Random Politics 2

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linguoboy
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby linguoboy » 2021-02-11, 15:46


This is an extended strawman argument with a heaping dose of the fallacy of the excluded middle. I went back and read the whole thing just to make sure I hadn't missed anything and, nope, I hadn't, he doesn't ever develop his rhetorical figure of the anti-racist intent on "cancelling" him beyond the thinnest caricature.

("Cancelling" is a real bugaboo with him, isn't it? He mentions it 11 times in 36 paragraphs. After a while it starts to feel like a plea, like he wishes anti-racists cared enough to "cancel" him when--as far as I can tell--most simply ignore him.)

I'm not going to go through his arguments point-by-point, but here are a couple that leapt out at me:
Seeing prisons as a racist conspiracy to confine black people is an absurd proposition. No serious person could believe it.

Has he really never heard of the conviction of Mark Ciavarella Jr? Odd, because it was kind of big news at the time.

They act as if pointing to the absence of wealth in the African American community is, ipso facto, an indictment of the system—even as black Caribbean and African immigrants are starting businesses, penetrating the professions, presenting themselves at Ivy League institutions in outsize numbers, and so forth.

Striking for someone who accuses his opponents of ignoring facts, he only briefly mentions the wealth and attainment disparities noted by every serious researcher who has ever compared these two groups before he dismisses them as unimportant. And then--striking for someone who goes on and on about how "culture" determines attainment--he doesn't even talk about the observed cultural differences between these groups and how or why they exist. Here's Tauriac and Liem's summarisation in their 2012 paper on the subject of how they manifest in a college context:
Yet, on the other hand, an emerging body of research has established that immigrant-origin Black students are often regarded by faculty and peers as being more intelligent, academically-motivated, and affable than U.S.-origin Blacks (Charles et al., 2008; Offoh, 2003; Tormala & Deaux, 2006; Williamson, 2007). Consequently, relative to Black immigrants, U.S.-origin Blacks experience greater academic stigmatization and may feel less supported and less comfortable navigating predominantly White contexts (Deaux et al., 2007; Williamson, 2007). These social adjustment difficulties often impair U.S.-origin Blacks’ academic performance and increase their vulnerability to processes such as stereotype threat and social identity threat (i.e., the fear of doing something that might confirm a negative stereotype and the concomitant psychophysiological arousal that undermines cognitive and interpersonal functioning; Deaux et al., 2007; Steele, Spencer, & Aronson, 2002),

Conversely, immigrant-origin Blacks come from (or in the case of second-generation immigrants, have been greatly influenced by their parents who come from) cultural contexts in which Blacks have historically held significant positions of political and social power and racialization was absent within societal institutions (Dodoo, 1997; Tormala Deaux, 2006). Thus, relative to U.S.-origin Blacks, Black immigrants may feel more comfortable interacting and building relationships with outgroup members and, consequently, may engender more support from White faculty and peers (Deaux et al., 2007; Massey et al., 2007; Tormala & Deaux, 2006; Williamson, 2007). This support may have a positive effect on immigrant students’ academic performance (Williamson, 2007; Gerdes & Mallinckrodt, 1994).
Tinto’s Model of College Persistence.

tl:dr: USAmericans (of all races) frequently harbour prejudices against US-born African Americans which they don't hold or don't hold to the same degree when it comes to Blacks born abroad, and this affects their behaviour towards them. Moreover, Blacks from abroad have experiences of Black-dominated societies which affects how they react to US racism. (The researcher John Ogbu has argued that voluntary minority immigrants are more likely to attribute the discriminatory treatment they receive to their status as “guests in a foreign land” and believe that the barriers they face are temporary challenges they can overcome through hard work, greater acculturation, and academic attainment. Needless to say, US-born Blacks have very different experiences and have drawn different conclusions about how "temporary" those barriers are and what the real limits on their attainment are.)

One last bit:
These racial disparities have multiple interwoven and interacting causes, from culture to politics to economics, to historical accident to environmental influence and, yes, also to the nefarious doings of particular actors who may or may not be “racists,” as well as systems of law and policy that disadvantage some groups without having been so intended.

I'm reminded of G.K. Chesterton's famous quote about skinning cats. Here Loury is the new theologian and the skinned cat is the abundant evidence that laws and policies have been adopted and continue to be adopted to intentionally disadvantage some groups. Again, I wonder where he gets his news from because deliberate GOP efforts to suppress the Black vote were major headlines all last year and in 2018. He's already willing to concede that there are structural factors at work, so why go out of his way to let policymakers off the hook for their racist actions?
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby md0 » 2021-02-14, 23:35

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby schnaz » 2021-02-15, 15:53

Thank you md0. It is wonderful to know that you are still active at such an advanced age!
...
Ευχαριστώ md0. Είναι υπέροχο να γνωρίζεις ότι είσαι ακόμα ενεργός σε τόσο προχωρημένη ηλικία!
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Yasna
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby Yasna » 2021-02-15, 20:27

linguoboy wrote:This is an extended strawman argument with a heaping dose of the fallacy of the excluded middle. I went back and read the whole thing just to make sure I hadn't missed anything and, nope, I hadn't, he doesn't ever develop his rhetorical figure of the anti-racist intent on "cancelling" him beyond the thinnest caricature.

("Cancelling" is a real bugaboo with him, isn't it? He mentions it 11 times in 36 paragraphs. After a while it starts to feel like a plea, like he wishes anti-racists cared enough to "cancel" him when--as far as I can tell--most simply ignore him.)

It's not clear from the text, but he is primarily concerned about the chilling effect of cancel culture on his fellow academics who happen to not have the shield of blackness. He reports getting messages from them all the time, from institutions all over the country. A quote from his most recent podcast with McWhorter:

"There's so many people cowering in fear, afraid that to protest [anti-racism policies and practices] will leave them not just being called a racist... ruined! Turned down at tenure time, not getting an extension of their contract, falling into disfavor with people who have power over their livelihood and their future. Many of these administrators... I'll bet you... are sitting there thinking this is complete bullshit... but if I mishandle this, I'll never get the next step up in my career... I'll never get it, because I'll be marked as a "conservative", someone who doesn't "share our values"."

Seeing prisons as a racist conspiracy to confine black people is an absurd proposition. No serious person could believe it.

Has he really never heard of the conviction of Mark Ciavarella Jr? Odd, because it was kind of big news at the time.

Race is mentioned nowhere in that article. What's your point?

Striking for someone who accuses his opponents of ignoring facts, he only briefly mentions the wealth and attainment disparities noted by every serious researcher who has ever compared these two groups before he dismisses them as unimportant. And then--striking for someone who goes on and on about how "culture" determines attainment--he doesn't even talk about the observed cultural differences between these groups and how or why they exist.

Noting that "yes, immigration can be positively selective" sums up the phenomenon pretty well as far as I'm concerned. No where does he dismiss this fact as unimportant. The point is simply that this fact isn't the slam dunk argument the anti-racists seem to think it is.

tl:dr: USAmericans (of all races) frequently harbour prejudices against US-born African Americans which they don't hold or don't hold to the same degree when it comes to Blacks born abroad, and this affects their behaviour towards them. Moreover, Blacks from abroad have experiences of Black-dominated societies which affects how they react to US racism. (The researcher John Ogbu has argued that voluntary minority immigrants are more likely to attribute the discriminatory treatment they receive to their status as “guests in a foreign land” and believe that the barriers they face are temporary challenges they can overcome through hard work, greater acculturation, and academic attainment. Needless to say, US-born Blacks have very different experiences and have drawn different conclusions about how "temporary" those barriers are and what the real limits on their attainment are.)

You're trying to have your cake and eat it too. You argue on the one hand (correct me if I'm wrong) that the poor outcomes of the descendants of slaves are primarily due to modern US society and institutions being structurally racist, while simultaneously claiming that black people with an immigrant background are little impeded by their race (your researchers provide some interesting hypotheses for why). It's almost as if race isn't the decisive variable in determining outcomes. :hmm:

I'm reminded of G.K. Chesterton's famous quote about skinning cats. Here Loury is the new theologian and the skinned cat is the abundant evidence that laws and policies have been adopted and continue to be adopted to intentionally disadvantage some groups. Again, I wonder where he gets his news from because deliberate GOP efforts to suppress the Black vote were major headlines all last year and in 2018. He's already willing to concede that there are structural factors at work, so why go out of his way to let policymakers off the hook for their racist actions?

That's how the left of center media treated these issues. Elsewhere they were dealt with more carefully. As far as I'm aware, none of these recent "voter suppression" efforts were proven to have racist intent, only racially disparate effects. An important distinction for those of us who think accusations of racism should be made with great care. I can't speak for Loury, but I have no trouble believing that racism played a role in some of these efforts. I just don't know which ones, absent something analogous to the "smoking gun" uncovered in the North Carolina case you told me about a while back.
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linguoboy
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby linguoboy » 2021-02-15, 22:06

Yasna wrote:You're trying to have your cake and eat it too. You argue on the one hand (correct me if I'm wrong) that the poor outcomes of the descendants of slaves are primarily due to modern US society and institutions being structurally racist, while simultaneously claiming that black people with an immigrant background are little impeded by their race (your researchers provide some interesting hypotheses for why). It's almost as if race isn't the decisive variable in determining outcomes. :hmm:

Eating your cake is having it. And there's something called "intersectionality" which explains why not everyone in the same marginalised group experiences discrimination in the same way. All Black people in the USA encountre racism, but what form it takes and how it affects them varies according to their gender, sexuality, national origin, education level, and a host of other factors. It's not unusual, for instance, to find white liberals whose Black friends are all or mostly foreign-born. That's an instance of having it both ways: You get to show your lack of racial prejudice while at the same time not being forced to come to terms with the racist history of the USA.

Yasna wrote:That's how the left of center media treated these issues. Elsewhere they were dealt with more carefully. As far as I'm aware, none of these recent "voter suppression" efforts were proven to have racist intent, only racially disparate effects. An important distinction for those of us who think accusations of racism should be made with great care. I can't speak for Loury, but I have no trouble believing that racism played a role in some of these efforts. I just don't know which ones, absent something analogous to the "smoking gun" uncovered in the North Carolina case you told me about a while back.

This is one of the problems which comes of equating "racism" with "racial animus". It's not about intent, it's about impact. If the effects are discriminatory, then the measure is racist regardless of what the draughters intended.

Moreover, I don't understand why your fetishisation of intent demands a smoking gun in the first place. If you had a group of politicians who made no secret of their preference for cars and promoted policies which had the effect of favouring cars while slashing funds for public transit, would you show the same "caution" before accepting that they were motivated by an animus towards public transit? Absent a secret recording of one of them at a fundraiser saying "I hate buses!" would you just assume that these outcomes were completely unintentional and, in fact, they loved buses every bit as much as cars and trucks?

Over fifty years ago, several Southern states were so blatant in their suppression of the voting rights of Blacks that the Voting Rights Act was passed to protect their right to the franchise. In 2013, the US Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Within months, there was a raft of new measures in these very same states which had the effect of disproportionately disenfranchising minority voters. But because the draughters were (mostly) too savvy to declare publicly that their intention was to disenfranchise minority voters, apparently we just have to accept their statements about "enhancing election security" at face value.

That simply makes no sense to me. That's a higher standard of proof than we require for prosecuting murder--and even in cases of homicide, we often recognise that a crime was still committed in the absence of intent. If you don't take sufficient precautions to prevent causing harm to others with your actions, you can still be convicted of manslaughter. And in the same way, if you don't take sufficient precautions to prevent discrimination against protected classes when draughting or implementing legislation, then your actions are racist even if your intent wasn't.
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby Yasna » 2021-02-17, 16:59

linguoboy wrote:And there's something called "intersectionality" which explains why not everyone in the same marginalised group experiences discrimination in the same way. All Black people in the USA encountre racism, but what form it takes and how it affects them varies according to their gender, sexuality, national origin, education level, and a host of other factors.

I understand that. My point is that if intersectional considerations can make most of the alleged effects of racism melt away, you've got to ask yourself if the degree of overall racism in our society is really as severe as claimed. Especially when 51% of black Americans assert that their race "hasn’t made much difference in their ability to succeed" in life.

It's not unusual, for instance, to find white liberals whose Black friends are all or mostly foreign-born. That's an instance of having it both ways: You get to show your lack of racial prejudice while at the same time not being forced to come to terms with the racist history of the USA.

What a bizarre way of looking at friendship. How about just treating people as fully formed human beings as a basis for friendship with people of all races?

This is one of the problems which comes of equating "racism" with "racial animus". It's not about intent, it's about impact. If the effects are discriminatory, then the measure is racist regardless of what the draughters intended.

That's a terrible definition. It would lead you to conclude for example that financial crime laws are racist against white people because they impact white people more.

Moreover, I don't understand why your fetishisation of intent demands a smoking gun in the first place. If you had a group of politicians who made no secret of their preference for cars and promoted policies which had the effect of favouring cars while slashing funds for public transit, would you show the same "caution" before accepting that they were motivated by an animus towards public transit? Absent a secret recording of one of them at a fundraiser saying "I hate buses!" would you just assume that these outcomes were completely unintentional and, in fact, they loved buses every bit as much as cars and trucks?

Republican Party strategists scheme about ways to decrease the turnout of likely Democratic voters. That much is clear, and I think it's a dirty tactic. Are they aware this will have a disparate effect on potential black voters? Certainly. I imagine they are usually simply indifferent to this fact.

Over fifty years ago, several Southern states were so blatant in their suppression of the voting rights of Blacks that the Voting Rights Act was passed to protect their right to the franchise. In 2013, the US Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Within months, there was a raft of new measures in these very same states which had the effect of disproportionately disenfranchising minority voters. But because the draughters were (mostly) too savvy to declare publicly that their intention was to disenfranchise minority voters, apparently we just have to accept their statements about "enhancing election security" at face value.

I don't know the details, but some of these changes to election laws were presumably unrelated to race, and were only implemented after the trimming of the Voting Rights Act because the overreach of the Act prevented a more normal evolution of these laws over time. But I'm open to evidence suggesting otherwise.

And in the same way, if you don't take sufficient precautions to prevent discrimination against protected classes when draughting or implementing legislation, then your actions are racist even if your intent wasn't.

That's a good point, although I imagine we would differ on what constitutes "sufficient precautions".
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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby vijayjohn » 2021-02-19, 5:55

Apparently, Ted Cruz was vacationing in Cancun while everyone back here is struggling to get electricity and water.

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Re: Random Politics 2

Postby md0 » 2021-02-24, 15:45

https://www.sapiens.org/culture/anarchism-democracy/
I came across this, and it really captures the most salient aspect of my experience in left-libertarian organisations or projects: it's an excruciatingly boring form of democracy. The food bank story felt so familiar :)
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