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Old 11th May 2018, 12:39 PM   #1
Cavemonster
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Identifying racial bias

There have been a number of incidents in the news lately where black people have had the police called on them while they were acting normally.

In every discussion there's some variation of the question "How can you tell racial bias has anything to do with this?"

I can't. Not with certainty. I can't look inside of people's minds. They generally don't pop on a Klan hood and shout "I did it because you're black!" and we'll always have incomplete evidence.

However these things seem to happen with a great regularity to people of color. I'm not just speaking of the news items. News stations will air what they think people want to hear about and that will be more patterns of popularity than prevalence.

This is my experience just knowing white people and non-white people. As a white guy, me and most of my white friends have a few, fairly rare set of experiences of being told we "don't belong" somewhere or treated that way. In most of these cases, there's a clear explanation, either circumstances paved the way for a misunderstanding or we were dealing with a mentally unbalanced person.

Friends who are non-white seem to experience "You don't belong here" incidents A LOT more frequently, and without those clear extenuating circumstances that explain the situation. And more of them have stories where things escalated.

There is always a "possible" alternative explanation, but at some point we have to acknowledge that this pattern exists. It's a little maddening for a skeptic or a person of color because you can never be sure in a particular situation, and bit like gaslighting to know that the frequency with which you experience your dignity being assaulted can only be explained by race but you can't absolutely prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt in any particular case.
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Old 11th May 2018, 12:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
There have been a number of incidents in the news lately where black people have had the police called on them while they were acting normally.

In every discussion there's some variation of the question "How can you tell racial bias has anything to do with this?"

I can't. Not with certainty. I can't look inside of people's minds. They generally don't pop on a Klan hood and shout "I did it because you're black!" and we'll always have incomplete evidence.

However these things seem to happen with a great regularity to people of color. I'm not just speaking of the news items. News stations will air what they think people want to hear about and that will be more patterns of popularity than prevalence.

This is my experience just knowing white people and non-white people. As a white guy, me and most of my white friends have a few, fairly rare set of experiences of being told we "don't belong" somewhere or treated that way. In most of these cases, there's a clear explanation, either circumstances paved the way for a misunderstanding or we were dealing with a mentally unbalanced person.

Friends who are non-white seem to experience "You don't belong here" incidents A LOT more frequently, and without those clear extenuating circumstances that explain the situation. And more of them have stories where things escalated.

There is always a "possible" alternative explanation, but at some point we have to acknowledge that this pattern exists. It's a little maddening for a skeptic or a person of color because you can never be sure in a particular situation, and bit like gaslighting to know that the frequency with which you experience your dignity being assaulted can only be explained by race but you can't absolutely prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt in any particular case.
I live in Southern California, so many of my friends growing up were minorities. I've taught at a school district that's 20% white for 18 years, and I keep in touch with a lot of my students, and of course, have heard countless stories from them. I can tell you from personal experience, and by things told to me, that how I am treated by the cops vs how the minorities I know are treated by the cops is night and day.
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Old 11th May 2018, 01:05 PM   #3
sir drinks-a-lot
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Well, we know there is racial bias (and all sorts of other biases) with how we and others view people. And we know there is outright racism of all stripes.

The hard part is telling where and when it occurs. You can take a single incident, and some will say that it is "certainly" a case of racial bias, and others will say it is very likely not any such thing.

I did an experiment a couple years back on my commute home from work, where I actually went out of my way to notice examples of non-whites treating me unfairly in a biased way. I came up with some really, really good ones very quickly. For example, a black train operator telling me not to stand in a certain spot, and then a black guy coming to stand there and being allowed to. Shortly afterwards, I was in See's candies getting a gift for my mom, and the black cashier woman served the black customer before me even though I had clearly arrived first. And there were several others. All in one day over the course of several hours in SF. I don't believe that either of the events I just mentioned were racism or even subconscious racial bias (for reasons I won't go into), but they sure can be presented to look that way. So, there is a confirmation bias at play here as well.

I've noticed that when some people evaluate these types of incidents, they tend to see the actors in the incident as just a "black guy" or a "white woman" as if these were two atomic types. But there are many different types of black guys, for example, that have all sorts of potentials for judgements to be made. Compare a Morgan Freeman looking guy with a black guy with gold bling chains around his neck and a face tattoo.
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Old 11th May 2018, 02:27 PM   #4
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At this point, stories about any black person being treated as anything less than royalty are going to make the news, because it fits a narrative. A white person being treated badly is not nearly as interesting.

That's pretty obvious if you look at these two latest examples. On the surface, the incidents couldn't be more trivial. Woman calls security on another woman, cops arrive, check the latter's ID and go back about their business. Busy-body woman calls the cops over a family grilling with charcoal in the wrong place. Cops arrive, shrug their shoulders and leave.

It is only the relative colors of skin that make these stories somehow national.
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Old 11th May 2018, 03:12 PM   #5
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I used to see it day in and day out with my ex-GF, who is very, very dark. People who I am sure would not consider themselves racists would say things like, "My, you're very articulate!" and "Are you the first in your family to go to college?" (her father is a teacher, her step-father a doctor and her mother a head of a Gov't org). The underlying bias was shocking to see. Why shouldn't she be articulate? Why must she be the first of her family to go to college? Silliness, I tell you. I am a very light skinned mix and if I keep my hair short I have never encountered any problems as I 'pass' very easily. Dating her was eye opening.

ETA- Needless to say, our drive together through the Midwest and South was...interesting.

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Old 11th May 2018, 03:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by chrispy View Post
I used to see it day in and day out with my ex-GF, who is very, very dark. People who I am sure would not consider themselves racists would say things like, "My, you're very articulate!" and "Are you the first in your family to go to college?" (her father is a teacher, her step-father a doctor and her mother a head of a Gov't org). The underlying bias was shocking to see. Why shouldn't she be articulate? Why must she be the first of her family to go to college? Silliness, I tell you. I am a very light skinned mix and if I keep my hair short I have never encountered any problems as I 'pass' very easily. Dating her was eye opening.
Remember Joe Biden on Obama?

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"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," Biden said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man.
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Old 11th May 2018, 03:22 PM   #7
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Ya, up until a few weeks ago nobody ever discriminated against black people. This is a sudden thing, probably due to Trump - must be part of that massive wave...

Suddenly, because these incidents are being reported in the media, we have a fresh new problem! Everyone is emboldened to be racist! Trump brought out all the bad guys!

Are you kidding me? I wonder why the media suddenly decided to report on so many minor incidents? Are they really that new or could it be something else? "Look at all the racists! Must be Trump!"

Gawddamn, think just a little bit, huh?
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Old 11th May 2018, 03:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
Ya, up until a few weeks ago nobody ever discriminated against black people.
*blink*

Quote:
Suddenly, because these incidents are being reported in the media, we have a fresh new problem! Everyone is emboldened to be racist! Trump brought out all the bad guys!
Actually, I'd say that the "bad guys" brought out Dolt 45, not the other way around.

Anyway, another factor, especially for those of us that are black, is simply trying to avoid dealing with racist nonsense day in and day out. As I said before, I avoid cops, thought carefully about what car I bought (and still got pulled over for no reason before I made it home from the dealer), consider every piece of news I hear, avoid known racist stores when possible...

And my mother did the same. And so did her parents. And theirs...and after that we're into slavery days.
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Old 11th May 2018, 04:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
And my mother did the same. And so did her parents. And theirs...and after that we're into slavery days.
I mean, yeah, racism has been around forever, but do we have to keep hearing about it? Geez!
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Old 11th May 2018, 11:58 PM   #10
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My girlfriend's granny and some others on that side of her family are very racist. They fired a home healthcare worker because she was black. Another one was Muslim and they fired her because she had to stop and pray at a certain time. This is apparently crazy, but to be Pentecostal and speak in tongues is perfectly normal. I had to call a plumber for her one day and she told me not to call a particular company because they once sent a black guy out and she didn't too much appreciate that. The list goes on and on.

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Old 12th May 2018, 06:47 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
There have been a number of incidents in the news lately where black people have had the police called on them while they were acting normally.

In every discussion there's some variation of the question "How can you tell racial bias has anything to do with this?"

I can't. Not with certainty. I can't look inside of people's minds. They generally don't pop on a Klan hood and shout "I did it because you're black!" and we'll always have incomplete evidence.

However these things seem to happen with a great regularity to people of color. I'm not just speaking of the news items. News stations will air what they think people want to hear about and that will be more patterns of popularity than prevalence.

This is my experience just knowing white people and non-white people. As a white guy, me and most of my white friends have a few, fairly rare set of experiences of being told we "don't belong" somewhere or treated that way. In most of these cases, there's a clear explanation, either circumstances paved the way for a misunderstanding or we were dealing with a mentally unbalanced person.

Friends who are non-white seem to experience "You don't belong here" incidents A LOT more frequently, and without those clear extenuating circumstances that explain the situation. And more of them have stories where things escalated.

There is always a "possible" alternative explanation, but at some point we have to acknowledge that this pattern exists. It's a little maddening for a skeptic or a person of color because you can never be sure in a particular situation, and bit like gaslighting to know that the frequency with which you experience your dignity being assaulted can only be explained by race but you can't absolutely prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt in any particular case.
So what is wrong with calling it out when there is proof and not calling it out if not?

Can you name me another situation in which you would be okay blaming someone without evidence? How many people are you okay with branding racist incorrectly? You realize that has severe consequences, right?

Just in this simple situation tell me how you would tell if someone was racist or legitimate.

Man claims he saw someone attempting to break into his car. Confronted them before entry, the other person claims they were simply walking by and we're hassled simply because of the way they look. Car is undamaged, no evidence of attempted entry.

Who is lying? Please tell me how you would decode this situation.

Personally without further evidence is easy there is not enough evidence to punish either man. I can't just lock up the non car owner ,and by the same logic I can't blame the car owner.

Does this mean either are innocent? No, the car owner could be the most racist prick on earth, and the non car owner could also be a prolific car thief , but I can't prove either and based on being innocent until proven guilty I cannot punish without proof.

Do you think we should move to a system where innocence should be proven instead of guilt? That is literally your only other option.
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Old 12th May 2018, 08:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
I mean, yeah, racism has been around forever, but do we have to keep hearing about it? Geez!
The funny part is, a lot of folks couldn't care less if someone were wildly racist, so long as they keep it to themselves. It like "Okay, if I'm walking around, you can shout 'the N-word' into your pillow all you want - but do you have to call the cops, grab things out of my hand, yell about how I don't belong in some public area, and generally act like a damn fool and inconvenience/threaten/harm me?"

Originally Posted by sadhatter View Post
Man claims he saw someone attempting to break into his car. Confronted them before entry, the other person claims they were simply walking by and we're hassled simply because of the way they look. Car is undamaged, no evidence of attempted entry.

Who is lying? Please tell me how you would decode this situation.
Man does this several more times, always for people of a particular race - and then confronts one, ranting about how "you people" always "come here to steal cars." And this being the US, the neighborhood is severely segregated, and the local car thieves inevitably end up being local teenagers and drug dealers of the same race as the person who keeps calling the cops - but man has never complained about teens of his own race.
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Old 12th May 2018, 09:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
*blink*



Actually, I'd say that the "bad guys" brought out Dolt 45, not the other way around.

Anyway, another factor, especially for those of us that are black, is simply trying to avoid dealing with racist nonsense day in and day out. As I said before, I avoid cops, thought carefully about what car I bought (and still got pulled over for no reason before I made it home from the dealer), consider every piece of news I hear, avoid known racist stores when possible...

And my mother did the same. And so did her parents. And theirs
...and after that we're into slavery days.
I have heard the same from virtually every friend or acquaintance I know who is a minority (at least those comfortable enough with me to discuss this topic). In my college town this manifests mostly as a day to day series of small slights arising from subtle bias, and only more rarely scarier, larger confrontations with overt racism. People looking at them funny if they have a "too-nice" car and they retrieve something from the trunk. Shop owners who make an extra effort to follow them around as they shop, or double check their credit card when they checkout. People who flinch when they enter an elevator with them, or cross to the other side if they see them coming down a dark street. Even words of praise can hurt, "Gee, you sure are well spoken for a... um.. gee, you sure are well spoken!"

I think that the claims that this happens to everyone and minorities are just overly sensitive (or are intentionally playing the race card) come from a lack of understanding of how often and ubiquitous these events are in the life of most minority individuals (and perhaps excessive wishful optimism as to how far USA culture has progressed). It doesn't happen to me or my "white" friends- not nearly at this frequency or in these ways.

A specific incident is highlighted as an OP in the Forum and there are posters who immediately attempt to find ways to explain how this particular event needn't have been racism or bias. Sure, perhaps when these incidents are taken individually someone can come up with non-racist spins and excuses, however stretched, unlikely, implausible, or downright laughable. However new excuses have to be invented again for the next reported incident, and again for the next one, and again... It quickly exceeds my credulity that the most obvious and likely explanation for most of these incidents, racial bias, must be the wrong one, and that an entire series of much more convoluted and twisted implausible explanations are the correct ones- over and over again.

It is the very relentlessness and frequency of these events taken as a whole that are the most convincing to me that our society still has far to go to rid ourselves of blatant racism and of subtle or subconscious bias. It is the very relentlessness and frequency of these events that is most daunting for my minority friends.

Perhaps it helps me see this because I am culturally Jewish. I look like the majority, so I am not typically targeted. But I have seen and heard a pale (pun intended) version of the bias that my more easily detected minority friends have experienced. And I can only say that prejudice remains ingrained in our culture and to ignore it, or pretend it does not exist, perils our soul as a just society.

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Old 12th May 2018, 09:53 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by sadhatter View Post
Man claims he saw someone attempting to break into his car. (...) Car is undamaged, no evidence of attempted entry.

Really? Undamaged and no evidence of attempted entry?! How did the alleged car thief try to break into the car? By huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf?

Quote:
Who is lying?

The man who claimed that someone tried to break into his car, obviously!
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Old 12th May 2018, 09:57 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
Actually, I'd say that the "bad guys" brought out Dolt 45, not the other way around.


But a lot of those guys now feel encouraged by their success.
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Old 12th May 2018, 10:23 AM   #16
sir drinks-a-lot
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I have heard the same from virtually every friend or acquaintance I know who is a minority (at least those comfortable enough with me to discuss this topic). In my college town this manifests mostly as a day to day series of small slights arising from subtle bias, and only more rarely scarier, larger confrontations with overt racism. People looking at them funny if they have a "too-nice" car and they retrieve something from the trunk. Shop owners who make an extra effort to follow them around as they shop, or double check their credit card when they checkout. People who flinch when they enter an elevator with them, or cross to the other side if they see them coming down a dark street. Even words of praise can hurt, "Gee, you sure are well spoken for a... um.. gee, you sure are well spoken!"
You don't see how all of this could very, very easily be confirmation bias? If you're a black guy driving a BMW 5 series, and you are retrieving something from the trunk and a white person looks at you and you can tell by the way they're looking at you that they're thinking "hey that guy has a too nice car....for a black guy!" I'd maintain that this is almost impossible. What would such a look even lookin like? If you had to film a movie scene that tried to get that look across without looking completely ridiculous and over-acted, you'd have a tough time. Now, if you had other reasons in advance to suspect that ***** people might look at you driving a 5 series and think it too good a car for a black person to be driving, you may "see" these sorts of looks all the time.

I'm sure most of your minority friends have been recipients of actual racism. Almost all minorities have in one way or another. So have many white people, myself included. And minorities are the recipient of racism from other minorities, although those incidents are not as appealing to modern race politics.

Quote:
I think that the claims that this happens to everyone and minorities are just overly sensitive (or are intentionally playing the race card) come from a lack of understanding of how often and ubiquitous these events are in the life of most minority individuals (and perhaps excessive wishful optimism as to how far USA culture has progressed). It doesn't happen to me or my "white" friends- not nearly at this frequency or in these ways.
This is the crux of the biscuit, but one for which you don't really offer compelling evidence, but only biased anecdote. And certainly you must agree that there are some instances of minorities intentionally playing the race card, don't you? Especially when there are so many rewards for doing so.

Quote:
A specific incident is highlighted as an OP in the Forum and there are posters who immediately attempt to find ways to explain how this particular event needn't have been racism or bias. Sure, perhaps when these incidents are taken individually someone can come up with non-racist spins and excuses, however stretched, unlikely, implausible, or downright laughable. However new excuses have to be invented again for the next reported incident, and again for the next one, and again... It quickly exceeds my credulity that the most obvious and likely explanation for most of these incidents, racial bias, must be the wrong one, and that an entire series of much more convoluted and twisted implausible explanations are the correct ones- over and over again.
I haven't seen most of them as unlikely or implausible at all, let also laughable. And, you keep asserting that yours is the most "obvious" explanation. But from where do you get this claim that it is the most obvious explanation? Simply because the news article included the words "white" and "black" about 50 times before mentioning the participants in the incident?

Quote:
It is the very relentlessness and frequency of these events taken as a whole that are the most convincing to me that our society still has far to go to rid ourselves of blatant racism and of subtle or subconscious bias. It is the very relentlessness and frequency of these events that is most daunting for my minority friends.
320 million people, lots of credit cards being double-checked. Lots of people being accused of breaking into cars. Lots of misunderstandings. Cherry pick as you like, but more and more of these incidents don't help your case any more than an evangelist providing more and more poor proofs of the Christian God's existence would help his.

I'm not claiming that there is no racial bias (there is, and will probably always be), and that there isn't even outright racism. That exists as well. But more than either, I think there is desperate narrative that is falling apart here.
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Old 12th May 2018, 10:54 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by sir drinks-a-lot View Post
You don't see how all of this could very, very easily be confirmation bias? If you're a black guy driving a BMW 5 series, and you are retrieving something from the trunk and a white person looks at you and you can tell by the way they're looking at you that they're thinking "hey that guy has a too nice car....for a black guy!" I'd maintain that this is almost impossible. What would such a look even lookin like? If you had to film a movie scene that tried to get that look across without looking completely ridiculous and over-acted, you'd have a tough time. Now, if you had other reasons in advance to suspect that ***** people might look at you driving a 5 series and think it too good a car for a black person to be driving, you may "see" these sorts of looks all the time.
[snip]
In the two auto incidents of which I was referring, the car was a new high-end Honda Accord, the guy was a black grad student in nicer clothing than I wear, and "the look" was a cop who stopped them mid day in the University parking lot and made them produce ID, a key, and registration. Twice within the one year I knew them. I do not know of this happening to me or to any white student. Hmmm- what is different? Oh, wait, I know... Oh, but that would be leaping to an unverifiable conclusion, right? It could be, it must be something else... Because you don't want to believe racial bias exists at this level in the USA. I believe your resistance to this idea comes from a good motive- you wish to believe that we have progressed more than I fear we actually have.

I agree that some accusations of racial bias are simply confirmation bias. But where did that "bias" come from originally- the seed of the suspicion that a new incident stems from racial profiling and prejudice? Why do so many minority people have it? From what I can tell, it originates from being the past target of racial profiling and prejudice again and again as one grows up and experiences life. And from seeing the same happen over and over again to your family and friends. It doesn't take much of this to then expect it, to see the next slight as most likely reflecting the same bias that you've experienced for years, rather than being an exception to the rule.

As an experiment one drops a steel ballbearing 20 times and each time it falls down to the floor. You think about the possibilities, look at the circumstances in each case, read up on the theory, and come to the very reasonable conclusion that the ballbearing fell due to gravity. In fact the same happens if you drop a wooden ball. You drop the steel ballbearing a 21st time and again it falls to the floor. It might be confirmation bias to assume that it was gravity again, rather than consider that for some reason this time was different, this time there was a strong electromagnet under the floor. You might be wrong in terms of the explanation for the 21st incident, but not wrong at all as to the pervasive presence of gravity.
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Old 12th May 2018, 11:04 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by sir drinks-a-lot View Post
[snip]
I'm sure most of your minority friends have been recipients of actual racism. Almost all minorities have in one way or another. So have many white people, myself included. And minorities are the recipient of racism from other minorities, although those incidents are not as appealing to modern race politics.

[snip]
All agreed- when have I suggested minorities can't be racist? In fact I've posted as much in other threads on this topic. But mathematics alone result in racial bias by the majority against minorities being the most prevalent version of this racism. Further, given that most of the power and wealth of the USA is owned and controlled by the white majority, this version of racism/racial bias is the one that is most likely to have the most frequent, and often to have the most serious repercussions.
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Old 12th May 2018, 11:08 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by sir drinks-a-lot View Post
[snip]
320 million people, lots of credit cards being double-checked. Lots of people being accused of breaking into cars. Lots of misunderstandings. Cherry pick as you like, but more and more of these incidents don't help your case any more than an evangelist providing more and more poor proofs of the Christian God's existence would help his.

I'm not claiming that there is no racial bias (there is, and will probably always be), and that there isn't even outright racism. That exists as well. But more than either, I think there is desperate narrative that is falling apart here.
As I've posted in another thread- there are an awful lot of cherries out there from which to pick. How many cherries does one have to point out until it is reasonable to conclude that there is an entire cherry orchard out there?
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Old 13th May 2018, 08:57 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
As I've posted in another thread- there are an awful lot of cherries out there from which to pick. How many cherries does one have to point out until it is reasonable to conclude that there is an entire cherry orchard out there?
As I've explained before, there are all sorts of interactions that go wrong between people or groups of people in the US. Do you think that woman was the only person to be falsely accused of shoplifting in the last several months? Think again.

What I am calling cherry picking, is the focusing on this case with the prima facie assumption of racism because of the races involved. Of course there are going to be event like this all over the US, all of the time. As well as the cherries you're not interested in: for example if the shopkeeper had been hispanic and the customers white. If the story made the news at all (it wouldn't have), it almost certainly wouldn't have used a "Hispanic shopkeeper accuses white mom and daughter of shoplifting" narrative.

Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I agree that some accusations of racial bias are simply confirmation bias. But where did that "bias" come from originally- the seed of the suspicion that a new incident stems from racial profiling and prejudice? Why do so many minority people have it? From what I can tell, it originates from being the past target of racial profiling and prejudice again and again as one grows up and experiences life. And from seeing the same happen over and over again to your family and friends. It doesn't take much of this to then expect it, to see the next slight as most likely reflecting the same bias that you've experienced for years, rather than being an exception to the rule.
Given that it is confirmation bias, it can come from many sources - why does the victim expect discrimination? You provided a "from what I can tell" as support for your variant, and I'm sure you're right in certain cases. But here are other, very, very strong, incentives for such confirmation biases. Look at how hungry this forum and the national media are for such cases. Don't you think that playa factor at all?
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Old 13th May 2018, 09:37 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Perhaps it helps me see this because I am culturally Jewish. I look like the majority, so I am not typically targeted. But I have seen and heard a pale (pun intended) version of the bias that my more easily detected minority friends have experienced. And I can only say that prejudice remains ingrained in our culture and to ignore it, or pretend it does not exist, perils our soul as a just society.
This could easily be it - I know a lot of light-skinned black guys who have heard some remarkably racist things, and (as I'm Afro-Latino) some people have said deeply bigoted things about LatinX things to me.

Getting back to the OP, a lot of people do question the marginal cases - the interviewer that looks strangely uncomfortable, the shop owner or (more common) waiter who isn't attentive at all, and so forth. It's not always some violent idiot spewing century-old stereotypes like George Zimmerman or Michael Dunn, or that Starbucks manager who called the cops for two black guys who waited around for five minutes, like almost everyone else does there. It's the marginal cases where most people start questioning things - do they just feel nervous around large guys? Are they reserving the good tables for a party, and *that's* why we're next to the kitchen? That's when most people stop and have to think about it. those are also the case where the person themselves may not be aware of what they're doing - that slight nervousness, or the "compliment" about how they "don't think of you as" your race/ethnicity (key point: what would they do if they did?).
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Old 13th May 2018, 09:52 AM   #22
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I find it odd that on a skeptics site the evidence on offer supporting a nationwide cultural phenomenon is a series of anecdotes.

Based on what we do know about the culture and history of US, I find the idea that racism is still a meaningful force that impacts on the day to day lives of people to be very likely.

The degree to which that is so is something that we can only really assess with population level statistics.

Something like this can be illustrative:


It's worth noting that even in 2013 only 87% approved of interracial marriage. While that's much better than past decades, it's still surprisingly low to me.
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Old 13th May 2018, 10:32 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by sir drinks-a-lot View Post
As I've explained before, there are all sorts of interactions that go wrong between people or groups of people in the US. Do you think that woman was the only person to be falsely accused of shoplifting in the last several months? Think again.

What I am calling cherry picking, is the focusing on this case with the prima facie assumption of racism because of the races involved. Of course there are going to be event like this all over the US, all of the time. As well as the cherries you're not interested in: for example if the shopkeeper had been hispanic and the customers white. If the story made the news at all (it wouldn't have), it almost certainly wouldn't have used a "Hispanic shopkeeper accuses white mom and daughter of shoplifting" narrative.



Given that it is confirmation bias, it can come from many sources - why does the victim expect discrimination? You provided a "from what I can tell" as support for your variant, and I'm sure you're right in certain cases. But here are other, very, very strong, incentives for such confirmation biases. Look at how hungry this forum and the national media are for such cases. Don't you think that playa factor at all?
Is your major point then that any one or even several of the various specific incidents cited in the forum may reflect confirmation bias? Sure! Statistics alone make it possible, although I've generally found the twisting/writhing alt-explantions in these threads attempting to deny racial bias unconvincing or even amusing.

Okay, we appear to at least agree that racial bias exists in the USA; are we only arguing as to how widespread it is as a whole? Well I am arguing that the dog is wagging the tail, not the opposite, and that although some incidents may not be examples of racial bias, most are and the numbers of these incidents reflect a wide-spread racial bias in the USA. You appear to be arguing that the tail is wagging the dog, and that most of these incidents are not due to racial discrimination at all, but are almost always misinterpretations/confirmation bias/paranoia/playing of the race card by the minorities involved.

First, by doing so you are claiming that you have a far better understanding of these incidents than the minorities who actually experienced them. And you are claiming that you have a more accurate and better picture of the existence and prevalence of racial bias in the USA as a whole than do most of the people who believe themselves to have been the targets of this bias. That is quite an "out there" position to hold. And although I am certain that you will note that not every minority person believes that there is widespread discrimination (I myself will offer Ben Carson as an example), certainly the majority of minorities (I put that in intentionally for effect) do.

Second: again, if there is confirmation bias in some of these cases, from where does the bias in the "confirmation bias" first originate? You suggest that a very, very strong incentive for some confirmation bias comes from the hunger of this forum and the national media to highlight such cases. Really? Are you really saying that this confirmation bias does not primarily originate from actual, prior, prevalent, repeated experiences by the minorities themselves, but rather that these minorities have been convinced that there is wide spread racial bias only because they've heard there is from news agencies wanting to attract listeners and readers, and from liberals wanting to believe bad things about their country?

I realize you are not a racist, but I am old enough that this statement reminds me in an amusing way of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and how the Southern segregationist establishment repeatedly argued that the matches and protests were only due to outside agitators (the press, Northerners, Communists) riling up "their Negros" who were perfectly happy until these carpetbaggers came in. I realize that you are not arguing this, but you appear to be arguing that the minorities who feel they have been discriminated against would not have had that feeling at all if they were not told to expect discrimination by national media, by forums, and I presume by white "liberals."

I don't think so.

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Old 13th May 2018, 12:09 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Remember Joe Biden on Obama?
Just shocking. I never knew Joe Biden was a closeted grand wizard of the KKK.
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Old 13th May 2018, 12:13 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
The funny part is, a lot of folks couldn't care less if someone were wildly racist, so long as they keep it to themselves. It like "Okay, if I'm walking around, you can shout 'the N-word' into your pillow all you want - but do you have to call the cops, grab things out of my hand, yell about how I don't belong in some public area, and generally act like a damn fool and inconvenience/threaten/harm me?"
What’s wrong with that? People have the right to be stupid. If they keep their stupidity to themselves, so what?
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Old 13th May 2018, 12:19 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I find it odd that on a skeptics site the evidence on offer supporting a nationwide cultural phenomenon is a series of anecdotes.

Based on what we do know about the culture and history of US, I find the idea that racism is still a meaningful force that impacts on the day to day lives of people to be very likely.

The degree to which that is so is something that we can only really assess with population level statistics.

Something like this can be illustrative:
https://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/...cks-whites.png

It's worth noting that even in 2013 only 87% approved of interracial marriage. While that's much better than past decades, it's still surprisingly low to me.
I don't know if it's still the case, but back in the late 1970s there was a fairly strong disapproval of black men dating white woman among other blacks. I remember a black co-worker telling me of the nasty looks he'd get from other blacks when he would go out with a white gal.
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Old 13th May 2018, 12:45 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by dann View Post

But a lot of those guys now feel encouraged by their success.
But that's exactly what I am questioning. Is there more racism or is it just the media reporting these types of things more? I think it's the latter.

I keep hearing about the latest rash of racism in the news, the examples given are the Starbucks thing, the incident about the woman who complained about guys on a college tour even though she never complained about their race or even knew they were Native American, and a few other incidents, some also questionable.

These are the "recent incidents" that are fueling the racism discussion and this very thread. This is being presented as some kind of new thing, a new wave of public aggression towards minorities. Think of the Massive Wave Of Hate Crime thread.

My argument is that there is nothing new here, it's simply journalism that fills an agenda, that agenda being that there is a new inspired attitude of racism going on because Trump has emboldened racists.

These coffee shop incidents have gone on and will go on whether the news reports it or not.
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Old 13th May 2018, 01:07 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Is your major point then that any one or even several of the various specific incidents cited in the forum may reflect confirmation bias? Sure!
Sure, that is one of my major points.

Quote:
Okay, we appear to at least agree that racial bias exists in the USA; are we only arguing as to how widespread it is as a whole?
Perhaps. I said right out that racial (and all sorts) of other biases exist in my first post in this thread. To take things even further, many of these biases we have are rational. And we are biased toward others for some things over which they have no control (race, gender, certain aspects of their behavior and appearance), and other things over which they do have control (mode of dress, other aspects of appearance and behavior).


Quote:
Well I am arguing that the dog is wagging the tail, not the opposite, and that although some incidents may not be examples of racial bias, most are and the numbers of these incidents reflect a wide-spread racial bias in the USA.
You're saying this, but I haven't seen you arguing it.

Quote:
First, by doing so you are claiming that you have a far better understanding of these incidents than the minorities who actually experienced them. And you are claiming that you have a more accurate and better picture of the existence and prevalence of racial bias in the USA as a whole than do most of the people who believe themselves to have been the targets of this bias. That is quite an "out there" position to hold. And although I am certain that you will note that not every minority person believes that there is widespread discrimination (I myself will offer Ben Carson as an example), certainly the majority of minorities (I put that in intentionally for effect) do.
I don't think what I'm saying is quite as strong as you are claiming, and I also don't think it's that much of an "out there" position to hold. After all, you're claiming, as a minority, to have a better understanding of the motives and biases of the "majority offenders" in these cases, than the people themselves! So it goes, I guess.

Further, I don't think the fact that the "majority of minorities*" holds a particular position is very relevant at all. Listen here as a minority expresses a minority opinion.

Quote:
Second: again, if there is confirmation bias in some of these cases, from where does the bias in the "confirmation bias" first originate? You suggest that a very, very strong incentive for some confirmation bias comes from the hunger of this forum and the national media to highlight such cases. Really? Are you really saying that this confirmation bias does not primarily originate from actual, prior, prevalent, repeated experiences by the minorities themselves, but rather that these minorities have been convinced that there is wide spread racial bias only because they've heard there is from news agencies wanting to attract listeners and readers, and from liberals wanting to believe bad things about their country?
I'm saying both can be reasons for confirmation bias, but I think I place a much higher emphasis on the latter than you do. This is better explained by the guy in the video I just posted. I don't think the liberals who are so enamored by racial issues are wanting to believe bad things about their country so much as they are looking for opportunities to signal their own progressively anointed status.

* Joke was noted and appreciated, although of dubious quality
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Old 13th May 2018, 01:11 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
These are the "recent incidents" that are fueling the racism discussion and this very thread. This is being presented as some kind of new thing, a new wave of public aggression towards minorities. Think of the Massive Wave Of Hate Crime thread.
No, it is not. I can understand why you would think that, if reading these threads has been your only engagement with these incidents; but I assure you that the actual victims in these cases aren't posting these videos saying "look what we have to deal with lately", or "look what we have to deal with because of Trump". We are being given a window into what these people have been dealing with their entire lives, how black Americans have been treated for generations. It is a very old and interminable tide of public aggression towards minorities.

The ascension of Trumpism has made a difference; but the difference is that instead of merely sighing about what a shame it is but otherwise turning a blind eye, there are supremacist elements who are now far more comfortable openly cheerleading these incidents and publicly repudiating the suggestion that what's happening is wrong.
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Old 13th May 2018, 01:35 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
I don't know if it's still the case, but back in the late 1970s there was a fairly strong disapproval of black men dating white woman among other blacks. I remember a black co-worker telling me of the nasty looks he'd get from other blacks when he would go out with a white gal.

And around that same time in some parts of the country that black guy stood a fair chance of getting beaten up by white guys who chose to show their disapproval with more than nasty looks.

Being equal opportunity, though, they could have the same reaction towards a white guy going out with a black woman.

Guess they deserve credit for that.
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Old 13th May 2018, 10:17 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Something like this can be illustrative:
https://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/...cks-whites.png

It's worth noting that even in 2013 only 87% approved of interracial marriage. While that's much better than past decades, it's still surprisingly low to me.

Is there a "Why-the-hell-would-it-be-any-of-my-business-to-approve-or-disapprove-of-two-people-deciding-to-get-married?" option in that questionnaire?
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Old 13th May 2018, 10:24 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Is there a "Why-the-hell-would-it-be-any-of-my-business-to-approve-or-disapprove-of-two-people-deciding-to-get-married?" option in that questionnaire?
Pretty sure most people with that opinion would tic the approve box.
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Old 14th May 2018, 03:41 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
The ascension of Trumpism has made a difference; but the difference is that instead of merely sighing about what a shame it is but otherwise turning a blind eye, there are supremacist elements who are now far more comfortable openly cheerleading these incidents and publicly repudiating the suggestion that what's happening is wrong.

And that's the problem here. All statistics have shown that racism and racist incidents have been on a steady decline, that's good. But a lot of that has been due to public pressure, making overt expressions of racism unfashionable, and turning overt racists into social pariahs in the general culture -- which the right-wing racists have been decrying for decades as "Political Correctness" suppressing their "free speech".

What we have now is a situation where overt racism is on the rise again, and the ascension of Trump and his ilk is both a symptom and an aggregating factor. Trump's openly racist rhetoric during the campaign effectively opened the door for all the closeted racists to feel emboldened to come out and openly express their racism again, and for people who were sort of waffling on the issue to have the more negative aspects of their personality and worldview validated by an influential outside source. If you look through recent stories of racist incidents reported in reliable mainstream news sources, you can see a disturbing number of them involving the racist directly and explicitly invoking Trump. Comments like "Trump's gonna send you *racist epithet*s back where you came from."

The fact that a small majority of white women, and a large majority of white men, voted for Trump shows just how prevalent racism always was in this country, and how far we truly are from a "post-racial" society. The incident in Charlottesville shows just how much the racists have become emboldened by this.

And I can already hear the usual suspects spouting off. "Just because they voted for Trump doesn't mean they're racist. Most of them probably voted for him for economic reasons." Well, no, that's still racist. They knowingly voted for someone who was openly and unapologetically racist, who has a documented history of being openly and unapologetically racist. The absolute best that can be said about those people is that they considered his racism acceptable enough to overlook as long as he promised to give them what they wanted. They and people like them weren't being affected by it, so they didn't care about it.

That may not be cross-burning, lynch-mob-inciting, gas-chamber-building racism, but it's still racism, and it still affects a whole lot of people in this country. It's the "You're not important enough to care about unless you're like me. You don't have the right to be treated like a fellow human being unless you're like me. I have no interest in your safety or security or financial well-being unless you're like me." It's the same in-group vs. out-group dynamics based on ethnic heritage, just in a more subtle and more plausibly-deniable form. It shows just how deeply ingrained racism is in the culture and institutions of this country.
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Old 14th May 2018, 03:58 PM   #34
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*Shrugs*

Racism and racial incidents are on a sharp and steady decline, which is a good thing.

Racial incidents are being more widely reported because A) they become more newsworthy as they become less common and B) the media gets on kicks where it is on the lookout for incidents of whatever the debate of the moment it is.

Whether or not you want to see recent events as the racists being embolden by recent political changes or the last loud dying gasps on a fading ideology as the losing side gets louder and crazier like the losing side in every social change does and every time we act shocked and surprised by it... is as noted simply a matter of which narrative you are trying to write.

If course the talking heads "Cause" people are going to argue over what it means. They have to. It's what they do. They have to protect their causes because it's a central point of their identities, not just an opinion they happen to hold.
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Old 15th May 2018, 03:23 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
*Shrugs*

Racism and racial incidents are on a sharp and steady decline, which is a good thing.
And of course segregation is reaching higher and higher levels which is also apparently a good thing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/o...ation-nyc.html

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/educati...egated-schools

And of course segregating your school is a perfectly valid reason to seperate a school district.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local...=.591bca8f349a

"A federal judge’s ruling this week that allows a predominantly white Alabama city to separate from its more diverse school district is stoking new debate about the fate of desegregation initiatives after decades of efforts to promote racial balance in public education.

Judge Madeline Haikala of the U.S. District Court in Birmingham ruled that the city of Gardendale’s effort to break away was motivated by race and sent messages of racial inferiority and exclusion that “assail the dignity of black schoolchildren.”

She also found that Gardendale failed to meet its legal burden to prove that its separation would not hinder desegregation in Jefferson County, which has been struggling to integrate its schools since black parents first sued for an equal education for their children in the 1960s."

This is the right kind of racism and segregation now the kind everyone is ok with. The kind that you can not call racism or people get deeply offended and declare you are playing the race card.
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Old 15th May 2018, 07:26 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
And I can already hear the usual suspects spouting off. "Just because they voted for Trump doesn't mean they're racist. Most of them probably voted for him for economic reasons." Well, no, that's still racist. They knowingly voted for someone who was openly and unapologetically racist
No, they voted for someone who was openly and unapologetically negative about illegal immigrants and Muslims.

Calling that racist requires pretending that those are races and that their being races was the real basis for the thinking of someone who never mentioned race when talking about them. Those components both come exclusively from Trump's overzealous opponents, not from Trump himself. And they're both almost certainly dishonest. (I suppose it's possible that you're so fixated on race yourself that you seriously just can't see things in terms of anything else but race, but I'm trying to presumptively give credit for at least a minimal level of non-idiocy.)

Last edited by Delvo; 15th May 2018 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 15th May 2018, 07:39 AM   #37
JoeMorgue
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
And of course segregation is reaching higher and higher levels which is also apparently a good thing.
As always I am in awe of your ability to argue not only with things that nobody said, but apparently with people who aren't even in the conversation. I hope you and the person in your head you are having a discussion with come to some form of agreement.

But more broadly the whole "Oh yeah smart guy, well what about this exception!" argument when someone claims a trend.

I said racism is on the downswing, not that someone snapped their fingers and made it disappears. What exactly did what you say in anyway mean anything?

Even beyond the pathetic "My soup is too hot, ergo you can't argue that yours is too cold" style of argumentatives that have become common this whole "I can find an example somewhere, anywhere of soup that's too hot ergo your claim that overall soup temperatures is growing colder cannot possibly be true" is even worse.

Why does the fact that things are getting better bother people?
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Old 15th May 2018, 08:17 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
No, they voted for someone who was openly and unapologetically negative about illegal immigrants and Muslims.

Calling that racist requires pretending that those are races and that their being races was the real basis for the thinking of someone who never mentioned race when talking about them. Those components both come exclusively from Trump's overzealous opponents, not from Trump himself. And they're both almost certainly dishonest. (I suppose it's possible that you're so fixated on race yourself that you seriously just can't see things in terms of anything else but race, but I'm trying to presumptively give credit for at least a minimal level of non-idiocy.)
This now appears to be a standard, if laughable, rhetoric argument by the right: "people who claim there is racism are the real racists because one needs to believe there are races to claim racism."

No. NO! One needs to believe there are races to be a racist, but they don't have to be correct- they are still a racist. Isn't all racism based on false beliefs? In fact the most fundamental false belief in racism is that is a scientific basis to divide human beings into different races.

In contrast there is no need to believe/pretend that there are races to see racism in someone else. Does one have to believe in witches to denounce someone seeking to burn a witch?

Last edited by Giordano; 15th May 2018 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 15th May 2018, 08:33 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
As always I am in awe of your ability to argue not only with things that nobody said, but apparently with people who aren't even in the conversation. I hope you and the person in your head you are having a discussion with come to some form of agreement.

But more broadly the whole "Oh yeah smart guy, well what about this exception!" argument when someone claims a trend.
The problem is, it's not that difficult for people to say "I have no problem with a black* guy dating my daughter", but then still freak out when/if it happens. Actions like segregating school districts, voter suppression attempts, and the like all rather strongly suggest that a lot of people aren't over it at all, so much as they are reluctant to say that they're racist. Even the most obvious examples - many ethnostate advocates, hate groups, and the like, will tell you that they "aren't racist, just pro-white".

As to the OP - a lot of things may have changed - age is a factor, as are news stories - and just random chance. I see less racism in Maryland than I did in Boston, even 15-20 years ago. Even something like a change in activities can effect this - I've noted before that clubs in the US are notorious for turning away black people if "too many black people" are already there - to the point where bouncers will often state it outright in private.

*: One time - feel free to substitute any other race for examples I give, within reason.
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Old 15th May 2018, 08:36 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
As always I am in awe of your ability to argue not only with things that nobody said, but apparently with people who aren't even in the conversation. I hope you and the person in your head you are having a discussion with come to some form of agreement.

But more broadly the whole "Oh yeah smart guy, well what about this exception!" argument when someone claims a trend.
Or actually knowing that the claimed trend is total BS and easily disproven.
Quote:
I said racism is on the downswing, not that someone snapped their fingers and made it disappears. What exactly did what you say in anyway mean anything?
But of course evidence for that is rather lacking while evidence for increases in things like more segregated schools now than 30 years ago is quite clear.
Quote:
Why does the fact that things are getting better bother people?
It assumes facts not in evidence? You seem to be taking it solely on faith that things are getting better with out bothering to look to see if that is actually the case. The most overt racism is not acceptable but the redlining the casual harassment of calling the cops on your black neighbors and so on where is your evidence that it is decreasing?
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