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Source: (consider it) Thread: And there's another gay bakery case
Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
If I think some choice is morally wrong, you can and do argue why it's morally OK (or vice versa) in the particular circumstances you have in mind.

What's less than fully honest is to use language in a way which condemns that choice out of hand by labelling it with this word that you refuse to define.

Do you object to the word 'murder' on similar grounds? Or to the word 'cowardice'?
You haven't improved your explanation of why 'things that disadvantage people based on their "race"' needs any further definition. In particular, you haven't given any examples where the lack of definition is causing trouble on this thread.
Also if you want to argue that the factual description shouldn't always entail the moral judgement nothing stops you from doing that directly.
(I'll admit that I've read enough of Plato's dialogues to think that a demand for precise definitions doesn't always increase clarity and further discussion.)

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Soror Magna
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Russ, I have one word for you: continuum.

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Russ, I have one word for you: continuum.

Racism's like the Christian concept of sin, Russ. You don't get away with stealing because you're not a murderer. So you don't get away with casual racism because you're not marching with Britain First or going out Paki-bashing.

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Eliab
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Russ's serious point is that "racism" and "homophobia" have connotations of "hate" because hatred is what motivates the clearest expressions of those concepts. I don't think he's objecting to a word having a range of meaning per se (I know his post reads that way, but it can't possible be intended because almost every word in English has a range of meaning) but to the use of the word to associate all examples of a wide continuum with the odium properly incurred at one extreme.

He's sort-of right to object to that, because it can effectively shut down discussion of the interesting boundary cases by associating them with worst examples, thus making someone who tries to defend or explain acts at one end of the scale look as if they are defending hate.

The problem is that I don't think anyone here is using the words to that end. It may have some merit as a general point, but it's a straw man on this thread.

But to avoid it, I will henceforth on this thread try to use the unqualified terms "racism", "sexism" and "homophobia" (and the like) to mean "deliberate and culpable injustice towards people of a different racial or sexual identity or orientation, intentionally on the basis of that identity or orientation".

For cases outside that definition, which are sometimes referred to with similar language, I will try to add an appropriate qualifier. Thus the Bigotsville baker, who won't seat a gay couple in his shop so as not to offend other customers is a "functional homophobe" - he may have no personal hostility, but he functions as if he does. The organisation that for cultural reasons sees white male leadership as normal, and thus finds it easier to promote white males, without deliberately seeking to discriminate is thus "institutionally racist". Offending someone through ignorance or insensitivity can be "inadvertently racist". Those phrases designate concepts with features in common with the unvarnished words for the various prejudices, but without the connotation of personal hostility or hatred.

Does that work for "honest discourse", Russ?

It seems to me that making that distinction leaves the arguments for anti-discrimination laws entirely untouched, though. The rational for such laws is to address the social harm of exclusion and injustice, and those remain whether we agree on the scope of the word for 'racism' or not.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
But to avoid it, I will henceforth on this thread try to use the unqualified terms "racism", "sexism" and "homophobia" (and the like) to mean "deliberate and culpable injustice towards people of a different racial or sexual identity or orientation, intentionally on the basis of that identity or orientation".

<snip>

It seems to me that making that distinction leaves the arguments for anti-discrimination laws entirely untouched, though. The rational for such laws is to address the social harm of exclusion and injustice, and those remain whether we agree on the scope of the word for 'racism' or not.

I think you're under-estimating or mis-interpreting the scope of the argument here. Typically the obsessive focus on the motives of discriminators is a search for some acceptable pretext to discriminate. As an example, think of literacy tests or poll taxes in the segregation-era American south. These were facially neutral on the question of race. They were also, as administered, used to keep members of certain racial groups from voting. I'm not sure I see the value in playing along with pretextual reasons for discrimination.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Leaf
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
I'm not sure I see the value in playing along with pretextual reasons for discrimination.

The value IMO is in discerning what preferred "veils" are being used, and why. Discriminators wish to use veils of language to disguise ugly outcomes: appeals to neutrality, objectivity, education ("we don't want uneducated voters, do we?") etc. I'm interested in knowing why they choose the veils they do, and to whom they hope to appeal.

The alt-right is struggling for catchy new ways to cover old bullshit. I recently stumbled on a forum which proclaimed, "We believe in racial and sexual realism", meaning racism and sexism. It was a helpful description, not only for indicating what might be found inside, but also in its appeal to 'realism'.

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
prejudice - sometimes it's an uncomfortable feeling, sometimes it's a brick through the living room window...

...Russ, you seem to be only interested in figuring out what degree of prejudice is still "moral".

I'm definitely interested in figuring out what's right and wrong.

And I'm also interested in use of language.

Bricks through the living room window are ISTM a wrong, a crime against moral law, regardless of any racial motivation. And I'm wary - suspicious - of the sort of slanted language which tries to give uncomfortable feelings the same weight, the same negative overtones, as bricks through the window.

Not saying that's necessarily your intent here. Just trying to indicate more clearly the linguistic abuses I'm against.

Suppose you read a magazine article which listed the hazards of urban living as muggers, rapists, Big Issue
sellers and drug dealers. Would you not feel that homeless people were being traduced thereby ? That the act of grouping together different entities implies a commonality that may be untrue ?

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Bricks through the living room window are ISTM a wrong, a crime against moral law, regardless of any racial motivation. And I'm wary - suspicious - of the sort of slanted language which tries to give uncomfortable feelings the same weight, the same negative overtones, as bricks through the window.

So you value damage to property over damage to a human being's psyche. This doesn't surprise me in the least.

It also shows you've completely ignored everything that's been said on this thread over many months about the practical effects of racism.

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orfeo

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For example, it so happens I watched this less than 12 hours ago.

https://www.channel4.com/news/jamelia-interview

Just think about the effect of having this happening to you, day in, day out.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Bricks through the living room window are ISTM a wrong, a crime against moral law, regardless of any racial motivation. And I'm wary - suspicious - of the sort of slanted language which tries to give uncomfortable feelings the same weight, the same negative overtones, as bricks through the window.

Firstly, this seems an unusual linguistic stipulation. The word 'theft' applies equally to Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's family, to a jewel heist, and to a burglar emptying a pensioner's flat of all property. Would you call the word 'theft' slanted or say that it gives them all the same weight?
The same might apply to the words 'greed' or 'anger' or 'envy'. Are the traditional seven deadly sins slanted language?

Secondly, as Soror Magna points out there is something of a continuum here. Uncomfortable feelings around people based on their perceived race may not as such be a breach of any moral law, but someone who feels them will be tempted to behave immorally on the basis of those feelings should the circumstances come up. Just as a feeling of envy doesn't breach any law but is a temptation to breach the law should the circumstances come up. The ladder between minor impoliteness and refusal of sympathy at one end and murder at the other is to be sure a long one. People at the bottom of the ladder may well be horrified by those at the top. But it's all one ladder. Any line is arbitrary.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... Bricks through the living room window are ISTM a wrong, a crime against moral law, regardless of any racial motivation.

Of course, you won't accept this, or you'll say it doesn't matter, but the reaction of e.g. the only black family in the neighbourhood compared to all the white families in the neighbourhood to a brick through the window will be very different. However, since you don't give a rat's ass about anyone else's feelings, you'll say that it's all the same, no matter whose window it is. And then you'll tell us Orange Marches are just like any other parade.

quote:

And I'm wary - suspicious - of the sort of slanted language which tries to give uncomfortable feelings the same weight, the same negative overtones, as bricks through the window. ...

Look, Russ, I specifically referred to the word "continuum" in a subsequent post to try to make it clear to you that there are degrees of racism, sexism, whatever. Do you even know what a continuum is? You and I may agree that a catcall isn't as bad as a sexual assault, but pretending that only one is sexist is just that: pretending. Bill O'Reilly calling a black woman "hot chocolate" is not as bad as burning a cross on her lawn*, but they're both racist.


*I'm pretty sure he didn't; it's just an extreme example

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Louise
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
However, since you don't give a rat's ass about anyone else's feelings, you'll say that it's all the same, no matter whose window it is.

hosting
Please don't make personal accusations on this board - there is a Hell board for that.

Thanks,
Louise
Dead Horses Host

hosting off

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
I will henceforth on this thread try to use the unqualified terms "racism", "sexism" and "homophobia" (and the like) to mean "deliberate and culpable injustice towards people of a different racial or sexual identity or orientation, intentionally on the basis of that identity or orientation".

For cases outside that definition, which are sometimes referred to with similar language, I will try to add an appropriate qualifier. Thus the Bigotsville baker, who won't seat a gay couple in his shop so as not to offend other customers is a "functional homophobe" - he may have no personal hostility, but he functions as if he does. The organisation that for cultural reasons sees white male leadership as normal, and thus finds it easier to promote white males, without deliberately seeking to discriminate is thus "institutionally racist". Offending someone through ignorance or insensitivity can be "inadvertently racist". Those phrases designate concepts with features in common with the unvarnished words for the various prejudices, but without the connotation of personal hostility or hatred.

Does that work for "honest discourse", Russ?

Having any definition at all is a good start.

I'm not immediately convinced that your usage solves the problem.

If you repeat something that someone tells you and it turns out to be untrue, are you a "functional liar" ? If a drunken pedestrian steps out in front of your car, are you an "inadvertent murderer" ?

Or might you just be a little bit unhappy that the negative connotations associated with the words "liar" and "murderer" are somehow sticking to you despite the technically-accurate qualifier that proclaims your innocence of what these words usually mean ?

The other question might be how you would describe the citizens of Bigotsville who prefer to buy their foodstuffs from white hands, out of some conscious or unconscious association of dark hands with dirt ? Being unjust is not their intent; they just prefer to shop where they feel more comfortable or have more confidence in the standards of hygiene.

Are they unjust ? Do they, in your opinion, have some sort of moral duty to weigh up the pros and cons of each retail establishment in the town and make a rational and defensible decision as to where to shop ? Or do they have some sort of free choice ?

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Curiosity killed ...

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
If you repeat something that someone tells you and it turns out to be untrue, are you a "functional liar" ?

Because that comes under gossip and false witness. The Bible isn't great on either of those.

quote:
If a drunken pedestrian steps out in front of your car, are you an "inadvertent murderer" ?
Yep, it's just called involuntary manslaughter.

quote:
The other question might be how you would describe the citizens of Bigotsville who prefer to buy their foodstuffs from white hands, out of some conscious or unconscious association of dark hands with dirt ? Being unjust is not their intent; they just prefer to shop where they feel more comfortable or have more confidence in the standards of hygiene.
These guys are unconscious racists. They just are.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The other question might be how you would describe the citizens of Bigotsville who prefer to buy their foodstuffs from white hands, out of some conscious or unconscious association of dark hands with dirt? Being unjust is not their intent; they just prefer to shop where they feel more comfortable or have more confidence in the standards of hygiene.

Are they unjust? Do they, in your opinion, have some sort of moral duty to weigh up the pros and cons of each retail establishment in the town and make a rational and defensible decision as to where to shop? Or do they have some sort of free choice?

This seems to be a pretty clear distillation of defining racism out of existence. More precisely, the argument seems to be that you're not really a racist unless you're Klansman who is literally lynching a black person at this very moment. Anything less extreme gets put in the "not racist at all category". Of course the Klan will also claim that they're not racist, using many of the same arguments as Russ, so maybe racism doesn't exist after all! [Roll Eyes]

And we seem to once again have returned to the claim that it's not racism if you truly believe it. The racial caste system maintained by the white folks of Bigotville isn't really "racist" or "unjust" according to Russ because they truly believe black people are inherently filthy inferiors. This sincerity makes everything they do okay and "moral". Because "[b]eing unjust is not their intent", they are therefore not unjust. This seems like a much more moral relativist flavor of argument than I'd expect from Russ, but there it is.

I'm also not sure how the question of whether or not the white residents of Bigotsville have a "free choice" relates to the question of whether racial discrimination is unjust. I'd argue that it is, but Russ seems to be making the claim that if racial discrimination is freely chosen it is actually just.

And once again, the motives of the unjust are a lot less relevant than the fact of injustice, at least in my estimation. YMMV.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The other question might be how you would describe the citizens of Bigotsville who prefer to buy their foodstuffs from white hands, out of some conscious or unconscious association of dark hands with dirt ? Being unjust is not their intent; they just prefer to shop where they feel more comfortable or have more confidence in the standards of hygiene.

Are they unjust ? Do they, in your opinion, have some sort of moral duty to weigh up the pros and cons of each retail establishment in the town and make a rational and defensible decision as to where to shop ? Or do they have some sort of free choice ?

As we've said before you have some eccentric views of morality. Saying something is a free choice and having some sort of moral duty are not incompatible alternatives. To say something is a free choice means it's not moral or legal for anyone to coerce you. It doesn't mean that none of the options that you're free to choose between are immoral. (You're free to sleep around behind your partner's back; it's still morally wrong and your partner is free to dump you when they find out.)

In Roman Catholic ethics there is the concept of crass ignorance: there are some beliefs which it is morally culpable to hold or moral facts which it is morally culpable not to know because if one had exercised ordinary moral responsibility in one's deliberations one would have found out. I think a conscious belief that people of other races are dirty falls in that category. As for an unconscious belief I think it is again one's moral responsibility to overcome it. (This is I think in line with Aristotelian ethics, definitely in line with Stoic ethics, and I think in line with Kantian ethics.)

In any case, believing consciously or unconsciously that members of other races are dirty is a paradigm case of racism: it is a belief that can only be consciously held through malice or callousness, and allowing it to determine one's actions disadvantages the people about whom it is held. There are many grounds upon which you may determine the choice of which establishment you frequent. But that isn't one of them.

In any case, don't you think that acting on such a belief would violate your proposed right to be treated as a person?

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
These guys are unconscious racists. They just are.

Possibly.. ..when they're asleep.

But it depends what you mean by "racist".

If you define that word very broadly, so that anyone who pays the slightest attention to the apparent race of their fellow human beings is a racist, then there are a lot of them about, but each racist act is not a huge deal. If conversely you follow Eliab and define racism as deliberate racial-hate-motivated injustice, then it's a really bad thing to be but thankfully there aren't many of them about.

Feel free to suggest an in-between definition.

But please, don't commit the dishonesty of using one definition when you're deciding whether someone's a racist and a different definition when you're expressing your disapproval thereof.

It occurred to me today that "functional racism" is the same abuse of language as "alternative facts". It's the use of an adjective that undermines the noun, as a way of trying to have your cake and eat it.

The Trump administration wants the positive emotional ring of claiming that they deal in facts and simultaneously that everyone's entitled to their own viewpoint. So they use the strong noun "facts" and weasel out of the implications with a qualifying adjective that conflicts with what we mean by "facts".

Similarly, it seems like some progressive-minded people want the word "racist" to have the strong negative emotional charge of "hate-filled bastards". But simultaneously want to condemn all sorts of actions that disadvantage racial minorities by people who are innocent of that hate-motive. So Eliab uses the strong noun "racist" and weasels out of the implied question of motive that he's just said is part of the very definition of a racist, with the qualifying adjective "functional".

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Being unjust is not their intent; they just prefer to shop where they feel more comfortable or have more confidence in the standards of hygiene.

I had a huge knock-down argument with some people I thought were friends over an issue rather like this. Their point of view was that if you weren't intending to be unkind, everything was hunky dory, and if someone was upset by something, it's their problem for taking it personally when no offense was intended.

Their point of view is wrong.

Sure - if you upset someone inadvertently, it is much easier to excuse, and no blame attaches on the first occasion. But when someone says "don't do that to me / call me that / whatever, because it upsets me", the only acceptable action is for you to try to stop doing it.

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Curiosity killed ...

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Russ, I was brought up in a background that was racist, no black families in my neighbourhood or schools, I grew up in white rural England. Years ago I watched Miss World with one of my grandmothers and commented one of the girls was beautiful. Her response was, "But she's black." It shocked me then, enough to remember it years later. I recognise white flight because I have friends* who have chosen to leave areas because they felt they weren't comfortable in such multicultural environment and moved into white areas and one of my sisters gave up on her university place because she was uncomfortable feeling like a minority being white in what she identified as a mainly BAME environment. I went to university in London and began challenging those assumptions as my environment became more multicultural, but it was the beginning of a journey that is still continuing.

When I was first trained in equal opportunities, as I moved from running pre-schools to training others to do so, I attended a 25 hour residential course that really challenged our views. We learned about racism through experiencing the prejudice shown in the blue eyes-brown eyes experiment. That made me pick up on well-meaning stereotyping and treatment of the Nigerian boys† in the pre-school I ran, which is equally racism - it's treating people through pre-judging them, not allowing them to be themselves.

I now work in a very multicultural area, with a diverse team and diverse students and am still being challenged on my understanding and being reminded of how hard it is for people in the minority, dealing with the same racism that I was fed at my parents' and grandparents' knees.

Allowing ourselves to continue thinking the kinds of prejudiced thoughts you are trying to justify is allowing ourselves to be racist. As fellow members of a society we should be examining ourselves and trying to change to be fairer to everyone, not trying to justify prejudice is surely the Christian response. The people you are describing are racist. They may not have examined their prejudices to realise that they are racist, but they are judging other on appearances and choosing to make decisions on superficial values without investigating further.

* I've lost contact with that friend, but she was a school friend who deliberately moved away from multicultural Coventry to the countryside beyond.
† rural Somerset, young boys fostered out by their families trying to hold down jobs elsewhere.

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Curiosity killed ...

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Bleugh - the last paragraph should read:

Allowing ourselves to continue thinking the kinds of prejudiced thoughts you are trying to justify is allowing ourselves to be racist. As fellow members of a society we should be examining ourselves and trying to change to be fairer to everyone. This is surely the Christian response. Not trying to justify prejudice the way you are.

The people you are describing are racist. They may not have examined their prejudices to realise that they are racist, but they are judging others on appearances and choosing to make decisions on superficial values without investigating further.

[ 29. April 2017, 07:59: Message edited by: Curiosity killed ... ]

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
The other question might be how you would describe the citizens of Bigotsville who prefer to buy their foodstuffs from white hands, out of some conscious or unconscious association of dark hands with dirt ? Being unjust is not their intent; they just prefer to shop where they feel more comfortable or have more confidence in the standards of hygiene. ...

Whether or not someone's hands are clean doesn't depend on the colour of their skin. It depends on whether they've washed their hands. One word that would describe the residents of Bigotsville is dumb. One can only hope their local health department has more rational standards for judging sanitation.

However, that's not why I selected that paragraph. You have previously argued that the "uncomfortable feelings" caused by racism, sexism, etc. are no big deal. Now, all of a sudden, it's really important that the residents of Bigotsville feel "comfortable". Why do their feelings matter, but not the feelings of the people they shun?

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Leaf
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
[It]depends what you mean by "racist".

If you define that word very broadly, so that anyone who pays the slightest attention to the apparent race of their fellow human beings is a racist, then there are a lot of them about, but each racist act is not a huge deal. If conversely you follow Eliab and define racism as deliberate racial-hate-motivated injustice, then it's a really bad thing to be but thankfully there aren't many of them about.

I think you've read Eliab incorrectly. Nothing was said about "hate". "Injustice" was the word used, and injustice may be insignificant or enormous. If I get one candy and my sister gets two, that's injustice [Big Grin] but it may or may not be motivated by hate. And the harm I experience by getting one candy instead of two is pretty small.

You are also incorrect in concluding in your first example that "each racist act is not a big deal." It may or may not be, as it may be on a spectrum from "unworthy thought" to heinous crime.

I am puzzled by the simultaneous declared searches for both honesty and euphemism. Isn't it more honest to call a spade a spade? Both of your examples above are examples of racism, and therefore a subcategory of injustice. Since they are unjust, how is it a moral enterprise to try to find a word that means the opposite?

Posts: 2764 | From: the electrical field | Registered: Oct 2008  |  IP: Logged
Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
I have friends* who have chosen to leave areas because they felt they weren't comfortable in such multicultural environment and moved into white areas and one of my sisters gave up on her university place because she was uncomfortable feeling like a minority being white in what she identified as a mainly BAME environment.

Do you think she is/was wrong to have a preference for a less-multicultural environment ?

quote:

When I was first trained in equal opportunities, as I moved from running pre-schools to training others to do so, I attended a 25 hour residential course that really challenged our views. We learned about racism...

You went on a course and they didn't give you a definition ?

quote:
I now work in a very multicultural area, with a diverse team and diverse students
If that makes you happy then I'm pleased for you.

I'm not clear if you're saying that multiculturalism is normative - that this is what you think people ought to like.

quote:
Allowing ourselves to continue thinking the kinds of prejudiced thoughts you are trying to justify is allowing ourselves to be racist.
I'm not trying to justify prejudiced thoughts. I'm trying to get you and others to be precise about what you mean by racist/racism and what's wrong with it.

I've suggested what I think "prejudice" means and why it's unjust. But that seems to cover only part of what you mean by "racist".

I take it as a given that people should be fair to the people they encounter in their life. But also believe that people should be free to choose (at least to some extent) who and what they want in their life.

quote:
The people you are describing are racist. They may not have examined their prejudices to realise that they are racist, but they are judging other on appearances and choosing to make decisions on superficial values without investigating further.
Tell me, have you considered Rwanda as a holiday destination ? Or have you made a superficial decision that it isn't for you without investigating further ? Is that (or would that be) wrong of you ?

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3071 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Do you think she is/was wrong to have a preference for a less-multicultural environment?

Britain is multicultural. It always has been; the Romans brought a hotch-potch of nations in their army, many of whom married into the indigenous population and stayed, the Vikings came and were assimilated, followed by the Saxons, the Normans, the slaves we imported, the waves of immigration from the Hugenots, Jews, Italians and onwards. Our empire builders travelled the world, becoming absorbed into those cultures and societies. Building walls to keep ourselves in our little white enclaves is refusing to accept that we are as a nation multicultural and full of diversity.

More Russ
quote:
You went on a course and they didn't give you a definition?
It was an equal opportunities course that looked at the ways that people are denied equal opportunities through racism, disablism, sexism, homophobia and any other prejudice that humans can find.

and more Russ
quote:
I'm not clear if you're saying that multiculturalism is normative - that this is what you think people ought to like.
I am saying that multiculturalism is normative as world citizens and in a globalised economy we are all world citizens. If we hadn't been so sure of white superiority we couldn't have raped and pillaged the developing world for their resources, partly causing the world inequalities that exist today. That sort of national racism we are still struggling to get over.

More from Russ
quote:
I'm not trying to justify prejudiced thoughts. I'm trying to get you and others to be precise about what you mean by racist/racism and what's wrong with it.

I've suggested what I think "prejudice" means and why it's unjust. But that seems to cover only part of what you mean by "racist".

I take it as a given that people should be fair to the people they encounter in their life. But also believe that people should be free to choose (at least to some extent) who and what they want in their life.

But when the choices made by others impacts the choices of others, that cannot be fair. The UN Declaration of Human Rights says in the preamble that
quote:
the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
And in Article 29
quote:
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
that basically says that you can only have your rights if they don't impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. Unfortunately your putative people's desires do impinge on the rights and freedoms of others, so therefore they are not acting in a just and fair way and are denying others equal opportunities.

and back to quoting Russ
quote:
Tell me, have you considered Rwanda as a holiday destination ? Or have you made a superficial decision that it isn't for you without investigating further? Is that (or would that be) wrong of you?
This sort of response is what makes people believe you are trolling, because you are arguing nonsense.

Rwanda came up as a destination this week, in fact, as it featured in a story about the GOLD opportunities for Guides. You are again making huge sweeping assumptions about what a holiday is and what that means for other people without asking them or attempting any understanding of those people - basically stereotyping and prejudging.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13601 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I'm trying to get you and others to be precise about what you mean by racist/racism and what's wrong with it.

In that case it's odd that when Eliab suggested a definition that didn't use the word 'hate' you attributed to him a definition that did use the word 'hate'.

Have you been any more precise in your definition of '(not) treating a person as a person'?

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Russ
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# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Britain is multicultural. It always has been; the Romans brought a hotch-potch of nations in their army.. ..Building walls to keep ourselves in our little white enclaves is refusing to accept that we are as a nation multicultural and full of diversity.

Add a bit of spatial disaggregation into that picture. For much of that history there have been port cities that are relatively cosmopolitan, and rural backwaters which follow traditional ways more closely. Some people prefer the life of the cities, others prefer rural village life. (And some prefer the cities when they're young and unattached, but the countryside when they're older. And the poor often have no choice in the matter).

Two halves of the national psyche ? A cultural core/periphery model ?

I'm suggesting to you that a preference for one over the other isn't a moral failing. That your sister's choice is as valid as your own.

And wanting rural England to take on the diverse culture of the cities is as wrong as wanting the cities to be made more like rural England.
[/QB][/QUOTE]

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3071 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

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One of the ways the Romans gave their soldiers pensions was allowing them land to build on and settle. There are Roman roads and villas scattered across the countryside - including much of that country you're telling me is pure white and entitled to be so. This lead to a mixed heritage hundreds of years old. What about the traveller families that have settled across the countryside? Those who came back to this country in the train of the Crusaders? The survivors of the Armada, washed ashore? The families who made their money as slave traders and arrived back to country estates with their diverse households and intermarried families? the returnees from the Raj, ditto? I don't think many people can point to pure white heritages if they bother to self-examine.

Have you ever read Desiree's Baby? I suspect there is far, far more of this than we have ever accepted.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
that basically says that you can only have your rights if they don't impinge on the rights and freedoms of others. Unfortunately your putative people's desires do impinge on the rights and freedoms of others, so therefore they are not acting in a just and fair way and are denying others equal opportunities.

The principle you quote makes sense. If we think of freedom of association, my right to choose to hang around with you is conditional on your right to choose not to hang around with me. Exercising your freedom to choose does not impinge on my rights.

That's consistent with the idea that I'm suggesting to you. That you have a free choice of whom to associate with. You're not morally obliged to make a list of all the people you could possibly hang out with, systematically investigate every possibility, and make a justified evidence-based choice.

Just as you're not obliged to impartially consider every country in the world for your holidays (whatever you understand by that term).

Or obliged to weigh the merits of every bakery in the city when you want a doughnut.

As customer/consumer you're free to act on your likes and dislikes; the retailers and countries that might benefit from your custom don't have some sort of right to consideration, a right that you infringe by acting on your preferences.

And I guess - and I don't know you well enough to do anything more than guess - that you generally live on that basis. Am I wrong ?

Until the topic of race comes up. When suddenly out of nowhere this right of equal opportunity to be the person selling you doughnuts means, according to you, that you're not so free to choose after all.

Seems like you're saying that race is special and different rules should apply.

Whereas I'm arguing the opposite - that all moral duties are general.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3071 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

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I have no obligation to choose to eat from the Jamaican patty place a few doors down from one of the sites I work on, and it's far better for my health that I don't because pastry and fried food is not that good for me, or anyone. That's my choice.

However, I cannot refuse to be served by a black assistant in the bakery I do choose or to have my health needs to be met by an Indian doctor. The first of those examples is what you are suggesting, the second is something that people do try to request. Neither can I choose to employ someone based on their race, so if a suitable black candidate applies to be employed in your putative bakery, it is racist and discriminatory not to employ that prospective employee.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13601 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Net Spinster
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# 16058

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

And wanting rural England to take on the diverse culture of the cities is as wrong as wanting the cities to be made more like rural England.

Rural England is becoming more diverse. People in the cities will move to the countryside no matter what their ethnicity since at least a few of them will want the more rural lifestyle or will follow jobs there. Some will marry people from that area (e.g., farmer's kid off at agriculture school meets a kid whose ancestors came from the West Indies, they marry and move back to the farm).

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spinner of webs

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Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
In any case, don't you think that acting on such a belief would violate your proposed right to be treated as a person?

It seems that in Russ' estimation how you treat people isn't really that important. What matters is your motives. Thus it's okay to maintain a racial caste system relegating all the filthy niggers* to manual labor in a setting where their inherent filthiness doesn't make that much difference, provided you believe in the inherent filthiness of all black people. If you're doing it because of "hate" then it's wrong. It gets a little confusing if your hatred of black people is based on their filthiness.

quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Allowing ourselves to continue thinking the kinds of prejudiced thoughts you are trying to justify is allowing ourselves to be racist. As fellow members of a society we should be examining ourselves and trying to change to be fairer to everyone. This is surely the Christian response. Not trying to justify prejudice the way you are.

We seem to have arrived back at the point we were about three months ago, with Russ channeling the argument of Halee Gray Scott. The whole exercise seems to be a search for the right reasons to treat other people like shit. Fred Clark's response is still pretty definitive.

quote:
Scott wants you to understand that she’s not at all like the infamous homophobic preacher Worley. She’s totally different.

Worley wants to deny LGBT people their basic civil rights and legal equality because he hates them. Scott wants to deny LGBT people their basic civil rights and legal equality for other reasons.

See? See how very different they are? Same result. Same vote. Same fundamental discrimination enshrined in law. But Worley is mean. Scott is nice.

And Scott has had it up to here with people not recognizing the extreme importance of that distinction:

quote:
I am not Charles Worley, and I’m tired of others, especially fellow Christians, assuming that because I’m opposed to gay marriage that I’m hateful like him. It’s time to extend a hermeneutic of grace to each other — especially to fellow Christians who still do not favor gay marriage and believe that homosexuality is not God’s intent for human sexuality. …
Scott shares Worley’s hateful goals, but not his hateful sentiments, so how dare anyone compare them?
Which is pretty much Russ' point. It's not really [racism / sexism / homophobia] if you're nice about it. Unfortunately there's no "nice" way to deny people their rights.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The principle you quote makes sense. If we think of freedom of association, my right to choose to hang around with you is conditional on your right to choose not to hang around with me. Exercising your freedom to choose does not impinge on my rights.

That's consistent with the idea that I'm suggesting to you. That you have a free choice of whom to associate with.

And if you decide the black family in the apartment one block down is "impinging" on your right to not be associated with them, well, stuff happens. I'm sure that wasn't racism, though. Probably just concerns about cleanliness and property values. [Roll Eyes]

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
And wanting rural England to take on the diverse culture of the cities is as wrong as wanting the cities to be made more like rural England.

Which begs the question of how you keep "diversity" out the places where you feel it would be "wrong". There are only so may ways you can say "we don't like your kind 'round here" before it starts not being 'nice'.


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*Only counts as a racial slur if said with hate. If you sincerely believe in the inherent filthiness of all black people then no one has any grounds to complain, according to Russ.

[ 30. April 2017, 21:59: Message edited by: Crœsos ]

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

Posts: 10506 | From: Sardis, Lydia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
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# 1468

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Croesos--

Re your link to info on "sundown towns":

A few years ago, I surfed into a a research site about them (Tougaloo.edu). Turns out I grew up in one.

I never knew. I thought people of this, that, and the other groups just didn't live there. There were sprinkles of people of various non-white ethnicities: no African-Americans, AFAIK, until around 1970, and one teacher carefully prepared our all-white class before a handful of African-American students joined us. I immediately tried too hard to get to know them, and wound up backing off. (I think I'd only seen one African-American, live, before, and that was when passing through another town. Everything else I knew was from school, TV, and books. Just for the record: I had some Afr-Am. role models.) There were Latinos (/"Mexicans") in town, and sometimes in school. The relatively few Asians usually ran Chinese restaurants. Small Jewish community had a synagogue; but couldn't afford their own rabbi, so one visited occasionally. Some Native Americans, including a friend. Possibly some Roma. Even people of Greek or Italian ancestry were a little exotic.

Not saying there wasn't prejudice. There was--definitely of the "talking about Those People, when They weren't around" type. I don't remember any particular incidents, though it's *possible* someone graffitied the synagogue. (That's just a vague thought.) I had problems of my own to deal with, including being bullied, and it's been a lonnnnng time. so I may have forgotten a lot.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18178 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

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# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
As customer/consumer you're free to act on your likes and dislikes; the retailers and countries that might benefit from your custom don't have some sort of right to consideration, a right that you infringe by acting on your preferences.

And I guess - and I don't know you well enough to do anything more than guess - that you generally live on that basis. Am I wrong ?

Until the topic of race comes up. When suddenly out of nowhere this right of equal opportunity to be the person selling you doughnuts means, according to you, that you're not so free to choose after all.

Seems like you're saying that race is special and different rules should apply.

Whereas I'm arguing the opposite - that all moral duties are general.

Yes, race IS "special". It's special because it's both more irrelevant and more harmful.

I choose places to shop based on my liking for the product and the experience. If your enjoyment is affected by the colour of skin of the person in the shop then I have to ask what exactly the fuck is wrong with you.

Whereas your argument is "oh, you say people have the right to make choices, so in that case they must have the right to choose to be an utter bigot and make the lives of others miserable".

It's absurdly simplistic all-or-nothing reasoning that completely fails to engage with the question of why we might SOMETIMES restrict choices.

[ 01. May 2017, 21:46: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Eliab
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# 9153

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
If conversely you follow Eliab and define racism as deliberate racial-hate-motivated injustice, then it's a really bad thing to be but thankfully there aren't many of them about.

As has been pointed out, my proposed definition did not include "hate".

quote:
It occurred to me today that "functional racism" is the same abuse of language as "alternative facts" [...] So Eliab uses the strong noun "racist" and weasels out of the implied question of motive that he's just said is part of the very definition of a racist, with the qualifying adjective "functional".
For clarity, I do not regard what I am calling "functional racism" as a neutral or innocent thing - if someone were accuse me of acting in a functionally racist way, I'd be offended (if I thought tha they were wrong) or deeply ashamed (if I realised that the criticism was justified). I'm offering it as a way of referring to people who act as if they were racist, without necessarily having personal hostility - perhaps from social pressure to conform, or because doing the right thing is financially costly - because that was a distinction YOU seemed to think important. For the sake of argument, I'm willing to concede your point that these people aren't racist in the same way that those who genuinely dislike other races are racist, BUT with the proviso that from the way that they act, they might as well be.

I'm not weaseling - I'm making a technical distinction between two things, both of which I disapprove of - racism in the sense of my proposed definition, and functional racism. If you prefer, I'll call them both racists, but it seemed to be you who wanted racism-with-a-definite-racial-motivation to be distingushed from other forms.

quote:
If you repeat something that someone tells you and it turns out to be untrue, are you a "functional liar" ? If a drunken pedestrian steps out in front of your car, are you an "inadvertent murderer" ?

Or might you just be a little bit unhappy that the negative connotations associated with the words "liar" and "murderer" are somehow sticking to you despite the technically-accurate qualifier that proclaims your innocence of what these words usually mean ?

The equivalent for murder would be an act that might not fulfil the technical definition of murder in a particular jurisdiction ("Place Uriah the Hittite in the front rank of battle..."), but which achieves the same thing - an intended death. A functional lie would be one that for a particular idiom can be defended as being technically true ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman..."), but which is nonetheless a deception.

quote:
The other question might be how you would describe the citizens of Bigotsville who prefer to buy their foodstuffs from white hands, out of some conscious or unconscious association of dark hands with dirt ? Being unjust is not their intent; they just prefer to shop where they feel more comfortable or have more confidence in the standards of hygiene.

Are they unjust ? Do they, in your opinion, have some sort of moral duty to weigh up the pros and cons of each retail establishment in the town and make a rational and defensible decision as to where to shop ? Or do they have some sort of free choice ?

That's just out and out racism. No qualifier is needed.

In answer to your questions.

1) Yes. I think you would do me an injustice if you decided, without any real reason, that I was dirty and unfit to work in food preparation - so yes, concluding the same about someone else, with no better reason, is also an injustice.

2) No - but that's a red herring. You don't have a moral duty to have an opinion one way or another about my dirtiness or otherwise if you have no evidence on the point, BUT that doesn't mean that you are justified in concluding, without evidence, that I'm dirty. I'm not saying someone is racist for not considering every sandwich outlet in town. I'm saying that they ARE racist if in fact they do consider "Bob's House of Buns" and dismiss it because Bob employs black people.

3) You can make a free choice to avoid black food preparation. You are almost certainly legally free to do so. What you aren't free to do is intentionally to avoid businesses that employ black people and somehow not be racist - because that's a contradiction in terms.

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"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
As has been pointed out, my proposed definition did not include "hate".

Apologies - it was not my intention to distort your meaning.

quote:
For clarity, I do not regard what I am calling "functional racism" as a neutral or innocent thing
I appreciate that. If anything I was accusing you of the opposite - of wanting "functional racism" to carry the negative emotional weight of "racism" whilst clearly falling outside the definition of racism you'd just given. Innocent of racism but carrying all the condemnation of racism.

quote:
If you prefer, I'll call them both racists, but it seemed to be you who wanted racism-with-a-definite-racial-motivation to be distingushed from other forms.
OK, now you're talking about two forms of racism. That may be a useful approach. So what do there two forms have in common ? Because something that any two forms of racism have in common should be part of the definition of racism. And characteristics of some forms of racism but not others clearly cannot be what racism is.

If you follow my logic...

quote:
A functional lie would be one that for a particular idiom can be defended as being technically true ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman..."), but which is nonetheless a deception.
Nice example. Seems to me there's a 2x2 matrix of situations that we can consider here.

You're labelling as "functional lie" a true statement uttered with intent to deceive. The opposite quadrant would be the situation I mentioned where an untrue statement is uttered with no intent to deceive.

The other quadrants are easy - the out-and-out-liar who deliberately & knowingly tells an untruth that he intends to be believed as true (even if for compassionate reasons). And the honest utterance of a true statement.

The question I'm putting to you here is:
Of the two situations where intent conflicts with the verity of the utterance, which deserve to be labelled as "liars" ?

Both ? Neither ? Or one and not the other ?

My answer is neither. Neither is as bad as the out-and-out liar. One is honestly mistaken - he may possibly deserve some mild censure for not checking his facts quite as thoroughly as he should have. The other is presenting his case as persuasively as he can while staying within the limits of what is technically true - in short, acting like a lawyer... [Smile]

Now bring it back to racism.

On the one hand, you want to condemn as racist those who have racist intent while staying within the letter of what would otherwise be their rights. So intent makes racism.

e.g.
quote:
I'm saying that they ARE racist if in fact they do consider "Bob's House of Buns" and dismiss it because Bob employs black people.

And on the other hand, those who have no deliberate intent are, according to you, "functional racists" who might as well have racial motivation for all the good its absence does anyone, and this too is a form of racism.

One moment intent makes racism, the next lack of intent is largely irrelevant and only outcomes matter. Can you see why I might get confused, or think you're trying to have it both ways ?

Not all racists are as black as they're painted, you might say. [Smile]

Or more precisely, you seem to want a terminology where the conflicted quadrants both get labelled with the r-word. Whereas - exactly as with liars - that seems to me an unjust use of language that doesn't recognise the innocence that is there.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3071 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
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# 1468

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Russ--

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Not all racists are as black as they're painted, you might say. [Smile]

Good grief, did you really just say that? Aloud?

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18178 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gee D
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# 13815

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And put a smiley face at the end! Sounds like a silly 13 yr old thinking he's smart, but then looking at some of his more recent posts suggests a lot worse than that. The post where he said:

The other question might be how you would describe the citizens of Bigotsville who prefer to buy their foodstuffs from white hands, out of some conscious or unconscious association of dark hands with dirt

purports to ascribe that statement to the residents of Bigotsville. The present post plus that one suggests that that's where Russ lives.

[ 03. May 2017, 21:12: Message edited by: Louise ]

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Gee D
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# 13815

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Sorry, that should have been italics. I had to leave this screen for a few minutes, came back to it to find the error.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
If you prefer, I'll call them both racists, but it seemed to be you who wanted racism-with-a-definite-racial-motivation to be distingushed from other forms.
OK, now you're talking about two forms of racism. That may be a useful approach. So what do there two forms have in common ? Because something that any two forms of racism have in common should be part of the definition of racism. And characteristics of some forms of racism but not others clearly cannot be what racism is.
How about disadvantaging people of another race (qua people of another race) as a common feature of all forms of racism?

quote:
One moment intent makes racism, the next lack of intent is largely irrelevant and only outcomes matter. Can you see why I might get confused, or think you're trying to have it both ways ?
Let's go back to your comparison with murder.

You want a racist to be one who acts with conscious animus against people of another race. Just as you say a murderer is one who kills with conscious animus.

Now Eliab calls someone who acts against people of another race out of social pressure or financial considerations but with no actual animus a functional racist. And you say that's as essentially inappropriate as calling a hitman who kills for financial advantage but with no personal animus a functional murderer.

You think the shopkeeper who refuses to hire someone of another race for financial motives rather than out of animus isn't a racist because they have no animus. You think the hitman isn't a murderer because he has no animus. You think it's unfair to the shopkeeper to lump them in with those you regard as actual racists. You think it's unfair to the hitman to lump them in with those you regard as actual murderers.

Is that your position?

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
You're labelling as "functional lie" a true statement uttered with intent to deceive. The opposite quadrant would be the situation I mentioned where an untrue statement is uttered with no intent to deceive.

Or at least where it can be claimed that there was no intent to deceive. So much of this "it's not [racist / sexist / homophobic] if you're doing it for reasons X or Y but not Z" self-justification is essentially casting around for reasons that can be given post facto for acting in ways that are otherwise indistinguishable from [racism / sexism / homophobia / etc.].

Of course, the bigger problem with your example is that we usually consider the truth or falsehood of a statement to be much more important than the specific motives for falsehood. You seem to want to reverse this, essentially to have false statements treated as truth if they were promulgated with what you consider to be acceptable motives.

And, of course, relying on people's self-reported motives runs into other fairly obvious problems. Take the example of segregationist Governor George Wallace. Here's a bit from his 1963 inaugural address (otherwise known as the "Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever" speech):

quote:
We invite the negro citizens of Alabama to work with us from his separate racial station . . as we will work with him . . to develop, to grow in individual freedom and enrichment. We want jobs and a good future for BOTH races . . the tubercular and the infirm. This is the basic heritage of my religion, if which I make full practice . . . . for we are all the handiwork of God.

But we warn those, of any group, who would follow the false doctrine of communistic amalgamation that we will not surrender our system of government . . . our freedom of race and religion . . . that freedom was won at a hard price and if it requires a hard price to retain it . . we are able . . and quite willing to pay it.

See! Governor Wallace isn't motivated by hate. He wants both of the predominant races in his state to prosper in their appropriately "separate racial station[s]". Or at least I'm guessing that's how Russ would argue that maintaining a government-mandated racial caste system can't possibly be racist unless it's openly justified in terms of outright hatred. A more pragmatic person might consider the question of whether or not black Alabamians are allowed to enroll in the state's public universities to be a more important question than the exact motivation behind keeping them out, but YMMV.

The search for a palatable euphemism for racism that folks like the Ku Klux Klan can use to argue that they're not really racists because of their self-reported motives is not a new one. "Racial realist" seems to be the current favorite among the "I'm-not-a-racist-but-my-actions-are-indistinguishable-from-those-of-a-racist" crowd. "Racialism" was popular for a while but seems to have fallen by the wayside. I'm guessing due to a combination of not being distinct enough from the word "racism" and enough people catching on to the euphemizing.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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quetzalcoatl
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It sounds a bit like the intentional fallacy, originating in literary criticism. The meaning of a literary work X, is not derived from the author's intention for X, whereas a common Victorian idea did take the intention as important. You can apply this to various types of prejudice - you are not being racist, if you don't intent to be. Trouble is, this gives us an impossible feat of psychoanalysis.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Erroneous Monk
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


One moment intent makes racism, the next lack of intent is largely irrelevant and only outcomes matter. Can you see why I might get confused, or think you're trying to have it both ways ?

...

Or more precisely, you seem to want a terminology where the conflicted quadrants both get labelled with the r-word. Whereas - exactly as with liars - that seems to me an unjust use of language that doesn't recognise the innocence that is there.

There's no innocence and no conflicting ideas.

There's either racist intent i.e. racism.

Or there's a willingness to facilitate others' racist intent or allow your own actions to be directed by it i.e. racism.

If you're not racist, you don't do things that disadvantage people of different races and you don't do things that advantage yourself, as a result of someone else disadvantaging, or by encouraging/enabling someone else to disadvantage, people of different races.

[ 03. May 2017, 15:29: Message edited by: Erroneous Monk ]

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
It sounds a bit like the intentional fallacy, originating in literary criticism. The meaning of a literary work X, is not derived from the author's intention for X, whereas a common Victorian idea did take the intention as important. You can apply this to various types of prejudice - you are not being racist, if you don't intent to be. Trouble is, this gives us an impossible feat of psychoanalysis.

It also perpetuates inequality.
Racism is prejudice based upon race. Ill intention needn't be a part of it to cause harm.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Carex
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

Racism is prejudice based upon race. Ill intention needn't be a part of it to cause harm.

A reasonable working definition of racism is assuming ("pre-judging") something about a person based on their racial characteristics. The same approach would apply to other "isms" such as sexism. We don't have an equivalent "ism" word for pre-judging (e.g. prejudice) based on same-sex attraction, but homophobia seems to work well enough in this context.

The motivation for pre-judging others, or the specific assumption you make about them, doesn't matter in the definition. In many cases people may strongly believe there is something different about "that type" of person: their hands aren't clean, or they smell, or they are less intelligent, or their food smells funny, or they play loud music, are always fighting, etc. Making assumptions about what they might sometimes think about fits here also. Often we see people clinging to such beliefs to justify their actions even when those prejudices are shown to be clearly false, or even invented specifically as an excuse to believe that "those people", as a complete group, should be treated differently in some way. (Doggedly hanging on to an obviously wrong and outdated stereotype to justify your behavior just compounds the sin.)


The key part of the definition is pre-judging a person as a part of a group, rather than on what is true about that specific person. That's the core of the sin, as it were. And it is something that each of us has the power to change in ourselves: we can catch such thoughts and choose to think differently. In fact, that is the only thing that can change: the other person can't change their race, sex, sexual orientation, or many other characteristics that others are prejudiced against.


If I feel uncomfortable being around "people of that race", that is a racist thought. It may be based on some implicit assumptions about their proclivity to violence or minor crime, a lowering of property values, loud music, gang activity, overall poor hygiene, or whatever, but to the extent that you ascribe such characteristics to all members of a race, rather than considering the characteristics of each person as an individual, that is racist. The same applies to sexism, homophobia, and other forms of xenophobia in general.

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... The principle you quote makes sense. If we think of freedom of association, my right to choose to hang around with you is conditional on your right to choose not to hang around with me. Exercising your freedom to choose does not impinge on my rights.

That's consistent with the idea that I'm suggesting to you. That you have a free choice of whom to associate with. ...

I hate to break it to you, but that's not really what freedom of association means. Freedom of association means that individuals are free to form groups that act on behalf of their members e.g. religious groups, political parties, trade unions, charitable societies, sports teams ...

There is also something called "freedom of intimate association" which refers to well, gosh, intimate relationships.

Only extremist libertarians believe that "freedom of association" is the right to drive other people away for no good reason or purpose.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_association

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Soror Magna
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I've been lucky throughout most of my life that I have had enough privilege and social capital to be protected from the worst of sexism and racism. It wasn't until Donald Trump started his campaign that I realized that the USA - the country of my birth, of which I am still a; citizen - didn't want me any more because of the colour of my skin. It hurt. It made me angry. And it makes no fucking sense. I won't be going back.

quote:
¿Por qué me escupes en la cara?
Qué más te podía hacer ser yo
que por ser morena y gitana?
...
Why does your wicked mouth spit on me?
What harm is it to you
That my skin is dark...
And my hair gypsy black?

El Pajaro Negro

Oh, look, there's that word again: harm. The colour of my skin harms no one. The "unconscious associations" and "uncomfortable feelings" and resultant actions of the residents of Bigotsville are harmful, and deliberately so. They are deliberately making someone else feel shitty so they can feel better. But hey, if they don't like being called racists, how about we call them sociopaths?

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Jane R
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# 331

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I was rereading bits of this book yesterday (for reasons I will not bore you with) and came across this which may be relevant to the discussion:

"The primary sources of evil are indifference and self-deception. Both lead me to a life of convention, simply living up to the code of conduct given to me by my society... The problem comes when the society giving me the rules happens to be Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia." (or apartheid South Africa, or Chechnya right now...)

From the essay by Neil Mussett, "Is Anyone Actually Chaotic Evil?", p. 56-7.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
I was rereading bits of this book yesterday (for reasons I will not bore you with) and came across this which may be relevant to the discussion:

"The primary sources of evil are indifference and self-deception. Both lead me to a life of convention, simply living up to the code of conduct given to me by my society... The problem comes when the society giving me the rules happens to be Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia." (or apartheid South Africa, or Chechnya right now...)

From the essay by Neil Mussett, "Is Anyone Actually Chaotic Evil?", p. 56-7.

[adds to wish list]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Jane R
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[Big Grin]
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orfeo

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# 13878

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Folks, we recently passed the 6-month anniversary of the day when Russ started holding court in this thread and we all started lining up to try to explain to him the problems with his remarks.

No matter what we say, Russ is going to continue believing that racist behaviour only hurts if you really mean it, that there's never anything discriminatory about acting out your sincere doctrinal belief that gays are icky and Muslims are going to hell, and that choosing your stock and choosing your customers are functionally equivalent tasks.

It is a fool's errand to believe this conversation is going to generate a meaningful result. Rarely has a deceased equine been so thoroughly flogged as it has been here.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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