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November 17, 2016

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diversity of values and goals, . . . when it has raised its head, (cf gun control and abortion), it generally kicks us in the ass.

I'm not so sure that diversity of goals and values has been the problem. Not exactly.

Rather I think that problems arise when goals and values are changing, and the change gets driven too fast. Consider two examples:

Interracial marriage went from illegal (whether enforced or not) pretty much everywhere, to being legal pretty much everywhere (outside the South). That took most of two decades. By the time of Loving v Virginia, the country as a whole was on board. As a result, the Supreme Court's decision did not stir up much political flack. People had had time to get accustomed to the new normal.**

In contrast, look at abortion. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, abortion was gradually being legalized around the country. It wasn't embraced enthusiastically, but it was happening. (Legalization even had the explicit support of groups including the Southern Baptist Convention -- then as now not exactly a bastion of liberalism. But then, abortion wasn't a liberal/conservative issue. Then.)

It might reasonably have been expected that, in another decade or so, a Court decision could have finished the job. With no particular political fallout thereafter. But then Roe v Wade happened. It was, from a change perspective, too soon. And people had not had sufficient time to come to terms with it. The result was a permanent political issue.

Demographic diversity seems to be a rather different deal. It can be accepted more readily. But that depends on exposing people to it . . . in bite-sized chunks. Enough members of the group to allow familiarity to grow, but not so many, or increasing so rapidly, as to represent a threat.

It may be noteworthy that anti-immigrant sentiment occurs more in places with small, but rapidly increasing, immigrant populations. Other, apparently similar, places have lots of immigrants and little anti-immigrant sentiment. Jim and Deb Fellows have written several articles on the experience of Dodge City. For example:
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2016/07/welcome-to-kansas-dorotea/492530/

** Gay marriage was surprising precisely because it happened so fast. And because the political furor is fading so fast. The more usual pattern is a couple of decades, not a handful of years.

One caveat for the contact theory: at least in Germany modern antisemitism grew out of increasing assimilation. The 'Kaftan Jew' that could be easily spotted was seen as harmless but the assimilated Jew not marked as such was dangerous (like the army of hidden commies during the Cold War or the legions of LGBT predators hiding in our public bathrooms today).
'They want to be like us' is for many worse than 'they are not like us'.
So, both the visible and the invisible 'other' can be made the enemy successfully (and the experts do both at once).

wj, I am not yet sure that gay marriage is really settled for good. It may take some time before the (fully artificially stoked) backlash materializes. And that does not even include the non-negigible chance that the addition of some rabid RWers to SCOTUS will turn the clock back far beyond mere annulling the legalization of gay marriage.

Interracial marriage went from illegal (whether enforced or not) pretty much everywhere, to being legal pretty much everywhere (outside the South). That took most of two decades. By the time of Loving v Virginia, the country as a whole was on board. As a result, the Supreme Court's decision did not stir up much political flack. People had had time to get accustomed to the new normal.**
That is completely incorrect. Gallup did polls over the decades on public approval of interracial marriage, and the majority of Americans didn't approve of it until sometime in the mid-1990s. The Supreme Court was decades ahead of the public-opinion curve there.

With same-sex marriage it was the other way around; the first appearances in the states were ahead of the opinion curve, but a majority thought it was OK before Obergefell. The gradual change had been happening in the background for a long time.

Here's a source on the Gallup polls; one thing that's slightly apples/oranges is that the interracial question is about personal approval, and the gay-marriage question is about whether it should be legal.

@Hartmut: I'm recalling some stuff Fred "Slacktivist" Clark wrote about G. K. Chesterton's antisemitism, with extended quotes. That was exactly what bothered Chesterton. He didn't mind Jews as long as they presented as exotic, foreign people, but when Jews dressed and acted like regular Englishmen, he felt as if categories were being violated, that they were somehow putting one over on him. Because, Chesterton thought, a Jew could never really be an Englishman, and it was a kind of fraud for them to pretend they could be.

It's the opposite of what I usually hear from Americans on the subject: the complaint is usually that minority group X isn't assimilating properly like great-granddad did, that they refuse to speak proper English or come out of their ghettoes. (And African-Americans get accused of this eternally; it's always, why can't they get with the program like the "model minorities" do?)

But I think if you delve into racism against the model minorities (e. g. East Asians, Indian-Americans) you'd probably find some of that same discomfort that Chesterton had about Jews in England. It's a secondary strain in US politics, though with the rise of unapologetic racialists like Bannon who apparently was upset about Asians running tech startups, maybe that's changing.

...Though, reading Fred Clark's essay again, he didn't say what I just said: he instead analogized Chesterton's anxieties about Jews with US racism toward African-Americans--people who claimed to be as American as white people, but somehow the racists knew that wasn't right.

wj, I would add a word of caution to what you argue. Your comment has a very progressive sensibility about it, in that it makes an unstated assumption that change will only occur in one "direction". That seems a rather dangerous idea to trade on, even if it's not explicitly evoked.

That is completely incorrect. Gallup did polls over the decades on public approval of interracial marriage, and the majority of Americans didn't approve of it until sometime in the mid-1990s. The Supreme Court was decades ahead of the public-opinion curve there.

There is a distinction between "approve" and "accept". A majority may not have approved until the mid-1990s. But nobody thought it was going to get changed, by political action or otherwise.

The "too fast" thing sort of puzzles me. It sort of assumes that any of us have any kind of control over the rate at which things change.

History and events have their own dynamics. The sensible thing, to me, seems to be to adapt to all of that, as skillfully and gracefully as we can.

People come here because it's better in some way than where they were. The come here because they *want to be here* and they want to do well. I can't really think of any distinct group of people who have come to the US and not found a way to fit in within a generation or two.

Gay people didn't just suddenly appear out of nowhere. They've always been here. They just got sick of being pushed around. Beginning most notably with Stonewall, and then continuing for the next 40 years. Gay marriage won the day because people ran out of reasons to object to it that weren't either "I think gays are icky" or "my religion forbids it". Neither of which is a good basis for making decisions about common, public life and institutions.

Black people have been as long as anyone else, and longer than most. If you're black, your people most likely have been here since before 1808, because that's when the foreign slave trade ended. Black people, black culture, and black traditions are in the American DNA at this point. There is no American culture or identity that excludes black people.

People yell about Hispanics in the southwest. Hispanics were in the southwest for hundreds of years before anybody spoke English there. We're on their turf, not the opposite.

I work in an industry that is populated increasingly by Asians of all sorts, and Russians and other eastern Europeans. I guess I could complain about all the software jobs that are being displaced by immigrant workers. Damned H-1B'ers!! But the fact is that they are mostly really good at what they do, and they want to be here and contribute. They create value, and lots of it. It would be stupid to kick them out.

The Muslim thing is all 9/11 PTSD IMO. Muslims have been here in large numbers for over a century, with no problem. 9/11 freaked people the hell out and many folks have never, and will never, get beyond it. Maybe we should replace the fluoride in the water with Xanax.

If you're disturbed because things are changing too fast, you probably need to pick up your game, or you're going to get run over. Not because "liberals" are going to "shove change down your throat". But because the world is not our creature. We don't get to tell every other thing that is happening on the planet to stop or slow down for our comfort.

Other people live here. Where for "here", please read your town, your state, your country, and your planet. They aren't going anywhere. It probably makes sense to try to make friends.

I guess I have a comment about the stupid freaking wall, also.

People are willing, among other things, to entrust their own lives to strangers, who they have paid, to lead them on foot across incredibly harsh and hostile terrain, to a place where they have no standing whatsoever.

Because doing that is better in some way than not doing that and staying where they are.

People are willing to send their children, unescorted, on 1,000 mile plus journeys, in the outlandish hope that they will somehow make it to this country and find some kind of place for themselves.

Because where they live is so dangerous or otherwise so uncongenial that sending their kids off into that kind of danger is the best option they can think of.

Does anyone think a well is going to make a difference? You might was well build a wall to try to contain the freaking ocean tides. You might as well try to build a wall to stop gravity.

The wall is a joke. It's not going to achieve anything except maybe create a few construction jobs. If it ever happens at all.

It's theater.

Enjoy the show.

It's theater.

i expect we're going to get a lot of that from our Game-show-host In Chief.

The "too fast" thing sort of puzzles me. It sort of assumes that any of us have any kind of control over the rate at which things change.

There is, I think, some control. The folks who got behind "Roe" and pushed could have made a different decision.

My sense was, they decided, essentially, that they could get a court decision to legalize abortion everywhere. (And they were right.) Which would make a difference for a lot of women.

What they didn't think about was that, because it was pushing "too fast", they would leave themselves fighting political battles on the subject for half a century. And that those battles, and the restrictions growing out of them, would make a negative difference of a lot of other women.

You are correct that events and history have their own dynamic. But we are not just pawns who have to go with the flow. We do have some choice about it.

The whole dynamic with Hispanics is interesting. My sense, as someone who lives here in the Southwest, is that those of us who grew up here don't have a problem. It's folks who grew up somewhere else, and then moved here, who get worked up on the subject. (Now ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to take one prominent example, was born in Springfield, MA.)

Is that because we learned about the Spanish being first here back when we are in grammar school, and those from elsewhere did not? Seems plausible. And that would sort of make it another example of diversity contact, wouldn't it?

There's a Russian proverb. "Man is wolf to man". I think that there is a genetic basis for racism, fear of immigrants and fear of the "other". I think that people are pack animals and are predisposed to dislike the members of the other pack. Humans are very flexible in how we define "member of another pack". IT could be a distinction based on skin color, accent religion, social class, place of birth, ...

People also perceive threat on a sliding scale. One balck family in a white community is not a threat. In fact they are an opportunity for the white fols so show how not=rqacist they are. But when more balck families move in, then "the neighborhood is changing" and "it sisn;t like ti was when I was a kid" and "property vales etrc etc...meanwhile the people who don;t want a black family next door mih thave no trouble at all if a balck person is a peer at work, since th ework site can be a pack and after working to getther the balck employee and white employee can be come pack mates. OR not. SOmtimes the opposeti happens and the newcomer is rejected by a resentful pack.

Anyway I thkn a lot of human behavior can be understood if we think of ourselves as talking wolves.

YOu know that song from South Pacific, "You've Got to Be Taught"? I don't think so. I think it is the other way around.

The "too fast" argument regarding abortion relies on the currently believed history of opposition to abortion.

However, in 1973, abortion was considered to be a "Catholic issue." Not until 1978 did anyone in the "Religious Right" (i.e., evangelicals) campaign on it.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/10/29/revisionist-memory-white-evangelicals-have-always-been-at-war-with-abortion/

Makes it hard to change your tactics to avoid offending sensibilities when they didn't get sensitive until 5 years later.

YOu know that song from South Pacific, "You've Got to Be Taught"?

yup.

http://ok-cleek.com/blogs/?p=25052

I don't think so. I think it is the other way around.

i think you're probably right.

It's folks who grew up somewhere else, and then moved here, who get worked up on the subject.

Like my Long Island born and bred sister and brother in law.

One balck family in a white community is not a threat. In fact they are an opportunity for the white fols so show how not=rqacist they are

Sounds like the town I live in now. :(

"Makes it hard to change your tactics to avoid offending sensibilities when they didn't get sensitive until 5 years later."

That only makes sense as you put it because the organized religious/political group wasn't focusing on abortion. As a statement of general societal change it is clearly wrong. Abortion laws were in a fairly restrictive state that was becoming less restrictive. If we had followed that path through the legislatures one at a time it seems very likely that abortion would not have ever gained the tribe-defining valence that it got.

But that isn't the issue I highlight. I highlight more of the in your face 'we won' thing. Take gay marriages. (I hope I get to have one someday). Securing legal status for them is an important issue. Making sure that county clerks do their jobs is part of securing legal status. Making sure that Baptist bakers make wedding cakes for gay weddings isn't an important issue. That is more of an 'in your face' issue. In your face issues make people feel like it is more than a disagreement about values, that it is about actively asserting dominance and crushing their pride. Distinguishing between necessary and unnecessary disagreements is the key to having a successfully diverse nation.

The US is responsible for a lot of the immigration problems. The war on drugs that has created hellholes in Mexico, Central and South America that people are trying to escape from. The meddling in the Middle East that has created more hellholes with huge outfluxes of people trying to find someplace to go.

Making sure that Baptist bakers make wedding cakes for gay weddings isn't an important issue.

I take your point here, but I also want to note that it's a two-way street.

In many of the cake-baking or photo-taking situations around gay marriage, the folks who did not want to provide the service did not simply find a graceful way to decline. They went out of their way to make the point that they were not going to provide the service because the couple were gay, and they found gay marriage morally unacceptable and heinous.

I.e., in your face.

Being a jerk about your point of view seldom wins hearts and minds, it's true. But the "being a jerk" part doesn't just happen in one direction.

I'm not trying to pick a fight here, or re-litigate the Great Cake Wars. I'm pointing out that, to the degree that things can be eased by not poking people in the eye, that cuts all kinds of ways.

The pie has been shrinking for a long time now. That does not bring out our better nature. Folks won't take well to a diversity lecture when they feel like they are drowning. I don't know how we get past that.

Oh, LJ, I am not trying to suggest you are lecturing anyone. Just the social media is saturated with it.

We get past that by making the pie grow again. Or, more accurately, by making the part of the pie that goes to 99% of the country grow again.

Before I jumped to the comments I went to Jim Fallows' page, copied a link to one of his American Futures reports, ready to paste the link. Only to see wj beat me to it with the very first comment.

I highly recommend that any folks that are not familiar or are only familiar in passing with that series, and Fallows' writing in general, make the time to check it out. The articles present a more optimistic picture of what's going on around the country than the presidential campaign we just endured.

The pie has been shrinking for a long time now. That does not bring out our better nature.

The pie has not been shrinking. It has grown. Wealth inequality had been increasing, but during the past year has been on the downturn. The election will set all of that back.

Please don't repeat untrue things.

Abortion laws were in a fairly restrictive state that was becoming less restrictive. If we had followed that path through the legislatures one at a time it seems very likely that abortion would not have ever gained the tribe-defining valence that it got.

There's obviously no way to prove that either way, but I'm really not sure I buy that.

The '5 years' point is not simply that there was a delay, it's also that this was a manufactured issue, a product of the budding evangelical demagoguery movement.

The timing might have changed had Roe v. Wade not happened as it did, but the demand for juicy issues to whip up the base is a constant hunger. There's absolutely no reason to believe the same issue couldn't have been manufactured at a later date. Say when a more organic movement reached threshold of X states, or whatever: "Hey, you know what what folks? Have you noticed? A majority of states have made it legal to kill babies...Blah blah blah."

I would grant that a series of changes in state legislatures would, perhaps, be harder or more daunting to undo, but speed as such is a non-issue. A gradual change can easily be argued to be more sinister.

Black people have been as long as anyone else, and longer than most. If you're black, your people most likely have been here since before 1808, because that's when the foreign slave trade ended. Black people, black culture, and black traditions are in the American DNA at this point. There is no American culture or identity that excludes black people.

You say this a lot. It simply isn't true. There are Mexican neighborhoods, white neighborhoods, Asian neighborhoods where black people simply haven't ever existed. These places that haven't really been touched by black culture. Unless you're claiming that the existence of the blues and R&B and rock and roll means all culture includes some black influence, which is a bit of a stretch. Culture exists in America fairly devoid of Black culture. And now days its un PC to even adopt a cultural marker from another culture.

People yell about Hispanics in the southwest. Hispanics were in the southwest for hundreds of years before anybody spoke English there. We're on their turf, not the opposite.

I am not sure who yells about Hispanics, sans illegal immigrants. Certainly not most of the people that live in the Southwest. They are generally the guy next door. The generalization of "illegal aliens" to "Hispanics" is done outside the Southwest. On the other hand, it's our turf, meaning the US and a mixture of Spanish speaking, Southwestern Indians, Germans, English and others have lived there for a few centuries.

I work in an industry that is populated increasingly by Asians of all sorts, and Russians and other eastern Europeans. I guess I could complain about all the software jobs that are being displaced by immigrant workers. Damned H-1B'ers!! But the fact is that they are mostly really good at what they do, and they want to be here and contribute. They create value, and lots of it. It would be stupid to kick them out.

I agree with this. Legal immigration should be expanded in ways consistent with other developed countries like Canada. There are tons of "H-1B Dependent" businesses in the tech industry.


The Muslim thing is all 9/11 PTSD IMO. Muslims have been here in large numbers for over a century, with no problem. 9/11 freaked people the hell out and many folks have never, and will never, get beyond it. Maybe we should replace the fluoride in the water with Xanax.

I think this goes beyond 9/11. The negative depiction of Islamic culture in the media and arts, particularly focused on the male dominance, mistreating of womenin every way , abuse of children and the perceived barbaric punishments in certain countries has amplified that phobia. The things the average American hears about the Islamic cultures, attributed to Sharia, can certainly sound threatening.

If you're disturbed because things are changing too fast, you probably need to pick up your game, or you're going to get run over. Not because "liberals" are going to "shove change down your throat". But because the world is not our creature. We don't get to tell every other thing that is happening on the planet to stop or slow down for our comfort.

Change in lots of places goes a lot slower. The need for "liberals" to push that pace of change in places that they don't live is often unnecessary and disconcerting. Read where they live as their city, county, state.

Ultimately the ways we are different are in general less than the ways we are the same, to paraphrase Maya Angelou. But those differences define culture as much as the ways we are the same.

You are quick to say you don't care about those differences, people should be able to live how they want, etc. Then this post seems at odds with that view.

Now we know who Marty is.

Which is on top of the basic point that slowness is simply not a virtue. If people are suffering, as in the case of -- abortion, gay rights, or health care -- and there is a right solution (or at least a righter solution) then deliberately delaying for decades in the vague hope that the invariably ignorant and wrong-headed people that oppose the solution might get there heads on straight someday if you go easy enough on their worldview is a hard case to make.

Slowness is not, in itself, a virtue. But the question is, will the damage that results from waiting be greater or less than the damage from having the particular fight continue an extra 30+ years, as a result of not waiting?

As ever, we make the decision in the absence of perfect information about the future. We can guess that a particular issue will be fine for happening very quickly (like gay marriage. At least, that's my take on it.) Or we can guess that not giving people a couple of decades to adjust will cause the problem to go septic -- which seems to be the norm.

My personal inclination would be to work for gradual progress at local levels, rather than trying for a preemptive national decision. Just because that has, more often than not, been the more successful approach. Note that this isn't a matter of not doing anything in the interim. But it is a question of where efforts are focused.

My personal inclination would be to work for gradual progress at local levels, rather than trying for a preemptive national decision.

That's going to be the only way to go if Trump gets inaugurated. Except that "local" racist places will be able to do whatever they want to the people living there. This is a nightmare for red state people of color, kind of like back to the 1930's kind of nightmare.

I suggest everyone call their representatives daily to complain about whatever atrocity is on offer. We're in for a very long fight, and we can't get tired.

In the meantime, let's state (those of us who believe it) that we're not having Putin's puppet in the White House. I'll tell all of my Congresspeople, and I'm hoping against hope that something will happen. Why not enjoin inauguration until an investigation is had.

Why not hope? The alternative is worse.

These places that haven't really been touched by black culture.

Yeah, they probably have. Maybe not what you have in mind when you think black culture.

In any case, what I'm getting at is that blacks in the US have one of the longest histories of any distinct group. And there is no "black culture" that is distinct from "American culture".

The two are inseparable. More than that, there is no two to separate.

I am not sure who yells about Hispanics

Pretty much every member of my family that lives in AZ. For a start.

My mother, when she was alive. She thought they were dirty.

I don't think it's that hard to find.

It's great that a mix of people live in the Southwest. Lots of different kinds of people live there, and have done for a long time.

There are people who appear to view Hispanics as some kind of alien presence. They're not. Spanish people have been in large parts of what is now the US for a really long time, in most cases much longer than the English speaking populations.

I'm not really saying anything more than that.

The things the average American hears about the Islamic cultures, attributed to Sharia, can certainly sound threatening.

I'm sure that's so. It's too bad, because there is a hell of a lot more going on under the heading of Islamic culture than sharia.

Folks could find it if they were interested.

The need for "liberals" to push that pace of change in places that they don't live is often unnecessary and disconcerting.

First, wherever the heck you think it is that liberals don't live, it's highly likely that they do.

Maybe if you're living right smack on top of the
100th meridian, you might have a case. Most of the rest of the country is a mix.

Same here, MA is supposed to be 100% blue, but it sure as hell is not. Lots of conservatives.

In any case, check this out.

Folks I know teach school near me. There are a number of towns near me that have significant Hispanic immigrant populations. Not just Hispanics, also southeast Asian, Irish, Brazilian, Haitian.

A number of those kids are Dreamers, i.e. eligible to stay under DACA.

Most people around here, certainly most folks I now, would like to let those kids stay. It's how we are. Part of our culture.

Those kids are likely gonna be deported.

I object to that. But I don't have much choice about that. That choice is being imposed on me and my community by a bunch of dudes in DC.

Sound familiar?

I can make a nice long list of stuff like that if you want.

Rural people aren't the only ones who deal with this kind of crap. Everybody has stuff imposed on them. We all agree, it sucks.

Most folks shrug it off. Most of us don't respond by electing completely inappropriate people to the office of POTUS.

And now days its un PC to even adopt a cultural marker from another culture.

Missed that one.

What the hell?

I object to that. But I don't have much choice about that. That choice is being imposed on me and my community by a bunch of dudes in DC.

We can do this, with brave people like Charlie Beck.

Calling his name out because he's a hero, and we need to keep track of those who are standing up for doing the right thing.

Slowness is not, in itself, a virtue. But the question is, will the damage that results from waiting be greater or less than the damage from having the particular fight continue an extra 30+ years, as a result of not waiting?

That's sort of begging the question though.

I mean, yes, if we knew for sure waiting through thirty years of piecemeal progress is going to mean everything is copacetic with everyone, maybe the cost/benefit ratio works out.

But I've yet to see any solid evidence that the objection to, say, abortion rights, actually has anything to do with "too fast" as opposed to the null hypothesis of "not at all, please" and/or "[5, 10, 20 years after the fact] oh, lookit, this would be a convenient culture war issue to froth up the base".

Indeed, many things -- such as the aforementioned timing of mainstream opposition to Roe within the right-wing evangelical community -- seem to point the other way.

Also, it's one thing to look back at Roe with the benefit of hindsight and say "oh, those activists shouldn't have pushed the case, because look at the mess we have now", but it's another thing to make some kind of practical test, especially when there is NOT significant organized opposition to something at the time you do it, and the momentum seems to be clearly on your side (as was the case with Roe).

I mean, look at an issue that's maybe not on the radar as much, like assisted suicide. That sort of burst on the scene in a big way (at least as I experienced it) some time in the 90s with Kevorkian and so on. There was a mini-furor at the time, but since then it's mainly been quietly ticking away. It's legal in a few (liberal) states, court rulings in a couple others. Pending in a few more. (A "death with dignity" bill was recently passed in DC, for example.)

My impression is that religious groups tend to be on the "oppose" side, but maybe not strongly (except Catholics, maybe?). It's certainly not a huge wedge issue in presidential elections or anything.

Now, given that background, if a patients rights group of some kind had a solid constitutional argument and a case that the supreme court agreed to hear, should they back off and abandon it? It's not even super-controversial at the moment, but it's possible to see how it might be if you squint. Especially because it might not even happen right away. You could just have a couple grumbles, then everything is fine, until "Focus on the Family" or some jackass talk show host decides this amoral liberal suicide pact stuff is the way to win in in 2024? How do we know they won't?

Should we just never use the courts to fight for rights or overturn bad/unjust laws? That seems wrong - that's what they're there for. What's the test we're proposing?

Missed that one.

What the hell?

google string
"cultural appropriation"

"Most folks shrug it off. Most of us don't respond by electing completely inappropriate people to the office of POTUS."

Most of the people I know that grew up in Texas and AZ, I know both, wouldn't generalize about Mexicans. It is that contact thing. No need to talk anymore about it.

The long list has been building for the last 8 years for others, so I'm sure the list is long on the your side.

DACA is an example of a completely inappropriate thing the current President did, leading to them electing someone who is likely to do things they approve of.

I don't object to much of what you say, I don't agree with it all, but I do object to the generalization that somehow folks that don't want rapid change need to just adjust.

They only need to adjust to the most fundamental changes, the big things. Civil Rights was one of those. I think gay marriage is on a track for pretty universal acceptance, if my pretty conservative extended family is any indicator.

But the constant drumbeat of "you just have to accept whatever change comes your way because you can't tell the world to stop" is counterproductive. Because, given enough pressure, they can stop it. And will.

There are liberals everywhere, that is really the point isn't it? The pace of some change is as fast as the majority of the varying parties can come to an agreement in their sphere that a change is agreeable. I think as much as possible that should be at the most local level.


Now we see who Marty is.

it's one thing to look back at Roe with the benefit of hindsight and say "oh, those activists shouldn't have pushed the case, because look at the mess we have now", but it's another thing to make some kind of practical test, especially when there is NOT significant organized opposition to something at the time you do it, and the momentum seems to be clearly on your side (as was the case with Roe).

Yes, momentum was there. But to say that there was no organized opposition kind of misses the point. There was opposition, which is why the laws were not just being changed instantly. It was fading, but it was a very long way from gone.

The point was, that by ignoring that opposition, especially how widespread it still was, and simply riding roughshod over it, Roe caused that opposition to organize.

The other point I was trying to make is that, while we cannot know in advance how any particular piece of cultural change will play out, we do have some history to look at. And that history tells us that, with a few exceptions, changes which happen gradually over the course of a couple of decades get done. While changes which are pushed through substantially faster than that tend (tend!) to generate organized opposition, which drags out the struggle longer than it would otherwise have taken. We couldn't know that abortion would follow the usual pattern. We could have realized that it was likely to.

Roe caused that opposition to organize.

Meanwhile, young women (and I was a sexually active teenager then) were sometimes getting pregnant, and sometimes suicidal over it, because it wasn't like today where a certain amount of "young woman having a child" was accepted. Back then, it was "young woman who is pregnant has life ruined, and gives baby up for adoption" or "young woman who is pregnant gets a back alley abortion" or "young woman who is pregnant and somehow gets the money goes to NY and gets an abortion" or "young woman who is pregnant commits suicide" or, most rarely, "young woman gets pregnant, and has baby, and supportive parents of young mother helps out". That last thing? Not a frequent thing.

So those slow places? Not so good for a lot of actual women people.

Oh, forgot "young woman gets married to guy, and it works out not so often but sometimes" but also "woman doesn't really go to college or do other stuff she might have done."

I think the controversy about abortion was ginned up in a calculated and deliberately polarized way by leaders of the Republican party as a wedge issue. IF it had not been convenient for the Republican leadership to set the fire and fan the flames, i don;t know that there would be controversy about it now. They warked hard to create a divsion over taht / Even the fraing"pro-life" is calculated not only to be poalrizing but to preclude any conversation over the tangle of moral and ethical and medical and religious issues invovled.

While it is true taht AA peopell ahve been hear longer than a lot of white peope, theya re only fifteeen percent of the populations which means an awful lot of white people can go through life without ever interacting with African Americans for more than a brief period, such as a stint in the Army or a visit to a city.

Prior to the late sixties, AFrican Americans were invisible i the mass media and music was segregated. White musicians who were influenced by African American music tended to hide or alt least not play up the connection.

So while African Americans have always been part of the Americnn pack and have had huge influcnce (jazz, the SOuthern accent, lots of cooking, literature, and ore) they white aprt of hte pack was not very recpetive to their presence or respectful of heir influence.

And as we just learned, that resentment that black people exist and How dare they!) want to be recognized as pack members is still with us.

They only need to adjust to the most fundamental changes, the big things. Civil Rights was one of those.

I'm not sure We can use the past tense there.

It's interesting, the OP was simply about diversity, and how we handle having groups of people with different cultures, suggesting that we do it because there is a value in discomfort, as long as we work towards having some framework of shared values and the comments move towards... abortion. Seems to underline wonkie's comment about deliberate polarization.

lj's OP:By getting people to believe that somehow, foreign cultures have totally different values and goals from us, it becomes easy to claim that their entry into our country is going to break something.

Foreign cultures = women? I think that among the 1970s mainstream American culture, that might have been true.

But the constant drumbeat of "you just have to accept whatever change comes your way because you can't tell the world to stop" is counterproductive. Because, given enough pressure, they can stop it. And will.

Except, no, they can't.

I mean, I fully expect that the incoming era is going to make things extremely unpleasant for a whole lot of people, including, in all likelihood, Trump voters. There will be deportations, there will be people that go without health care, there will be police shootings. There may even be internment camps and wars.

But is that actually going to stop people from being gay or needing abortions or black and hispanic and muslim people existing and having babies and wanting rights? Or even lower their taxes much? Almost certainly not.

So yes, those people standing in front of the future and telling it to stop can fuck things the fuck up, but no, they can't actually stop the things they say they want to stop.

At the end of the day (or, as things are going, the world) those people are still going to need to either adjust, or literally die off.

And that's really the bottom line, because we need to be clear what we're talking about here. Ultimately, this discussion boils down to being about the best strategy for the rest of us to coddle and mitigate the damage caused by a block of people who have manifestly abandoned their own civic responsibilities, who simply refuse to engage with the issues, the facts, the candidates, their neighbors, or the world.

Sarah Kendzior has some advice on "how to be your own light in the Age of Trump".

Please read.

" Ultimately, this discussion boils down to being about the best strategy for the rest of us to coddle and mitigate the damage caused by a block of people who have manifestly abandoned their own civic responsibilities, who simply refuse to engage with the issues, the facts, the candidates, their neighbors, or the world."

No, the people who don't want to have to deal with the fact of black people or Muslims or gay people, shouldn't be coddled.

What we are talking about are people who have a different opinion on abortion, or the imminence of climate dangers or the need to change our immigration laws to accommodate 11 million people who broke them and then what to do so there aren't 11 million more. Or where the line is as to who has to bake cakes for gay weddings, and why is that even in the discussion with all those other things. Its engaging in good faith with people who you don't agree with, without calling them stupid or backward or racist or homophobic or elitist or pretentious or just @sshole when doing that isn't productive in coming to a common understanding of where the culture should move.

But if you want a child metaphor go find a crying child standing on the sidewalk and start yelling at it to shut up and get over it and calling it names at the top of your lungs and see how that works for you. Then do the same thing with a crying adult. Human beings in stress don't react positively to being chastised and demeaned.

That should be saved for the perpetrators of actual bad acts.

Foreign cultures = women?

I'm pretty sure that this equivalence doesn't appear in the OP, but to explain why it is not in case you think it is, here goes.

I think that the Trump campaign was built on Islamophobia and Hispanophobia. The underlying animus against African-Americans has been a constant drumbeat in US society, and rather than public statements, he provided 'in-ind' support (birth certificate and Bannon for instance) to ratchet up resentment of African Americans.

In a similar fashion, he didn't attack feminism, it was left to the media and Hillary's campaign to connect the dots, which then left both open to the charge that rather than sketch out a positive vision of who Hillary was, they simply concentrated on making a negative vision of Trump, which Trump voters rejected as the usual lies.

The Right seizing on women's rights in Muslim countries is indicative that the Republican party wants to pay lip service to women. Trying to make Ivanka a policy spokesperson is another. People have a lot more contact with the opposite sex (for various values of contact) than any of those groups mentioned before. So conflating foreign cultures with women is a category error.

It is true that chastising demeaning talk is not usually a very effective tactic for changing someone's mind.

HOwever that dosen't mean that the chastising isn't for real bad behavior or the demeaning descriptors aren't essentially correct.

It just means that if one wants to communicate with the badly behaved person, one has to find a tactful way to do it.

Or you can skip trying to change the badly behaved person and instead try to limit their damage by pointing out their bad behavior in hopes of preventing the spread of the behavior.

To fail to call out bad behavior is to enable it.

I do not see Trump voters as the victims of the mean old Democrats who were snobbish toward them. They did after all commit an act of seriously bad citizenship for the worst of reasons: out of a need to blame and marginalize other people. If anything Trump supporters are the snobs, since they clearly see themselves as entitled and others as not entitled. The Republican message for years had been one of snobbery: they are the patgriots, the moral people, the ones who are standing up for real America. Its been an our pack agsinst everyone else message since Lee Atwaters day. Trump was just move overt. NO, I do not see the people who buy that kind of message as the victims of the people who are the targets of that snobbery.

I just think it is an ineffective tactic when trying to change someone's mind to be rude.


"There are liberals everywhere, that is really the point isn't it?"

no, it isn't.

to be honest, i'm not sure i'm even trying to make a point. LJ started a thread about diversity, and I'm basically just shooting the breeze on that topic.

if I had to make up some kind of point, ir would be jack lecou's. no, you can't stop change. I can't, you can't, trump can't. nobody can.

and a lot of the stuff we're talking about here isn't even change.

do you think that gay people haven't been forming and living in durable life-long partnerships for, like, ever? black people haven't been here since day one? and here as free people, until the freaking race codes were instituted.

Muslims have been here in large numbers since the late 19th C. Asians have been here in quite large numbers since the middle 19th. they and the Irish built the freaking railroads.

the only thing that's changing is that all of those folks are asking to be recognized and to have a seat at the table.

am I leaving "your people" out? no, I am not. am I picking on them? no, I am not. I am extraordinarily pissed off at them, because they've elected somebody as POTUS who is profoundly unsuited to the job. and we all are going to suffer for it, not least them.

you say that you like living in the country, so you can see the stars at night. I think that's great. I think it is absolutely splendid that you like nascar.

if you come to Boston and talk about nascar, yes, I'm sure somebody will give you a ration of shit about it.

guess what? if I go to Orlando and wear a Yankees hat, or do any if 1000 other things that tag me as a northeasterner, somebody will give me a ration of shit about it.

so what? can't you brush it the hell off?

this us the stupid petty bullshit we're going to fight about?

what a freaking waste.

"What we are talking about are people who have a different opinion on abortion, or the imminence of climate dangers or the need to change our immigration laws to accommodate 11 million people who broke them and then what to do so there aren't 11 million more. Or where the line is as to who has to bake cakes for gay weddings, and why is that even in the discussion with all those other things. Its engaging in good faith with people who you don't agree with, without calling them stupid or backward or racist or homophobic or elitist or pretentious or just @sshole when doing that isn't productive in coming to a common understanding of where the culture should move."

this I have no problem with.

"DACA is an example of a completely inappropriate thing the current President did"

and not for nothing, but allow me to point out that *immediately after I cited a specific example of something that was, for reasons of my personal history and culture, important to me*, your response is casual dismissal. it's "completely inappropriate".

well, says you. I disagree. not because I'm a freaking liberal, but because my own grandmother came here as an immigrant child, and if the laws then were what they are now, she would have been deported.

*I support DACA*. it was appropriate for Obama to put it in place, because more people voted for him than didnt, and we wanted it.

I think it's freaking splendid, and your guy, who did not even win a majority of the popular vote, is going to take it away.

you are imposing your values on me, via the force and authority of federal law.

how do I think it feels when other people impose their values on me? I know exactly how it feels.

get some self-awareness dude. listen to other people if you want them to listen to you.

or at least just listen to yourself and think about what you sound like.

that's what you insist on, so it's what you need to bring.

One point about advantages gained from cultural diversity: I've read some articles about "islamic finance", where charging interest is forbidden the lender something similar to an ownership percentage, with claims that this system is useful for small businesses where the whole mechanism of incorporation is burdensome, and the terms of bank loans are overly harsh.

Yeah, it was in some islamo-commie rag called "The Economist". Showed their true colors on that one, I guess.

English, as a language, gets great strength by simply STEALING useful words from other languages. Most native English speakers of my acquaintance get a small, satisfied smile when talking about word-stealing. It's pure schadenfreude on my part to remind them that we do the same with cultural ideas.

wonkie: It is true that chastising demeaning talk is not usually a very effective tactic for changing someone's mind.

And yet, our friend McKinney's best prescription for curing what ails "black culture" is a stern lecture on parenting.

It's only white men whose hackles get raised by a talking-to, apparently.

--TP

The argument against DACA, as I understand it is this. These people, like all those are immigrants who did not come thru with proper papers, are criminals. Period. Therefore, they should be deported.

But are they really criminals? It seems to me that, if a child's parents transport him somewhere, they may be culpable but he is not. There are, of course, instances where a child is responsible for his criminal behavior. But this just doesn't seem like one of them. (McKinney or other lawyers can clarify my understanding of the nuances of the law.)

I'm seeing neither a credible threat to the security of the nation nor, frankly, much in the way of Christian charity.

It's only white men whose hackles get raised by a talking-to, apparently.

No TP, that's not quite right. It's only white men whose hackles are allowed to get raised by a talking-to.

It's also only approved parties and groups who are allowed to have grievances. Unapproved grievances are to be stomped on at the earliest opportunity.

What we are talking about are people who have a different opinion on abortion, or the imminence of climate dangers or the need to change our immigration laws to accommodate 11 million people who broke them and then what to do so there aren't 11 million more.

But right here is what's wrong. "The imminence of climate dangers" is not an opinion. There are actual facts to deal with here. Yes, there are some things reasonable people could differ about that fall under the same umbrella. If our national climate debate was over whether a carbon fee of $20/ton or $40/ton was more appropriate, or whether to invest more public funds in windmills or salt batteries, there could be a lively and civil debate.

But that is not what we have. What we have is one "side" which simply willfully ignores the fact of anthropogenic climate change, full stop.

Likewise, we have people who "believe" immigration hurts the economy, or that abstinence is a form of birth control. These positions are not starting points for a civil debate between reasonable people. These are just errors of fact.

Or where the line is as to who has to bake cakes for gay weddings, and why is that even in the discussion with all those other things.

That is a really excellent question. Because if there is a baker out there who refuses to engage with real issues and is instead voting for Trump because they're concerned about having to make wedding cakes for a gay couple, that is some truly majestically petty, childish, irresponsible crap.

It's also really a pretty fine line you're apparently trying to draw here. We're talking about people who are literally in territory equivalent to, "well, I guess it's ok that black people eat ice cream, but I'm not going to serve any of those ******** at my ice cream parlor."

Now, maybe it's pushing it too far, "rubbing it in their faces," to ask people providing public accommodations of various kinds to not have bigoted policies. But it's still $%#@ bigoted, and those people are acting very poorly.

(Doubly so because many of these "controversies" are completely ginned up for effect. And I'll give you one guess about which side does the ginning. After all, there just aren't really that many couples who'd want to have a cake from a bigoted baker if they have any choice, or have a bigot shoot their wedding. But it's another matter entirely if, say, the vendor in question drops out the day before the event and leaves them in the lurch. That might be quite legitimate grounds for a small lawsuit...)

But if you want a child metaphor go find a crying child standing on the sidewalk and start yelling at it to shut up and get over it and calling it names at the top of your lungs and see how that works for you. Then do the same thing with a crying adult. Human beings in stress don't react positively to being chastised and demeaned.

We are not talking about children. We are talking about grown adults who are expected to live up to a certain standard of decency and responsibility to participate in society.

And I'm not sure what crying and stress you're talking about here.

Are you saying Trump voters were literally sobbing? Like in acute emotional or physical torment? I'm... not sure I've witnessed that yet. If there were some in such a bad way, I guess I'll give them a pass on making a rash decision.

But otherwise, I kind of think we're talking about a lot of people who are pretty well covered on the hierarchy of needs. Many of them are downright comfortable, at least on a day to day level.

And they had weeks, months or years to think about and cope with the issues. It was not some fight-or-flight reflex that triggers in seconds. There has been more than enough time for a responsible person to get their shit together and at least try to think with their head.

(Despite which, we still have people here arguing we need to give people decades to cope with change. That seems like a rather lengthy emotional adjustment period for a human being living in the real world. Bigots be some fragile little dears.)

I agree completely that DACA is a good thing.

We are having a discussion about diversity, that means things that are important to you aren't to some other people.

It means not starting with "those" people elected an inappropriate President because they think "those" people did that 8 years ago. And "those" people are Democrats/liberals, no racist coding either way.

I am keep trying to have a discussion on this, but there is no other side that is acceptable.

I have not denigrated anyone's grievance, but every grievance I have mentioned has been denigrated either with accusations of me being bad or it is simply not worth discussing.

So who's grievances are unapproved?

So who's grievances are unapproved?

If we all take five minutes to feel sorry for you, Marty, will you finally be okay, and we can move on? Or what do you want?

DACA is an example of a completely inappropriate thing the current President did,

and

I agree completely that DACA is a good thing.

?????

Speaking of the DACA, with there be a formal ceremony when Obama passes his phone and pen to Trump?...

"I agree completely that DACA is a good thing."

to say the least, that was not at all evident in your last comment.

"We are having a discussion about diversity, that means things that are important to you aren't to some other people"

yes, believe me when I say that I know that. I don't expect other people to share my sense of what things are important.

you argue in this thread, and in general, that people who aren't urban liberals are frustrated and angry with having other people's values imposed on them.

my point in raising daca was to point out that *we are all in the same boat*. we all live in a world in which things that are very important to us are denied or compromised by the will of others.

every single one of us.

we all live in a world in which things we do are "un-pc" according to some other groups standards.

"happy holidays!". see?

I'm not even saying that people "have to" adjust. I sure as hell not saying they have to adjust because I say so. I am saying that change is inevitable, and that the most skillful and useful response is to adapt.

seb and wj point out examples of where the rate of change has been distressing. noted. I'm sure there are lots of examples of cases where things can be handled better.

but I don't know where we go with all of this. we've been at each other's throats on stupid culture war crap my whole life. it's become utterly unworkable. the feds shut down every few years because we can't even agree on a budget. some folks even see that as a good thing.

I have no solution. the only way forward is for people to put away their resentment and suspicion, but we do not, as a people, appear to be capable of that.

it doesn't bode well.

as far as talking about trump, I simply don't know what to tell you. he is an utterly inappropriate person for the office, in every way I can imagine. and he is not going to do the things that the folks who supported him need him to do, and expect from him.

he'll do the stuff like kick people out of the country, and harass muslims. black people can probably expect stop and frisk at a national level.

he'll borrow a shitload of money and build a lot of stuff and create a bunch of jobs for a couple of years. I'm being optimistic here. but there won't be any coherent, forward looking plan to it.

what he won't do is establish and nurture a stable, enduring economic base that can sustain livelihoods and communities for a generation or more. that is what they need. and that is what they will not get.

I'm not sure who could make that happen, if anyone. I surely do know that Trump cannot.

I'm comfortable making these predictions, because trump has lived his whole life in public. we know his history, his resume, his character. we all know what he is.

his supporters are going to be screwed. they've been had. Trump is first and foremost a bullshit artist and a grifter, and they bought the grift.

if that seems offensive to you, there is not one thing I can do to help that. it's not like I'm making any of these things be so. I'm just observing events as they play out.

it's going to be a truly shitty four years. at least. and for a lot of people.

I am, truly, sorry that that is so, but it wasn't my wish or my doing.

I think this explains a lot

...empathy has been a word in English only since 1909. It’s derived from the German Einfuhlung: “feeling into,” which was coined by Robert Vischer, the author of On the Optical Sense of Form: a Contribution to Aesthetics, 1873. In 1909, Edward Titchener, an American psychologist, translated Einfuhlung into empathy.

from http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2016/11/11/dostoevskys-empathy/

as always, we could use some diversity on TV talk shows.

he'll borrow a shitload of money and build a lot of stuff and create a bunch of jobs for a couple of years. I'm being optimistic here. but there won't be any coherent, forward looking plan to it.

I take this back. There is a coherent, forward looking plan.

Krugman's being shrill again.

tl;dr - The infrastructure policy will be:

1. Private companies build infrastructure projects
2. We give them public money in the form of tax credits
3. They keep the infrastructure

So, highways, bridges, airports, whatever, will become private property.

And we will pay for it.

The reason that Trump and Putin get along is because they are two peas in a pod. Feed the people nationalistic tripe and line your pockets and those of your friends with public money and resources.

Coming soon: USProm!

The folks who are going to be screwed and screwed some more are all of the hard-working middle class-ish folks who thought Trump was their guy.

Good luck to all.

"The folks who are going to be screwed and screwed some more are all of the hard-working middle class-ish folks who thought Trump was their guy."

And that Dems were the ones in charge of corporations that moved factories overseas.

The conventional wisdom is "no cure for stupid"; we'll be testing that.

empathy has been a word in English only since 1909.

We made do with sympathy, a word which can, though need not, mean much the same.

And it's not as though Einfuhlung saved Germany from a rather spectacular absence of empathy on occasion.

Krugman might well be considering what happened in the UK, which was equally egregious (and notably under a Labour government):
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/jul/05/pfi-cost-300bn

Not to forget Empfindsamkeit.
(sentimentalism simply has not the right vibe as the offered translation).
And then there is that absurd word '(jemandem) abspüren', which in essence means someone gives off vibes* so strong that even a very dull person cannot avoid noticing it, so he has to 'feel it off (the person vibing)'.

So the detectors on the typical RW mimosa are so sensitive that our mere liberal existence violates their precious Empfindsamkeit because the spür it ab us from any distance (for the same reason any hint of gay marriage will instantly destroy their own straight one). Or compare the old H.L. Mencken quote: 'Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.'

*non-verbally

More.

Also.

He's looking out for the common working man and woman!

We need to be very worried about private prisons.

The problem with "private prisons" in the US is that they are public prisons operated by private interests. Which just adds another layer of bureaucracy and ineptitude to an already flawed system.

(... about private prisons.: link?)

Not sure what happened to that link. Here's another.

This issue is already a horror story, and we need to be very afraid, with Nazis controlling three branches of our government. And, no, I'm not calling them Republicans anymore.

The worst problem with "private prisons" isn't really the increased "layers of bureaucracy and ineptitude." Rather it is that it gives us a business lobby, which joins with the existing prison guards union, to argue for making more things illegal and for more and harsher sentences. Because, after all, that's the way they grow their business and maintain their cash flow.

No right wing politician plays the "law and order" card like those folks do.

wj, very much agree.

wj, also very much agree.

Now if McKinney and Marty chime in as well (what conservative could love a union lobby?), and I will have achieved my fondest dream: coming up with a political position that is embraced across the entire spectrum. ;-)

thirded.

err. fourthed!

My impression is that religious groups tend to be on the "oppose" side, but maybe not strongly (except Catholics, maybe?). It's certainly not a huge wedge issue in presidential elections or anything.

It becomes one when people want it to be. The Terry Schiavo case (not exactly assisted suicide but related) blew up as a national wedge issue in the 2004 election. If I recall correctly, the Republican demagoguing of it was the last straw that drove John Cole to abandon the Republicans.

I'll take a Fifth on this one.

You want a really horrible example of where "private prisons" lead, just look at the central-PA case of judges and prosecutors (in cahoots with a private prison) railroading kids into prison. Thousands of kids, over nearly a decade, having their lives ruined so that some greedhead scumbags could profit.

Wikipedia: Kids for Cash.

The first paragraph of the "Investigation" section:

An investigation into improper sentencing in Luzerne County began early in 2007 as a result of requests for assistance from several youths received by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center. Lawyers from the law center determined that several hundred cases were tried without the defendants receiving proper counsel. In April 2008, the Juvenile Law Center petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court seeking relief for alleged violation of the youths' civil rights. The application of relief was later denied, then reconsidered in January 2009 when charges of corruption against the judges surfaced.

And just guess how it would have turned out if the judicial corruption had not come to light because of a dispute with another judge on that court.


Diversity--meaning to me simply different races, ethnicities, sexes and sexual orientations operating together at work or socially or wherever without their pigmentation or orientation being a significant factor in any regard--is a fundamentally good thing in a country that has as one of its constitutional bedrocks the notion that "no state shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection under the law."

Our history on this, since adopting the 14th Amendment, has been spotty to say the least. It wasn't until 1954 with Brown v Board of Education that the 14th Amendment began its modern construction and application. By the early to mid-seventies, the notion of affirmative action and other *remedies* (not enough time to discuss the differences between a *remedy* and *right*) devised by the Courts and policy makers to redress past affronts to and violations of various minorities' civil rights (mostly African American) were fully in the public purview, and, as is often the case with the law, some metaphorical guns kicked as hard as they shot.

In Brown v Board, we learned that "equal means the same". That is still the law today AFAIK. Some *remedies* including some AA programs went too far, in the view of some courts, and violated the equal protection clause going the other way.

There is a graduated set of hurdles the state must overcome to justify an exception to an established constitutional right. Typically, it is some permutation of a "compelling governmental interest", but I'd defer to Ugh, Sapient, NV or Sebastian who probably have a tighter hold on the details of constitutional jurisprudence.

Whatever the gist of the hurdle might be, proponents of AA began to advocate that *diversity* was a goal of such a compelling nature as to warrant an exception to the principle of equal protection when *diversity* produced a higher number of minorities. *Diversity* does not mean reducing the number of minorities when minorities are over-represented in most contexts.

So, why was *diversity* needed as an exception to equal protection?

AA became, in some respects, a numbers game, particularly in the area of college and graduate school admissions. Some minorities, even with good grades, did not test well. So, standards were lowered in some schools under some circumstances to account for this phenomena. Persons with higher test scores, believing themselves aggrieved, used the reverse side of equal protection to challenge programs of this nature.

I'm generally in favor of AA programs that make allowances for background, ethnicity and whatnot because it's important that everyone not only have a fair shot in theory, it's important that there be tangible evidence that theory is fact and anyone who works hard and qualifies him or herself for admission or employment gets admitted or hired, and when there are limited spaces/openings, and all other things being more or less equal (there is almost always a subjective element in hiring), it should be (and is) illegal to not hire on account of minority status and it should be legal (and I believe it is, but this isn't my area of the law) to bring in a minority, even if less qualified in some respects, simply because an employer wants a diverse work place. Ditto for schools, where the legality is less clear due to equal protection issues.

Ok, that's my *diversity*.

In my view, the *diversity* that LJ discusses suffers from a variety of defects, some benign, others not so much. At the benign end of the spectrum, the tendency is to overthink/analyze the issue. For the most part, it isn't that complicated.

Moving farther out on the spectrum, "Studies" (they seem light on methodology and very light on duplication and real world, consistent validation) showing that ethnic diversity produces this or that objectively superior outcome strike me as confirmation bias coupled with wishful thinking. If used as arguments for policy or legal decisions, they strike me as being the nature of junk science.

Even more problematical, this view of diversity--which I will hereafter label it as "Progressive diversity"--freights ethnicity and orientation with way more than what they are. It implies that color and orientation *do* matter, that we *are different* based on race or orientation and that there are actual difference between us based on color, etc.

I reject that.

Moving further on spectrum, LJ writes:

This article argues that there are three kinds of diversity, informational diversity, demographic diversity and diversity resulting from goals and values.

This would be a good example of either overthinking or understating diversity. In a world of 7 billion plus people speaking who knows how many languages with who knows how many religions, philosophies, education levels and uncountable other differences, by my count there are exactly 3.141 bazillion diversities. So, that's a lot of diversity.

Overlooked, AFAICT, in the Progressive diversity paradigm is that not everything that makes us different is necessarily a good thing. Just as individual people have negative/undesirable characteristics, so too can groups of people organized around belief systems, whether those belief systems are political, philosophical or religious. The ensuing culture or society from those belief systems may not be compatible with other, different cultures and societies.

Another quote from LJ to further illustrate my point:

This helps explain why affirmative action is only a part of the solution. If these different ethnicities are always kept at a lower rank, there is little chance for others of the same group to be able to prove their worth.

This would be one of many good examples of how the general value of diversity leads to the much more pernicious Progressive take on the subject: number crunching, equality measured by outcome not opportunity and--you have to tease this out of the careful choice of what is said and left unsaid-- and endgame of diversity mandated by state action.

First, there is no evidence that anyone in the study LJ cites was "always kept out". Once you get into a defined group, individual characteristics--not skin color, not objects of sexual desire--drive leadership and accomplishment.

Second, it pays to be kind to the English language when having these discussions. A 22% variance in idea acceptance (whatever the hell that is) is not being "always kept out." It is a 22% difference in idea acceptance. In what specific way is that due to ethnicity or orientation? Numbers only tell part of the story. How old/how many years in service and what were the different real world experience levels of the group members and what were the percentages of ideas accepted from the different experience cohorts? Did anyone check their work against those groups? Because if they didn't, that's just bad methodology. Or, in common vernacular, junk science.

I can assure you, in a racially and gender diverse law office, my ideas carry the day 9 out of 10 times because I've done this way more than anyone else and I've, for the most part, done it better. Immodest, yes. Does it have anything to do with my skin color, in term of making me somehow qualitatively better? No. Would I have achieved as much if I were African American or Hispanic? Hard to say. I know plenty very successful Black and Hispanic lawyers. Testosterone may--heavy emphasis on 'may'--be a factor in why more men than women go the trial route, but it's hardly an accomplishment or a qualification and it certainly has its downside.

Head counting is a common theme among Progressives when diversity is the topic. It is often if not almost exclusively as evidence of systemic discrimination, regardless of the countless other factors that play into how a particular population forms. It is invidious and, to me, odious. When numbers are the focus, the individual is discounted in favor of the race/culture/orientation classification he or she falls into.

By getting people to believe that somehow, foreign cultures have totally different values and goals from us, it becomes easy to claim that their entry into our country is going to break something. '

Again, let's be kind to the English language and to *diversity* of thought. The immigration issue isn't a binary open-minded, right thinking good people vs racist motherf*uckers.

One of the more glaring deficiencies in the Progressive take on diversity is treating ethnicity and culture as synonymous and then treating culture and some religions as, if not synonymous, then as functional equivalents.

Not every culture is necessarily *good*.

Further, it is not racist to believe, as I do, that western liberal civilization is *good* and worth preserving. It is not racist to believe, as I do, that we--the US--is limited in its ability to absorb large numbers of uneducated, non-English speaking people. There is only so much that we can do.

It is not racist to believe, as I do, that uneducated, non-English speaking people--because they need to eat--work for less than Americans want to be paid and thus lower wages for Americans who need jobs.

This is all background to addressing several points made by LJ and by others in the comments. As I've previously alluded, Progressive diversity means a good deal more than the meaning I give it. Progressive diversity consists of a much broader range of concepts and applications than folks on the outside would imagine would be the case. The closer one looks, many of these concepts and applications are either imperfectly defined or not defined at all (LJ's post references a variety of "diversities", all of which seem inherently subjective in application). This, in turn, can allow for a moving, and not necessarily consistent, application of diversity concepts and applications.

One more or less immutable rule of Progressive diversity I've drawn from our discussions and my reading is that criticism of any (or almost any) aspect of another culture or certain religions is either racist or bigoted or both.

I reject that, too.

Islamaphobia/9-11 PTSD--ok, going back to the murder of the Israeli Olympic Team in 1972, through Lockerbie, the first attack on the World Trade Center, countless other hijackings, kidnappings, murders, bombings and what-have-you, Islamic terrorism has been a 'thing' for my entire adult life and I'm 62 years, six months and one day old.

People aren't just making this up. This phenomena kicked off around 1972. So far, the moderate Islamic world has not been notably successful in mitigating this phenomena. At least as far as I can see.

Other things that people aren't making up is that, in many Islamic countries, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, Islam is practiced in very traditional way, which includes, to one degree or another, female subservience, polygamy, killing homosexuals, killing people who try to leave Islam and a host of other beliefs that are objectively incompatible with modern, western civilization.

There is plenty of nutcase violence out there. Year in and year out, since 1972, Islamic-associated nut cases are hands down the industry leader in nut case violence--at least in terms of nut case violence focused on the west.

So, when there is a humanitarian crisis as is the case in Syria, and it is proposed that the US give a home to some tens of thousands of people from the heart of that particular culture, it isn't as if people who raise questions about the wisdom and desirability are doing so with no history or experience to support their questions. Nor does dismissing concerns raised by non-Progressives as bigotry really address those concerns on the merits. Indeed, another less than admirable aspect of Progressive diversity is that it does not engage on the merits with those who dissent. Rather, dissent = bigotry/racism. It's almost an article of faith pronounced ex cathedra and from which any dissent is secular heresy.

If people like me were bigots and racists, we would be consistently opposing any and all immigration. From Asia, India, wherever. We aren't. As far as I can tell, the vast majority of Americans don't have an issue with *legal* immigration from anywhere in the world. The racist/bigotry default is a Progressive construct that relieves Progressives of the burden of confronting conflicting arguments grounded reason, distinction and nuance. It is also a form of moral preening.

So, while many of us think folks from India or Taiwan and even Belgium who come here legally are more than welcome, we are intellectually capable of concluding that for valid reasons set forth above, bringing tens of thousands of products of a fundamentalist, religious culture to the US is neither desirable nor necessary to rendering humanitarian assistance. We could have, as we have done in countless other situations, sent food, medical supplies and other assistance to the ME. Eventually, that war will end or other, more culturally similar countries can make homes for those refugees and we can assist financially.

If the forgoing is difficult to understand, consider these two illustrations:

1. There was a humanitarian crisis at the end of WWII. However, we didn't import the remnants of the SS as gesture of good will and not doing so wasn't cultural genocide or bigotry.

2. Hypothetically, if modern Spain were anything but modern and if it retained the cultural mores of the Inquisition and if Spain were undergoing a humanitarian crisis, I would oppose importing 50 or 100,000 Inquisition adherents to the US. They wouldn't mix well. More bigotry?

Ok, so now, three and half hours into writing and editing, let's talk about Mexican and Central American illegal immigration. First, I'll stipulate that there are people who don't like people with different skin colors. Next, if it isn't already obvious, discriminating against people on account of their skin color is legally and morally wrong.

So, if Mexico and Central American had been populated by Caucasians and not early Asians when Spain colonized most of the Western Hemisphere, but if everything else that happened remained the same, do Progressives really think that an open-ended influx of millions of white, Spanish speaking, uneducated and untrained would be welcome?

If that were so, then we wouldn't have immigration quotas in place for Western Europe or Canada. But, we do. Also, if that were so, by analogy, you wouldn't see a lot of the Western Europe antipathy to Eastern European border crossing.

Telling people who want the border controlled that they are bigots and racists is part and parcel of the Progressive tone deafness that produces, among other things, a clown like D Trump in the White House. If one were to spend enough time in the Rio Grande Valley, one would find out that many of the local Hispanic citizens very much resent people from Mexico gaming the system to put their children in US schools, among other things.

We have many, many illegal immigrants with solid roots in the US, whose children think of American as home. Trump, for all of his bombast, isn't going to send those people back to Mexico or Guatemala or wherever. They should be given amnesty and residency conditioned on not committing serious crimes. Recent arrivals may well be sent home. New arrivals, without US pre-approval, will be sent home. If that's bigotry, someone needs to tell me why.

Ok, not only am I out of gas, I have a ton of sh*t to get to before flying to NYC/NJ for Thanksgiving. The foregoing lacks a fair degree of nuance, context, etc that if I had more time, I'd make an effort to include. Anyway, have at it or me or both.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

Someone just shared this with me, and although long I thought it very interesting. It goes against many of my reflexive prejudices (and I'm guessing many of yours), but is perhaps all the more valuable for that reason. It also seems on first reading to be impressively evidence-based. What do you all think?

http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/11/16/you-are-still-crying-wolf/

GftNC -- I didn't read the whole piece at your link; I'm in the middle of a work day. But it's notable that a -F doesn't reveal one mention of Jeff Sessions or Steve Bannon. I see some statistics about who voted for Trump, but the fact that people swallowed his schtick doesn't say a thing about what he's actually going to [try to] do. Sessions in particular says something frightening and depressing about what he might do, or what other people might do in his name.

Sorry, that was a "control"-F. I searched the piece for any mention of those names.

GFTNC--thank you for that. My prediction: far more will dissent from Scott Alexander than agree. It's an infinite capacity echo chamber at work, seemingly interested only in lowering DT's bar even more.

Hey McK, thank you for a really thoughtful comment. I appreciate you taking the time to write it, and I appreciate your continued willingness to hang out here and let us all beat you up all the time.

There is a lot in your comment, and it deserves a thoughtful reply, but I wanted to offer a couple of quick, more or less of the top of my head thoughts.

Diversity: to me honest, my idea of diversity pretty much tracks yours. There are lots of different kinds of people who live here, they should all have access to public life on an equal basis.

And access just means access, it doesn't mean mandated outcomes. If you don't have the chops to go to Harvard, you don't go to Harvard.

There's a lot in what I've just said that needs unpacking - like, how does one *get* the chops to go to Harvard? - but my interest in diversity is basically to *not leave anyone out*.

As far as 9/11 PTSD, I'm sure my comment seemed flippant or sarcastic, and some of that might have been intended, but in a more important way it was not. It was, actually, a really traumatic event. People have, actually, had a hard time getting over it. More than that, it's not the kind of thing that one "gets over", it's the kind of thing that becomes a permanent part of your life experience.

All of that said, I'm not sure your understanding of the situation around resettlement of Syrian refugees, specifically, is accurate.

Syria was (and remains, by a toehold) a Baathist state. There are lots of negative things to say about the Baathists - like, for instance, they are thugs - but a large part of their project was bringing their countries into the modern world. They were Muslim, but not theocratic.

Most of the people who are trying to leave Syria are *trying to get away from* fanatic Islamic fundamentalism. And, from Baathist thugs. But also fanatic fundamentalists. Many of them would love to come to the US *because it isn't a fanatic theocratic state*.

As far as their ability to assimilate, I think the impediment would be far more likely to be the fact that they are profoundly traumatized than any religious aspect.

As far as the prevalence of acts of terroristic violence in the US, since 9/11 you have been more likely to be killed by a domestic white supremacist or Christian Identity nutcase than by a Muslim. "Since 9/11" is a large caveat, but prior to 9/11 the high water mark was Oklahoma City.

On the topic of immigration in general, my opinion is that we should just issue more visas. The nominal limit is something like 600K - point-two-percent of the population - and with exceptions and special cases we do about a million a year.

330 million people live here. 1 million people is zero-point-three percent of the population.

I think we can accept more than we legally allow. We've done it before. If you don't want immigrants to undercut domestic workers wage-wise, or overburden the social institutions, then admit them as citizens. Without the threat of deportation, employers will have to pay them what they pay others, and they will be able to contribute more fully to the society.

Just my opinion.

And yes, I know the border states bear the burden on MX immigration. Other places - like where I live - have other immigrant populations, that have the same issues. Dominicans, Haitians, Brazilians, Irish, Vietnamese, what have you. We deal with people who don't speak English, people with no money, classrooms full of kids who struggle to understand what's going on, etc etc etc. It's not just a border-state issue.

They don't walk across, but they get here just the same.

That's all I got for now. I want to write up some thoughts on the whole identity politics thing tonight if I can, which maybe touches on some of the issues you raise here.

Thanks again for the post. Have a great Thanksgiving!

JanieM, thanks for that. Agreed on Bannon and Sessions, and I also thought adducing pro-Israel attitudes to evidence absence of antisemitism was pretty naive. Ditto Ivanka's conversion: I seem to remember reading that Trump thought Kushner should have converted to marry her, but this could of course be evidence of Trump's narcissism rather than anti-semitism. But apart from this, I can't help feeling there may be something to what this Scott Alexander character says; it chimes with my general feeling that one must always name/identify things carefully and correctly, as a sort of duty to facts and understanding.

Most of the people who are trying to leave Syria are *trying to get away from* fanatic Islamic fundamentalism.

I'd expand on this to note that, if one is to assert that Islam is the industry leader in nutcase violence, one must also accept that it is the industry leader in adherents who are victims of nutcase violence.

What do you all think?

I think a few things.

I doubt that Trump is particularly racist. He has a history of making invidious comments about black people, but then again he has a history of making invidious comments about almost any group of people you can name.

I think Trump is quite happy to pander to racial animosity in other people.

Mostly, I think Trump finds anyone who is not-Trump to be an inferior brand of human, and he feels perfectly comfortable expressing that in the crudest possible way any time it pops into his head.

One minute you might be a fine individual, the next you might be a lazy black. Whatever pops into his head.

As far as the alt-right, Steve Bannon. Nuff said.

As far as crying wolf, I'm sure that there are lots of people who are too quick to accuse others of racism, and I'm sure that there are lots of people who don't like black or brown people for reasons that are sort of orthogonal to the color of their skin, and I'm sure that there are lots of people who supported Trump and don't have a bigoted bone in their body. And, I'm sure that there are lots of people who supported Trump and whose support for Trump is of a piece with their fear and dislike of people who aren't like themselves.

My biggest beef with Trump racism-wise is that he's happy to make space for it if it's to his advantage to do so. That's enough for me.

I'm sure lots of folks will say Hilary and/or any random (D) is happy to make space for people to accuse others of racism when it isn't so, if it's to her advantage to do so. If that's your view, you're entitled to your opinion. There might even be something to it.

If you're American, race and conflicts about race is just in the air. It's in our DNA. For Brits, class is always in the air, for Americans it's race.

I try not to point fingers about it, and I also try not to pretend it's not there.

An anecdote:

My AZ sister and brother in law once sent me an email with a quote from Pat Buchanan, explaining how the blacks should be grateful for the institution of slavery, because it got them out of Africa and into the US, the greatest country ever, and let them hear about Jesus.

They thought it was relevant because my brother-in-law felt that blacks were getting too many building trade jobs because of affirmative action.

If you were to ask them if they were racist, they'd say no. Both of them know black people, Hispanic people, Asian people. My niece was married to a Lao guy for several years, they loved him.

Are they racist? I would say that race is a factor in how they look at the world.

That's what I'm talking about when I say it's just always in the air.

When Trump, or whoever, talks about "those people", they - my sister and brother - probably don't connect that to specific black, or brown, or Muslim, or Asian people that they actually know. They probably imagine some other group of Other People floating out their in the world somewhere like a cloud.

Nonetheless, it has a resonance for them.

I told them never to send me anything from Pat Buchanan again, because he's a bigoted thug. They were somewhat astounded by my reaction.

We will never settle the issue of race in this country as long as we live, because it's so close to us that we can't even see it.

That's my take on it.

Most of the people who are trying to leave Syria are *trying to get away from* fanatic Islamic fundamentalism.

I'd expand on this to note that, if one is to assert that Islam is the industry leader in nutcase violence, one must also accept that it is the industry leader in adherents who are victims of nutcase violence.

I don't know how we know what most folks who want to leave Syria are thinking, but I do agree that Islamic terrorism is hardest on dissenting Muslims.

I don't know how we know what most folks who want to leave Syria are thinking

I think it's fair to say that most folks who want to leave Syria don't want to be blown the hell up.

Anyone who comes here as a refugee from Syria goes through a vetting process that lasts 18 to 24 months. So, we probably have a pretty good idea of what folks who are leaving Syria and coming *here* are thinking.

McKinney,
Thanks for a great comment. I'm still absorbing it, but one point hit me:
It is not racist to believe, as I do, that we--the US--is limited in its ability to absorb large numbers of uneducated, non-English speaking people. There is only so much that we can do.

It is not racist to believe, as I do, that uneducated, non-English speaking people--because they need to eat--work for less than Americans want to be paid and thus lower wages for Americans who need jobs.

Yes, it is undoubtedly true that our capacity to absorb uneducated, non-English speaking immigrants is limited. But the implication, that we are somewhere near that limit, is nonsense. We have, in our history, had a lot of time when the immigrant population (relative to the rest of the population) was a lot higher. And they were nothing like educated, even by the terms of the day. Yet we absorbed them just fine.

The point about jobs is not dissimilar. Are there Americans who would like to work, but can't find work? Sure . . . if by that you mean "find work at a pay rate that they are accustomed to or consider acceptable. And in a place they are willing to go."

The thing is, immigrants are willing to go where the jobs are. They don't have roots in the rust belt town they grew up in (just as an example), so if the job is elsewhere, they go. And they are willing to do hard work at relatively low wages. Not, obviously, too low to support themselves. (And, usually, send money back to their families in the old country, or support families here.)

Perhaps you could argue that Americans with families are entitled to more. However that would still leave a lot of single young men who are unemployed anyway -- but apparently are not willing to work as hard, even though they could support themselves by doing so. Not that I would necessarily blame them. I've done farm work; it's far harder than any other job I have ever had. (And I've done a lot of manual labor, in addition to the cushy computer industry jobs I've had.)

What I'm saying is, it may not be racist to believe the things you cite. But those beliefs are simply nothing like self-evident truths and relevant to the current situation. Given that they have been applied to lots of different sets of immigrants over the years, it may well be that we need a different term than "racist". (Anyone suggesting "ethnicist" will be drawn and quartered!) But it's pretty hard to argue convincingly that the arguments are based mostly on "they're not like us" (whether "us" is defined by race or something else), rather than anything real.

But the implication, that we are somewhere near that limit, is nonsense.

Nonsense? Really? Have you looked at unemployment rates?

But it's pretty hard to argue convincingly that the arguments are based mostly on "they're not like us" (whether "us" is defined by race or something else), rather than anything real.

Then why aren't people like me complaining about legal immigration from Asia, Africa and India? Because the legal immigrants somehow look like me?

Islamic terrorism has been a 'thing' for my entire adult life and I'm 62 years, six months and one day old.

People aren't just making this up. This phenomena kicked off around 1972. So far, the moderate Islamic world has not been notably successful in mitigating this phenomena. At least as far as I can see.

But is this a characteristic of Islam as a whole? I submit that it is actually due to a confluence of two things: where a lot of cheap-to-extract oil happened to be, and a domestic political arrangement between the rulers of that patch of ground and an extreme fundamentalist branch of Islam. Resulting in that particular noxious view being promulgated around the world with oil money. And that is, overwhelmingly, the source of those terrorists.

If you want to argue that Wahabism is inferior to Western culture, you will get complete agreement from me. Likewise, Islam in general is far superior to Wahabism. It's harder to argue that Western civilization is enormously superior to Islamic cultures in general. No question that I prefer it; it's what I'm familiar with, after all. But the level of superiority is pretty small.

And before someone starts in on the way Western civilization has grown the economy, technology, etc., just one point. There is a lot of variation within our culture, too. And some parts of it are, to put it gently, (reluctant) absorbers of new and good stuff, rather than sources of it. Even within the US, that remains true.

I'd say the 1972 Olympics attack was purely political terrorism and would not have looked much different if Christian Palestinians (there are lots of them) had committed it.
And I fear your Spanish hypothetical is not as solid as you think. To be precise, the main opposition to them from certain circles would not be that they supported violent religious intolerance but that it was Roman Catholic not Protestant (and these days the fight against the common enemy, i.e. moderates of any kind, does create local alliances among nominally mortal enemies). The GOP establishment still can't understand why those Latinos are not natural GOP voters given their social conservatism (hint: it's your base that you Pawlowed into hating them).
From a German perspective the worst mistake is to ghettoize the arrivals one cannot expect to leave soon. Once there is a local critical mass, assimilation is off.
Germany imported Turks mainly from the Anatolian backwaters (religious and very conservative). Those that settled individually among German neighbours assimilated well* (for the most part) despite opposition from the state. Those that formed larger communities (closed despite lack of walls) by now often tend to be even more conservative and religious than they were when they arrived. And that has become a serious problem (in particular for the first, assimilated group) even before Erdogan started to poison the well from afar.

*if the Turkish Döner take-aways and greengrocers would suddenly disappear that would be a real crisis at least in the cities.

Then why aren't people like me complaining about legal immigration from Asia, Africa and India? Because the legal immigrants somehow look like me?

You, personally, may not be complaining. But trust me there are lots of people complaining about, for example, folks who are here legally and "taking their jobs". Which, in the IT industry, means that they are being reduced to working for say $100K per year, rather than getting $150K or $200K. And being expected to learn various new technologies that happen to be what employers are looking for.

Yes, it really is happening just like that. It may not be happening in your profession, or in your city. But it is definitely happening. Legal immigration may not have made it to high visibility in the presidential campaign. But it is an issue for a lot of people.

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