The BINGO Project

the-bingo-project

I’ve had a little project in mind for a few weeks but I’ll need some help bringing it to fruition. As many of you know, when engaging in discussions about contentious topics such as race, gender, politics, oppression, etc., there are always clueless and/or privileged people who whip out arguments so often used and so stock that they end up on a BINGO card somewhere. Veterans of such discussions often comment on this and sometimes even link to specific cards. And the more patient amongst us will explain to the clueless/privileged person why their argument is a cliche.

While rolling my eyes at some of the drive-bys over on Alaya’s Supernatural thread I thought that it would be useful to not only be able to point to BINGO cards and say: “Look, what you just said is on here, this is how clueless you are,” but also have that square link to a post or comment thread wherein the statement is taken apart and shredded to pieces. It’s similar to the way I tell people to read the Required Reading or simply point to coffeeandink’s excellent How To Suppress Discussions of Race. We’ve all had these debates so many times that at this point all we really should have to do is say: “Go here and click on I/3.”

First step is to find the existing BINGO cards. Liz Henry has an awesome Flickr pool with the ones she’s found here. Are there any more we should add to the list? Let me know in comments.

Next, I suggest we go one card at a time and find a link or multiple links for each square. As I said, it can be a comment or thread or a whole post wherein the statement/question is debunked or someone has taken the time to explain why it’s wrong/stupid/prejudiced/not worthy of addressing.

I think this was the first BINGO card I ever saw:

So I would like to start with that one. You can suggest links (your own or someone else’s) in the comments, just be sure to indicate which square the link is for. If you want to take part in the project by posting a card to your blog and compiling links, go right ahead. Just tag your post bingo-project in Delicious and ping me here or on another BINGO Project post so others won’t replicate your efforts.

And now a word from our sponsor…


Your ad could be here, right now.

The BINGO Project

This entry posted in Race, racism and related issues, Syndicated feeds. Bookmark the permalink. 

41 Responses to The BINGO Project

  1. 1
    Aoede says:

    Wait, what the hell? What’s wrong with saying that colorblindness would be good? Duh it’s stupid to say that one IS colorblind — science has even disproved that — but what the hell is wrong with saying that it’s good for the natural state to be “not taking each other’s race into account when you’re not directly talking about race”?

  2. 2
    PG says:

    Aoede,

    You may wish to re-read the above.

    As many of you know, when engaging in discussions about contentious topics such as race, gender, politics, oppression, etc., there are always clueless and/or privileged people who whip out arguments so often used and so stock that they end up on a BINGO card somewhere.

  3. 3
    Carnadosa says:

    Practically Free Space Helpful Hint for Colorblind: Be Less Blind!

    I’ll look more carefully at my links later, I don’t have any more that are so obviously about one subject (or aren’t directly a response to some specific fail). And I’m a little too tired to parse them right now.

  4. 4
    Denise says:

    The problem with saying that race doesn’t matter to you is that right now, in the real world, race does matter. It matters very very much. PoC make less money than white people, die earlier, are unhealthier, etc etc etc. To say that you’re “colorblind” is in effect saying that you’ll just pretend none of that injustice is actually ongoing. It would be like saying, “Well, I’m wheelchair-blind!” and then pretend that it doesn’t matter that the building you work in has no ramps or elevators, just stairs.

  5. 5
    Jon says:

    I have a vote for N2, the ‘but they get to use the word nigge(r/az). Chris Rock’s comedy special where he responds (paraphrased):

    “Last I checked that’s the only advantage I have…wanna trade places? You can scream nigger and I’ll raise interest rates.”

    Chris Rock’s HBO special should be taught in High School History.

    I’m intrigued by G2 (The problem with America today is that people don’t take responsibility for their actions). While I wouldn’t promote using this as an excuse/justification for racism, I happen to believe this one. I’ll have to read up on why this makes the bingo card — please feel free to enlighten me.

  6. 6
    groggette says:

    This will definitely be an enlightening project ABW. Good luck to you. If I happen to find good links for any of the bingo cards I know about I’ll be sure to send them your way.

  7. 7
    Sailorman says:

    [shrug]

    All that you are doing is creating the liberal version of “being PC.” It won’t benefit the conversation.

    Everyone has reasonably predictable arguments. You do, too. But predictability has nothing to do with objective truth. You can say “bingo!” when someone makes an argument you disagree with, but you’d be a fool to think that this means they’re wrong, just as being “PC” doesn’t mean an argument is wrong. Heck, even being sexist/racist doesn’t mean an argument is wrong.

    So what’s the point of bingo?

  8. 8
    nojojojo says:

    Sailorman,

    This is the purpose:

    As many of you know, when engaging in discussions about contentious topics such as race, gender, politics, oppression, etc., there are always clueless and/or privileged people who whip out arguments so often used and so stock that they end up on a BINGO card somewhere. Veterans of such discussions often comment on this and sometimes even link to specific cards. And the more patient amongst us will explain to the clueless/privileged person why their argument is a cliche.

    It saves time, for people who spend a lot of time talking about race. And it lets newbies know that their arguments are Been There, Done That, Bought The T-Shirt, and that no one’s willing to engage with them because they’re just repeating old material, so maybe they’ll go off and read that old material and come back when they’ve got something new to contribute to the conversation. Because despite your ludicrous assertions of “objective truth” and “even being sexist/racist doesn’t mean an argument is wrong” (in an anti-racist, feminist discussion? Dude, really?), some of us actually want to have a forward-moving discussion about the issue, and solve some of the problems of these systems.

  9. 9
    PG says:

    All that you are doing is creating the liberal version of “being PC.” It won’t benefit the conversation.

    Huh?

    Political correctness is simply a form of good manners. Good manners allow us to live in a world with other humans without wanting to kill each other too often; it is fundamentally about wanting others to feel comfortable around us (which is why Miss Manners always forbids people to tell others that they have bad manners). Political correctness expands the universe of the types of people we’re aware of and of whose sensibilities we have some care.

    Admittedly, those who find good manners inherently oppressive will find political correctness oppressive as well, unless they can reconstruct “PC” to simply eliminate ideas they don’t like. But it’s not inherent to political correctness to eliminate ideas; rather, PC just requires that ideas be expressed with consciousness of and respect for all kinds of people.

  10. 10
    Virago says:

    So what’s the point of bingo?

    The point is to tell some one who walks into a conversation with one of the Bingo arguments that zhe is using a cliche, and clearly hasn’t done any research before jumping into said conversation. It can also be used to tell some one who believes zhe is enlightened that zhe needs to realize zhe isn’t bringing something new to the table, and that zhe ought to start at the 101 level. This kind of goes back to the idea that people aren’t entitled to an education from participants in a conversation/debate.

    For example, the “I don’t see color” argument is frequently used by (white) liberals who are new to anti-racism. The trouble is, they do, and they haven’t thought about it in an anti-racist context. Such people often go on to achieve Bingo in the course of the debate, which again illustrates that all of these points happen very frequently, and that this is avoidable, and that such people aren’t entitled to anything in exchange for their ignorance.

  11. 11
    Ruth Hoffmann says:

    This is a Newsweek article, but it was linked here earlier (right? that’s where I got it, I think) by Ampersand, and it says that part of the reason that “colorblindness” is a bad idea is that there seems to be very little point in even children’s development when they really are “colorblind” (ie, don’t perceive race and don’t make conclusions based on that perception). By choosing to ignore the issue, that just means that kids, especially kids from dominant groups, are left to make uninformed conclusions. Longish quote:

    It was no surprise that in a liberal city like Austin, every parent was a welcoming multiculturalist, embracing diversity. But according to Vittrup’s entry surveys, hardly any of these white parents had ever talked to their children directly about race. They might have asserted vague principles—like “Everybody’s equal” or “God made all of us” or “Under the skin, we’re all the same”—but they’d almost never called attention to racial differences.

    They wanted their children to grow up colorblind. Vittrup’s first test of the kids revealed they weren’t colorblind at all. Asked how many white people are mean, these children commonly answered, “Almost none.” Asked how many blacks are mean, many answered, “Some,” or “A lot.” Even kids who attended diverse schools answered the questions this way.

    More disturbing, Vittrup also asked all the kids a very blunt question: “Do your parents like black people?” Fourteen percent said outright, “No, my parents don’t like black people”; 38 percent of the kids answered, “I don’t know.” In this supposed race-free vacuum being created by parents, kids were left to improvise their own conclusions—many of which would be abhorrent to their parents.

  12. 12
    Tom Nolan says:

    PG

    I think you’ve misunderstood the thrust of Sailorman’s objection. He isn’t having a go at political correctness, he’s pointing out that when someone objects to and dismisses a proposition (for example “it’s wrong to refer to black people as just ‘blacks’” ) on the grounds that such a proposition is “politically correct” they are saying nothing at all about its intellectual validity or otherwise. Likewise, to award a proposition points on a bingo-card-of-ignominy is to say nothing about its intellectual validity or otherwise.

  13. 13
    PG says:

    when someone objects to and dismisses a proposition (for example “it’s wrong to refer to black people as just ‘blacks’” ) on the grounds that such a proposition is “politically correct” they are saying nothing at all about its intellectual validity or otherwise.

    But political correctness, when not curdled into a formalistic, gotcha etiquette, is actually something to which we should aspire in order to make all kinds of people feel that they are not being excluded or demeaned by our discourse. I consider it a good thing to be politically correct, just as I consider it a good thing to have manners. Who thinks the stuff on this Bingo card is good?

  14. 14
    Sailorman says:

    Thanks, Tom–that was correct.

    My own experience was that “PC” started out being applied to the most extreme and overblown examples of the backswing of racism/sexism. There was a time when, frankly, the boundaries of polite discourse were changing rapidly and some people and institutions were doing some relatively extreme attempts to make sure they were on the liberal side of the line. Those who were in or near liberal educational institutions in the late 80s and early 90s probably know what I mean.

    But as “PC” became effectively linked to those extreme examples, it then also started to get applied to more and more NON-extreme examples. So then “being PC” started to be

    Same thing with bingo. Sure, there are some things which are so 101 and so widely accepted that you could probably put them on a bingo card. But frankly, the number of things which card writers appear to think are 100% correct seems to be unusually high, probably because card writers are often on the polarized side of their own position.

    I’ve seen bingo cards which claim that only whites can be racist, for example. And while you may personally feel that way, that sure as hell isn’t a 101-completely-obvious-only-idiots-disagree kind of answer. It’s a fairly complex question on which various people (including POC) disagree. And in those cases, the “bingo!” game gets used just like the “oh, you’re just being PC!” game: to avoid defending a position.

    Actually, the closest thing to the “bingo!” claim is the “that’s privileged!” claim. Because of course, whether something is privileged or spoken by a privileged person says piss-all about whether or not it’s RIGHT. And we all know that the privilege label gets used to shut down arguments without responding to the argument. It’s basically functioning like an ad hom, as is bingo.

    And it gets more and more popular, and more and more useless.
    http://forums.military.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/5291911282/m/1250090441001

  15. 15
    Tiktaalik says:

    Is I1 really that common an argument?

  16. 16
    Silenced is Foo says:

    @Sailorman

    I’d long wondered what a the reverse of these bingo cards would look like… but that one was terrible. I mean, the point of the bingo cards is that they’re statements you actually hear, while that one was a strawman.

    I mean, the feminist bingo card would obviously include things like “Rape Culture” and “Check your Priviledge” and whatnot… but the linked one was absurd crap like militarizing space.

  17. 17
    nojojojo says:

    Sailorman,

    Again, the point of BINGO cards is not to point out simple or easily-extrapolable arguments; it’s not to showcase “correct” answers. The point is to showcase arguments that prevent conversations from moving forward because they cover old territory. Very old territory, in some cases. Stuff for which, if the speaker simply Googled first, they would find copious information and preexisting discussion already.

    It’s like coming into a forum on parenting, populated by parents who want to discuss issues about their children, and asking a question about fertility treatments so that you can become a parent. It’s not a completely off-topic question; at some point everyone there had to consider issues of conception. But the people in that forum are well past that point, in general. They want to talk about their existing children, and questions about pre-existing children bog down the conversation on stuff they’re not interested in because they’ve been there, done that. That raises the noise-to-signal ratio in that forum. Parents (who are busy and don’t have a lot of time) tune out the conversations that they consider irrelevant, and the more of those conversations there are, the less they participate. Pretty soon the forum ends up being dominated by those non-parents, who frankly could’ve found the information they needed elsewhere without derailing the parents’ conversation. And the parents lose a useful resource.

    This happens again and again in anti-racist forums, and it’s shut down more than a few of them. Sometimes this incessant asking of cliched questions gets used as a deliberate tactic to derail conversations. But usually it’s just laziness and self-absorption — people who aren’t really interested in teaching themselves or having an advanced conversation come into forums full of people who are interested in these things, and they expect others to teach them. They even get offended if those people refuse to do so. And it’s fine if they do; if something like that really bothers them, then they’re not ready to participate in the conversation anyway. They’re not listening. So it saves time, and in some cases saves the forum, to send them off with a BINGO link, then get back to business.

  18. 18
    nojojojo says:

    Tiktaalik,

    Yes, it’s a very frequent topic. Often shows up in different forms — “I’m not really white, I’m sort of pinkish-brown”, etc. But it still amounts to a denial of whiteness and the privilege associated with whiteness, which is part of colorblindness, which isn’t useful to anti-racist conversations.

  19. 19
    Tom Nolan says:

    PG

    You still haven’t understood what Sailorman’s saying. He’s not objecting to political correctness. He’s objecting to the objection on the part of an opponent that such and such a position is “politically correct”. And you agree with him, don’t you? You agree, that is, that the objection that such and such a position is politically correct is an objection without intellectual substance. And the same can be said with regard to “bingo calling” (to coin a phrase). One might have legitimate reasons to object to this or that proposition, but merely declaring it “politically correct” on the one hand or worthy of a point on the bingo card on the other doesn’t explain those reasons and cannot validate them.

    Who thinks the stuff on this Bingo card is good?

    As for the stuff on the card, some of its propositions are correct, or at least arguable. Take for example: “Knows something about POC because her POC friend told her so”. It seems to me that canvassing the opinion of the POC one knows is a pretty good way of finding out what those particular POC think, for certain, and is probably a step in the right direction so far as discovering the attitudes prevalent in the communities those POC belong to. That opinion might be wrong, of course, but is it so evidently and outrageously wrong that the only reply it deserves is “BINGO”!

  20. 20
    PG says:

    As for the stuff on the card, some of its propositions are correct, or at least arguable.

    This reminds me of SM’s strawman (inasmuch as it’s not on the bingo card we’re discussing) “only whites can be racist.”

    Take for example: “’Knows’ something about POC because her POC friend told her so”.

    You really think it’s arguable that in a conversation with POC, if one of them says, “This is what is true for me,” it’s valid for you to say, “That can’t be so, because it’s different from what my POC friend told me!”?

    I have had the experience of using an inappropriate term with regard to my being cis-gender (before I knew the term “cis”) and having someone tell me I must be transphobic. I apologized and said I didn’t realize that the term was taken as transphobic, because the trans friend with whom I’ve discussed these issues has never objected to it when people used it before her. And then of course the person who had it out for me in that thread said, “Did you really just say: ‘I can’t be transphobic ’cause I have a trans friend!’”

    So I’ve had people tell me about the Bingo when they misinterpreted what I was saying to make it fit the cliche. But if I actually had used the cliche — if I’d said “this term must be OK with all trans people because my trans friend is OK with it” — then I would have deserved the Bingo because it’s an obviously silly thing to say.

  21. 21
    Sailorman says:

    Sure, nojojo, the issue of asking “101-type” questions is a problem.

    But again, what exactly is 101? Sure, there are obvious ones, like “is it considered polite to walk up to black people and ask to stroke their hair?” But “oh, go read and you’ll see” or “that’s so 101″ gets applied (like bingo!) to questions which are not necessarily set in stone.

    Sure, you can say “oh, that question was answered in 101 and doesn’t deserve further consideration” but that works only if you operate on the assumption that everything you learned in your personal 101 course was objectively correct.

    That may be a reasonable assumption in math. We’re in pretty good agreement on math. But it’s not an especially accurate assumption in the social sciences, where there are a variety of competing theories.

    So is it unquestionably true that–to use a bingo example–any bigotry between minority groups is functionally attributable to the direct or indirect effects of white racism? Sure, it may be something that you learned in class, even in a 101 class. But is it true? Is it known to be true to such a degree that even questioning it is in itself worthy of “bingo!” with all the implied ad homs contained therein?

    In summary, some of the 101 questions are, as you note, basic issues which really shouldn’t come up in advanced discussion. Factual issues are perfect 101 fodder. But a lot of the so-called 101 issues aren’t in that category at all. Rather, they’re in the category of things we don’t want to talk about–sometimes, I believe, because we have poor support, rather than bedrock support, for their propositions.

  22. 22
    Sailorman says:

    [edited to remove typos and for clarity.]

    PG Writes:
    September 23rd, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    As for the stuff on the card, some of its propositions are correct, or at least arguable.

    This reminds me of SM’s strawman (inasmuch as it’s not on the bingo card we’re discussing) “only whites can be racist.”

    Take for example: “’Knows’ something about POC because her POC friend told her so”.

    You really think it’s arguable that in a conversation with POC, if one of them says, “This is what is true for me,” it’s valid for you to say, “That can’t be so, because it’s different from what my POC friend told me!”?

    If you’re going to accuse me of a straw man, why use one of your own, PG? I was up front about it being on a different bingo card.

    In a conversation with POC, if one of them says, “This is what is true for me,” that’s a different conversation. Perhaps you’re thinking of a different bingo game. Bingo or not, you can’t disagree with someone else’s subjective truth.

    OTOH, if they say “this is what’s true for POC in general” then yup, it’s perfectly valid for you to say, “That can’t be so, because it’s different from what my POC friend told me!” You’re not obliged to accept the statements of one person over another.

    So, do you want to revise your opinion of the perfection of bingo cards? Or do you want to defend that one?

    People who write–and use–bingo cards are generally speaking attempting to claim the acme of perfection. they are in essence claiming to “know the truth” about everything that is on their card, because they’re so sure they are right that they won’t even consider discussing it. It’s just “bingo,” you know.

  23. 23
    Tom Nolan says:

    PG

    This reminds me of SM’s strawman (inasmuch as it’s not on the bingo card we’re discussing) “only whites can be racist.”

    I’m sorry? My example from the card reminds you of SM’s strawman*? A real example reminds you of a bogus one? In what way?

    You really think it’s arguable that in a conversation with POC, if one of them says, “This is what is true for me,” it’s valid for you to say, “That can’t be so, because it’s different from what my POC friend told me!”?

    That’s not even what it says on the card, PG. What it says on the card is:

    knows something about POC because her POC friends told her so

    And I see nothing wrong with that as a proposition. If you have POC friends and they tell you that they think this or that, and further tell you that such and such a view or experience is prevalent in their communities, then you do indeed know something about POC, right? I’m not quite clear on this – so correct me if I’m wrong – but you seem to be leaning towards the view that such knowledge can be ruled out-of-bounds by anyone in possession of the above bingo-card. “That argument appears on the bingo card: therefore it is an argument so wrong as not to be worth even refuting!”

    And then of course the person who had it out for me in that thread said, “Did you really just say: ‘I can’t be transphobic ’cause I have a trans friend!’” So I’ve had people tell me about the Bingo when they misinterpreted what I was saying to make it fit the cliche.

    That would have been a silly thing to say, right enough, and I’m glad you didn’t. But notice how the “Bingo” worked in your case: you said something innocuous and got slammed for an easy-to-refute argument you never even made. Above, you do precisely the same thing with the hypothetical utterance on the card, the one I think is right as far as it goes. Because there’s a huge difference between saying “I know something about POC because my POC friends told me so” and “That can’t be so, because it’s different from what my POC friend told me!”

    *Your judgment, not mine.

  24. 24
    nojojojo says:

    Sailorman,

    Sure, you can say “oh, that question was answered in 101 and doesn’t deserve further consideration” but that works only if you operate on the assumption that everything you learned in your personal 101 course was objectively correct.

    No. You’re focusing on the qualitative aspects of discussion, when this is about the quantitative.

    The subject matter covered by the BINGO squares doesn’t matter. Whether it’s logical, whether it’s worthy of discussion or not, doesn’t matter. The reason it ends up on the BINGO card is because it’s been discussed before. Repeatedly. Frequently. And however worthwhile a topic it might be, nobody feels like discussing the same topic 5 times, or 50 times, or 500 times. No human being is that patient, much less a whole group of people.

    Here: let’s say you’ve got a partner who, on the first day of your relationship, wants to discuss the topic of commitment. It’s a worthwhile topic. You talk it out, have a good discussion, yay great. Let’s say that partner brings up the same topic again the next day — okay, you might have thought about it and have new things to say. You talk it out, which requires some reiterating of what you said before, but still have a good discussion. Now let’s say this partner brings it up again the third day. And the fourth day. And every day. Let’s say you stay with this partner, and they want to talk about commitment every. Single. Day. For the rest of your life.

    Would you really be OK with that, even if new points get brought up? Or would you get sick of it after awhile? Would you start resorting to shorthand to summarize points you’ve made before, so you don’t have to repeat yourself? Would you roll your eyes if this partner kept bringing up the same arguments you’ve already shot down?

    Hell, forget all that — would you even stay with this partner?

    PoC in racist societies cannot divorce their societies. Even if they could, most don’t want to, given the years of effort they’ve already put into making the relationship work. But that doesn’t mean they want to keep talking about fucking commitment, every fucking day, for the rest of their fucking lives. No matter how important and useful the conversation is.

    Now, that’s leaving aside the fact that much of what’s put on BINGO cards is lacking in worth, because they’re topics that get brought up from thoughtlessness, or are meant to inflame/derail/offend, or aren’t actually related to what’s being discussed — e.g., strawmen. That’s beside the point. We’re not talking about my personal 101 course. We’re talking about society as a whole, and the fact that some of us are really tired of The Fucking Commitment Speech. We’ve been listening to it every day for years. Our parents had to listen to it. It’s a societal thing. So the BINGO cards are just one of many efforts to move us on to a new topic.

  25. 25
    PG says:

    Sailorman and Tom Nolan,

    If you’re going to accuse me of a straw man, why use one of your own, PG? I was up front about it being on a different bingo card.

    Then why bring it up here? Did nojojojo say that everything anyone ever put on a bingo card must be something she agrees belongs there?

    In a conversation with POC, if one of them says, “This is what is true for me,” that’s a different conversation. Perhaps you’re thinking of a different bingo game. Bingo or not, you can’t disagree with someone else’s subjective truth.

    OTOH, if they say “this is what’s true for POC in general” then yup, it’s perfectly valid for you to say, “That can’t be so, because it’s different from what my POC friend told me!” You’re not obliged to accept the statements of one person over another.

    And how do you think the “’Knows’ something about POC because her POC friend told her so” actually fits with this? You’re saying that someone can claim certain knowledge about a set of experiences she’s never had, even when someone who has had that set of experiences tells her she’s wrong, because of how she interpreted what someone who had those experiences told her?

    So, do you want to revise your opinion of the perfection of bingo cards? Or do you want to defend that one?

    People who write–and use–bingo cards are generally speaking attempting to claim the acme of perfection. they are in essence claiming to “know the truth” about everything that is on their card, because they’re so sure they are right that they won’t even consider discussing it. It’s just “bingo,” you know.

    What do you think is worth discussing about, say, the superiority of someone’s secondhand, translated-through-her-own-filters knowledge of a set of experiences compared to the knowledge of someone who has actually lived that set of experiences?

  26. 26
    Tom Nolan says:

    PG

    I don’t mind at all if you don’t answer my comments, of course – but I would appreciate it if you didn’t address your replies to Sailorman (who has been making quite different points from my own) to me too, as though by answering his arguments you were answering mine. My last message pointed out your misrepresentation of what the bingo card in one instance actually says, and how this is no different from the misrepresentation you yourself fell foul of on another thread.

  27. 27
    attack_laurel says:

    I find it fascinating irritating that a large part of this commentary is taken up by two people who want to deny the validity of using a bingo card because of its possible linked content and are blithely ignoring the explanation that has been made three times now about how the reference is all about arguments so old and so cliched that they have no relevance to the discussion.

    It’s not that the explanations are the be-all and end-all of race discussion, nor that discussion is trying to be stifled (more often, it’s the bingo arguments that are attempting to shut people down), it’s that the bingo squares are like someone walking into a discussion of advanced economics, and saying “But have you guys ever considered that demand and supply controls cost?” when the discussion is about the less considered global implications of trickle-down economics in the US on the governmental programs of Uruguay. It’s not only annoying to everyone in the discussion, it’s derailing, as everyone now has to pause and explain the point of the discussion again.

    The point of the card is that the arguments being pulled out as “aha! Didn’t think about THAT, did you!” are so overused they’re recognized cliches in race discussion. They’re concepts where a very small amount of (Google) self-education would at least bring forth a number of different thinking points that have already been made over and over and over and over and over and OVER again. Clueless people have a tendency to treat every race discussion they stumble into as if it’s the Very First Race Discussion Ever [tm], and as if none of their brilliant statements have been made before. Honestly, it’s insulting.

    The very existence of a bingo card should be enough to show how very, very tired those arguments are, and the common ocurrence of their use to shut down any scary race discussion.

    I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve seen on posts where people trot out those exact (almost to the word format) arguments as if they’re speaking the truth of the ages. It’s boring, and it contributes precisely nothing to the discussion – unless your objective is to silence all race discussion and continue to live in a happy bubble where race has no impact at all because it doesn’t affect you personally. In which case, the bingo card is a rather useful reply. As is Derailing for Dummies.

  28. 28
    Sailorman says:

    # PG Writes:
    September 23rd, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Sailorman and Tom Nolan,

    If you’re going to accuse me of a straw man, why use one of your own, PG? I was up front about it being on a different bingo card.

    Then why bring it up here? Did nojojojo say that everything anyone ever put on a bingo card must be something she agrees belongs there?

    Because she’s asking for more bingo cards, and generally promoting the use of them. She’s not limiting discussion to this particular card. Didn’t you read the post?

    Also, nice nonapology.

    You’re saying that someone can claim certain knowledge about a set of experiences she’s never had, even when someone who has had that set of experiences tells her she’s wrong, because of how she interpreted what someone who had those experiences told her?

    (italics added)
    Well, that being a straw man summary again (hopefully not becoming a habit in this thread), since what I actually said didn’t use the qualifier “certain”. Nice try, though.

    But as to what I actually said: sure. You can claim expertise and disagree with someone else’s general conclusion pretty much any time you want. Just because you don’t use homeopathy doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion of its general efficacy. Just because you haven’t experienced false arrest due to race doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion on its frequency or its effect on the justice system.

    Of course, people usually only complain about DISagreement. That’s an expected outcome but a logical flaw. If you can’t know about a particular effect of racism because you’re white, for example, then you cannot either agree or disagree with a POC.

    If you don’t want folks saying “oh no, that’s not racist, my black friend says so” because they haven’t personally experienced it then you also logically run into problems expecting them to say “oh yes, that’s racist because you say so” if that haven’t personally experienced that, either.

    But of course, that never makes it onto a bingo card.

  29. 29
    Tom Nolan says:

    attack_laurel

    I find it fascinating irritating that a large part of this commentary is taken up by two people who want to deny the validity of using a bingo card because of its possible linked content and are blithely ignoring the explanation that has been made three times now about how the reference is all about arguments so old and so cliched that they have no relevance to the discussion.

    a-l, are you suggesting that because someone leaves a handful of comments (on-topic, in a civil fashion and continually striving to find common ground between himself and his interlocutor) on a thread, other people are thereby prevented from doing so, and from discussing its topic in any way they choose? Also, I don’t accept at all that to contest the validity of an explanation is to “blithely ignore” it.

    However, I can see that you do consider the conversation between PG and myself a derail and I have no desire to “irritate” you further. In deference to your wishes I shall take no further part in this discussion.

  30. 30
    Sailorman says:

    attack_laurel:

    That supply/demand example is an excellent analogy. As I said, there are certain aspects of race (or any discussion of pretty much any topic) which are generally accepted and proven. Supply/demand is (in most contexts) one of those.

    Race certainly has those equivalents. But as it’s a nonmathematical discipline, and is built on an ever-lengthening list of conclusions, it is hard to escape the fact that any imperfections in the base conclusions effect the final conclusion. There are certainly plenty of times when you may be discussing a fairly advanced issue of theory but it is based on some other assumption which may be questioned. Race is no different.

    There are certain issues which are side tracks and completely irrelevant to any discussion. But those vary by discussion.

    So if you’re trying to write a school policy regarding discriminatory speech and you’re trying to come up with discriminatory speech laws, and you are trying to figure out a way to address certain racially based insults, it actually becomes quite relevant whether some, all, or no students are prohibited from using the n-word.

    Bingo? Sure, it’s on the card. But it’s not 101 in that context, nor irrelevant in that context.

    OTOH, if you’re in a discussion about crack sentencing, then the n-word is irrelevant.

    Do you trust everyone to make that call correctly?

    I don’t trust anyone to make that call correctly. Obviously there are people who will bring up things you don’t think are relevant. And just as obviously, there are people who will deny the relevance of things which are important but uncomfortable, or which affect their conclusion in a way they don’t like.

    You may believe that of course, the “bingo!” claim will only be used when appropriate. You may believe that it will never be used merely because the person calling bingo doesn’t want to deal with the issue, or because calling bingo gives some sort of temporary power or conversational benefit t one side or the other. But that seems to be contrary to human nature.

    IMO, bingo games are just one more tool which happens to give a randomly-assigned bit of power. And they, by and large, get used to shut down discussion.

  31. 31
    Sailorman says:

    Forgot to add:

    I am also curious if the bingo supporters can identify the type of person who WOULD respond to “bingo!” and simultaneously WOULD NOT respond to a statement that something was irrelevant or conclusively proven.

    because the reverse is not so hard to identify: there are certainly people who react reasonably well to a polite explanation, but get pissed at a “bingo, you idjut!”

    IOW, who thinks that “bingo” will either maintain or improve the likelihood of “good” discussion?

    Alternatively, who thinks that “bingo” is more likely to negatively affect the status quo, because it’s mostly a way to play “gotcha,” which generally pisses people off and fails to improve discussion? (raises hand.)

    And to link to the other post… remember that issue above about disagreeing with people who have personal experience? If you’re not basing your pro-bingo stance on personal experience and if you think it’s OK to disagree with me here, how are you resolving that conflict?

  32. 32
    nojojojo says:

    Sailorman,

    I’ll repeat myself one more time.

    It doesn’t matter how the cliche-dropper responds when others call BINGO. You’re obsessed with the qualitative issues (assuming that their participation matters) and ignoring the quantitative ones (if they’re just bringing in the 500th iteration of Stock Argument, then no, their participation doesn’t matter). If the latter, they’re not contributing anything new to the discussion anyway, so who cares if they *flounce*? And in the meantime, shutting them down allows existing discussions to continue uninterrupted.

    As attack_laurel noted (I said the same thing, but you seem to actually be listening to her/him), these people basically come into a conversation space and insult everyone’s intelligence. They’re rude, however politely they might phrase their rudeness, and they don’t realize what an interruption/imposition their rudeness poses to the group. (Though sometimes they do know — they’ve made the patronizing assumption that PoC/anti-racists aren’t that smart, and have taken it upon themselves to enlighten us.) There’s really no way to tell these people that they’re being rude without pissing most of them off. It doesn’t matter how politely you phrase it. (“The Tone Argument” is another common BINGO square.) They’re still going to get annoyed — and that’s fine. Because the ones who get upset and *flounce* aren’t interested in having a good conversation anyway. The ones who react by either educating themselves or listening awhile are the ones who often end up having something useful to contribute. Or not. In the meantime, the conversation continues uninterrupted.

    It does seem odd to me that you’re so concerned with the feelings and reactions of these rude people, but not with those of the people they’ve been rude to. But then I’m not sure you’re actually interested in this discussion so much as you are in continuing some argument with PG from elsewhere.

  33. 33
    attack_laurel says:

    Sailorman:

    You’re still missing the point. a discussion on race can get quite heated, and ideas can be tossed back and forth with deep discussion on the relevance of this point or that point, but there are cliches that have been addressed so many times that their presence in the discussion is useless and insulting. They do not further discussion, they only help to destroy it. Treating every discussion as if it must start from the absolute 101 on racism means that every discussion will stall at that point, and never go anywhere.

    This is the point of the bingo card – to educate without having to stop the discussion at hand. “here is your square” is the equivalent of “here is your answer; come back when you’ve read it and maybe we can talk”, not “get the fuck out of here”. Notice that even when irritated, people are trying to educate – not that most people who bring up those gems of bingo wisdom have ever been particularly keen on following links in any discussion I have ever been in on, which makes me suspicious that they aren’t really interested in educating themselves, but in shutting down the uncomfortable conversation.

    To say “you don’t know what might be relevant” is disingenuous; when a person is saying (for example) “the disappearing of all native people from a continent because it is not convenient in your novel is problematic”, it is not helpful to say “but my friend who is part Cherokee doesn’t have a problem with it”. Does that make sense? Personal experience has nothing to do with it; in a cultural context, the disappearing of a whole country of people who have been damn near disappeared in the real world is fraught with all kinds of issues, and it is neccessary to discuss those. Just because someone doesn’t think there’s a problem doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

    What’s relevant? Thinking discussion. It would actually be a great thing if everyone could look at the bingo squares and explore why each one is a problematic statement before getting into any discussion, because they will be coming from a new understanding of why those statements are problematic and so often brought up that they have their own square, not to mention reams and reams of essays about why they’re a problem. We’re not working in a vacuum here – the Very First Discussion on Race[tm] happened a long time ago.

    The basics responses that always crop up – there isn’t one square on that card that I haven’t seen pop up in every single discussion of any length – occur repeatedly, often many times in the same thread, because not only are the people using them not willing to do even a little research on their own time, they’re frequently not even willing to read the whole comments thread, where people have already explained the issue. This makes people tired. Hence the bingo card. Again, this isn’t exactly uncharted territory. It may be to you, which is why you think these questions might be relevant, but if you check the sites linked in ABW’s blog comments on this post, you’ll see how many times the same questions and responses pop up.

    It’s up to the person who receives a bingo square to educate themselves; if they choose to come back, they will be treated with more respect as someone who might be clueless, but is trying to learn. If they throw a flounce, then they weren’t interested in learning anyway, and are just trying to derail or stop the discussion. Those people don’t deserve to be catered to, because they’re not looking to learn, they’re looking to score points.

    Your last paragraph is also being a bit weird, conflating “I dont’ like being disagreed with” with “When you say those words, they are deeply hurtful to me”, but: I’m basing my pro bingo stance on being in on a number of these discussions, and reading many more, plus reading all the essays about this that I can get my mouse on, so as to educate myself without being an ass. I am continuing the discussion with you here even though you disagree with me, because I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that you actually want to know why something like this might be considered neccessary in the first place, rather than simply going “I don’t like this, so you can’t do it” cloaked under “but people might be offended!”.

    The people putting these things together have put years into this work, and are trying to push the discussion forward, which they cannot do if people insist that the only way to discuss is to start from the very beginning, every time. Hence the bingo, which is way politer than telling people to Google it.

  34. 34
    Carnadosa says:

    N5-I’m operating under the assumption that this is about “reverse racism” in general.

    Why I Hate White Anti-Racists O4, N5

    Color Blindness Free Space

    Colorblindness 101 Free Space

    Check My What? B3

    Race Relations 101: Colorblindness Free Space

    Those are my next easiest bookmarks to fit. I thought I had more that worked, but this BINGO card is weirdly hard for me to ‘get’ what the essential argument of each square is.

    Also! I don’t understand what G4 is about. Bill Cosby’s said a lot of things about race relations that are basically other squares (bootstrap, disbelief in systematic/institutional racism…). So, um, what’s the argument?

  35. 35
    Katie says:

    This is the best answer to G3 (the “take personal responsibility” square) I’ve ever seen – and it’s from a couple days ago!

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/09/23/racial-inequality-and-the-rhetoric-of-responsibility/

  36. 36
    Danny says:

    http://dannyscorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/2008/06/you-cant-fly-jets-if-youre-colorblind.html

    While not definitive this is a post I did a while back about why proclaiming to be colorblind doesn’t make you sound as hip and progressive as you think it does. Just thought I’d mention it since the topic came up.

  37. 37
    Meowser says:

    How about Curebie (anti-autism) Bingo, by Amanda Baggs?

    http://www.autistics.org/library/bingo.html

  38. 38
    PG says:

    Katie @35,

    The linked post is a good rebuttal of why it doesn’t make sense to tell African Americans to take community responsibility (because there’s multiple black communities, and because those communities are lacking institutions with teeth to enforce norms), but it doesn’t rebut the idea that one ought to take personal responsibility for one’s situation in life.

  39. 39
    sylphhead says:

    A few thoughts regarding the bingo cards.

    First, I agree with the assessment that just because an argument is either cliched or overused, doesn’t mean it is necessarily untrue. If the Bingo card is meant to imply that any argument is wrong because it’s been written up on a Bingo card, then I don’t like it. (Unless it was an interactive bingo card where each entry linked to an empirical rebuttal to the claim, or something.) Also, simply saying that an argument is cliched, without any meaningful rebuttal, amounts to a base silencing tactic, much like what Sailorman said about the term “PC”.

    Here’s where I can agree these cards would be handy. Say there’s a person joining in the discussion, who seems reasonable enough, but is mainly taking the side against the anti-racists. Fine. Nothing inherently wrong with that, of course. But this guy plays the whole “Gee golly… I’m just a regular fella, and I just don’t understand all this hostility” card. Of course, once he starts rattling off several entries on the chart, it becomes clear that he’s actually been in many debates about racism before, on the side against anti-racism and pro-equality, and has been cataloguing talking points against the POC position in his head. The best entries are those that are too oddly specific to have come up any other way, such as I3, N4, and G4 on this one.

    What’s bad, in other words, is not saying something that happens to be on a bingo card – you don’t win in real life Bingo by getting only one square, after all. I can think of two or three on this one that I’d agree with. What’s bad is matching multiple things on a bingo card, an implausibly high number of things, while pretending you’re new to the debate or that you’re not taking any sides.

    In general, I’m not a fan of ideological bingo cards, but I can see where they can be useful.

  40. 40
    PG says:

    Unless it was an interactive bingo card where each entry linked to an empirical rebuttal to the claim, or something.

    I thought that was the entire point of the above post:

    While rolling my eyes at some of the drive-bys over on Alaya’s Supernatural thread I thought that it would be useful to not only be able to point to BINGO cards and say: “Look, what you just said is on here, this is how clueless you are,” but also have that square link to a post or comment thread wherein the statement is taken apart and shredded to pieces. It’s similar to the way I tell people to read the Required Reading or simply point to coffeeandink’s excellent How To Suppress Discussions of Race. We’ve all had these debates so many times that at this point all we really should have to do is say: “Go here and click on I/3.”

  41. 41
    Jenn93 says:

    Regarding B4, is it actually considered racist to be primarily attracted to people of one’s own race?