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[P]
What's Wrong With The "-isms"?

By Signal 11 in Op-Ed
Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 07:42:07 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Racism is wrong. Slavery was wrong. Sexism is wrong. Discrimination is wrong. As the Declaration of Independence says: "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are create equal..." Article XIV says that all people under the jurisdiction of the United States of America are entitled to "equal protection of the laws." In short - a lot of people and a lot of law says that we shouldn't be discriminating against people. But discrimination isn't wrong - it is a necessity and we can and should discriminate.


[Ed note: This article contains citations specific to the USA. Many of the arguments here can be made equally well with the laws of other countries however this article is most definitely US-based. The author is aware of this. Please keep any discussion about the inferiority of the US legal system to yourself if you live in one of the more "superior" countries such as Canada, or most of Europe.]

How bad is it, doc?

It's popular opinion these days that black people are oppressed in this country. A multitude of statistics are usually pushed forward to support this - black people make less than white people[1]. Black people are pulled over more often by police officers and receive stiffer penalties than their white counterparts[2]. Discrimination in the workplace - black people are passed over for raises more often, aren't hired as often, and are treated more poorly than whites. When renting apartments, more often than not when discrimination occurs, it is against blacks instead of whites[3]. These assertions are all supported substantially by statistics and empirical analysis. That is to say, this really happens and it's not just a popular opinion.

But there's a lot more discrimination out there - people don't just discriminate on the basis of color. They discriminate on the basis of sex, your height, your weight, your background, the kind of clothes you wear, how you walk and talk and shake hands. People can and do discriminate against you because of your profession, your hair style and general appearance, and how you smell.

Popular opinion is that racism is wrong, along with sexism. When you start to delve into discrimination however, it quickly becomes clear that some kinds of discrimination is okay and some isn't. Age discrimination, for example, is perfectly legal. As a 21 year old male, I can't rent a vehicle[4]. I've never been in an accident and I have a clean driving record. I've been driving for almost six years but I can't rent a car. I can't run for president either.[5]

"Equal protection under the law"

It has been in the news recently that slavery reparations should be considered. Several proposals have been advanced which vary in content, but the common theme is that slavery was a crime which was never repaid (sufficiently), and the descendants of those slaves should be compensated for this. "Equal opportunity" employment law is in place in many states. Recognizing that discrimination on the basis of sex and race occur, employers are mandated by law to hire a certain percentage of non-white and female workers[6]. In addition, discrimination on the basis of age (for persons age 40 and older - see first paragraph of this cite: [7]), or due to disability is prohibited by federal law. There is legislation on the house and senate floors entitled the "Violence Against Women Act" (HR 3514 and S 2110, respectively), which aims to provide greater punishment for a variety of crimes committed against women, including sexual assault and domestic violence. It specifically, and only, provides these additional protections for women.

Going back to the Constitution of the United States, Article XIV: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Equal protection of the laws. Astute readers already know where I am going with this - how can these laws, which protect only certain groups, be allowable under the US Constitution? One has to further question the morality of laws which state that crimes against particular people are somehow worse than against other people, irrespective of the merits of the crime itself. After all, aren't all people equal - just like the declaration of independence says? In defense of the supporters of the above-mentioned legislation -these inequalities do exist and laws like this could help offset those inequalities. Perhaps Article XIV is out of the date, and needs to be re-interpreted in the context of modern society.

Why does discrimination occur? Are women, blacks, homosexuals, short people, fat people, or people who spend all their time online somehow worthy of discrimination? Infact they are. People are, for the most part, objective and rational individuals. An employer who discriminates against blacks does not do it simply because the person is black - they do it because the employer perceives black people to be inferior workers. Judges who give women lighter sentences than their male counterparts do so because they perceive the crime of the woman to be less severe, or less likely to be repeat offenders. Insurance companies who discriminate against young people do so because they perceive that young people are less cautious drivers and more prone to accidents. And, in fact, each of these perceptions has a factual basis!

Why discriminate?

Discrimination is a necessary part of the social fabric of this, and in fact, any society. People need ways of quickly identifying the disposition of people they meet in the real world. Do you judge prospective mates on certain criterion like age, physical appearance, or their gender? Do you judge people you see on the street or conduct informal business with on the basis of how they dress or talk? Do you perceive the teenage girl at the Target check-out who has no less than six visible parts of her body pierced and has blue hair to be irresponsible or uncaring? Why do you have these predjudices?

For me it is, in part, because I have met other people like that before who have had those attributes. Inductive reasoning - I see ten teenage girls like that, and eight of them are snotty little brats. Logic tells me the next one I meet will probably be a snotty little brat as well. It works the same way for most other discriminations people have. I would further assert that this is quite necessary - I can't hand out a questionnaire to every potential girlfriend to find out if I'll be compatible with her, or ask the teenage girl behind the checkout counter if she's a snotty little brat. The other part of why I might discriminate against someone is based on my culture. People I trust - my friend, my family, my church members, tell me about certain people, or certain types of people. Have your parents offered you their opinions about your date before? "Looks good, but I don't like him." When pressed, the answer might very well be that they didn't like the way he dressed, or that he was rude. Or maybe, it's because he was black, and your parents don't want you dating black people. You know what they say about young black men and little white girls, you know?

Why Not?

The most powerful argument against discrimination against classes of people comes from the fact that most people do not fit in exactly with the social stereotypes of the class they belong to. There's bound to be plenty of caring and compassionate young black men, or computer geeks who play video games and are non-violent, or women who are excellent engineers. The problem with inductive logic, how most discriminatory biases are formed, is that while it may often hold true, it does not always hold true. It is a correlation, not a causation.

There is a kernel of truth in most forms of discrimination: blacks are more likely to commit violent acts than white people are. That does not mean the black person you met today is a violent person. Does that mean it is wrong to be more on the defensive solely because they are black - more to the point, should you discriminate because you've met lots of other people just like this person who were violent? If you feel inductive reasoning is flawed, you've already dismissed science in its entirety - after all, isn't it by repeated observation that we come to know about certain natural laws?

Conclusion

Discrimination is a complicated issue, and that the extremist position that many adopt - all discrimination is wrong, is unattainable for most people. People's environment, cultural background, personal experiences, and preconceived notions of how people interact with each other are the determining factors in the nature of their biases. Communication never occurs in a vacuum, and it is rarely one-way. There is a distinct two-way dialogue between the person who is being discriminatory, and the person being discriminated against, and both parties are responsible for communicating the desired message or image of themselves.

Next time you hear someone complaining that "the man" is keeping them down, or that they're a "victim" of discrimination, remind them that it's a two-way street. And also remind them that discrimination cuts both ways - while women make less than men do, women also enjoy lighter sentences for criminal conduct than men, and whose claims of sexual misconduct are likely to be taken much more seriously than men. As individuals, and as a society, we have to recognize the complexity of human relationships before we can truly understand, and tackle, the problem of discrimination. If it's even a problem at all, where do we draw the line?

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What's Wrong With The "-isms"? | 95 comments (70 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
oh dear (3.66 / 3) (#1)
by vsync on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:49:14 PM EST

When you start to delve into discrimination however, it quickly becomes clear that some kinds of discrimination is okay and some isn't.


--
"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."
Hmmm.... (2.50 / 4) (#2)
by Signal 11 on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:51:18 PM EST

Yes, but Dubya deserves it. Besides, I'm not saying that because Dubya is from Texas, all texans are unfit to be president or can't pronounce complex words like "education" without losing a few vowels...


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
grammar (4.00 / 3) (#6)
by Delirium on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 08:28:35 PM EST

I think rather than accusing you of discrimination against Texans, he was pointing out the "Dubyaism" in your sentence:

some kinds of discrimination is okay and some isn't

["is" is a singular verb, while "kinds" is a plural noun.]

[ Parent ]

Hmmm. (3.66 / 3) (#7)
by Signal 11 on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 08:30:12 PM EST

he was pointing out the "Dubyaism" in your sentence

Goddamnit. :)


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Discrimination vs. Discrimination Against (3.50 / 4) (#9)
by fsh on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 08:33:42 PM EST

I personally feel that it's one thing to use discrimination to form a rough opinion about someone, but something else entirely to use that incredibly rough opinion to make decisions. The example Signal 11 gave about the employer and the black man shows this quite well. Despite what the employer's past history with black people may have been, the employer should in no way base a hiring decision on the question of color, nor should it affect that hiring decision in any way. That's where a personal interview comes in, to see how the employer would relate to the potential employee. The same goes for the cashier with the body piercings. While I may feel that she might be a snotty little brat, I should not act on my beliefs by automatically going on the offensive. Doing so could cause me to misconstrue a perfectly innocent remark.

However, I completely agree that some of our legislation does seem to violate the 'equal rights' clause, such as the equal opportunity laws, road rage laws, and hate crime laws, not to mention reparations. While these laws were initiated with the best of intent, so is censorship. I just don't understand how they don't violate the equal legal rights provision.

Signal 11 wrote:

If you feel inductive reasoning is flawed, you've already dismissed science in its entirety - after all, isn't it by repeated observation that we come to know about certain natural laws?
Induction is only useful to the scientist as long as the predictions given by induction are extremely accurate. 8 out of 10 body pierced young women being snotty little brats, for instance, would lead a scientist to attempt a more precise hypothesis, just as the predictions of Kepler and Newton with respect to the orbital variations of Uranus and Mercury led to the search for additional planets. So when I found those two bodily pierced women who were not snotty little brats, I would begin to rethink my hypothesis, and see what I could do to make it more precise.


-fsh

Alittle more on induction... (none / 0) (#10)
by Signal 11 on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 08:52:25 PM EST

for instance, would lead a scientist to attempt a more precise hypothesis

True, but most people don't adopt such rigorous standards of experimenting before arriving at a conclusion. :\ Good point though!


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Exactly (none / 0) (#54)
by fsh on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 05:12:30 PM EST

Signal 11 wrote:
True, but most people don't adopt such rigorous standards of experimenting before arriving at a conclusion.
Exactly. Induction can be very messy if it is applied incorrectly; this is why the rigor of the scientist is so important.

Signal 11 wrote:

If you feel inductive reasoning is flawed, you've already dismissed science in its entirety - after all, isn't it by repeated observation that we come to know about certain natural laws?
I would say that it is the rigor of the scientist that makes up for the flaws in inductive reasoning. The fact that there are flaws with induction is indisputible. The scientific ability to throw out invalid hypotheses generated by inductive reasoning is its saving grace, rather than the other way around. My contention is that inductive reasoning *is* flawed unless paired with scientific rigor.

That said, I *really* wish you had gone into further detail about the discriminatory legislation (hate crimes, etc). I believe this is by far the strongest point in this article, and truly hope to see a lot of discussion about it.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

Exactly! (none / 0) (#13)
by _Quinn on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 09:20:35 PM EST

   The ethical imperative is to consider every person individually. As for the cashier -- well, I think that's a pretty well-defined position, in terms of how you treat one and how one treats you; the exchange should be of social pleasantries rather than personal information.

   I think there's something deep here; maybe that people in some (specific-enough) groups interact in well-defined ways, so it's okay to group them?

-_Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
[ Parent ]
Interesting Question (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by fsh on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 05:41:31 PM EST

_Quinn wrote:
I think there's something deep here; maybe that people in some (specific-enough) groups interact in well-defined ways, so it's okay to group them?
I would tend to agree with this statement, to the extent that while it's okay to group them, it's never okay to treat any member of one of your groups interchangeably. And I say 'your' group because nobody's ideas of a group will ever be exactly the same, especially around the edges. In other words, you may think a particular woman may belong to the 'snotty little brat' group, based on her observable appearance, when in fact she does not. Or you may think a black man belongs to the 'inferior workers' group, when in fact he does not.

For me, the far more important idea here is that one person can belong to an infinite number of groups, especially when the group definitions can vary from observer to observer. The problem as I see it with assuming that 'people in some (specific-enough) groups interact in well-defined ways' is that they probably only act that way within the confimes of the group, and could very easily act in a completely different manner around other people, or with other groups they belong to. Most people, for instance, have a very different demeanor when in church and when they are at work. Neither would really be the 'true' person, however, or rather, they both are, as well as all of the different ways they intereact with different groups. It seems to me that in many cases knowing how someone would react is the same as dismissing them as unimportant. Approaching them with a blank slate, and testing their reactions to my initial hypotheses (based on preliminary physical information), is far more rewarding because it helps me create a more accurate picture.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

discrimination against ugly people (4.75 / 16) (#14)
by Puchitao on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 09:22:03 PM EST

I took a cognitive science class at one point, and when it came time to discuss stereotyping & prejudice, our professor -- a self-proclaimed ugly person -- decided to make the subject "discrimination against ugly people".

Why? Well, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. are extremely hot-button issue), and most people have very, very strong opinions about these. If you present any evidence that opposes these opinions (even good, well reasoned evidence), far too often the students will not even consider it (or even read it), and dismiss it as "fascist science" (or, conversly, "liberal science"). Then the class will start debating social (as opposed to psychological) issues, and the class quickly becomes a civics (rather than a cog sci) course. The topic was supposed to be how and why our minds stereotype, not another empty social studies class echoing the tired and true "Racism is bad" mantra.

So the professor decided that "ugly people" were the only underclass that no one had any preconceived notions (one might even call them "prejudices" ;) about. (And not once has someone come up to complain to him: "On behalf of the ugly people of the world...")

He had lots of great examples of experiments dealing with ugly people; here are three of my favorites:

  • The experimenters plant a dime in the change-slot of a telephone booth, and wait for some poor sap to find it. As he does, either an attractive young female or a much-less-attractive older one come up to him and ask if he found the dime they forgot. The results of this barely need mentioning: the girl gets the dime far more often than the older woman.
  • A more clever experiment: The experimenters go to the admissions office of their university and pick up a big stack o' applications, which they fill out with made-up information. To each application they attach a polaroid of a student; remember, many schools still ask for your photo upon applying. (These pictures have previously judged by some sample panel as to attractiveness.) Then they "accidentally" leave a small stack of applications on a chair in an airport. The experiment: coming across these important applications (presumably forgotten by stereotypically absent-minded academics), which (if any) of the applications will a random person send in, out of their own goodwill (and, more importantly, out of their own pocket). The result: the admissions office received many more of the fake applications of people judged "attractive" than the ones of those judged "ugly". It's a much more interesting result than the above experiment, since none of the application-finders could expect to meet any of these "applicants" and derive any "reward" from helping them. (Unlike poor sap #1, who prolly wants a date.)
  • A kinda disheartening experiment: While they're apart from their mothers in one of those baby-room-places in the maternity ward, newborn babies are judged as to attractiveness by some independent panel. (I kinda think they're all pretty ugly, but that's beside the point.) Then they observe the interactions of the mothers with their newborns. Although every mother, of course, thinks her baby is the most beautiful thing on earth, the babies judged "most attractive" seem to be treated differently: they are held closer, and the mother spends more time looking into their eyes and talking (baby-nonsense, I assume) to them. Kinda disheartening, if you interpret the results as suggesting that the "ugly" babies are discriminated against by their own loving mothers.
Now, none of those studies are very rigorous, and I imagine the sample size wasn't too large on any of them. They mostly stick in the mind because of their inventiveness... (that's the only reason I remember them). But there are better (but less memorable) studies showing similar results.

Just wanted to give a couple examples of discrimination on a non-hot-button topic; sometimes the discussion of discrimination gets so politicized that a discussion on the psychology of stereotyping and/or discrimination becomes, rather, a discussion of its sociological effects.

Of course, k5's probably one place where people will indeed stand up and complain "On behalf of the ugly people of the world..." Probably 'cuz we can't actually see each other... ;)

Perhaps we can do *snappy fun* with you everytime! -- Orz

how "-isms" are perpetuated (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by poltroon on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 10:40:40 PM EST

Sadly, the realities created by movies and media intermingle all too much with our daily realities. They are not the same. In the created realities, over and over you see the same kinds of heros, the same kinds of villains, and others are ignored entirely. The "-isms" are perpetuated in more subversive and massive ways than daily discriminations people make. I guess daily judgements are just the end of the line. Where the hell does "popular opinion" come from? I don't think most people sit around reading demographic surveys and trying to be sure to apply them, in the interest of perpetuating them. It's useless (totally circular) to suggest that based on statistics or popular opinion certain discriminations are warranted. The interesting question is how will popular opinion or statistics ever change? If you live in a society where you usually see people like yourself portrayed in a certain way (or ignored), it might actually affect what you do or aspire to, likewise it may affect how other people see you! An important thing to focus on should be the people who have the power or status to create a reality that gets spewed across the land. And people should be aware that the stories and images they consume are a fabricated reality, which they can choose to reject. And people can even create their own realities and aspire to spew those across the land.

when discrimination is bad (4.50 / 2) (#19)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 11:03:03 PM EST

I live in a city where the police write the majority of secondary offense (offenses that an officer does not have the right to pull one over for such as seat-belt violations) traffic tickets to a minority group (people of African-american heritage). The black folks are getting pulled over for no other reason than the color of their skin. I don't give two figs how important discrimination is for an individual behavior. Profiling like this is just plain wrong.

I can one up this, too. The Cincinnati police force has a track record of shooting unarmed black civilians. Somehow I doubt that white folks are all that much more law-abiding than black folks. Police officers assume that black suspects are more likely to violently resist. This too is wrong. People shouldn't have to worry about getting shot by the police just because of the color of their skin.

Last night and tonight, Cincinnati, Ohio has been declared to be in a state of emergency. I could get arrested for simply walking out my front door and standing on the sidewalk in front of my house. The reason for the curfew is a number of riots that have taken place. The riots took place because of protests over the recent shooting of Timothy Thomas (who is black and was unarmed) by a white police officer. Interestingly enough, the police cracked down on the black protesters far harder than they cracked down on the predominantly white protesters this past November during the protests over the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue.

Do I think that the rioters are right? Certainly not. I abhor the violence that has been done this past week by all sides that have used violence to try and get their message across. For the life of me I can't figure out how trashing street vendors' carts and looting store fronts helps get across a meaningful message about people are sick of police shooting unarmed black people. On the other hand, for the first couple days at least, the police seemed to be taking actions specifically calculated to enflame the spirit of violence. Shooting bystanders (including at least one pregnant woman) with rubber bullets, and using bean bag canons and tear gas indiscrimantely on crowds does very little to calm tension and much to motivate previously non-violent protestors to become violent in self-defense.

Cincinnati & racism (2.00 / 1) (#33)
by Signal 11 on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:56:51 AM EST

The Cincinnati police force has a track record of shooting unarmed black civilians.

Many departments have a track record of shooting unarmed black civilians. Infact, many departments also have a track record of shooting unarmed civilians who aren't black. It is likely Cincinnati is the same. Most police officers are professionals, and they do their job in a professional fashion. Some departments are corrupt, but most aren't, and the FBI is in Cincinnati to deal with that possibility.

If discrimination is happening at a statistically significant level, that will become public knowledge very shortly.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

How much do you know about Cincinnati? (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by Anonymous 242 on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 09:03:11 AM EST

The score for the past five years or so is 0 white unarmed people shot by police and about 10 unarmed black people shot or otherwise killed by police. This last case, in particular seems to be almost completely unjustified. What is known about the case doesn't line up with the officer's testimony. The case is currently before a grand jury.

While I'm not making a final judgment because we'll no more after evidence like the videotape from the police cruiser are unsealed, but it looks pretty fishy.

Regardless, I'm not talking about corruption as such. I'm talking about pervasive, systemic profiling based on the color of skin. The secondary moving violations demonstrate that such is clearly occurring. It will be very difficult to convince me that the same is not ocurring given that many black unarmed black people are ending up dead at the hands of the police than unarmed white people.

Just for the record, I believe that police have every right to shoot at people shooting at them or others. I do, however, have a problem with police that have been trained (explicitly or implicitly) to be a bit trigger happy and uneccessarily violent when dealing with people of certain racial, cultural or social characteristics.

[ Parent ]

Sample sizes... (2.00 / 2) (#41)
by Signal 11 on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 03:17:21 PM EST

The score for the past five years or so is 0 white unarmed people shot by police and about 10 unarmed black people shot or otherwise killed by police.

Out of how many people total shot by police over the past five years? As in, regardless of whether they were armed or not? In addition, "The Police" is a very large group of individuals, and only a very small fraction of which have shot unarmed people. If only 10 people in total had been shot by police in the past 5 years, and all 10 of them were unarmed black people, I might be concerned... but it's likely that they've probably shot hundreds of people, some who were white, and some who were black. By only looking at such a small number of people, over such a large period of time, you're distorting the data!

I'm talking about pervasive, systemic profiling based on the color of skin.

Sure, but don't claim it's going on unless you have something more statistically significant than 1 person being shot every 6 months out of how many hundreds of thousands of criminal cases involving guns?


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

evidently you are not very familiar with Cincy (4.00 / 2) (#60)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 12:01:20 PM EST

If only 10 people in total had been shot by police in the past 5 years, and all 10 of them were unarmed black people, I might be concerned... but it's likely that they've probably shot hundreds of people, some who were white, and some who were black.
First of all, not that all that many people get shot by police in Cincinnati. Fewer still get shot and killed by police in Cincinnati. I think perhaps you are the one trying to misrepresent statistics by comparing people shot and killed to all the people that have been shot. Of those shot, a very small number have died. Even then, the number of unarmed white people shot by police is zero. For some reason, only unarmed black people seem to get shot by police in Cincinnati, let alone shot and killed.
Sure, but don't claim it's going on unless you have something more statistically significant than 1 person being shot every 6 months out of how many hundreds of thousands of criminal cases involving guns?
In Cincinnati itself there are only about two to three hundred thousand people. Even if one includes all the suburbs in the region in Ohio, Indianna and Kentucky, there are still under a million people in the area. We do not have hundreds of thousands of criminal cases involving guns. It seems to me that you distorting the statistics to try and prove your point.

Lastly, in the context of other evidence that overwhelmingly demonstrate that Police do not treat whites and non-whites in a an even handed fashion, it does not seem unreasonable to me to interpret the data like I (and many others have). You have not rebutted, nor have you even attempted to rebut my assertions about patterns in traffic stops. And in an environment where the police are known to act in a prejudicial fashion in certain subsets of their duties, it does not take the same level of proof to demonstrate that the police operate in a prejudicial fashion in other subsets.

[ Parent ]

Hmm... (2.00 / 1) (#63)
by Signal 11 on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 04:11:42 PM EST

You know... you go through an awful lot of effort to prove the lack of data, and even say that the lack of data is a good reason for not jumping to conclusions, but then you go ahead and do it anyway and say people can happily interpret the data to mean that the aforementioned problem exists!

AGH!


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Sure, whatever (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 09:29:16 PM EST

As long as one continues to ignore the plentiful data set which I continue to point out and which continue to ignore because it doesn't support your mental schema. My point was that in light of conclusive, overwhelming evidence in similiar situations the burden of proof is not as high. If the police were not as blatantly and demonstrably guilty of acting prejudicially in certain situations, it would take much more to convince me that they were acting prejudicially in other situations.

I think it's funny how you keep dancing around that one point without ever directly addressing it and instead try to twist my words into something that is quite misrepresentative of my position.

[ Parent ]

Your facts are completely wrong (none / 0) (#90)
by krlynch on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 04:53:58 PM EST

You should follow the link in the comments right above yours. Of the fifteen individuals who have died after contact with the police, one of them was unarmed, but was running from police who were attempting to arrest him on multiple outstanding warrants, one of them died of "suffocation" while in the back of the cruiser (and it is not clear to me from the article what, if anything, the police did wrong), and the rest of them were killed after attempting to kill officers with knives, guns, bricks, clubs, or cars. Not even close to "ten unarmed men". Not even close. Two of fifteen were unarmed, one of whom died under strange medical circumstances, and the one (yes, exactly one) unarmed man who was shot was attempting to evade police capture on multiple outstanding warrants. Hardly a list suggestive of massive, ingrained racism.

If the police do something that results in the unlawful death of a citizen, they should be punished. The vast majority of these cases do not fall into that category. Our police officers, the vast majority of whom serve protect and defend honorably, should not be asked to further endanger themselves by hesitating over the concern that they will be second guessed by people who want to find racism everywhere.

There may certainly be racists in the Cincinnati police department, but these incidents certainly do not show, or even remotely suggest, that this is the case.

[ Parent ]

My facts were wrong, but not entirely (none / 0) (#94)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:15:05 PM EST

First off, I was wrong about the numbers in my prior post. I would like to offer my apologies, as well as, corrected numbers.

Four black men were completely unarmed when killed by police. (Five if you count Darryll Price whose death is problably not due to police.) The two involved with automobiles were with suspects attempting to drive away from police. It was the police officers in each case who attacked the person by reaching through the window. In neither case was shooting necessary, and in one case it the shooting of the suspect resulted in the death of an officer when a bullet ricocheted.

One man was armed with a brick and surrounded by fifteen officers. I have a tremendously high amount of doubt as to exactly how dangerous one man with a brick could be to fifteen police officers armed with with pepper spray, billy clubs, and hand guns.

One man was armed with a steak knife. I have my doubts as to whether responding to this man by shooting him was appropriate, but I'll concede that his death is at least arguably justifiable.

One man was armed with a 2x4 with rusted nails protruding. I'd say that this is even more arguably justifiable than the steak knife.

The balance shot first or threatened police with shooting.

The complete list:

  1. Harvey Price - Had a knife as a weapon. Shot five times by police.
  2. Darryll C. Price - Unarmed. Died while being subdued by police.
  3. Lorenzo Collins - Armed with a brick and surrounded by 15 police officers, was three times by two officers.
  4. Daniel Williams - Shot officer Kathleen Conway with a .357 magnum. She shot back in self defense and killed him.
  5. Jermaine Lowe - Shot at pursuing officers from stolen car. Police shot back and killed him.
  6. Randy Black - Armed with a 2x4 with rusty nails protruding. Shot and killed while lunging at a police officer.
  7. Michael Carpenter - Unarmed, shot while driving away from police. Details are in dispute.
  8. James King - Armed with a handgun, shot when he refused to lay down his weapon.
  9. Carey Tompkins - Attempted to grab the handgun of a police officer and was shot during the ensuing struggle.
  10. Alfred Pope - Shot and killed after pointing a 9mm hand gun at officers.
  11. Courtney Mathis - Unarmed and 12 years old, shot while attempting to drive away from police.
  12. Roger Owensby Jr. - Died of suffocation due to unknown causes while in police custody.
  13. Jeffrey Irons - Shot and killed by a second officer after grabbing and firing a first officer's gun.
  14. Adam Wheeler - Died in a shootout with police.
  15. Timothy Thomas - Unarmed when shot and killed by police.
If you don't trust my analysis, review Stories of 15 black men killed by police since 1995 in the Cincinnati Enquirer, which is hardly a bastion of liberal reporting. Feel free to make up your own mind.

I'd say that there is good reason for black people to be rather suspicious of the police in Cincinnati, given that no stories similiar to these exist for white people. And especially given the uncontended problems with other forms of racism at the hands of Cincinnati police such as in traffic stops and the completely unprovoked attack on mourners at a funeral by police with shotguns loaded with bean bag ammunition.

Nothing can be more pitiful and absurd than to pride oneself on one's genius
Nikolai Aleksandrovich Berdyaev, "The Ethics of Creativity"


[ Parent ]

More info on the subjects (none / 0) (#88)
by Vermifax on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 02:04:57 PM EST

Some more Factual information.

Info on the 15 people who were shot

Most recent guy already had run-ins with police

In addition it wasn't like it was all white cops doing the shooting either. Vermifax - Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]

Wordplay and dangerous sloppiness (4.57 / 7) (#22)
by itsbruce on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 11:34:31 PM EST

One simple mistake here: a confusion between deductive and inductive logic. Deductive logic is where you make a series of logical steps, each new one supported by it's predecessor. Inductive logic is where you make an unsupported hypothesis and try and work backwards from that to a point where a known fact supports the chain of hypotheses. Whatever kind of logic is described in the above story, it isn't Inductive.

That said, I'd hesitate to call the "logic" behind discrimination either "Deductive" or a posteriori, as it is rarely based on personal experience or genuine familiarity with the group in question.

Moving on, there are several meanings to the word "discrimination": this story uses them carelessly. There is a significant difference between discernment/evaluation and the discrimination that the "isms" represent. The former represents an attempt to examine and define individuals using the information available: the "isms", in contrast, deny the individuality of those deemed to fall into the respective groups. That's not to say that the two behaviours are mutually exclusive but this story mixes them indiscriminately in a way that is at best glib.

Are women, blacks, short people [...] worthy of discrimination? In fact, they are.

Justify that. The rest of the paragraph talks only of the perceptions of the "discriminator". Those perceptions are no justification for discrimination. You've left something out here, which is careless given how loaded and inflammatory that statement is without some context and supporting argument.

People are, for the most part, objective and rational individuals.

That's a contentious statement in any context and hard to defend in this one. The "isms" of your title have been used to justify beatings, rapes, tying people to fences and beating them to death etc. Objectivity and rational thought plays little part in such activities, IMO. Nor is there any objectivity in the thought-processes of someone who can only talk sports to black people, being unable to contemplate any other suitable topic.

An employer who discriminates against blacks does not do simply because the person is black - they do it because the employer perceives blacks to be inferior workers.

On the contrary, the perception that black workers are inferior may simply be the excuse that an employer uses to justify actions against black workers taken purely because those people are black. And what in that perception is "objective and rational"? Again, justify that - you are making yourself a long rope, here.

Discrimination is a necessary part of this, and in fact, any society.

See paragraph 3 above on careless misuse of the several meanings of "discrimination".

Next time you hear someone complaining that "the man" is keeping them down [...] remind them that it's a two way street.

What do you mean by that, especially when the next sentence starts "And also remind them that discrimination cuts both ways"?

This article is sloppily argued where care is most needed. It makes a whole series of contentious statements which are simply left unsupported. This is made worse by the weakness of the concluding paragraph which leaves the whole purpose of the story unclear. Do you mean to say that there is too much complaining from those who feel victimised? Or what? The suggestion in the very last sentence that discrimination may not be a problem at all is simply not addressed by anything that precedes it.

This article is rambling and with no clear thrust. Given the potentially inflammatory statements it contains, that is very irresponsible.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
Logic. (3.00 / 5) (#24)
by Signal 11 on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 12:18:17 AM EST

Whatever kind of logic is described in the above story, it isn't Inductive.

Wrong. Induction assumes that if a proposition is true over a series of trials, it will be true in all future trials were conditions are similar. From my article: "Inductive reasoning - I see ten teenage girls like that, and eight of them are snotty little brats. Logic tells me the next one I meet will probably be a snotty little brat as well." This is the textbook definition of inductive reasoning. At this point, I will point out that am currently taking an epistimology course, and this tuesday we discussed the scientific method, in particular - inductive reasoning and justification, so I can independently verify that the information provided on the website cited above is accurate.

Moving on, there are several meanings to the word "discrimination"

Pardon my indulgence for a moment, I looked those meanings up:

1. The act of discriminating.
2. The ability or power to see or make fine distinctions; discernment.
3. Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice.

[Source: Dictionary.com]

That's not to say that the two behaviours are mutually exclusive but this story mixes them indiscriminately in a way that is at best glib.

Could you please cite a specific example where the word "discrimination" was incorrectly used (using the definitions given above) in my submission please?

Those perceptions are no justification for discrimination.

I can't use my vision or hearing to justify beliefs about other people? An interesting, if highly philosophical, position to take. Are you a Foundationalist like Descartes?

You've left something out here...

Yes, and I note you've left something out as well - naming what I left out.

That's a contentious statement in any context and hard to defend in this one.

Are you suggesting instead that the opposite is true, that people are irrational and subjective most of the time? This is a position unsupported by any science I'm aware of.

the perception that black workers are inferior may simply be the excuse

Maybe. But most company executives are in the business of making money. Maximizing profits and not hiring the best workers for the job are mutually exclusive, and managers who engaged in such behavior would eventually find themselves out of a job. Thus, discrimination purely on the basis of race seems irrational. Capitalism, of course, doesn't prevent people from making such mistakes... it only prevents them from doing so systematically. In other words, it's not going to be happening on more than a small, and isolated, basis. As a logical consequence of this truism, it would seem that there is another factor at work besides the color of someone's skin in being denied a job - and that something is how well they perform their job duties.

What do you mean by that, especially when the next sentence starts "And also remind them that discrimination cuts both ways"?

Well, "the man" is typically used to refer to white males in the United States, widely believed to be the most affluent races, and often accused of being the group perpetuating racial injustices. As to the figurative phrase "cuts both ways", the example provided in my article should have provided sufficient context to deduce this. The phrase means, essentially, that discrimination occurs on both sides of any issue. White people discriminate against black people, and vice versa. The nature of the discrimination may vary, and often does.

It makes a whole series of contentious statements which are simply left unsupported.

You must have missed the nine citations offered to backup the factual claims made in my submission. Please review them. If you feel that the conclusions I reach are not related to the facts provided, please say so, and provide an explanation of why this is the case.

Thank you,

~ Signal 11


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

How to miss the point with a vengeance (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by itsbruce on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 08:08:41 PM EST

Or dodge the issue, possibly.

Could you please cite a specific example where the word "discrimination" was incorrectly used.

That's not what I said. I said that the different meanings were used side by side as if little different when they are quite seperate things. You place discernment and bigotry in the same context because the word "discrimination" can be used to label both. I could charitably call that sloppiness - or sophistry if feeling less charitable.

In case I haven't been clear enough: "discrimination" as in discernment/judgement is not at all the same thing as "discrimination" as in bigotry/oppression. The fact that everybody needs the former has absolutely nothing to do with whether the latter is right or wrong.

I can't use my vision or hearing to justify my beliefs about other people?

Again, you are obdurately misreading what I said. You were justifying the discriminatory actions of others by saying "that's their perception, so that's OK." My point was that their perception is self-serving, a conscious or subconscious self-delusion which justifies (to them) their petty resentments and actions. That is no objective justification for their actions.

I note that you left something out as well - naming what I left out.

That is simply childish. All you have to do is read to the end of the sentence to see what (I think) you left out: context and supporting argument. I can't provide your missing arguments: I don't know what they would have been or even if you have any.

Are you suggesting that [...] people are irrational and subjective most of the time?

Irrational? Who knows? Subjective? Very often. In this specific context, rationality and objectivity are frequently absent. Your own story describes discrimination as action based on personal belief/perception without any reference to the qualities of the actual person being victimised. That is, by definition, not objective.

This is a position unsupported by any science I'm aware of.

In your story and all through your posts here you have repeatedly taken this position, that to argue with you is to argue with Science. You need to check your own objectivity - and ego.

Maximising profits and not hiring the best workers for the job are mutually exclusive, and managers who engaged in such behaviour would eventually find themselves out of a job.

In a world of perfect objectivity, perhaps - and only then if it were also a) a world where economics and management were sciences as opposed to hotly-disputed arts and b) one where all business organisations were completely transparent in their operation. Or maybe you would be right in a world where the management/employment decisions in each company were the responsibility of one person, the quality and make-up of the workforce were well-known to all and the long term results of each and every management decision were easily traceable. We don't live in either of those worlds.

Among the things you have ignored are:

  • The same irrationality which leads to discrimination obstructs any objective assessment of the effects.
  • The shared prejudices of a dominant group are unlikely to be challenged when that group controls the mechanisms for audit and reward.
  • Some people don't care how big the cake is, nor how tall the pyramid, so long as they sit at the top and have the biggest slice.

By your logic, the feudal system should have collapsed in a few years: it throttled the productivity of an entire continent, barring many of the most able from realising more than a fraction of their potential because they weren't born to the right families. Surely any king or noble who supported such a system would eventually find themselves displaced?

[Bluster about the final paragraph of the story]

I am perfectly aware of what "The Man" means. I don't have any trouble with the phrases you have used. I just think they are used incoherently and to no effect.

OK, slowly this time: the phrases "is a two-way street" and "cuts both ways" are essentially identical in meaning - though they don't carry much meaning in themselves, being weary clichés. You give no flesh to the worn bones of either. You also seem to think they mean something different: "Tell them cliché one and tell them cliché". That's one "What do you mean by that?".

More importantly, saying "discrimination cuts both ways" addresses none of the issues raised in the story. Nothing in your "conclusion" does anything to bring the piece to a coherent end, explain it's purpose or summarise the arguments made in the body of your text. In your main story you seek to explain the viewpoint of the discriminator - there is nothing of that in your summary. Your summary talks about the victims of discrimination doing the same to others - a point not mentioned at all in the story you claim to be summarising. Not only is your final comment - that discrimination may not be a real problem at all - not raised anywhere in the story, it is actually contradicted in your opening paragraphs: "this really happens and it's not just a popular opinion."

That's the second "What do you mean by that?". What did you mean by the whole damned article? "Oh dear, prejudice is complex" is not enough.

You must have missed the nine citations offered

I didn't challenge your assertion that you can't rent a car. I challenged your assertion (for example) that women, black Americans and short people are "worthy of discrimination". You made a whole series of such statements, all of which could be seen as extremely inflammatory. I suspect you meant something quite different by those statements but you make no supporting argument for any of them, nor give any context which might indicate an alternative meaning. That is incredibly careless, given how emotive is this topic.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
A garbage heap by any other name... (4.00 / 2) (#25)
by anthrem on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 12:42:28 AM EST

Inductive reasoning - I see ten teenage girls like that, and eight of them are snotty little brats. Logic tells me the next one I meet will probably be a snotty little brat as well. It works the same way for most other discriminations people have. I would further assert that this is quite necessary

Are you kidding? Could you be more glib? Try doing something other than some questionable inductive reasoning to make your point.

There is a kernel of truth in most forms of discrimination: blacks are more likely to commit violent acts than white people are. That does not mean the black person you met today is a violent person. Does that mean it is wrong to be more on the defensive solely because they are black - more to the point, should you discriminate because you've met lots of other people just like this person who were violent? If you feel inductive reasoning is flawed, you've already dismissed science in its entirety - after all, isn't it by repeated observation that we come to know about certain natural laws?

Have you heard of fallacies? Reasoning can be full of fallacy. Unrepresentative samples would account for the 'study' that you do not account for that claims more African Americans commit crimes than Caucasians. See the FBI Report that discusses the fact that whites committed 4,684 crimes, and blacks committed 5,038 crimes. However, it is interesting to note that 4,083 are unknown in regards to race. Very interesting. Doesn't seem to me that a person will be likely to meet a African American that is committing murder than one would a Caucasian who is committing murder.

As for science relying on inductive reasoning, one has to be certain that the observations are not used to develop fallacious conclusions. Maybe you should examine the reasons that people commit crimes. An interesting look at the reasons over the years.

Try reading Lonnie Athen's book, The Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals. I realize that you may say, "Why, Anthrem, the fact has not been denied. Blacks commit more crimes than whites." My question to you is; Why say in one sentence that African Americans are more likely to commit crimes, and then in the next sentence say, Should this mean you should fear blacks? To me, it sounds like you are saying, "Blacks commit more crimes, therefore, likely the black person you see is or has committed a crime." I would say that is a fallacy. It sounds to me like you are saying, "If one does this, and two does this, than the rest are suspect."

African Americans more likely to commit crimes? Maybe you ought to ask yourself, why do people develop the fallacy that African Americans are more likely to be poor workers? Or that they are going to be more likely to commit crimes?

My two cents





Disclaimer: I am a Buddhist. I am a Social Worker. Filter all written above throught that.
Rebuttal (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by Signal 11 on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:31:16 AM EST

Try doing something other than some questionable inductive reasoning to make your point.

How about less questionable inductive reasoning?

Have you heard of fallacies? ... See the FBI Report that discusses the fact that whites committed 4,684 crimes, and blacks committed 5,038 crimes.

The FBI report is not relevant to an argument about whether or not guilt by association is morally justifiable.

Maybe you should examine the reasons that people commit crimes.

The motives behind committing a crime are tangential to the question of whether or not black people do commit more violent crimes than white people.

Why say in one sentence that African Americans are more likely to commit crimes, and then in the next sentence say, Should this mean you should fear blacks?

Are you asking me to come up with an argument for that position? I wasn't aware that asking a question implied that one held a position on the topic being asked about.

To me, it sounds like you are saying, "Blacks commit more crimes, therefore, likely the black person you see is or has committed a crime."

A correct statement, within an order of magnitude. It is a statistical fact that if 500 people in a sample of 4000 of a particular group are likely to undertake a particular action, and than only 100 people in the control group (also of 4000) will undertake that particular action, it stands to reason that any member of the group in question is more likely to undertake that action. This does not mean, of course, that they will, only that the likelihood is higher. So, with some additional explanation, that is what I am saying.

Maybe you ought to ask yourself, why do people develop the fallacy that African Americans are more likely to be poor workers?

Certainly a good question, which I believe I answered partially in my article. Is it really a fallacy? No, it is not. A fallacy is a logical construct which, when meeting certain criterion is always wrong. I'm aware of no fallacies in the preceeding statements that I have made. Here are the commonly recognized ones. If you could please name the fallacy in question, as well as a statement which I have made which meets the criterion outlined, I would be happy to request to the editors of Kuro5hin that a correction be made to my article.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

FBI Report (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by mattc on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 03:05:31 PM EST

See the FBI Report that discusses the fact that whites committed 4,684 crimes, and blacks committed 5,038 crimes.

Keep in mind that current government policy is to usually consider hispanic people "white."

I can't view the report because I don't have Excel on this computer but it seems to me that those numbers are a little low in any case.. like missing a ,000 at the end...

[ Parent ]

we are all discriminating (3.33 / 3) (#27)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:23:58 AM EST

in the sense that we choose from a set of options, discriminating according to their qualities in order to make an optimal selection according to fact.

When you start to delve into discrimination however, it quickly becomes clear that some kinds of discrimination is okay and some isn't.

We make suboptimal choices when we choose unwisely, as in not according to fact. If that poor choice measurably affects no one but ourself, live and learn. If it affects someone else without compensation, we've made an unethical choice. If that choice is made routinely at the societal level, we have a problem. Since it is in our interest to always make optimal choices, it is in our interest to fix that problem. If we dont, we practice unjust discrimination.

Age discrimination, for example, is perfectly legal.

It's not impossible to imagine circumstances where an old person is at a disadvantage in a selection of young people. Again, it's ok to discriminate according to facts. What fact based on melanin count allows you to choose wisely? Induction? I think not.

It has been in the news recently that slavery reparations should be considered.

That is an intersting question.

how can these laws, which protect only certain groups, be allowable under the US Constitution?

While people are equal in their rights, they are unequal in their abilities and no just law will force you to discriminate unwisely in these inabilities.

The traditional arguement for discriminatory laws such as mandated quotas is (a) they are temporary; (b) they are necessary to create a state of equality so that Article XIV can actually be meaningful instead of merely lip service. Since it is in our interest to always make optimal choices, it is in our interest to make people equal in fact as in theory.

Ultimately, there is a case to be made for law as an agent of social engineering. Education alone will take longer to show results and it cannot guarantee compliance in the short term. In the long term compliance will become unnecessary and the (temporary) law can be revoked.

That said, discriminatory laws, which are optimal choices based on the factual qualities of a set of options, are not made lightly or necessarily wisely. One factual quality is that it is "easier" to enact discrimination against a majority in favor of a minority because the majority has greater opportunity in their numbers and will likely find redress outside of law. You'll be hired elsewhere; you'll get into another school; you cant get into this disco but see if you cannot make the supreme sacrifice of walking across the street and into the C&W bar, instead. Just testing.

Inductive reasoning - I see ten teenage girls like that, and eight of them are snotty little brats. Logic tells me the next one I meet will probably be a snotty little brat as well.

The danger in induction is that you select the set of observations from which you induct. Inductive logic could also have told you that the eleventh teenage girl will be kind to kittens. If you infect your neighbors with the notion of teenage girls as brats, your neighborhood will discriminate teenage girls out of any opportunity to grow into veterinarians and your streets will become littered with dead cats. How will you ever learn why?

The problem with inductive logic, how most discriminatory biases are formed, is that while it may often hold true, it does not always hold true. It is a correlation, not a causation.

Worse, the rigor with which people induce renders it barely useful as a heuristic. Frankly, your arguement for inductive logic sucks on too many levels.

There is a kernel of truth in most forms of discrimination: blacks are more likely to commit violent acts than white people are.

And it is in your interest to (a) find the black violence gene or (b) make violence unattractive to black people by not discriminating against them.

the extremist position that many adopt - all discrimination is wrong, is unattainable for most people.

If people disagreed unequivocably, they would (or at least feel like they should) search for a reason instead of dismissing it as unattainable. You should feel bad about getting away with discrimination as incentive for making wiser choices in the future.

If it's even a problem at all, where do we draw the line?

Nowhere.

---
God hates human rights.

More on induction (none / 0) (#31)
by Signal 11 on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:48:17 AM EST

The danger in induction is that you select the set of observations from which you induct. Inductive logic could also have told you that the eleventh teenage girl will be kind to kittens.

Certainly there is danger in any improper analysis - namely that you'll arrive at an improper conclusion! However, given the enormity of information and practical applications that science has provided to us as a society, it is evident that inductive reasoning is a reliable method of obtaining a wide variety of information... provided, of course, that such research and experimentation is done with care!

If you infect your neighbors with the notion of teenage girls as brats, your neighborhood will discriminate teenage girls out of any opportunity to grow into veterinarians and your streets will become littered with dead cats. How will you ever learn why?

This has little to do with inductive reasoning, and quite a bit to do with proper experimental procedures.




--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

fair enough (none / 0) (#32)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:56:33 AM EST

... provided, of course, that such research and experimentation is done with care!

This has little to do with inductive reasoning, and quite a bit to do with proper experimental procedures.

Your neighbors are logicians to the same extent that they're laboratory scientists. The extent is this wide: ||.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Huh? (none / 0) (#34)
by Signal 11 on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:59:32 AM EST

Your neighbors are logicians to the same extent that they're laboratory scientists. The extent is this wide: ||.

I'm not following you at all here. My neighbors are rather dull, average people. I can assure you none of them are scientists. As to how logical they are, who knows? If most of suburbia is like the area I'm in, chances are they're not good at that either.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

"Why discriminate" ==> because of ind (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 02:30:53 AM EST

My neighbors are rather dull, average people. I can assure you none of them are scientists. As to how logical they are, who knows?

Exactly. You're the one making an arguement for discrimination based on inductive logic, not me. I'm saying inductive reasoning is as useless to your neighbor as a list of i386 instruction timings. Under the heading "Why discriminate" you wrote that

Logic tells me the next one I meet will probably be a snotty little brat as well. It works the same way for most other discriminations people have.

If your neighbors arent logicians or laboratory technicians, then clearly your reason for discrimination is flat out bogus. In order to discriminate, you have to judge facts and you arent in a position to arrive at facts derived from induction because you cannot perform induction adequately well in any social (you + other people) situation you care to describe.

Furthermore, even if (big if) you do have incontrovertible proof that teenage girls are brats, you dont know that they've become brats as a direct result of discrimination. In other words, you're still discriminating unjustly. The reasons you gave under "Why discriminate" are reasons you should NOT discriminate.

Your approach to discrimination seems not to be based on whether it's good or bad, it seems to be based on how well it protects you from brats, quotas, etc. Of course you will be protected from violent blacks if you avoid _all_ of them after determining that the first 10 were violent. By the process of induction you will have made yourself into a racist.

That is unjust discrimination and it is bad, not good. Good discrimination is based on a selection made according to fact. Negros 11 through 150,000,000 are not factually violent and negros 1 through 10 wouldnt be if you didnt discriminate against them.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Logic flaws? (2.00 / 1) (#40)
by Signal 11 on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 03:12:55 PM EST

If your neighbors arent logicians or laboratory technicians, then clearly your reason for discrimination is flat out bogus.

Interesting, but I fail to see how my neighbors not being logicians or laboratory technicians makes them unintelligent. For that matter, even if they were, that would not make them intelligent... so the two statements are completely unrelated.

you arent in a position to arrive at facts derived from induction because you cannot perform induction adequately well in any social (you + other people) situation you care to describe.

I'm incapable of performing inductive reasoning?! No, I think I am. You're changing the standards of evidence to support your claim, saying that no amount of data I could gather would be sufficient to support a given claim. That's like trying to say that God could exist because I haven't searched the entire known universe for Him, and therefore I can't legitimately claim I was an atheist...

Your approach to discrimination seems not to be based on whether it's good or bad, it seems to be based on how well it protects you from brats, quotas, etc.

Certainly seems that way.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Stop belaboring falsehoods with induction (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 03:53:28 PM EST

Interesting, but I fail to see how my neighbors not being logicians or laboratory technicians makes them unintelligent.

Fine. They're all Einsteins. They notice the eleventh negro is not violent and, using their incredibly developed capacity to reason, come to the unanimous decision that induction is what causes unjust discrimination in the first place. Why? Because it is inadequate induction, deriving falsehoods instead of facts. Eureka.

I'm incapable of performing inductive reasoning?! No, I think I am.

You are incapable of performing inductive reasoning to arrive at a correct conclusion if you cannot identify and isolate the data you wish to induce from. Let me put it you this way: What is it that you want to avoid, negros or violence? If it's violence, how will your experiment account for the first violent white man to bop you on the head?

You're incapable of distinguishing the process of induction from the incorrect facts therewith derived. If you weren't, you would realize, through your powers of induction if nothing else, that inductive thinking will not work to your benefit in the situations you describe.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

You first! (1.00 / 1) (#44)
by Signal 11 on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 06:05:45 PM EST

They notice the eleventh negro is not violent and, using their incredibly developed capacity to reason, come to the unanimous decision that induction is what causes unjust discrimination in the first place.

ten billion people have observed that Captain Shangrila is an idiot. Captain Shangrila is therefore not an idiot because there "isn't enough evidence". Afterall, the ten billion and oneth person might say he's a cool guy.

if you cannot identify and isolate the data you wish to induce from.

Identify: Race of individual.
Isolate: One thousand people having above-identified race.

You're incapable of distinguishing the process of induction from the incorrect facts therewith derived.

Stop telling me what I am, and am not, capable of and what I have, and have not observed.

you would realize, through your powers of induction if nothing else, that inductive thinking will not work to your benefit in the situations you describe.

Sir, I have reached the end of my rope with you - I have provided seven different citations, all of which are based on empirical and inductive reasoning. Up until this point, you have provided nothing but opinion passed off as fact, have redefined the meanings of various words, have tried shifting the burden of proof off of yourself and onto me, and you have attempted to sidetrack the discussion with red herring statements.

Until you provide atleast one citation, I'm not going to bother myself with replying to your drivel any longer.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

you're hopeless (4.00 / 2) (#46)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 06:30:05 PM EST

ten billion people have observed that Captain Shangrila is an idiot. Captain Shangrila is therefore not an idiot because there "isn't enough evidence".

That example doesnt prove that Captain Shangrila cannot play the flute any more than your observation of melanin proves violent behavior. You are not attempting to dispute the facts of an observation, you are attempting to draw incorrect conclusions from those observations.

Identify: Race of individual.
Isolate: One thousand people having above-identified race.

So far, so good.

Siggy's induction: black people are something other than black. They're ________ (violent, shiftless, lazy, whatever reason you have to discriminate against them.)

You were doing so well. I thought your blessed eyesight's ability to recognize tints and shades would carry you so much further.

Stop telling me what I am, and am not, capable of and what I have, and have not observed.

No, you incorrigible idiot, I'm criticizing the conclusions you draw from your observations. I can only do that because you lack the faculties to conclude correctly. Your article is evidence for your inability to reason inductively to a correct conclusion. I'd rather you were a simple racist than an evangelist for psuedo-scientific racism.

Sir, I have reached the end of my rope with you

I can only hope.

I have provided seven different citations, all of which are based on empirical and inductive reasoning.

What?

you have provided nothing but opinion passed off as fact, have redefined the meanings of various words,

You set up the rules of your own evidence. I didnt tell anyone 10 negros were sufficient justification for 11. You did. I can only criticise what you wrote.

have tried shifting the burden of proof off of yourself and onto me,

No shit, sherlock. They're your fucking inanities to prove, not mine.

and you have attempted to sidetrack the discussion with red herring statements.

No, I am replying to a series of red herring statements.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

end of story (4.33 / 3) (#47)
by eLuddite on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 06:57:33 PM EST

Afterall, the ten billion and oneth person might say he's a cool guy.

Therein lies your problem. You confuse the ten billionth and oneth person's interpretation with the item of fact he is interpreting. You confuse fact with controvertible opinion/interpretation.

If Shangrila is an idiot, the interpreter goes, not Shangrila. If Shangrila is a genius, ten billion idiots go, not Shangrila. If the 11th teenage girl is not a brat, siggy goes, not the 11th girl. Which is justice, since siggy is a discriminating buffon and the girl is innocent of his buffoonery.

If you induce facts that are not there, your induction is incorrect. The arguement you give for discrimination allows you to do this as a matter of routine: generalize incorrect facts from limited observation.

There is NO arguement for discrimination based on induction.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Prejudice (3.75 / 4) (#30)
by onyxruby on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:39:46 AM EST

Prejudice in and of itself is not wrong. It is nothing more than a predermined mental probability that a given that thing about a given category of people will be true. It's a mental shortcut our mind uses to compress things into neat little packages. A bad analogy to prejudice is a zip program. It links certain commonalities togethor and compresses them so that they fit in nice neat little packages. Our mind uses tricks like this all the time to keep things easy on ourselves. If we had to relearn every time that we met a small child not do certain things we would with our friends, we would start to run out of "small childs".

The only problem with prejudice is when people put it into practice. At this point prejudice becomes discrimination. There is nothing wrong with me thinking that (insert group of choice here) is a bunch of (insert derogatory statement here) as long as I don't take action or inaction based on those thoughts. I personally think a lot of people are stupid, but I still treat those that I think are idiots with respect, simply because I think everybody should be treated with respect until they have shown on an individual basis that I should not.

Prejudice not put into practice is without malice.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

excelent - one addition (4.00 / 3) (#51)
by speek on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 09:49:27 AM EST

Although you need to have pre-conceived notions to deal with your world, they shouldn't interfere with your ability to objectively perceive evidence to the contrary. This is extremely hard to do, however.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

What's Wrong With Your Conclusions (4.33 / 3) (#37)
by emo on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 12:32:48 PM EST

If you feel inductive reasoning is flawed, you've already dismissed science in its entirety - after all, isn't it by repeated observation that we come to know about certain natural laws?
This is not true. If a scientist finds one exception to a theory, the theory is broken, and will never be accepted as a law. The laws of science are accepted because repeated observations have yielded perfect accuracy within our system.
I see ten teenage girls like that, and eight of them are snotty little brats. Logic tells me the next one I meet will probably be a snotty little brat as well.
Here you admit that there are exceptions to your logic. Inductive reasoning is not flawed, your application of it is. If you want to base discrimination on inductive reasoning, and all of the teenage girls you meet with pierced body parts and blue hair are snotty little brats, then your conclusion is scientifically valid until you find an exception. But you concede that exceptions exist (the two out of ten) so your reasoning is not valid. It is a biased generalization that you justify by stating that it would be impractical to distribute questionnaires to everyone. This is the bad type of discrimination that minorities face daily. Can you imagine being of one of those exceptions and being dismissed because other people, who are similar to you in one way or another, are looked down upon?

When to discriminate (2.50 / 2) (#43)
by paulT on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 03:54:34 PM EST

Discrimination is an integral part of our day to day to lives. We are constantly in the position of judging the people around us to determine our own behaviour. The question is not (or at least should not be) should we discriminate but how should we discriminate? In dealing with an individual when do I have to go beyond the generalisation that is the quick and easy way, to actually evaluating a person as an individual? Even more important is considering the consequences of the manner in which I discriminate.

Racial, class and gender discrimination are generalisations that are useful in general circumstances. For example, impersonal interactions with strangers on the street. They are not useful, except maybe as a starting point, where there is a need to know the person as an individual. When I'm hiring someone, I need to know the skills of the person not the general skills of the race, class, or gender the person belongs to. If I'm socialising and looking for people to socialise with I need to know the person not their race, class, or gender. In fact preconceptions of race, class, and gender can (and have) get in the way of getting know someone.

There is a kernel of truth in most forms of discrimination: blacks are more likely to commit violent acts than white people are.

The question here is why are blacks more likely to commit violent acts? Consider the hypothesis that blacks are discriminated against because they commit violent acts and they commit violent acts because they are discriminated against. The reality is far more complex but it needs to be recognised that none of our social decisions, whether they are to discriminate or to be violent, occur in isolation from each other.

For me it is, in part, because I have met other people like that before who have had those attributes. Inductive reasoning - I see ten teenage girls like that, and eight of them are snotty little brats. Logic tells me the next one I meet will probably be a snotty little brat as well.

This is intellectual laziness. While past experience may suggest a person will be one way, logic does not dictate that the next person will be the same way. Inductive reasoning, when treated this way, is a logical fallacy called "begging the question" (Petitio Principii). It means your conclusion (let's say: most blacks are violent) is contained in your premise (most blacks I've met are violent). This kind of reasoning may be appropriate in situations where a quick judgment is necessary but for regular socialisation it is no substitute for getting to know someone.

Why does discrimination occur? Are women, blacks, homosexuals, short people, fat people, or people who spend all their time online somehow worthy of discrimination? In fact they are.

Why am I worthy of discrimination based on the actions of other people? Why should I not be judged for my own merits? I may understand why someone discriminates against me, under some circumstances I may even find it reasonable, but I am never "worthy" of discrimination based on other people's actions. I am "worthy" of discrimination only based on my own actions.

All this said most of the laws I've seen on this issue are window dressing and do little or nothing to solve the problem. You don't help someone finish the race by sticking them at the finish line without them ever seeing the starting line, which is what we do when we legislate the hiring of unqualified people to fill racial quotas. I'm not even sure the problem can be fixed through legislation.

What will fix the problem is when people recognise that while race, class and gender are part of the equation they never equal who a person is as an individual. The problem is complex and the solution lies in we as individuals judging people as we would like to be judged. I want to be judged for my actions not the actions of people who happen to have the same colour of skin as I do. I want to be judged as a person, not a race. When I hire someone I look at who they are, not what their race is.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
When to discriminate (none / 0) (#52)
by el_chicano on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 12:40:53 PM EST

When I hire someone I look at who they are, not what their race is.
So would you mind telling us where you live and giving us the racial breakdown of your hires? I would be willing to bet that most of them have been White, with some Asians, an occasional Black and (depending on where you live) no Hispanics...

[ Parent ]
corelation (3.75 / 4) (#45)
by suntzu on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 06:13:58 PM EST

"corelation (sp?) does not equal causation."

i don't know, this might be a foundation of the system of logic you use. possibly. this is why discrimination, in addition to being morally reprehensible, is also a logical fallacy, and as someone pointed out earlier, intellectual laziness. it's convenient in that it allows you to make faster decisions, but inconvenient in that those decisions are quite often wrong, and therefore worthless. it's why racial profiling should be illegal. IMO, certain things should not be treated so pragmatically.

also, psychology seems to tell us that people are really good at classifying things they see according to preconception. w/o a tangent on the degree to which reality is something you construct for yourself, i'll just say that people with a certain prejudice more often than not find that prejudice confirmed, because that's what they look for. vicious cycle, etc, etc, you see where this is going. the simple truth is that prejudice based on inductive logic only works well on systems that aren't all that complex and variable, which is certainly not an accurate description of the human mind.

as a side note, percieved reality conforming to prejudices has been demonstrated before. philip zimbardo (of stanford prison experiment fame) conducted an experiment where subjects viewed various photographs for brief periods of time. one showed a black man in a room of whites, i believe in some sort of dinner party. the majority of subjects said the black man was attacking guests, though he clearly wasn't. people really did "remember" what they thought they saw as reality.

Excellent article but... (4.00 / 2) (#50)
by thunderbee on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 06:50:46 AM EST

... black people are inferior workers? More likely to commit violent actis? Is that supported by statistics? Or just a personnal perception?
+1 FP anyway - well-written and likely to generate good comments.

Equal Protection Under The Law (4.50 / 4) (#58)
by fsh on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 07:03:19 PM EST

I feel that this is by far the strongest point written about in this article, and would like to discuss it a bit further. As I've said below, I simply can't see how hate crime laws, gender specific laws, or government reparations make any sense under our current legal system.

First, I would like to try and clarify a few issues from Signal 11's article.

As a 21 year old male, I can't rent a vehicle. [...] I can't run for president either.
Despite its name, the National Car Rental Center is not a governmental agency, it is a corporation, and the age limit there is a policy, not a law. For them, it's simply a financial decision; apparantly the insurance rates for the younger drivers are high enough to reduce their profit margins, so they decline to rent cars to younger people in order to keep their shareholders fat and happy. As for the presidency issue, I see it as not so much a matter of age as it is a matter of having lived as an adult in the US. From the constitution: ...age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States. In other words, once you've become an adult (21 years), you need to have lived in the US for a certain time (14 years) before you are eligible for the presidency. This doesn't seem like age discrimination so much as a residency requirement.

Now on to the parts I agree with. The idea of Hate Crimes just doesn't make sense to me. I don't see why the length of the prison term should have any bearing whatsoever upon whether the accused committed murder because he hated a group that the victim belonged to. To me this seems like an attempt to legislate a certain way of thought. Sure, it seems like a noble thought on the surface, but it's just a form of censorship. The government, in effect, is saying that vanilla murder is not as bad as murdering someone you hate. I simply don't see the difference. The crime is murder, the hate is simply the motive.

I have not read anything about the 'Violence Against Women Act' currently under discussion, but this too strikes me as odd. If anyone has a link to this subject, I would be very interested to read more about it. I feel that such legislation reduces the equality of the sexes. Feminism is defined as Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Legislation of this sort is not feminist by definition because it promotes the political *inequality* of the sexes. I can easily see one place where this issue is likely to cause problems, that of homosexual relationships. The heterosexual man who physically abuses his wife, or the lesbian who physically abuses her partner/wife, will get a harsher sentance than the homosexual man who physically abuses his partner/husband.

I have always been against the concept of reparations, as well. To me, it boils down to race-based welfare. I simply consider it unconscionable to put a monetary value on human suffering. I feel that the guilt for the issue of slavery should always be there in some form, however small or remote, and that to pay the descendants of slavery is just an attempt to expiate that guilt. I can't help but think that such an idea would only foster more racism in this country. The better solution in my mind would be to take any monies singled out for reparations and apply them to the welfare system for use by all the poverty stricken people of the US. Regardless of whether it's 'good' or 'bad' racism, singling out the poverty stricken blacks is racist by definition (Discrimination or prejudice based on race). In addition to this is the question of where the money would come from. If it's from taxes, then the descendants of slavery will be paying a portion of their reparations money. If it's not, then will there be a separate 'non-slave' tax added to all other races, or just to the whites, or just to the descendants of the slave-owners? So while the idea of reparations to the descendants of slaves and Native Americans seems noble on the surface, for me it fails on many grounds, politcal, economic, and moral.
-fsh

finally, something other than induction fallacies (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by eLuddite on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 12:24:13 PM EST

The idea of Hate Crimes just doesn't make sense to me. I don't see why the length of the prison term should have any bearing whatsoever upon whether the accused committed murder because he hated a group that the victim belonged to.

You are referring to penalty-enhancement which were unanimously upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Wisconsin v. Todd Mitchell.

Respondent Todd Mitchell's sentence for aggravated battery was enhanced because he intentionally selected his victim on account of the victim's race. The question presented in this case is whether this penalty enhancement is prohibited by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. We hold that it is not.

I urge you to follow the link and study their reasons for "hold[ing] that it is not." Even if you disagree, you will at least gain a deeper understanding of the issue.

To me this seems like an attempt to legislate a certain way of thought.

Thinking is not a crime; you can think what you want. You can also have slanderous thoughts. You can also think about forging a public company's financial record.

Sure, it seems like a noble thought on the surface, but it's just a form of censorship

Censorship is the flip side of protected speech. When you argue against censorship, you argue for protected speech. In R.A.V. vs. City of St. Paul, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that "fighting words" are not protected by the 1st Amendment and that racially motivated fighting words can be criminalized. I wont summarize the court's insight, the decision is quite short and easily understood on it's own merits.

I have always been against the concept of reparations, as well.

Reparations are not made on the basis of whether an individual benefitted from discrimination, they are made on the basis that discrimination was institutionalized and protected by law. If you reject reparation, you reject responsibility and dismiss out of hand the notion that Govt debts do not survive the lifetime of the individuals who benefitted unjustly because of that Govt's policies.

I simply consider it unconscionable to put a monetary value on human suffering.

The victim will suggest one, just the same. Money is tokens you use to exchange labor. Discriminatory practices forfeit my labor and therefore a quantity of tokens in my possession. I did not forfeit this labor, you did. Give me back my tokens.

Ultimately, reparations are paid in money because money is the only objective measure of value we have for debt. Any form of redress will require the expenditure of money so why not keep things simple and hand over the money, directly?

[reparations are] just an attempt to expiate that guilt [for racism].

If that were true then prison would be a house for penance. It isnt.

The better solution in my mind would be to take any monies singled out for reparations and apply them to the welfare system for use by all the poverty stricken people of the US.

You should be doing the latter, anyway. No reason to cloud both issues at the expense of one or the other.

Here's a nice link arguing for reparations.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Hey! That's an Induction Fallacy! ;) (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by fsh on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 02:35:52 PM EST

Thank you for providing the links to the Supreme Court Rulings - I was unaware that these were publicly available on the net. As you say, I can now at least understand where the government was coming from.

Hate Crimes

My question is simply why is it worse to kill someone because of their color as opposed to killing them because you hate them personally? In other words, I agree that the premeditated murder is worse than murdering someone in a fit of rage. I don't see why hate crime legislation is necessary considering the laws we already have. In the first link, the quotes provided obviously show the premeditated nature of the offense, as well as the inciting nature of the offender. So I agree with penalty enhancement, but it is already there, in the form of allowing the judge to decide the sentance. I still don't see why separate hate crimes legislation is necessary. I'm not familiar with the specifics of the sentancing under hate crimes legislation, but it is my understanding that a hate crime that could have been considered 2nd degree murder under previous laws could now be considered worse than 1st degree premeditated murder under hate crimes laws. This specifically is the problem I have with it. Racism is fact of life for many many americans, but most of these people have no intentions of ever doing anything violent about it.

What I would really love to see is a break down of criminal offenses by the average sentance served.

As for the second link, about protected speech, you are absolutely correct. I did not think that statement through all the way, and I appreciate your response, and especially the link the the supreme court case. It's interesting to note that Native American tribes could probably sue sports franchises, such as the Washington Redskins & Florida St. Seminoles, under similar legislation. ...which prohibits the display of a symbol which one knows or has reason to know "arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender." The key phrase there being 'display of a symbol', and the use of the phrase 'fighting words' a little later in the text.

Reparations

If you reject reparation, you reject responsibility and dismiss out of hand the notion that Govt debts do not survive the lifetime of the individuals who benefitted unjustly because of that Govt's policies.
Actually, I just think that *economic* solutions are not always the best answer. I believe, as I said, that our welfare system, since it is already there, and doesn't single out specific groups, should be the way to handle this. This way both the blacks who were screwed by slavery as well as the innocent whites who were screwed by Sherman can both be taken care of. I would rather the money that has been earmarked for reparations be spent in the public shool systems of poverty-stricken areas, so they might have a better chance to rise out of poverty. I also think that if reparations are pushed through, the problem of racism will only grow. Watching the poor black person receive an extra handout from the government can only foster resentment in the heart of the poor white person. And if the question of reparations is only about stealing labor from the disenfranchised, why aren't we providing reparations for all the women who have provided free labor in the homes when they weren't allowed to work or vote? If the woman didn't do it, they would have had to hire a maid to do so, so why isn't that stealing labor, especially since they couldn't vote to change it? As for responsibility, I consider the fact that our country can grow and learn from its mistakes to be the greatest thing going for it. If we start to punish the country for learning from its mistakes, then we might enforce the notion that it's better to *not* learn from mistakes.

Consider the War on Drugs. What happens if the US Gov't decides tomorrow that Marijuana really is pretty harmless, and legalizes it. All the people in jail for marijuana possession, and maybe for trafficking, would be released. The government would then also have to pay them reparations for stealing the fruits of their labor from them. Considering how many people are in jail for drug charges, this might end up being even more expensive for the government than the war on drugs was in the first place. So, if reparations are a good idea, then the government actually would have an economic reason to not relent on the war on drugs.

As for the link you provided for reparations, it is very limited in scope. I had already read that as well as Horowitz's original, and considered both to be missing some of the larger issues, which I was just talking about.

Ultimately, reparations are paid in money because money is the only objective measure of value we have for debt. Any form of redress will require the expenditure of money so why not keep things simple and hand over the money, directly?
Well, I suppose I'm showing my anarchist or socialist leanings here. I just can't accept this statement. In our society, where we already repress descendants of slavery in many different ways, just giving them a little money isn't going to change that. The US institution of slavery was based on racism, the idea that whites are naturally better than blacks. While we have outlawed slavery, racism still flourishes. So in my mind, any attempt to redress slavery should rest entirely on addressing the problem of racism. As I see it, monetary reparations would only make racism worse.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

interesting objections, (none / 0) (#64)
by eLuddite on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 04:57:57 PM EST

which I dont disagree with entirely but, for the purpose of debate ...

So I agree with penalty enhancement, but it is already there, in the form of allowing the judge to decide the sentance.

(a) Both the law and it's punishment is prescribed. Judges are constrained in the sentences they can hand out. So, for instance, fraud carries a sentence of X years, max, but the court would like you to understand that if your fraud was racially motivated, X is not enough and you should serve consecutive sentences commensurate with an additional hate crime.

(b) Moral suasion. (b 1/2) The law strives to make its intent as unambiguous as possible.

(c) Bias motivated crimes where you discriminate against a person based on a hatred or a bias. What common law will you be prosecuted under if you refuse to hire black people? If you inculcate bias in police training? If you report biasedly in the press?

Racism is fact of life for many many americans, but most of these people have no intentions of ever doing anything violent about it.

Those people cannot be punished by the law until they're guilty of ojectionable action motivated by hatred.

Are you in favor of privacy laws? Consider that they arent strictly necessary, either, if you are willing to risk situations where you will have to prosecute by appealing to principle. See b 1/2, above.

These are difficult laws to write but legal wisdom has decided to write them. The litmus test is are they being written in such a way as to violate anyone's rights? I say no. Are they being written in such a way as to make quick work of defending all our rights? I say yes. (I should also add that hate laws are not exactly endemic in the US.)

. I believe, as I said, that our welfare system, since it is already there, and doesn't single out specific groups, should be the way to handle this. This way both the blacks who were screwed by slavery as well as the innocent whites who were screwed by Sherman can both be taken care of.

Sorry if I misread your original post but that is an economic solution :-) There isnt a Reparations Act (there is an ignoble attempt at an anti-reparations act, though) so no one is to say your solution will be ruled out. First decide on reparations, if you must, then convene leadership to hammer out the details.

I also think that if reparations are pushed through, the problem of racism will only grow.

I'm sure it will. It would be dangerous for you to testify against the mob, too. You have to decide for yourselves to do the right thing.

why aren't we providing reparations for all the women who have provided free labor in the homes when they weren't allowed to work or vote?

IMO, that's not really a government debt as much as it's a husband's debt to his agreeable wife. I dont see how any government policy enslaved women. I suppose you can make a case for societal bias but how will you defend yourself from challenges that women were active agents for that bias against themselves?

I vaguely remember a movement to do exactly as you propose. I dont know what became of it.

If we start to punish the country for learning from its mistakes, then we might enforce the notion that it's better to *not* learn from mistakes.

This is where we disagree. You have to pay for your mistakes and you will learn nothing if you dont pay for your mistakes. "In 2005 the United States Govt agreed to pay reparations to the descendants of Negros it enslaved as a matter of social and government policy." The lesson in that kind of closure would be hard to ignore. You, yourself, are arguing against reparations using drug laws as a counter example because the distinction between a free man and a slave has lost all its cognitive resonance in modern society.

What happens if the US Gov't decides tomorrow that Marijuana really is pretty harmless, and legalizes it. All the people in jail for marijuana possession, and maybe for trafficking, would be released. The government would then also have to pay them reparations for stealing the fruits of their labor from them.

Doubtful since you dont normally end up in jail against your own free will - you are free to stay out of jail. It wont have a debt but it may be in its best interest to assume some debt as a matter of social policy. (Assume as in assume another's debt and responsibility.)

In our society, where we already repress descendants of slavery in many different ways, just giving them a little money isn't going to change that.

Social policy isnt the same as justice. Putting a killer in prison may or may not reform him. How important justice is in this particular case is for you as a nation to decide.

So in my mind, any attempt to redress slavery should rest entirely on addressing the problem of racism.

You should do that whether you pay reparations or not. I think a largish, non debilitating reparations scheme would do America a lot good, myself.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Excellent Discussion (none / 0) (#65)
by fsh on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 07:30:05 PM EST

First of all, I want to tell you that I am thoroughly enjoying this discussion. Next, I'd like to ask what sort of legal background you have? You seem to know a great deal about the legal background of these subjects, and I'm becoming a bit curious.
(a) Both the law and it's punishment is prescribed. Judges are constrained in the sentences they can hand out. So, for instance, fraud carries a sentence of X years, max, but the court would like you to understand that if your fraud was racially motivated, X is not enough and you should serve consecutive sentences commensurate with an additional hate crime.
Right, but if they only prescribe an additional sentence for racially motivated crimes, they are doing a disservice to X-motivated crimes. Why shouldn't they then be able to give a longer sentence if the criminal hates ugly people, to use an example presented earlier? My point here is that if the legislature sees a problem with the length of the sentence, they should simply increase the maximum sentence possible, and let the judge determine it. If they give a higher sentence for one type of crime, then they really would need to give legislation for *all* different types of motivation to be fair. I am also against mandatory minimums, for instance, because a it messes up they fairness of the legal system overall (ie, someone can get a longer sentence for drug use than for manslaughter). This was the reason I was asking if you had any links to a list of average sentences for various crimes, BTW.
(c) Bias motivated crimes where you discriminate against a person based on a hatred or a bias. What common law will you be prosecuted under if you refuse to hire black people? If you inculcate bias in police training? If you report biasedly in the press?
Well, from what I can tell, only one of these is actually against the law, the first one being against the equal opportunity laws. But the equal opportunity laws only apply to publicly funded jobs. The boards of directors for corporate america is lily-white. The fact that bias is introduced into our police force is shown over and over, but it's only the actual policemen who commit crimes against mexicans or blacks that are ever prosecuted. And the media never talks about a school shooting at a predominately black high school, just at predominantly white high schools, for instance. How about the difference in reporting the Wen Ho Lee case vs. the FBI director who used his confidential laptop for internet access without a even a basic firewall?
IMO, that's not really a government debt as much as it's a husband's debt to his agreeable wife. I dont see how any government policy enslaved women.
Because women weren't allowed to vote, they were unable to affect social and political changes in a world ruled by men. They were not allowed to attend university, and in many places they were not allowed to go to school for as long as men were. They still get paid less than males just as blacks are paid less than whites: sexism/racism. But to use another example, do we offer reparations to the criminals we use on labor gangs? The government is in effect stealing from them the amount of minimum wage (I think prisoners are typically paid less than a dollar per hour for such work). It is work that needs to be done, and if we didn't use criminals, we would have had to hire other workers, maybe even people with a union, to do the same work. This is why I say that the issue of reparations for the descendants of slaves as well as the Native Americans is an attempt to expiate our national guilt. If it were truly and solely economic in nature, then we'd be doing for a *lot* of other groups.
Those people [racists] cannot be punished by the law until they're guilty of ojectionable action motivated by hatred.
However, if they are ever convicted of any crime for any reason, then their sentence will be larger than it otherwise would have been.
Sorry if I misread your original post but that is an economic solution [welfare providing for all poverty-stricken peoples] :-)
True, it is an economic solution (or an attempt at one), but as a solution to poverty rather than slavery. Poverty is an economic problem, so requires an economic solution. Racism is a political/class problem, so requires a political/class solution.
Are you in favor of privacy laws?
Actually, I am rather radically against privacy laws. I thoroughly enjoyed the post you linked to, by the way. Do you have any other links to this issue, especially from the Supreme Court? I think it was Robert Heinlein who wrote something along the lines of 'the idea of the conscience is that someone is watching you'. IE, we tend to act better, or more responsibly and less in our own interests, when we know that other people are watching. Omniscient Gods watching from above were the first way we tried to instill this idea in the populace, but I think video cameras would do a far better job.
You have to pay for your mistakes and you will learn nothing if you dont pay for your mistakes.
Again, I agree with you. I simply disagree that this should be a monetary payment. In other words, I say that if we pay off the descendants of slavery, but don't fix the root cause of it (racism), then we haven't learned *anything*. We can pay the current descendants, but what about their children who wil still be living in poverty? Much better, in my mind, would be to repay the descendants of US slavery by removing the cause of their poverty, which is racism.
[...] You, yourself, are arguing against reparations using drug laws as a counter example because the distinction between a free man and a slave has lost all its cognitive resonance in modern society.
The reason I used Drug Laws is because it's the only place I can see the US repealing a law that would have a broad effect on the population as a whole. I am actually quite aware of the problems with slavery, including American Negro Slavery, Debt Slavery as practised in England at around the same time, and the Slavery of the ancients as practised in Rome and Greece. Wage Slavery is another one, practised today in all capitalist states (as I said, my personal beliefs are along the lines of anarchism and socialism). Slavery, to some extent or other, is a direct product of a capitalist society with separate classes. I certainly agree that the American Agricultural Slavery practised before the civil war was probably the worst of the bunch, but the reason it was so horrible was because of racism, not because of anything inherent to slavery (as the other forms of slavery I mentioned show). The only way to be truly rid of all forms of slavery is to remove the class distinctions that cause them, thus anarchy/socialism.
I would like to submit that the American form of agricultural slavery was vastly different than the forms of slavery practiced in ancient times, like Greece and Rome. There was no concept back then that the slave was somehow less than human, since many important people were sold into slavery. It was simply an economic position, what happened when you ran out of money. Slaves still had rights, earned money, and could purchase their freedom. The way we practiced slavery was started in Spain in the 1500s with the introduction of the sugar cane crop. It required a huge labor force to harvest because sugar cane was only harvestable for a very short period of time. This is when the idea of the slave as property, as subhuman, came about. We were the first to say that any person of a specific race was, by nature, a slave, and it is for this reason that I regard Racism as worse than Slavery. This is why I say that it makes no sense for us to offer economic reparations for slavery while we still condemn them to the lower classes. But resolving the class issue inherent in racism will provide a greater economic benefit that any reparations that the US gov't could possibly offer.

Ugh, I'm probably not making a lot sense here, but I have a horrible migraine. Staring at the computer monitor for countless previews isn't helping any. I hope I've cleared out the most glaring errors (I think I'm even spelling sentence correctly now), and I'll finish up on this tomorrow, probably. Again, eLuddite, this is a very interesting discussion. Like you, while I'm still arguing the same position, I'm beginning to rethink some of my positions, especially due to the legal background you've been able to provide. I think as well that it's worth it for both of us to maintain our current positions for the time being, to see where the discussion goes. Later,


-fsh
[ Parent ]

Re: Excellent Discussion (none / 0) (#67)
by eLuddite on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 09:03:54 PM EST

You seem to know a great deal about the legal background of these subjects, and I'm becoming a bit curious.

I have a B.Sc, a BFA and I had just been accepted into law school before being unceremoniously sentenced to a prison term. So IANAL, which is just as well because I can be a hax0r, instead. I maintain an interest in law and putz around law sites.

My point here is that if the legislature sees a problem with the length of the sentence, they should simply increase the maximum sentence possible, and let the judge determine it.

But what would guide the judge's consideration? Justice needs to be consistent in its application if it is to be fair. At some point you're going to have to admit hate somewhere in the penal code or your judges will become more befuddled than effective.

If they give a higher sentence for one type of crime, then they really would need to give legislation for *all* different types of motivation to be fair.

Well, they do. Under the Wisconsin statute tested in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, all of race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin and ancestry are covered. Various states have adopted statutes similiar to Wisconsin. (After Wisconsin v. Mitchell, the smart thing for a state to do would be to protect itself against possible class action suits.)

This was the reason I was asking if you had any links to a list of average sentences for various crimes, BTW.

Bureau of Justice Statistics. Have fun :-)

Well, from what I can tell, only one of these is actually against the law, the first one being against the equal opportunity laws.

The first being more of an anti discrimination law. The second hatred (extreme bias, essentially) and the last defamation laws. The thing to remember is that all of them can be found somewhere in the US and all of them redress real injustices which would otherwise be hard if not impossible to prosecute. If you foment hatred in a newspaper column, you should hope to live in a State without hate laws.

Do you have any other links to this issue, especially from the Supreme Court?

Historic Supreme Court Decisions by Topic and privacy, in particular.

if we pay off the descendants of slavery, but don't fix the root cause of it (racism), then we haven't learned *anything*. We can pay the current descendants, but what about their children who wil still be living in poverty? Much better, in my mind, would be to repay the descendants of US slavery by removing the cause of their poverty, which is racism.

How can we trust you to fix racism if you cannot find it within yourself to admit guilt and atone for it? What kind of a lesson is that? You cannot be ambivalently for justice. You cannot be ambivalently against racism. This is the same kind of attitude that will guarantee a curt rejection by a parole board.

Reparations is _the_ admission of guilt and - this is really important to people like me - justice. It is also the kind of action that should congeal popular opinion against racism once and for all. The social programs which then follow will be that much easier to implement and will be that much more effective because there will be that much less popular opposition.

Admit the problem, accept the punishment, reform.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Re: Excellent Discussion (none / 0) (#84)
by fsh on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 11:51:00 AM EST

But what would guide the judge's consideration? Justice needs to be consistent in its application if it is to be fair.
This is what precedent is for. Precedent being set by other judges in similar situations, and it is certainly already a well defined part of the legal system.
Well, they do. Under the Wisconsin statute tested in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, all of race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin and ancestry are covered.
What about the ugly person, or the long haired hippie? What about Ford vs. Chevy fights? That's why I said *all*, instead of some. You will never be able to legislate appropriate sentences for all of these sorts of hate crimes, which, to be just, is exactly what would be necessary.
How can we trust you to fix racism if you cannot find it within yourself to admit guilt and atone for it?
From my original post: "I feel that the guilt for the issue of slavery should always be there in some form, however small or remote, and that to pay the descendants of slavery is just an attempt to expiate that guilt." My personal take is that reparations would foster the idea that we as a society are 'even' for the matter of slavery, and that no further work would be deemed necessary. Reparations, I feel, is simply a fancy word for Hush Money. This is why I feel that if monetary reparations are deemed necessary then they should be applied to the poor in general, rather than singling out the poor black.
Reparations is _the_ admission of guilt and - this is really important to people like me - justice.
Justice or Vengeance? Note that you can't really apply the idea of justice as it applies to the law, since slavery was legal, and therefore just by that definition. The definition I use here would be Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness. So for me, Justice with respect to slavery was satisfied when America struck the slave laws and amended the Constitution; we conformed to moral rightness by making slavery illegal and unconstitutional. Vengeance, on the other hand, Infliction of punishment in return for a wrong committed; retribution seems to be what you are arguing for:
You have to pay for your mistakes and you will learn nothing if you dont pay for your mistakes.
The principals that most ardently advocated slavery in the southern US paid very dearly for slavery, as did many innocent families. Poor White Trash, for instance, is a mostly Southern phenomenon. Sherman made absolutely sure to destroy as much of the south as he could to ensure that even if the south still wanted to secede, they would be economically unable to do so.

So if reparations really are _the_ admission of guilt and - this is really important to people like me - justice, then, as I've said before, we need to be paying reparations to a lot of other people other than just the descendants of slaves. The Native Americans would need to get a sum equal to the price of the land of the United States, for instance. Women would need to get at least minimum wage for at least the amount of time they had no legal rights under the government, and probably also for the current disparity in wages. We should also be paying reparations to the people of the South who were burned and raped out of house and home in the path of Sherman's destructive march. We should pay reparations in the form of time lost to anyone who is unjustly jailed. Justice is blind, and cannot be applied selectively.

It is also the kind of action that should congeal popular opinion against racism once and for all.
Maybe. I personally doubt it. This seems to me the exact sort of action to increase the spread of racism, for two reasons which I have mentioned previously. First, because the people who actually have to pay for it are alive today, and they have never committed the crime of slavery. Being forced to pay for the sins of the fathers in this respect would only foster resentment. Secondly, not all descendents of slavery are in poverty, so paying those people at the expense of the other non-slave descendents living in poverty would again only foster resentment.
Admit the problem, accept the punishment, reform.
Well, we've already admitted the problem by abolishing slavery from the lawbooks and the constitution. We've accepted the punishment by beating the living crap out of the south, beating them so badly that they still haven't economically recovered in many areas. And we've reformed; slavery is no longer possible. The problem we have now is racism and class divides, which reparations will only make worse.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

Lessons, who learns? (none / 0) (#85)
by beergut on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 11:59:23 AM EST

How can we trust you to fix racism if you cannot find it within yourself to admit guilt and atone for it?

How can you consider an economic catastrophe just reparation for racism? If I am not a racist, but I am white, must I pay? If you label me a racist, just because I am white, will I receive reparations? What about my ancestors who fought on the side of the Union? Do I receive reparations because they "freed the slaves"? If I am of Irish descent, and some of my ancestors were indentured servants in New York in textile mills, chained to their machines and whipped and worked to death, do I receive reparations?

What kind of a lesson is that?

Indeed. What kind of lesson do we teach if we give "reparations" to a group of people who do not any longer exist (chattel slaves)?

You cannot be ambivalently for justice.

Right. I want my reparations because my family a) never owned slaves, b) fought to free slaves, and c) were themselves indentured servants.

You cannot be ambivalently against racism.

Correct. Discrimination against whites based on the color of their skin must stop.


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

sorry, missed something (none / 0) (#69)
by eLuddite on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 09:31:05 PM EST

Those people [racists] cannot be punished by the law until they're guilty of ojectionable action motivated by hatred.
However, if they are ever convicted of any crime for any reason, then their sentence will be larger than it otherwise would have been.

Not so. Their crime has to be racially motivated.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Not necessarily... (none / 0) (#83)
by beergut on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 11:49:47 AM EST

It is not necessarily the case that the crime has to be racially motivated.

What if, for instance, I robbed and killed J. Random Victim on the mean streets of St. Louis? It just so happened that J. Random Victim was black. Now, it may be that I am a racist, but the reason that I offed J. Random Victim after taking his money was because a) he struggled, and angered me, or b) I am a dumbass.

Can you see a possibility that hate crimes legislation could be pressed into service against me to soak me with a stiffer penalty? I can.

Can you imagine that, were I black and J. Random Victim were white, hate crimes legislation could be used to ensure that I got a stiffer sentence because I hate white people? Not likely.

It's not a matter of degree, and intent has very little to do with application. It is discrimination, and thought-policing writ small. It is targeting the white male for punishment above and beyond the scope of the crime, because of a held belief. The same sort of punishment will not be targeted at a black man, for an equally strongly held belief that the white man is the Devil himself.


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Irish, indentured... (none / 0) (#82)
by beergut on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 11:40:14 AM EST

Hi,

Just to interject a little bit of information here about slavery as practiced in the 19th and early 20th century in the U.S.

During the potato famine, many Irish immigrated to the U.S. as indentured servants. (This was also the case for many Europeans of the time, but since this is the most prominent example, I will discuss the plight of the Irish.) These people were literally, at times, chained to their machines in sweatshops, beaten, and worked to death. There was no economic reason to treat them well, or keep them alive, as they could be easily replaced. The same was not true of chattel slaves, in whom a financial investment had been made. Also, the Irish and other European slaves were hated worse, and treated worse, than African-descended slaves because they could escape and their children would be able to blend in with white society and disappear.

Many times, the period of this indenture was intergenerational. Several generations of Irish were indentured until they escaped or until the practice of allowing indentured service was put to an end.

This happened, primarily, in the chattel-slave-free north.


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

.sig? (none / 0) (#92)
by fsh on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 02:04:50 AM EST

Thanks for jumping in here. I was about to step up with some 'info' (read: conjecture) I 'remember' (read: made up) about the industrial states that existed a little after slavery was abolished, but you jumped in with some actual facts about it. If I recall corerctly, however, the Irish were by no means alone wrt: being chained to machines. When child labor was used, this was also a very popular method, until children started to mess up the machines by foolishly not pulling their hands out in time. Again, however, I don't have the proof for this, no links or books, so I can't say for sure.

Not to imply that you are on one side or the other, however. I am very drunk, and could easily be misreading. However, since it is so rare on kuro5hin for a reply to agree with the post, I will operate on my original assumption. ;)

Long Island Iced Teas Rock, especially when supplemented with the beers I received for free for having a partner who is *damn* good at 8-ball.

Deriously, however, this has been a very interesting conversation and have been loath to argue with anything I wasn't sure about. Any new information is quite welcome.

As the title implies, however, I am cheifly curious about your .sig. I assume it in reference to Benjamin Franklin, but am curious to know the actual author if so, and if I'm wrong, the author and the intended Franklin.


-fsh
[ Parent ]

.sig... (none / 0) (#93)
by beergut on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 10:06:56 AM EST

The .sig does indeed refer to Benjamin Franklin.
The author is me. :)


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Eligibility for Presidency (none / 0) (#79)
by crossetj on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 06:44:55 PM EST

Article II, Section of the U.S. Constitution states:
No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.
So, not only is there an age requirement (35) there is also a requirement that the President must also be a natural born citizen of The United States of America (unless you were living in United States in 1788). I'm pretty sure that that this is the ONLY position in the American government that requires you to be born an American citizen.

[ Parent ]
We know who you are. (3.00 / 3) (#66)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 07:32:36 PM EST

So don't hide behind a mask of pseudo intelligent analysis.

This should suffice:

There is a kernel of truth in most forms of discrimination: blacks are more likely to commit violent acts than white people are.

As far as I remember:

-The people that started WW2 were not black.

-The Nazis (end of discussion I guess) were not black.

-The apartheid gov. in Southafrica were not black.

-The people that used to hang black people (proud members of the KKK) were not black.

Sentences like that one litter your article with half truths and personal prejudices maskerading as insightful opinions. So try at least to rephrase your diatribes so perhaps your "article" can approach somethihg that mimics a true intent to discuss an important issue.

I would give you -10 if I could, not because your opinions, but because the completely unsubstantiated, confussed and biased way that you use to try to put your point accross, ignoring statistics when it fits your discourse and citing them when it fits your objectives. A typical example of bad, mischiveous, ignorant at least, bad intentioned at worst, "journalism". Next time you hear someone complaining that "the man" is keeping them down, or that they're a "victim" of discrimination, remind them that it's a two-way street.

Any decent human being, specialy that has seen what discrimination is all about, would vomit full of repulsion after reading such thing.

I see, most probably you are trolling......



Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?

That's not good logic whatsoever (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by jayfoo2 on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 01:41:24 PM EST

I would say that anyone who says any race is more violent than another is either a) trolling, or b) out of their mind

No the nazis weren't black. But the hutu's in Rawanda are.

Guess what, the japanese aren't black either, or white, ever hear of Nanjing?

The Toltecs used to slaughter whole villages when they conquered them (or is that the Aztecs, I get confused).

You get my point. If i really want to pick up some history books I can find all sorts of instances of extreme violence in just about any race/culture etc.

The truth is there are bad people and good people. some of the bad people are black, some are white and vice versa.

I'm pretty damn liberal but the hairs on the back of my neck sure stand up when I hear a group talking about how they are oppressed by everyone of my race/ethnicity. As far as I know I'm not opressing anyone. Isn't sterotyping me (a white male) as a racist in fact racism?


[ Parent ]
uh (none / 0) (#81)
by Ian A on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 11:35:11 PM EST

I think hes talking about on an individual basis.
That should be fairly obvious if you read rather then spout old "racism is bad" type statements while ignoring what is said and its context.

Any decent human being, specialy that has seen what discrimination is all about, would vomit full of repulsion after reading such thing.
Anyone who doesn't vomit is not a decent human being? But I thought discrimination was bad??

[ Parent ]
I can't believe this is going up (3.00 / 2) (#70)
by bjrubble on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 04:43:01 AM EST

I can't even begin to cite all the broken logic and empty rationalization here, but one bit especially offends me. Writing off a purple-haired multi-pierced checkout girl is possibly defensible, because you can posit causal connections between those attributes and your conclusion -- dying and piercing one's body is a conscious act, in fact it's generally considered a form of self-expression. And most people whose abilities allow them to avoid a Target checkout job do so. There are certainly conclusions you can draw from this. But nobody chooses to be black or a woman. These are not self-selected groups; the only theoretical basis you can posit for judging people along these lines delves into genetic and racial theories, at which point I'll be happy to invoke Godwin's Law because that is exactly the path you're walking.

In the end, the article itself is mean and stupid and almost surely a troll, but it's K5's reaction to it that truly bothers me. Are you people really going to put this up? It's sitting at 93 as I write this; do you really agree with it, or is this a measure of how desperate people are to be "open-minded?"

Purple-haried and Pierced (none / 0) (#72)
by Tim C on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 08:28:04 AM EST

No, I don't happen to think that it is defensible.

Of course, I'm biased - my hair is dyed black (although it's in dire need of a re-dye :-) ), and one of my ears is pierced. Okay, that's not quite "half a dozen visible piercings", but it is a piercing. I have also spent time working in a Burger King, flipping burgers, sweeping floors, wiping tables, etc

Lots of people take jobs like that for many different reasons. People putting themselves through college or university (as I was), mothers (and, less often, fathers) whose kids are at school and want a local, part-time job, etc

Basing your opinions of someone purely on their appearance or job is natural, understandable, and wrong, unless that appearance is solely due to their membership of some select group (eg it's a safe bet that all shaven-headed, swastika-tattooed young men are a little on the dodgy side, as it is very unlikely that anyone in their right mind would look like that unless they actually were a neo-nazi). Merely being of a certain skin colour, height, hair colour, etc, or having a prediliction for body modification just doesn't cut it, imho.


Cheers,

Tim



[ Parent ]
It's not a troll (none / 0) (#73)
by itsbruce on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 08:39:59 AM EST

He takes himself far too seriously to be a troll. These are genuinely his thoughts on the matter.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
er.. 'Related Links' broken? (none / 0) (#80)
by CYwolf on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 10:33:56 PM EST

I was under the impression that the Related Links box listed every link in the story, but it's only showing '3' and '7'. Any clues?

"by induction... learn about natural law" (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by winitzki on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 12:13:10 PM EST

I am a scientist and it was odd for me to see the claim that if you dismiss arguments in favor of discrimination that are based on induction, you also "dismiss science" because it is "by induction that we learn about natural laws"... This seems like a flawed argument.

First, we don't "learn" about the laws in the society the way we "learn" the laws of nature. Laws in society are adopted by people, not discovered.

Second, all the centuries of data-taking do not really prove any single law of physics or chemistry. These "laws" remain hypotheses to be thrown out if better ones come up. Newton's law of gravitation was out when Einstein proposed some essential changes and some new experiments were done. Einstein's gravitation will be out in a minute if another person proposes a better theory. So it is not correct to imagine "natural law" set once and for all for us to "learn".

Also, the natural laws are not considered good when experiment shows an exception to the rule that is not explained by the law. So, a single example of a body-pierced person who is not "snotty" would be enough to refute a "law" about that.

To summarize, the reference to science in the article is misleading and unfounded.

This is Whiteboy Guilt, plain & simple. (none / 0) (#87)
by kod on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 12:26:11 PM EST

NOFX said it best:

Don't Call Me White

Don't call me white (x4)

The connotations wearing my nerves thin
Could it be semantics generating the mess we're in?
I understand that language breeds stereotype
But what's the explanation for the malice, for the spite?

Don't call me white (x4)

I wasn't brought here, I was born
Circumsized, categorized, allegiance sworn
Does this mean I have to take such sh*t
For being fairskinned? No!
I ain't a part of no conspiracy, I'm just you're average Joe

Don't call me white (x4)

Represents everything I hate
The soap shoved in the mouth to cleanse the mind
The vast majority of sheep
A buttoned collar, starched and bleached
Constricting veins, the blood flow to the brain slows
They're so f*ckin' ordinary white

Don't call me white (x4)


Dis-crimination (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by Robert Hutchinson on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 04:27:18 PM EST

Racism is wrong. Slavery was wrong. Sexism is wrong. Discrimination is wrong.
Why are you throwing slavery in with the other three? Racism, sexism, and discrimination (as it relates to -isms) are idiotic. Slavery is an abominable violation of human rights. Please.

I only oppose discrimination in the actions of government. There is a mile of difference between not hiring black people and searching black people's cars. When it comes to "ordinary people" discriminating, they should have every right to do so. Freedom of association and all that.

However, do not think that I intend to endorse discrimination. Just as the existence of free speech doesn't make me respect racial slurs, the existence of free association doesn't make me respect small-minded people. The person who stupidly discriminates will get his own rewards: ridicule, scorn, and (if in a business position) a loss of money.

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

Discrimination is wrong (none / 0) (#91)
by slothman on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 05:34:14 PM EST

Discrimination is forcing people into a group only because of a unrelated and uncontrollable characteristic. It is always wrong. You can't decide whether a person is a criminal because of skin color. Discrimination according to "the kind of clothes you wear, how you walk and talk and shake hands,... your profession, your hair style and general appearance, and how you smell." is not wrong because you can change your cothes, hair, smell, etc. Age Discrimination is always wrong but only via laws not company policies. Running for president is determined by the main Constitution body and not the ammendments, but I think it is still wrongto prevent anyone elected from the position. Since no slaves are actually alive now and probably not their children then slavery reparations should not be considered. That would be giving money, etc to random people who happen to have slaves as grandparents. What if OJ Simpson had ancestors as slaves? Would he get money? If not the would a NAACP get it or what? Anti-discrimination is just as bad as regular. If you disciminate for or against a majority or minority then you still prevent people from getting what they deserve. The "Violence Against Women Act" is also bad since the 10% of men who are raped get no protection. Iven if it were 1 person it would still be bad and evil. All people are created equal and none are more equal than others - to quote Orwell. Article 14 is out of date only in the aspect that more people and more places, i.e. companies and the federal govt., need to also have this applied to them. Discrimination is a NOT necessary part of the social fabric. It can be removed. If I judge some quickly it is because I am not perfect, even if it is for multiple piercings. I keep trying to prevent myself from doing this. Logic does tell you that the next out of ten will probably be snotty but you shouldn't discriminate anyways. Blacks are more likely not commit crimes probably because they generally live in poorer places. Even if all other people of a specific race are murderers then it doesn't mean the next one will be one.

"proof" (none / 0) (#95)
by CAS4 on Sun Nov 04, 2001 at 07:50:00 PM EST

There were a lot of posts shaking a finger at the statement that blacks are more likely to commit crimes than whites ... most people said "prove it!" I thought it was an interesting question, so I checked into it...the paragraphs below are pasted from http://www.vdare.com/sailer/race_profile.htm

I know, I know -- "I saw it on the Internet so it must be true" -- just take it or leave it.

This debate over racial profiling shows how utterly divorced American political discourse has become from personal reality. Every single person who lives in a diverse part of the country racially profiles every other pedestrian as he walks down the street at night. Jesse Jackson notoriously admitted that he does exactly that - and sighs with relief when he finds that the footsteps following him don't belong to a young black male.

The reason we all do this is simple: African Americans commit far more violent crimes than anybody else. For example, according to official Clinton Administration statistics, in 1998 on a per capita basis blacks were seven times more murderous than whites. And this ratio is down significantly from the early nineties when the black crack wars were blazing. [http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm]

Indeed, the black-white ratio would be even higher if the FBI didn't insist upon counting most Hispanics as whites. This obfuscatory tactic makes it hard to break out precise crime figures for Hispanic groups. Most estimates place their rates of violence as well below those of African Americans - but well above those of whites. For example, Fox Butterfield reported in The New York Times on August 10, 2000 that Hispanics are imprisoned at a rate three times higher than "Anglo" whites.

What's Wrong With The "-isms"? | 95 comments (70 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
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