. That has the effect of dismissing the experience of many women who actively experience/empathize with the problem.

* Someone posts an article about challenges African Americans face with unconscious bias/racism. White folks respond saying "but African American --> white racism exists, too!" and now conversation is no longer about the initial point but deflected towards how whites experience racism too.

It's debatable whether this thread "counts" for this as I'm not really sure the purpose of it (?). But in general, the above is a very common pattern. If you consistently are experiencing pushback along the lines of what you quoted when commenting in diversity related topics, consider whether or not your responses/attitude follows the above antipattern.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 09:47:06 AM by ender »

sol

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #285 on: June 13, 2019, 09:52:16 AM »
You do not seem to understand the reason why that type of response comes up.

Oh I totally understand the why of it.  That does not change my list of actual responses I have been given. 

This is a weird sort of meta-discussion we're having here, in a thread about trigger words.  It's not really a thread about things like racism, it's about how we talk about things like racism.  That sort of changes the dynamic, doesn't it?  I understand that discussions of racism can get derailed in the ways you've described, when people object to the way it's being discussed, but in this case we're literally discussing how these things are discussed.  I think I'm innocent of your charge, in the context of this thread.

And you still haven't recognized or acknowledged the underlying point that several people in this thread keep repeating, which is that everyone would do better to acknowledge their opponent's feelings and perspectives, particularly when you go on the attack and someone objects.  The attacked party is allowed to have a valid opinion about being attacked, and it's usually not a good one.  Maybe there's a way to have these conversations without being a jerk about it?

Remember all of those Trump voters on the forum in 2017 who were super pissed off that everyone was calling them racist?  The fact that they WERE racist wasn't the point, they didn't like being called racist and they said so repeatedly and yet lots of people here were jerks to them about it and felt fine about being jerks, because hey racism!  I think that probably wasn't the most productive approach.  We only entrenched them more deeply in their racist positions, rather than helping them come around.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 09:55:14 AM by sol »

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #286 on: June 13, 2019, 10:00:28 AM »
Remember all of those Trump voters on the forum in 2017 who were super pissed off that everyone was calling them racist?  The fact that they WERE racist wasn't the point, they didn't like being called racist and they said so repeatedly and yet lots of people here were jerks to them about it and felt fine about being jerks, because hey racism!  I think that probably wasn't the most productive approach.  We only entrenched them more deeply in their racist positions, rather than helping them come around.

It's your inexhaustible optimism on things like the chance of racist Trump voters changing to be better people that makes me like your posts sol.

Watchmaker

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #287 on: June 13, 2019, 10:19:31 AM »
I think that probably wasn't the most productive approach.  We only entrenched them more deeply in their racist positions, rather than helping them come around.

I completely agree with this. If our goal is to improve society, I think that can only be done by bringing others over to our side, and I think some of the best tools to do that are understanding and kindness.

I also believe that if someone who has experienced racism, sexism, or some other systemic oppression says "You know what, you are all benefiting from this system and you are not doing enough to end it. I've had it up to here with all of you. I hate white people/men/etc"... well, they've got a point.

It's their choice to make; it won't change what I do. The way to win them back is to do the good things that we should be doing anyway, so there's nothing else to do but keep at it.


Adam Zapple

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #288 on: June 13, 2019, 10:56:38 AM »
Remember all of those Trump voters on the forum in 2017 who were super pissed off that everyone was calling them racist?  The fact that they WERE racist wasn't the point, they didn't like being called racist and they said so repeatedly and yet lots of people here were jerks to them about it and felt fine about being jerks, because hey racism!  I think that probably wasn't the most productive approach.  We only entrenched them more deeply in their racist positions, rather than helping them come around.

It's your inexhaustible optimism on things like the chance of racist Trump voters changing to be better people that makes me like your posts sol.

I agree.  People will not change if they are spoken to by people from a fictitious moral high-ground. 

2Cent

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #289 on: June 13, 2019, 11:05:06 AM »
Quote
The "punching up/down" argument makes clear that a history of violence and active discrimination makes certain words unacceptable, while similar words in the other direction are still socially accepted because they have not historically preceded rape/lynching/genocide.
That's definitely not true. In fact the hate against white people is one of the main drivers of radicalization of Muslim youth. They are being told that white people are evil and to blame for all their troubles, and at least in my country this has led to violence and rape and people feeling like stealing from white people is more like justice than a crime. The most irritating thing is that a lot of them complain about racist things that are happening only in the US, and try to make that an issue here.

And there it is. We’ve come full-circle.

The real problem — if you haven’t been paying attention, folks — is hatred against whites.

Is there not room for two problems in the world?

2cents, if you don't mid sharing, where do you live?
Indeed. They are 2 real problems, and they feed each other. You can not solve one without also solving the other. Reconciliation means both sides should come together, not just reversing the roles.
I live in the Netherlands, and we have our own problems with minorities but nowhere near as bad as in the US.


merula

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #290 on: June 13, 2019, 11:53:23 AM »
Remember all of those Trump voters on the forum in 2017 who were super pissed off that everyone was calling them racist?  The fact that they WERE racist wasn't the point, they didn't like being called racist and they said so repeatedly and yet lots of people here were jerks to them about it and felt fine about being jerks, because hey racism!  I think that probably wasn't the most productive approach.  We only entrenched them more deeply in their racist positions, rather than helping them come around.

It's your inexhaustible optimism on things like the chance of racist Trump voters changing to be better people that makes me like your posts sol.

I think it's Sol's inexhaustible optimism that he can make the world better by appealing to the good inside all of us. Not just Trump voters, but everyone can change to be better people.

I'm too jaded to try anymore and entirely willing to let people be the way they are, which makes me appreciate that optimism all the more.

Poundwise

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #291 on: June 13, 2019, 02:12:58 PM »
Had an interesting and timely conversation with a family member last night. She works as an elementary school teacher in a black majority rural town in the southern US. She mentioned how difficult and frustrating it is to live around people who constantly question her motives and are suspicious of her, referring to students, their parents, and the community in general. She has students who make negative comments about white people and tell her things like "this is why my mom hates white people" when she does something they don't like. She said these comments are not rare, they are the norm. I don't think her concern is just about her feelings, it's that these comments and the prejudice behind them make her job more difficult and makes her students less likely to succeed. They maintain the divide between white and black in that community. They are not harmless words.

Now obviously if a large portion of a community says and does things like this, there's something bigger going on than individual people being assholes. I don't accept the idea that an entire population can be inherently better or worse, something happened in this community's history to create this situation. But that doesn't make prejudiced words ok.

Yes, it would be better if members of a wronged group would deal with others on an individual basis, just in the manner they presumably would like to have been treated. 

On the other hand, is it realistic to demand the free gift of forgiveness and trust from a group that has been wronged for generations? What your relative is doing is wonderful, but she is starting over every year with a new crop of families, some of whom have somehow learned to suspect white people. What is the source of this mistrust?

Had your relative complained that a majority of her students had suffered terrible facial scarring that prevented them from seeing her clearly, there would be no issue of blaming them, just sadness and weariness. You seem to be saying that the scarring of these children's trust is now being passed down through generations by their own parents, and is no longer fresh from the hand of the white slaveholders or white racists. 

Maybe. In this poor, black majority community.

Quote from: 2cent
Indeed. They are 2 real problems, and they feed each other. You can not solve one without also solving the other. Reconciliation means both sides should come together, not just reversing the roles.
No, no.  This is not reversing roles. The fight is not equal. This is a case where the wronged party was never made whole; it is too early to demand that Black Americans forgive and forget when the oppression continues. 

I've learned a lot about history in the past couple of years. One thing I learned is that the end of slavery was not the end of racism. This is a country were thousands of black bodies were hung from trees before 1968. A country where  airplanes strafed black men, women, and children in the streets, destroying a vibrant community to the ground. Civil rights were not the end of racism. Racism, real racism that goes beyond trigger words, that gives white workers preferential employment and where people of color are preferentially pulled over and 1 in 10 children of color have a parent behind bars, even after improvement: real racism was weakened, but it is alive and well in the US today and wants to come roaring back.

That's why Black Americans can't laugh at n-word jokes told by white people.


Poundwise

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #292 on: June 13, 2019, 02:17:58 PM »
TLDR;
When you do wrong and hurt somebody seriously, if you don't apologize or make amends, if bad blood and name calling persists between the two of you, the person you hurt is not as bad as you. You need to apologize and make amends first.

Apply this principle to groups of people.

It's harder because individuals in the offending group of people can only do so much to make amends, and individuals of the hurt group can do only so much to show forgiveness.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 02:19:39 PM by Poundwise »

sol

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #293 on: June 13, 2019, 02:59:52 PM »
TLDR;
When you do wrong and hurt somebody seriously, if you don't apologize or make amends, if bad blood and name calling persists between the two of you, the person you hurt is not as bad as you. You need to apologize and make amends first.

Apply this principle to groups of people.

It's harder because individuals in the offending group of people can only do so much to make amends, and individuals of the hurt group can do only so much to show forgiveness.

This is hard, when group identity becomes a label for an individual.  My 12 year old sister was gang raped by three black men, and it's super easy to say "not all black men" are like that, and it's unfair to label the group because of a few bad actors.  But if you switch those roles around and say BillyBob said the word nigger but "not all white men" are like that, you are absolutely labeled as part of the problem.  You become a racist if you object to being called a racist, because other members of your group are racist.  Do I need to apologize for what other white people have done?  (In many contexts, yes.)  Does a black man have to apologize for what happened to my sister? (No, and it would be considered racist to give any other answer.)  Why are these answers different?

Which is why I think so many racist Trump voters are upset.  Even the ones who recognize that racism is a systemic problem don't like being called racist, if they consider racism something that they have personally spent a lot of time addressing but they still couldn't vote for Hillary.  Choosing to support a racist candidate for President is a racist thing to do, but that's not exactly the same thing as being a racist.  Not any more than choosing to support a male candidate for President makes you a chauvinist, or supporting a gay candidate makes you some variety of queer.  Surely, somewhere in America, there is a relatively liberal union worker who has spent decades advancing the cause of feminism, but just really hates free trade agreements and immigration and so couldn't vote for the female candidate?  I've never met that person, but I can hypothetically imagine she exists.

Which is just a long way of saying that I agree with your point in the general sense, but calling for people to apologize for things they haven't themselves done, because other members of their group have done them, is pretty bigoted too.  I don't expect black people from the suburbs apologize for inner city crime rates, so why should they expect me to apologize for racism?  It's possible to recognize a social ill in your own demographic without being a part of it, and people assuming you're a part of it because of your visible membership in that demographic is kind of a downer, right?  I'm not "demanding forgiveness" from anyone, I'm just asking not to be lumped in with people that you hate, without any evidence.  I'm asking you (the generic you) not to embrace bigotry.  Dab's teacher friend is in the same boat, being labelled and denigrated to her face with racist stereotypes of the exact kind she is trying to fight.

The battle against racism is far from won, but we probably shouldn't be shooting our allies in the middle of it.  That goes for sexism, homophobia, fatphobia, transphobia, religious discrimination, politics, etc.  We probably make more progress by looking for common ground to build on, instead of constantly attacking potential allies for not being perfect enough.  Liberals in particular seem to suffer from an inability to do that, and I think it's part of the reason why "conservatives" have been able to so effectively consolidate political power.  Gun nuts and people who murder abortion doctors are welcomed into the party along side Evangelical Christians and pussy-grabbing philanderers.  People who hate immigrants get to stand shoulder to shoulder with farmers who rely on immigrant labor, and their philosophical differences are quieted in unified opposition to the idea of letting trans people poop in peace.  Why can't liberals build that kind of big tent, with room for rabid feminists AND men struggling with their inherited chauvinism?  Where the BLM folks can let a rich white guy champion mandatory nationwide police de-escalation training?  Unseating the modern conservative bloc is going to require some slightly awkward bedfellows, friends, and I think it's about time we got organized about it.

And if some guy trying resolve these kinds of conflicts accidentally uses the word "overweight" instead of your preferred label of "fat", maybe don't tear him a new one for it.  We're all in this together, and until the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump is consigned to the dustbin of history we need to figure out how to get along.  We can't fight the real problem as long as we're still fighting each other.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 04:10:10 PM by sol »

Poundwise

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #294 on: June 13, 2019, 08:33:23 PM »
Which is just a long way of saying that I agree with your point in the general sense, but calling for people to apologize for things they haven't themselves done, because other members of their group have done them, is pretty bigoted too. 

Here we need to be more specific about what we mean by "apologize".
By apologize, I don't mean that White Americans need to bow and cringe before every person of color you encounter.  I just mean that you should acknowledge that not only were Black Americans wronged in the past, but that they continue to be wronged in the present and that we need to take action to stop this before we can move on .  Supporting formal apologies is a great first step, but ultimately the apologies are empty unless the racist actions stop and amends are made.

Since most here are probably descended from immigrants who came after slavery was formally ended, isn't it unfair ("pretty bigoted") to ask them to shoulder part of the blame? Well, all of us Americans by birth or by immigration have joined this big corporation called the US of A, and like shareholders or employees of a company heavily burdened with debt, we must suffer from the payment of the debt. Also, White Americans, even those who just moved here, are still benefiting, relatively, from a system which largely favors people with lighter skin. 

Hopefully all reading this will admit that the cards have been stacked, ARE stacked at this very moment against those with darker skin, and that their lives are harder and shorter because of it. And all who are not fighting, should feel apologetic for letting the system continue, just as each of us takes some responsibility for each action taken by the government that we voted in or didn't care to vote against.   

Quote
I don't make black people from the suburbs apologize for inner city crime rates.  It's possible to recognize a social ill in your own demographic without being a part of it, and people assuming you're a part of it because of your visible membership in that demographic is kind of a downer, right?  I'm not "demanding forgiveness" from anyone, I'm just asking not to be lumped in with people that you hate, without any evidence.  I'm asking you (the generic you) not to embrace bigotry.  Dab's teacher friend is in the same boat, being labelled and denigrated to her face with racist stereotypes of the exact kind she is trying to fight.

Fine, it's not right to discriminate against white skins either and it is also hurtful. Attacking allies is not smart strategy.

But focusing on the need for Black Americans to acknowledge/apologize for prejudicial crimes and attitudes creates a false equivalency.  The difference in scale is so enormous.  Two wrongs don't make a right, but let Black Americans chastise their own. If you're white, focus on cleaning your own house, as I believe you (sol) generally do. 

If you're better than average but still get scolded or lumped in with the bad, this is hurtful, and you want this to be recognized. All I can say is that 

WHEN a supermajority of Americans recognize the status quo treatment of people of color is not satisfactory and WHEN
the playing field is leveled so that schools, police, the judiciary, financial institutions, the penal system, and employers are treating people equally regardless of color, and WHEN amends have been somehow made for the accumulation of wealth and work that was stolen from those who were enslaved (and amends can never be made for the murders, rapes, and torture that Black Americans underwent)

maybe some of the bitterness of Black American communities will fade away.

Forgiveness cannot come because the wrongs have not yet stopped.

Quote
The battle against racism is far from won, but we probably shouldn't be shooting our allies in the middle of it. 

Yes.

@sol, I wasn't sure if your sister's rape was a hypothetical example you were using, or whether it was an actual event. If it really happened, I'm sorry for anything that I failed to do to fight whatever misogynism and violence in our society that led to this event.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 07:42:28 AM by Poundwise »

dividendman

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #295 on: June 13, 2019, 10:38:56 PM »
I've read this whole thread and what bugs me the most is when Financial Velociraptor signs off as Lizard King.

Velociraptors aren't lizards!!!

2Cent

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #296 on: June 14, 2019, 06:05:08 AM »
Quote
No, no.  This is not reversing roles. The fight is not equal. This is a case where the wronged party was never made whole; it is too early to demand that Black Americans forgive and forget when the oppression continues. 
But that is the thing. Oppression is not continued. It's not perfect, but its also not at all the same as before. So if you keep looking at 1960, 1900's and before you will be disconnected from what the situation is today. In my mind, before there was a problem of rights and people really thought that blacks as a people where bad/lesser. Now it's mostly a perception problem where people are scared of black people they don't know because the black community is seen as more criminal.
So someone nowadays would vote for Obama while still getting nervous when a few black men in baseball shirts step on the bus.

My point is that to make the next step, the black community needs to show how its youth are not crooks and gangsters, not lazy and hostile, but decent loving hardworking and responsible people. Hollywood is doing a lot, but unless it is backed up by what is seen in the streets it won't work. Demanding reparations and protesting and rioting is exactly the opposite of what is needed. Also hiring or admission quotas might help the peoples situation, but also confirms the idea that they are not worthy on their own merit. To me the area of focus should be elementary and high school and supporting young families. If black kids are raised to be great employees and model citizens and are shielded from bad home and community situations, racism will be gone in a generation. Everything else is not going to change a thing. Is it fair that they have to work hard to overcome a problem that they didn't cause? Yes. But it's better than staying at the bottom of society.
Meanwhile, the white community needs to do everything possible to welcome black kids into their circle. So lets have joint soccer teams, joint summer camps, etc. If you spend time with a few well behaved, likable black kids no way will you grow up racist.

Poundwise

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #297 on: June 14, 2019, 07:31:22 AM »
My point is that to make the next step, the black community needs to show how its youth are not crooks and gangsters, not lazy and hostile, but decent loving hardworking and responsible people. Hollywood is doing a lot, but unless it is backed up by what is seen in the streets it won't work.
Pardon me, but that is BULL.
You imply that the what people are seeing "in the streets" is that black youth are crooks and gangsters. Don't place this on the black community.  The black community, when not poor, is fine.  And the reason why these families ended up poor in the first place was because of historical racism. The reason they stay poor is because of a combination of current racism and the vicious cycle type choices which are common to all poor people in our country.

Quote
Demanding reparations and protesting and rioting is exactly the opposite of what is needed. Also hiring or admission quotas might help the peoples situation, but also confirms the idea that they are not worthy on their own merit. To me the area of focus should be elementary and high school and supporting young families. If black kids are raised to be great employees and model citizens and are shielded from bad home and community situations, racism will be gone in a generation.
I would agree that "rioting" is no good and that supporting young families should be an area of focus, but I disagree with you on the rest.  Protesting is an American tradition and right and is not the same as "rioting".

Black kids already HAVE been raised to be great employees etc. and you know what? Middle class and even wealthy Black Americans are being questioned by police, arrested, and jailed on minor or even manufactured offenses.  There is a significant number of white people who are unaccustomed to seeing black faces in their spaces and automatically move to have them removed.  This will continue until it is addressed.

As for demanding reparations, originally I was not for them but it's a fact that Black American families who have been living here for centuries are not as wealthy as those White Americans who have been here for the same amount of time.  It's not because of inborn stupidity or lack of ambition, but because this wealth was stolen time and time again. Do read my link above about the Tulsa Massacre, which was less than a hundred years ago. Obviously that's an extreme case but people didn't (don't) like uppity blacks and often did (do) what they could to tear them down.

Quote
Everything else is not going to change a thing. Is it fair that they have to work hard to overcome a problem that they didn't cause? Yes. But it's better than staying at the bottom of society.
Actually, studies have shown that affirmative action has been effective in its goal, especially in combination with class conscious admissions.  Removal of affirmative action in the workplace causes a drop in minority hirings.

Quote
Meanwhile, the white community needs to do everything possible to welcome black kids into their circle. So lets have joint soccer teams, joint summer camps, etc.
They already exist but people go out of their way to avoid the "ghetto" camps; or simply avoid living in "bad" neighborhoods to avoid the "bad" schools.

Quote
If you spend time with a few well behaved, likable black kids no way will you grow up racist.
That's a lovely thought, but not always true from what I have seen.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 07:38:02 AM by Poundwise »

Poundwise

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #298 on: June 14, 2019, 07:36:53 AM »
Also a question, @2Cent, since you're in the Netherlands how do you know what Black Americans are like except through the smudgy window of the Internet, which likes to show the outrageous and unusual?

2Cent

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Re: "Trigger" words
« Reply #299 on: June 14, 2019, 09:20:00 AM »
Also a question, @2Cent, since you're in the Netherlands how do you know what Black Americans are like except through the smudgy window of the Internet, which likes to show the outrageous and unusual?
Yea, so that is where I probably should stop and be quiet, but if I don't talk, I don't give you the opportunity to challenge my views. My country has similar problems with some minorities, which use the American Black people as a model in how they talk, dress and behave. I've been in Chicago a while and it seemed pretty accurate. I know black people are not somehow inherently inferior, and I work with a lot of black people who are quite frankly great at their jobs and good human beings.

But how does anyone know besides from a tiny fraction of black people they interacted with and tv/internet. So I guess "In the street" means on tv view of the street.

I'm sure affirmative action works, but it seems to me to reduce the symptoms while aggravating the cause, which is the bad reputation.

Quote
They already exist but people go out of their way to avoid the "ghetto" camps; or simply avoid living in "bad" neighborhoods to avoid the "bad" schools.
I agree, US city planning is set up to favour separation of classes. So this is where white/rich people need to step up and not only organize things for their own neighborhoods, but open up to poor black kids. I could see a system of sister neighborhoods that link poor and rich together.

Anyway, that's how it's set up here and it kind of works.