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Re: Racism

Postby linguoboy » 2021-02-22, 17:56

Yasna wrote:
linguoboy wrote:What "meaningful difference" between men and women is relevant to the fact that women get sexually harassed regularly in our society and men don't?

That's easy. The greater average promiscuity, physical strength, and aggression of men.

You're skipping a step, though. For someone who agrees with Loury that saying structural racism is real is somehow denying African-Americans agency, you're awfully quick to make it sound like men have no control over their biological urges.

Every man who has ever sexually-harassed a woman had the choice not to and chose instead to be a harasser. Every single one, every single time. There's nothing inevitable about that, no matter what their biology.

Yasna wrote:
Why, in a society that has developed well past the point of satisfying its basic biological urges, would you expect biological differences to trump sociocultural ones?

There's no significant "biological difference" between the majority of monolingual American English speakers and the majority of monolingual German speakers. But this non-biological fact has a pretty significant impact on how they experience the world and interact with others, wouldn't you say? Biologically, there's no "meaningful difference" between me and my straight brother. I guess we've had people interact with us exactly the same our whole lives? For that matter, what "meaningful biological difference" is there between you and Jeff Bezos? The way other people treat the two of you must be basically indistinguishable.

Given a difference between individuals, the question is whether it is inevitable and/or desirable for us to treat each other differently based on this difference. If two people don't share a language, it's inevitable for them to interact very differently than if there were a shared language. I would argue that it is not inevitable and also undesirable for two people of different races to interact with one another in a materially different way solely based on their race.

And this is where we disagree. It's not inevitable in some platonic world of ideal solids and pure elements. It is inevitable in a world where one's racial identity (perceived or otherwise) has a huge impact on every aspect of their lives. Black and white Americans don't always share a language--there's literally a separate linguistic variety that is spoken almost exclusively by African Americans. No, not all African-Americans speak it, but the fact that it exists at all should tell you something about the cultural divide that exists here.

Yasna wrote:This doesn't mean everyone is going to succeed every time in following this principle. But just like other principles where humanity sometimes falls short such as avoiding violence, speaking respectfully to one another, or indeed treating people the same regardless of their wealth, the principle is still a solid one worth pursuing.

It's a solid principle, just like universal equality or conservationism. We're not disputing the principle here; our disagreements are all about how best to put it into action. You argue that we can't achieve a post-racial society as long as we acknowledge racial differences. I argue that we can't achieve a post-racial society without acknowledging them.

Yasna wrote:
Long story short: We tried just ignoring racial differences with the goal of achieving a "post-racial society" and it didn't work. "Color-blindness" was the common wisdom in the 70s and 80s when I was doing my primary and secondary education. But it turns out when you don't have any meaningful conversations about race, then you don't actually solve any of the problems around it, and things don't just magically get better.

Hold on a second. Ignoring racial differences during social interactions does not preclude having meaningful conversations about race. Furthermore, a lot has gotten better. Racism (what you call racial animus) has steadily decreased, interracial relationships of all types have proliferated, and African Americans have risen to the heights of American society, whether in medicine (Ben Carson), business (Robert F. Smith), or the political sphere (Barack Obama), to name some of the most prominent examples. Despite the remaining problems, the racial landscape of American society was transformed for the better during the time when color-blindness was the common wisdom.

What stands out to me, though, is not what's gotten better but how little has changed and what has actually gotten worse. In 1975, the median income for an African-American household in the USA was 60% of the figure for a white non-Hispanic household. In 2014, that ratio was...59%. The already staggering wealth gap has not only persisted but grown. It's terrific that a few exceptional Black men have achieved comparable success to their white counterparts but I'm more concerned about the fact that the average Black person is, in many ways, no better off.

Moreover, even in the case of those exceptions, what strikes me most is how different their experience is from that of their supposed white peers. The case of the Presidency is particularly striking. We went from having one of our most poised, intelligent, highly-qualified, self-governed leaders ever to having the almost polar opposite. There is simply no way that a Black man as unqualified, unrestrained, unintelligent, and insulting as Donald Trump would ever have been elected. Obama endured a torrent of abuse for the entire length of both terms and never once complained about it; Trump got free pass after free pass and still complained that he was being treated more shabbily than any leader ever. I just don't see how you can make any sense of this without taking race into account. Only a system built to reward white mediocrity could have ever conferred on Trump the societal status where he could even think about seeking high office. This is the system I want to see go away and I don't see how we get there just by being personally nice to each other.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Re: Racism

Postby Gormur » 2021-02-22, 20:44

linguoboy wrote:Biological race and the social construct of “race” have almost nothing to do with each other.

If you’d like to participate in this discussion, you should do some remedial reading first. I’ve already explained all this to you once in this thread.
Well I have read a few reports and listened to lectures on what race is or what it represents. I don't see evidence for anything biological. I guess I'll just agree with you that human race and racism aren't the same thing

Edit: Oh wait, you guys are talking about sociology and not science. Thanks for your time :hmm:
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