2006 The Year In Race and Racism: The I'm So Hot I'm On Fire List of The Most Fashionable Racial Trends

Editor’s Note: The women of Racialicious asked what the big trends in race and pop-culture were in 2006, and I thought I would respond with my own post. I came up with a list on my own, and then I went and read the comments section on their blog to see what others were saying. Based on those comments I added one more thing to my list, but I was in agreement with several of the commenters over there.

Rather than judging “hot” trends, I thought it would be useful to take a past, present, and future perspective, focusing what topics were out of fashion in 2006, what topics were most popular, and what topics I think are going to be predominant in 2007. I have decided to divide the list into three parts–1)The Been There Done That List of Unfashionable Racial Issues 2)The I’m So Hot I’m on Fire List of The Most Fashionable Racial Trends 3)The I’m About To Catch On Fire List of Racial Trends. I’m only posting the main this list on Alas. You can go over to my site to read the others.

The I’m So Hot I’m on Fire List of The Most Fashionable Racial Trends of 2006

So what racial trends were prevalent in 2006? Here is my list in no particular order. I initially created this list without reading the comments over on the Racialicious post, but after reading the comments I realized one big trend that I left of my list–the Africa is hip and cool trend, which was really big in ’06. It is interesting because most of the other trends people mentioned I had on my list, too. So here goes….

1)The Racialization of Muslims and Middle Easterners: I wrote a post about this a while back, and I know that Tariq is one person who is on board with me. Every time people talk about “racial profiling” of Muslims, it adds a little more fuel to the racialization process. This is an ongoing trend that has been in vogue since after September 11th, but I actually expect it to die down soon; however, this will hinge in part on the Census decisions about racial categories for the 2010 Census. Last time some people tried to get Middle Easterners listed, but their attempts failed. I don’t think it will be listed on the Census this time either.

2) Return of Minstrelsy: Blackface was everywhere, as where crazy buffoonish caricatures of African Americans. We saw numerous cases of college students dressing in blackface, and bloggers manipulating photos to make them look like blackface. Some felt that minstrel hip hop had become a genre, and the popularity of “Flava of Love” also added to the trend. I expect this to continue in 2007.

3) Return of Old Fashioned Racism: I guess this is an extension of minstrelsy, but it also extends to the use of racial slurs and other forms of more blatant bigotry. We even had a potential Presidential candidate bragging about how his state was a former slave state. This type of bigotry had been declining for years, but there appeared to be an upsurge last year. From the anti-immigrant backlash to the Michael Richards rant, and all of the blackface incidents, it felt like we were moving backwards.

4) Europe Confronts It Racism: Many European countries have been very critical of the US on racial issues, but 2006 was a year for them to look in their own backyards. This trend became obvious in 2005 when French suburbs went up in flames, but in ’06 this extended to other areas. In particular, international soccer officials spent the entire year trying to control racist fans. Right wingers continued to try to block out non-European immigrants. Expect this trend to continue over the next several years as European countries confront a demographic crisis that could destroy their social welfare systems. I think the answer to this problem is immigration, but many disagree arguing that immigrants can never truly be French, English, German, etc.

5) The Non-Apology, Apology: This was everywhere. We could start with Rosie O’Donnell, who apologized for her “ching chong” joke, but followed it up with “I might do it again because that’s how my brain works.” The most common version of this was the “I’m sorry you were offended” apology, which posits that the person making racist or prejudiced comments really didn’t say anything wrong, and the upset person just overreacted. In many instances, these apologies were about saving face, but not admitting any wrongdoing.

6) The Death of the Predominantly Black Cast and the Rise of the Multiracial Ensemble Cast: I am very disappointed to see few TV shows with predominantly Black casts, but the disappearance of predominantly black cast shows seems to be to the benefit of the multiracial ensemble cast. So we don’t have many Cosby Shows, but we now have shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, or ER. I have mixed feelings about this trend. I like multiracial ensemble casts. I liked them going all the way back to Fame and Hill Street Blues, but I also wish we still had more predominantly black, Asian, Latino, or Native American shows. I predict this trend will continue in 2007.

7) Anti-Immigrant Sentiment: I don’t even know where to begin. Several towns decided to ban day laborer sites and prevent illegal immigrants from getting work, housing, or any other social benefits. Commentators like CNN’s Lou Dobbs, lead the anti-immigrant backlash by blaming immigrants for the “decline in the middle class.” This issue also seems to cross political party lines, with both Democrats and Republicans speaking for and against immigration. I think this issue is replacing crime as the new political boogeyman issue. Expect it to continue through the next Presidential election.

8) Africa Becomes Hip and Cool: It seems like Hollywood types (besides Bono) discovered African poverty this year. From anti-poverty and anti-AIDS programs to the genocide in Darfur, Africa became a cause d’celeb. Of course, we can’t forget the “I want to adopt an African baby trend.” I have mixed feelings about this. It is nice to see these problems receiving attention, but I also worry that 1) this is just a fad and 2) some of the important issues like global capitalism, “structural readjustment,” and the legacy of colonialism were not addressed. I think this trend will die out in 2007, which is typical of most causes that celebrities take up–in one minute out the next.

9) The Assault on Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs: Michigan joined California in banning affirmative action, and the Supreme Court heard a case regarding voluntary desegregation programs (which will likely be overturned). There seems to be a sense among many white Americans that any programs designed to remedy the effects of racism and segregation discriminate against whites. This stems in part from the false belief that opportunities are equal and that racial and ethnic minorities somehow have great advantages over whites. This trend has been going on since the 1980s, but it may be reaching it’s peak. I expect it to continue indefinitely.

10) Liberal Racism: From the Joe Biden slave state comment mentioned above to the infamous racism at a liberal blog called Firedoglake, liberals were ready to prove that they were just as racist as anyone else. Is this the beginning of a political shift, where the left and the right converge on racial issues? I don’t really know, but it is cause for concern. It indicates that those of us who are involved in anti-racist activism need to think about some convincing frames that we can use in the battle for social equality. We may have to think about different ways to talk about “racism,” “diversity,” and “equal opportunity.”

What do you think? Do you think there are any trends I missed? Do you think I’m off in my assessments?

This entry posted in Immigration, Migrant Rights, etc, Race, racism and related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

44 Responses to 2006 The Year In Race and Racism: The I'm So Hot I'm On Fire List of The Most Fashionable Racial Trends

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  3. 3
    SakuraPassion says:

    I don’t think you’re off, but I wanted to comment on a few things. This is my first time posting on your wonderful blog, but it has caught my attention several months ago. :-)

    I also have mixed feelings about the sudden rise of the multiracial ensemble cast. I stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy because the black female character is another stereotype of the black sassy woman with attitude. What makes this so bad is the creator of the show is a black woman.

    The issue with Africa people just don’t understand what’s really going on over there. It seems that all of sudden when a celeberty decides to adopt a child from Africa it’s in the news, people pay attention more. But when celeberties weren’t adopting children from Africa it didn’t seem people were interested in what was going on over there.

    I agree with you when you pointed that Europe is always quick to criticize the US about our racial problems. But it seems to me that they need to spend more time with solving their racial issues. Parts of Europe have very large Muslim populations and from what I’ve seen there doesn’t seem to much effort being made to integrate muslims into European society. And muslims seem reluctant to integrate.

    Well, that’s enough from me. :-P

  4. 4
    SakuraPassion says:

    Me again, :-P

    I have also noticed a rise in the lack of “political correctness.”

  5. 5
    Robert says:

    It is indicates that those of us who are involved in anti-racist activism need to think about some convincing frames that we can use in the battle for social equality. We may have to think about different ways to talk about “racism,” “diversity,” and “equal opportunity.”

    Yes, but you won’t. It isn’t the things you say that make anti-racist activism ineffective, it’s (many of) the things you believe. While you believe those things, it doesn’t matter what your rhetoric looks like, unless you achieve a Nixonian level of skill in public deception.

  6. 6
    Decnavda says:

    I agree with 1, 4, 6, 7, & 8 as current trends. With 2, 3, & 10, I think these are more as result in wired awareness, the ability of the internet to expose what used to be able to be better kept under rocks. The Micheal Richards incident is a perfect example. Without YouTube, it would not have been exposed, and I think things like this have been common but well hidden for the past two or three decades that they have been unacceptable to do in public. For better or worse, I think racial preferences and the term “Afirmative Action” (which too many people THINK means “racial preferences”) is a lost cause. 5 is just typical human behavior applied to racial issues.

    With anti-imigration, I have two comments. First, I disagree that Democrats have been as straightforwardly bad as Republicans. I live in California, & I kept comparing what happened this year to the Prop 187 campaign. Back then, the Dems weren’t as bad as the Repubs either, but they clearly TRIED to be, with both Clinton and Feinstein running horribly racist campaign adds. Of course everyone could tell it was a “Me Too” campaign, and Republicans got both the credit and the blame for Prop 187, as it succeeded in re-electing Pete Wilson, but it turned the Mexican population Democrat and eventually because of this destroyed the Republican Party in California, and even Arnold has not been able to rebuild it.
    This year the anti-imigrant campaign was national, and I thought the national Democrats acted completely different, although still probably immorally. I actually beleive there was a planned, intentional campaign by the national Democrats to respond to the anti-imigrant push by trying to appear “moderate” but do so in a way designed to EGG THE REPUBLICANS ON, with the goal of doing nationally what happened here. And they got what they wanted. My understanding is that there was a 14 point shift this year among Latinos from Republican to Democrat.
    As a white guy married into a Mexican family, the imigrant bashing worries me in the short term, but not the long term. Whatever the politicians of either party say, they are not going to stop illegal imigration because the corporate world wants exploitable labor. The current anti-imigrant sentiment is a backlash against an unstoppable tital wave. Latinos will eventually be accepted because there will be no alternative. The only question is how much damage the backlash will do untill then.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    Anti-Immigrant Sentiment: I don’t even know where to begin. Several town decided to ban day laborer sites and prevent illegal immigrants from getting work, housing, or any other social benefits. Commentators like CNN’s Lou Dobbs, lead the anti-immigrant backlash by blaming immigrants for the “decline in the middle class.” This issue also seems to cross political party lines, with both Democrats and Republicans speaking for and against immigration. I think this issue is replacing crime as the new political boogeyman issue. Expect it to continue through the next Presidential election.

    This paragraph seems to bounce back and forth between asserting that there is widespread anti-immigrant sentiment with people taking actions against illegal immigration. Do you equate the two? You state that both Democrats and Republicans have spoken out for and against immigration. Have they spoken out for and against immigration in general, or did they limit their remarks to illegal immigration?

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    “4) Europe Confronts It Racism: Many European countries have been very critical of the US on racial issues, but 2006 was a year for them to look in their own backyards. This trend became obvious in 2005 when French suburbs went up in flames, but in ‘06 this extended to other areas.”

    Europe has been lying to itself about it’s racism for a very long time.

    “In particular, international soccer officials spent the entire year trying to control racist fans.”

    This has been going on for a long time, too; what’s new is the American MSM’s notice of it.

    5) The Non-Apology, Apology:

    God forbid that people actually take responsibility for what comes out of their own mouths.

    6) The Death of the Predominantly Black Cast and the Rise of the Multiracial Ensemble Cast:

    Yeah, so there’s no Cosby Show on anymore. OTOH, a “multiracial ensemble” is how the majority of people in the U.S. actually encounter and experience non-majority races, so maybe it’s a little more accessible to them and something that seems closer to reality.

  9. 9
    Decnavda says:

    RonF-
    Yeah, yeah. We progressives DO conflate anti-latino & anti-asian sentiment with anti-illegal imigration rhetoric. you conservatives do not. We see the rhetoric as code; you do not. Neither of us will convience the other. Old news, acknowleged, move on.

  10. 10
    RonF says:

    Yeah, yeah. We progressives DO conflate anti-latino & anti-asian sentiment with anti-illegal imigration rhetoric. you conservatives do not. We see the rhetoric as code; you do not. Neither of us will convience the other. Old news, acknowleged, move on.

    I’m not clear on what you’re saying. Do you hold that being anti-illegal immigration stems from racism?

  11. 11
    Amanda Marcotte says:

    The new minstrel thing in hip hop has been an ongoing problem, and I blame the fact that the record industry is white dominated.

  12. 12
    Amanda Marcotte says:

    I agree with 1, 4, 6, 7, & 8 as current trends. With 2, 3, & 10, I think these are more as result in wired awareness, the ability of the internet to expose what used to be able to be better kept under rocks. The Micheal Richards incident is a perfect example. Without YouTube, it would not have been exposed, and I think things like this have been common but well hidden for the past two or three decades that they have been unacceptable to do in public.

    I think you have a big, important point here.

  13. 13
    Radfem says:

    Decnavda, LOL. This site is starting to look like my local newspaper’s discussion boards. Every thread will become about did you call me a racist for being “anti-illegal immigration”?

    In many instances, these apologies were about saving face, but not admitting any wrongdoing.

    Yup. More locally, there is no need to apologize for racist behavior because racist behavior equals award-winning behavior. That’s always been a trend that even millions of dollars spent “fixing” it couldn’t erase. Money doesn’t change these attitudes. It might buy good behavior for a while but that’s it.

    Leftists have always been as racist as anyone else, if they’re White. Sometimes I think White leftists including many White feminists are more concerned about attacking the other side’s racial privilege or dismantling racism as exercised by the other side than in addressing either things among themselves. Too much work when there’s a world for them to save or something like that.

    I don’t think leftists being racist is anything new, or by liberals either. Maybe this is just the year for sticking one’s foot inside one’s mouth in front as many people as possible. That might be a sign that liberals and leftists are actually more comfortable in their racism than usual, I don’t know.

  14. 14
    Sewere says:

    Robert said -

    Yes, but you won’t. It isn’t the things you say that make anti-racist activism ineffective, it’s (many of) the things you believe. While you believe those things, it doesn’t matter what your rhetoric looks like, unless you achieve a Nixonian level of skill in public deception.

    Hate to put words in your mouth, but could you clarify this statement? Because it seems like you’re reaching for a definition of structural racism outside of the realm of what most minorities experience…

  15. 15
    RonF says:

    Well, Decnavda, if you’re going to accuse the majority of people who are anti-illegal immigration of being motivated by racism, it seems that you should have to offer some kind of evidence if you want to be taken seriously.

  16. 16
    Robert says:

    Sewere:

    When trying to convince someone that they’ve done wrong, or are part of some system of wrongs, you basically have a laundry list of things you want them to believe. The targets of the persuasion always have a choice: accept the laundry list, or dismiss the people doing the complaining. The longer, more esoteric, and doctrinaire the laundry list, the more likely folks are to say “y’all are full of crap” and just dismiss everything.

    “You are personally racist and show prejudice towards group ‘X’” is hard to hear and hard to accept – but lots of people nonetheless manage to hear and accept it. The accompanying long list of required correlated doctrinal beliefs, lefty tropes, anti-capitalist rhetoric, and all the rest of the baggage, however, makes the laundry list unappealing. And it’s all presented indivisibly – you can’t just work against racism where you see it but disbelieve other aspects of the list, you won’t be allowed. You’re an untrustworthy ally, or a troll, or whatever.

    To put it another way, I’m willing to become a better human being, but damned if I’m going to become a cultural Marxist.

  17. 17
    Rachel S. says:

    I agree with the “lack of political correctness” point, and I would subsume it under the rubric of the return of old fashioned racism.

    I also like the point Decnavda made about internet technology even though I would state it in a different way. I would add that the anonymity of the internet combined with the fact that people think “nobody’s looking” (even though we live in a surveilance society) has encouraged people to drop their guard and say what they really think.

  18. 18
    Rachel S. says:

    Decnavda said, “First, I disagree that Democrats have been as straightforwardly bad as Republicans.”

    I’m not trying to say they are equally anti-immgrant, but I think they are converging and we won’t see a clear divide between the two groups.

  19. 19
    RonF says:

    There seems to be a sense among many white Americans that any programs designed to remedy the effects of racism and segregation discriminate against whites. This stems in part from the false belief that opportunities are equal and that racial and ethnic minorities somehow have great advantages over whites.

    If there is preference for a given group when allocating a limited resource, that preference is discrimination. The fact that it may be justifiable or desirable, or that it may be recompense for past discrimination against that group doesn’t mean that the new practice is not discrimination. It just means that you will have to defend instituting and continuing the practice.

  20. 20
    Rachel S. says:

    Ron, Over the next couple weeks I’ll provide you with some clear evidence of current racial preferences for whites. What I would like you to think about is how we can get rid of these preferences?

    If you think affirmative action programs are preferences (which I do not but, for the sake of argument I’ll go along with that contention) that are discriminatory and should be dismantled, I think you are also morally obligated acknowledge the racial preferences routinely given to whites in hiring, housing, promotions, and education and try come up with a system that eliminates that discrimination.

    I could actually support anti-affirmative action arguments if the people really were interested in stopping discrimination, but my own experience is that they are not.

  21. 21
    Robert says:

    Rachel, there’s a distinction between preference and outcome. Saying “look, banks give whites more loans” doesn’t demonstrate a preference (though it isn’t incompatible with there being one). I suspect that the bulk of the preferences you’ll come up with are going to be in places where you cannot show an actual preference operating – only a differential outcome.

    But I’ll look forward to seeing your list. I, for one, will readily acknowledge a moral obligation to avoid the practice of racial discrimination. Any facial racial preference is suspect, whether it helps whites, blacks or Martians.

  22. 22
    Rachel S. says:

    I have a post in the queue that provides one example.

  23. 23
    Ampersand says:

    Saying “look, banks give whites more loans” doesn’t demonstrate a preference (though it isn’t incompatible with there being one). I suspect that the bulk of the preferences you’ll come up with are going to be in places where you cannot show an actual preference operating – only a differential outcome.

    Robert, before Rachel (or others) bring forward any examples, can you specify what things a study would need to control for before you’d agree that the study can reasonably be interpreted as evidence of a preference?

  24. 24
    Radfem says:

    I would add that the anonymity of the internet combined with the fact that people think “nobody’s looking” (even though we live in a surveilance society) has encouraged people to drop their guard and say what they really think.

    Oh, I definitely agree with this.

  25. 25
    Amanda Marcotte says:

    Well, Decnavda, if you’re going to accuse the majority of people who are anti-illegal immigration of being motivated by racism, it seems that you should have to offer some kind of evidence if you want to be taken seriously.

    If round-ups of “illegals” that pick up legal immigrants and actual citizens based on ethnicity doesn’t convince you, then you are unpersuadable, which makes this comment grade A bad faith trolling.

  26. 26
    RonF says:

    If you think affirmative action programs are preferences (which I do not but, for the sake of argument I’ll go along with that contention) that are discriminatory and should be dismantled,

    I didn’t say that they were discriminatory and should be dismantled. I only said they are discriminatory. The former does not imply the latter. Discrimination can be evil or it can be good, or it can be neutral (as in a matter of taste); it depends on what is being discriminated against, and why. The proponents of affirmative action hang their logic on the latter point; that it is reasonable to discriminate in favor of minorities in certain circumstances so as to ameliorate the effects of past discrimination in favor of whites and against blacks.

  27. 27
    RonF says:

    If round-ups of “illegals” that pick up legal immigrants and actual citizens based on ethnicity doesn’t convince you, then you are unpersuadable, which makes this comment grade A bad faith trolling.

    If that was deliberate and was the only way in which opposition to illegal immigration was expressed I’d agree with you. But there are many ways in which opposition to illegal immigration is expressed that has nothing to do with sanctioning (accidentally or otherwise) American citizens.

  28. 28
    Radfem says:

    Amanda, or how about in Orange County when the Republican Party hires “security guards” to harass Latinos, most of whom are registered voters at the voting polls? Or having politicians sending out letters threatening Latino voters with arrest and prosecution if they go to the voting polls? It doesn’t take much at least in the golden state to pull the veil of “illegal” away and you’ll see that a lot of it is fear among White conservative politicians that they may some day become not just a racial minority in the state but a political one as well.

    Trying to get law enforcement agencies to do what the INS is assigned to do, when most of them have enough on their plates and the vast majority of people who commit crimes are U.S. citizens. This keeps undocumented immigrants from reporting crimes to police, which may make an entire community including citizens and documented immigrants unsafe as well.

    With California becoming increasingly Latino, you see more concern about building a wall along the border, passing legislation like 187, 209 and 227. And you’ll see more of the same.

  29. 29
    Tripp says:

    Under your anti-immigration point you should add the rise in the use of the term ‘illegal.’

    This simple word tells me volumes about the speakers position regarding immigration.

    It completely dehumanizes the immigrants and reduces them to a single, non-refutable bad entity.

    I mean, who would ever want to associate with an illegal, much less help or understand it?

  30. 30
    RonF says:

    I thought conservatives were already a political minority in California.

  31. 31
    Robert says:

    can you specify what things a study would need to control for before you’d agree that the study can reasonably be interpreted as evidence of a preference?

    I could, but it would be waaaay easier to wait for Rachel to post her thoughts and then attack them savagely, unhindered by previous commitments.

    (Oops, I was supposed to just think that, not write it.)

    Offhand, it isn’t a question of what a study has to control for, it’s what a study has to show. “Whatever difference is left after we control for everything we can think of must be discrimination” isn’t a valid approach, I don’t think, when there are so many things out there which we don’t know to control for.

    It’s seemingly fairly easy to show discrimination on an individual basis. Submit a resume to the HR department with the name “Jamal Malawi” on it, and then submit the same resume with only neutral wording changes and the name “Franklin Morgan Pierpont”, and see if you get a differential response.

    On the other hand, even that kind of simple test can hit some icebergs. I recall there have been lending studies that seem to show discrimination against black borrowers – ie, same broad characteristics on the loan application, but higher approval rates for whites. Such discrimination would strongly imply that a black loan candidate needs better qualifications than a white candidate to get the same loan response. But when you check that by looking at default rates, we find exactly the same default rates among white and black borrowers, which in turn strongly implies that the borrowers who were approved were of identical creditworthiness, which presumably means that the decisionmakers on the loans were accurately assessing some borrower characteristic(s) not reflected in the hard data that the study has access to.

    On the gripping hand, banks and other institutions do have histories of intentional and overt discrimination, i.e. redlining and other practices, so we can’t really rule out intentional discrimination in these cases.

    It’s tricky, in other words, to anticipate what will or won’t prove discrimination. I can promise to show good faith in assessing whatever Rachel, or others, come up with, though. I spent a good bit of my childhood in Mississippi; I’m not laboring under a pure-libertarian delusion that racial discrimination is a thing of the past.

  32. 32
    RonF says:

    Under your anti-immigration point you should add the rise in the use of the term ‘illegal.’ This simple word tells me volumes about the speakers position regarding immigration. It completely dehumanizes the immigrants and reduces them to a single, non-refutable bad entity.

    You are, of course, welcome to your opinion, but it makes little sense to me. “Dehumanizes”? Not that I can see. It simply describes, and makes the important differentiation between people who are in the United States legally and those who are not. It’s gentler than the actual legal term, “illegal alien”, which even I’ll grant is sounds somewhat dehumanizing to someone not familiar with it, although “illegal immigrant” makes a presumption that “illegal alien” does not.

    I mean, who would ever want to associate with an illegal, much less help or understand it?

    Observation shows that lots of people would. Their employers, for those that are employed, who are legion. Then there’s all the people providing them social services, banks that knowingly lend them money for cars and houses, the government entities they deal with that either ignore their legal status or even deliberately refuse to do anything about it, the various governmental and business entities that accept the matricula consular instead of asking for a passport or green card, etc., etc.

  33. 33
    RonF says:

    On the gripping hand, …

    Goodness, Robert, would you be a Pournelle fan?

  34. 34
    SamChevre says:

    Rachel,

    I’m responding to the question you asked RonF–what would a study have to show to convince you that a study shows a racial preference? I’ll second Robert’s answer–it needs to look at outcome variables that make sense. “Young men pay twice as much for auto insurance as young women” doesn’t show a preference; “the claims ratio (claims/premiums) for young men is much lower than for young women” probably would.

    Second, I would like (a pet peeve of mine) some control for class and class markers; Antwan Jones should probably be compared to Dwayne McAlexander, not Franklin Cubbage.

  35. 35
    Radfem says:

    Tripp, you mean “illegal” as a noun, right? Yes, that’s true, certainly in public.

  36. 36
    Rachel S. says:

    SamChevre said, “Second, I would like (a pet peeve of mine) some control for class and class markers; Antwan Jones should probably be compared to Dwayne McAlexander, not Franklin Cubbage.”

    You can’t determine social class purely based on names. I hope you are not suggesting such, but the experiment you are referencing does control for social class because they hold the level of education constant in the sample resumes they sent. I would image that they also did the same for the high schools they are list of the resumes (as neighborhoods are also used by employers as a marker for class).

  37. 37
    Robert says:

    I would image that they also did the same for the high schools they are list of the resumes (as neighborhoods are also used by employers as a marker for class).

    I would not be at all surprised if they did not do the same for high schools, and instead submitted whatever high school was correct for the putative address of the applicant.

  38. 38
    SamChevre says:

    Rachel S,

    I wasn’t meaning to suggest that you can ACTUALLY determine class based on names; I do think that most people use names as a proxy for both class and ethnicity until they get more information.

    I think, though, that you think about class differently than I. You say, “the experiment…does control for social class because they hold the level of education constant.” I think of class as family culture and connections and to some extent wealth–not education, and certainly not income. I would think grandparents’ education level would be a much better proxy for class than education level.

  39. 39
    RonF says:

    Tripp, Radfem; in the phrase “illegal immigrant”, it would seem to me that “illegal” is an adjective, not a noun. I’ll admit my grammar is weak, but “illegal” modifies “immigrant” in that phrase, so I figure that it’s not being used as a noun.

  40. 40
    Rich B. says:

    5) The Non-Apology, Apology: This was everywhere. . . In many instances, these apologies were about saving face, but not admitting any wrongdoing.

    I’ve lost track of what apologies mean anymore.

    President Clinton “apologizes” for slavery. Southern newspaper editors “apologize” for their predecessor’s fomenting race riots. An apology used to mean, “I am personally responsible for a wrong, and am very sorry that I did it.”

    When every wrong demands an apology (irrespective of the actual wrongdoers are still alive) the very term “Apology” has been stripped of the implication of admitted wrongdoing. Why should it surprising that after the meaning of a word has changed, people will start using it with the new meaning.

  41. 41
    RonF says:

    I’ve had a fair amount of teaching young men on what the word “apology” means.

    We’re in the dining hall at camp. It’s dinner, and there’s an Order of the Arrow ceremony that night. OA members wear a white sash with a red arrow on it. Mr. Mischief is fooling around with some salad dressing, that gloppy orange “French” stuff. A small gob of it ends up on an OA member’s sash. He gets quite upset, and complains vociferously. Mr. Mischief says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that.” And I’m sure he didn’t. However, Mr. OA is still sitting there with an orange gob on his sash.

    I ask Mr. OA to hand me his sash. I get up and tell Mr. Mischief to accompany me – we’re going to fix Mr. OA’s sash. Mr. Mischief says, “But I didn’t mean to do it – why are you punishing me? I apologized?”

    Mr. Mischief accompanies me to the washhouse, where the staff’s washing machine and dryer are. Under my direction, Mr. Mischief wipes off the gob, rubs some detergent and water on the spot, cleans it off, rinses it, and throws it in the dryer. Meanwhile, I explain that simply tossing off “I’m sorry” isn’t an apology. If you’re really sorry, you not only say “I’m sorry”, you do whatever you can to fix the situation, regardless of what inconvenience it may be to you (such as interrupting your dinner). You also take responsibility for your actions, and that responsibility attaches no matter what your intent was; if you are waving a spoon with salad dressing around, you are reponsible if it ends up on someone’s clothes even if you didn’t intend for that to happen. It’s not punishment! It’s doing your duty.

    Mr. Mischief likely didn’t completely absorb that lesson, but at least he understood what I meant. But that’s what “apology” means to me. Saying “I’m sorry” is part of it, but not the whole deal; you have to take responsibility for what you did, and that includes dealing with the consequences as well. But our politicians and other public figures want to get the credit for an apology while denying any responsibility, like they were a 12 year old kid.

    Although that may be unfairly smearing the average 12 year old ….

  42. 42
    Radfem says:

    So, when people make statements like “the illegals are taking over” or “We’ve got to do something about those illegals”, then they are using an modifyer and not a noun? Thanks for the clarification.

  43. 43
    Sailorman says:

    I always think of “illegal immigrant” as a noun in and of itself, but agree that if one were to parse it then “iilegal” is being used as an adjective.

    but that’s igniring common usage. although one can theoretically append all sorts of adjectives to immigrants (from “beautiful immigrant” to “lonely immigrant” and so on) that is unusual–”beuatiful” and “onely” have no particular connectino to “immigrant”. “Legal immigrant” and “Illegal immigrant” make sense and have IMO essentially become two separate two-word nouns.

    I don’t see the word wars stopping any time soon. And seeing as the pro-illegal-immigration crowd has been pushing its own lingo (“undocumented” and so on, to replace “Illegal alien”) it’s not clear taht the conservatives are really to blame. After all, the best way to get someone focusing on the word “illegal” is to claim that there’s nothing illegal at all, no sirree, nothing to see here.

    Perhaps we can all agree on “undocumented alien”? that gets rid of “illegal” (to make some folks happy) and adds back “alien” (to make other folks happy).

  44. 44
    RonF says:

    Radfem, in such a case they are using “illegals” as a shorthand for “illegal immigrant”. They are still making the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants. It’s not like they’re saying “The immigrants are taking over.” Leaving out words that are understood in context is a pretty standard usage in English.

    Sailorman, the problem with the use of the term “undocumented [whatever]” is that it would exclude illegal immigrants with matricula consulars, with fake documentation, or with documentation (birth certificates, expired visas, student visas by non-students, etc.) that properly describe the holder but does not give them legal status to be in the United States.