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Zer Netmouse
June 7th, 2009
06:14 pm


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Skip trying to prove you're not racist

(35 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:June 10th, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)

Re: I've got issues...

Perhaps I should have put the word "conservative" in the phrase "his fellow white people" but honestly I think Newt believes he's working for the protection of all white people, including you. Just because you don't agree with him doesn't mean his comments weren't aimed as a warning for your benefit.

So. You don't approve of identity politics and feel that anytime anyone makes any statement indicating a characteristic or reaction is related to an identity it is BS. Well, that's very high-handed of you. While to a certain extent I do agree that over-generalizing is bad and people should remember any group is made up of human individuals, I think your particular over-generalization mostly just gives you an excuse not to engage with the content of what people are saying based on what they really mean, which is generally something more like "most [white] people (in this country) seem ____ (whatever, e.g. less open about their own racism) than the [black] people _I've known_".

I disagree with you that their personal experience and insight should be disregarded because they cannot speak for all of their [category] people.

(technical note: lj uses html for markup - use angle brackets if you want to mark up your text in html. And please sign up and log in if you want to continue this discussion.)
Date:June 10th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)

Re: I've got issues...

Sorry, I'm not going to sign up to LJ, I don't need one more username/password combination to remember. I did mean to leave my name, which is Seth, at the end.

Newt can believe whatever he wants. Heck I don't even think just using the word "conservative" is appropriate - there's plenty of fiscal conservatives who are not bigots and are not part of the Religious Right. And since you feel that we can generalize from our personal experiences to the broad category I can state the following: in my experience the majority of fiscal conservatives think that Newt is an idiot and a traitor to the true Republican party (of which I am not a member btw - registered Independent).

Obviously I did want to engage in the discussion because I posted about it. If someone were to say, "Based on the people I know, the black people are more open then the white people I know," I would have nothing against that. My personal experience has been the opposite. Who's viewpoint is more correct?

Neither of course. It's anecdotal evidence which doesn't mean squat.

In your example you once again engage in a fallacy: "(in this country)" which is then compared to "people_I've known_." This compares two different groups: one which is identified, and one which is pure speculation. This statement has no meaning.

I never said that personal experience should be disregarded. What I did say is that personal experience should never be taken to encompass an entire category of people - isn't that racism after all?

[User Picture]
Date:June 10th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)

Re: I've got issues...

Seth -

I never said that personal experience should be disregarded. What I did say is that personal experience should never be taken to encompass an entire category of people - isn't that racism after all?

no, not actually. Simply making distinctions between the experiences, thought patterns, or beliefs of groups of people is not racism. Personally or systematically discriminating *against* groups of people (or individuals according to their membership in a group or category) is racism.

You said when anyone uses a race/special category whatever tag, whatever they're saying is total BS. That seems to disregard it in toto. Or do you have a high regard for total BS that I somehow missed?

Just because people tend to overgeneralize doesn't mean their statements have no meaning. Also, multiple viewpoints can be correct if you recognize they come out of different experience. It's a postmodern or post-normal science attitude that I can see bothers you but is one I'm quite comfortable with.

Since the part of my friend's statement I was trying to connect to was why he as a black man was having trouble understanding why white people seem to feel attacked when someone says they are racist or being racist, the comment that in his (black) community/people are more open about their own racism spoke truth to me and helped me understand. I felt I was able to say things from a different/liberal white perspective that helped him understand as well. To me, the goal of talking about things is understanding so we can talk more and better about these things, and so change them. It isn't to vilify people or try to make one group come out better than another.

When I read about things like aversive racism, I come to appreciate a sense that all people act out subconcious negative attitudes in ways they don't appreciate and I would agree that white people are more likely to be in denial about the effects of racism.

[I have a default username and pssword combination I use for all sites I don't care about security on so that learning one more doesn't act as a barrier to me. I recommend it. Or LJ also supports OpenID, which you might look into - there's a link to info about it in the LJ comment posting form.]
[User Picture]
Date:June 10th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)

Re: I've got issues...

I'm not pushing on the login issue. But as a technical solution, if you have an account at any of a number of places (including on a self-hosted Wordpress blog, for example), you can log in to LJ with an "OpenID" derived from that site. I think there's also openid.org that lets you establish one OpenID and then use it to log in at numerous blogs.
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