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Author Topic: Being discriminated against  (Read 1831 times)

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Offline persephone325Topic starter

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Being discriminated against
« on: December 29, 2014, 07:40:32 PM »
(Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to start any type of argument, or instigate any kind of fight. Staff can lock this thread at any time to prevent such incidents, or move it to another section if need be. It is purely for discussion, and I realize it is a very sensitive subject. Anyone is welcome to share their opinions and experiences. But please do so in a civil manner, and provide clarification if needed.)

Now that that's out of the way...

I, personally, feel like not many younger kids today truly understand what "racism" or "discrimination" is. (I say younger. I'm 23, and I realize that's still rather young. I'm talking more along the lines of young teenagers, and people still in high school.) It's especially prominent on social media sites because people are still upset over the Ferguson case.

What I'm seeing from these younger people, is that they are focusing on the fact that a white police officer killed a young black man and suffered no legal consequences for his actions. "He got away with it because he was white." or "He's a police officer and abused his power." and "He used lethal force without needing to."

What irritates me, though, is I'm seeing an unnerving trend in younger people claiming that only black people suffer from discrimination. I get downright upset about it, because it couldn't be further from the truth. My first thought is: what the hell are you learning in school, if you think that only black people were ever discriminated against?

Have you not heard of the Holocaust? What about when the white men drove the Native Americans off their land? How about when the Irish were refused services nearly everywhere? Or back when HIV and AIDS first came to light, infected people were treated like disgusting lepers? Did you know that people can be discriminated against for even stupider things than race? Hair color, age, what language they speak, religion, social class... The list goes on.

I think I'm also very shocked in the fact that some younger kids just flat out refuse to believe that this is the case. I can't find the picture now, but there was an exchange between two people on Facebook, where the poster pointed out the exact same things and one of their friends commented about how the poster didn't know what they were talking about.

I seriously hope it wasn't real, because one of the exchanges was something along the lines of this:
Poster: Everyone can be the victim of discrimination. The best, and most well known, example I can give you would be the Holocaust.
Friend: What? What does a heavy metal band have to do with what black people go through?
Poster: ....Uh... No, no. I mean the Holocaust. World War 2? Germans killed millions of Jews?
Friend: Didn't that happen a really long time ago? Why are they still complaining about it?

I'm just...I seriously worry about the future of humanity.

I was told that I couldn't be discriminated against because I'm white. I was told that my suffering would never be as terrible as someone else's. Says who? You can't "measure" suffering. You can't compare your suffering to someone else's. I've been discriminated against because of my looks, my weight, my mental illnesses, the scars on my wrists, my choice in music and clothes, and (this is the most ridiculous one in my opinion) my breast size.

I know nobody here is so closed-minded that they'll just refute everything I say. But I'm just...so confused as to why people think someone's suffering can be compared to someone else's. Why they feel like someone's suffering will never be as bad as someone else's. Everyone can be discriminated against. Narrow-mindedness is not just limited to being directed at a specific race.

What is happening in our school system now, that younger kids don't seem to comprehend this fact? I'm just confused, and felt the need to vent. I mean, surely not every younger person thinks like this...do they? I'd like to think that humanity is moving forward, not backward...

Online Oreo

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2014, 08:11:56 PM »
Interesting topic, but I am moving it to the Politics Forum. ; )

Offline persephone325Topic starter

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2014, 08:14:51 PM »
Interesting topic, but I am moving it to the Politics Forum. ; )

I was debating whether it would go in the B&U, or in the Politics one. Sorry about that! ^^

Online Oreo

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2014, 08:16:29 PM »
No worries.

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2014, 08:53:12 PM »
I, for one, am waiting for when the little Oni's class reads 'Anne Frank' later this year.  The kids in her class throw around 'racist' almost like a joke, and I would love to be a fly on the wall when the Holocaust is detailed to them.

An example of how head-desking their attitude is:  Class is reading 'Flowers for Algernon'.  The sentence 'Maybe white mice are smarter' comes up in the text.  One of the F'ed-up Foursome calls out 'That's racist!'

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2014, 10:19:37 PM »
It isn't just one ad.  Thousands of help wanted ads and notices posted in shop windows carried this message that the Irish were not wanted.  The same claims by some historians that this is a myth exist much as those that state the Holocaust never happened or was not as bad as repoted.


Offline Valthazar

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2014, 10:30:27 PM »
I believe that racism and prejudice affect all individuals.  However, one can argue that the terms "racism" and "sexism" refer to systemic hierarchies of oppression, meaning that while individual instances of black-on-white prejudice may be present, effort should be purely directed at institutional discrimination (a.k.a. against people of color).  I strongly disagree with this line of reasoning, since it fails to account for socioeconomic hierarchies within the white community itself.

Speaking from direct experience, part of the issue is that K-12 education today teaches the concept of "white privilege" as being an empirical reality of society, rather than as one (of many) sociopolitical interpretations of reality.  Religious and cultural pluralism is emphasized in today's classroom - as I agree it should be.  However, the self-maturation process for white students and minority students differs in significant ways.  Ethnic minorities are encouraged by the education community to develop both an individual identity (as an American citizen), as well as a group identity (a Black American, a Hispanic American, an Asian American, etc.).  To the contrary, many White Americans graduate lacking any semblance of shared "ethnic" identity as European Americans (apart from vague ideological patriotism or country-of-origin specific identity).

Some may argue that white Americans originate from such culturally diverse countries, and have "melted together" so much in the US that the notion of a shared "European-American" identity is silly.  To the contrary, I would assert that Korean-Americans, Japanese-Americans, and other Americans tracing their lineage to culturally diverse Southeast and East Asian countries share an ethnic kinship identity as "Asian-Americans."  Issues affecting the Asian-American community affect all its constituents.  On the same token, Indian-Americans, Pakistani-Americans, and other South Asian-Americans share a ethno-racial kinship as "Desi" - even though culturally, religiously, and politically, marked differences exist.  Issues affecting the "brown" community affect all its constituents due to a healthy ethnic identity.  For example, when Michael Page went and killed six members of a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, this was an issue that deeply hurt the South Asian community as a whole - regardless of religion or nationality - due to a shared ethnic identity.

I would argue that the infrastructure that perpetuates the belief that "one can't be discriminated because they are white" is based on deep seated feelings of white guilt.  As a non-white individual, I sometimes find it rather remarkable that European Americans cry racism from even considering the notion that certain issues may be negatively affecting the white community in measurable ways, unique from other American ethnic communities.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 12:33:43 AM »
This is something I've been thinking about a lot.  I'm going to take a risk and start posting just on this thread.  Pers, if you hadn't started it on B&U, I wouldn't have seen it.

The concept of privilege and that you can only be discriminated against if you're not heterosexual Caucasian cismale has been going around for quite some time.  In my experience, though, it's not quite how it works.  Our current society seems to reward you provided that you fit seamlessly into whatever stereotypes and categories already have presented themselves.

I may be wrong on this.  If I am, let me know.  It's an idea I've been playing with for a while.

Regardless of your race, sex, gender, orientation or whatever, people seem to do the best when they fall right into the expectations of our society.  Professional people are expected not to have tattoos, men are expected not to wear dresses and to ask the woman out, all the various stereotypes that we know are wrong but still expect people to fall into.

The ironic thing is that by pushing these particular concepts of crooked cops, acceptable racism and so on, that becomes what is expected and thus becomes reality.  New people signing into the force just figure that they can do whatever, and it becomes acceptable.

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/12/cleveland_police_union_defends.html

SNL did a skit recently where a company wanted to make an Asian-American doll.  People talk about a lack of diversity, but when something does happen, someone inevitably complains.


I have an RL friend who considers it sexist when video game characters do something to a woman when they do the exact same thing to a man.  I've spoken to people who consider it perfectly acceptable for non-white people or females to start up groups wholly composed of their particular group, but for Caucasians or males it would be unacceptable.

In my experience, though, the vast majority of people want outright equality.  Things don't have to end up equally but you have to be given the same shot.  That means not dismissing people, but it also means not coddling people.


Another trend I've noticed, though, is the idea that only people of a particular category can stand up for others.  People have repeatedly told me this one, but I can't find it in my heart to believe it.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/11/26/white-supporters-stay-in-background-during-ottawa-vigil-for-michael-brown/#__federated=1 has a good example. 

I've heard people using particular words and told them to cut it out even when they don't apply to me.  If people are doing stuff against me, you are welcome to step in.  When I was being bullied as a kid, I would have been very grateful to have someone step in and help me.  If I met up with some sort of bigoted Amazon or something who honestly believed that men were inferior, I'd be happy to have a woman stand up and say otherwise.

I don't always feel comfortable doing so, though, because people have taken offense and said that I'm white knighting for them.  I usually end up feeling bad if I hear people say something and am not sure if it's one of the things that it's acceptable for me to stand up against.



Some of this is stuff that I've been wondering about for some time.  If I'm wrong, please tell me.  I learn best when things are pointed out.

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2014, 02:36:08 AM »
Whenever someone says that blacks face more discrimination...its usually based on their own experiences.

As a black female I have come across a mess of racism. I have been told and read, countless times that black people (especially women) are the most undesireable people on the planet. I have read that apparently all black people are stupid and that my people are unintelligent by nature. I have seen the way police have treated black citizens for no other reason other than the fact that they think young black men are a threat. It has been known that white males are more likely to get out of heinous crimes before a black male would. Why is that? could someone please explain that to me?

What I find more annoying is that people seem to think that others don't know of other struggles that are out there. I know what happened with the Irish, but did you also know about the slaughter fest that happened between Irish and black citizens in New York? simple because the Irish thought that blacks were being treated better, therefore they wanted them gone? http://clevelandcivilwarroundtable.com/articles/society/nyc_riots.htm

Or how about how completely racist the Natives are to everyone, including white people. How they owned dozens of slaves and to this day deny any interaction with them.

Whats even worse is that schools lie about American history...they always lie, they never tell the truth. Maybe if they did and stopped watering down what really happened, people could get along better.

I'm just here to say that humans are terrible...
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 02:37:21 AM by la dame en noir »

Offline consortium11

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2014, 03:00:50 AM »
The "white people can't suffer from racism/only whites can be racist" (which are slightly different but similar enough to be conjoined for the purposes of this) logic comes about from an attempt to redefine "racism" to mean prejudice plus power; while "traditionally" hating someone due to their race was enough to be considered racist this new version means that unless you hate someone and your race has institutional power.

I dislike it for a couple of reasons.

The first is one that frequently comes up in discourse on social justice; it's redefining a well known existing term and giving it a different meaning. It is exactly uncommon to see a "debate" (and I lose the term loosely) go like this:

"That's racist!"
"No it isn't"
"Why not?"
"Non-white's can't be racist"
"Why not?"
"Racism is prejudice + power and non-white's don't have institutional power"
"Since when has that been the definition of racism?"
"Since I/a scholar said so"
etc etc


I've worked in law and have an interest in philosophy; I'm well aware of jargon and its uses. But jargon also has considerable drawbacks. When you want to discuss something with someone you need to be speaking the same language (used in the general sense). Redefining existing terms (and especially redefining them to suit your position) is not a good way to communicate and far too often comes across as a "gotcha!" style of debating.

2) Even if we accept this new definition (and limit it to institutional power) then to extrapolate from it that "only whites can be racist" is incredibly western-centric. One can look across the world and (tragically) see thousands of examples of non-white groups that have power being prejudiced against other non-white groups. It fits the prejudice + power definition perfectly. The "only white people can be racist" thing may have some power when limited to discussing Europe, North America and Australia... but the rest of the world? Not so much.

3) It's a pointless definition where the only purpose is to avoid having the negative label of "racist" attached to certain actions. If one person sees another person of a different race walking down the street and decides to attack them because of their race does it really matter if that attack is "racist" or only bigoted/prejudiced? It's pretty much the definition of a semantic point.

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2014, 03:20:11 AM »
Anyone can be racist/bigot/prejudiced...

But is it easier for white people to get away with it? Yes, I think it is.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2014, 03:37:00 AM »
I don't think it's unreasonable, consortium11, for various domains to use specific words in a "technical" manner that doesn't 100% gel with their lay meaning.  Making up new words is hard and serves little point if everyone knows that within this discussion, "racism" means x,y,z. 

The problem is of course that there's no doorman there checking that everyone who joins a conversation is using the word in the same way.  I think in the end a lot of the problem with the "only whites can be racist" statement comes down to a similar situation to:

I control my computer with a mouse
What?  How the hell do you do that?  I have a pet mouse and he's utterly incapable of controlling a computer
Why the hell would you have a pet mouse?  it just sits there and does literally nothing until you push it or click it.
etc.


Neither side is using the word incorrectly, but there is still a gap in understanding and usage that makes the other's position seem nonsensical.

Of course, that's only related to your point 1. 

Point 2 - yeah, a lot of discourse is Western centred.  Can't argue that. 

Three, I think to some extent it does matter, in a slightly wider sense than that individual attack.  Reactions - media or whatever - will be different depending on the races of the parties involved and that redefinition/narrowing of "racism" to make it different to "bigotry" helps that conversation and analysis happen by allowing one to split out, to some extent, institutional factors from personal ones.  Hell, that's the very purpose of jargon, isn't it.  Making distinctions within a domain that are not commonly referenced outside it.

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2014, 05:53:48 AM »
Reframing a word to fit a different kind of concept is okies, but I think one should be open about it when it's happening - and unfortunately that doesn't really happen very often with "racist" because the powerful stigma carried by that word is what some people really want to use. Same with "fascist" - when people say "those cops are fascists", "this is a fascist party", "fascist oppression" often it's clearly not about X being like the movements of Hitler or Mussolini, or their ideas, in any definite way, but pointing that out can get you branded as a hypocrite or, occasionally, even hinted to be a friend of the fascists.

I think the word "norm" (and normativity) has been pulled into a similar process of redefinition, or multiple definitions, but often people who are calling out others for having a "white norm", "lean body norm", "patriarchal normativity" etc are deliberately gliding between the different senses the word has acquired. It's used in the sense of

Norm = the way the majority of people (all people, or some large subgroup of people in a country, or the world) think or act about something. It's the norm not to show your nipples in public, to think all children should be schooled, to consider love an important part of life.

Norm = an ideal that people strive for, and feel compelled to strive to conform to, perhaps feel secretly ashamed of failing to reach but which is really unattainable for most people. Often used in discussions of body ideals, skin colour (dark people's children feeling that "real beauty", the highest kind of real star quality is something that one needs to be white to attain, comparing themselves with white models and so on...), sexuality, age (only people under forty being marketed as quite iconically beautiful) etc.

Norm = a yardstick or an ideal image - or a whole subset of ideas, expectations, silently enforced behaviour - being the expression of the power of an apex group. The male order dictating to women what they should look like, should wear, or trying to culturally brainwash women into the ideas desired. Blacks being made to feel guilty or shown up as criminals in the media by the whites, impoverished or jobless people being talked about in belittling ways or excluded from some spaces in society, their children facing high obstacles in getting higher education, LGBTs being excluded and silenced by social occasions where the premise is that you have to bring a partner of the opposite sex or you don't go, and so on.

All of those senses of the word norm are legit, but often they get used to cover up for one another, or by people who slip from one meaning to the other within the same conversation, loudly and without owning up to it. Or saying "Whiteys are forcing X on us", "men force X on all women" and framing it in a way that makes it appear as if it's all Caucasians, all males as individuals, when the sense argued really is "white society", some mechanisms of white or masculine domination force the others to conform and obey.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 06:16:25 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline consortium11

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2014, 06:44:12 AM »
I don't think it's unreasonable, consortium11, for various domains to use specific words in a "technical" manner that doesn't 100% gel with their lay meaning.  Making up new words is hard and serves little point if everyone knows that within this discussion, "racism" means x,y,z. 

The problem is of course that there's no doorman there checking that everyone who joins a conversation is using the word in the same way.  I think in the end a lot of the problem with the "only whites can be racist" statement comes down to a similar situation to:

I control my computer with a mouse
What?  How the hell do you do that?  I have a pet mouse and he's utterly incapable of controlling a computer
Why the hell would you have a pet mouse?  it just sits there and does literally nothing until you push it or click it.
etc.


Neither side is using the word incorrectly, but there is still a gap in understanding and usage that makes the other's position seem nonsensical.

Of course, that's only related to your point 1. 

Point 2 - yeah, a lot of discourse is Western centred.  Can't argue that. 

Three, I think to some extent it does matter, in a slightly wider sense than that individual attack.  Reactions - media or whatever - will be different depending on the races of the parties involved and that redefinition/narrowing of "racism" to make it different to "bigotry" helps that conversation and analysis happen by allowing one to split out, to some extent, institutional factors from personal ones.  Hell, that's the very purpose of jargon, isn't it.  Making distinctions within a domain that are not commonly referenced outside it.

But the two versions of mouse 1) have been in common usage for decades at this point and 2) refer to completely different things so it would take artificially inflicted stupidity or a rather bizarre context for there ever to be much confusion between the two. Moreover the appearance of "mouse" in computing didn't replace the definition of "mouse" to mean that someone who used "mouse" to refer to the animal were (supposedly) wrong in using the term; it added to the definition, not replaced it. In contrast this new definition of racism replaces and invalidates the previous definition.

The use of "mouse" to refer to a pointing device that detects two-dimensional motion relative to a surface doesn't mean that someone who uses "mouse" to relate to a animal is wrong.

The use of this new definition of racism does mean that someone who uses the term without sticking to the prejudice + power narrative is wrong.

That's a pretty clear difference.

Moreover... and this applies to the last point as well... there already was an accepted term for referring to racism by institutions (which is essentially what prejudice + power refers to); institutional racism, which has been widely used since the 90's.   

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2014, 08:06:29 AM »
Sure, maybe the mouse example could have been stronger, but you get the point.  If you'd rather a better one, take "belief" as its used in theology vs. as its used (as I gather it) in atheist circles.  Quite a lot of conversations here on E break down because people are using that word differently.  But yeah, don't get too hung up on the example.

This:

Quote
The use of this new definition of racism does mean that someone who uses the term without sticking to the prejudice + power narrative is wrong.

I disagree with though.  They are using it wrongly within a given context, that's not the same as using it wrong.  A meaning has grown up around it - deliberately or otherwise, I don't know the history - within "social justice" type conversation that isn't the same as the everyday meaning.  That's fine.  You likely mean something very different when you say "the bar" at work as opposed to when you say it after a long day at work.  That's fine, neither usage is wrong, the word just means different things in different situations.  We, as a species, are smart enough to deal with that.  By and large.  The confusion for want of a better word here is solely because the fact that "racism" has two linked but different meanings in two different contexts isn't as well known as the fact that "bar" does.  The issue is education and expectation-setting.

I clearly confused the issue by using "institutional".  "Racism by institutions" is institutional racism, yes.  But that's not what people mean when they use P+P racism.  The difference is that an individual can be bigoted without that falling in to a wider (and I hate myself for saying it) meta-narrative.  P+P racism refers to that meta-narrative, not to what you and I agree is correctly called institutional racism.  Sorry for the poor word choice there.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2014, 08:55:06 AM »
Sure, maybe the mouse example could have been stronger, but you get the point.  If you'd rather a better one, take "belief" as its used in theology vs. as its used (as I gather it) in atheist circles.  Quite a lot of conversations here on E break down because people are using that word differently.  But yeah, don't get too hung up on the example.

This:

I disagree with though.  They are using it wrongly within a given context, that's not the same as using it wrong.  A meaning has grown up around it - deliberately or otherwise, I don't know the history - within "social justice" type conversation that isn't the same as the everyday meaning.  That's fine.  You likely mean something very different when you say "the bar" at work as opposed to when you say it after a long day at work.  That's fine, neither usage is wrong, the word just means different things in different situations.  We, as a species, are smart enough to deal with that.  By and large.  The confusion for want of a better word here is solely because the fact that "racism" has two linked but different meanings in two different contexts isn't as well known as the fact that "bar" does.  The issue is education and expectation-setting.

I clearly confused the issue by using "institutional".  "Racism by institutions" is institutional racism, yes.  But that's not what people mean when they use P+P racism.  The difference is that an individual can be bigoted without that falling in to a wider (and I hate myself for saying it) meta-narrative.  P+P racism refers to that meta-narrative, not to what you and I agree is correctly called institutional racism.  Sorry for the poor word choice there.

Yep, I see what you're after, but the outcome of this seems to be that a person can legitimately get shouted down for being "racist" without him/her ever having done or said anything substantial that would have fit the label racist acts, racist language in any meaningful way - it's enough that somebody on the other side of the game table has felt offended and feels X is a suitable guy to pin the blame on, or a suitable messenger to shoot down - and is in a place (a role or a debate position) where they can make people listen to that slur.

The same would go for "anti-semitic", one of the most damaging allegations you can make about anyone in public talk after the age of Hitler - someone could be tagged antisemitic, or flirting with antisemitism, just because somebody else wants them to be such and has found a way to cook up a reason to say it (and this actually happens, I've heard intelligent people claiming that somebody can be an anti-semite precisely when he admires Jews and Jewish culture, because those person/s were hinting an idea that Jews are powerful and smart)  ::) As long as "X is antisemitic", "X is a racist, his choice of words shows that he buys into an ideology of white supremacy" or "X is constantly sexist" can be decked out with a suitable meta-narrative or guilt-by-association story, it becomes harder to challenge within this kind of talk - and as soon as it gets quoted second hand, it's likely to begin to drift towards the sense that X is racist, an antisemite or whatever in the ordinary sense of "bigoted and vengeful on grounds of race".

(And of course allegations that somebody's language is racist or sexist sometimes rely on their not being as relentless in the other direction as the person who was calling them out in that way. X is anti-black or anti-women simply because he doesn't buy into every single flame blame narrative without questions.)
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 09:00:11 AM by gaggedLouise »

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2014, 09:01:44 AM »
Yep, I see what you're after, but the outcome of this seems to be that a person can legitimately get shouted down for being "racist" without him/her ever having done or said anything substantial that would have fit the label racist acts, racist language in any meaningful way - it's enough that somebody on the other side of the game table has felt offended and feels X is a suitable guy to pin the blame on, or a suitable messenger to shoot down - and is in a plave where they can make people listen to that slur.

The same would go for "anti-semitic", one of the most damaging allegations you can make about anyone in public talk after the age of Hitler - someone could be tagged antisemitic, or flirting with antisemitism, just because somebody else wants them to be such and has found a way to cook up a reason to say it (and this actually happens, I've heard intelligent people claiming that somebody can be an anti-semite precisely when he admires Jews and Jewish culture, because those person/s were hinting an idea that Jews are powerful and smart)  ::) As long as "X is antisemitic", "X is a racist, his choice of words shows that he buys into an ideology of white supremacy" or "X is constantly sexist" can be decked out with a suitable meta-narrative or guilt-by-association story, it becomes harde to challenge within this kind of talk - and as soon as it gets quoted second hand, it's likely to begin to drift towards the sense that X is racist, antisemitic or whatever in the ordinary sense of "bigoted and vengeful on grounds of race".

(And of course allegations that somebody's language is racist or sexist sometimes rely on their not being as relentless in the other direction as the person who was calling them out in that way. X is anti-black or anti-women simply because he doesn't buy into every single flame blame narrative without questions.)

Well, sure.  But that's not an issue with a P+P Racism definition.  As you say yourself, it applies equally well to anti-semitic or any other type of politically incorrect "ism".  Allegations can be made that are incorrect.  Even under the "old" definition of racism that could happen using exactly the logic you use in your anti-semitic example (or, to put it less accusingly, your example of anti-semitism(which my spellcheck is desperate to dehyphenate(which my spellcheck insists isn't a word(my spellcheck feels similarly about "spellcheck"))))

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2014, 09:17:30 AM »
I do feel (as you may have sensed) that allegations of racism (in this new sense, but with the semantic reference frame often blanked or only being stated by a vague implication) are sort of parallel with drive-by allegations of sexism, antisemitism (hyphenated or not) or even "anti-gayism" (hetero-normativity) in the same "new sense". They all rely on a semantic playing field with one group being seen as steadily victimized and oppressed and another group being seen as always in power and making the rules, therefore in the counter-narrative always getting cast as the bad guys.

Also, the cleft of power and war stories of the feud seem to take on much more importance than the actual arguments, differences of opinion, or what kind of input any individual member of those groups have made into forcing the other side down, articulating oppression, articulating liberation, enslaving others etc. Tagging somebody, or some group, with "X is racist!" (with a quote or a link attached) becomes much more important than coming up with any serious reason for it.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 09:21:55 AM by gaggedLouise »

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2014, 09:24:01 AM »
I do feel (as you may have sensed) that allegations of racism (in this new sense, but with the semantic reference frame blanked or only being stated by implication) are sort of parallel with drive-by allegations of sexism, antisemitism (hyphenated or not) or even "anti-gayism" (hetero-normativity) in the same "new sense". They all rely on a semantic playing field with one group being seen as steadily victimized and oppressed and another group being seen as always in power and making the rules, therefore always being cast as the bad guys.

Also, the cleft of power and war stories of the feud seem to take on much more importance than the actual arguments, differences of opinion, or what kind of input any individual member of those groups have made into forcing the other side down, articulating oppression, articulating liberation, enslaving others etc. Tagging somebody, or some group, with "X is racist!" (with a quote or a link attached) becomes much more important than coming up with any serious reason for it.

Only when used as a blunt tool.  Sure, one could cry "whitey is oppressing me".  Or "all men are pigs" or whatever you want.  But your issue there isn't with the concept, the idea, of racism or sexism or whatever.  Your issue there is with people using that idea as an attack (implicitly when its not warranted).  That can and will happen regardless of the precise semantic load - see Oniya's anecdote above, do you really think the kids in question were aware of this sort of debate? 

Sure, decry that behaviour.  Its unhelpful let alone anything else. But I don't think its exacerbated in any way by definitions, whatever they are.

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2014, 09:53:14 AM »
Only when used as a blunt tool.  Sure, one could cry "whitey is oppressing me".  Or "all men are pigs" or whatever you want.  But your issue there isn't with the concept, the idea, of racism or sexism or whatever.  Your issue there is with people using that idea as an attack (implicitly when its not warranted).  That can and will happen regardless of the precise semantic load - see Oniya's anecdote above, do you really think the kids in question were aware of this sort of debate? 

Sure, decry that behaviour.  Its unhelpful let alone anything else. But I don't think its exacerbated in any way by definitions, whatever they are.

People are not likely to take the talk of schoolyard kids seriously as a guide to what racism is about. If this kind of "shortcut-to-saying-You're-racist!" talk gains common currency in the media and in the academy, then it's a problem of a whole different order. Maybe I'm naive to think grown-ups who are talking and writing in the public circulation media, or writing books and articles, and who get paid for it, should be more careful.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 09:54:56 AM by gaggedLouise »

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2014, 10:56:21 AM »
Well, a little.  People will use words imprecisely, or will assume a context is understood that isn't or one of a host of other things that lead to their intent not being fully clear (or, possibly, them not being fully clear of their intent).  That's just gonna happen, and I think we might just have to suck it up.  The sole criterion for talking, writing in the media or writing books or articles is being allowed to do so.  There's no vocabulary test beforehand, nor should there be IMHO.

Again, I don't see this as overly/at all related to the narrowing of the definition of racism, but in general terms: yes, people will use words wrongly. 

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2014, 11:56:14 AM »
If racism requires prejudice + power, how much power do you need for it to qualify? If, just to pick two minorities at random, a black person hates Native Americans, that is prejudice. But if that person, say, owns a small restaurant and intentionally overcooks/undercooks/otherwise ruins the meals of any Native American who orders one, is that racism? It's definitely on a petty scale, rather than the societal level, but in that moment the chef does have a small bit of power over the customer, the power to make their meal enjoyable or unpleasant.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2014, 03:46:33 PM »
In my experience, if I'm trying to set terms, I'll look at the dictionary definition and try to make sure that it fits.  I agree that trying to change words without changing the dictionary is only going to cause confusion.

I have been told by a black person that he can't be racist.  If I knew the guy better, I'd start asking the type of questions, but I kept quiet on it to ask others.  When I did so, it came about that the person was himself racist for that belief.

Abbott and Costello routines do happen in real life, just not the way Abbott and Costello did them.

It's not really fair to use a word that's been around for centuries, give it a new meaning, and expect laypeople to understand what you mean without it being obvious in some way.

Anyone who sees a computer mouse can see that it's different.  Anyone who hears the word racist doesn't instantly realize that having power is a requirement to the new definition.

People are not likely to take the talk of schoolyard kids seriously as a guide to what racism is about. If this kind of "shortcut-to-saying-You're-racist!" talk gains common currency in the media and in the academy, then it's a problem of a whole different order. Maybe I'm naive to think grown-ups who are talking and writing in the public circulation media, or writing books and articles, and who get paid for it, should be more careful.

We have all kinds of this kind of problem in America.

Penn Jillette has talked about how racism is the magic word, because once you say it, you win the argument.

I've had people where I mentioned how I didn't like President Clinton, and nobody cared.  I didn't like President Bush, and nobody cared.  I didn't like President Obama, and suddenly I was racist.  After saying all that, the person I was talking to agreed that it somehow made me racist.  (Clinton, Bush and Obama were the last three presidents we had)

We do end up with the type of situation where dialogue is stifled, leading to people making assumptions.  One of my black friends who has openly stated being okay with my asking such questions has jokingly said that because I didn't automatically assume, "Are you sure you're white? ;-)"

I'm very curious about the culture thing Valthazar has mentioned.  Eventually I will work up the courage to ask.

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2014, 04:02:50 PM »
I'm very curious about the culture thing Valthazar has mentioned.  Eventually I will work up the courage to ask.

As an example, most white Americans are unaware of the ongoing attacks against white farmers in South Africa.  The South African government literally turns a blind eye on these matters, with a South African president even singing songs about "shooting the Boers" (notice how enthusiastic the crowd is).

Yet, because white people (as a generalized group) are reluctant to even realize that there may be collective matters that disproportionately affect them, rarely ever will this receive media limelight (and also likely due to fears of being called "racist").


Offline la dame en noir

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2014, 04:08:46 PM »
I mean...the colonizers came to South Africa and took over...put a majority of natives into servitude and even went as far to call them racial slurs....

Do you honestly think a backlash wouldn't have happened? And when is the last time anyone has seen a black Miss South Africa?