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Monthly Archive: October 2005

Oct 14 2005

The struggle against stereotypes and prejudices – part 5

(For earlier installments in this series, see part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.) It is quite possible for someone who has a seemingly spotless record on matters of race, who has said all the correct things, who associates freely with people of other groups, to take political actions that have a disproportionately …

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Oct 13 2005

The struggle against stereotypes and prejudices – part 4

(For earlier installments in this series, see part 1, part 2, and part 3.) In order to begin an honest discussion about race, it might be good to start by accepting certain things. The first is that all of us harbor stereotypes, and have prejudices based on them. These come about despite our best intentions. …

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Oct 12 2005

The struggle against stereotypes and prejudices – part 3

(For earlier installments in this series, see part 1 and part 2) The problem with fighting prejudice is that we think that conceding that we have any prejudices at all is in itself shameful. So to avoid being thought badly of, we deny that we have them or avoid conversations that run any risk that …

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Oct 11 2005

The struggle against stereotypes and prejudices – part 2

As I get older and more introspective, it is becoming increasingly clear that I have deep within me all kinds of stereotypes about other groups of people based on their religion and ethnicity and nationality and class. So I am sure that, if I go deep into my psyche, I will discover beliefs about Hindus, …

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Oct 10 2005

The struggle against stereotypes and prejudices

Growing up in Sri Lanka, I never met any African Americans. As far as I could tell, none ever lived there. Looking back at that time, the only African American in Sri Lanka that I can recall was the US Ambassador to that country, whose picture occasionally appeared in the paper giving a speech at …

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Oct 07 2005

Using Katrina to beat up on poor people

There is no question that people of color lag behind whites in almost all the indicators of social and economic well-being. One can respond to this realization by seeing it as a consequence of institutional structures that perpetuate long standing injustices, try to identify the causes of this situation, and urge the adoption of measures …

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Oct 06 2005

Why were the New Orleans stories believed?

The degree to which the stories of mayhem in the Superdome and Convention Center were overblown is captured in this story in the Seattle Times: After five days managing near riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of …

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Oct 05 2005

Treating Katrina evacuees as the enemy

Because of the widely believed rumors of anarchy that followed the hurricane, the emphasis shifted almost overnight from rescue and assistance to control. This resulted in delays in providing relief to people who were living in appalling conditions inside the Superdome and Convention Center and desperately in need of assistance. For example, as this Wall …

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Oct 04 2005

When rumors kill

In a series of previous posts (see here and here), I suggested that we should all be very skeptical of news reports that immediately follow any major news event because those early versions can turn out to be very wrong on the facts but succeed in leaving a highly misleading imprint on the minds of …

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Oct 03 2005

Paley’s watch, Mount Rushmore, and other stories of intelligent design – 2

In the previous posting I described a popular IDC argument that things like watches and Mount Rushmore are obviously ‘designed’ objects and thus imply the existence of a designer. By analogy, it is asserted that certain biological systems are also supposed to bear the hallmarks of design and thus must require a designer (aka god) …

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