Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jan, 2013 06:05 pm
@medium-density,
My, my, my . . . you are begging enough questions to set up a bridge tournament. You have also characterized my argument in a manner convenient to your polemic, but a manner which is a rather obvious distortion. Who do you allege constitute the disadvantaged in society? Is Mr. Obama disadvantaged because he is black (about half) and there are white racists in the United States willing to vent their bigoted spleens? Is Oprah Winfrey, one of the wealthiest people in the world, disadvantaged by racist hate speech? Far and away, leaving aside those whom i believe the English call old age pensioners, the majority of people receiving social assistance in the United States are "white" and rural. The venom social and political conservatives spew about urban blacks and "welfare queens" simply isn't true--do hard-working and successful blacks suffer a disadvantage because there are virulent, loud-mouthed racists in the United States? Given that the majority of welfare recipients are white and rural, what special dispensations and protections do you allege they receive because some of them happen to be white, heterosexual males with patriarchal prejudices? There is no official language in the United States, and for many decades now, government has bent over backwards to accommodate native speakers of Spanish, who represent about 10% of the population. From officials documents to telephone scripts to product labeling, Spanish speakers, far from being discriminated against, are accommodated, and by marketers, even courted. Since the implementation of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) it is a commonplace to see products labeled in English, Spanish and French.

This was a particularly odious fling on your part:

Quote:
In other words the oppressed can take aspects of their oppression on the chin because even the smallest encroachment of bigots' right to speak is too scary to contemplate, let alone legislate for.


Who is it that you allege are oppressed by a bigot's right to speak? I've already pointed out that there is a standard, a demarcation of lines not to be crossed. There are private organizations which keep track of the white supremacists, as well as the black bigots, such as those who allege the Jews are responsible for the slave trade. The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks such bigots, especially white supremacists, although they do not restrict themselves to them. The Anti-Defamation League tracks such bigots, too, with a focus on antisemitism. There are many, many protections in both state and federal law, and the fourteenth amendment stands as a bulwark against not just private, but official discrimination as well.

Your blather about a "harmful narrative" does not impress me. Was the National Front gagged because their "narrative" might have offended people? Can you explain how a "narrative" oppresses people? Do you consider it reasonable to suggest that people must never hear unpleasant things about themselves, whether true or simply the product of someone's bigotry?

You needn't tell me about bigotry and its effect. I am descended from Kelts. Of my great grandparents, seven with either Irish, or the children of the Irish, with the exception of my maternal grandfather's family, who have been in North America for more than 370 years. We have a family tree of them--the number of intermarriages with people who were not of Irish descent were negligible. The sole exception was my maternal-maternal great grandmother, a Scot who married an Irishman before coming to America. As it happened, i knew her personally--born a hundred years before i was, she died at the age of 105 when i was just a small boy. Given that the Scots are called Scots because of the Irish invasion 2500 years ago, and that to this day Gaelic speakers are mutually comprehensible, i don't consider that a significant distinction.

My parents' marriage broke up not long after i was born (sadly, i can't take credit), and we went to live with my maternal grandparents. My grandfather was a lapsed Catholic, and my grandmother had been raised a Methodist by her Scots mother. In line with the common practice in the United States, because my mother had married a Catholic and converted, my grandparents saw to it that we received Catholic instruction, attended the mass and passed through all the ritual stages. In fact, i've been an atheist for probably longer than you've been alive (almost 50 years). I made a deal that i would not cut up rough about the confirmation ceremony on the condition that no one would attempt to make me take any more religious instruction or attend the mass.

We lived in a very small town (800 people in the town, no more than 1300 or 1400 with the people in the surrounding farmlands). The overwhelming demographic was Germanic--English, German, Dutch--people like the Kuykendals, the Sieberts, the Ralstons, the Hukels, and so on. In my class at school, there were just three Catholics, one of whom was my sister. The other had the family name of German, so people hardly noticed her religion. I heard from my earliest youth deprecating remarks about the Irish, and those __________, my family name. I doubt that many people in town realized that Antrim, my grandfather's family name, is Irish. We've got a nasty little **** here who never misses the opportunity to try to get a rise out of people with her remarks about the Irish. The pathetic thing about her is that she is, or claims to be, Jewish. You'd think there would be some fellow feeling--but based on my life's experience, don't bet on it.

The fundamentalist Christians and the charismatics deny that Catholics are even Christians. Some fundamentalists were trying to get me into their bible study group once while i was waiting for my friend at a local college. They asked if i had been raised a Christian, and i said yes, i was raised a Catholic. I was immediately told that Catholics are not Christians, and they actually, physically began to edge away from me, and soon struck out to find a differnt victim.

I doubt that there are very many people who are the entirely free of bigotry, not even the children of wealth. As a matter of fact, my father's family were not only wealthy, but were "old money." Their virulent bigotry against Jews, Germans, Puerto Ricans, blacks and Asians appalled me when i got to know them. No racist comments were tolerated in my maternal grandparents' house, and it was obvious that they had raised their own children with the same value.

You can keep your snide remarks to yourself, i have not deserved a sneering contempt from you, and i won't long tolerate it.
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Feb, 2013 03:32 am
@Setanta,
Probably the distance between us to too great for it to be worthwhile continuing this discussion. However.

Quote:
Who do you allege constitute the disadvantaged in society? Is Mr. Obama disadvantaged because he is black (about half) and there are white racists in the United States willing to vent their bigoted spleens? Is Oprah Winfrey, one of the wealthiest people in the world, disadvantaged by racist hate speech?


When I talked about the disadvantaged in society I hoped it would be obvious that all I was saying essentially is that racism still exists in, say, the US. Of course Obama is disadvantaged because he is black- when was the last time a president faced calls to prove they are even from the country which elected them? And, of course, Obama and Oprah are exceptions, nothing much can be established about race in North America by going to the exceptions. Black people are disproportionately jailed in your country, and disproportionately poor and unemployed. This is not to say that white people can't also be poor and unemployed and in jail all at the same time, they're just not disproportionately so.

Quote:
Can you explain how a "narrative" oppresses people?


The way in which hate speech might contribute to the woes of the average black person (to continue the above example) can be direct as well as indirect. Directly, having racist attitudes protected by law and subsequently promulgated by media probably isn't a tremendous benefit to ones' self-esteem. Indirectly, to paraphrase Orwell "sloppiness of speech betrays sloppiness of thought" -what we say is very much linked to what we think and do, and by supporting racist speech, say, we are (perhaps, again my mind is not made up on this question) perpetrating an injustice in the fight against racism in general.

Quote:
There are many, many protections in both state and federal law, and the fourteenth amendment stands as a bulwark against not just private, but official discrimination as well.


You'll have to forgive the fact that I'm not too hot on details of US law. Also, I'm not talking about specifics, but principles. Most of the provisions for discriminating against hate speech you've described seem reasonable to me -but I see arguments against making such provisions, and am interested in exploring this terrain.

Quote:
You can keep your snide remarks to yourself, i have not deserved a sneering contempt from you, and i won't long tolerate it.


I can only be honest and say that I never intended to make a snide remark, and you'll just have to believe me when I say I'm quite baffled by your depiction of what I've said.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Feb, 2013 04:54 am
It has been more than a century since the citizenship of a president was called into question, but it has happened before. Talking about racism in the United States is convenient for someone who doesn't live there, and therefore doesn't have to defend his own country. You have completely failed to demonstrate that one's "race" (there is no such thing) is either a disadvantage or an advantage (you have avoided the questions about poor whites and how being white is any advantage to them). In sum, you've got your world view to promote, and no amount of evidence to the contrary will convince you that it's a two-dimensional stereotype constructed from a polemic. Have fune.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Feb, 2013 06:55 am
Basically, what i see you doing in this thread, and what you attempted in your thread about Muslims, was to promote your polemic. You have ignored the question about poor whites and why they don't get "dispensations," you ignore that there is a huge black middle class in the United States, comprised of sports stars, entertainers, doctors, researchers, lawyers, jurists, publishers, producers, writers--because it conflicts with the polemic you want to forward. In the thread about Muslims, you specifically said that you didn't want to discuss facts, but rather impressions and intuition. So what's your pointe? That there is racism in the world?

News flash: we already knew that.
0 Replies
 
medium-density
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Feb, 2013 12:27 pm
@Setanta,
In the case of Obama I thought his citizenship was called into question in part due to his race -there was and is an almost equally strong thread of criticism which says he is a Muslim. That's two examples showing how racism affects people's perceptions of a president who affirms christian belief and has given his birth certificate up to scrutiny.

Talking about racism in the United States is what you started doing, I merely engaged with your examples (Oprah, Obama). There is a lot of racism in the UK too, of course.

I really don't see how saying that there are poor and disadvantaged white people (which I didn't and don't deny) negates the fact that racism still exists and is harmful. I wouldn't go so far as to say I've completely failed to demonstrate that race can be a disadvantage, is it not true that black people are incarcerated to a disproportionate degree? One study (http://asr.sagepub.com/content/69/2/151.short) from 2004 seems to corroborate what I've seen reported in various media multiple times.

As for what you describe as my polemic, it's nothing more than a view that racism exists -as you yourself have correctly said. Where we differ here seems to be in our appreciations of its modern-day effects. For one thing, I won't say there's no such thing as race. Race exists as a category socially, if not biologically.

My point is that allowing bigots to speak their mind in the name of freedom of speech can negatively affect the lives of a people who are already oppressed by society, and I wonder whether invoking the right to freedom of speech is a sufficient defense for such actions. Further, I wonder whether it is easier to defend such actions from the privileged position that white people hold in societies like ours.
0 Replies
 
 

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