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August 28, 2014

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I'm not sure that support for an intolerant system is the defining characteristic.

One of the great current problems with our country is this. Most people (in my experience) are fairly tolerant in their interactions with others that they know. But our politics is almost exclusively intolerant.

It's not so much support of an intolerant system as a personal intolerance of others who they don't know as individuals, just as a class. It isn't really that they support an intolerant system, although many do. It is that they are only willing to tolerate individual members of a group, but not the group as a whole.

That's the way you get people like the Cheney's, who are seriously intolerant towards lots of groups. But are still (apparently) quite accepting of a family member who is a member of one of those groups. It is why you get people who will rail about blacks as a group, while sincerely having individual blacks who they regard as friends.

In short, I suspect that the solution will come from convincing those who are group, rather than individually, intolerant to expand their existing tolerance. Expand it beyond people that they personally know to people that they haven't actually met. Otherwise, no matter how tolerant a society we build, we will still have problem individuals -- frequently trying to institutionalize their personal intolerance.

SHA is pretty much the precise category of people I incoherently tried to describe in the Ferguson thread yesterday.

Although I also agree with wj that "supports a(n in)tolerant system" is a gross oversimplification of the two edge categories' broader relation to society.

"Dismantling a system of intolerance means that you will, at some point, hurt the feelings of some nice FMAs..."

FMAs, of all people, don't take politics personally. Their ability to separate their public opinions from their private actions should be evidence enough of that. Indeed, public discourse would be a lot less unpleasant if the other three quadrants could emulate them.

"So changing society means changing habits, and changing a system of intolerance means changing habits that were hurting some people, and getting into the habit of doing things that hurt them less."

There's a deep--and fairly scary--misconception lurking in here. Habits are behaviors that spontaneously emerge from various environmental and social constraints. You can't engineer a set of habits. You can merely proscribe the set of behaviors that you find objectionable and wait for the habits to emerge. You may or may not like the resultant system because, while the environment pushes on the habits, the habits push on the environment. It's your standard problem with complex systems, and it's why I'm so deeply mistrustful of social engineering. It's not engineering if you don't know what's going to happen.

The other thing about "habit engineering" that I find objectionable is that it precludes the possibility of just not caring. Habits are indeed cheaper computationally than consciously weighing every single action, but they're still not as cheap as ignoring the stimulus completely. (OK, ignoring a stimulus is a habit, too, but you have to admit that it's the cheapest of them all...) The longer the list of behaviors in which I can't engage, or the longer the list of groups that I have to worry about offending, the more tired I become--to say nothing of grouchy and resentful.

I have no problem with reaching a consensus about granting rights to individuals. Nor do I have a problem with denying individuals the right to engage in activities that we consider socially destructive, and therefore unlawful. But both of these ultimately come down to constraints on behavior, not the engineering of habits. Systems adapt to whatever constraints you place on them, and they'll adapt in unpredictable ways. So you want to very, very careful about your consensus before institutionalizing the constraints that it implies.

TRM:
You can't engineer a set of habits

huh? Of course you can, we call that "learning".

The longer the list of behaviors in which I can't engage, or the longer the list of groups that I have to worry about offending, the more tired I become--to say nothing of grouchy and resentful.

Honestly, what we're talking about is really just politeness, expanding the circle of people you have to respect. And politeness isn't necessarily that much work. In a great essay about how to be polite, self-described scruffy nerd Paul Ford talks about how an adolescence reading etiquette books helped him deal with adulthood:

People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches.

Doc--

There's a distinction between engineering the habits of the body politic and individual habits. You can obviously teach an individual, but the way you do that is to explain what's expected of him, observe him, correct him, and repeat.

Applying that methodology to an entire society is quite another thing. We have terms for each of these steps when they're applied to unindividuated masses of people: The explaining part is called "indoctrination" or "propaganda". The observational part is called "surveillance", and the correction part is called "law enforcement". I'm not sure what we call the "repeat" part, but it sounds oppressively dreary to me.

No matter--as a practical matter, that sort of public indoctrination is impossible. The best you can do is to tell the members of the public what they can't do, and the behaviors they adopt as a result of those constraints are beyond anyone's control. But if they were not beyond control, I'd be genuinely frightened.

The blockquote on politeness is well-taken for an individual, but it has two serious problems when applied to the public:

1) There are a whole bunch of groups who aren't asking to be treated exactly the same; they're being asked to be treated with special consideration for their particular identity--sexual, racial, religious, ethnic, etc.--and, even worse, for the history behind that identity. Politeness works because the list of norms you're expected to adhere to is short and unambiguous. When you start burdening it with exceptions, it doesn't work so well.

2) "Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches." Mighty fine advice for an individual at a dinner party. Applied to public policy, it has me fumbling for my Orwell.

any discussion that starts by defining Liberal as the ultimate good state is one I know I should stay away from.

Liberals are the most intolerant of all groups in our society. Only made to seem better by a few smug hipsters.

FMA's are like the "middle class", they are simply everyone else.

There are a whole bunch of groups who aren't asking to be treated exactly the same; they're being asked to be treated with special consideration for their particular identity--sexual, racial, religious, ethnic, etc.--and, even worse, for the history behind that identity

one big mistake statements like this typically contain is the implicit notion that "the history" is something that has no effect on today - as if "the history" is something frozen in amber and not something that is, in fact, still affecting us all right now.

sure, it's easier to assume that life for these groups (who shall not be named, i guess) is exactly the same as life for everyone else. but since that's not true - because, quite often, everyone else works to ensure that these groups are not treated as well as everyone else - it's kindof blinkered.

There are a whole bunch of groups who aren't asking to be treated exactly the same; they're being asked to be treated with special consideration for their particular identity--sexual, racial, religious, ethnic, etc.--and, even worse, for the history behind that identity.

Beyond what cleek said, there are some very loaded notions built into the idea of treating everyone "exactly the same" - foremost being that "exactly the same" invariably ends up being "as if they were a member of the majority/dominant sex/race/religion/ethnicity", and somehow tends to end up being encouraging everyone to be exactly the same rather than treating them the same. Though of course, as cleek aludes to, those who can't or won't be "exactly the same" don't get treated the same, because the supposed egalitarianism isn't about encouraging equal treatment, it's about favoring a single standard and discouraging deviance.

These are pretty basic notions in any consideration of multiculturism vs. monoculturism. The idea that individuals should make compromises to reach conformity with social norms is more egalitarian than the idea that social norms should make compromises to encompass deviation from their standards only so long most individuals in the society need to make roughly the same amount of compromises. Invariably, they do not.

"But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches."

It's also infantile.

Are we seriously conflating not having an opinion with being polite? That sounds like the ultimate submissive bleating of beta sheep. It's also downright dangerous because the alpha wolves, who will always exist, definitely have an opinion are definitely going to exercise it. One such opinion is that sheep make good eats for dinner.

Politeness is probably more a matter of having an opinion, but knowing when and when not to impose it on others and how to do both -impose/not impose - tactfully, yet effectively.

The again, sometimes something/someone is just plain wrong, in one's opinion, and wrong enough that one dispenses with tact and acts regardless of whose sensitivities may be offended. Many laws are based on this type of thinking; for example child molestation. It's wrong to have sex with a child. Some opinions differ on that, but tough.

I do not comprehend Tolerance as an objective high value. That seems to be a secular humanist concept supposedly held by liberals - supposedly because liberals turn around and exhibit a lack of tolerance for a variety of people, thinking modalities and behavior. Even the intolerance for intolerance is intolerance. Proper Tolerance seems defined by liberals as tolerance for things and people that liberals have selected.

And therein lies the seed of the reason that so many people, myself included, are not on board with the liberal program. This is a free country and we are a free people. Many do not want to be told how they have to act and what ideas to hold. Many do not want or appreciate liberal social engineering. Many do not agree that liberals are enlightened bearers of higher social truth and many, myself included, see the liberals as wishing to gain power for their ideas and, thus, abject power over everyone. Many see liberals as being intolerant. How many liberals are tolerant or respectful of people with deeply held fundamental religious beliefs?

Now, as to tolerance for some specific groups; say blacks, since that was a recent topic here. I think most people are fine with that idea. However, I think that liberals and non-liberals have very different notions of what "tolerance" means. What many hear from liberals, myself included, is that blacks are never wrong, blacks need extra handouts, whites are evil. It's white's fault that blacks walk around with saggy pants, barely speaking intelligible English, dropping out of school, trashing their own neighborhoods, having children out of wedlock that they can't support, etc. When we hear these things from liberals and, especially black mouthpieces like the radical, paranoid and often very wrong T H Coates, we react by going in the opposite direction. It is clear that we are under attack and we baton down the hatches.

You can't social engineer by ramming propaganda lies down people's throats. People know better. They can see with their own eyes. They don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows. We see that black on white violent crime is much higher than white on black violent crime. We see that black on black violent crime is out of control. We see that many blacks are racist against whites. We see that blacks are trying to grab power; often not in the spirit of some kind of equality, but for power's sake itself. We see that some blacks view everything negative that happens through the lens of racism;got stopped by a white policeman? RASCISM!!! White waitress was slow to deliver a meal? RACISM!!! They don't stop to think that maybe whites get stopped for no good reason too and that whites also experience bad service in restaurants.

When that sort of hyperbole and turning a blind eye to harsh realities becomes part and parcel for the discussion on race and other topics about tolerance, then it is fundamentally an impolite discussion from the get go. It has begun with ugly accusations of a very serious nature and demands for reparations from people that don't see themselves as being guilty of the things they are accused of- mostly correctly- make it worse.

What many see in liberals is the intolerance and impoliteness of the self-righteous crusader.

Seriously, look at your little diagram. You're labeling classes of people as "assholes". Is that polite or tolerant?

You don't have to be polite if you're right.

That's just a guess, but it's based on some personal experience on both the giving and receiving end.

"But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches."

It's also infantile.

I think you might be under a slight misapprehension there.
The opinions and judgments referred to in the quote from the article are those one jumps to about individuals one meets; politeness as a means of deferring judgment on someone's character.

Unless they are asking you for a job, or to go home with them, then it's a bit of a stretch to describe deferring judgment in this manner as infantile.

I should, however, point out that "Liberal" is disclaimed by "Enlightenment sense". Hopefully this did not go undetected.

black mouthpieces like the radical, paranoid and often very wrong T H Coates

While you quite impressively managed to avoid both not having an opinion, and being polite, you rather spoiled the effect by getting his name wrong - unless that was all part of the not being polite thing ?

"While you quite impressively managed to avoid both not having an opinion, and being polite, you rather spoiled the effect by getting his name wrong - unless that was all part of the not being polite thing ?"

I have an opinion. I despise the man and his likes. His likes would also refers to neo-nazis.

I have been in discussion with some of my dog rescue FB "friends" about Ferguson. The common ground I have with these folks is I met them through a united effort to rescue one hundred and twenty dogs from a hoarder/abuser and then continued to work with them through FB to find safe placements for the dogs. It has been an amazing year of protests, letter writing, complaints filed with the AG ( and the AG is going to prosecute!), fundraising, contacting transporting, arranging and now we are down to what is probably the last week of this effort when the last 18 dogs go to a brand new rescue.

Huge effort. That's how I know these people.

Yet we divide on Ferguson. We divided into the people who are concerned that police act as professionals and people who assume that police actions can be justified by perceived flaws in the dead person, even if those flaws have nothing to do with the incident that resulted in a death.

I don't think this divide is necessarily racist, although some of the stuff I have heard is definitely racist. I think that it is a divide between instinctive authoritarians and non-authoritarians. Some people just side with the police officer no matter what. They would see the dead civilian as the Other regardless of skin color because they assume the dead person is dead due to not being like them in some way that justifies getting shot by the police officer, who represents to them normality.

The non-authoritarians recognize that there are standards of professional conduct that are supposed to be met and judge the police officer by that.

Interestingly, the people who side with the Ferguson cop don't hesitate to condemn police officers who shoot dogs.

AS for how to talk to authoritarians, in this instance I did make some head way by point out over and over and over that the issue was not one of the dead person deserving to be shot because he was an asshole (I think he probably was an asshole), but a matter of whether or not the police officer had followed proper procedures before and after the shooting. And of course he didn't. The whole damn department behaved idiotically. They didn't do anything right.

But in the end the authoritarians stayed within their comfort zones and quit the discussion. After that there was a spate of posts about how black Americans are racists or should behave better so they don't get shot or the real victims of racism are white people. So I gave up trying to communicate.

"And of course he didn't. "

And, of course, you have no way of "knowing" this. You simply assume the worst about the cop.

Marty:

And, of course, you have no way of "knowing" this. You simply assume the worst about the cop.

I can't be sure about what Laura knows or doesn't, but I certainly don't consider this proper procedures for a fatal shooting:

https://www.aclu.org/aclu-response-ferguson

Laura,"I don't think this divide is necessarily racist, although some of the stuff I have heard is definitely racist. I think that it is a divide between instinctive authoritarians and non-authoritarians."

From the chatter I am picking up the divide is between the knee-jerk race agitators (e.g. Sharpton) and everyone that's heard more than enough of that already.

Pretty much everyone, white, black, yellow, red and all shades in between knows there are bad cops out there that abuse their authority and abuse the very people they are sworn to protect. Some subset of that group is racist as well and is more likely, though far from exclusively limited to, abuse minorities.

Everyone knows that. Something should be done about it. Probably nothing will be done about because a bunch of sheep - aka The People - are perennially frightened and impotent and they demand a bunch of laws be written to stop everything that they find offensive and impolite or just plain scary and that rough men with guns enforce those laws. When the laws keep getting violated they hire more cops and give them more gear.


But a lot of people are sick and tired of having the race baiters come out and foment revolution and division and then have their meek white bitches on left help carry the banner. Enough already.

The default position is to side with authority.

I don't personally agree with it, but there it is.

If the left only knew how obnoxious it is to everyone not fervently dedicated to The Cause.

A shorter me: People are willing to accept that a cop might be no good, but they are not willing to accept the revolutionary accusatory divisive crap from Sharpton et al and the left. The latter drives them into the cops' camp. Enemy of my enemy is my friend.

NomVide:

The idea that individuals should make compromises to reach conformity with social norms is more egalitarian than the idea that social norms should make compromises to encompass deviation from their standards only so long most individuals in the society need to make roughly the same amount of compromises.

I think I have missed your point here, which is unfortunate because you tend to make good points.

What do you mean by "more egalitarian"? My understanding of egalitarianism is that humans are equal in intrinsic worth and equal in rights. I
don't see what it has to do with conformity.

People can wear different clothes, have different religions, talk differently, even be rude or polite, and it doesn't influence their worth, or their rights.

Encouraging conformity isn't "more egalitarian" to me. If anything, it is less, as it suggests the nonconformists have less rights and less worth than those that choose to conform.

But a lot of people are sick and tired of having the race baiters come out and foment revolution and division and then have their meek white bitches on left help carry the banner. Enough already.

IO, I don't think the aperçu of misogyny is going to help you make your case. However, it is going to get you warning from this frontpager and if others currently or formerly on the frontpage agree (you know who you are, you'll be booted the next time you veer into this area. Shorter me: Knock it off or you'll have to find another place for your informed commentary.

Weird how discussions of race and gay rights turn into a discussion of how stupid and arrogant liberals are. It's always like this, of course, beginning with the abolitionists. Some of them were jerks. I guess that's a fundamental recurring problem we have all through history--smug hipster assholes. If it weren't for them, slavery would have ended maybe a century earlier, women would have voted for President Abigail Adams, and gay marriage would have been common practice since time immemorial.

DocSci:

Perhaps I missed it in the link, but I'm confused about what you are advocating.

Are you suggesting that civil society should be encouraging these habit changes? Or are you suggesting that government should be encouraging these habit changes?

The first, I agree with, assuming "tolerance" means assuming people have intrinsic and equal value and rights.

IO:

They don't stop to think that maybe whites get stopped for no good reason too

I think what you are missing is a sense of magnitude. I don't think anybody is arguing (or at least I haven't seen it) that being white is a magic never-get-hassled-by-the-cops card. I can pull up news stories showing that it isn't pretty readily.

But blacks and hispanics, especially males, get crap thrown at them them by the police far more frequently. For example, stop and frisk.

I linked a wapo article in a recent thread that had a good infographic about stop-and-frisk. Here is the infographic directly:

http://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2013/08/stop_frisk_outcomes.png

Blacks and hispanics were stopped far more frequently, and the ratio of stops to seizures was far higher. In other words, when NYPD had the policy of stopping people for the loosest of pretenses, they (a) stopped far more minorities, and (b) those minority stops resulted in fewer seizures on average.

Marty:

The diagram specifically says, Liberal in the Enlightenment sense -- as Botaccio says, "which would include tolerant small "c" conservatives and the like, anyone who is committed in general to basic social equality."

The Declaration of Independence is a liberal document, in this usage.

thompson:

I'm mostly talking about civil society, "the court of public opinion", and the general sense of what is considered appropriate public behavior.

Marty: "Liberals are the most intolerant of all groups in our society."

Oh, do go on.

Thompson, "But blacks and hispanics, especially males, get crap thrown at them them by the police far more frequently. For example, stop and frisk......."

Maybe, maybe not. I don't trust statistics that get pulled out of a hat without peer review for political purposes.
I do find it interesting that Gov. Cuomo (D) says that NY is the "most progressive state in the country", yet we have the statistics you quote. So much for progressive progress I guess.

Even if true, it doesn't erase the fact that blacks, and to a much lesser degree Hispanics, disproportionately commit violent crimes. Cops are tasked with putting violent criminals behind bars. Making a stop under whatever pretext against a black is more likely to yield to parole violation, an outstanding warrant or some other serious criminal act in progress. It isn't whitey that causing blacks to have that profile. It's blacks causing blacks to have that profile.

Now, I personally don't agree with BS police stops. In fact I don't agree with a lot of laws that are out there and especially not with a lot of LE activity (to include the NSA, Homeland Security, CIA, DEA and a bunch of other acronyms). On the other hand, we give LE a job to do and they're going to do it as they see best; not necessarily in accordance to some ideal that people that don't have to do the job think is attainable.

This is the problem with empowering government.

Back to you and tanahisi coates; blacks bear some responsibility for being profiles as they are. If they were disproportionately violent felons they would be pulled over disproportionately by LE.

I would like to see coates and his white liberal followers admit that in the US South there were a fairly large number of freed slaves and other free blacks and many of those owned slaves. Post civil war, many freed slaves went back to Africa, to countries like Liberia, and, guess what, they went and enslaved the indigenous population on the confederate plantation model. A couple years ago there was a civil war in Liberia and they killed each other like dogs. The black warlords regularly practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism against other blacks.

It isn't whites causing blacks to act badly. There is a problem with black culture. White LE is reacting to that. An honest conversation about equality, tolerance and law enforcement would look at that factor. A power grab by revolutionaries would refuse the look.

Sadly, stuck in the middle of the revolutionary power grab are the decent hard working blacks and whites that are just trying to do their best. If I was black I'd be horrified by the behavior of my brothers and sisters and I'd be angry at them more so than at whitey. In fact, there are black spokespeople, like Bill Cosby, that express that very perspective. Some how such perspectives just are picked up by the MSM.

I thought Marty was joking.

No the cop didn't follow professional procedure. He should know how to respond to minor transgressions like jaywalking without having the incident blow up into shooting at an unarmed person. Following the shooting there are procedures to follow as well. If the officer was injured, he should have gotten the injury documented because an injury would be critical information to support a claim that he had to shoot. He didn't do that. The department should have released the basic facts immediately and should have launched an internal investigation immediately. I thought this was all obvious.

I'm really stunned by the suggestion that people should evaluate the job performance of a police officer who shoots someone by deciding that since they don't like Al Sharpton, the killing must be justified.

Kind of dismissive of the dead person.

What do you mean by "more egalitarian"? My understanding of egalitarianism is that humans are equal in intrinsic worth and equal in rights. I don't see what it has to do with conformity.

People can wear different clothes, have different religions, talk differently, even be rude or polite, and it doesn't influence their worth, or their rights.

Actually, that's kinda my whole point. Generally speaking, attempts to promote equality in a society have tended to take one of two tacts: either they strive to ensure that differences are minimized, or they strive to ensure differences are ignored. This is most obvious when you're talking about integrating immigrants, but the integration model will have an impact on each generation.

It's unsurprising that you find the monocultural model antithetical, because America cleaves strongly to the multicultural model. It has strengths, but it also has weaknesses. It's divisive, and makes it easier for people to readily view subcultures as "other", and not "real" citizens. Societies cleaving towards a monocultural integration model - France is the one I'm most familiar with - make it (theoretically) easier for immigrants or random citizens to lose themselves in the national identity, but in doing so the subculture that's conforming to the prevailing culture has less distinction, is expected to be unobtrusive and not make waves, and non-conformists are more alien - basically the expectation is that large portions of distinct identity will be surrendered or concealed in the public sphere in exchange for being accepted as the same as everyone else.

Both have problems. Both have strengths. But they both ideally have the goal of promoting equality by avoiding being targeted for discrimination - either by providing a clear way for citizens to whitewash (and yes, I chose that term intentionally) themselves to blend into the body politic by conforming to a common standard, or to encourage the body politic to reject the notion that there can be a standard so that non-conformity is less of an issue. Neither model will ever be purely followed, and that will lead to serious contention; even in a multicultural society where all values are equal, there are those who will make some values more equal than others, and even in a monocultural society where demographic populations have sincerely sought to integrate, the body politic may reject their integration and chose to regulate them to alterity. Among (many) other problems.

All of this is broadly sweeping and gross oversimplififcations. But do you see a bit more where I was coming from with this? TRM was arguing that all people in the US are - or rather should be - "just asking to be treated exactly the same". But they then asserted that because subcultures seek to maintain an individual identity and an awareness of that identity (and the history that shaped it), they're refusing to be treated "exactly the same". My point was that TRM was basically asserting that we're a monocultural society, and we're not. We're multicultural. Therefore, as we have much less of a clearly defined generic cultural identity which we're expected to adopt, calls for subcultural groups to subsume their identity into the majority identity IOT be treated "exactly the same" as everyone else is highly problematic, as their "egalitarian" suggestion that everyone should view themselves as essentially the same as everyone else is predicated on the implicit idea that certain portions of the population would be giving up far more elements of subcultural identity (and values) than others, and as is typical, those belonging to assorted majority demographics would be giving up the least (or even none). Failing to do so is being interpreted as refusing to be part of the society and demanding "special treatment". Though we're talking about race here, it's perhaps more readily illustrative to consider anti-SSM rhetoric, specifically assertions that SSM is a homosexual assertion of special rights and greater privileges than "normal Americans". TRM was essentially asserting that there is a specific cultural identity within that which requires subsuming subcultural identity into a generic "American" identity (which conveniently appears to be very similar to European Protestant bourgeois heterosexual cisgendered subcultural identity, based on TRM's complaints about what defines a deviant), and that those who refuse to do so are grasping, selfish troublemakers.

The line you quoted was basically observing the problem with TRM's assertion that everyone ignoring subcultural identity (and the history behind that identity) would result in everyone treating everyone "exactly the same" was that it would only do so insofar as everyone had given up the same amount of their identity and was equally deviating from their private persona IOT present a more uniform public persona. If, as they appeared to be doing, TRM was suggesting that some were expected to make no compromises while others were expected to dramatically alter their behavior and reshape their understanding of history, they were proposing a radically immoderate and thoroughly inegalitarian approach to politeness and reasonable conduct in the public sphere between citizens.

And then I rambled a bit, as I appear to have done once again. Only moreso.

I get the impression that to some people the killing of Mike Brown by a cop is...not about a cop shooting a person. NOt a question of whether or not shooting was justified within the perimeters of professional conduct. Instead it's somehow a metaphor for how white people as symbolized by the police officer have a right to punish black people for misbehaving.

Ugh, and post-editing appears to have made my rambling less coherent rather than more. Commenting while very exhausted is always a good idea. No, really!

Absent "widespread social engineering" we would never have had the Industrial Revolution.

Discuss.

There is a problem with black culture.

A culture that, in many respects, has been engineered by white people. I guess that makes us pretty good at that "social engineering" thing, huh?

I think there's a problem with white culture that is exposed when white people respond to the shooting by a cop of a black man by looking for indications that the victim corresponds to their stereotype, rather than looking for a report that shows the that shooting was justified as measured by established professional standards (usually defense of the officer's life, or prevention of risk to bystanders).

I don't really understand what Ferguson has to do with "the tolerance issue", which has been centered around marriage equality, per Sebastian's original post.

The issue I'm (trying to) talk about is how "social conservatives" feel that their personal and/or religious convictions are no longer being tolerated, or that mere "toleration" isn't enough.

The fact that this group is called social conservatives should clue us in to the fact that they're concerned with how society is structured (or engineered, if you prefer).

DocSci

"the court of public opinion", and the general sense of what is considered appropriate public behavior.

Then we are in agreement, it seems. I would add, it's not just about encouraging people to be kind, its also about encouraging people to recognize "the sameness" in other groups.

As a pure anecdote, I got far more traction during the Prop 8 campaign asking people what they thought homosexuals wanted for their children. Even fairly adamant supporters of Prop 8 would come to something along the lines of: 'they want their children to be happy, healthy, successful, etc'. I tried to point out that, sexuality aside, we're all human, and tend to have traits like caring for our children. Make "the other" a little more "same".

The radical moderate: "Applying that methodology to an entire society is quite another thing. We have terms for each of these steps when they're applied to unindividuated masses of people: The explaining part is called "indoctrination" or "propaganda". The observational part is called "surveillance", and the correction part is called "law enforcement". I'm not sure what we call the "repeat" part, but it sounds oppressively dreary to me."

I've seen several such things succeed brilliantly. When I was 18, smoking in restaurants and bars was the norm. Any bar you went into was hazy with smoke, and your eyes would burn. Most restaurants were the same. Most workplaces were the same.

Now, smoke is the exception.

When I was 18, drunk driving was a crime, but a common one. Now, it's a serious crime, and IIRC the stats on accidents reflects a massive decrease.

And that's just the start - for another example, 'lady engineer' is not an operative term.

"The issue I'm (trying to) talk about is how "social conservatives" feel that their personal and/or religious convictions are no longer being tolerated, or that mere "toleration" isn't enough."

Sorry if I caused a lateral drift. I saw Ferguson as being one of those issues that divide in an interesting way on the authoritarian/ not authoritarian discussion.

But on your issue: It seems obvious to me that social conservatives are all about social engineering since their efforts in political life have been to limit other people's choices to conform to their notions--in other words, to influence society.

Some even go so far as to assert that they are victims of discrimination if their religious notions aren't imposed on others or treated as sanctioned by some government agency.

(I don't see social engineering as a bad thing. I think everyone tries to do it, except hermits)

NV:

post-editing appears to have made my rambling less coherent rather than more.

Coherent enough. Thanks for the expansion. I appreciate the background on mono vs. multi. I find it interesting that when you first said monoculture in the other thread, I first thought of France (specifically, their law against wearing religious signs in schools).

It's unsurprising that you find the monocultural model antithetical, because America cleaves strongly to the multicultural model.

You're right, I do find it antithetical. I like to think its more than simply being raised in the US, but perhaps I was socially engineered along with the rest.

Both have their drawbacks, and you've highlighted that. I personally find the drawback of highlighting non-conformists for both social and governmental targeting far more of a drawback. I also think it can retard change and cultural advancement. By suppressing deviation from the monoculture, I think you lose out on avenues to assimilate the strengths of other cultures. Further, assimilation becomes an all or nothing proposition, which would tend to sequester extremists off from the main culture, as well as moderates that assimilate.

observing the problem with TRM's assertion that everyone ignoring subcultural identity (and the history behind that identity) would result in everyone treating everyone "exactly the same" was that it would only do so insofar as everyone had given up the same amount of their identity and was equally deviating

Yeah, which fits into the larger mono vs. multi issue (I get it now!). That is ultimately why I don't view the monoculture model as "more egalitarian": It would only be egalitarian if everybody made the same small sacrifice to assimilate into society. In my mind, that can not be true with the level of diversity humanity possesses.

Laura Koerbeer: "I think there's a problem with white culture that is exposed when white people respond to the shooting by a cop of a black man by looking for indications that the victim corresponds to their stereotype, rather than looking for a report that shows the that shooting was justified as measured by established professional standards (usually defense of the officer's life, or prevention of risk to bystanders)."


At this point it's clear that the right *likes* the occasional random killing of black men, for the same reason as lynchings were used - actually, they are lynchings, just using more formal excuses and agents.

They'll tell themselves otherwise, and come up with lying reason after lying reason, but frankly God is making it crystal clear what's going on:

Bundy's vs. Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
Open carry events without number (or police shootings) vs. John Crawford (gunned down for holding a pellet gun, even though holding a real gun would have been legal).

FMA's are at least as important to an oppressive system as the open oppressors, and most of them are really people who'd like to be open oppressors, but don't have the moral courage.

Informed Observer: "Pretty much everyone, white, black, yellow, red and all shades in between knows there are bad cops out there that abuse their authority and abuse the very people they are sworn to protect. Some subset of that group is racist as well and is more likely, though far from exclusively limited to, abuse minorities."

First, anybody who's checked up on the Ferguson PD knows that the likely situation is that there are a few *good* officers there. And their conduct (leaving a body in the street for hours, bringing dogs in to piss on the memorial and running their cars over it, the police riot, etc.) support that 100%.

I've noticed that certain sayings have been badly warped for a while:

'A stopped clock is right twice a day' should mean 'an unreliable source agreeing with a reliable source doesn't discredit the reliable source', but now means 'use an unreliable source'.

'Politics ain't bean bag' used to mean 'if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen'; it now is a pathetic whine that one's favored politician got caught, and will suffer for it. Real hard men know that getting caught is a crime in an of itself.

'A few bad apples' used to mean that even a tiny minority of bad people or items will spoil the rest; it now means that we should ignore their abuses.

Barry: you are literally correct.

IO:

Maybe, maybe not. I don't trust statistics that get pulled out of a hat without peer review for political purposes.

Those numbers are aggregated from NYPD by CCR. While I would prefer peer-reviewed work, I can't find much on it. Perhaps you'd like to offer up peer-reviewed data supporting your contention that minorities are stopped, detained, arrested, and killed by police at rate that is entirely consistent with their criminal history and how non-majorities are treated?

I do find it interesting that Gov. Cuomo (D) says that NY is the "most progressive state in the country", yet we have the statistics you quote.

And a few lines later, you like the statistics, because they support your worldview. For the record, I never said being progressive was a defense against authoritarianism. It is not. You may wish to make this into an anti-progressive rant. I do not. I don't care what letter Cuomo has after his name. I care that he is corrupt.

Even if true, it doesn't erase the fact that blacks, and to a much lesser degree Hispanics, disproportionately commit violent crimes.

Irrelevant. No individual is a representative of their racial group.

blacks bear some responsibility for being profiles as they are.

No. Individuals bear responsibility for their crimes. Individuals bear no responsibility for what some other individual did, even if they share some characteristics. There is zero justification for profiling.

we give LE a job to do and they're going to do it as they see best; not necessarily in accordance to some ideal that people

The "ideal" I expect them to perform to is the Constitution. And it's not an ideal, it's the founding legal document of this country.

Back to you and tanahisi coates; blacks bear some responsibility for being profiles as they are.

it was generous of you to put that "some" in there. i wonder, though, what percentage you think "some" represents.

am i correct in assuming it's somewhere north of 90% ?

The issue I'm (trying to) talk about is how "social conservatives" feel that their personal and/or religious convictions are no longer being tolerated, or that mere "toleration" isn't enough. - Dr S.

I think it is, in a sense, sheer culture shock. They are accustomed to their convictions being the general standard. They might tolerate others having other views, but it was strictly that -- toleration of deviation from the generally accepted overall standard for society.

And now, they are seeing society move to where their convictions are no longer automatically the standard for everyone. While they might have been willing to tolerate the deviance of others, they are far from willing to tolerate no longer being the standard. And thoroughly unaccustomed to their convictions being tolerated by others!

While they might have been willing to tolerate the deviance of others, they are far from willing to tolerate no longer being the standard.

That's putting it perfectly. Thank you!


I think there is a parallel phenomenon concerning race and/or ethnicity. There are people who are very willing to be tolerant of individuals of other races and ethnicities but not willing to tolerate having the US redefined as a nation where those other people share status as the normal, the standard, the image of America.

'Politics ain't bean bag' used to mean 'if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen'; it now is a pathetic whine that one's favored politician got caught, and will suffer for it. Real hard men know that getting caught is a crime in an of itself...

It hadn't struck me that way at all; rather, I'd noticed that the phrase is increasingly used to excuse the most extreme and/or immoral behaviour towards one's opponents, as though such is now an acceptable norm.

Marty: "And, of course, you have no way of "knowing" this. You simply assume the worst about the cop."

We know about the department. We know that the body was left in the street for four hours. We know that Wilson lost his prior job when *his entire force was disbanded due to being too bad to reform*.

We know that the Ferguson PD officers brought in dogs to p*ss on the memorial, and ran it over with their cars.

We know that there's *at least* one case where Ferguson PD officers filed charges against a man for 'destruction of property', meaning bleeding on their uniforms, then perjured themselves in court, denying that they had filed the charges that they files. We know that the prosecutor and judge didn't have a problem with perjury and filing what I'll technically call 'bullsh*t' charges.

We know that the city of Ferguson uses the police force as a bandit force, extracting money from people at incredible rates.

wj: "I think it is, in a sense, sheer culture shock. They are accustomed to their convictions being the general standard. They might tolerate others having other views, but it was strictly that -- toleration of deviation from the generally accepted overall standard for society."

Yes - we see them define 'oppression' as them not having special rights.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmett_Till

IIRC, the people in the town where he was murdered were absolutedly flabbergasted that this became a big deal. They were used to torturing and killing blacks at will, and coulndn't understand anybody else who mattered having a problem with it.

Me: "Politics ain't bean bag' used to mean 'if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen'; it now is a pathetic whine that one's favored politician got caught, and will suffer for it. Real hard men know that getting caught is a crime in an of itself..."

Nigel: "It hadn't struck me that way at all; rather, I'd noticed that the phrase is increasingly used to excuse the most extreme and/or immoral behaviour towards one's opponents, as though such is now an acceptable norm."


It had always been used that way; I noticed that supporters of Christie and Perry were using it to complain that their guys were in trouble after being caught.

I think it is, in a sense, sheer culture shock. They are accustomed to their convictions being the general standard.

True. However, it should also be noted that when your "convictions" are the "general standard" that this empowers you and your fellow tribal members....especially when acting as a group in the social/political realm.

It is the loss of this power that grates, not the so-called "intolerance" of liberals.

So when asshole conservatives assert various racial minorities, gays, and women are asking for "special" privileges they are in a sense correct. These groups are only asking to have the same special privileges that they see the white, straight, male group currently wielding.

Conservatives to blacks, "Your poverty and crime are all your fault. Too bad for you and your defective culture. We wash our hands of you."

Conservatives to gays, "We grudgingly admit you are barely human, so OK, but don't ask us to recognize your 'marriage'".

Conservatives to women, You sluts. You are weak and feeble minded. We shall determine the rules of carrying a pregnancy to term."

Pure. Unadulterated. Assholery.

If to call this out marks me as "intolerant" so be it.

The book Albion's Seed had a lot to say about how the different subcultures Fischer identified viewed the idea of freedom. The idea of freedom as privilege for white males is something that was prevalent with the group he called the Cavaliers. Here is a review of that section of the book at David Neiwert's blog (though someone else wrote the review)--

Cavaliers

Well, there's another video out where police are filmed acting like thugs to a black man.

link

"It is the loss of this power that grates, not the so-called "intolerance" of liberals."

You know this to be the case how exactly? Or is it that you just make stuff up to fulfill your fantasies of how the world works (or should work)?

Does it occur to you ever that their are people who just plain disagree with your position and never will and that maybe, just maybe, your position isn't the correct one is some ultimate and/or objective sense?

As far as changing social mores, see above, but also who put a badge on your chest and a halo over your head? But yeah, go ahead with your female shaming techniques, "Ew look at those people over there. They're intolerant!" A significant chunk of the world population just doesn't give a damn what you think and you can't shame them into conformity with your beliefs and perspectives.

Serious question, why should your outlook become the dominant one? And, if it does fail then why can you not accept that in the free market of ideas, your product just wasn't competitive?

Of course, you have leave to try; just as everyone else does.

"Well, there's another video out where police are filmed acting like thugs to a black man."

Police beating an unarmed white man:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpEmHI-Ndmc

Black men beat white man:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vF0sHt84Zqc

St. Louis black man convicted of beating a six year old white boy to death because, the convict says, the boy was racist

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LtaAyhWBJI

This is fun Donald. We can trade videos back and forth all day proving nothing accept man's inhumanity to man knows no racial boundaries. Accept in Al Sharpton's TH Coates paranoid fantasies.

I'll repeat, I think there are a lot of people who would like to discuss the abuse of authority by police - which is a real problem - but just not as a racial issue; because it isn't a racial issue.

" But yeah, go ahead with your female shaming techniques, "Ew look at those people over there. They're intolerant!""

I thought I'd just copy that again and let it roll across the eyeballs. Female shaming techniques. What insights you bring.

Donald, this one is worth ten.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2ULVECUrzc

People aren't going to embrace tolerance when it isn't reciprocated.

re; female shaming techniques - that's what it is; very school marm-ish. Otherwise, why would any care about failing to maintain some level of "tolerance' per some enlightened elite's definition?

Charlie Pierce keeps pointing out that "it's never about race" as far as some people are concerned. Informed Observer, for instance.

--TP

You know, the 'female shaming techniques' and 'school marm-ish' doesn't cross the line, and perhaps you are just having some problems IRL, but I'd really suggest you work them out before you comment again. We've got a long tradition here of letting people rant and rave as long as they don't target other commenters and try to avoid "show[ing] a consistent pattern of blatant disrespect toward groups of people (e.g., people of a given race, military status, sexual orientation, or religion)" (note that we didn't list 'a given gender' cause we thought it was kinda obvious) and we usually give people enough rope to hang themselves with, but if you start from the premise that the behavior of half the world's population exhibits behavior that impinges on you and your opinion, you've already started a very nice hole for yourself, regardless what sort of baggage you bring here about African-Americans or other minorities.

IO:

Serious question, why should your outlook become the dominant one?

Honestly, I would take the question a lot more seriously if it wasn't two breaths after this: who put a badge on your chest and a halo over your head? But yeah, go ahead with your female shaming techniques

Lurker coming out to comment on IO's "contributions".

Why are you here, Informed Observer? Not that I'm suggesting you shouldn't be or that you should be banned. Just wondering what your goal is. You're apparently so pissed off by what you read here that you can't have a constructive exchange of ideas along the lines of what other conservatives (thompson, mckinney, wj) engage in. I sincerely don't understand what you're after with these comments. You're not a troll exactly but you don't seem to be interested in anything other than telling us liberals how stupid and awful we are.

If you don't give a damn what Doctor Science thinks, why do you read her posts?

Also, I'd like to know what "female shaming" is as distinct from all other kinds of shaming.

Never mind that last question. I see IO has answered it.

IO, buried in your usual rantings (at 5:10) you actually have raised a legitimate question: How do we decide what outlooks should be the dominant one?

The answer can be arrived at a couple of ways:

- we can merely assume that the "right" outlook is handed down from on high. From which position, there is no further discussion possible -- just unhappiness that the world is not doing what it should.

- we can let people work out for themselves what the "right" outlook is. With (preferably) or without the caveat that might alone does not make right. That is, jus tbecause you can force others to do as you wish does not make what you wish right.

- we can take the patient approach, and note that an outlook is "right" if it proves over time to produce a workable society. With the observation that it is possible for a society which is willing to tolerate differences of opinion to include multiple "right" outlooks. That is, outlooks with include lots of variations, but are willing to agree that they do not necessarily have the one and only acceptable answer. (Note that, in this possibility, there may not be a single outlook which is dominant. Just one, or more, features which are common to most of them.)

blackhawk, is that you?

LJ, my thoughts exactly.

I'm getting a bit sick of listening to conservatives cite examples of black people killing white people as somehow indicative of... something related to liberal objections to cops shooting black people under questionable circumstances.

The only reason this could possibly be relevant to the conversation is if the conservative speaker views the issue as a race war where liberals are on the black people's side, and are yelling, "BOOOO!!!" whenever white people score a point.

The idea that liberals might actually object to cops abusing their power and getting away with it, and therefore not consider a black guy killing a white guy and then going to jail relevant to the conversation, never occurs to them.

...Which is a fancy way of saying, if you cite this as evidence of... ...something you never explain... in the midst of these debates, I automatically and justifiably conclude that you're a racist.

LJ, chmatl: the IP evidence is suggestive but not proof.

I don't know if there's a distinction in IO's mind between "female shaming" and the kind of politeness Paul Ford talks about. It's difficult for me not to laugh at IO's language, but I'm not sure that's an excuse for putting up with it.

Of course, you have leave to try; just as everyone else does.

From all of us whose humble opinions don't mean a shit to somebody, somewhere, at some time, we thank you for these magnanimous and kind words, and the forgiving generous spirit in which they were obviously written.

I'll repeat, I think there are a lot of people who would like to discuss the abuse of authority by police - which is a real problem - but just not as a racial issue; because it isn't a racial issue.

except when it is. but we can't talk about that because you don't like Al Sharpton.

I am very willing to talk about abuse by those in authority, including the police. And it is often not about race. But it often is.

The presence of general abuse by police is not an argument against racial discrimination by police.

Jon Stewart had an amusing section on this. Or it would be amusing, if it wasn't so sad.

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/ufqeuz/race-off

It always depresses me when I see a few people here bash Ta Nehisi Coates. In a small way it suggests that some white people are unreachable. Anyway, I thought his latest post was a thing of beauty--

Link

Donald Johnson - My god that Coates piece is gorgeous. Wonderful to read, and causes fireworks to go off in one's head.

"My god that Coates piece is gorgeous"
If your intent was to induce nausea, point given. I especially like (not) the last lines where he says he wants to tear down our current society. Yeah, beautiful, and replace it with what? A welfare sucking cracked out ghetto with rap "music" blasting from stolen cars as they drive by spraying rounds? Something resembling Liberia or Somalia? I can't wait.

Thinking more about "tolerance". The missing ingredient in understanding how it could be established is "value". People are often times quite rational in their outlooks. They tend to assign value, or relative worth, to the options they encounter. They do this when they are faced with different cultures. If they see something of value in a culture they will be more tolerant and respectful of it even if it is quite different from their own.

I suspect this is why Asians have, in recent times, enjoyed much greater acceptance than blacks. Whites see that Asians have successful strategies and the results cannot be denied. Blacks do not bring success to the table (quite the opposite, actually) and therefore tolerance is less. Tolerance decreases when further when an unsuccessful "other" has spokespeople like Coates who openly state a desire to destroy the existing order *without offering any evidence that the new order wouldn't be a disaster*.

Coates reminds me of Wolfowitz/Clinton(s)/Bush and the other neo-liberals believing that tearing down the existing structure in Iraq (as well as Egypt, Syria, Lybia) would result in a glorious dawn of democracy and freedom, peace and prosperity in the Middle East. Revolutionaries without a clue.

I digress. Main point = tolerance does not occur as an isolated mind set. Rather it arises from observed behaviors and value judgments assigned to what is observed. The more positive the value judgment, the more likely that tolerance will be the end result.

Secondary point = value judgments are NOT merely based on a random and ultimately meaningless perspectives. Society requires stable proven processes. That which is not proven will be slow to be assimilated, if at all, until proven. That which is proven to not be effective will be rejected (not tolerated).

Illustration; albeit extreme = do we tolerate the Islamic State (formerly ISIS and ISIL), it's members and it's values? Do we tolerate child molesters?

If the answer is "no", then we have to start walking back to determine at what level we simply tolerate - for tolerance sake - anything else because, clearly then there are lines to be drawn beyond which tolerance doesn't make sense.

I now return to my question of who gets to make those distinctions? Why? How? How does all of that impact Constitutional rights?

Yawn.

Yeah, obviously Coates wants a violent revolution and sees Somalia as the ideal for which we should be striving.

the irony of being lectured on tolerance by an idiotic racist is just too much.

A welfare sucking cracked out ghetto with rap "music" blasting from stolen cars as they drive by spraying rounds?

and
Blacks do not bring success to the table (quite the opposite, actually) and therefore tolerance is less.

crosses the line. Will watch for your next appearance, if the list hasn't shrivelled up and disappeared in the interim. TTFN

Thank you, lj.

Second.

Lots of us here have strong opinions - differing strong opinions. But the bigotry from this guy has gotten really excessive.

For most of American history, it has been national policy to plunder the capital accumulated by black people—social or otherwise.

One aim of American policy, historically, has been to insure that the “right people” are rarely black. Segregation then ensures that these rare exceptions are spread thin, and that the rest of us have no access to other “right people.”

the myth of “black on black crime”

a country rooted in white supremacy

A person like TNC resonates because of shared assumptions about American society. Historical facts such as the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement, decades of supreme court decisions and multiple sea changes in prevailing attitudes about race--and more recently, SSM--do not produce second thoughts in those for whom these assumptions are set in granite.

And here, we conflate tolerance for those of other races with tolerance for pronunciamentos handed down by members of select races. As if race confers an outlook or mindset on account of skin pigmentation.

Is black on black crime really a myth?

Does white supremacy drive all, really?

Aren't there statistics that indicate at least some support for the notion that crime rates are higher in African American communities and that the victims are disproportionately black? How is it that this assertion goes unexamined by people who routinely, and rightly, expect people like me to back their arguments with evidence?

Doesn't the history of this country, particularly since 1950, indicate a pattern of redress and reform of a formerly racist regime?

Doc S' original link focused on SSM. It rightly pointed out that SSM was simply recognizing in others a right the rest of us recognize in ourselves. No new rights are being proposed or created, simply an existing right being extended to all adults. Hard to argue against that.

TNC doesn't call for that kind of tolerance and his adherents don't either. He and they are not tolerant. He and they propose an upending of a culture that was the first in history to effectively recognize and impose a society based on the liberty and rights of the individual. A culture, that over time and by consensus, has continuously self-examined and improved itself.

Inventing concepts such as 'social capital' and 'privilege' to mask or justify displacing liberal democracy and free enterprise with some sort of undefined yet intrinsically superior regime is not something I or any other sane human will be shamed into accepting, regardless of the labels TNC et al invent.

These labels are designed to inhibit if not censor debate. Disagreement means bigotry. Disagreement means white supremacy.

TNC sees but does not comprehend why some students do better than others--stable families with common, promoted values of hard work, focus, education, respect for the law, respect for others. Missing from his narrative are any reports of mistreatment or exclusion. He was welcomed and aided by his fellow students.

Because the vast majority of his fellow students are white, he resorts to ad hoc invention of a conscious, all-white combination of engineering a scheme by which whites prosper and blacks, by design, are held down. He cannot bring himself to face the reality of elements of the African American community--young, uneducated single women are poor role models poorly equipped to rear children in a way that gives them a reasonable opportunity to advance.

TNC uses race far more invidiously than IO--he just chooses his words more carefully. Tolerance? Not so much.

He and they propose an upending of a culture that was the first in history to effectively recognize and impose a society based on the liberty and rights of the individual.

nope. he's proposing that the US live up to its proclaimed ideals. it currently isn't. and evidence of that is everywhere.

He cannot bring himself to face the reality of elements of the African American community--young, uneducated single women are poor role models poorly equipped to rear children in a way that gives them a reasonable opportunity to advance.

is something that nobody who has actually read what he writes could think.

and again, there's never a single f'ing ounce of blame to be put on the larger society. it's all, always about how lacking the blacks are. white society remains blameless. always.

"conservatism" never changes.

McT, the question is not whether TNC is tolerant (though, by virtue of the skin he lives in, the fact that the sh*t he puts up with every day doesn't have him do what any of us would probably do makes him more tolerant by a long shot) and by making this, as IO would have us do, a question of whether TNC is 'tolerant' is usual game of the majority getting to define what the minority can and can't do. link

Of course, between IO and Coates McT sees Coates as the truly intolerant one.

Coates writes to break down white stereotypes about black people, and in response, some whites cling to their stereotypes and invent new ones. Though I heard people say that blacks were the real racists back when I lived in Memphis in the 70's, so it's not that new.

A culture, that over time and by consensus, has continuously self-examined and improved itself.

despite the howling protests of conservatism every step of the way.

he's proposing that the US live up to its proclaimed ideals. it currently isn't. and evidence of that is everywhere.

Where does he make that proposal? Seriously. When he demanded reparations? He is welcome to make any argument or claim he wishes. I plan to treat him as an adult and call him out when he is wrong. Which he demonstrably is. I quoted directly from the piece DJ found so moving. National policy to dispossess blacks and ensure their subordination to whites? Really? People can say this and be taken seriously?

is something that nobody who has actually read what he writes could think.

Well, not in his usual audience, which takes his every word uncritically. Otherwise, someone would call him out on the four quotes I listed at the beginning of my comment. Anyone who wants to is free to defend those quotes. Good luck doing so factually.

and again, there's never a single f'ing ounce of blame to be put on the larger society. it's all, always about how lacking the blacks are. white society remains blameless. always.

This is a solid example of the progressive dialectic at work: race drives thought and therefore outcome. White = bad, nonwhite = good. Call it benign racism. In previous threads on this topic, I've made clear that any child born of a young, uneducated mother with no husband faces the same difficulties. The fact that this pathology is even more widespread in the African American community speaks to other causes, some race and fault neutral, some not. On the not side, since the late 60's, one undercurrent of left'ish thinking was that blacks should see themselves part of the black community. This line of thought continues today, and TNC is a leading exponent. TNC isn't the first messenger to say "Blacks are victims of white racism, they've been robbed by whites and its national policy". Not exactly bridge building. Nothing much to say, that I've seen, and if he's said it, he hasn't said it enough, about serial single parenthood and lack of widespread, community regard for education, acquiring job skills, and making a better life. It takes zero courage for a black intellectual (see LJ's link rehashing facts that are mostly older than I am and then trying to link all of that to modern times, all of which amounts to Jim Crow wearing a different suit--nothing new here) to write, as TNC does, to a receptive audience. A black intellectual with any real horsepower would dig hard into the hard facts about today's young black adults and their children and come up with something a bit more concrete as a plan going forward than reparations. For instance, vigorously advocating a widespread and sustained campaign actively discouraging early sex and single motherhood, promoting marriage as the first step before becoming a parent and encouraging after school employment and steady, applied school attendance would be a fresh and brave voice for a left-leaning African American. He/she would have to overcome the internal criticism--and it would be fierce--of blaming blacks for their circumstances.

I am aware of Jim Crow. I attended high school in Millington TN from 1968 to 1970. I know what racists look and act like and I saw and was part of people of good will on both side trying to get past that as my mostly white high school was integrated with an all black high school. There were institutional problems/barriers/etc then. If they exist today, they exist in many communities governed by blacks and/or Democrats: Detroit, DC, Chicago, and for those who can appreciate irony, St. Louis. To name a few.

a question of whether TNC is 'tolerant' is usual game of the majority getting to define what the minority can and can't do.

And, matching tit for tat, yours is the usual game of not responding substantively and, rather, offering a dismissive "see, that's what white people do" rejoinder. LJ, is black on black crime a myth? Is it US policy to plunder black capital?

Coates writes to break down white stereotypes about black people, and in response, some whites cling to their stereotypes and invent new ones.

And in what way, using what words, does TNC break down any stereotypes in this article or in his demand for reparations? I submit, DJ, that whites not buying into TNC's program are, by definition, not-so-bright white supremacists. They lack subtlety, don't articulate their points and, instead, make broad, sweeping generalizations about those they disagree with. And they don't engage in conversation with people of opposing views.

despite the howling protests of conservatism every step of the way.

Actually, check who voted for the Civil Rights Act and who did not. Bill Clinton's mentor voted 'no'. The much beloved Sen. Byrd of WVA for another. Al Gore's father, for another.

Change is opposed by entrenched interests, some racially motivated, some economically motivated. Talk about changing Social Security, and see who shouts the loudest.

Not every change is good. Not every idea has merit. Lots of ideas are bad ideas. The courts were needed to effect changes back in the day. That didn't make every court order wise. It was correct to require that every school open its doors to blacks. Whether it was correct to order forced integration--which did happen, at least to some extent--is a separate question. One can be fine with equal protection and minority outreach without signing on to mandatory set asides.

"Actually, check who voted for the Civil Rights Act and who did not. Bill Clinton's mentor voted 'no'. The much beloved Sen. Byrd of WVA for another. Al Gore's father, for another."

and you know what mckinneytexas, many of those southern democrats who voted no became republicans within a decade of the vote and most of those southern districts in the house with democratic reps who voted no had become republican strongholds over that same period because the republican party decided they would dump the racially progressive parts of their legacy and pursue the angry white southerner vote. all the while the northern republicans gradually shifted over into the democratic camp.

i take all of this very personally because i have two biracial grandsons whose lives are going to be much more difficult because they look a hell of a lot more like trayvon martin or michael brown than they do ethan couch or joseph houseman. in my life i have seen race contaminate almost any issue of local, state, national, or international import. i am a white man in my 50s and my white skin has kept me out of troubles with a warning or less that could have gotten me killed or imprisoned if i were a black man. your reading of mr. coates oeuvre seems very peculiar and misleading. it's as if you were predisposed to reject everything he wrote before you even read it. by describing his article from earlier this year as a "demand for reparations" it is overwhelmingly obvious you didn't read that essay at all. i, on the other hand, read it closely and found it to be remarkably modest in its suggestions, certainly more modest than i would probably be if my life had been the one of a black man of my age.

it seems to me that you are perfectly willing to be tolerant of other groups so long as they don't presume to be entitled to the same level of privilege which you have. it seems a thin and meager form of tolerance to me.

And, matching tit for tat, yours is the usual game of not responding substantively

I think you misunderstand why I comment in the way I do and are taking it personally. I am happy to respond substantially, but I've been told enough times that I often go far past the tldr horizon that I try to keep it short. I'm also aware that I am a front pager, so there is an asymmetry, so I am more trying to register my opinion without trying to gang up on you, which is a problem whenever we have a distribution of opinions that where you are holding out against everyone else. You also probably forget (as is easy to do) that I am responding from the other side of the globe, which has me alter my responses to fit what I think is appropriate. Perhaps you feel I should write more, perhaps I should not write at all because it is unfair to have to answer to so many critics. But given that there is no, nor could there ever be, an agreed upon format, there's not a lot we can do.

At any rate, since I was the one who banned IO, I felt I should respond to you, but writing a long comment as a front pager seems a bit unfair. If you feel my response was simply snark, my apologies. You can either take my explanation as representing what I think or you can believe that I'm just doing this because I can't stand up to the relentless logic of your comment

To answer your questions, I'm in Japan, so black on black crime is not something I've got direct evidence of, so I have to rely on reports. From TNC (a number of links at the original)

More importantly Robinson's claim is demonstrably false. The notion that violence within the black community is "background noise" is not supported by the historical record—or by Google. I have said this before. It's almost as if Stop The Violence never happened, or The Interruptors never happened, or Kendrick Lamar never happened. The call issued by Erica Ford at the end of this Do The Right Thing retrospective is so common as to be ritual. It is not "black on black crime" that is background noise in America, but the pleas of black people.

There is a pattern here, but it isn't the one Eugene Robinson (for whom I have a great respect) thinks. The pattern is the transmutation of black protest into moral hectoring of black people. Don Imus profanely insults a group of black women. But the real problem is gangsta rap. Trayvon Martin is killed. This becomes a conversation about how black men are bad fathers. Jonathan Martin is bullied mercilessly. This proves that black people have an unfortunate sense of irony.

The politics of respectability are, at their root, the politics of changing the subject—the last resort for those who can not bear the agony of looking their country in the eye. The policy of America has been, for most of its history, white supremacy. The high rates of violence in black neighborhoods do not exist outside of these facts—they evidence them.

That 'politics of changing the subject' is precisely what IO has accomplished here, in a perverse way. We talk about tolerance for SSM in the OP and somehow, it becomes analysizing how a single writer is 'tolerant', with no quotes from him and his name misspelled.

Your claim that I am 'denying' black on black crime (and I don't think I have ever written about it, I merely pointed out that IO's way of expressing it crosses the line we have in this blog) is something you have inferred. Your thinking seems to be I oppose IO, so I therefore deny rather than affirm the existence of black on black crime. I hope you can see that when it is laid out like this, it is pretty weak argumentation.

As for US policy to plunder, I've commented several times about policy towards Native Americans, where the evidence is overwhelming that this is the case. If this is the case for African-Americans is only something I've thought about through TNC's reparations discussion, but it's clear to me that there is a powerful antecedent for this kind of policy. This, from LGM points to how labor is 'erased'. Is it 'US policy'? I'd say no, it's built into the foundations of capitalism.

If IO had wanted to discuss these points without resorting to phrases like 'meek white bitches' and 'welfare sucking cracked out ghetto with rap "music" blasting from stolen cars as they drive by spraying rounds', we might have had that discussion, but if he's going to use those, it ain't gonna happen. If I were to try the McT rhetoric, I'd wonder why you feel that this kind of language should be sanctioned by this blog and the people who have some responsibility for the content, but I'm assuming that you don't agree with that language. I hope I'm not going out on a limb.

Of course, as I said, the question is not whether TNC is tolerant or intolerant. I suspect that he might say he is intolerant, especially when certain questions come up, and this is where I part from the OP. I think that tolerance should be related to the lines you draw in terms of the actions that you think are acceptable to create change. Tolerant people don't think of challenging federal officers to a shoot out, a la Clive Bundy, they don't traffic in stereotypes and then refuse to defend themselves with an actual explanation of how they got there.

And in what way, using what words, does TNC break down any stereotypes in this article or in his demand for reparations?

The prime example, and probably the most pernicious one, is that intelligence has to do with genetics. He points out, using himself as an example, the web of culture and upbringing that helps a person make the most of education. He does this without pity, not saying that he was prevented from doing this, but that there are these interconnected cultural practices that foster success in something that he has only come to lately realize is important.

When confronted with that (making the huge and probably unfounded assumption that IO actually read the article), IO unleashes phrases that seek to associate TNC with the basest of black stereotypes, stereotypes that make it clear that IO considers blacks unredeemable and permanently flawed, along with stereotypes that have people who argue for tolerance in some way to be supporting ISIS and child molesters.

The key word is 'break down'. You seem to take that as 'refute', but I view it as 'reduce it to its basic components' and when he writes, as the article about learning French and this article (one of many) point out, about how structural conditions in the AA community are also contributing to this stereotype, it really supports DJ's point.

I thought about all of this yesterday while reading this Times' piece on return of the culture of poverty. When we talk "culture," as it relates to African-Americans, we assume a kind of exclusivity and suspension of logic. Stats are whipped out (70 percent of black babies born out of wedlock) and then claims are tossed around cavalierly, (black culture doesn't value marriage.) The problem isn't that "culture" doesn't exist, nor is it that elements of that "culture" might impair upward mobility.

It defies logic to think that any group, in a generationaly entrenched position, would not develop codes and mores for how to survive in that position. African-Americans, themselves, from poor to bourgeois, are the harshest critics of the street mentality. Of course, most white people only pay attention when Bill Cosby or Barack Obama are making that criticism. The problem is that rarely do such critiques ask why anyone would embrace such values. Moreover, they tend to assume that there's something uniquely "black" about those values, and their the embrace.

If you are a young person living in an environment where violence is frequent and random, the willingness to meet any hint of violence with yet more violence is a shield. Some people take to this lesson easier than others. As a kid, I hated fighting--not simply the incurring of pain, but the actual dishing it out. (If you follow my style of argument, you can actually see that that's still true.) But once I learned the lesson, once I was acculturated to the notion that often the quickest way to forestall more fighting, is to fight, I was a believer. And maybe it's wrong to say this, but it made my the rest of my time in Baltimore a lot easier, because the willingness to fight isn't just about yourself, it's a signal to your peer group.

In the same way, this is a signal to the peer group here that I'm happy to discuss these things.

So, McKinney, you call for some kind of program to teach young blacks how to behave. That is mighty generous of you. Tell us, after they have partaken of this wisdom, what are they to do with it? Black youth unemployment is at disastrous levels (nearly 30%-double white youth unemployment).

There are simply no jobs for them (To infer, as you apparently do, that they simply "do not want them" is astounding in its absurdity).

Lacking capital, they cannot move out of their environment. This lack of capital, and how such a state came to be, is something TNC has analyzed repeatedly.

You apparently ignore this.

This absence of resources coupled with ongoing white racism is at the heart of the problem.

Your "concrete plan" amounts to little more than hectoring. This form of white hectoring has changed little since the time of slavery. The fact that centuries of this form of "help" has not raised the black community to equality should tell you something.

Therefore, the time is well past for us to consider other policy alternatives. If it takes "set-asides", then so be it. The era of "set-asides" for whites has not yet even ended. Why can't blacks benefit from such policies as well?

That's the real "tit for tat" that is required.

I do hope you continue to read TNC, if not to just try and pick him apart. Perhaps some of that wisdom he conveys will rub off.

One can only hope.


And LJ: Well said

Since this is piling-on time, apparently, but I don't want to spend the effort that LJ and others have invested in deconstructing McKT's argument and defending TNC, let me focus on one particular word that seems to be problematic here: the word "policy."

TNC uses it twice in the four phrases that McKT most objects to, and the latter responds by accusing him of the "ad hoc invention of a conscious, all-white combination of engineering a scheme by which whites prosper and blacks, by design, are held down."

If this was what TNC was doing - if this is what TNC means by "policy" - then McKT's outrage would be justified. But I don't think it is, because McKT has supplied an adjective - "conscious" - that was not in the original, and was probably not meant.

In the study of history we encounter both conscious and openly articulated policies ("No Child Left Behind" - "Just Say No") and less-than-conscious tendencies that, taken over time, may be judged to be equivalent to unspoken "policies." The creation of the British Empire in its Victorian magnificence is very much a case of the latter. There is no evidence that any particular group of (white, of course) men (of course) sat down at the beginning of the 19th century and said "Let's build an empire on which the sun never sets, and ensure that our successors carry out this [secret] policy," and indeed such a conspiracy is extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, Empire emerged.

One can interpret this as happenstance: "Britain acquired an empire in a fit of absentmindedness," they say. Or one can look at a long series of events all around the globe over the course of more than a century and think it foolish to regard what happened as just a series of happy coincidences (from London's perspective). It is obvious that there was a policy, in the broader sense of the term, that led directly to all this territorial acquisition, accompanied by "indirect rule" and protectorates and the like.

I am not one of those who believes that there is only one Correct Definition of terms (teaching a course on "Imperialism" would cure you of that fallacy if you ever entertained it!), so I'm by no means suggesting that McKT's usage is wrong.

But I believe that he is wrong in attributing his own usage to TNC, and then attacking him for saying what he (McKT) thinks he (TNC) is alleging. I'm hoping that this reflects just a lack of awareness -- we all tend to miss it when someone else uses words in ways unfamiliar to us -- rather than the lawyerly trick of grabbing a witness's words and giving them the most hostile interpretation possible, even when it's clear to the dispassionate observer that this is not what was intended.

So, McKT, would this make a difference to you? If TNC intended - and I should make it clear I don't speak for him or claim to know what he's thinking - to use "policy" to mean NOT "a conscious decision by those in power to act" but something like "a consistent pattern of actions over time," would that assuage your anger? (You might still grumble at his lexical usage - I often do when folks use words "wrong" - but that's a different point, I trust.)

Once the supposed/alleged conscious conspiracy is off the table, can we proceed with discussing what TNC actually says?

Following dr ngo's point, my use of policy in

As for US policy to plunder, I've commented several times about policy towards Native Americans, where the evidence is overwhelming that this is the case. If this is the case for African-Americans is only something I've thought about through TNC's reparations discussion, but it's clear to me that there is a powerful antecedent for this kind of policy. This, from LGM points to how labor is 'erased'. Is it 'US policy'? I'd say no, it's built into the foundations of capitalism. suffers from a lack of a clear notion or definition of policy and my own statement would have benefitted from explicitly equating policy with "a consistent pattern over time".

One more small point that I hope it isn't too polemic, it seems to me that the speed with which SSM has taken place is probably a great example of white privilege. Would anyone believe that SSM would have taken place with the speed it has had it been something that could be categorized as a 'black' thing? This doesn't mean that it is wrong, or that it should have waited until racial inequities were first addressed, I just want to suggest that social change comes a lot easier when those who want it are spread out in all levels of society, not confined to the lower segments.

This is a solid example of the progressive dialectic at work: race drives thought and therefore outcome. White = bad, nonwhite = good.

perfect.

you absolutely will not place a single microgram of blame of the people who control society. and suggesting that you might is equal to this "White = bad" idiocy. innocent black kids get killed and it's the fault of black culture. banks prey on black communities, it's the fault of black culture. blacks are stopped more often, convicted more often and to longer sentences than any other group for identical crimes, and it's the fault of black culture.

it simply cannot be that institutionalized (formally or otherwise) racism exists, that whites get the better deal on everything from mortgages to police interactions. it simply must be the blacks' fault. why? hand waves, that's why.

Actually, check who voted for the Civil Rights Act and who did not. Bill Clinton's mentor voted 'no'. The much beloved Sen. Byrd of WVA for another. Al Gore's father, for another.

and surely you know what happened after that. surely you are not unaware of the shift that occurred in the Democratic party in the 50s and 60s? surely you don't expect us to not know?

and surely, you aren't trying to blame the sins of the fathers on their sons? surely not.

because, whatever the party label, it was conservatives who protested civil rights legislation the loudest. and they still do. any time there's a move bring another group fully into full equality, it's conservatives who protest the loudest.

that is your legacy.

McKinneyTexas: "Not every change is good. Not every idea has merit. Lots of ideas are bad ideas. The courts were needed to effect changes back in the day. That didn't make every court order wise. It was correct to require that every school open its doors to blacks. Whether it was correct to order forced integration--which did happen, at least to some extent--is a separate question. One can be fine with equal protection and minority outreach without signing on to mandatory set asides."

When you say that in the context of civil rights, where your side was 100% bad, you're on thin ice.

I just want to suggest that social change comes a lot easier when those who want it are spread out in all levels of society, not confined to the lower segments.

LJ, I would say that the difference isn't so much the levels of society involved. It's that, for gay marriage (and once it became easier for homosexuals to come out), lots of people discovered that it would positively impact members of their own families. Not to mention that they had friends and co-workers who they already knew, liked, and respected who would be impacted. It's a lot easier to persuade people to change something when they already care about those who are being hurt.

WJ, that's a good point, and I shouldn't have implied that there was some white privilege agenda driving the move to support SSM. Though I do think it underlines the gulf we have between African Americans and the rest of society, which is also a product of our peculiar history of separate but equal, something that did not simply disappear with Brown v. Board of Education.

Thinking of it in terms of dr ngo's point about 'policy', there was a liberal 'policy' that slowly integrating African-Americans into the mainstream of society would slowly but surely involve more levels of society so that people from all walks of life would realize that people they 'knew, liked and respected' are impacted and we (as a society) would hopefully stop doing it. You say "It's a lot easier to persuade people to change something when they already care about those who are being hurt." and, given that probably no one on this board (as an semi-representative slice of society) knew the stuff in bobbyp's 11:30 PM link to the WaPo, it is easy to see why one change easily happens while another seems to be impossible.

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Whatnot


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