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Author Topic: Being discriminated against  (Read 1814 times)

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Offline Kythia

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2014, 04:10:42 PM »
AndyZ

Thinking we shouldn't change words without changing the dictionary is...its not a particularly sustainable position.  There's a debate in dictionary-maker circles between prescriptivism and descriptivism.  It's precisely as interesting as the phrase "debate in dictionary maker circles" makes it sound, but in brief its whether dictionaries are/can be/should be laying down rules about how words must be used (prescriptivism) or reflecting how words are actually used (descriptivism).

I bring this up because the point is that not even dictionary makers agree that trying to change words without changing the dictionary should be discouraged.  Generally, the presciptivist viewpoint doesn't gel with reality because people don't take their usage from dictionaries.  Look at local dialect words for example. 

Essentially, I don't think thats a particularly good viewpoint to hold in the long term.  Look at how people use words then check to see if the dictionary has been updated to reflect that yet.  Doing it the other way round is incredibly reductionist.  Words change meaning and they do so faster than new editions of dictionaries are economically feasible.

Further, "racism" hasn't been around for centuries, its been around since the thirties.  Literally, albeit not by much, within living memory - there's no long standing tradition to overthrow.  It's a new word.

All that said, though, it doesn't actually matter because if you did go to the dictionary (depending heavily on which one you chose) you may well find that it is a given definition.  Wikipedia's section on definitions of racism - and note the plural there - does a pretty decent job as an intro.

EDIT:  Grammar is hard.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 04:12:00 PM by Kythia »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2014, 04:40:37 PM »
Do you honestly think a backlash wouldn't have happened? And when is the last time anyone has seen a black Miss South Africa?

Perhaps you could clarify your thoughts a little more.  It is scary thought to suggest that the actions of white colonizers in the past justifies the South African president to openly call for the murder of white farmers today. 

What concerns me is that most white people today don't see such acts as a "collective hit" to their identity as Anglo-Saxons or European-Americans, or what have you.  Because for minorities like us, I would argue that we feel a healthy sense of camaraderie in our ethnic identity - that allows us to unite in times of crises.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #27 on: December 30, 2014, 04:43:39 PM »
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").



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?

I know there's a lot of this kind of thing that happens all over the world.  Admittedly I don't really follow it.

I've heard a number of things where someone's "blackness" is brought into question, though, which is something that's always puzzled me.  I watch anime, but I've never felt as though I'm giving up my racial status in order to be more Japanese.

It ends up reminding me a lot of what people have said regarding gender expression, where men allegedly do X and women allegedly do Y.  I could very well be wrong on that, though.

AndyZ

Thinking we shouldn't change words without changing the dictionary is...its not a particularly sustainable position.  There's a debate in dictionary-maker circles between prescriptivism and descriptivism.  It's precisely as interesting as the phrase "debate in dictionary maker circles" makes it sound, but in brief its whether dictionaries are/can be/should be laying down rules about how words must be used (prescriptivism) or reflecting how words are actually used (descriptivism).

I bring this up because the point is that not even dictionary makers agree that trying to change words without changing the dictionary should be discouraged.  Generally, the presciptivist viewpoint doesn't gel with reality because people don't take their usage from dictionaries.  Look at local dialect words for example. 

Essentially, I don't think thats a particularly good viewpoint to hold in the long term.  Look at how people use words then check to see if the dictionary has been updated to reflect that yet.  Doing it the other way round is incredibly reductionist.  Words change meaning and they do so faster than new editions of dictionaries are economically feasible.

Further, "racism" hasn't been around for centuries, its been around since the thirties.  Literally, albeit not by much, within living memory - there's no long standing tradition to overthrow.  It's a new word.

All that said, though, it doesn't actually matter because if you did go to the dictionary (depending heavily on which one you chose) you may well find that it is a given definition.  Wikipedia's section on definitions of racism - and note the plural there - does a pretty decent job as an intro.

EDIT:  Grammar is hard.

My mistake.  Decades and not centuries.  You also make valid points.

I'm going to narrow my claim that we should avoid word changes to things which can mess up someone's life if a label is placed upon them.  For example, I would consider both "pedophile" and "racist" to be some horrendous things and a mark that someone should generally be avoided.  If I change the word "pedophile" to mean someone who is sexually attracted to feet, though, and call someone that in a public conversation, it's going to seriously mess up their life.

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2014, 04:46:47 PM »
Perhaps you could clarify your thoughts a little more.  It is scary thought to suggest that the actions of white colonizers in the past justifies the South African president to openly call for the murder of white farmers today. 

What concerns me is that most white people today don't see such acts as a "collective hit" to their identity as Anglo-Saxons or European-Americans, or what have you.  Because for minorities like us, I would argue that we feel a healthy sense of camaraderie in our ethnic identity - that allows us to unite in times of crises.
The saying is "Sins of a father" I believe. No one wants this to happen, but there isn't much you can do...especially for a place like South Africa.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #29 on: December 30, 2014, 04:56:05 PM »
The saying is "Sins of a father" I believe. No one wants this to happen, but there isn't much you can do...especially for a place like South Africa.

I think it's unfair to demand equality and fair treatment of all races in predominantly white countries (in Europe, Australia, and the USA), while at the same time sweeping race issues that heavily affect white people "under the rug" in majority non-white countries.

Just imagine how Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians would feel if white people threw up their hands and said, "there isn't much we can do to improve race relations."  It would be an outrage - so it confuses me why we are okay ignoring these issues when the institutionally oppressed happen to be white people.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #30 on: December 30, 2014, 04:57:01 PM »
My mistake.  Decades and not centuries.  You also make valid points.

I'm going to narrow my claim that we should avoid word changes to things which can mess up someone's life if a label is placed upon them.  For example, I would consider both "pedophile" and "racist" to be some horrendous things and a mark that someone should generally be avoided.  If I change the word "pedophile" to mean someone who is sexually attracted to feet, though, and call someone that in a public conversation, it's going to seriously mess up their life.

Funnily enough - and I'm not sure if you knew this or its just a weird coincidence - but there's a strong argument that pedophile does mean someone who likes feet.  It's the difference between πόδι (podi) - foot and παιδί (paidi) - child.  Generally it's made by dickheads, in my experience, who think US American is somehow a bastardisation that must be resisted with every breath.  I just thought I'd mention in case it was a coincidence.

In general, though, I don't 100% agree with you, but I don't 100% disagree.  If you wake up tomorrow and decide that from now on you're going to use "rapist" to mean "someone who likes Doctor Who" and point out rapists accordingly then sure, it could cause problems.  That's not the situation we have here.  First, noone has redefined racist/ism from good to bad - it was a negative and still is.  So that issue is minimised and possibly even removed.  Second, this isn't some random nutjob using a word in a way at odds with the rest of the world.  The definition is known within the domain where it is commonly used - sociology/race studies/etc.  The problem is that you're not familiar with its meaning within that field.  Or, rather, weren't.  Now you are.  If you hear two sociologists discussing racism, you know there's a decent chance they're using it in that jargonised context, rather than in the context you're more familiar with in every day life. 

No word has had its meaning changed, is the point.  Words mean different things to different groups.  That's not a terribly controversial point.

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #31 on: December 30, 2014, 04:59:56 PM »
I think it's unfair to demand equality and fair treatment of all races in predominantly white countries (in Europe, Australia, and the USA), while at the same time sweeping race issues that heavily affect white people "under the rug" in majority non-white countries.

Just imagine how Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians would feel if white people threw up their hands and said, "there isn't much we can do to improve race relations."  It would be an outrage - so it confuses me why we are okay ignoring these issues when the institutionally oppressed happen to be white people.
They're already doing that though.

Like I said, no one wants this to happen but we pay for what our ancestors did and didn't do. Their ancestors went into foreign territory and took over and the children must pay for their stupidity.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #32 on: December 30, 2014, 05:12:48 PM »
Their ancestors went into foreign territory and took over and the children must pay for their stupidity.

I am shocked at your suggestion that "revenge through murder" against white people is a justifiable result in South Africa's modern day government.  The whole concept of anti-racism is that peaceful race relations is something that all races should embrace - with programs put in place so that historically disadvantaged groups can be at a somewhat equal footing.  I don't think "no one wants this to happen" - as clearly prominent members of the ruling class of South Africa wants to kill white people (and receive rousing applause for making such remarks).

What shocks me even more is that this is not making mainstream international news, and that even if it did, those of European descent would likely feel no passionate desire to defend/support the white farmers of South Africa (in a manner similar to the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin rallies).

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #33 on: December 30, 2014, 05:14:31 PM »
I am shocked at your suggestion that "revenge through murder" against white people is a justifiable result in South Africa's modern day government.  The whole concept of anti-racism is that peaceful race relations is something that all races should embrace - with programs put in place so that historically disadvantaged groups can be at a somewhat equal footing.  I don't think "no one wants this to happen" - as clearly prominent members of the ruling class of South Africa wants to kill white people (and receive rousing applause for making such remarks).

What shocks me even more is that this is not making mainstream international news, and that even if it did, those of European descent would likely feel no passionate desire to defend/support the white farmers of South Africa (in a manner similar to the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin rallies).
I'm shocked that you took it as such when I did not say that. I'm saying this is what happens. Its not right, but when one human thinks that their better than another for whatever reason, there is always something to comes back to bite you in the ass. But okay, I want murder.

Offline Blythe

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #34 on: December 30, 2014, 05:18:57 PM »
I am shocked at your suggestion that "revenge through murder" against white people is a justifiable result in South Africa's modern day government.  The whole concept of anti-racism is that peaceful race relations is something that all races should embrace - with programs put in place so that historically disadvantaged groups can be at a somewhat equal footing.  I don't think "no one wants this to happen" - as clearly prominent members of the ruling class of South Africa wants to kill white people (and receive rousing applause for making such remarks).

What shocks me even more is that this is not making mainstream international news, and that even if it did, those of European descent would likely feel no passionate desire to defend/support the white farmers of South Africa (in a manner similar to the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin rallies).

...I think la dame en noir is pointing out that this is a cultural backlash that has built up over time, and she doesn't see a way that it can be stopped at the moment? I'm uh, pretty sure she's not advocating the murder of whites in South Africa--she's just saying that this is going on and is really horrible because of other horrible things that happened in the past. Her statement isn't the best worded, maybe, but...better to try to apply a principle of charity when reading someone's statement rather than make this kind of assumption. :/

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #35 on: December 30, 2014, 05:21:04 PM »
...I think la dame en noir is pointing out that this is a cultural backlash that has built up over time, and she doesn't see a way that it can be stopped at the moment? I'm uh, pretty sure she's not advocating the murder of whites in South Africa--she's just saying that this is going on and is really horrible because of other horrible things that happened in the past. Her statement isn't the best worded, maybe, but...better to try to apply a principle of charity when reading someone's statement rather than make this kind of assumption. :/
Thank you. Its always hard to completely get a point across over the internet. I do not advocate violence...even though in some ways I agree more with Malcom X's methods over MLK's. Trust me, if I hated white people or wanted them all dead...I would not using anything white man made, roleplay on this website or even step outside lol.

I'm better with my words in roleplays.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #36 on: December 30, 2014, 05:24:46 PM »
I apologize for misreading your quote, la dame en noir - I did not mean to accuse you of anything.  I think I accidentally misunderstood your remarks to mean that you were supporting the people cheering on Jacob Zuma during his speech.

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #37 on: December 30, 2014, 05:27:57 PM »
Its all good...I know the internet is not the best place for opinions or debates without being mis-read.

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #38 on: December 30, 2014, 05:30:18 PM »
Funnily enough - and I'm not sure if you knew this or its just a weird coincidence - but there's a strong argument that pedophile does mean someone who likes feet.  It's the difference between πόδι (podi) - foot and παιδί (paidi) - child.  Generally it's made by dickheads, in my experience, who think US American is somehow a bastardisation that must be resisted with every breath.  I just thought I'd mention in case it was a coincidence.

This is one of the reasons that I like the unambiguous spelling of 'paedo-', although Wikipedia lists the term 'podophilia' for the scientific term for 'foot fetish'.  Also rather unambiguous (since we talk about podiatrists and pediatricians and everyone knows the difference.)

Offline Kythia

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #39 on: December 30, 2014, 05:31:37 PM »
This is one of the reasons that I like the unambiguous spelling of 'paedo-', although Wikipedia lists the term 'podophilia' for the scientific term for 'foot fetish'.  Also rather unambiguous (since we talk about podiatrists and pediatricians and everyone knows the difference.)

We talk about paediatricians - http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/explore-by-career/doctors/careers-in-medicine/paediatrics/

Offline AndyZ

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #40 on: December 30, 2014, 05:43:42 PM »
Funnily enough - and I'm not sure if you knew this or its just a weird coincidence - but there's a strong argument that pedophile does mean someone who likes feet.  It's the difference between πόδι (podi) - foot and παιδί (paidi) - child.  Generally it's made by dickheads, in my experience, who think US American is somehow a bastardisation that must be resisted with every breath.  I just thought I'd mention in case it was a coincidence.

In general, though, I don't 100% agree with you, but I don't 100% disagree.  If you wake up tomorrow and decide that from now on you're going to use "rapist" to mean "someone who likes Doctor Who" and point out rapists accordingly then sure, it could cause problems.  That's not the situation we have here.  First, noone has redefined racist/ism from good to bad - it was a negative and still is.  So that issue is minimised and possibly even removed.  Second, this isn't some random nutjob using a word in a way at odds with the rest of the world.  The definition is known within the domain where it is commonly used - sociology/race studies/etc.  The problem is that you're not familiar with its meaning within that field.  Or, rather, weren't.  Now you are.  If you hear two sociologists discussing racism, you know there's a decent chance they're using it in that jargonised context, rather than in the context you're more familiar with in every day life. 

No word has had its meaning changed, is the point.  Words mean different things to different groups.  That's not a terribly controversial point.

I'd heard someone mistake pediatrician for podiatrist, and it was an easy enough jump to make ^_^

The more I think on it, though, the less I see importance in being in a position of power in regards to prejudice.  Perhaps you can explain that one?



Regarding history, I think the vast majority of people want to let the past stay in the past.  We learn from it, we make sure it doesn't happen again, but we don't judge people just because others of a particular persuasion who may not have even been related to those particular people did something terrible.

Other countries are rather difficult to do something about, though.  Generally we end up trying to walk the line between America being the "World Police" and America just staying back and allowing atrocities because we can't be held responsible for everything.

For example, there's a lot of stuff going on in the Middle East concerning women.  We know that it's NOT indicative of all Muslims, but it's bad all the same.  Our choices are either to invade or not to invade, unless someone can design a third choice.

It feels hollow simply to decry something when we could do something about it and don't, even if that something is an unreasonable course of action.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #41 on: December 30, 2014, 05:48:27 PM »
The more I think on it, though, the less I see importance in being in a position of power in regards to prejudice.  Perhaps you can explain that one?

Sorry, I'm not sure I quite get what you're asking?  You don't see how being in power makes the nature of prejudice different - is that it?  Or...I dunno, sorry.  It's late here (and I'm actually going to bed in a bit) and tiredness has obviously hit my reading comprehension.  Could you say what it is you wanted me to explain but in terms that an idiot would understand - I think that's what I'll need.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #42 on: December 30, 2014, 05:56:59 PM »
Sure ^_^ Why exactly is a position of power important with regards to prejudice?

I realize the effects are different.  We had a case in my state several years ago where a guy was standing outside of a voting booth brandishing a nightstick and yelling racial epithets, and should have gone down on voter intimidation cases (they even had him on video) but the Department of Justice stepped in to have charges dismissed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Black_Panther_Party_voter_intimidation_case if you want details there.

Other than in scope, though, is the question of whether the Department of Justice sympathized with a particular race any different from whether a police officer used excessive force because of a particular race?

Basically, why is the person's power important for this kind of thing?

Offline Caehlim

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #43 on: December 30, 2014, 06:03:16 PM »
The more I think on it, though, the less I see importance in being in a position of power in regards to prejudice.  Perhaps you can explain that one?

I'm not one of those who thinks that racism, sexism, etc requires being supported by systems of power. Personally I dislike the current usage of these words and feel that it does a poor job of communication. However...

Imagine that I insult you for using American spelling and through prejudice believe negative things about you because you use it. Let's say for this example that I'm an employer and I turn you down for a job because of it. What I'm doing would be wrong, it would be prejudicial and it could certainly hurt you.

However imagine instead that you're gay, living in an area where anti-gay bigotry is more common and I'm applying the same prejudice. It's still wrong, still prejudicial and could still hurt you. However in addition to all that, you know that the next employer you go to is likely to say the same thing, you've probably encountered lots of insults on the same point before, you know that if you complain you might add to the judgement against gay people "wanting special interests", you know that mainstream opinion isn't necessarily going to side with you. All of these things can make the situation more difficult for you and I, by my own actions of judging you for it, am adding to the environment of anti-gay bigotry that exists within the area reinforcing it as okay for others to do.

People shouldn't do either form of prejudice, but one is operating from a position of power and thus its effects are multiplied.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #44 on: December 30, 2014, 06:13:34 PM »
I'm not one of those who thinks that racism, sexism, etc requires being supported by systems of power. Personally I dislike the current usage of these words and feel that it does a poor job of communication. However...

Imagine that I insult you for using American spelling and through prejudice believe negative things about you because you use it. Let's say for this example that I'm an employer and I turn you down for a job because of it. What I'm doing would be wrong, it would be prejudicial and it could certainly hurt you.

However imagine instead that you're gay, living in an area where anti-gay bigotry is more common and I'm applying the same prejudice. It's still wrong, still prejudicial and could still hurt you. However in addition to all that, you know that the next employer you go to is likely to say the same thing, you've probably encountered lots of insults on the same point before, you know that if you complain you might add to the judgement against gay people "wanting special interests", you know that mainstream opinion isn't necessarily going to side with you. All of these things can make the situation more difficult for you and I, by my own actions of judging you for it, am adding to the environment of anti-gay bigotry that exists within the area reinforcing it as okay for others to do.

People shouldn't do either form of prejudice, but one is operating from a position of power and thus its effects are multiplied.

This^

But also, the next employer might not hold any anti-gay bigotry but could well still not employ you because of the effect having a gay employee would have on his customers - they'll probably go to the shop across the road instead of his.  Prejudice from that position of power spreads its effects wider and more insidiously.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #45 on: December 30, 2014, 06:24:37 PM »
In a parallel discussion I'm having, I've had it said that if people block someone not because of they themselves are prejudiced but because other people they know would have problems with it.  You would, however, say that they themselves are still prejudiced by doing so?

May I request a way in order to explain how that is?  I don't disagree but I do the "mail carrier" thing a lot.

To explain the mail carrier thing, if I was playing chess against two grand masters simultaneously and playing white on one side and black on the other side, I could beat one of them.  I'd just completely copy the moves that one of them made, and they'd effectively be playing against each other.  I love doing that with discussions because I learn so much as a result, the same way I'd learn all kinds of chess strategy playing mail carrier to chess grand masters.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #46 on: December 30, 2014, 06:27:50 PM »
In a parallel discussion I'm having, I've had it said that if people block someone not because of they themselves are prejudiced but because other people they know would have problems with it.  You would, however, say that they themselves are still prejudiced by doing so?

I'm not sure if that was aimed at me or Caehlim?  If me, though, no I wouldn't say they're prejudiced. I'm not sure where I gave that impression, sorry - throw me the quote and I'll rephrase it.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #47 on: December 30, 2014, 06:32:09 PM »
Oh, anyone and everyone who wants to respond to my stuff can do so ^_^ I learn best that way, and I love having a large sample size to compare from.

It wasn't a specific thing you said, just that I'm trying to work it all through my brain.

Is there a particular word for when someone attempts to capitulate to what they perceive as unspoken bigotry?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #48 on: December 30, 2014, 06:34:39 PM »
Is there a particular word for when someone attempts to capitulate to what they perceive as unspoken bigotry?

I doubt it very much  ;D

I'm for bed.  G'night guys.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Being discriminated against
« Reply #49 on: December 30, 2014, 06:37:12 PM »
Sleep well ^_^