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Dec 04 2013

We should not talk about racism

I know, the Republicans have declared that racism is over, but we all read that wrong. What they really want to do is declare that talking about racism is over. We all know that the Republican Party is the most racist party in the country — they actually depend on fomenting racist attitudes to get elected nowadays — so they have a vested interest in getting us to shut up about racism in the US.

That way we wouldn’t notice events like this: three high school kids waiting for a bus their coach arranged to take them to basketball practice get arrested. For loitering and obstructing the sidewalk. Wait, waiting is what you’re expected to do at a bus stop, right? Yes, but waiting while black is apparently a crime in Rochester, New York.

Three boys (l-r) Daequon Carelock, Wan'Tauhjs Weathers and Raliek Redd were arrested in Rochester while waiting for bus to basketball scrimmage

Three boys (l-r) Daequon Carelock, Wan’Tauhjs Weathers and Raliek Redd were arrested in Rochester while waiting for bus to basketball scrimmage

I’m sure the cops were confirmed in their righteous efforts to keep riff-raff off the streets as soon as they heard those names: Daequon, Wan’Tauhjs, and Raliek. I wonder if the kid on the right was actually wearing a hoody while waiting for the bus? So many racial signifiers, so many justifications for arrest. You want evidence for structural racism in America? There it is.

And here’s another example: white people resisting attempts to even teach them about racism. At Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Shannon Gibney was teaching about structural racism in a communications class — it’s a rather important topic and appropriate to the subject — when students complained.

[One of the white students asked,] ‘Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we have to talk about this?’ I was shocked… It was not in a calm way. His whole demeanor was very defensive. He was taking it personally. I tried to explain, of course, in a reasonable manner — as reasonable as I could given the fact that I was being interrupted and put on the spot in the middle of class — that this is unfortunately the context of 21st century America.

Another white male student said, ‘Yeah, I don’t get this either. It’s like people are trying to say that white men are always the villains, the bad guys. Why do we have to say this?’

I tried to say, ‘You guys are trying to take it personally. This is not a personal attack. We’re not all white people, you white people in general. We’re talking about whiteness as a system of oppression.’

And so I’m quite familiar, unfortunately, with how that works — and how the institutional structures and powers reinforce this white male supremacy, basically, and that sort of narrative, and way of seeing the world.

And so I said, ‘You know, if you’re really upset, feel free to go down to legal affairs and file a racial harassment discrimination complaint.’

“Why do we have to talk about this.” That’s like the common whine of every entitled, selfish, child of privilege: do not question my right to have all the things, do not challenge my status, do not ask me to look down and notice all the people I’m trampling, do not ask me to recognize the oppressed as human beings. It was entirely right of her to inform them that they could go complain to the administration, and it is entirely right that they did so.

Two white guys complaining that their teacher was teaching them about racism? You might think that it’s a foregone conclusion that Minneapolis Community and Technical College would dismiss that concern pretty quickly. You’d be wrong. Structural racism, remember?

The vice president of student affairs at MCTC filed a formal reprimand of Shannon Gibney. Against a black teacher teaching a class about racism!

“I definitely feel like I’m a target in the class. I don’t feel like students respect me,” she continued. “Those students were trying to undermine my authority from the get-go. And I told the lawyer at the investigatory meeting, ‘You have helped those three white male students succeed in undermining my authority as one of the few remaining black female professors here.’”

MCTC doesn’t have to worry. Word will get around that the school is only for white folks, and their student body and faculty will get whiter and whiter, and conflict will be minimized, and the white men will be affirmed in their smug privilege, and all will be well as long as we don’t look down.

We’ve got a few of the same smug people at UMM, but at least our administration doesn’t support them. But even here, the magic word “diversity” can be used to mask inaction and even direct discussion of the problem. Talking about racism is over. Continuing to demand discussion about it is grounds for a reprimand.

228 comments

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  1. 1
  2. 2
    robertbaden

    Although white women are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action, here in Texas a white woman is suing the University of Texas over consideration of race in admissions. I haven’t herd that consideration of gender is included in the lawsuit.

  3. 3
    thinkfree83

    Yes, a thousand times, yes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, either online or IRL, that I’m being racist just for talking about racism, even if I’m discussing something that happened 200 years ago.

  4. 4
    borax

    The first rule of white privilege is you don’t talk about white privilege. If the VP of student affairs had an ounce of moral courage and honesty he or she would have told the whiny little hurt white boys to read some history then get over it.

  5. 5
    infraredeyes

    @2:

    Although white women are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action…

    Citation required.

  6. 6
    Nathair

    …and robertbaden upholds the fine tradition about making absolutely everything about teh poor menz.

  7. 7
    rodw

    Whites don’t have privilege. Its not a ‘privilege’ to not be arrested for standing at a bus stop, or to not be pulled over every time you drive through a wealthy neighborhood. Whites have the minimum rights you’d expect from a free, civil society and blacks have fewer. In the context of a different discussion – how our politicians are screwing us over – we might even conclude whites don’t have privileges they should.
    I’m a bit taken aback by your characterization of the 2 college males. I get the impression these were not the wealthy sons of senators. This wasn’t Harvard after all. More likely they’re from blue-collar families that watch too much FoxNews and FoxNews has given them a convenient target to blame for all their difficulties.
    Most of the power in this country is held by white males, but not all white males have power. Most have little or none. I’m a white male, but the white males in power don’t give a damn about me. I’m in the bottom half economically so I’m not making millions on Wall Street that I can donate to their political campaigns. I don’t come from one of the right families with connections and worst of all; I’m an atheist.

  8. 8
    sadunlap

    Borax #4

    The first rule of white privilege is you don’t talk about white privilege.

    FTW!

    The reference to Fight club is so appropriate on just so many levels. White guy dissatisfied with his own life going berserk is just the tip of that iceberg. Thank you for my first LOL of the day.

  9. 9
    borax

    @7 rodw, Yeah. Many of us are fucked over, but some are more fucked over than others.

  10. 10
    PZ Myers

    The official word from granting agencies: being a woman in biology is not sufficient to label someone as underrepresented or requiring “affirmative action”. Getting promoted or supported might be a problem, but we don’t have a problem with attracting women to the field.

    I know because I’ve read the criteria for getting students into various programs that aim to boost the representation of minorities in science. So robertpaden at #2, you’re starting with a faulty premise. A white person suing for discrimination is the ironic part.

  11. 11
    flatlander100

    “A communications class.”. A little on the vague side. I thinnk I’d want to know what communications class, what its purpose was supposed to be before concluding that complaints that the prof taliked about “whiteness as a system of oppression” “in every class” had no merit. Not enough information.

  12. 12
    borax

    Sadunlap. Thanks, I actually meant it that way.

  13. 13
    flatlander100

    Update: DA says all charges against the three are being dropped “in the interests of justice.”. Police chief still insists the arrests were justifued because something more “might” have been going on. No discipline for the arresting officer, it seems.

  14. 14
    twas brillig (stevem)

    I think I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning… I’m in such a sour mood…
    One again I only see people whining: “Why are you saying all white men have white privilege? I’m a white guy with no privileges and am poor and underclass, There’s no such thing as ‘white privilege’.” But that’s just me, need more coffee to wake me out of this “attitude”. Carry on… sorry to interrupt…

  15. 15
    doublereed

    Whites don’t have privilege. Its not a ‘privilege’ to not be arrested for standing at a bus stop, or to not be pulled over every time you drive through a wealthy neighborhood. Whites have the minimum rights you’d expect from a free, civil society and blacks have fewer. In the context of a different discussion – how our politicians are screwing us over – we might even conclude whites don’t have privileges they should.

    Actually that’s pretty much the definition of privilege. It just refers to all the hidden advantages that you don’t notice, like not getting arrested at bus stop or treated with automatic suspicion. Saying that you don’t feel privileged is kind of the whole point.

    Talking about class differences is simply irrelevant. People can be privileged is one way and non-privileged in another way.

  16. 16
    doublereed

    @7 rodw

    Here’s a perfectly reasonable list of examples of white privilege:
    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html

    You can find lists like this about Christian privilege, Straight privilege, Male privilege, and Cis privilege. It’s pretty easy to get an idea about what “privilege” refers to if you just look around a bit.

  17. 17
    robertbaden

    For what it’s worth, my mom was Mexican American. She talked quite a bit about the racism of white women and white men, about how the white saleswomen would make us wait until every white person in the store was served, even those that entered after she did. I was pulled out of public school because of what she thought was racial discrimination.

    Removing consideration of race in college admissions will affect women of color as well as men of color.

  18. 18
    eveedream

    There does seem to be a serious problem with the police in Rochester. A little while back we had video of a cop punching a woman in the back of the head, and I don’t recall that anything was really done about it. With the recent elections bringing a new mayor, the RPD Chief is being forced out, so I guess we’ll see if his replacement will be able to straighten any of this out.

    Link to vids: http://www.copblock.org/37586/rochester-ny-police-officer-caught-on-video-beating-pregnant-woman/

    While looking up the vids I came across this really interesting link to an interactive map showing just how segregated our communities still are: http://www.wired.com/design/2013/08/how-segregated-is-your-city-this-eye-opening-map-shows-you/#slideid-210511

  19. 19
    Moggie

    eveedream, I’m at the point where I assume that there’s a serious problem with the police everywhere.

  20. 20
    Thomathy, Such A 'Mo

    Whites don’t have privilege.

    Yes, they do.

    Its not a ‘privilege’ to not be arrested for standing at a bus stop, or to not be pulled over every time you drive through a wealthy neighborhood.

    Those are obviously privileges and they exist by way of comparison with the people who are arrested for standing at a bus stop.

    Whites have the minimum rights you’d expect from a free, civil society and blacks have fewer.

    No. Everyone has the same rights, in theory. In practice, there’s racism and there’s privilege.

    In the context of a different discussion – how our politicians are screwing us over – we might even conclude whites don’t have privileges they should.

    You do not understand the meaning of privilege if you think that there are privileges anyone should have.

    I’m a bit taken aback by your characterization of the 2 college males.

    They’re racists and privilege-blinded, complete assholes. How’s that characterisation for you?

    I get the impression these were not the wealthy sons of senators.

    So, they may not have class privilege. They’re still white. There is more than one type of privilege. Different types are not even necessarily mutually exclusive.

    This wasn’t Harvard after all.

    And so?

    More likely they’re from blue-collar families that watch too much FoxNews and FoxNews has given them a convenient target to blame for all their difficulties.

    They’re racists. Even overtly so. Fox didn’t make them racist. It is endemic in society. They’re white privilege is endemic in society as well. These things are comparatively ancient compared to Fox. Fox is a problem, but a news channel did not give anyone a target for their racism or for their misplaced, privilege-blinded feelings of victimhood.

    Most of the power in this country is held by white males, but not all white males have power. Most have little or none.

    I would hope that that observation was obvious. It is true. It is trivial. It is also irrelevant.

    I’m a white male, but the white males in power don’t give a damn about me.

    The colour of your skin is invisible to other white people. This is …privilege.

    I’m in the bottom half economically so I’m not making millions on Wall Street that I can donate to their political campaigns.

    Do not conflate class privilege with race-related privilege.

    I don’t come from one of the right families with connections and worst of all; I’m an atheist.

    That’s two other, different kinds of, privilege you’re conflating there with race-related privilege.

    Go educate yourself before you run your mouth again.

  21. 21
    robertbaden

    Infraredeyes @ #5

    Having a hard time finding primary sources, but I’ve read stuff like this often enough:

    http://www.antiracistalliance.com/ShininTheLightOnWhitePriviledge.html

  22. 22
    LykeX

    @rodw
    I think you’re using “privilege” in a more colloquial sense than it’s being used here. Privilege has a precise, established meaning in a social justice context. You’re getting some pushback because your comments are uninformed. I hope that, rather than getting defensive, you’ll take the time to inform yourself.
    There’s a handy link round-up here.

    @eveedream
    That’s an interesting and somewhat disturbing map. The street maps especially are eye-opening.

  23. 23
    robertbaden

    PZ, I suppose I’m touchy because of my past. I’ll agree it make no sense to talk about just white men or white women when the subject is racism.

  24. 24
    rodw

    Doublereed,

    It seems to me that your definition of privilige gives advantage to the people with all the power. When I think of the word ‘privilege’ I think of something special, something extra – the icing on the cake. So is not being raped, not being harassesed by police, having access to jobs a privilege? It shouldnt be. It should be considered our basic rights, not something extra, and calling them privileges makes them easier to take away. It should very clear that people who dont have those have lost basic rights, not privileges. A privilege is joining a country club, or commiting a crime and not having to go to jail.
    The 2 kids in that college class might have recently lost their home to foreclosure. They might get pulled over often by police for driving a crappy car. One or more of their parents might have been laid off due to the economy or outsourcing. Either of them could have just come home from fighting in the Halliburton Wars. I cant blame them for being a pisseed off for being called privileged. They might have serious issues in life that were directly caused by the people who really do have privileges.

  25. 25
    witlesschum

    This is the seemingly simple point that eludes a lot of people. If you read some black feminists, you’ll also see talk about this with them arguing that black men don’t see the privilege they have for being male and black men disagreeing. Regardless of how you think the various unprivileges and privileges even out there, it’s clearly an issue for a lot of people that they just can’t imagine they’re privileged.

    I think rodw probably nails the sort of attitude of those guys in the story. George W. Bush is not going to a community college in Minneapolis, so they’re most likely to be guys who don’t feel super advantaged by society. I was listening to a radio show recently with a sociologist who was talking about the sense of betrayal a lot of working class and lower-middle class people feel at the way things are going in this economy. It’s really common for them to feel like they’re not getting the support they deserve and for white working class people, they’ve got the media and politicians at the readyto concoct stories about how someone (usually someone browner) is getting a free ride.

    http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/Radio.html#S131121

    It seems like a simple thing to just ask yourself, “Okay, but what if I was black, too?” But it’s hard for people to do that apparently. Personally, I think our society is basically set up to try to get people to not develop the kind class consciousness needed to start asking the right questions about things like that, but whether you agree with me or not on that, it’s clearly hard for people to take a look at things in that manner.

    Malcolm X said something like if you believe you’ve never done anything, you’ll never do anything. I think it applies here and it’s just more psychologically rewarding for people who have tough lives to imagine themselves as totally overcoming these huge odds that no one could be worse than.

  26. 26
    doublereed

    @rodw

    This is not my definition of privilege. This is the definition of privilege when in a social justice context. Read some wikipedia and don’t whine at me because you don’t understand the term.

    There is nothing to suggest that privileged people do not have lots of terrible problems and bad things happen to them. It’s just not what the word refers to. If the 2 kids lost their home to foreclosure, then that is unfortunate but completely irrelevant to the discussion of privilege.

    If they get pissed off for being called privileged, then quite frankly this sounds like a discussion that they actually need to have. The class would have been very helpful to them, and probably very helpful for you as well.

  27. 27
    rodw

    LykeX

    Just saw your comment. I’ll follow the link in a second but before I do I’ll just say this.
    It might be that the definition as used by sociologists etc has changed but if its different from that in common use thats a problem because of the impression it gives.
    I’m not the conspiratorial type, but if I was I’d suggest that although liberals came up with this language, conservatives might be discreetly encouraging it behind the scenes. After all, if poor whites and poor blacks are pitted against each other everyones attention will be diverted from the big picture.. Fox has done a brilliant job of brainwashing many whites with who to blame for their problems.

  28. 28
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    So is not being raped, not being harassesed by police, having access to jobs a privilege? It shouldnt be. It should be considered our basic rights, not something extra, and calling them privileges makes them easier to take away

    “It shouldn’t be” != “It is not”.

    When rape threats are common, receiving a qualified immunity to rape threats (subject to certain conditions, say, not being imprisoned) is a privilege compared to not receiving that qualified immunity.

    Your conclusion here,

    calling them privileges makes them easier to take away

    reveals how much you don’t get it. These things **are already taken away** from some people. If you feel like you are vulnerable with this new framing, and thus you take action to eliminate that vulnerability (by, say, working to end rape in your first example or working to end racist police harassment in what I assume was your second example) because of the framing of privilege used here that is a victory for the framing and a reason to continue using it.

    Even your statement alone without further work is a victory for the statement. “My life is exactly how things should be,” inspires no efforts at change. Your sudden awareness of personal vulnerability makes it easier to see the quotidian vulnerability of others. “Privilege” is thus a successful educational concept.

    Finally, to repeat, just because something **shouldn’t** be a privilege one cannot conclude that it isn’t a privilege. Focusing only on, ‘other people are oppressed’ instead of on ‘I am privileged relative to others’ institutionalizes inertia, institutionalizes that oppression.

    Let’s kind of do the other thing, shall we?

  29. 29
    gog

    @PZ:

    What about when gangs of roving black youths target and attack white people as part of a violent game? That’s racism! White people are under attack! Aren’t you outraged that a bunch of nigahem that uh there’s racism against white people? Some of the most racist people I know are black. But some of those same black people are my closest friends. I even let them use my bathroom.

    (Gee, I almost had a Rick Santorum moment there).

  30. 30
    doublereed

    @rodw

    I’m not the conspiratorial type, but if I was I’d suggest that although liberals came up with this language, conservatives might be discreetly encouraging it behind the scenes. After all, if poor whites and poor blacks are pitted against each other everyones attention will be diverted from the big picture.. Fox has done a brilliant job of brainwashing many whites with who to blame for their problems.

    This does not pit the races against each other. It allows whites and blacks to actually engage in discussion where they have completely different experiences. For instance, I have never been treated disrespectfully by a police officer in my whole life, even while I lived in a heavily black neighborhood. I wouldn’t understand why blacks might be distrustful of police, unless it was actually directly explained to me. This is because I wouldn’t even notice that police treat me respectfully partly because of my race.

    Recognizing my privilege allows me to have discussions with black people about this sort of thing. Not recognizing my privilege means I would say things that are blind or unrealistic, and I would get dismissed. Privilege is a liberal term because it actually eliminates the ‘othering’ and encourages people to understand and empathize with each other.

  31. 31
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    RodW

    When I think of the word ‘privilege’ I think of something special, something extra

    Gee, anytime I see somebody arguing a dictionary type definition of a well defined and properly used word, I say somebody who doesn’t have a clue. I, as an old, white, and educated male have a lot of privileges. They are for if one looks for them. That is I have something special compared to someone who isn’t, old, white, educated, or male. Yes, in a perfectly egalitarian society, which we should still be striving for, nobody has any privileges. But, we aren’t there yet as there is solid and conclusive evidence our society is still permeated with racism, sexism, etc. Hence, folks like me have privileges, whether I acknowledge them or not. Trying to deny that by arguing definitions is like denying it period. That is why you get jumped on.

  32. 32
    Tabby Lavalamp

    RodW…

    It might be that the definition as used by sociologists etc has changed but if its different from that in common use thats a problem because of the impression it gives.

    So out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on “evolution is just a theory”? The argument you just made about the word “privilege” can be equally applied to the word “theory”.

  33. 33
    smhll

    It might simple up the discussion (for beginners) if we sometimes just called “privileges” advantages. The untrained mind understands that more readily, imo.

  34. 34
    jamessweet

    Slight correction: They weren’t waiting for a city bus at a bus stop, they were waiting for a school bus (yellow bus) to pick them up at an appointed place. Not that that substantially changes the issues; I point it out primarily in the interest of accuracy for its own sake. It does make the cops’ actions slightly more explicable, though no less racist or disgusting.

  35. 35
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Or we could just provide links to good education, and the folk of goodwill will then be educated and the waters will not be muddied for those who would otherwise wonder if the set of white advantages is isomorphic to the set of things constituting white privilege.

  36. 36
    mrmorse

    Privilege is a headache that you don’t know that you don’t have. – Ani DiFranco

  37. 37
    atcggcta

    When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Then you call or text the coach and let them know you had to move to a different location. I’m white, and I’ve been told plenty of times by security officers, not even police officers, to move, and I do as they ask, because they’re just doing their job.

  38. 38
    thelifeofbrine

    White privilege you have it, and its not about you.

  39. 39
    rodw

    Doublereed,

    I suspect we’d agree on just about all the fundamentals in this discussion. The only part with disagree with, with you and others, is they way these terms are defined.
    You say not being harassed by police is a privilege. I think its a mistake to call it that.

    Blacks are more likely to be harassed by police. Whites are ‘privileged’ and so are less harassed by police. How do we remedy this injustice? It seems to me that in the minds of many a solution will be implied: start harassing whites more to remove the inequality. Now I’m NOT suggesting this actually what should be done, or that anyone has stated this explicity. I’m saying it follows subtley from the choice ( and definition to many) of the word ‘privilege’. Anyone who thinks this is absurd consider the following. When muslims complained that they were being unfairly targetted for screening by the TSA the solution settled on was not to screen them less but to screen everyone else more.

    Black are more likely to be harassed by police. Not being harassed is a basic right ( not a privilege) How do we remedy this injustice? The solution is clear; restore black rights and sue the shit out of anyone who infringes on those rights.
    There are advantages and disadvantages to being included in any group. I think its a mistake to call those advantages ‘priviliges’, especially for groups people dont consciously choose to join.

  40. 40
    futurechemist

    I feel there’s more to this story than we’re hearing. According to the coach, 20 basketball players were waiting for the school bus on the sidewalk. Why were only 3 arrested? Why those 3? Was there any altercation prior to them being arrested? Hypothetically the situation could have gone like this:

    20 high schoolers are standing around on the sidewalk. Because of how many of them there are, they’re blocking the sidewalk for people to get by. A police officer asks them to not block the sidewalk. The students say they’re waiting for a school bus and were told by their basketball coach to wait there. The officer doesn’t like that his authority is being questioned and orders them to move. Some students still refuse and the situation escalates until 3 are arrested. The coach arrives, but by then tempers have flared and people are yelling. Once the officer starts to arrest the 3 students, he feels he’d be losing face to back down at that point even after the coach arrives to explain things.

    Did the police officer overreact? Probably, but we don’t know how the students responded to being told to move.
    Should students have been arrested? Almost certainly not.
    Was race a factor? Possibly. It’s hard to decide without knowing why those 3 particular students were arrested, and the races of the 17 students not arrested.

  41. 41
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Did I miss something, or have we not already gone through Intro to Privilege 101 several times over the years?
    ::Sigh:: Once more unto the breach…

    The specific definition of privilege being used here (and by sociologists) is unearned advantages an individual possesses that allows them to move through life with–on average–greater ease than those without.

    As an example, I’m a gay man (no, this isn’t about race, it’s a point about privilege). As a gay man, I am subject to disadvantages that heterosexual men are not subject to. Their ability to move through life is made easier than mine by virtue of various privileges like:

    1. Not having to worry about avoiding discussions of their love life at the dinner table during holidays

    2. Seeing examples of themselves on the big screen and small screen (believe me, if I’d have seen guys who like guys at the movies or on tv, I wouldn’t have been scared shitless that I was the only person on the planet who felt the way I did growing up. It’s a scary thought.)

    3. Not having to worry that they could be fired for being gay. Did you know that in:

    Florida

    There is no legal prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for both public and private employees on a statewide level.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_employment_discrimination_in_the_United_States

    I can be fired (or not even hired in the first place) for being gay! As if my sexuality has any bearing on my ability to perform the job at hand.

    4. Not having to worry about whether or not they can visit their lover in the hospital if an emergency occurs (There are 1,138 benefits, rights and protections provided on the basis of marital status in Federal law. Not all states recognize gay marriage, even with DOMA ruled unconstitutional. Queers are still second class citizens in many states)

    5. Not worrying about their sexuality being used as an insult. Surely I do not need to point to examples of people calling one another gay.

    6. Not having to worry about being killed by their father if they disclose/discuss their sexuality (and yes, this is very real. My best friend told me several times-before he passed away-that he joined the military to get away from his father, so that he wouldn’t have to discuss his sexuality. His father had told him “if any of my kids turns gay, I’ll shoot them”)

    7. Not having to worry about potentially being kicked out of the house and disowned over their sexuality.

    8. Not being the target of bullying, ostracization and harassment (in high school and beyond) because of their sexuality

    9. Being able to meet a potential lover, spouse, etc virtually anywhere without having to first consider “is xe gay or heterosexual?”

    10. Not having to be at higher risk for committing suicide as a teen simply because of their sexuality.

    rodw, does the above allow you to have a better understanding of what is meant by privilege? Heterosexual people do not have to worry about these concerns. They are completely off their radar. In fact, for many of them, they don’t even think they have any special advantage. Which is part of having privilege in the first place. This is nothing to be ashamed or mad over. It is something to be aware of, so that when oppressed people speak up about their marginalization, people with privilege can offer their assistance (or at least get out of the way) in levelling the playing field.

    Also, as long as you remain part of a privileged group you cannot lose privilege. Someone who is born heterosexual will, by and large, always have the privileges society accords to those of that sexuality (at least in today’s society; 500 years from now, who knows?)

    Now take all of that and apply it to being Hispanic American or African American. What advantages are possessed by white Americans that PoC lack?

    Daily effects of white privilege

    I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

    1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

    2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

    3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

    4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

    5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

    6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

    7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

    8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

    9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

    10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html

    Marginalized people other than Hispanic or Black Americans lack privilege too. Can you imagine how it feels to be a Indian in this country and hear people talk about the Washington Redskins? A blatantly racist term that has been condemned by many people, except not by those privileged people with the power to change the name. White Americans have no comparable racist term as the name for a professional sports team.

    Does this help clear up matters any?

    I hope that your presence here at Pharyngula means you agree with PZ and/or the commentariat about certain issues. Perhaps you’re an atheist, freethinker, or skeptic. Perhaps you’re a member of Atheism+. Perhaps you’re none of the above and have carved out an identity for yourself that overlaps with the values found here. One of those values is ongoing Social Justice Activism. Many of us recognize that there are marginalized members of society who are not accorded equal rights. Whether they are trans*, lesbian, black, hispanic, or people with disabilities, society as a whole has pushed these people down. Oppressed them. Denied them basic rights that many others have, simply because they are members of that particular category.

    I hope you can see how wrong that is.

    I hope you are someone who can reflect on themselves and come to an understanding of the advantages you have that-although you do not see them as advantages-allow you to *not* be oppressed. The advantages you possess do not mean you’re going to have a hunky dory life with no problems. That’s not going to happen. That’s not what privilege is about. Those advantages just mean that over the course of your life, you will not face extra obstacles simply because of what group you were born into.

  42. 42
    doublereed

    Blacks are more likely to be harassed by police. Whites are ‘privileged’ and so are less harassed by police. How do we remedy this injustice? It seems to me that in the minds of many a solution will be implied: start harassing whites more to remove the inequality.

    ??? You’re just being silly and nonsensical at this point.

    Please stop. The word “privilege” in this context was determined a long time ago and has historical meaning. If you haven’t heard of this definition, please educate yourself before throwing out your own opinions. Learn the definition, maybe look up some discussions and essays about it, and then I would suggest waiting a day so you can recalibrate.

    You just learned new information, time to update.

  43. 43
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Atcggcta, so the solution to racism is to be sufficiently cowed to authoritarianism? Because there’s no way those with the slightest bit of authority like to wield it just because they can.

  44. 44
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    futurechemist @40:

    I feel there’s more to this story than we’re hearing. According to the coach, 20 basketball players were waiting for the school bus on the sidewalk. Why were only 3 arrested? Why those 3? Was there any altercation prior to them being arrested? Hypothetically the situation could have gone like this:

    Why introduce a hypothetical? Why not deal with the facts that we currently have? Yeah, your “What If” is entirely possible. Does the evidence point to your hypothetical story having occured? Thus far, no. So let’s deal with what we do know, ok?

    Three high school students were arrested while waiting for a bus in Rochester after a police officer told them to disperse.

    The boys are members of a basketball team at Edison Tech High School. They were arrested Wednesday, Nov. 27 while waiting for a bus to take them to a scrimmage at Aquinas.

    According to WROC, basketball coach Jacob Scott had arranged for a bus to pick the boys up on Main St. There was no school that morning, so he arranged a central location for all his players to meet and wait.

    A police officer asked the group of about a dozen players to disperse. When they refused and explained they were waiting for a school bus, the officer arrested three of them.

    The three boys arrested were Raliek Redd, Wan’Tauhjs Weathers and Daequon Carelock.

    “We tried to tell him we was waiting for the bus,” Redd said. “And he didn’t care. He arrested us anyways.”

    According to WROC, the police report claims the boys were:

    “Blocking pedestrian traffic while standing on a public sidewalk…preventing free passage of citizens walking by and attempting to enter and exit a store…Your complainant gave several lawful clear and concise orders for the group to disperse and leave the area without complaince [sic].”

    When Coach Scott arrived and questioned the officer, the officer threatened to arrest him as well.

    “He goes on to say, ‘Listen, if you don’t disperse, you’re going to get booked as well,’” Scott told WHEC in Rochester. “I said sir, I’m the adult. I’m their varsity basketball coach. How can you book me? What have I done wrong?”

    Eventually, several more officers arrived. Scott attempted to talk with them as well.

    “One of the officers told me if he had a big enough caravan he would take all of us downtown,” Scott said. “…I’m speaking to the officers with dignity…and still [my players] see me get treated like nothing.”

    The boys’ families had to post $200 bail to make sure the boys were home for Thanksgiving.

    “It’s a catastrophe,” Scott said. “There were 17 other guys who had to witness three of their teammates get arrested for doing what? Waiting for the bus for a scrimmage.”

    There’s nothing at the link that gives any indication that the three boys who were arrested were doing anything different than the other 17 (or is it 9 others? The article is unclear). They were ordered to disperse. Why? They were doing nothing wrong. Until and unless more information is revealed about the actions of those 3 teens, I’m not going to assume wrongdoing on their part. It is far more likely that the racism that permeates our society has prejudiced those officers.

  45. 45
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    RodW:

    You say not being harassed by police is a privilege. I think its a mistake to call it that.

    Sorry, RodW, you don’t get to unilaterally redefine terms to make it sound less offensive to you. Your opinion doesn’t matter to the sociologists who work in the field. They have a precise, well defined, and well recognized word they use in the context of that definition. If you can’t deal with that word, the problem lies with you, not the field. Otherwise, show you have something other than your mere opinion to back up the need to change the standard definition. You know, like a link to third party evidence….

  46. 46
    Louis

    Oh oh! Are we going to argue about a perfectly well defined, if perhaps a little technical, use of a word that has been defined/linked? ZOMG I have such a massive erection about this! That’s a much better use of my time than shutting the fuck up to go away and learn about that word, and what it entails, rather than pissily sticking to my erroneous guns and trying to make a conversation about racism all about my sorry white self.

    Louis

  47. 47
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    atcggcta:

    When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Then you call or text the coach and let them know you had to move to a different location. I’m white, and I’ve been told plenty of times by security officers, not even police officers, to move, and I do as they ask, because they’re just doing their job.

    That’s not a reasonable position to have. You assert that people should do what an officer of the law tells them. Does it matter what the request is? If an officer tells someone to jump off a bridge, are they supposed to comply? If not, why? Is it possible that such a request would be immoral, unlawful, and unethical (I really hope that’s not a hard question)? Is it possible that we should follow the advice of police officers in certain situations, but not others? No crime is committed by teens standing on a corner waiting on a bus. As it stands the authoritarian arm of the law extended beyond its reach (once again).

  48. 48
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Ah Louis…I have missed your wit :)

  49. 49
    Louis

    But Tony, every discussion must descend immediately to semantics. It’s SUPER important. There can be no careful self reflection, no pause between first comment, correction and umbrage. We must never not make THAT fuck up. I know all the times I made that fuck up I was right to make it and never should be corrected ever. Because reasons, and Mah FeeFees ™ .

    Otherwise how will people know I am really intellectual on the internet? I mean, my love of infinitesimal divisions over definitions of words must be more important than a quiet moment or two of reflection so I can participate in a discussion about the actual fucking problem.

    Louis

    P.S. It’s been a hard week already, my sarcasm gland is overloaded.

  50. 50
    neuroguy

    I’m completely agreed on the theoretical bases of structural racism and other forms of oppression. However IMNSHO the practical aspects leave quite a bit to be desired here. You simply cannot single out one axis of oppression and demand it be discussed to the exclusion of all others, and dismiss anyone else who complains about that as a “whiner”. This is the implication of having intersecting (and interacting) axes of oppression.

    @OP:

    That’s like the common whine of every entitled, selfish, child of privilege: do not question my right to have all the things, do not challenge my status, do not ask me to look down and notice all the people I’m trampling, do not ask me to recognize the oppressed as human beings.

    They may not be entitled and trampling on everyone. In fact they probably aren’t, given that they are attending a community college instead of Harvard or Yale on a legacy admission. They may just be ignorant. At least I sure hope you don’t teach evolutionary biology to Christian students (assuming evil intent, not just ignorance) with that kind of a chip on your shoulder – that kind of attitude creates more creationists, not less.

    @4:

    If the VP of student affairs had an ounce of moral courage and honesty he or she would have told the whiny little hurt white boys to read some history then get over it.

    @6:

    …and robertbaden upholds the fine tradition about making absolutely everything about teh poor menz.

    @14:

    One again I only see people whining: “Why are you saying all white men have white privilege? I’m a white guy with no privileges and am poor and underclass, There’s no such thing as ‘white privilege’.”

    Ah, the “whining” trope, which is simply a cheap way to poison the well. Members of privileged groups can actually have valid complaints, you see, because…

    @15:

    Talking about class differences is simply irrelevant. People can be privileged is one way and non-privileged in another way.

    Bingo. However this makes class differences entirely relevant.

    @20:

    “Most of the power in this country is held by white males, but not all white males have power. Most have little or none.”

    I would hope that that observation was obvious. It is true. It is trivial. It is also irrelevant.

    I would hope that the great relevance of this observation would be trivially obvious since all oppressions (racism, sexism, etc.) are based on prejudice PLUS POWER.

    @26:

    There is nothing to suggest that privileged people do not have lots of terrible problems and bad things happen to them. It’s just not what the word refers to. If the 2 kids lost their home to foreclosure, then that is unfortunate but completely irrelevant to the discussion of privilege.

    This example is particularly asinine, because the kids are losing their home precisely due to lack of class privilege.

    These attitudes are part of the problem in educating about privilege IMNSHO. It hardly seems like these young men were “men of privilege”, attending a community college instead of Harvard or Yale on a legacy admission and likely growing up in a blue-collar neighborhood with mediocre to poor schools. It doesn’t matter how hard and long you pontificate about what entitled assholes they are. Until you actually show you give a damn about the axes on which they are oppressed and admit they have every bit as much right to complain about that as everyone else does about theirs, you are spitting in the wind. Yes they have “white privilege”. Agreed. And so what?????????? Why should they care? If they are oppressed on other axes worse than they are advantaged by being white, and nothing is being done about those other axes, than you can bet your bottom dollar they will strain to hold on to that white privilege, lest things become even worse for them, and that is EXACTLY what is happening, and what has happened in the Confederacy and in the South (and now, apparently, in the North as well). Pontificating to them about social justice is mere hypocrisy and is seen as such. Maybe, JUST maybe, if it were shown to them precisely how they are oppressed, they may learn more empathy for that of others.

    Sure, maybe you personally care about all this. But, just WHERE ARE the discussions of class privilege in our esteemed institutions of higher learning? WHERE ARE the discussions of the vast unearned wealth, income inequality, oppressive economic system, shenanigans in banking and financial system, etc.? You’d think that allegedly “liberal” universities (which the right constantly assails) would eat this kind of stuff up. But in reality, THAT would hit too close to home for the 1%ers.

  51. 51
    Louis

    Oh and Tony, did I forget to mention that every thread about racism against black people (for example) must immediately be turned into “What about Teh {Insert other group here}?”? Because as we all know mentioning one specific aspect of (intersectional) oppression IMMEDIATELY AND FOREVER excludes all other oppressions/discussions of oppression.

    Did you know I once talked about misogyny without bringing up male circumcision? I am a bad, bad monkey.

    Louis

  52. 52
    Louis

    Why, it’s like these are familiar repeated tropes or something.

    Louis

  53. 53
    chimera

    I second neuroguy @50.

  54. 54
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    neuroguy @50:
    Yes, there are multiple axes of oppression and privilege. In this particular thread, we’re discussing racism and white privilege. There is no requirement in discussing one axis of oppression to discuss all the others simultaneously. Nor is there an assumption made that the oppressed are not privileged, or vice versa.

  55. 55
    rodw

    Tony TQS
    Doublereed
    Nerd

    Tony, thanks for the definition:

    unearned advantages an individual possesses that allows them to move through life with–on average–greater ease than those without.

    Is it an unearned advantage to not be harrassed about your sexuality because you’re straight? I’d say no, it doesnt need to be earned. Its a basic right and gay men are denied that right very often.
    In the legal system, is it an unearned advantage to have a fair trial? No, thats guaranteed by the consititution. Just because some people are denied it doenst make it a privilage. In this case a privilage would be getting away with crimes that other people are punished for because of money and connections.

    Doublereed. Keep reading!!

    Nerd. I’m not redefining terms. I accept the definition used by sociologists. I’m just saying that definition is a mistake.

  56. 56
    scienceavenger

    I accept the definition used by sociologists. I’m just saying that definition is a mistake.

    Noted. Now move on. The world isn’t going to stop using a word the way it does because you think it’s a mistake, and further semantic carrying on will be rightly interpreted as an attempt to avoid the subject of the discussion. And its a goddamned bore.

  57. 57
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Rodw,

    I’m not redefining terms. I accept the definition used by sociologists. I’m just saying that definition is a mistake.

    Just like the scientific definition of “theory” is a mistake just because people use it the wrong, “common” way all the time?

  58. 58
    doublereed

    These attitudes are part of the problem in educating about privilege IMNSHO. It hardly seems like these young men were “men of privilege”, attending a community college instead of Harvard or Yale on a legacy admission and likely growing up in a blue-collar neighborhood with mediocre to poor schools. It doesn’t matter how hard and long you pontificate about what entitled assholes they are. Until you actually show you give a damn about the axes on which they are oppressed and admit they have every bit as much right to complain about that as everyone else does about theirs, you are spitting in the wind. Yes they have “white privilege”. Agreed. And so what?????????? Why should they care? If they are oppressed on other axes worse than they are advantaged by being white, and nothing is being done about those other axes, than you can bet your bottom dollar they will strain to hold on to that white privilege, lest things become even worse for them, and that is EXACTLY what is happening, and what has happened in the Confederacy and in the South (and now, apparently, in the North as well). Pontificating to them about social justice is mere hypocrisy and is seen as such. Maybe, JUST maybe, if it were shown to them precisely how they are oppressed, they may learn more empathy for that of others.

    I think you knew what I meant.

    No, I’m sorry, but I’m all for intersectionality here. But you only get intersectionality if you understand privilege as a concept, which they refuse to do. If they choose to hold on to that white privilege, then yes, they’re going to get screwed over even more, because they are alienating more allies. It is not advantageous for them to do so, like you are pretending.

    You say you agree that they have white privilege. Do they agree? They are not arguing what you are arguing, and you do not speak for them.

    There are plenty of discussions about class struggles in all universities. I’m very confused by that. There’s also plenty of discussion about class privilege in social justice circles. You’re simply asserting that there isn’t.

  59. 59
    Anthony K

    Just like the scientific definition of “theory” is a mistake just because people use it the wrong, “common” way all the time?

    Just like crane flies and harvestmen are the same because they’re both commonly known as Daddy Longlegs.

    So are Daddy Longlegs arachnids or insects? CHECK AND MATE, EGGHEADS!

  60. 60
    doublereed

    The general question of “why should they care if they have privilege” is an attitude I don’t know how to address. If they’re not going to care about others’ experiences, then why should anyone care about theirs? To accuse me of hypocrisy is a little weird, when you demonstrate it so readily, yet I didn’t even say anything about class privilege.

    Social Justice includes class privilege. Stop acting like they are separate.

  61. 61
    rodw

    The world isn’t going to stop using a word the way it does because you think it’s a mistake,

    I think I use the term in the same way most of the world does but its been given a specific definition within sociology that I think undermines our efforts to end inequality by pitting the havenots against each other.

    Tabby

    Just like the scientific definition of “theory” is a mistake just because people use it the wrong, “common” way all the time?

    Scientists have always defined the word ‘theory’ pretty much the same way in the last century or 2. Creationists try to imply that a theory is some sort of wild guess.
    I think privilege has had a standard defintion for a long time. I get the impression that sociologists have changed that relatively recently.

    Something neuroguy said is making me reconsider ( a bit) If ‘privilage’ is finely divided into many racial, economic etc ways maybe it is more reasonable to talk about it that way and maybe that would help towards recifying problems…but I keep coming back to the choice of words!
    I have to get work done :(

  62. 62
    Tabby Lavalamp

    I think privilege has had a standard defintion for a long time. I get the impression that sociologists have changed that relatively recently.

    Seeing as this is getting bogged down in definitions, let’s look at the actual dictionary definition…

    privilege
    ˈprɪvɪlɪdʒ/
    noun
    noun: privilege; plural noun: privileges

    1.
    a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.
    “education is a right, not a privilege”

    There doesn’t seem to me to be anything about the sociological use of the word that goes against this.

  63. 63
    HappyNat

    Attention everyone, please! rodw doesn’t like (or can’t be arsed to get their head around) the Sociological/Social Justice use of the word privilege. I guess this means we will have to stop using the term. Ah well, shouldn’t be too hard since we just made it up “relatively recently”. It was a good run. I will wait patiently for the new word that will totally not cause confusion in social justice discussions. Once I have this new word I will use it with find/replace and privilege in my dissertation.

    Then we can back to caring about people and not words . . .

  64. 64
    dogen

    This is relevant, I think:

    http://awakenedworldtv.com/aamer-rahmans-hilarious-cilp-reverse-racism/

    Also it’s funny.

  65. 65
    Louis

    I am now wondering if I could have been more bluntly sarcastic.

    Perhaps if I’d said “My discomfort with how a word is used is more important than the lives of black people” at some point it would have been more obvious.

    Because, you know, my disagreement with sociologists using a specific word with a specific definition and coming up with spurious objections to the word that those sociologists clearly could never have thought of and haven’t already addressed, a fact I know without reading a fucking thing, is clearly the most important thing EVER. It’s not like there are places I can go on the internet to read about these things and none of those places have been linked or hinted at or even given the beginnings of a trail of breadcrumbs to.

    Louis

  66. 66
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    rdw:

    Nerd. I’m not redefining terms. I accept the definition used by sociologists. I’m just saying that definition is a mistake.

    On what basis can you reasonably make this claim? That you don’t like the definition of the word is insufficient reason for professionals to toss it out. You may accept it, but you don’t understand it.

    Also, *yes*, to be heterosexual (I’d prefer not to use the word straight) means you’re not going to be harassed bc of your sexuality. You didn’t do anything to earn that treatment. You are simply accorded that by our society, which still sends the message that there is something wrong with being gay (though that message faces greater and greater resistance). Hell, look at the teens that are bullied because they are *perceived* to be gay!

    Is it an unearned advantage to not be harrassed about your sexuality because you’re straight? I’d say no, it doesnt need to be earned. Its a basic right and gay men are denied that right very often.

    You want to refer to these advantages as rights?

    By virtue of being queer, millions of Americans lack many of the *rights* possessed by heterosexuals.
    By virtue of being female, women across the country lack the many of *rights* possessed by males.
    By virtue of being Hispanic, Black, or Asian, people across the country lack many of the *rights* possessed by white people.

    But rights are not the only thing being denied to oppressed people.
    Is it a right of black women in this country to see themselves well represented in the media?
    Is it a right of trans* individuals to find themselves represented in the political arena?
    Do gay men possess the right to not be fired for not being heterosexual?

    Can you see how much deeper the issue of privilege goes than just a question about legal rights?

  67. 67
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    rdw:

    Something neuroguy said is making me reconsider ( a bit) If ‘privilage’ is finely divided into many racial, economic etc ways maybe it is more reasonable to talk about it that way and maybe that would help towards recifying problems…but I keep coming back to the choice of words!
    I have to get work done :(

    Did you miss the part where I discussed Straight Privilege? There are far more axis of oppression. There’s plenty of research on the subject online. Several of us have already given you links. Here is another:

    Pointing out that men are privileged in no way denies that bad things happen to men. Being privileged does not mean men are given everything in life for free; being privileged does not mean that men do not work hard, do not suffer. In many cases – from a boy being bullied in school, to a soldier dying in war – the sexist society that maintains male privilege also does great harm to boys and men.

    In the end, however, it is men and not women who make the most money; men and not women who dominate the government and the corporate boards; men and not women who dominate virtually all of the most powerful positions of society. And it is women and not men who suffer the most from intimate violence and rape; who are the most likely to be poor; who are, on the whole, given the short end of patriarchy’s stick.
    [...]
    The Male Privilege Checklist

    1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.

    2. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that might be true. (More).

    3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.

    4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities.

    5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are. (More).

    6. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.

    7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low. (More).

    8. On average, I am taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces much less than my female counterparts are.

    9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.

    10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.

    http://amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist/

    Now you’ve seen a sample of Straight Privilege, White Privilege, and Male Privilege. For the third time, I hope this helps and opens your eyes a bit b/c I feel like I’m beating my head up against a brick wall.

  68. 68
    llelldorin

    Rodw, you’re asserting an extra connotation to privilege that simply isn’t there.

    “Privileges” aren’t things that need to be taken away. Some are actually guaranteed by law:

    “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States…” (14th amendment of the US Constitution)

    I was uncomfortable with the term when I first heard it, too. Even though it doesn’t make any logical sense, it’s somehow easier to say that other people are unfairly in a disadvantaged position relative to you than make the symmetric point that this means that you are in an unfairly advantaged position relative to them. Part of privilege, after all, is the right make the issue entirely about the disadvantaged. It’s much easier to think “how do we help minorities be treated more fairly in hiring” than “how do we keep people who look like me from having an unfair edge in hiring,” particularly when I’m looking for work.

  69. 69
    doublereed

    Well, I would respond to you rodw, but Louis did it much better..

  70. 70
    scienceavenger

    [privilege has] been given a specific definition within sociology that I think undermines our efforts to end inequality by pitting the havenots against each other

    How is it pitting the havenots (whoever the hell that is) against each other to inform white people that however bad they think their life is, odds are it would be even worse if they weren’t white? Think living in a trailor park is the worst it can be? Try living in a shack.

  71. 71
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    I hope rodw will read and learn, rather than continue digging. We need more allies, not more opponents.

  72. 72
    scienceavenger

    @40: I feel there’s more to this story than we’re hearing.

    I get that response every time I tell a story of someone arrested for DWB (Driving While Black). A lot of us have a hard time accepting that, yes, the police can and do arrest/harrass/question blacks on occasion for absolutely no reason. But they do.

  73. 73
    Richard Smith

    A privilege is a societal perk for a select group, which ought to be a right for all, or for none.

  74. 74
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    RodW:

    Nerd. I’m not redefining terms. I accept the definition used by sociologists. I’m just saying that definition is a mistake.

    Sorry RodW, your unevidenced OPINION, can be and is dismissed, like any other unevidenced opinion. Either cite a relevant third party to support your OPINION, or, if you have honesty and integrity, cease voicing your opinion like it is dogma.

  75. 75
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    rodw:

    I think I use the term in the same way most of the world does but its been given a specific definition within sociology that I think undermines our efforts to end inequality by pitting the havenots against each other

    No one is pitting oppressed groups against each other. This isn’t Oppression Olympics.

  76. 76
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    RodW:

    I think privilege has had a standard defintion for a long time. I get the impression that sociologists have changed that relatively recently.

    Citation needed to back your claim. In fact, every claim you make needs a citation. Remember, your opinion isn’t and never will be evidence.

  77. 77
    draconius

    RE: Basketball players arrested for having the wrong skin color

    I’d think that if those kids were, say, provoked to physically attack the police officer, then this would have been reported quite eagerly. It would have been easier to justify an arrest like that rather then, “THEY WERE BLOCKING TEH STORE!!”

    I doubt there’s much more to this story, therefore I’m taking it at face value: that for “some reason” *cough*racism*cough* someone in authority felt uncomfortable with a large(?) group of young folks of color.

  78. 78
    Jacob Schmidt

    Just like crane flies and harvestmen are the same because they’re both commonly known as Daddy Longlegs.

    It’s a mistake to call them crane flies, Anthony K. I’d prefer to call them mosquito hawks, so that’s obviously the more correct term.

    RE: privilege

    I think the confusion comes from the idea that privilege is necessarily beneficial, as opposed to lacking certain obstacles (Ally over at hetpat made a similar argument). The former is the definition used by people trying to argue that they aren’t really privileged, based on the premise that they aren’t getting any handouts.* The latter is included in the sociological definition, as well as other dictionary definitions: “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

    *Probably a blatantly false premise in the first place, since sometimes the handouts are obscure (ex: white kids being afforded more attention from the teacher in school).

  79. 79
    Louis

    In fact sociologists DID change the definition of the word “privilege” relatively recently. The word is of Latin origin and sociology didn’t start until after the Enlightenment (roughly speaking). So this means that, lo those many centuries ago, those beastly people used a word in a slightly different way from the original. The horror. The horror.

    Obviously this serious issue needs to be complained about whilst black people are relentlessly and systemically (on average and by comparison to their equivalent white compatriots in most/all Western societies) oppressed and killed, because if every word of a discussion is not to the liking of every single (presumably white) discussant, why then something like chaos might descend.

    And it’s terrible that, in a thread on some website on the internet, some people are trying to talk about the topic of discussion started by the original post, which is (broadly) systemic racism against black people in the USA, without discussing the problems of other groups. Talking about one thing is oppression and just you remember it. It’s like this discussion in one thread on one website prevents people starting other threads on other websites, even googling for other threads on other websites, or heaven forfend, starting their own websites and talking about these things.

    Why some unsympathetic and nasty people might even suggest that the continual derailing of discussions about one axis of oppression with complaints about other axes of oppression as if they somehow could be traded off against each other was a rhetorical tactic favoured by very bigots and oppressive people to silence that discussion. Luckily, I’m FAR too nice to suggest such a horrible thing. I’m sure everyone has the very best of intentions.

    I wonder, have I been sarcastic enough yet?

    Louis

  80. 80
    Jacob Schmidt

    When I think of the word ‘privilege’ I think of something special, something extra…

    I missed this. So “some benefit” is exactly the criteria being used, here. Sorry, rodw. You’re wrong, on both the sociological definition and the general one.

  81. 81
    Richard Smith

    @draconius (#77):

    someone in authority felt uncomfortable with a large(?) group of young folks of color

    Surely that can’t be the case! I mean, a similar-sized group of young white folks would almost have to have some sort of special… hmm… what’s a good word..? Well, for lack of a more specific, well-defined word, let’s say they’d have to have some sort of “privilege” to not get the same sort of treatment.

  82. 82
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Monitor note:

    This is probably overdue, since we’re already 80 comments in, but I’m going to ask that discussions about linguistics be moved to Thunderdome.

    Please remember to stick to the topic of the OP.

    Stay on topic, unless it’s an obvious “fun” thread. If you have something off topic that you must share, the Thunderdome thread is always appropriate.

    The Rules

  83. 83
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Louis:
    You have much making up to do for your noticeable absence here. Depriving us from your radiant greatness for so long has been unbearable. Your penance is to engage in more sarcasm.

  84. 84
    Louis

    Richard Smith,

    Please don’t use the word “privilege”, it makes my ballbag shrivel up and Mr Winky go proper soft. All because nasty nasty sociologists redefined a word and I don’t like it. I don’t like all these high-faluting academic disciplines with their words and well defined usages.

    For example, I saw these psychologists and people using the term “bipolar” to describe a mental illness. Well the word bipolar means “having two poles” and the planet earth has two poles, does this mean the planet earth is mentally ill? IT DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A BRAIN! Use some common sense psychologists!* I saw some chemists using the word “organic” in conjunction with with the word “synthetic”. HOW CAN THAT BE? It’s like words have more than one meaning in different contexts or something. GOD! Why can’t these ivory tower academic snobby types be clear and just define the words they use clearly in articles and books and stuff?

    Instead of privilege could you please use the far more accurate term “relative advantage in that set of circumstances due to some aspect or another that is in no way universally binding on all other contexts and is in some manner derived from cultural, societal or legal norms and standards extant within that context, but in no way precluding any other possible advantage or disadvantage that may be operating at that, or any other, time and place”. Thank you.

    Louis

    * I am not joking when I say I have seen this argument made seriously as a “point” against the reality of mental illness. Oh yes.

  85. 85
    Louis

    Tony,

    More sarcasm? I…I…I’m not sure that’s even possible. I’ll try, but no promises.

    Louis

    P.S. Don’t flatter me, I am (at least culturally I guess) British. I therefore cannot cope with it and will poo my pants. ;-)

  86. 86
    diego

    My girlfriend is a philosophy professor and one of the classes she teaches focuses on race, gender, and class. She does get through to some of the kids, but there are always more than a few recalcitrants who get defensive and she has to break through their automatic barriers. Usually it’s white males who have the strongest reaction, and if you even mention the issue of privilege they really get their backs up.

  87. 87
    Gregory Greenwood

    Perhaps my earliest introduction to just how dishonest and manipulative bigots can be was witnessing a particularly nauseating racist wheel out the notion that it was progressive liberals and race equality campaigners who were the ‘real problem’ and the ‘true racists’ – the logic (if so grandiose a term may be applied to this drivel) went as follows:-

    *Assumes the proper pompus and wholly unjustified superior and self-righteous attitude of a chronic Dunning-Kruger sufferer*

    Racism is totes yesterday’s news. It has all been squared away long ago – we are all equal now[1]. The only people still talking about it are those that want to stir up trouble, have some agenda of personal advancement or aggrandisemnt that is served by inventing grievances where none exist in the modern age, of who bear some personal grudge against white people[2]. They are the ones who are poisoning civil society with the fanaticism of their outdated race equality crusade[3].

    If they really cared about creating a better society, they would expend their efforts on tackling real issues, like the poverty and poltical disenfranchisement of people of all ethnic groups, rather than wasting time digging up a settled issue and pretending it is relevant[4].

    The battle has already been won, so those who want to continue to fight it must have other motivations than a genuine concern for equality.

    */racist twit*

    I have also encountered variations on this theme applied to the gay rights movement and, on innumerable occasions, to feminism and feminists, though usually with a heavy admixture of lovely terms from the always charming MRAs like ‘feminazi’, ‘white knight’ and ‘prudish, sex-hating shrews’. I have even on a couple of occasions heard it deployed during discussion of trans* rights, as if the acceptance of trans* groups in society was some settled, long established thing rather than transphobia being on the of the most widespread and toxically ‘socially acceptable’ bigotries that exists.

    This is a standard maneuver from the bigots play book, not that this makes it any less objectionable.

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    [1] Today, a reference to President Obama is a mandatory element here, toted with a flourish as supposed ‘proof’ that we live in a post-racist society.

    [2] You see, when people like this make a blanket statement that racism is no longer an issue, they then almost always add the unbelievably ridiculous caveat that contemporary racism does exist only in so far as it is somehow supposedly applied to white people – being the privileged group in society is apparently some terrible form of oppression in their eyes. The infamously idiotic phrase ‘reverse racism’ (a meaningless word-salad masquerading as a term if ever their was one) almost always pops up here.

    [3] Derisory claims of commonality between the modern equality struggle and (preferably suitably ‘foreign’ and thus ‘brown and scary’) religions or cults are particularly popular, especially among those racist arsehats who also self-identify as atheists and/or skeptics.

    [4] Intersectionality is either an entirely alien concept to them, or is considered the suspect terminology of the ‘liberal intellectual elites’, or is outright decried as a lie concocted by progressives and used to attack ‘ordinary, hardworking (and one assumes conspicuously white, male and probably cis/het) Joes’.

  88. 88
    profpedant

    When speaking with friends and other members of your own community it is fine to use words in ways that differ from the dictionary meaning, and doing so is a wonderful source of linguistic creativity. But when speaking with strangers (such as on an internet forum), people who are not from your own community, it is necessary to either use words in their dictionary meaning or to take the time to make it clear how your usage differs from (and builds on) the dictionary meaning. To do otherwise is to impede communication and – ironically – privileges your own usage of the word over the meanings your audience perceives.

    priv•i•lege (prv-lj, prvlj)
    n.
    1.
    a. A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste.
    b. Such an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank, and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others.
    2. The principle of granting and maintaining a special right or immunity: a society based on privilege.
    3.
    a. Protection from being forced to disclose confidential communications in certain relationships, as between attorney and client, physician and patient, or priest and confessor.
    b. Protection from being sued for libel or slander for making otherwise actionable statements in a context or forum where open and candid expression is deemed desirable for reasons of public policy.
    4. An option to buy or sell a stock, including put, call, spread, and straddle.
    tr.v. priv•i•leged, priv•i•leg•ing, priv•i•leg•es
    1. To grant a privilege to.
    2. To free or exempt.

    The colloquial usage of “privilege” prevalent in this thread probably has its origin in the second clause of meaning 1b above: “an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank, and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others”. A great many people who are not familiar with the colloquial usage of “white privilege” or “male privilege” reflexively assume that ‘privilege’ is being used in the 1a meaning, “special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste”, and recognize an inconsistency with their bank balance, job security, medical situation, or other aspects of their lives. When the “exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others” is explicated a common response is to wonder if the person ‘accusing’ them of being privileged is wanting their lives to be even worse than they already are, or if they are being accused of crimes that they did not commit or approve of.

    When the concept of structural advantages comes up in class I teach that there are two variations. One form of structural advantage is inevitable and can only be compassionately responded to; an example is the question of what temperature an office should be in order to maximize comfort. Different people have different temperature tolerances/preferences, and the only thing that can be done is to consider compromises that mostly work reasonably well for everyone. The compromise might have some annoyances, but if it is made with mutual compassion those annoyances should be trivial instead of existential.

    The other sort of structural advantage derives from the clues we use (and so often misuse) to discern competence, trustworthiness, friendliness, and other traits that govern how we prefer to interact with someone. Inaccurate clues – such as skin color, gender, age, etc., etc. – lead directly to existential angst because their lack of correlation with competence, trustworthiness, friendliness, etc, means that any decisions based on those clues make no damn sense. This leads the people who are making those decisions to irrationally highlight coincidental correlations and/or make shit up in order to ‘make sense’ of their decisions. This also leads the people whose lives were affected by those decisions to increasing frustration and a sense of helplessness. Humans have imperfect but persistent nonsense detectors and a recurrent inclination to solve seemingly intractable problems. Consequently a system of structural advantages built upon false signifiers is inherently unstable and ultimately in the interest of no one – not even those who enjoy temporary advantage.

  89. 89
    Enopoletus Harding

    I think the dispute with rodw arose from rodw thinking “privilege” meant “a special right, advantage, or immunity that should be granted or available only to a particular person or group” with the rest of us thinking “privilege” means “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group”.

  90. 90
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    profpedant:

    When speaking with friends and other members of your own community it is fine to use words in ways that differ from the dictionary meaning, and doing so is a wonderful source of linguistic creativity. But when speaking with strangers (such as on an internet forum), people who are not from your own community, it is necessary to either use words in their dictionary meaning or to take the time to make it clear how your usage differs from (and builds on) the dictionary meaning. To do otherwise is to impede communication and – ironically – privileges your own usage of the word over the meanings your audience perceives.

    I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said, but this not being a classroom, sometimes having to engage-once more-in 101 level discussions about social justice issues is incredibly tiresome. Informative links have been provided throughout the thread for those that are interested in learning.

  91. 91
    LykeX

    But when speaking with strangers (such as on an internet forum), people who are not from your own community, it is necessary to either use words in their dictionary meaning or to take the time to make it clear how your usage differs from (and builds on) the dictionary meaning.

    You mean, for example, providing links which offer straightforward explanations of the terms and how they’re used? Such as the ones provided in this very thread, from comment #16 onwards?

    That sort of thing?

  92. 92
    Jafafa Hots

    Having heart disease is bad. Imagine having heart disease so bad that after years of suffering, you have to have a heart transplant. Imagine the fear and pain. Would YOU want to go through that? I sure wouldn’t.
    How dare you call Dick Cheney privileged?

  93. 93
    Jafafa Hots

    When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Then you call or text the coach and let them know you had to move to a different location. I’m white, and I’ve been told plenty of times by security officers, not even police officers, to move, and I do as they ask, because they’re just doing their job.

    And in this case, “just doing their job” included enforcing defacto segregation.
    (Don’t tell me it’s not segregation, I grew up in the area. Erie County, nearby, was (at least in the 1990s) the 4th most segregated county in the US.)

    I was a victim of false arrest once, and threatened with it a second time.

    Do NOT tell people not to fight for their rights.
    Do not tell people to just shut up and sit in the back of the bus like they’re told.
    Do not tell people who are being single-out and discriminated against that it’s their fault, that they have to FOLLOW the illegal instructions, that they can’t wait for the fucking school bus, because their skin color makes decent folk nervous.

    Seriously, fuck off with the authoritarian bullshit.

  94. 94
    Allan Frost

    Louis:

    More sarcasm? I…I…I’m not sure that’s even possible. I’ll try, but no promises.

    Nope… it’s not possible. While you and Anthony K are planting your flags at the top of Mount Sarcasm, I will continue to rummage for my oxygen mask at base camp.

  95. 95
    Jafafa Hots

    Sorry if in that last bit my mentioning being falsely arrested seemed to be stated as something to do with race. It wasn’t, I’m white.
    That was intended as general rebuke to the “cops are just doing their jobs” BS.

  96. 96
    aaronbaker

    I think that at least part of what RodW was saying here was the (I would think) completely unobjectionable proposition that much of what is described in a lot of structural racism discourse as “privilege” is rights: rights that whites can take (usually) for granted, but which non-whites very often cannot.

    I’m not convinced, however, that “rights” and “privilege” are contradictory or inconsistent terms here (simply because, in some contexts, these terms do conflict). Here, what structural racism arguments are getting at is that whites enjoy, to a far greater extent than others, the advantage (often called here “privilege”) of taking innumerable rights for granted, where non-whites cannot. Defined in this way, as a differentially enjoyed advantage, “privilege” can be perfectly reasonably predicated of rights.

  97. 97
    vaiyt

    The definition of privilege in social justice AGREES with the dictionary and common definitions, it’s just a matter of perspective. If there are some basic rights (such as not being randomly arrested) that are only available for white people, why aren’t we right in calling those privileges?

  98. 98
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    aaronbaker @96:
    As I mentioned in my comment @66, rights and privileges are often not the same thing. Take a look at the Straight, White, or Male Privilege checklists. There are a host of privileges that aren’t violations of rights. White privilege has been advantageous when it comes to Stop and Frisk. Blacks or Hispanics lacking that advantage have often found their rights violated. Sure in that case one might use rights and privileges interchangeably.

    But what about those situations where rights are not violated?
    If I were fired tomorrow for being gay, I’d have little recourse, as Florida law has no prohibition about hiring/firing based on sexual orientation. It’s a right I *don’t* have in this state, unlike heterosexual people. In this case, while it could be argued that it’s a right I *should* have, the fact remains that I don’t. Conflating rights and privileges in this case simply doesn’t work.

    Then there’s the situations that have nothing to do with violations of rights. Is it a right of Hispanic women to see themselves represented in the media? Not a right, but certainly part of social injustice. That’s a privilege that white women have that Hispanic women lack. You can’t conflate that with rights.

  99. 99
    abewoelk

    Tony, No. 47, in point of fact it is a crime to refuse to obey a police officer’s instruction, unless the instruction is to do something that is itself illegal. In some states failing to obey a police officer is a felony with hard prison time. If you want to, you can sue later on, or file a complaint with the police department, but when the instruction is given, you do in fact have to obey. I don’t like it either, but I’m not the legislature.

    Which doesn’t mean that this particular police order might not have been given out of racial animus. I’m sure the police often do harass minorities by giving orders that they would not give to white people. But the choice is to either become a martyr by engaging in civil disobedience and getting yourself arrested, or obeying the law by obeying the order and complaining later.

    And I think the people who are saying, “This is a discussion about race, not about class” are missing the point. Upper-class black people are probably harassed less often than lower-class whites. My city has both a lower-class black neighborhood and an upper-class black neighborhood. My co-workers who live in the upper-class black neighborhood tell me that in general, the police don’t bother them.

  100. 100
    abewoelk

    By the way, there was an interesting case in Omaha some years back. A school decided to have a student election for “African-American student of the year.” A white student from South Africa decided to run. On the surface, he met the definition; he was indeed an African-American student, albeit a white one. Not only did the school not let him run, they suspended him for three days, and also suspended a friend of his for circulating a petition to let him run. He and his parents threatened to sue the school for race discrimination; I never heard if they actually did, or, if they did, what the result was.

    That, it seems to me, is an example of a white person with a legitimate grievance for race discrimination. He was being told that he could not do something because of the color of his skin. Had I been the judge, I’d have ruled in his favor. I suspect others here will disagree.

  101. 101
    carlie

    A lot of this discussion (the early part esp) reminds me of Occam’s big paisley tie.

    If Occam’s Razor is the principle by which the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, this urge to exhaust every possible explanation—no matter how convoluted, remote, unlikely, or totally fucking absurd—is Occam’s Big Paisley Tie.
    Are you sure that salesperson didn’t ignore you because zie just didn’t see you? SWIRL! Well, maybe zie was just having a bad day. SWOOP! Are you certain zie heard you? SWIRL! Did you really try to get hir attention? SWOOP! Maybe zie didn’t realize you needed help. SWIRL! I’m sure it’s not that zie was being purposefully rude. SWOOP! Maybe zie is hard of hearing. SWIRL! Have you considered that maybe you had an unfriendly look on your face? SWOOP! You know how your face gets when you’re not smiling. SWIRL! I don’t know—there has to be some explanation you just didn’t notice. SWOOOOOOOOP!

  102. 102
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    abewoelk:
    Please go away. Your brand of racism is not welcome here.

  103. 103
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Oh yeah, I forgot.
    Hey dishonest abewoelk:

    Next time you want to post an anecdote to prove some point, provide a link. That way the skeptical among us can evaluate the story and evidence for ourselves, rather than taking your word for it.

  104. 104
    abewoelk

    Tony, as it happens, I’m also a gay guy who lives in Florida, which means I, too, would have no recourse if my employer fired me for being gay (though some Florida cities, including Orlando where I live, have local ordinances that protect sexual orientation). On the other hand, there’s a long list of advantages to being gay, such that I actually think I got the better end of the deal.

    Since I never had children, I had more disposable income and was able to pursue hobbies that cost money that I couldn’t have pursued otherwise. Since I had no children, I had fewer constraints on my time, and more flexibility to pick up and move if things weren’t working out. I probably had more opportunities for sex because there are more men interested in casual hookups than there are women (not that straight men might not enjoy being as promiscuous as gay men; they just don’t have as many opportunities since fewer women are open to being picked up).

    Not that it’s all been roses; I was once arrested under circumstances that I would not have found myself in had I not been gay, and I am also the plaintiff in an early gay civil rights case based on having been fired from a government job for being gay. I had some rough spots with my fundamentalist christian family. But even factoring all of that into it, I have to say that the glass is half full and I still ended up with the better end of the deal by being gay. Whether people who are members of other non-privileged groups — blacks or women — would feel the same way, I can’t say.

  105. 105
    abewoelk

    Tony, try googling “Omaha ‘african american student of the year’”. I found a dozen hits in ten seconds or less.

  106. 106
    abewoelk

    Tony, what did I say that could even remotely be considered racist?

  107. 107
    Rey Fox

    We should not talk about racism. We should talk about abewoelk! What an endlessly fascinating subject that is!

  108. 108
    qwerty

    Wow, I remember going to this school in the 1970s and it was about the most diverse school I had ever attended. I am a white male but I remember taking Native American studies classes from a woman who was a Native American. I remember taking courses from African-American professors. It was SO different from the all-white high school of my youth.

    There were students of all races and colors and many foreign students who were there to improve their English prior to attending other schools.

    I do find it perplexing and sad that the administration wouldn’t be more supportive of one of its professors.

  109. 109
    aaronbaker

    Tony! The Queer Shoop! @98: “Then there’s the situations that have nothing to do with violations of rights.”

    As I tried to make clear, I wasn’t saying that ALL the situations that might come up in this privilege discourse implicate actual rights–merely that a lot of them do.

  110. 110
    Ing

    When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Then you call or text the coach and let them know you had to move to a different location. I’m white, and I’ve been told plenty of times by security officers, not even police officers, to move, and I do as they ask, because they’re just doing their job.

    let me summerize these arguements as every single story about cops always has them and they boild down to this

    “POLICE ARE SACRED BLAMELESS CREATURES. THE PROPER RESPONSE TO SEEING A POLCIE MAN IS TO FALL ON YOUR KNEES IN SUBMISSION TO YOUR BETTERS! IF I HAD MY DITHERS I’D BE SUCKING THE PAINT OFF A PATROL MAN’S NIGHTSTICK RIGHT THIS MOMENT!!!!”

    @Abewoelk

    “I get more sex so oppression is a myth” You’re a fucking disgrace as a human being.

  111. 111
    jodyp

    Abewoelk:

    Another gay guy here.

    Being promiscuous doesn’t compensate for societal and institutional oppression. It just doesn’t. Not even a little. It’s embarrassing that you think it does.

    Go away. You’re making us look bad in front of the other gender identities.

  112. 112
    abewoelk

    At Ingy, No. 110, actually the police are fairly repulsive far too often. I think they have way too much power and far too little oversight. However, the law does in fact require that their orders be obeyed.

    “I get more sex so oppression is a myth” isn’t really an accurate characterization of what I actually said. More along the lines of you can see the glass as half empty or as half full, and I choose to see it as half full, and I’m not going to feel oppressed just because you think I should.

  113. 113
    Koshka

    Abewoelk #106

    Tony, what did I say that could even remotely be considered racist?

    I presume an African-American award is intended to help out those who are lacking white privilege.

    For a white guy to complain that he is not included in this is petty racism.

    Your support for this guy is what Tony considered racism.

  114. 114
    abewoelk

    Jodyp, what I already said to Ingy Dingy. No, it doesn’t, but life is not as miserable as you all are making it out to be. And once you factor out bad personal choices, I’m not even convinced that institutional and societal discrimination are even that harsh, which is not the same thing as saying they don’t exist. Most of my problems over the course of my life were caused by bad personal choices and not by anti-gay prejudice, though there are exceptions. I suspect that’s true at least to a certain extent of other minorities as well.

  115. 115
    abewoelk

    No, Koshka, an African-American award is intended to make white liberals feel good about themselves by allowing themselves to patronize blacks while pretending not to. Can’t speak for blacks, but I would be deeply, deeply offended at the very idea of a comparable gay student of the year award; the whole point is to pat the recipient on the head.

  116. 116
    Jafafa Hots

    At Ingy, No. 110, actually the police are fairly repulsive far too often. I think they have way too much power and far too little oversight. However, the law does in fact require that their orders be obeyed.

    Bullshit.
    Police issue ILLEGAL orders quite often. Other times their orders may technically be legal in a sense but are still wrong.

    Are you totally oblivious to history? Do you not understand that virtually every civil rights victory ever has required disobeying police?

  117. 117
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    aaronbaker:

    As I tried to make clear, I wasn’t saying that ALL the situations that might come up in this privilege discourse implicate actual rights–merely that a lot of them do.

    Ok, perhaps I’m misunderstanding you here. What is your position on rights vs. privileges?
    It is my opinion that:
    1- there are certain situations in which privilege and rights do intersect
    2- however, the two should not be conflated, because there are a lot of examples where the two are not remotely the same
    3- thus privilege and rights should not be used interchangeably.

    ****

    Koshka:
    Actually, that’s not what I was referring to. I won’t go into it, bc that’s actually violating the rules about bringing in crap from other threads and it doesn’t advance anything in this thread. I’d talk about it in the Thunderdome, though I suspect abewoelk is not interested.
    In any case, I have no desire to engage abewoelk further.

  118. 118
    Jafafa Hots

    No, Koshka, an African-American award is intended to make white liberals feel good about themselves…

    Why are you presuming that the award was created by and decided upon by white people?
    It’s possible in this case that it is, but if so it would be an exception.

    Your saying this betrays the fact that you DO see white privilege, you presume things are created and decided upon BY whites FOR non-whites.

    You see it, you just don’t have a problem with (most) aspects of it, apparently.

  119. 119
    jodyp

    …your case is right now sitting in court because you were fired for being gay, and you’re sitting here saying that societal oppression is of no concern because you can get your willy wonka’d.

    And that them other minorities should shut up, cuz it’s their own fault. “Bad personal choices” and all that.

    I don’t actually think you were fired for being gay. After reading what you have to say I sincerely question your mental competence.

  120. 120
    cactusren

    abewoelk said:

    Upper-class black people are probably harassed less often than lower-class whites.

    Maybe that’s true in particular neighborhoods, but there’s a funny thing about people (especially those who own cars)–sometimes they leave that neighborhood! Having money, a nice house, and even fame doesn’t stop black people from being profiled–see Forrest Whitaker and Nick Cannon as examples.

  121. 121
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    I find it disrespectful to tweak the ‘nyms of others as abewoelk did to Ingdigo Jump @114.

    ****
    Jafafa Hots:

    Are you totally oblivious to history? Do you not understand that virtually every civil rights victory ever has required disobeying police?

    I doubt the answer to the first is yes, but abewoelk certainly is oblivious to the struggles of oppressed people up to and including the present day, as exemplified by this shit he crapped out @114:

    No, it doesn’t, but life is not as miserable as you all are making it out to be. And once you factor out bad personal choices, I’m not even convinced that institutional and societal discrimination are even that harsh, which is not the same thing as saying they don’t exist.

    For any lurkers out there, please note the strawman. No one in this thread has bemoaned how miserable life is. What we have done is point out and criticize the injustices that people *are* facing. Willfully deluded pissants such as abewoelk can plug their ears and scream at the top of their voices that things are just really not that bad, but it doesn’t make it true for the people that are suffering.
    When was the last time we had someone who was swimming in privilege and ignorance (as he did) actually go and educate themselves and come back humbled about how amazingly and staggeringly wrong they are?

  122. 122
    Khantron, the alien that only loves

    When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Then you call or text the coach and let them know you had to move to a different location. I’m white, and I’ve been told plenty of times by security officers, not even police officers, to move, and I do as they ask, because they’re just doing their job.

    There are other schools of thought

    Excerpt:

    The bus driver stopped in Middlesex County, Virginia, and summoned the sheriff. When he tried to arrest Morgan, she tore up the arrest warrant, kicked the sheriff in the groin, and fought with the deputy who tried to pull her off the bus.

    I guess if you don’t want your own wikipedia page and presidential citizens medal you could just acquiesce.

  123. 123
    abewoelk

    Tony, maybe you find it disrespectful to tweak other people’s nyms, but I did so on the heels of Ingdigo Jump telling me I was a disgrace as a human being, which isn’t terribly respectful either. So if you’re going to be self righteous, please try to be consistent about it.

    Folks, I went out of my way to say that the police often behave badly and that I don’t have a lot of respect for them. That said, the law does require that their instructions be obeyed. That doesn’t mean that sometimes civil disobedience isn’t appropriate; the commenter who said that much civil rights progress involves disobeying the law is right. But, if you do decide to break the law, it’s not racism if you get arrested.

    And Koshka, regardless of what Tony was referring to, please listen to what you yourself are saying. Racism is not merely judging people by the color of their skin, which we all agree is wrong. Rather, racism has now been extended to include not giving minorities preferential treatment because of the color of their skin. I myself am ambivalent about whether affirmative action is good social policy (I actually see both sides of it), but even if I believed the answer to that question is a firm no, I think it’s a huge stretch to extend the definition of racism to merely opposing preferential treatment. Maybe the way to end race discrimination is to not discriminate based on race, even when the race is white.

    And finally — and I have an early morning tomorrow, so this will probably be my last contribution to this discussion — one of the reasons white guys aren’t interested in being blamed for everything wrong in the world is that whether leftists choose to admit it or not, bad personal decisionmaking trumps institutional prejudices every time, and the problems of gays/women/blacks/Arabs will not be fixed if that part of the problem goes unaddressed. And if you look at that subsection of the black community that is really and truly fucked up — the inner city — it’s mostly fucked up because of drugs, dropping out of school, teenage pregnancy and other personal choices that aren’t whitey’s fault. None of which is to say that racism doesn’t exist — of course it does — but just that it’s only one part of the problem. I’ll be more inclined to talk about racism when you show some willingness to look at that side of it. And if you want to scream racist at me, go ahead; I promise you I’ve been called worse.

  124. 124
    abewoelk

    White people who do drugs, drop out of school, and get pregnant at 14 tend not to do well in life either.

  125. 125
    jodyp

    They don’t tend to get arrested for waiting at a bus stop either.

    Unless you consider that “preferential treatment”.

    In the mean time, keep blaming us because you refuse to understand something you deem unpleasant.

  126. 126
    chigau (違う)

    abewoelk #124

    White people who do drugs, drop out of school, and get pregnant at 14 tend not to do well in life either.

    Speak for yourself.

  127. 127
    yubal

    A question to the veterans on the topic (slightly off)

    How should I communicate structural racism in the US to a person of Asian origin that claims (in total simplification, compressing 30 min.here and adding exclamation marks) “We are also minority, why don’t we get free stuff, too? That is unfair!” ?

    I am aware of the existing stereotypes against Asian people and the differences to the stereotypes against African people. I tried the underrepresented vs. overrepresented minority argument, but I probably didn’t deliver it right?

    any recommendations?

  128. 128
    cactusren

    abewoelk @123

    …bad personal decisionmaking trumps institutional prejudices every time…

    Yes, lets talk about the personal decisions involved in the Rochester case of the OP.

    Tell me, oh ye wise one: what bad personal decisions did those basketball players make that got them arrested? And no, teenagers should not be expected to have to decide between following their coach’s instructions to catch a bus, and following a cop’s orders.

    Here’s the problem–you’re focusing on the teenagers who were put in a bad position through no fault of their own, and who don’t have the experience to react calmly. Let’s examine what the cops should have done. After asking the teens why they were there and ascertaining they were waiting for a school bus, they could have made a call or two to confirm that. If the group really was blocking the sidewalk, the cops could then have found a better location and contacted the school/bus depot/whoever. If the bus driver couldn’t be contacted, the cop could simply wait at the designated spot and redirect the bus when it got there. See, there’s that whole “serve” part of “protect and serve” that so many cops forget about.

    The police were the trained professionals who started the confrontation in the first place, and they could have made the personal choice to help out both the basketball players and the shop owner who complained. Instead, they made the choice to be racist assholes, thus abrogating the personal responsibility they have to be decent fucking human beings.

    How’s that for personal responsibility?

  129. 129
    Rey Fox

    and I have an early morning tomorrow, so this will probably be my last contribution to this discussion

    Aw gee, and you were contributing so helpfully.

  130. 130
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    There goes the pissant shitstain going on again about “bad decisions”. He’s done this shit before, as seen here and here.
    He places much of the responsibility for misfortune on those who are not well off. They made bad choices. This is a tired song and dance that doesn’t recognize the strong influence of outside forces on people. Forces beyond the control of many. Funny how he knows virtually nothing about the situations others have been involved in-far be it for abewoelk to actually dig up information so that he’s, y’know *informed* about what he’s talking about-but he’s completely comfortable being holier than thou and declaring the problem is largely “bad decisions”.

    Fuck off dude. You’re part of the problem.

    P.S. if you want to see why you’re a racist douchenuggett comparing Muslims to rabid dogs ring a bell?

    Hmm, after digging up the above disgustingly dehumanizing comment, I notice that abewoelk likes to pop up in threads about racism, spouting right wing talking points, a disdain for liberals, and a staggering inability to read for comprehension.

  131. 131
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    abewoelk:

    White people who do drugs, drop out of school, and get pregnant at 14 tend not to do well in life either.

    I’m sure you’ll dazzle us with the sheer amount of evidence to support this assertion in 3…2…1…

  132. 132
    cactusren

    abewoelk:

    White people who do drugs, drop out of school, and get pregnant at 14 tend not to do well in life either.

    But they’re much less likely to be arrested or do prison time, at least for marijuana use. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/us/marijuana-arrests-four-times-as-likely-for-blacks.html). Really, why is it so important for you to ignore all the statistics that show that racism is very real in this country?

  133. 133
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    cactuswren:

    Really, why is it so important for you to ignore all the statistics that show that racism is very real in this country?

    Perhaps the thought of bursting his Privilege Bubble is frightening. That would explain not just the ignorance of statistics, but so much more.

  134. 134
    aaronbaker

    Tony! The Queer Shoop! @117:

    I’m not sure we’re disagreeing in any substantive way. If you want to keep “rights” and “privileges” separate throughout, I would suggest that when you’re examining a situation in which whites can rely on a given right to a much greater extent than non-whites can, you could say that whites enjoy the privilege (i.e. the unfairly distributed advantage) of being able to rely on their right’s being respected where others can’t.

    I’ve seen examples of what I’m calling privilege discourse that seem to conflate “right” with “privilege” in these contexts, and that may muddle things unnecessarily–but I do think the intended meaning is pretty clear.

  135. 135
    jefrir

    Abewoelk, you’re aware that straight people aren’t actually required to have children, right? And that some gay people do have kids?
    And as for this in #100:

    That, it seems to me, is an example of a white person with a legitimate grievance for race discrimination.

    No. That is an example of a racist shitstain being deliberately provocative. I’d have thought you’d recognise th type.

  136. 136
    Jafafa Hots

    abewoelk, when I was 18 I was arrested in the inner city in NY state with marijuana – a bag filled with at least a dozen or so pre-rolled joints. I wasn’t a dealer, but it sure could have looked like it.

    I went to Hyatt Legal Services (like the H&R Block of lawyers), got a fresh out of law school lawyer, paid $350, stepped in front of a judge, my lawyer timidly asked for an ACD (adjournment with contemplation of dismissal). The judge simply granted it, we left, and the charges were allowed to drop.

    I’m white.
    I was a kid who at that time had a home address in a very white republican suburb.

    Tell me a black guy with an east side address would have had the charges dropped without even having to testify as to WHY they should be.

  137. 137
    unclefrogy

    I think the argument over the use of the word and the idea of privilege would probably just go away.
    if Rodw’s argument could be heard in the voice of Malcolm X
    I agree it is the way it is used that’s perfectly clear and understandable but the point that as I understand it that both the use of the word and the fact are wrong is also true. In the use of words the point is the communication of ideas and words can take on very different meanings given how they are used
    many of those things which we classify as the result privilege should be part of the basic “rules of civility” that we live by and in any rational analysis would be seen so.
    I have had the cops sicked on me in a situation not so very different we were not kidds at the time still it was not so easy not to get taken in at the time privilege or no.
    uncle frogy

  138. 138
    Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion

    Rights are what everyone has on paper.
    Privilege is how those rights are interpreted and applied in real life.
    Privilege is also other things, but the rights/privilege thing is basically summed up like that.

    We see again in #115 that old chestnut we love so much – affirmative action is just patronising and infantilising! Now where have we heard that one before? Hm!
    It’d be a far more convincing argument if the punchline wasn’t always “the way things are is just fine, so shut up.” There are always two words left out of that, too: “the way things are is just fine for me and people like me, so shut up.”

    The whole point of this is that things are NOT fine for people who are not you, which is why we have these fun little discussions in the first place. Inequalities are rife. Those inequalities are not caused by those entire groups of people bringing it on themselves, not trying hard enough or simply being intrinsically inferior. The playing field is not level. If it were, we would simply not be having these conversations.
    If your argument hinges on stating the field is already level and denying the concept of privilege, remember that you are in fact arguing that these entire groups are somehow just bad at everything. The language can pretty it up a lot, but that’s the crux of any of these arguments. Textbook bigotry.

  139. 139
    bassmike

    You can’t put the primary blame on people’s ‘bad choices’. A lack of privelege as a result of institutional racism means that many people only have the option of bad choices.

    BTW: Tony you are elequent and lucid as ever!. Louis it’s great to see you back again. I’ve always enjoyed you comments.

  140. 140
    opposablethumbs

    Sophia #138, I think you pretty much put the whole thing in a nutshell. Cogently and clearly said.

  141. 141
    Louis

    It appears that I cannot be sarcastic enough. Holy shit! This is a revelation. I MUST UP MY GAME!!!!!!ELEVENTY!!!!

    Louis

    P.S. Cheers Bassmike, I don’t know if I’m “back”, if I ever went “away”, or anything! All I know is I’ve been busier than a very busy thing with a full to do list. ;-)

  142. 142
    Anri

    abewoelk @ 124:

    White people who do drugs, drop out of school, and get pregnant at 14 tend not to do well in life either.

    And if you compare the general outcome of white people who do these things and black people who do these things, you will either finally understand structural racism or you will show everyone exactly how blinkered you truly are.

    I’m not saying you’re a racist, abewoelk (I have said you’re a bigot, as that distinction is apparently important to you – ref: Tony! The Queer Shoop! @ 130), I am just merely pointing out that you’re saying the same things that folks who clearly are racists say about these topics. Maybe that’s just some sort of crazy coincidence.

  143. 143
    abewoelk

    Tony, I actually compared terrorists and suicide bombers to rabid dogs, which is not quite the same thing as comparing all Muslims to rabid dogs, but I think I’ve finally figured out the fundamental difference between my presuppositions and yours.

    I’ve said, several times, that I believe racism exists and it needs to be stopped, and that it harms its victims. So far so good; on that point we agree. Your issue with me, isn’t on whether racism exists and is a problem; we both agree that the answer is yes. Rather, your hostility comes from me then going to the next step and saying that even people who are oppressed are responsible for the choices they make and have a duty to take care of themselves to the extent that they can. And that’s what makes me a heretic here: The notion that personal responsibility should play __any__ role in anything. And that’s why I find your views patronizing of minorities.

    By the way, I also find it amusing that because I’m now the house heretic, commenters here will disagree with what I say even if it’s something they’d normally agree with. If you want an example, I came in for a whole boatload of vitriol for saying that stereotypes have a basis in reality. Not a week later, PZ himself said in one of his posts that stereotypes have a basis in reality. Pass the popcorn.

  144. 144
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I also find it amusing that because I’m now the house heretic,

    Ever since you came out as a conservative libeturdian bigot, yes, you are the heretic, village idjit, etc. You haven’t said anything cogent in months, just slogans. Which is why you aren’t listened to.

  145. 145
    doublereed

    How should I communicate structural racism in the US to a person of Asian origin that claims (in total simplification, compressing 30 min.here and adding exclamation marks) “We are also minority, why don’t we get free stuff, too? That is unfair!” ?

    I am aware of the existing stereotypes against Asian people and the differences to the stereotypes against African people. I tried the underrepresented vs. overrepresented minority argument, but I probably didn’t deliver it right?

    any recommendations?

    Jews and Asians both don’t get affirmative action because on average, Jews and Asians do better than white people. In fact, whenever they take away affirmative action from a school, there is usually a larger influx of Asians and Jews into that school.

    Remember, the whole idea of ‘free stuff’ is because of problems that still persist in society. Which means that when/if those are not necessarily problems, they would be phased out. These are pragmatic solutions to problems (and have been shown to be quite effective, actually), not important principles of society or something.

    There are other issues that Jews and Asians deal with, but those should also have specific pragmatic solutions, not ‘free stuff.’

  146. 146
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    abewoelk:

    Tony, I actually compared terrorists and suicide bombers to rabid dogs, which is not quite the same thing as comparing all Muslims to rabid dogs, but I think I’ve finally figured out the fundamental difference between my presuppositions and yours.

    You just get more and more stupid with every post.
    I said you equated Muslims with rabid dogs. It doesn’t matter that you dressed up your comments with “Oh, I was talking about suicide bombers!” Somehow those are automagically NOT Muslims?
    No, racist assclam, they’re still Muslims.
    They’re still human beings.
    You’re still a dehumanizing scumbag.

    And no, you don’t understand my problem with you at all.
    For starters when are you going to start providing evidence to back up your assertions?! All you keep doing is saying things that are not true. We have provided link after link in all the threads you’ve infested with your racist nonsense, and your impenetrable skull and dense brain refuses to educate yourself. You spout off at the mouth about how “poor people are this, poor people are that”, when a cursory evalutation of the evidence refutes what you say.
    This blogging network is called Freethought Blogs.
    Freethought, as in “a philosophical movement that believes science, logic and reason should inform our beliefs and opinions, rather that superstitious dogma.” You are not using science, logic or reason to inform your beliefs.
    So what the fuck are you doing here?

    All you’re doing is bringing in your unsupported opinion, treating it as fact, and expecting people to swallow it wholesale.

    You’re entitled to your opinion.
    We’re entitled to mock and condemn you.

    *I* mock and condemn you as the complete right wing douchebag* you are.

    *You’re about as “moderate” as a great many Republicans I know.

  147. 147
    scienceavenger

    I suppose if Abewoelk was the principal at a school that gave a “Woman of the Year” award, he’d consider a guy who’s last name was “woman” to be qualified. What pedantic idiocy.

  148. 148
    daniellavine

    abewoelk@143:

    Rather, your hostility comes from me then going to the next step and saying that even people who are oppressed are responsible for the choices they make and have a duty to take care of themselves to the extent that they can. And that’s what makes me a heretic here: The notion that personal responsibility should play __any__ role in anything.

    No one has said or implied that personal responsibility doesn’t or shouldn’t play any role in anything. You’re making shit up to get one over on “liberals”. You’re not discussing an issue in good faith, you’re deliberately trying to provoke people.

    By the way, I also find it amusing that because I’m now the house heretic, commenters here will disagree with what I say even if it’s something they’d normally agree with. If you want an example, I came in for a whole boatload of vitriol for saying that stereotypes have a basis in reality. Not a week later, PZ himself said in one of his posts that stereotypes have a basis in reality. Pass the popcorn.

    You deliberately try to provoke people and then it amuses you that they are provoked. All that means is this: you are a troll.

  149. 149
    scienceavenger

    Abewoelk: I believe racism exists and it needs to be stopped, and that it harms its victims.

    OK, if it needs to be stopped, how do you propose to do so? Don’t say “stop discriminating by race”. The people who do so aren’t going to listen to you.

    In the mean time, if racism does in fact harm its victims, what do you propose we do about it prior to getting it stopped? Our society has many programs to aid those who are harmed by things out of their control, such as natural disasters. Should racism be treated differently? Why or why not?

    The basic problem I see in your approach is that you admit racism exists and is a problem, but you seem unwilling to do anything about it. That puts you in the same camp as those who like it.

  150. 150
    Ing

    Can we just all acknowledge the “personal responsibility” bullshit is a fun smarm bullshit language for just world fallacy?

    True fact: You have no control over a great deal of what happens to your life

  151. 151
    Ing

    Additionally for fuck sake Corporations are all about AVOIDING personal responsibility. Limited liability protects people from consequences and the structure itself creates moral distance between those making decisions and those effected.

    An individual deciding to with hold gramma’s cancer treatment to make a quick buck is a monster
    An individual deciding to do it having never met her and hiding in a highrise office is a buisnessman.

    So yeah if we’re talking personal responsibility then a fuck ton of CEOS are going to jail.

  152. 152
    daniellavine

    abewoelk@99:

    Tony, No. 47, in point of fact it is a crime to refuse to obey a police officer’s instruction, unless the instruction is to do something that is itself illegal.

    I don’t believe this is actually true. Care to cite the relevant statutes?

    I’m sure the police often do harass minorities by giving orders that they would not give to white people. But the choice is to either become a martyr by engaging in civil disobedience and getting yourself arrested, or obeying the law by obeying the order and complaining later.

    This seems to be completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    And I think the people who are saying, “This is a discussion about race, not about class” are missing the point. Upper-class black people are probably harassed less often than lower-class whites. My city has both a lower-class black neighborhood and an upper-class black neighborhood. My co-workers who live in the upper-class black neighborhood tell me that in general, the police don’t bother them.

    No, the people trying to make this about class are missing the point. While class is certainly a valid axis of oppression for the very reasons you mention that’s not what this particular discussion is about. This particular discussion is about race as an axis of oppression. If you want to talk about class instead do it on another blog post where that is the subject being discussed. This isn’t the oppression olympics and no one is arguing that oppression due to race is more or less severe than oppression due to class.

    @100:

    By the way, there was an interesting case in Omaha some years back. A school decided to have a student election for “African-American student of the year.” A white student from South Africa decided to run. On the surface, he met the definition; he was indeed an African-American student, albeit a white one. Not only did the school not let him run, they suspended him for three days, and also suspended a friend of his for circulating a petition to let him run. He and his parents threatened to sue the school for race discrimination; I never heard if they actually did, or, if they did, what the result was.

    That, it seems to me, is an example of a white person with a legitimate grievance for race discrimination. He was being told that he could not do something because of the color of his skin. Had I been the judge, I’d have ruled in his favor. I suspect others here will disagree.

    1. Neither of those students should have been suspended for obvious reasons.
    2. The whole idea of an “African American student of the year” is indeed rather patronizing for obvious reasons. However, one might justify such a contest by pointing out that no black student has ever been selected as “student of the year” and that it is quite plausible that this is partially due to racial bias and the fact that blacks are a minority in the school (assuming they are). I don’t like it but I don’t see any serious problem with it either.
    3. Your position is that if the title was “black student of the year” there would be no problem with excluding the white South African student? I somehow doubt it. As I’m rather sure is also true of the student in question you seem to be actively looking for “racism against white people.” That you have to strain so hard to find a legitimate example (and strain even harder to dismiss demonstrable bias against black people as irrelevant) is a pretty clear example of the relative hardships faced by blacks and whites on account of their race.

    @104:

    Since I never had children, I had more disposable income and was able to pursue hobbies that cost money that I couldn’t have pursued otherwise. Since I had no children, I had fewer constraints on my time, and more flexibility to pick up and move if things weren’t working out.

    “Not having children” is not an instance of “gay privilege.” As a straight man I have also never had children and therefore have had all the benefits of not doing so that you have.

    I probably had more opportunities for sex because there are more men interested in casual hookups than there are women (not that straight men might not enjoy being as promiscuous as gay men; they just don’t have as many opportunities since fewer women are open to being picked up).

    There’s an awful lot wrong with this. I’ll only bring up one point. However high casual sex is on your list of priorities it is not something denied anyone institutionally on the basis of race, gender, class, or sexual preferences. If there were laws or against or serious social repercussions for casual hookups for straight people you might have a point but there aren’t so this is, again, not an incident of “gay privilege”. (Note the social repercussions for casual hookups for straight women are more serious than those for straight men so this could quite plausibly be described as male privilege. Just not “gay privilege”.)

    But even factoring all of that into it, I have to say that the glass is half full and I still ended up with the better end of the deal by being gay.

    No one is trying to tell you your life is shitty because you’re gay so this isn’t really relevant. I’m glad you’re happy with your life.* But this is your personal feeling about your own life. Do you really think it’s reasonable to generalize that feeling to all gay people? To assume that gay people in general have it better than straight people because that is your own personal take on the situation? If not then this would seem to be even more completely irrelevant to the discussion than everything else you’ve said.

    Whether people who are members of other non-privileged groups — blacks or women — would feel the same way, I can’t say.

    That is correct. Why you think you can say for all gay folks everywhere forever is still mystifying me.

    *I actually suspect your life isn’t as peachy as you claim given how much hand-wringing you engage in over the fact that black people have it so darned good.

  153. 153
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Speaking as someone who lives in Rochester, I have a few observations:

    - Rochester’s current demographics is 43.7% white and 41.7% African American. That is, whites have a narrow plurality but are not the majority, and the absolute difference between the numbers of whites and African-Americans is quite narrow. Also, of course, whites are an absolute minority of the city’s population (as PoC are 56.3% of the population). There is palpable tension, as (mirroring many other places), money is not distributed proportionally, the city public schools are in a free-fall of quality (the state has sent several angry “shape up!” letters in recent years) and essentially any parent who has the means to do so has removed their children from Rochester public schools and either (1) paid to send them to private school or (2) moved to the suburbs, which are both significantly whiter and have better-quality public schools.

    - Rochester, while it fared better than many other cities of the type, is suffering from severe post-industrial blight. Jobs that enable one to support a family that don’t require advanced degrees are in very short supply. As in many other cites, white people are more likely to hold good jobs than PoC, at all education levels.

    - There was a mayoral election this year. An African-American woman won – with 55.3% of the vote. Even though it is not as if she won because every PoC voted for her and no white people did, I have heard a sizable amount of grumbling along the lines of how one of “those people” is going to be in charge of “our city.” I’m guessing people say such things in my hearing because they look at me and see a young white woman who doesn’t display outward signs of such dangerous things such as being a hippy or butch. So they think I’ll agree.

    - Like many cities, the police department is disproportionately white. Some think that the police see part of their job as keeping the PoC in the city “in line” and such. There have been allegations that they police neglect (save for punitive measures) neighborhoods that are not largely white (living in a mixed neighborhood that is seen as being minority-white, I hear this frequently).

    - Main Street in Rochester is not terribly long. It cuts through the central part of the city, and most of it is lined with office buildings and the like. Parts of it have fancy, expensive condos. The symphony hall is on Main Street. Other parts are low-income and rather seedy. Notably, there’s not much in between – it’s either fancy or crappy. I haven’t been able to determine where specifically the boys were arrested, but if it was on the “nice” segment of Main Street, then the cop was likely thinking about how “out of place” a group of black teenagers were. If it was elsewhere on Main Street, then the cop saw a group of black teenagers milling about in a not-so-nice neighborhood, jumped to a conclusion, and decided to throw his weight around.

  154. 154
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Addendum to my above: the cop apparently saw them from the corner of Main and Clinton, which means that they were in a stretch that includes various banks, government offices, the convention center, the tourist information office, and assorted “nice” businesses and apartments. This area also has heavy foot traffic and is liberally decorated with bus shelters for the city bus company, meaning that in the middle of the day there would be a bajillion people standing around.

  155. 155
    Louis

    Esteleth,

    You mean there were African-American youths just hanging around at a bus shelter in a nice area? Now correct me if I am wrong but isn’t that a pretty close to a shooting offence? Oh, wait, were they armed with Skittles?

    Louis

  156. 156
    Rey Fox

    Rather, your hostility comes from me then going to the next step and saying that even people who are oppressed are responsible for the choices they make and have a duty to take care of themselves to the extent that they can.

    Which is totally relevant to this case of three black teenagers arrested for waiting for a bus.

    No, our hostility comes from your authoritarianism and defense of an oppressive status quo.

  157. 157
    Ing

    @loius

    I believe they were waiting for a Yellow School Bus not a city bus so there wouldn’t be a stop. Of course one could smugly speculate that a cop should know his beat and know the common places for a school bus to stop and thus for people to aggregate for it, or that it’s probably a horrendous sign of poor police work if police don’t even consider trying to keep up to date about events or traffic routes in the areas they patrol

  158. 158
    abewoelk

    At Anri, No. 142, actually whether somebody is able to avoid bad consequences for bad decisions depends far more on class than it does on race; upper and middle class blacks who use drugs and drop out of school generally get a better result than lower class whites. OJ Simpson in all probability got away with two murders because he had the money to afford sterling representation; a lower class white with no money who committed a comparable crime would have probably been convicted after a two day trial (assuming his public defender didn’t plead it out).

    Tony, No. 146, now that you have that out of your system, I hope you feel better. It may surprise you to learn that earlier this week I was called a n*-lover by someone who actually is a racist. And people who actually are right wing think I’m practically a Marxist. So it’s all a matter of perspective.

    Scienceavenger, No. 149, two things need to happen simultaneously. First, anti-discrimination laws and constitutional provisions need to be rigorously enforced. Assuming the facts are exactly as the teenagers tell them, the police officers involved should be disciplined. Laws that give the police qualified immunity should be scrapped and they should be strictly liable when they violate people’s rights. And children should be taught not to be prejudiced, and encouraged to have friends from a wide variety of backgrounds. Go after employers and landlords that don’t offer equal opportunity. All of that attacks the problem from one direction.

    From the other direction, everyone (black, white, straight gay, male, female) needs to be taught how to make better choices, and there need to be consequences (not necessarily legal) for making bad ones. I don’t think people who live in the inner city drop out of school and get pregnant at 14 because they’re bad people or stupid people; I think they mostly haven’t been taught better. Use the carrot and stick approach: staying in school and not having children before you’re able to support them leads to good futures; not doing so leads to poverty; and strengthen the economy so those jobs are actually there. And, if people then choose to make bad decisions anyway, let them live with the consequences. That’s broad generalities, but that’s generally where I would go.

    Daniellavine, don’t know where you live, but in Florida, the statute that requires obedience to police officer instructions is Fla. Stat. 316.072(3); not obeying a police officer is a class 2 misdemeanor which carries sixty days in jail. Your state most likely has a comparable statute and I’m sure you can find it on google.

  159. 159
    abewoelk

    At Ingdigo Jump, No. 157, here the problem isn’t even that the police officer didn’t know they were waiting for a bus; it’s that the police officer refused to listen when they tried to tell him they were waiting for a bus. And that, I think, makes the officer’s conduct inexcusable.

  160. 160
    daniellavine

    abewoelk@158:

    At Anri, No. 142, actually whether somebody is able to avoid bad consequences for bad decisions depends far more on class than it does on race; upper and middle class blacks who use drugs and drop out of school generally get a better result than lower class whites. OJ Simpson in all probability got away with two murders because he had the money to afford sterling representation; a lower class white with no money who committed a comparable crime would have probably been convicted after a two day trial (assuming his public defender didn’t plead it out).

    As I already stated, this may be true but is irrelevant to the discussion which is about racial privilege, not class privilege. IIUC, when one controls for socioeconomic status rich blacks still tend to be subject to more discrimination than rich whites. Furthermore, the disproportional exclusion of blacks from the upper class is itself plausibly a function of racial discrimination. You seem to have left that part out.

    the statute that requires obedience to police officer instructions is Fla. Stat. 316.072(3); not obeying a police officer is a class 2 misdemeanor which carries sixty days in jail. Your state most likely has a comparable statute and I’m sure you can find it on google.

    The statute in question:

    (3) OBEDIENCE TO POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS.—It is unlawful and a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for any person willfully to fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any law enforcement officer, traffic crash investigation officer as described in s. 316.640, traffic infraction enforcement officer as described in s. 316.640, or member of the fire department at the scene of a fire, rescue operation, or other emergency. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, certified emergency medical technicians or paramedics may respond to the scene of emergencies and may provide emergency medical treatment on the scene and provide transport of patients in the performance of their duties for an emergency medical services provider licensed under chapter 401 and in accordance with any local emergency medical response protocols.

    Emphasis added. Oh dip! You’re just flat-out wrong.

  161. 161
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I think they mostly haven’t been taught better.

    There’s a difference between not being taught better and being taught that no matter what they try they aren’t capable of better.

    These are two different things, and the first absolves racists of their impact on children and dovetails nicely with racists’ favorite rhetorical weapon: poverty appears to run with race because poverty runs in families b/c it’s all the parents fault.

  162. 162
    Louis

    abewoelk, #143:

    And that’s what makes me a heretic here: The notion that personal responsibility should play __any__ role in anything.

    Well that’s bullshit. I for one am a big fan of personal responsibility.

    In fact I’m such a big fan of personal responsibility I think it should extend all the way to:

    a) People in positions of greater relative social privilege (as well as those in positions of lesser relative social privilege, because we all know it applies to them, right?) along whatever axis you care to name. I think people have the personal responsibility to, for example, question their own biases and prejudices. Just to pluck one idea out of the aether completely at random. Personal responsibility along an intellectual spectrum exists too you know. It’s not all money, ideas matter.

    Because, weirdly, and I know this is way out there and extreme, I think people have a personal responsibility to not be racist fucks (for example). It’s not a particularly hard intellectual hurdle to get over. I reckon even pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps one could get over it somehow.

    b) Every person in society. I think people have the personal responsibility to acknowledge the, for want of a better term, sheer, dumb luck of their privilege/advantages (along whatever axis they may or may not have them) and actively work to help others around them as far as is practicable and practical for them from that position. People should acknowledge the vast help they receive with little to know knowledge of it from generations of cooperative effort that went before them (and persist around them). They should acknowledge this by extending the circle they consider themselves personally responsible to people more distant to them than their own selves or immediate family.

    Because what greater burden of personal responsibility could there be than taking stock of the advantages one has and extending those advantages to others for as long as needed for those people to achieve either one’s own state of advantage or a state of advantage deemed appropriate by those others for themselves. A burden of responsibility that acknowledges that no person is an island, that each of us have benefited in some manner and that therefore we have the responsibility to benefit others around us and others to come.

    But then I’m kinda hard line when it comes to personal responsibility. I’m not like those libertarian, conservative, economically right wing, wusses who think it’s just for individuals they don’t care for to apply to themselves. Frankly those people don’t go far enough with personal responsibility.

    Louis

  163. 163
    Louis

    Ingdigo Jump,

    A yellow SCHOOL BUS? That KIDS might use? Did they have soft drinks? Were they coming back from a shop? Why is no one thinking of the children?

    Louis

  164. 164
    daniellavine

    @160:

    And that “at the scene of a fire, rescue operation, or other emergency” should have been obviously relevant. Is it plausible that a police officer can, for no reason at all, order someone to stand on one leg and hop in circles? If that isn’t a “lawful order” then what statute forbids it? And if it is a lawful order then would a felony charge be a reasonable punishment for declining to stand on one leg and hop in circles?

  165. 165
    abewoelk

    Daniellavine, read the statute again. “at the scene” modifies “firefighter”, not the entire section. A firefighter can only give instructions at the scene of a fire; that’s not true of police and traffic control officers. There’s a Florida Supreme Court case directly on point.

    There is a lot of caselaw interpreting what is and is not a lawful order, and I don’t have time to write a 10 page legal memorandum, so I’m not going to; you can go on Westlaw and research it yourself if you like. The bottom line is, people are arrested and prosecuted for not doing what the nice police officer told them to do all the time.

  166. 166
    Louis

    abewoelk, #158:

    Use the carrot and stick approach: staying in school and not having children before you’re able to support them leads to good futures; not doing so leads to poverty; and strengthen the economy so those jobs are actually there. And, if people then choose to make bad decisions anyway, let them live with the consequences. That’s broad generalities, but that’s generally where I would go.

    Ah the carrot and the stick. Such a great model of reality. You fuck up, you get the stick. All we need to do is tell people and they’ll get it all right. And if they don’t get it right after we told them it must because because they chose not to. And we’ll one day live in utopia and travel at the speed of light.

    Because errors never happen. Accidents never happen. Other people are all perfect, rational actors, who never, ever do anything cruel or unpleasant. Human brains have evolved miraculously out of their proto-human past to become these perfect creations of gentle humanistic action. No hormones. No wonky neurotransmitters. No “wiring faults”. No normal, perfectly every day actions of average brains that might not fit neatly into a preconceived and shallow notion of what is the best way to act. Just educate everyone better and everyone will make perfect choices. Except for the scum that deserve what’s coming to them. What a reality grounded model!

    And even then, those “right actions” based on “good education”….ah them. No youthful reproduction (better make those condoms 100% effective folks), no becoming disabled through car accident or trickery of birth (but surely the right decision by those parents would be to kill the abomination….no…sorry…I mean “make the right choice not to bring an economic burden into the world…gee where have I heard ideas like that before?). Those things are “wrong” Wait…I forgot. How did we arrive at which decisions were the right ones? A struggling young family is the wrong one, right? Did we vote on this? Is there a manual, some kind of book with it all written down. Perhaps derived from some authority somewhere. Because all this grey and complexity and thinking is getting hard.

    Consequences….ah consequences. Well I for one think people who make bad choices should be left to die on the streets. It worked for the Victorians, and frankly things have gone downhill since then. That’s a much better use of the human potential in society, of much lesser cost to the Exchequer, than actually providing people with the tools and opportunity to get out of the gutter. To providing people with a system around them that tries very very hard to not let people slip through society’s cracks. I wonder if there are examples of this in the modern world anywhere?

    I’m not sure if I can be more sarcastic. It’s beginning to hurt.

    Louis

  167. 167
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    and I don’t have time to write a 10 page legal memorandum,

    Then YOU shut the fuck about the subject of obeying lawful *snicker* police orders until you do so….

  168. 168
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, and Abewoelk, my #167 is an example of YOU taking personal responsibility for you actions. No evidence, no claims…

  169. 169
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Ingdigo Jump

    I believe they were waiting for a Yellow School Bus not a city bus so there wouldn’t be a stop. Of course one could smugly speculate that a cop should know his beat and know the common places for a school bus to stop and thus for people to aggregate for it, or that it’s probably a horrendous sign of poor police work if police don’t even consider trying to keep up to date about events or traffic routes in the areas they patrol

    Or he could have just, I dunno, asked. Something like
    Police officer: “Hey, what are you kids doing?”
    Kids: “Waiting for a bus”

    Still racist to target them solely because they be black and standing around THUS up to no good, but better. Then, if he didn’t believe them, he could have even offered to wait with them.. Still racist, but still better.

  170. 170
    daniellavine

    abewoelk@165:

    Daniellavine, read the statute again. “at the scene” modifies “firefighter”, not the entire section. A firefighter can only give instructions at the scene of a fire; that’s not true of police and traffic control officers. There’s a Florida Supreme Court case directly on point.

    This exact question of interpretation seems to have come up in Koch vs. State, 2010. The trial court ruled that “at the scene” modified “willful order” and the district court disagreed. At the very least the phrasing is open to interpretation as demonstrated by the fact that FL courts disagree on the application of the law. Speaking strictly in terms of grammar, the district court would seem to be incorrect. The “noun phrase” in question is the entire list of officials, not simply the noun “firefighter”.

    I’d also favor that interpretation as being more consistent with constitutional law and common sense. It isn’t a felony to disobey a police order who is ordering you to do ridiculous shit for no reason. One could argue that such an order would be “unlawful” in the first place and thus argue that the statute still applies, of course, but then to know whether or not one must obey an order from an officer one would need encyclopedic knowledge of what orders are and aren’t lawful for officers to make. Again, common sense would seem to suggest that this is simply unreasonable and that it’s not a felony to, say, refuse to do a handstand just because a police officer has ordered me to (since it’s unclear why such an order would be unlawful).

    There is a lot of caselaw interpreting what is and is not a lawful order, and I don’t have time to write a 10 page legal memorandum, so I’m not going to; you can go on Westlaw and research it yourself if you like. The bottom line is, people are arrested and prosecuted for not doing what the nice police officer told them to do all the time.

    I can’t find any convictions on this. I’d request evidence for your unsubstantiated claims but I realize you’re too busy for that sort of thing.

  171. 171
    Raging Bee

    No crime is committed by teens standing on a corner waiting on a bus.

    More to the point here, those kids were required to go to school, and they were waiting for a school bus, presumably to take them to or from a school function. And certain adults were responsible for getting them safely to wherever they had to go, and those adults needed the kids to be at a certain place at a certain time. So for all practical purposes, those kids were legally required to be waiting at that location. The cops should have known that, or at least had some idea what the schools in their jurisdiction were doing, or at least had a number to call to verify whether or not there was an activity involving students waiting at a certain stop.

    Seriously, this is bullshit. When I was in high school, the local cops knew where the local schools were, where the school-bus stops were, when the buses ran, etc. It’s not that hard for local bureaucrats to talk to each other in the same county.

  172. 172
    daniellavine

    abewoelk@158:

    This is a discussion about racial discrimination. You seem to be trying to derail a conversation about racial discrimination by:
    1) Talking about class discrimination instead
    2) Making unsubstantiated claims that in all 50 states it is a felony to disobey an order from a police officer
    3) Making “tu quoque” arguments about discrimination against whites (in that case, apparently the discrimination was apparently perpetrated by whites as well so even as a “tu quoque” it doesn’t really work)
    4) Ascribing antipathy to “personal responsibility” to commenters here on the basis of no evidence at all

    Could you please stop derailing and discuss racial discrimination or else bow out of the conversation entirely as it’s apparently not consistent with the things you want to talk about?

  173. 173
    Richard Smith

    @daniellavine (#160):

    Regarding the statute, I presume that the “lawful order”, given by the police officer to be obeyed completely by the citizen, must be lawful not only in the context that it does not force the citizen to break the law, but also in that it is lawful for the officer to demand the citizen to comply. I would argue that, while it is certainly lawful, whether ordered by the police or under their own volition, for the group to move somewhere else, it does not appear to have been lawful for the officer to make the request (e.g., blocking emergency access, threatening behaviour – beyond simply being non-white).

    In that case, even if the “at the scene of a fire, rescue operation, or other emergency” clause only refers to firemen, the youths shouldn’t have had to obey the officer’s order because it wasn’t lawful for the officer to make it. IANAL, however, so this could just be a big ol’ pile of words.

  174. 174
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The obvious point missed by the cop prior to telling the students to break-up was to call the coach, either via cell-phone (perhaps lent by one of the students) or dispatch, and see if he was coming as everybody said. And it appears that point is missed by those defending the cop. Verify the situation before issuing orders. Saves time, trouble, and embarrassment.

  175. 175
    scienceavenger

    Abewoelk: First, anti-discrimination laws and constitutional provisions need to be rigorously enforced.

    How? What are you going to do to all the businesses that discriminate in their hiring and service? What are you going to do to cabbies that drive by black patrons to pick up white ones? To police departments that pay more attention to white neighborhoods than black ones? To justice systems that punish black violators more than white ones?

    And please lay off the class arguments. The disparities I’m talking about exist independent of class, ie, rich whites have it better than rich blacks, poor whites better than poor blacks, etc.

    Abewoelk:…children should be taught not to be prejudiced, and encouraged to have friends from a wide variety of backgrounds.

    Should be taught? By whom? And under what persuasion? You’re going to tell parents what they must teach their kids? Or worse, tell teachers to teach their kids contrary to what the parents want? What are you going to do to Billy Bob Racist who wants his kids racist?

    Further, you are only addressing the conscious racism. What about the unconscious variety? What are you going to do to the teacher who presents the lesson plans as you prescribe, yet is shown by data to be racist in the manner she handles her class (calling on white kids more, treating their answers more seriously, grading them higher on subjective assignments, etc.)? Ditto for the kids who soak up the nonracist rhetoric and then go sit in segregated tables? You going to play social engineer and give them assigned seats?

    Abewoelk: Go after employers and landlords that don’t offer equal opportunity.

    Go after how? You’re going to force them to hire people they don’t want to hire? Rent to those they don’t want to rent to? What are you going to do when they swear they aren’t racist and give everyone a fair shot, yet the data says otherwise? If the action is some sort of fine, what are you going to do if they just treat that as a cost of doing business and don’t change their behavior?

    Abewoelk:From the other direction, everyone (black, white, straight gay, male, female) needs to be taught how to make better choices

    Again, by whom, and under what manner of persuasion? You going to go door to door in poor black neighborhoods telling children and their parents how they ought to behave or else…or else what?

    See, the common theme in your solutions is a seeming reliance on some magic force to come down and magically make everyone act right. If you know of such a force, I’m all ears, I’ve never seen one. That makes your solutions about as effective as telling alcoholics to just not drink so much.

  176. 176
    daniellavine

    Richard Smith@173:

    I also read that as meaning that it must be lawful for the officer to make such an order. My only problem with this is that it isn’t necessarily very clear what constitutes a lawful vs. unlawful order in this sort of context.

    It might be interesting to know whether the kids are going to be charged and if so whether they’ll be charged with some “disobeying a lawful order” statute or something more like loitering or blocking traffic. I suspect abewoelk was really just trying to derail a discussion about racial discrimination here rather than actually provide any insight. Given that the police also gave a hard time to the coach and threatened to arrest him I suspect this is more a case of “insufficient respect for police” rather than any actual crime.

  177. 177
    scienceavenger

    Oh, and Abewoelk, lest we forget, the issue here is not that blacks make poorer choices than whites. I know of no data that supports that claim. If you’ve got it, present it. The issue is what the social sciences have told us in great quantityt and quality: that blacks on average end up in less desirable life situations than whites who make the same exact quality of choices.

    Implicit in your obsession with “personal responsibility” is a denial that racial discrimination exists. I come from a long line of racists, I know the language.

  178. 178
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Abewoelk:
    Its not “out of my system”. You are helping the oppressive status quo continue.
    People like you piss me off tremendously.

    Once again, when are you going to deliver citations for your assertions?
    Poor people make bad choices, thats why they are poor?
    Where is the evidence to prove that?

  179. 179
    Anri

    abewoelk @ 158:

    At Anri, No. 142, actually whether somebody is able to avoid bad consequences for bad decisions depends far more on class than it does on race; upper and middle class blacks who use drugs and drop out of school generally get a better result than lower class whites. OJ Simpson in all probability got away with two murders because he had the money to afford sterling representation; a lower class white with no money who committed a comparable crime would have probably been convicted after a two day trial (assuming his public defender didn’t plead it out).

    And since social class and income and income mobility are easily separable from race in the US, you have an excellent point.

    Do I have to make the joke about having said something stupid by agreeing with you again or have you figured out that you tend to say very stupid things?

  180. 180
    anteprepro

    I see that our resident police state apologist seems to like the argument of how wealth is MORE important than race in determining assorted imagined bad outcomes. And yet he probably won’t get Anri’s joke. He just doesn’t know the fucking obvious point that completely undermines his argument of “racism ain’t so bad because classism!”. We look at evidence . And see that the percent of the African American and Hispanic community below poverty is double the rate of the White community. And see that the median income for African Americans is almost 20k lower than median income for Whites. Black households suffer twice the percent decrease in income that White households did from 2007 to 2010. And here we have a nice little chart about ethnic groups and quintile of household income. Black people make up 12% of the population but only 5.7% of the top quintile. And make up almost 20% of the bottom quintile. In fact, 32.4% of African American households are in that bottom quintile for income. 24% are in the second quintile. Over half of African Americans are below the middle quintile. By contrast, only 38% of Whites are.

    The fact of the matter, abe, is that you can’t talk about how well off hypothetical rich black people are doing to shrug off racism. The fact of the matter is that black people are disproportionately poor. That is what society has done and continues to do to them while smug fucks like yourself stick your thumbs up your ass and whistle merrily about the death of racism. Acknowledging the severe effects of classism and income disparities, and pointing out that these effects are less dramatic than the effects of race per se, completely ignores the fact that the race and class issues are completely fucking muddled together. Unless you are white and don’t have to worry about that kind of shit. Hence, privilege.

    But, you are a disingenuous fuck, so I’m not really telling you all of this. You already should know it. I present this to lurkers who didn’t already know, and to anyone who wants to claim that abe had plausible deniability. This is the information he was too lazy to find by himself. We can see if he ignores it, or if he strangles himself with it.

  181. 181
    Jafafa Hots

    What would they be charged with?

    Probably what EVERYONE who isn’t breaking the law but who has pissed off a rogue cop is charged with.
    “Disorderly conduct.”

    “Refusal to disperse” and “resisting arrest” can be tacked on too of course if the cop is pissed off enough.
    They’ll threaten you with them, at least, if you question the bullshit “disorderly conduct” claim.

  182. 182
    anteprepro

    Court is now in session.
    Judge Dredd presiding.
    Charge: Not Respectin’ Authoritah.
    Verdict: Not Unguilty.
    Sentence: Watching hours of footage of White people doing the same exact things and not having a fucking thing happen at all. And 1000 hours of community service. And one body part of their choice sliced off. And at least $10,000 by next Saturday at midnight, or something doubleplusungood might occur.

    Thus in the name of the holy name of Our Police, we do end this court session. Amen.

  183. 183
    sparkles

    But again – everyone who is “skeptical” suddenly decides to forgo such skepticism because race is concerned. You’re judging without knowing the facts. You’re the judge, jury, and executioner. We got it. The defendant has no chance to speak.

    In the mean time, the HONEST people want the FACTS. Not some media hyped facts which are likely to be untrue. We are patient and can wait for BOTH SIDES before deciding.

    I expected better, PZ, but I guess extremism really does go both ways. Fox reports on BS without representing facts, and so do you. Congrats on your hype.

    Granted, what more could I expect from someone who purposely puts all comments in Comics Sans? A font much reviled, scolded, and laughed at? That’s little more than ad-hominem. If you want real dialog, you wouldn’t belittle your opponents with that font. Call it silly, but it is what it is, and you do it for an obvious reason.

    When conservative people come down on liberals, they look at hack-job items like this. It’s too easy, and liberals spouted out without checking facts. It may not be true for this case, but it may be true for the next, and it certainly was true for the last.

    http://www.newnownext.com/nj-couple-claim-no-tip-note-for-lesbian-waitress-is-a-hoax/11/2013/
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513755/Family-left-gay-waitress-offensive-note-instead-tip-claim-hoax.html

    I know this will easily be discounted by “white privilege”, because you can be near maimed, and according to social justice bloggers, that’s not enough.

  184. 184
    Khantron, the alien that only loves

    @Sparkles 183

    What are you suggesting? That this is some sort of extraordinary claim that requires more evidence than what was provided? Because a lesbian lied one time? Look, if more facts emerge that contradict the story thus far, fine. But racism in America isn’t some extraordinary claim, and dismissing it because it only has an ordinary amount of evidence is denialism plain and simple.

    Also that tip hoax story didn’t blow up until it turned out to be a hoax.

  185. 185
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    sparkles:
    Cupcake, we already have one ignorant pissant here in the form of abewoelk. We neither need, nor want another. Trot on back to that bridge you trolls live under.

    ****

    Meanwhile, back in reality…
    Here is quite an informative paper on the socio-economic causes of poverty. Since abewoelk refuses to educate himself by clicking the various blue links so kindly provided by people who know a great deal more than him on this topic, maybe he’ll read this excerpt:

    Structural Causes of Poverty
    Supporters of the “structural” school of thought argue that most poverty can be traced
    back to structural factors inherent to either the economy and/or to several interrelated institutional environments that serve to favor certain groups over others, generally based on
    gender, class, or race. Of the various institutional environments that tend to sustain a multitude of economic barriers to different groups, it is discrimination based on race and gender that create the most insidious obstructions. The disproportionately high rate of poverty among women may be viewed as the consequence of a patriarchal society that
    continues to resist their inclusion in a part of society that has been historically dominated
    by men, and as a consequence, welfare programs have been designed in ways that stigmatize public support for women as opposed to marital support; both arrangements tend to reinforce patriarchy (Abramovitz, 1996). In this regard, the rise in poverty among women is an important structural level variable to consider, but the lack of reliable data going back to 1947 makes testing difficult.

    It is to race that I will turn now, particularly discrimination against Blacks, as a complete
    data set going back to 1947 is available. Evidence of the economic disparities
    caused by historical and contemporary racial discrimination against blacks is seen clearly
    when one views the data on white and black median income. In 1947, the percent of
    black median income relative to white median income was 51 percent. In 2002, the figure
    had risen to only 62 percent (U.S. Census, 2002). In 2000, 35.5% of Black single parent
    families were considered low-income while Blacks represented only 12.1% of the general
    population in that year (IWPR 2003). Given the over-representation of black Americans
    among the poor, it stands to reason that closing the gap between black and white median
    income by working to end racism and discrimination will have positive affects on poverty.
    Massey and Denton (1993) argue that institutional racism in general, and residential segregation in particular, is a critical structural level cause of the severe poverty in the black
    community. However, they contend that as segregation took hold, the black communities
    in the inner cities reacted by creating an “oppositional culture that devalues work, schooling
    and marriage and stresses attitudes and behaviors that are antithetical and often hostile
    to success in the larger economy” (p. 8). Wilson (1987) would tend to agree that an
    “oppositional culture” exists, but takes the analysis a step beyond segregation, citing
    “social isolation” as the primary culprit. Wilson argues that historical racism against
    Black Americans erected contemporary barriers to their economic success; their predicament is compounded by factors uniquely associated with American capitalism and demography. For example, as most White and a few middle class Blacks followed jobs
    from the cities to the suburbs, the people left behind were relatively uneducated, unskilled
    and lacked the kind of mainstream role models that would have helped them to transition
    to the middle class. As a result, they suffered disproportionately from urban unemployment,
    low wages, unequal distribution of wealth and resources, and relatively poor social
    and educational services. Wilson argues that the “social isolation” of inner-city and rural
    poor populations creates a self-reinforcing and dichotomous situation between the urban
    poor and the affluent suburban middle class. Specifically, without mainstream role models,
    the urban poor in general, and inner-city Black populations in particular, develop deviant
    behaviors and coping mechanisms that are due in part to their isolation, but may also
    be thought of as a kind of rebellion to mainstream culture.

     

    This view is in part analogous to “spatial mismatch” theory, which generally hypothesizes
    that the location and relative access to jobs of the disadvantaged group is more operable
    than race per se. In a comprehensive literature review, Holzer (1990) concludes that
    “spatial mismatch has a significant effect on Black employment” and is primarily due to
    the low availability of well-paying jobs in the inner-city; a situation brought on by job decentralization and increasing commute times to distant jobs (p. 118). However, Holzer
    suggests that the root cause of higher unemployment among inner-city Blacks may not be
    clearly distinguishable between “…the characteristics of the people who reside in each
    place as opposed to the problems created by location per se…” (p. 118).
    Based on interviews with Chicago areas employers, Kirschenman & Neckerman (1991)
    demonstrate that preconceived notions based on race, class and even address are often applied to prospective employees. Specifically, the employers’ perception of a prospective
    employee’s productivity was often affected by the applicant’s race. For example, 37.7 percent of employers ranked Blacks last in relation to other races (p. 210). Clearly, the racial prejudice that underlies this statistic not only emanates from institutional racism, but reinforces it, thus sustaining the barriers that bar Black and other non-White Americans from shedding the arguably idiosyncratic cultural adaptations they have made to survive in a
    system that has been historically stacked against them. In contrast to the negative perceptions displayed by Kirschenman and Neckerman’s employers, DiIulio (1989) points out that there is little research to suggest that the extreme poor have views on work and family that are much different than the general population, but that small sub-groups within
    the urban underclass do much of the damage to the environment and broader public perception, mainly through criminal activity (p. 32). DiIilio argues that the majority of the
    poor are hardworking well intentioned people whose potential for positive actions are severely constrained by fear of their surroundings and the social stigma that emanates from
    it.

     

    Structural economic factors include the level and variation in unemployment, median
    income, and measures of income inequality. The effects of unemployment and rises in
    median income are well documented and their relationship to poverty is intuitive. The
    rate of poverty tracks very closely with median income and in general, rises in median income has positive benefits for all classes, including the poor (Hines, Hoynes & Krueger
    2001). Over the last half century, as median income has risen, the rate of poverty has decreased in close correlation (Ellwood & Summers, 1986). This relationship lends credibility to the argument that work is the best mechanism for lifting people out of poverty.
    Indeed, one of the clearest strategies for fighting poverty should be to focus on ensuring a
    strong and growing economy. However, for individuals to take full advantage of a strong
    and changing economy, they need education. Rises in income are positively correlated
    with educational attainment (US Census). Yet education is not equally accessible by all members of the population. Since property taxes represent the largest share of local
    school funding, the quality of education will necessarily vary relative the economic
    wealth of the locality. Federal and State funding represent smaller shares and are meant
    to level the playing fields somewhat, but they do not. It is education that allows people to
    adapt to changes in the economy and by extension changes in the demand for labor. During
    the latter half of the 20th Century, the American economy shifted from one based on
    manufacturing to one based on services. The gains in wages and working conditions that
    were made in the manufacturing sector have been weakened by the service economy. For
    example, Wal-Mart offers its employees one of the weakest wage/benefits packages of
    any corporation of its kind and continues to fend off unionization (Ehrenreich, 2001); it is
    now one the most powerful corporations with a huge market share and monopsony power
    over its suppliers (Jones, 2003). The gains in US GDP are in part due to the success of a
    consumer economy that rewards Wal-Mart and its cousin conglomerates, but at what cost
    to the Americans working low wage/benefit jobs?

     

    A related shift in the American economy involves the growing demand for personnel
    trained in various high-end and relatively well paid disciplines such as information technology
    and finance (Holzer 1990, Wilson 1987). In short the service sector has split into
    two halves, low- income service workers and high- income service workers, with little opportunity in between. Indeed, income inequality is an important indicator in its own right,
    but is better understood with reference to its own causes, which Gottschalk & Smeeding
    (1997) argue include the erosion of the “real” minimum wage, the declining influence of
    unions, and changes in the market demand for skilled labor versus unskilled labor. The
    Gini index, which measures income inequality, provides quantitative evidence for this divergence.
    According to the US Census (2003), the Gini index continues its upward trend,
    which confirms that the rich are in fact getting richer while the poor are getting poorer.
    Welfare opponents routinely argue that employment is the best cure for poverty, and while
    higher employment is correlated with lower poverty, the low wage service sector is doing
    little to help the poor escape poverty; it is, in fact, growing the number of “near poor”.
    The barriers created by these trends are difficult for the poor to overcome. How is the
    poor parent supposed to take care of his/her family based on a near minimum wage job
    with poor and/or expensive health coverage and child care? A publication by the Institute
    of Women’s Policy Research demonstrates that many among the poor rely on several sources
    of income in order to get by, including government assistance, income from other
    family members, child support, and job income (Hartmann et al., 2003). These multiple
    sources of income along with the stresses inherent to the pursuit of each would not be as
    needed if sufficient employment were available for livable wages and benefits.

    Political Factors
    Presumably, republicans tend to harbor ideals that favor business over the working class,
    at least in terms of public policy; a more sophisticated description would be that republicans
    believe that government interference in the economy ultimately hurts more citizens
    than it helps by creating inefficient markets and impeding productivity. Historically, republicans
    have sought to curb domestic spending, particularly social spending, based on
    the ideals of individualism, limited government, and Laissez Faire economics. The conservative
    position that one’s poverty is the sole responsibility of the individual and that
    cash assistance creates dependence by shielding recipients from the market and prevents
    functional adaptation to market conditions reflects these ideals.

    The economic system of capitalism depends upon a labor surplus so that laborers are
    forced to compete for positions; a situation that fosters a continuous evolution of skills
    and productivity, but also keeps wages low. The republican position is in some ways a
    contradiction: welfare is a cause of poverty, yet the current breed of American capitalism
    depends to some extent on the existence of a lower class. The mediating variable, or perhaps
    ideal, would seem to be equal opportunity for all citizens, but equal opportunity does
    not exist for all citizens as the preceding discussions on gender, race, employment trends,
    income and education suggest. If republican ideals on the benevolence of the free market
    and the perfectly diffuse presence of equal opportunity are correct, then their policies
    should be associated with reductions in poverty.

    Please though, abewoelk continue to wow us with your well evidenced, and quite nuanced bad choices argument.

  186. 186
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Hmmm, I just realized that sparkles inadvertently answered a question I have had for some time:
    why do pseudoskeptics* only apply their extra special brand of skepticism to sexual harassment and assault claims?

    *(some call these douchenuggets ‘hyperskeptics’; me, I think that despite their claims of being Tru Skeptics, they’re doing some knock off of skepticism )

  187. 187
    Colin J

    sparkles @183:

    But again – everyone who is “skeptical” suddenly decides to forgo such skepticism because race is concerned. You’re judging without knowing the facts. You’re the judge, jury, and executioner. We got it. The defendant has no chance to speak.

    So the kids who were arrested were actually committing a crime and the police are keeping this secret because… why, now? Oh right, because PZ is stopping the “defendant” from speaking.

    The judge & jury (not so much the executioner) have to weigh the evidence, apply the presumption of innocence, etc, etc. It’s precisely because we’re NOT judge or jury that we can respond with disgust to blatant racism like this. I’m responding to the facts as reported. If they’re wrong then I’ll change my response. Are you saying that no one should ever call out racism just in case there is something they don’t know? I guess you are.

    But hey, if you’ve got access to the super secret facts that are going to blow this case wide open, don’t be coy. Let us know. We’re all ears (or eyes, or whatever you need to pay attention).

    I expected better, PZ

    Bull. Shit. You came here to be OUTRAGED! and you succeeded. Well done.

    Granted, what more could I expect from someone who purposely puts all comments in Comics Sans?

    …um, where? I don’t see a single comment in Comic Sans. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that font in any of the comments here – only in PZ’s posts. And he hasn’t used it in this one at all.

    If you’re seeing all comments in Comic Sans, I think you’d better get your computer looked at.

    anteprepro @180:

    But, you are a disingenuous fuck, so I’m not really telling you all of this. You already should know it. I present this to lurkers who didn’t already know, and to anyone who wants to claim that abe had plausible deniability. This is the information he was too lazy to find by himself. We can see if he ignores it, or if he strangles himself with it.

    Speaking for all lurkers (which, of course I can), abewoelk isn’t convincing anyone.

  188. 188
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Colin J:
    I wondered about the comic sans thing.
    I’m currently using my laptop in SAFE mode, so I thought perhaps comic sans was there and *I* just couldn’t see it.

  189. 189
    scoobie

    Um, crowd of teenagers blocking sidewalk and entrance to store get mouthy when asked to move by traffic cop. Result: arrest of ‘ringleaders’. If you’re looking for likelihood, that’s right up there. If you want to add in a load of racial presuppositions…, oh look, already happening!
    Interesting alternative viewpoint (no doubt equally biased)

  190. 190
    Louis

    A lesbian lied, some people believed it, therefore PZ is an evil hack and Not A Proper Sceptic, therefore racism doesn’t exist. CHECKMATE LIBERALS!!!!eleventy!!!

    Superb work. Truly Nobel worthy.

    Louis

  191. 191
    robertbaden

    So what does Susan Smith lying about a black man abducting her two boys, when she murdered them herself, prove?

  192. 192
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    scoobie:
    Interesting that the page you linked to links to no other sources to verify what he says. After a quick Google search, I am unable to find the “facts” that he presents. I picked 7 of the 10 hits on the first page of “black teens arrested”–which incidentally were all about the Rochester teens–and not one of them mentions the info Bob Lonsberry somehow found out.
    I also find no mention of this “getting mouthy” that you speak of.
    I’ll ask you the same question I’ve asked multiple times of abewoelk:
    where is your proof?

  193. 193
    Jafafa Hots

    When did getting mouthy become a crime?

    I am so fucked.

  194. 194
    Louis

    If being mouthy to shopkeepers and the police as a teenager is a crime, I deserve a life sentence. Back dated of course.

    Louis

  195. 195
    kayden

    For the few who are defending the Rochester police, why did they drop the charges against the three teens if they were in the right? It’s pretty obvious that the police overreacted. I’ll give the police the benefit of the doubt that the kids could have been blocking the sidewalk and the coach probably shouldn’t have arranged for their bus to pick them up close to a store. Other than that, I can’t see why it got to the point where any of the teens had to be arrested and charged.

    It seems like too often the police don’t give Blacks the benefit of the doubt which would not be the case if they were dealing with Whites. I doubt any White kids would have been arrested under similar circumstances as presented in the incident highlighted in PZ’s post. That’s a huge problem.

  196. 196
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Let me give Sparkle’s (S) diatribe a single dull star (out of four) for a bad take-off of MRA script #3.
    First we the attitude that only Sparkle’s should be listened to. *snicker*
    Second, S is disappointed in us and PZ since we don’t do “skepticism” the way S does. *snicker* S doesn’t understand skepticism and evidence.
    Third, only the White Authoritarian Male word is taken as “truth”, never mind the evidence to the contrary.
    Fourth, S shows no concept of perspective and context, treating an internet discussion like it is a court of law. S needs a map, GPS, and a clue book.
    Sorry Sparkles, you need to try again without the obvious and oblivious mistakes.

  197. 197
    alwayscurious

    You’re the judge, jury, and executioner

    Yep, I saw murder written all over that news article. And this is why you should avoid reading the news Sparkles–then you never have to worry about your worldview being challenged or accidentally reaching the wrong conclusion. “BOTH SIDES” is a massive load of crap–there is rarely only two sides and sometimes journalists struggle to get one side done properly.

  198. 198
    anteprepro

    But again – everyone who is “skeptical” suddenly decides to forgo such skepticism because race is concerned. You’re judging without knowing the facts.

    The news is only evidence when you want it to be evidence. Because skepticism. Got it.

    You’re the judge, jury, and executioner. We got it. The defendant has no chance to speak.

    You are obsessed with hyperbole and pretending that THE FUCKING POLICE are some sort of poor understood victim here. Because skepticism. Got it.

    In the mean time, the HONEST people want the FACTS. Not some media hyped facts which are likely to be untrue. We are patient and can wait for BOTH SIDES before deciding.

    You are the arbiter of when evidence is sufficient to actually be concerned of something. You are the one decide which facts are FACTS and which facts are media hype. Because SKEPTICISM. Got it.

    I expected better, PZ, but I guess extremism really does go both ways. Fox reports on BS without representing facts, and so do you. Congrats on your hype.

    PZ is totally as bad as Fox News. False equivalence isn’t a thing. Hype and extremism are whatever you say it is. Because skepticism. Got it.

    Granted, what more could I expect from someone who purposely puts all comments in Comics Sans? A font much reviled, scolded, and laughed at? That’s little more than ad-hominem. If you want real dialog, you wouldn’t belittle your opponents with that font. Call it silly, but it is what it is, and you do it for an obvious reason.

    Comic Sans is serious business. Belittling is serious business. Ad hominem is serious business. But using the actual, accurate definition of ad hominem? That’s not really relevant here. Because skepticism. I…I think I got it.

    http://www.newnownext.com/nj-couple-claim-no-tip-note-for-lesbian-waitress-is-a-hoax/11/2013/
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513755/Family-left-gay-waitress-offensive-note-instead-tip-claim-hoax.html

    The champion of true skepticism favorably cites The Daily Mail. Because…skepticism? Got…urrghhh….got…it…*hurk*

  199. 199
    Rey Fox

    You’re the judge, jury, and executioner.

    And corrupt guards in the Prison of Public Opinion, don’t forget.

    Um, crowd of teenagers blocking sidewalk and entrance to store get mouthy when asked to move by traffic cop.

    I believe you meant “uppity”.

  200. 200
    Rey Fox

    The defendant has no chance to speak.

    Let’s all shed a tear for the poor, oppressed, voiceless police officers.

  201. 201
    anteprepro

    You gotta love the irony of calling police officers exploiting their power and authority “defendants” and calling everybody criticizing overstepping boundaries a “judge, jury, and executioner”. It brings ticklish warmth to my cold, withered heart.

  202. 202
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You gotta love the irony of calling police officers exploiting their power and authority “defendants” and calling everybody criticizing overstepping boundaries a “judge, jury, and executioner”. It brings ticklish warmth to my cold, withered heart.

    Amen, same with me.

  203. 203
    Khantron, the alien that only loves

    Um, crowd of teenagers blocking sidewalk and entrance to store get mouthy when asked to move by traffic cop.

    Being mouthy to racist cops is a public service.

  204. 204
    drm0

    I apologize for being late to the party (I guess I don’t have as much time as I’d like to comment during the week), but I feel this is part of a conversation that we started before. Anyway,

    abewoelk

    #99

    I think the people who are saying, “This is a discussion about race, not about class” are missing the point. Upper-class black people are probably harassed less often than lower-class whites. My city has both a lower-class black neighborhood and an upper-class black neighborhood. My co-workers who live in the upper-class black neighborhood tell me that in general, the police don’t bother them.

    I hope you appreciate the irony of going to a thread called “We should not talk about racism,” to say that you agree with that, and that we should talk instead about classism based on the unverifiable stories from your co-workers.

    #100

    A school decided to have a student election for “African-American student of the year.” A white student from South Africa decided to run. On the surface, he met the definition; he was indeed an African-American student, albeit a white one.

    No, you’re wrong. African-American means “A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.” I’m not making this up, this is the definition used by your Census. I’ll not post links here because the last time I did, FtB ate my comment. But just go to census.gov and search for “Race.”

    Not only did the school not let him run, they suspended him for three days, and also suspended a friend of his for circulating a petition to let him run.

    The kid was not trying to run, he was playing a prank:

    ” He and two friends put up campaign posters showing him making a thumbs-up sign and all three were suspended. “The posters were intended to be satire on the term ‘African-American’,” said one of his campaign managers, S*** R***. The phrase is the current politically correct label for black Americans. But the satire misfired, not least because it was aired on Martin Luther King Day, a holiday marking the black preacher’s role in the civil rights struggle.”
    (White boy suspended for claiming ‘African’ prize, 27 Jan 2004, The Telegraph)

    I don’t know if school suspension is the best way to deal with teenagers who are disrespectful of their colleagues, but certainly it wasn’t just an innocent attempt to participate in a school activity. (By the way, the only news sources Google showed me reporting this were the Torygraph and WND, which makes me wonder where you’re taking your information from.)

    #104

    On the other hand, there’s a long list of advantages to being gay, such that I actually think I got the better end of the deal. Since I never had children, I had more disposable income and was able to pursue hobbies that cost money that I couldn’t have pursued otherwise. Since I had no children, I had fewer constraints on my time, and more flexibility to pick up and move if things weren’t working out. I probably had more opportunities for sex because there are more men interested in casual hookups than there are women

    I’m glad you have a good life. Now, your long list of advantages consists of (1) not having children; (2) more casual sex. The first one is just an advantage by coincidence of the circumstances and your interests. Supposing you do want to have children and the state won’t let you adopt, you’re pretty much screwed.

    About the second one, not everybody is just interested in casual sex, and, if you live in an area where being out is not okay, straight people will be having much more sex than you, not to mention that all this depends on the ex culo

    fewer women are open to being picked up

    #112

    I choose to see it as half full, and I’m not going to feel oppressed just because you think I should.

    I won’t tell you how you should feel. But be aware that your experience may be highly unrepresentative, and by saying this is a question of choosing to see the cup as half empty or half full does sound like you’re telling other people how THEY should feel.

    #114

    Most of my problems over the course of my life were caused by bad personal choices and not by anti-gay prejudice

    I can see that happening, as long as you live in a tolerant area and your personal choices are particularly bad. And I don’t doubt you’re capable of making some very bad choices.

    I suspect that’s true at least to a certain extent of other minorities as well.

    Given that your own experience sounds unrepresentative of the minority you belong to, it’s beyond me why you should think this has anything to do with other minorities you know nothing of.

    #115

    an African-American award is intended to make white liberals feel good about themselves by allowing themselves to patronize blacks while pretending not to

    Or maybe it’s a safe space for minorities who don’t feel they’re represented in other awards. Unless you have more information about who was organizing this event, all this sounds very baseless.

    Can’t speak for blacks, but I would be deeply, deeply offended at the very idea of a comparable gay student of the year award; the whole point is to pat the recipient on the head.

    I don’t know. I didn’t feel offended with the idea of a Latino Playwright award. Not at all. Maybe your experience is again irrelevant to a group you don’t belong to?

    #124

    White people who do drugs, drop out of school, and get pregnant at 14 tend not to do well in life either.

    Dude, you went from “I haven’t said anything racist” to suggesting that minorities are poor because they choose to be teenage pregnant junkies in less than a day. It seems that taking part in this discussion was another bad life decision on your part.

  205. 205
    drm0

    Alsø, alsø:

    #123

    if you do decide to break the law, it’s not racism if you get arrested.

    It’s racism if the law is unfair, or if the police officer is giving you a racist order. By this reasoning, Rosa Park’s arrest would not be racism either.

    bad personal decisionmaking trumps institutional prejudices every time

    Citation sorely needed.

    #143

    And that’s what makes me a heretic here: The notion that personal responsibility should play __any__ role in anything.

    Not what you said. Your statement was that personal responsibility is more important than any societal factor. See your quote above.

    I actually compared terrorists and suicide bombers to rabid dogs, which is not quite the same thing as comparing all Muslims to rabid dogs,

    Actually you said “mad dog”. I was the first to say “rabid dog” on that thread. Also, if you read your original comment, it’s not so easy to tell where you’re talking about “most Muslims” and where you’re talking about “some Muslims.” I also tried to explain why the dehumanizing rhetoric can be harmful to bystanders, but I see it went right over your head. I’m not sure what else I can do.

  206. 206
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    dõki

    I hope you appreciate the irony of going to a thread called “We should not talk about racism,” to say that you agree with that, and that we should talk instead about classism based on the unverifiable stories from your co-workers.

    Said irony flew right past me when I first read his comment. Very good point.

  207. 207
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Rey Fox, #199:

    I believe you meant “uppity”.

    My vision of the world I want to live in is one where I never speak out for justice b/c even when I want to, someone else already has said anything I might want to add.

    Case in F point. This is a thing of beauty, Rey Fox.
    ======================

    and then there’s dõki:

    I haven’t kept up with this thread – meatspace and all – and there were lots of responses to every post of abewoelk’s, so I didn’t even read abewoelk carefully (not much value added in the past, no reason for me to pay attention to the droppings except to sweep them up …and there were 6 or 7 people with brooms already on the spot). Now I can see just how much was left on the floor.

    dõki, you are an inspiration. Keep at it.

  208. 208
    drm0

    Tony! & Crip Dyke

    I hope it’s not too off-topic to post this just to say thanks! Your support is extremely appreciated, here and on the previous thread.

  209. 209
    rq

    I think I have overdosed on The Sarcasm here. Whoever told Louis to lay it on, it’s all your fault (pointing elbows at Tony right now).

    A lot of excellent commenters here, and I owe you no small part of my education. Thank you for being “disobedient” in the face of those who choose obedience over betterment of the human race.

  210. 210
    sparkles

    Yeah, because questioning ANYTHING is bad. Unless it’s approved by the elitist PoC non-males! Dear god, I’m so sorry I offended your demi-hemo-seri-deteroromantic quanti-homo semi-posi ultra homo sensibilities.

    Saying you should probably WAIT for the other side is too super-conservative. Cops are the devil, got it. All cops are rapists, murderers, etc. Except when you need to call them. So you dumb fucks should give these gentleman (OMG WHITE PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE, TOO) the benefit of the fucking doubt. Get off of your stupid white guilt.

  211. 211
    LykeX

    It’s funny, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use the phrase “white guilt” who wasn’t a raging racist asshole.

  212. 212
    sparkles

    Ultimately, we have a bunch of christian children screaming “OMG OMG BLACK MUST BE RACIST” instead of stepping back and waiting to hear all the facts. In fact, by waiting to hear both sides, we are told by an internet BULLY, “Let’s all shed a tear for the poor, oppressed, voiceless police officers.”

    This clearly intelligent person will be the FIRST to call the police upon a car burglary, but otherwise, despises ALL police officers.

    Again, we have people who have done NOTHING for society that involves a REAL risk criticizing police. Your “social justice” means jack shit when crackheads attack you. And of course, dumbasses consider police self-preservation as complete murder. Do coke, murder a white person? They deserved it, they’re white. Privileged bastards. It’s great.

    God forbid a selfless individual who tries to make a difference gets slaughtered, who cares. But that gentleman who tries to makea difference? Great, as long as you completely ignore all crimes committed by black people, because otherwise that’s racist.

  213. 213
    sparkles

    Incoming: written attacks about how racist I am for defending police officers who haven’t had a chance to speak. Because skepticism obviously means we read an obviously one-sided article and believe it and try and damn several public servants who put their life on the line EVERY DAY.

    Because being an awesome liberal means all white people are the devil, and no PoC are responsible for any crimes whatsoever.

    Somehow criticizing Christianity became GREAT and OK, but if you even DARE wonder about anything involving race, privilege, sex, gender, etc, it is suddenly off limits. If that’s the case, which it appears to be, then piss off. You are the crazy left-wing answer to the tea party. You are not skeptics. You are believers. You cannot question anything.

    –PS… Hate on cops more, you spineless fucks. You would never don the vest. You’d be the one who’d let someone else die for your safety. You’re not real humanists. You’re nothing more than crustless christians.

  214. 214
    Lofty

    sparkless

    –PS… Hate on cops more, you spineless fucks. You would never don the vest. You’d be the one who’d let someone else die for your safety. You’re not real humanists. You’re nothing more than crustless christians.

    Who appointed you as chief strawman constructor? Statistics show that police will pick on coloured people much more often than white people, so unless it is shown that these policeman weren’t anything other than typical racist thugs I think criticising them is the correct, skeptical approach. This doesn’t mean that all police are held in equal contempt, far from it. Hate is reserved for the bigoted fuckwits who can’t see past the ends of their noses. Plenty of police do an exemplary job at being a valuable part of a tolerant society.

  215. 215
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Sparkles

    You really are an idiot. You realise this isn’t a binary choice, right? It’s not like you either hate all police officers and assume they always do bad, or worship them and assume they always do good. It’s perfectly possible to, oh, I dunno; judge each situation on the facts available and come to a conclusion regarding the officers involved rather than whipping out stupid, ill informed blanket statements regarding entire police forces.

    My father is an ex-copper. I hardly hate the police. I do, however, expect them to live up to certain standards and will loudly call out officers who do not, and loudly call out any people who allow them to get away with it or, even worse, actively help them get away with it.

    Blanket hatred of the cops is a stupid position to take. So is thoughtless hero worship of the cops.

  216. 216
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You are the crazy left-wing answer to the tea party. You are not skeptics. You are believers. You cannot question anything.

    Evidence you don’t understand the concept of skepticism. Skepticism is more than questioning things. It is looking at the evidence. You present no evidence, just strawmen blowing away in the wind of the facts, showing your lack of skeptical thinking. Learn how to do skepticism right. Evidence, not questions.

  217. 217
    drm0

    sparkles

    because questioning ANYTHING is bad.

    On the other hand, you seem to think that questioning anything that police does is bad. Otherwise, you wouldn’t interpret “what these officers did is racist” as meaning “all cops are the devil” or a call to “murder a white person.”

    I’m so sorry I offended your demi-hemo-seri-deteroromantic quanti-homo semi-posi ultra homo sensibilities.

    Am I to suppose this means long words confuse you, so you believe they’re all gibberish? But then, I see you used roots associated with people’s sexualities, such as”demi” and “romantic,” and “homo” (twice!). So maybe you’re just implying your opponents are not straight? Stay classy, sparkles. One’s sexuality has nothing to do with the discussion.

    So you dumb fucks should give these gentleman (OMG WHITE PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE, TOO) the benefit of the fucking doubt. Get off of your stupid white guilt.

    Why are assuming you’re only talking to white people?

    This clearly intelligent person will be the FIRST to call the police upon a car burglary, but otherwise, despises ALL police officers.

    I hope you don’t follow strictly this idea that you cannot question the actions of somebody you may need in the future. In that case, we wouldn’t ever be able to criticize our rulers, because our society needs government to survive.

    Your “social justice” means jack shit when crackheads attack you.

    I live in a country with considerably high crime rate, but even then I’ve so far managed to avoid this kind of scenario. It’s curious how often it’s brought up, though.

    Because being an awesome liberal means all white people are the devil

    The point of acknowledging the existence of racism is not to demonize white people. The idea is that we have to recognize that a problem exists in order to try and fix it.

    * * *

    Lofty

    coloured people

    Perhaps the expression you’re looking for is “people of colo[u]r?”

  218. 218
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Sparkles doesn’t seem to get the point the skepticism involves not only questioning the POC who were arrested, but questioning those in Authority who made the arrests. Especially those in authority who have white male authority figure privileges. They have been known to lie and bullshit to protect themselves and their organizations. Just because the cop might be white male, there is no special reason to believe his acts were correct, and we should take his word *snicker* for the incident. When the total evidence is considered in context, the cop reacted badly. At the very least, he should have called the coach to determine the situation prior to issuing orders.

  219. 219
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Sparkles:

    I **have** put my life on the line, and I didn’t even have a vest when I did it. I have worked with people putting their lives on the line. And I certainly hope I gave them the respect they deserved. Certainly there weren’t any complaints. Finally, a friend – before I knew her – put her life on the line specifically as a cop and was knifed in the gut during a domestic call. She eventually died, during our friendship, of complications related to that injury, and I’ve got to tell you she would have no trouble concluding that the cops here fucked up. So your rant about us selfishly shielding ourselves with the bodies and lives of others is as repellent as F. Why not just call us terrorists and be done with it? Can’t muster the honesty?

    In re: this situation and police officers, their side has come out. How clueless do you have to be to read this thread and not know: 1) the basic narrative of what happened, from the cops’ point of view, 2) the charge under which the kids were arrested, and 3) the charges were dismissed not by a judge, but by the DA who in the USA effectively represents the police officers in court.

    The police made a case to the DA who is supposed to support them nearly unconditionally. The nature of the law enforcement/DA relationship is why there are so few prosecutions of law enforcement officers for assault (e.g.) relative to actual incidents. Moreover, DAs take bad or marginal cases to a hard-driving plea bargain session all the time, in the hope that the other side will cave and thus help to justify cops’ actions. Cops’ credibility is crucial to the DA’s office, as they rely so heavily on law enforcement testimony. And yet here you have a public statement saying that dropping the charge is “in the interest of justice”. Even when such charges are dropped, you rarely have it happen in this way. You might more normally see a few court filings to buy time for people to forget about the case, then a bland, impersonal motion for dismissal.

    You think that people on this thread are making judgements without seeing the “other side”? Without skeptically interrogating?

    Bullshit.

    No assumptions here. Minds here are willing to be changed with new evidence. But we have facts. We have a description of the situation from more than one side. We have an ally of law enforcement saying that they were wrong to arrest (that the charges are contrary “to the interests of justice” – not just wrong, unjust)!

    Your waving away such inconvenient facts is either the accidental flailing of an entirely ignorant and incompetent arguer nonetheless insisting that the alternative to agreement with an ignorantly formed and incompetently defended point of view is the only truly skeptical position, *or* your waving away such facts constitutes malicious misrepresentation of reality in service to an agenda that is, in an act of knowing deceit, wrapped in allegations of opponents’ status as harmful, hateful, unskeptical ideologues.

    [sarcasm tag for the rhetorically incompetent:]
    I just can’t imagine why, on a blog devoted to thinking critically, that people would respond poorly to such ignorant and/or malicious handwaving. Shouldn’t everyone always agree with you, sparkles?

    It is a sad, sad world we live in, where you can’t dictate the responses of reasonable people, innit?
    [/sarcasm]

  220. 220
    kayden

    Am I missing something? Does Sparkles know that the police dropped the charges against the Black teens? We know both sides of the story and the police, by dropping the charges, are in the wrong.

  221. 221
    scienceavenger

    Dear god, I’m so sorry I offended your demi-hemo-seri-deteroromantic quanti-homo semi-posi ultra homo sensibilities

    Great, a Sarah Palin fan. And I’ll bet he doesn’t know the leader of Uzbekibekibekistanstan either.

  222. 222
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Sparkles:

    Yeah, because questioning ANYTHING is bad.

    Someone said this…where?

    Unless it’s approved by the elitist PoC non-males!

    Uh, you must be unaware that we have people of multiple ethnicities and genders here. Many of whom are in agreement on the subject of this thread.

    Dear god, I’m so sorry I offended your demi-hemo-seri-deteroromantic quanti-homo semi-posi ultra homo sensibilities.

    I seriously doubt your sincerity.

    Saying you should probably WAIT for the other side is too super-conservative.

    Wait for what?
    You’re being pseudoskeptical. We have enough evidence at this time to discuss the situation. Given that racism is a significant problem in the US, it is not a stretch at all to believe that the actions of the police stemmed from some racist beliefs. But then you don’t appear to know much about the subject.

    Cops are the devil, got it. All cops are rapists, murderers, etc.

    Yeah sure. Please close the door on your brain. Your idiocy is spilling onto the thread.

    Except when you need to call them. So you dumb fucks should give these gentleman (OMG WHITE PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE, TOO) the benefit of the fucking doubt. Get off of your stupid white guilt.

    No. Fuck off now.

  223. 223
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    LykeX @211:
    I think you called it.

    ****

    *Attention Pharyngula Shoppers*
    We have a raging racist asshole on Aisle 3. Asshole, thy name is sparkles.

    Great, as long as you completely ignore all crimes committed by black people, because otherwise that’s racist.

    yes, sparkles you pathetic Cupcake, bc people here are so well known for ignoring the crimes commited by blacks.
    Your’e a bigger racist assclam than abewoelk.

  224. 224
    Rey Fox

    In fact, by waiting to hear both sides, we are told by an internet BULLY, “Let’s all shed a tear for the poor, oppressed, voiceless police officers.”

    Oh this is precious. I didn’t know my sarcasm was so brutal.

    This clearly intelligent person will be the FIRST to call the police upon a car burglary, but otherwise, despises ALL police officers.

    No no, remember, I’m a bully. I wouldn’t do something so namby-pamby as call the cops, I would chase down those thieves and hurl sarcasm at them until they drop writhing to the ground.

    And anyway, I don’t despise all police officers. Just the ones who abuse their authority. Which there sure seem to be a lot of. And when police departments all across the country are equipped like militaries and their sheriffs elected by a bloodthirsty populace based on how “tough on crime” they are, it’s hardly surprising.

    And of course, dumbasses consider police self-preservation as complete murder. Do coke, murder a white person? They deserved it, they’re white. Privileged bastards. It’s great.

    I’m sorry, I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about here. Were these kids waiting for a bus a threat to anyone?

  225. 225
    sparkles

    Lol. Internet bullies try and strike again by trying to address an issue by derogatorily calling those who disagree with them “cupcake” and using snotty phrases of “Oh this is precious.”

    You missed a comma. It should be, “Oh, this is precious.” You failed. And yes, you are a bully. Go on about “namby-pamby” because you choose to vilify those who disagree.

    You fail.

    –Also lulz to being “racist” for thinking that black people could ever, ever commit crimes. Oh, lord. The white guilt is strong with these ones, Obi-Wan. Thank “God” I’m asian. Oh, that means I’m “white” according to you people.

  226. 226
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Internet bullies try and strike again by trying to address an issue by derogatorily calling those who disagree with them “cupcake” and using snotty phrases of “Oh this is precious.”

    And internet trolls make claims without links to evidence. And are losers.

    Also lulz to being “racist” for thinking that black people could ever, ever commit crimes. O

    Nobody here said that but you bigot. Guess why….loser.

  227. 227
    LykeX

    –Also lulz to being “racist” for thinking that black people could ever, ever commit crimes.

    You do realize that the previous posts are still visible, right? Everyone can see that you’re lying.

  228. 228
    vaiyt

    Your “social justice” means jack shit when crackheads attack you.

    Crackheads can seek treatment and clean up their act. Your wilful stupidity, on the other hand, is unlikely to ever go away.

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