Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby duodecimus » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:30 pm UTC

I mean, climate change has a deadline. Some say we've already passed it.
Space travel has a deadline in the form of space junk getting too far out of hand before we can setup a way to clean it up.

Racism doesn't, barring some kind of mass extinction event drastically changing the makeup of the human race.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:57 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:You're an optimist. What you can do is to fix the tools that let it hurt people. Like education, policing and the court system, among others.


More like policing and courts alone, as all others are secondary at this point.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby morriswalters » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:35 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
morriswalters wrote:You're an optimist. What you can do is to fix the tools that let it hurt people. Like education, policing and the court system, among others.


More like policing and courts alone, as all others are secondary at this point.
Maybe. I believe that we need to get people educated in some fashion though. I came from parents who didn't teach me any life skills. None. What little I know is what I taught me, no mentors, no support. It's easy to know that the system is abusing you, it's much harder to dig out without basic skills.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby sonar1313 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:08 am UTC

Peaceful Whale wrote:Hey... read a tiny bit through this fora... and I'll tell you where I'm coming from.

I'm going to 8th grade in the D.C/ VA area. Honestly, I've never really seens any obvious racism in my school. Sure, there are those kids who bully, but not that many do it solely based on someone's race. No one really cared if you use terms like black instead of African American, I have heard 'N...' a lot, but that's from other black kids, and the "why can't I say that?" joke is pretty big here. I've got high hopes for the future. Especially becuase I'm in the advanced classes, and while their is a white majority, it's not that obvious. (I think in my classes, asians outnumber everyone 4-1. :P )

Any questions/words of advice? I've grown up in a completely different environment than a lot of you. 9/11 is something that we learn in history class, and the Afghanistan war's been going on my whole life. (Feel old yet?)


Yes, you bastard, I do. Just for that, a warning about race. You know how people get all philosophical about color (i.e. colors of the rainbow) and say "well maybe we all see it differently and what you see as blue I see as red?" This is basically quasi-philosophical crap when it comes to colors of the rainbow and all too true when it comes to skin color. We all see it differently. The worst part is there really isn't anyone in the world who has the complete truth. One man's get-over-yourself is another's flaming bigotry. One man's systemic racism is another's excuse to be lazy and wait for someone to give you something. And none of those are right all the time.

To be racist these days is second only to being a pedophile in terms of what it can do to your reputation and how you are viewed through the country's moral lens.....and yet you will probably be called racist at some point in your life for reasons you're not even sure of. It's one of the worst of all smears, and that being the case, everyone tries to stick the "bad guys" with it so that they can feel good about excluding the bad guys from the conversation.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Weeks » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:21 am UTC

Peaceful Whale wrote:Any questions/words of advice?
You must understand what privilege means, and how it affects everyone. Your country has a long history of trouble with how people treat others based on where they are from, what their skin color is, what their face looks like, the texture of their hair, and so on. Most of the world does, actually. This has created an imbalance, where some people are *much* better off than others. There is a good chance that you've never heard the worst of it, and even if you did, you wouldn't really believe it, given what your world is up to now. That's not even calling you ignorant or naive, that's just how the world works.

Peaceful Whale wrote:I think in my classes, asians outnumber everyone 4-1. :P
See you even added a :P smiley at the end. It's not a big deal to you.

I'd just like you to be mindful of the people who have heard of it, who have lived it, and who still, right now, in *your state* go through those troubles. And to learn about *why* they still have to go through that. And finally, to lend your ear and your support to anyone who suffers the very real, very actual, very horrible effects of racism.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:39 am UTC

sonar1313 wrote:To be racist these days is second only to being a pedophile in terms of what it can do to your reputation and how you are viewed through the country's moral lens.....and yet you will probably be called racist at some point in your life for reasons you're not even sure of. It's one of the worst of all smears, and that being the case, everyone tries to stick the "bad guys" with it so that they can feel good about excluding the bad guys from the conversation.
As someone who's been called a racist multiple times in my life, I can attest to the fact that it is not "one of the worst of all smears".

Accusing someone of racism frivolously is irresponsible, sure, but this is not Harry Potter: "You're a RACIST!" are not the words to a magical spell that ends political careers in a fortnight.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby sonar1313 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:12 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:To be racist these days is second only to being a pedophile in terms of what it can do to your reputation and how you are viewed through the country's moral lens.....and yet you will probably be called racist at some point in your life for reasons you're not even sure of. It's one of the worst of all smears, and that being the case, everyone tries to stick the "bad guys" with it so that they can feel good about excluding the bad guys from the conversation.
As someone who's been called a racist multiple times in my life, I can attest to the fact that it is not "one of the worst of all smears".

Accusing someone of racism frivolously is irresponsible, sure, but this is not Harry Potter: "You're a RACIST!" are not the words to a magical spell that ends political careers in a fortnight.

Then why do corporations, politicians, and executives always feel the need to apologize profusely upon being accused of doing something racist, whether or not they actually had racist intentions or whether what they said or did would even be considered racist by 98% of people?

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby morriswalters » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:21 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Accusing someone of racism frivolously is irresponsible, sure, but this is not Harry Potter: "You're a RACIST!" are not the words to a magical spell that ends political careers in a fortnight.
This is me as one kind of boss. Work for me and call me one and you are done in terms of promotions. Do it in public, where it can be heard, and sooner or later I will fire you.

In the world I'd like to believe I'm not like that, so I've been called a racist multiple times and done nothing in some cases, because I don't like that image of myself, and I want to know if it could be true. So I stop to think, and do a sanity check. And it turns out that I have acted like one in some cases. At least once I called a meeting of my team to apologize to one particular individual because of it. And I'm just as sure I have done it multiple times and the employee feared the first boss I gave you, rather than me, and stood quiet. Statistics tell me that has to be true. I've also fired a person who called me racist. But that firing was over another behavior which I had documented. And had been in a period of counseling for some period with this person. It just isn't as simple as you seem to think. It's an easy brush to tar with.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:21 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
morriswalters wrote:You're an optimist. What you can do is to fix the tools that let it hurt people. Like education, policing and the court system, among others.


More like policing and courts alone, as all others are secondary at this point.
Maybe. I believe that we need to get people educated in some fashion though. I came from parents who didn't teach me any life skills. None. What little I know is what I taught me, no mentors, no support. It's easy to know that the system is abusing you, it's much harder to dig out without basic skills.


Education and Affirmative Action do jack shit for the black people in prison. So unless we figure out how to fix that, considering that the whole thing starts before people would normally graduate and get their first career, no college programs or hiring initiatives in the world will fix things. Ok, hyperbole, but still.

And no, solutions like preventing employers from discriminating on criminal history don't work. California tried it and the result was employers wouldn't consider black applicants at all. Better would be some system where once you are considered "rehabilitated," such as double the length of the original sentence (e.g., if sentenced to 10 months in jail, 20 months after original sentence date), the record gets sealed. Or even better, not hold businesses liable if they hire criminals, except for the most egregious of cases. What do I mean by this? Well, let's say McD's hires an ex con as a cashier. If the person assaults a customer, the customer can't sue McD's, except in the most egregious case (e.g., the person should have been fired for the same thing in previous incidents).
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby sonar1313 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:26 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:To be racist these days is second only to being a pedophile in terms of what it can do to your reputation and how you are viewed through the country's moral lens.....and yet you will probably be called racist at some point in your life for reasons you're not even sure of. It's one of the worst of all smears, and that being the case, everyone tries to stick the "bad guys" with it so that they can feel good about excluding the bad guys from the conversation.
As someone who's been called a racist multiple times in my life, I can attest to the fact that it is not "one of the worst of all smears".

Accusing someone of racism frivolously is irresponsible, sure, but this is not Harry Potter: "You're a RACIST!" are not the words to a magical spell that ends political careers in a fortnight.

Then why do corporations, politicians, and executives always feel the need to apologize profusely upon being accused of doing something racist, whether or not they actually had racist intentions or whether what they said or did would even be considered racist by 98% of people?

Let me just drive home this point for a bit here:

At a university campus Greek life retreat, a litterbug eats a banana and puts the peel in the crook of a tree because he's lazy and can't find a trashcan. Massive uproar ensues. People start crying. Entire day is devoted to talking about the banana peel. Litterbug realizes what's happened and steps forward and explains himself. People "don't feel safe" and leave the retreat. Entire event canceled.

Litterbug releases a statement to the media: “I want to sincerely apologize for the events that took place this past weekend. Although unintentional, there is no excuse for the pain that was caused to members of our community. I want to thank my friends in the NPHC for their candid and constructive conversations that we have continued to have. I have much to learn and look forward to doing such and encourage all members of our university community to do the same. We must all keep in mind how our actions affect those around us differently.”

http://thedmonline.com/greek-life-retre ... -concerns/

Why would this guy put forth such a statement, if not out of tremendous fear of accidentally being labeled a racist simply because he got lazy? If being called a racist isn't so bad, why the need for such a prostration to avoid it?

(It seems to me, by the way, that Eleanor Roosevelt has been entirely forgotten. "No one can make us feel inferior without our consent." I don't deny what's taken place historically, but you really have to consent pretty hard in order to feel that bad about a piece of litter.)

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:43 pm UTC

Possibly relevant to that story:
Makala McNeil, president of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, one of the nine historically African-American sororities and fraternities, said she saw the banana peel after leaving a group discussion that addressed race relations. Saturday morning, all of the retreat’s participants ate breakfast together, followed by a session where they shared their feelings on race relations at Ole Miss.

“It was so strange and surreal to see it there,” McNeil said. “We were all just sort of paranoid for a second.”
She said the image was especially disturbing in light of an incident on American University’s campus in May of this year. The morning Taylor Dumpson was to take over as the school’s first female black student government president, students found bananas hanging from nooses across campus. Some of the bananas were inscribed with references to Dumpson’s sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
“That, to me, was a slap in the face to see that banana hanging in a tree after talking about the personal truths of our campus,” McNeil said.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:48 pm UTC

That's why you never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

And never attribute to stupidity that which can be explained by ignorance.

And never to ignorance, forgivable error. And never to error, when you yourself lack necessary information.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby doogly » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:35 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:(It seems to me, by the way, that Eleanor Roosevelt has been entirely forgotten. "No one can make us feel inferior without our consent." I don't deny what's taken place historically, but you really have to consent pretty hard in order to feel that bad about a piece of litter.)

People generally seem to like her, so brushing aside one of the more painfully naive things she's said is probably a kindness rather than an oversight.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:27 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:you really have to consent pretty hard in order to feel that bad about a piece of litter.
And you really have to ignore a lot of context to miss the reason why that particular piece of litter had the effect it did.

Or you have to intentionally dismiss it because it's not convenient to your narrative.

Either way, not really the sort of thing that flies in SB discussions.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby sonar1313 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:59 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:you really have to consent pretty hard in order to feel that bad about a piece of litter.
And you really have to ignore a lot of context to miss the reason why that particular piece of litter had the effect it did.

Or you have to intentionally dismiss it because it's not convenient to your narrative.

Either way, not really the sort of thing that flies in SB discussions.


Neither is true.

And I would hope SB discussions do not have an approved point of view and a point of view that is not allowed. Was that a veiled threat? I hope not.

I am perfectly aware of the context. Nobody's saying that there isn't or never was some racist connotations to banana peels. I don't have a narrative, I have an opinion. Which is that if a guy stands up and says, "hey everyone, I'm sorry, I didn't think about what I was doing," is it really necessary to ratchet up the fear and hysteria even further to the point of canceling an otherwise perfectly constructive event? When you investigate a bump in the night and find out it's the cat instead of a psychopathic serial killer, do you check the whole family into a hotel for the night, or go back to bed?

My opinion happens to be that the presence of racism, accidental or otherwise, doesn't justify every possible reaction to it. And if a banana peel has been identified as a piece of litter, and the culprit apologizes sincerely, and genuinely had no malicious intentions, and it still remains a horrifying, traumatic event, then maybe my original point rings far truer than anyone thinks: racist is just shy of pedophile as a label you don't want on you in society.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:23 pm UTC

The guy didn't want people to think he was threatening race-based terrorism. The strength of that desire doesn't prove anything about how bad it is to be generically called racist.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Thesh » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:32 pm UTC

So he just throws his garbage wherever the fuck he feels like for other people to clean up? What an asshole.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby SDK » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:37 pm UTC

Whatever you were doing by bringing up that story, sonar, it definitely included your spin. Not only did you not bring in the context about past incidents, you also completely ignored why people were leaving. They didn't cancel the retreat because of a banana peel, they left after a long discussion clearly broke down, probably for reasons both sides saw as legitimate. The banana peel just happens to be what kicked off the whole thing.

Imagine, for a moment, that you had recently been elected into a position of power. One morning, strung up all around your yard and neighbourhood are a hundred little dolls hanging from nooses, clearly meant to be in your likeness. Are you afraid? Would that not stick in your memory as something terrible?

Fast forward a few months, you see a similar doll in a tree. No noose, no obvious likeness of yourself, but it brings back memories. You mention that to your friends. That begins a conversation about how terrible the original incident was, and you wonder if someone familiar with that event was trying to scare you again by putting that doll in the tree. Certainly it's strange to see a random doll in a random tree in any other context!

Someone else overhears the conversation and gets defensive about it - why can't a doll just be sitting in a tree? It's a doll, man, get over it! Clearly that person is missing the point of your conversation. You were talking about the past. But when you try to explain why you were talking about this in the first place, they continue to loudly focus on the present incident when the previous incident is the only thing that really matters. This frustrates you, so you try explaining again... and you can eventually see how an entire discussion on threats and humanity and probably even terrorism spirals out of that one conversation.

To flip back out of the comparison, adding a few hundred years of racial tension to that same story will make everything even messier. It doesn't surprise me at all that a huge group discussion that isn't strictly mediated could lead to pain and frustration. Clearly there are strong racial tensions at that school, at least for the people hanging bananas from trees in response to a black student being elected. Not being able to understand why the past is important is a pretty common thing I've seen among deniers of racism, but I think that's mainly because you find it hard to imagine something like that happening to you.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:00 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:"hey everyone, I'm sorry, I didn't think about what I was doing,"


On the one hand, I'm a bit skeptical that this topic wouldn't have come up in the discussion of race relations that had happened immediately before the banana was discovered, given that the bananas-in-nooses thing was all of two months ago. On the other hand, being ignorant doesn't automatically excuse you from the harms that you've done. Being able to say "I didn't think" is a luxury that people of power and privilege have, that, by and large, more disadvantaged people do not.

The way you had originally written this makes the guy come off even worse, actually. Your reading of the story was this:
At a university campus Greek life retreat, a litterbug eats a banana and puts the peel in the crook of a tree because he's lazy and can't find a trashcan. Massive uproar ensues. People start crying. Entire day is devoted to talking about the banana peel. Litterbug realizes what's happened and steps forward and explains himself. People "don't feel safe" and leave the retreat. Entire event canceled.

Which makes it sound like that the litterbug had kept quiet about it for the better part of a day while everyone was arguing, then finally confessed about it. This... doesn't paint him in a paint him in a good light at all, since the "I didn't know" argument doesn't really hold when people were spending the better part of a day talking about why this was such a problem and he was being silent about it. Your interpretation of events isn't consistent with him being ignorant at all, but actually pretty dickish about the whole thing.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby sonar1313 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:51 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:"hey everyone, I'm sorry, I didn't think about what I was doing,"


On the one hand, I'm a bit skeptical that this topic wouldn't have come up in the discussion of race relations that had happened immediately before the banana was discovered, given that the bananas-in-nooses thing was all of two months ago. On the other hand, being ignorant doesn't automatically excuse you from the harms that you've done. Being able to say "I didn't think" is a luxury that people of power and privilege have, that, by and large, more disadvantaged people do not.

The way you had originally written this makes the guy come off even worse, actually. Your reading of the story was this:
At a university campus Greek life retreat, a litterbug eats a banana and puts the peel in the crook of a tree because he's lazy and can't find a trashcan. Massive uproar ensues. People start crying. Entire day is devoted to talking about the banana peel. Litterbug realizes what's happened and steps forward and explains himself. People "don't feel safe" and leave the retreat. Entire event canceled.

Which makes it sound like that the litterbug had kept quiet about it for the better part of a day while everyone was arguing, then finally confessed about it. This... doesn't paint him in a paint him in a good light at all, since the "I didn't know" argument doesn't really hold when people were spending the better part of a day talking about why this was such a problem and he was being silent about it. Your interpretation of events isn't consistent with him being ignorant at all, but actually pretty dickish about the whole thing.

It was only a summary....if you'd like for the more detailed version, here's what the article says:
McNeil said that by lunchtime, people throughout the camp knew about the incident. As lunch rolled into the afternoon discussion group, the banana peel dominated chatter. That afternoon’s group discussion session served as an open forum on the incident....
At the start of this session, McNeil said one black student stood up and asked that everyone there google the American University incident to understand the banana peel’s significance. She said he explained how bananas have historically been used to demean black people. McNeil said her sorority sister then raised her hand to simply ask who put the peel in the tree.
She said Swanson stood up and came forward almost immediately after the question. He apologized and said he did not mean any harm by leaving the peel in the tree.

I find it entirely plausible the guy went into some morning discussion section and had no idea about anything until he got into a different group.
Thesh wrote:So he just throws his garbage wherever the fuck he feels like for other people to clean up? What an asshole.

Well, I'm arguing he's not racist, not that he's not lazy and selfish.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby SDK » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:58 pm UTC

I thought you were arguing that he cares whether or not people think that he's racist?
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby sonar1313 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:02 pm UTC

SDK wrote:Whatever you were doing by bringing up that story, sonar, it definitely included your spin. Not only did you not bring in the context about past incidents, you also completely ignored why people were leaving. They didn't cancel the retreat because of a banana peel, they left after a long discussion clearly broke down, probably for reasons both sides saw as legitimate. The banana peel just happens to be what kicked off the whole thing.

Imagine, for a moment, that you had recently been elected into a position of power. One morning, strung up all around your yard and neighbourhood are a hundred little dolls hanging from nooses, clearly meant to be in your likeness. Are you afraid? Would that not stick in your memory as something terrible?

Fast forward a few months, you see a similar doll in a tree. No noose, no obvious likeness of yourself, but it brings back memories. You mention that to your friends. That begins a conversation about how terrible the original incident was, and you wonder if someone familiar with that event was trying to scare you again by putting that doll in the tree. Certainly it's strange to see a random doll in a random tree in any other context!

Someone else overhears the conversation and gets defensive about it - why can't a doll just be sitting in a tree? It's a doll, man, get over it! Clearly that person is missing the point of your conversation. You were talking about the past. But when you try to explain why you were talking about this in the first place, they continue to loudly focus on the present incident when the previous incident is the only thing that really matters. This frustrates you, so you try explaining again... and you can eventually see how an entire discussion on threats and humanity and probably even terrorism spirals out of that one conversation.

To flip back out of the comparison, adding a few hundred years of racial tension to that same story will make everything even messier. It doesn't surprise me at all that a huge group discussion that isn't strictly mediated could lead to pain and frustration. Clearly there are strong racial tensions at that school, at least for the people hanging bananas from trees in response to a black student being elected. Not being able to understand why the past is important is a pretty common thing I've seen among deniers of racism, but I think that's mainly because you find it hard to imagine something like that happening to you.


Opinion and personal spin is exactly what everyone is putting on everything they say in this thread. Do I really need to provide context that everyone is clearly aware of, as they have repeatedly pointed out? I know the possible connotations of a banana and so do you.

I think your analogy and your point break down a little, though, when you remember that the other bananas-in-trees incident did not take place at the same school. Different school entirely - American University in Washington, DC. (Not that Ole Miss, of all places, wouldn't have racial tensions.) Nobody at the Ole Miss discussion had ever seen a banana in a tree before. And "it's just a banana, get over it!" isn't what happened in the real case, either; what actually happened was the culprit stood up, explained himself, and apologized. We really have no idea what anyone said after that, or even who said it.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:03 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:Then why do corporations, politicians, and executives always feel the need to apologize profusely upon being accused of doing something racist, whether or not they actually had racist intentions or whether what they said or did would even be considered racist by 98% of people?
Intentions aren't always important when discussing racism; it's wholly possible to be unintentionally racist. Also, even if 98% of a population thinks something isn't racist, it could still be pretty racist. Racism is not a democratic process.

To address your broader point, these organizations and people do not always feel the need to apologize. You're being hyperbolic and alarmist. Which is ironic, because that's pretty much what you're accusing people of (being hyperbolic and alarmist about racism).
sonar1313 wrote:Why would this guy put forth such a statement, if not out of tremendous fear of accidentally being labeled a racist simply because he got lazy? If being called a racist isn't so bad, why the need for such a prostration to avoid it?
It's funny how you just presume this person is a liar. "No no no, they can't actually feel bad about this; the apology can't just be sincere. They're clearly being forced to read a statement with a gun to their head, and the gun is someone who's about to call them a racist!"

Seriously, calm the fuck down. Yes, people deploy 'racist' frivolously; yes, it sometimes becomes a word others use merely to smear those they dislike or don't agree with. And yes, sometimes that smear can carry consequences. But you're acting like this is a hostage situation.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby sonar1313 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:06 pm UTC

SDK wrote:I thought you were arguing that he cares whether or not people think that he's racist?

Yes, that, but him not being racist (racist enough to try and trigger people with banana peels) is necessary to that point. If he were that racist he would've done what other anonymous racist bullies do: stay anonymous and let the race wounds fester without taking the risk of being identified as a racist.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby sonar1313 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:14 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
sonar1313 wrote:Then why do corporations, politicians, and executives always feel the need to apologize profusely upon being accused of doing something racist, whether or not they actually had racist intentions or whether what they said or did would even be considered racist by 98% of people?
Intentions aren't always important when discussing racism; it's wholly possible to be unintentionally racist. Also, even if 98% of a population thinks something isn't racist, it could still be pretty racist. Racism is not a democratic process.

To address your broader point, these organizations and people do not always feel the need to apologize. You're being hyperbolic and alarmist. Which is ironic, because that's pretty much what you're accusing people of (being hyperbolic and alarmist about racism).
sonar1313 wrote:Why would this guy put forth such a statement, if not out of tremendous fear of accidentally being labeled a racist simply because he got lazy? If being called a racist isn't so bad, why the need for such a prostration to avoid it?
It's funny how you just presume this person is a liar. "No no no, they can't actually feel bad about this; the apology can't just be sincere. They're clearly being forced to read a statement with a gun to their head, and the gun is someone who's about to call them a racist!"

Seriously, calm the fuck down. Yes, people deploy 'racist' frivolously; yes, it sometimes becomes a word others use merely to smear those they dislike or don't agree with. And yes, sometimes that smear can carry consequences. But you're acting like this is a hostage situation.

Wait, where on earth do you get the idea I'm claiming he's a liar? That's a total assumption on your part. Actually, the presumption I'm making is the exact opposite, and that he's completely sincere, which makes it all the worse to be thought of as racist.

By the way, that's not "98% of a population," it's "98% of the population", as in the United States which is a great deal less than 98% comprised of white people. Words matter, even the little ones. If 98% of the US population thinks something is innocuous, it probably is. Other than the dictionary definition of racism (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/racism?s=t) what's racist and what isn't actually is really subjective, and furthermore, changing.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:24 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:Wait, where on earth do you get the idea I'm claiming he's a liar? That's a total assumption on your part. Actually, the presumption I'm making is the exact opposite, and that he's completely sincere, which makes it all the worse to be thought of as racist.
Because you're saying their statement is a prostration made out of fear rather than one made out of sincere concern for the feelings of others. Hence, you think they're lying; you think they're motivated by concern for themselves rather than concern for any hurt they might have done.
sonar1313 wrote:By the way, that's not "98% of a population," it's "98% of the population", as in the United States
The United States is a population, not the population (unless you think the United States comprises the entirety of the world's population. Which, I dunno, maybe you do). I also sincerely doubt you can get 98% of the United States population to agree on anything, nevermind who is and isn't being racist.

Again: Hyperbolic and alarmist.
sonar1313 wrote:Other than the dictionary definition of racism (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/racism?s=t) what's racist and what isn't actually is really subjective, and furthermore, changing.
What racism is does change over time, but that doesn't make it subjective -- anymore than morality itself is subjective.

Unless you're a moral relativist -- in which case, I don't think I have the energy to explain to yet another edgelord why something can still be wrong even when you feel otherwise.

EDIT: Also, are we really going to have an argument about whether or not politicians always feel the need to apologize over the slightest accusation of racism? Or whether or not we exist in a political climate where even the slightest, most trivial expression of not-racism is punished with universal condemnation?

During his campaign, Donald Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as "rapists". He never apologized. In fact, last I checked, we elected him as our President.

I guess the anti-racists must have rolled a 1 when casting 'Universal Condemnation'?

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby SDK » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:25 pm UTC

sonar1313 wrote:I think your analogy and your point break down a little, though, when you remember that the other bananas-in-trees incident did not take place at the same school. Different school entirely - American University in Washington, DC. (Not that Ole Miss, of all places, wouldn't have racial tensions.) Nobody at the Ole Miss discussion had ever seen a banana in a tree before. And "it's just a banana, get over it!" isn't what happened in the real case, either; what actually happened was the culprit stood up, explained himself, and apologized. We really have no idea what anyone said after that, or even who said it.

Yep, I made some assumptions.

Do you understand the following?
1) Why someone might have been upset over seeing a banana peel in a tree?
2) How that might have led to a heated discussion about racism?
3) Why a heated discussion about racism might have resulted in the cancellation of the retreat?
4) How the person who kicked all that off by littering might have felt bad about unintentionally setting all that in motion?
5) How he might have felt an apology was owed not because he was afraid of being labeled as racist, but because he understood his part in the pain that resulted?

If you do get all that, then good! I just got the impression that you thought the whole thing was ridiculous because you couldn't see it from the other point of view.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby ucim » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:26 am UTC

SDK wrote:1) Why someone might have been upset over seeing a banana peel in a tree?
Actually, I had never connected bananas with racism. At all. I'd never heard of the connection and would not have had the slightest inkling that anything was amiss (except littering).

"yellow on the outside, white on the inside". Ok. Oreos... pistaccios... eggplants (except the emoji - sheesh - where's your mind at?)... there's no end to the slurs we can create. At some point though, a cigar is just a cigar.

Sometimes it isn't, and that's ugly. But it seems to me that it no longer matters whether it is or it isn't, what matters is how much noise can be made of the fact that there is one in the first place.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:28 am UTC

Read the story!!!
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby Leovan » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:14 am UTC

I'm Swiss but my wife is American, and we're planning to move to the US. Honestly, the label racist and the big deal that's made out of it in the US is one of the things that scare me about the move. You guys have such a load of cultural memes that are construed as racist that as informed as I try to be I feel like I'll inevitably do something I consider to be completely innocuous and get fired or shunned for it.
My wife insists it won't be a problem, but it feels like with religion, where just being a good person is not enough. And based on the internetz (my most reliable source), it seems you can get fired for looking at a woman or minority the wrong way. Even knowing that's probably not the case doesn't appease worries.

Reacting harshly is not necessarily bad, racism here is more or less your worst nightmares; it's often blatant enough you don't need to know any history to see it as such. But black people are a teeny minority here so issues are ignored. Honestly pisses me off when people comment why the hell I'd want to move to those a**holes in the US with all their race problems then five minutes later tell me when finding a home I should make sure I don't live in a neighborhood with ni***ers cause they always leave trash around and all the crime and stuff.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:38 am UTC

Leovan wrote:I'm Swiss but my wife is American, and we're planning to move to the US. Honestly, the label racist and the big deal that's made out of it in the US is one of the things that scare me about the move. You guys have such a load of cultural memes that are construed as racist that as informed as I try to be I feel like I'll inevitably do something I consider to be completely innocuous and get fired or shunned for it.
I've never heard of anyone new to the US getting yelled at over obliviously stumbling into a racist trope. I've seen some people get politely taken aside and told why something that's acceptable elsewhere isn't acceptable here, but I've never heard of someone getting into any serious trouble over it. Besides, if it happens, you can just tell the truth: "Sorry, I'm new here and don't know much about American racism; can you explain this to me?" As long as you make it clear you're trying to be respectful, most people will be understanding when you blunder into racism. Those who will treat you like shit over this were probably going to treat you like shit no matter what you did.

I also think you're over-estimating just how 'potent' the label of 'racist' is, here. To repeat a point: We've got a President who literally referred to Mexican immigrants as 'rapists'. He thinks 'thousands of American Muslims' cheered over 9/11; he also thinks all Muslims have magical 'terrorist detection powers' that they're withholding from us. We still elected him.

I'm pretty sure you'll be fine.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby morriswalters » Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:10 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Education and Affirmative Action do jack shit for the black people in prison.
Seems fairly obvious. And nothing will. That ship has sailed. You can't fix that afterwords, any more than I can decide to be an engineer now. I told ObsessoMom the conversation would play out this way. I didn't attempt to read it, but they seem to talking about racist banana peels. Have fun. Every body is showing their street cred in regards to morals. It is more than a little tedious. Good wishes, I'm outta here. Life is too short at my age.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby ucim » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:13 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Read the story!!!
I did, but that's not the point. The point is that before I read the story, I hadn't read the story. I needed to read the story to understand the banana peel thing, and before the story even happened I couldn't have read the story.

Yes, I could have known about banana peels from other sources, but I had no reason to think that I needed to consider anything unseemly about banana peels. Or about any of the myriad other possible objects that could have served the same purpose.

Is there an issue with Oreos? Is there an issue with aubergines? Is there an issue with car tires? Because for just about everything, there could be such an issue. How should people know which ones to pursue?

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:36 pm UTC

Yeah but everyone else is talking about the article and the described events here in the present when they've already happened.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:05 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Is there an issue with Oreos? Is there an issue with aubergines? Is there an issue with car tires? Because for just about everything, there could be such an issue. How should people know which ones to pursue?
By listening to people when they talk about these things. IE, by reading the story.

I mean, am I misunderstanding you here? Because it sounds like you're complaining about how information sometimes requires context to properly evaluate. Yes, it's true that you might not understand the significance of a thing until you've understood the context in which that thing occurs. That's how information works.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby ucim » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:52 pm UTC

My issue is... "how was he to know?" before the fact. I certainly didn't, before the fact. And if you don't know before the fact, then it's not a racist act. And if it's not unreasonable for him to have not known before the fact, then it is unreasonable to presume (individual) racism in action.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:11 pm UTC

ucim wrote:My issue is... "how was he to know?" before the fact. I certainly didn't, before the fact. And if you don't know before the fact, then it's not a racist act. And if it's not unreasonable for him to have not known before the fact, then it is unreasonable to presume (individual) racism in action.
Look, whether or not it was inherently 'racist' when he did it really depends on what you mean when you talk about 'being racist'. The issue is that some person did some thing and some people took it (rather reasonably) to be an intentional expression of racism. This person didn't intend anything like that at all, so he apologized for it and explained he had just thoughtlessly littered. The result was that everyone walked away with a little bit more knowledge and understanding.

If you really want to get hung up on whether or not unintentionally sending a signal that can be interpreted as racist qualifies as being racist, that's your call. The point isn't that we all need to agree that this person was racist and should feel bad; the point is only that we all need to understand that the things we say and do can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, and it's good to be sensitive to those interpretations.

Yes, I can see how you might not think a banana peel in a tree at a discussion about race in America would be interpreted as an intentional racist snipe. But now you've read a story about it, now you've seen a situation where it was perceived as just that, and now you can understand all of this a little better.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby SDK » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:03 pm UTC

Right. I'm not saying that putting banana peels in trees is (necessarily) a racist act. I'm saying that putting banana peels in trees can bring back memories of previous racist acts, and therefore might be construed as being racist, and therefore might result in a discussion about racism. That discussion might turn ugly, especially if people start out talking past each other by focusing on the banana peel itself instead of about the context.
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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby ObsessoMom » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:31 pm UTC

Eventually, all discussions of race come around to the most heinous injustice of all: White people being unfairly called racist, when they've actually just been innocently thoughtless and insensitive in ways that aren't that big a deal. To them.

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Re: Let's talk about race, 2017 edition

Postby mcd001 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:44 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:Eventually, all discussions of race come around to the most heinous injustice of all: White people being unfairly called racist, when they've actually just been innocently thoughtless and insensitive in ways that aren't that big a deal. To them.

Some discussions, but not all. I'm starting to see cries of 'racism' losing their affect, which should not surprise anyone since the term has been overused for decades. Current race theory has evolved (devolved?) to the point that white people are racist just because they live here. Society is racist, see? The system is racist. The institutions are racist. The culture is racist. It's in the air and water, and it doesn't matter what a white person does or says, or how much good will is in their hearts. If they're white, they're racist. Of course, this can only go on so long before people start to realize that being called a racist doesn't matter. Why should it? If everyone's a racist, then there is no special shame in being branded a racist. By the way, the only people who win under this newer, broader definition of racism are the old-school racists, and there are still some of them out there. (I find it ironic that critical race theory is actually providing aid and comfort to old-school racists.)

If the only solution proposed to this perceived problem is to completely dismantle and rebuild the very culture they were born into, most people will balk. The people who see racism everywhere think that the people who see the banana incident as an overreaction need to become more sensitive. But the people who see the banana incident as an overreaction are tired of walking around on eggshells. They think the people who see racism everywhere need to spend more time reflecting on the positive aspects of life and less time nursing their grievances (both real and imagined).

I suspect I already know the response this post will engender, but I am not offering it as an argument to change your minds or sway your opinions; I know that will not happen. I am simply providing it as a public service. If you want to know why more and more people are ignoring--or even worse, *embracing*--accusations of racism, just read this post. If you really want to improve race relations in the U.S., then dial back the rhetoric and stop assuming the worst in people.


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