Open Thread and Link Farm, Spiders Will Eat Us All Edition

two-countries

  1. LSE Business Review – Gender quotas and the crisis of the mediocre man
    “Quotas aren’t anathema to meritocracy: they increase competence levels by displacing mediocre men.”
  2. White Women Are Less Likely to Protect Black Women From Sexual Assault, Study Finds | Teen Vogue
  3. Minority Neighborhoods Pay Higher Car Insurance Premiums Than White Areas With the Same Risk – ProPublica
  4. Women Supreme Court Justices Are Interrupted More Often During Oral Arguments, Despite Talking Less
    Gender is far more influential a factor than seniority.
  5. Spiders could theoretically eat every human on Earth in one year – The Washington Post
  6. Opioid Deaths Plummeting in States with Legal Weed
    Jeff Sessions, of course, doesn’t give a shit. The willingness to have more people die in order to preserve the moral purity of one’s anti-drug stance is, to me, perhaps the most bewildering conservative position. (Think also of the needle exchange issue.)
  7. Toxic masculinity is bad for the Jews
    “It’s not an accident that the JDL is trying for a comeback in the US now. Fascism, white nationalism, Trumpism, are ascendent, and so is antisemitism.”
  8. Complaint Alleges Immigration Detention Center Sexual Assaults Are Ignored | Teen Vogue
  9. KY law would allow student groups to discriminate against LGBT people | TheHill
    This is what “religious freedom” means to the Christian right – the right of a (taxpayer-funded) Frisbee Club student club to exclude queers. (In theory the law is limited to “religious or political” student groups. Sincere thanks to Michael for the correction.)
  10. Election 2016: Did New Voting Laws Tip the Balance?
    The answer: No, it didn’t, according to this study. In fact, voter suppression laws may have hurt Trump more, because – in a reverse of what typically happens – in 2016 Republicans had more first-time voters, who are more likely to be deterred; and perhaps also because Democrats mitigated voter suppression laws through get out the vote efforts.
  11. Few Democratic voters back Syria bombings. So why do so many Democrats in Congress? – Vox
  12. The Debate Link: What We Now Know About Sex Discrimination
    “In a landmark decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that discrimination on basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination, prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.”
  13. My Third April Fools’ Confession | Thing of Things“In Patria, it is generally agreed upon that every man a woman has sex with the month before she conceives a child is that child’s father. … Most children have five to ten fathers. Of course, few women have five to ten lovers at any given time; it is usual, when a woman decides to try to conceive, for her to choose a small number of beloved friends to have sex with once or twice.”
  14. Doctor Who’s Bill Potts to be show’s first openly gay companion | Television & radio | The Guardian
    Captain Jack was openly bi, I thought? Although he was more of an occasional guest star than a companion.
  15. GOP lawmaker: The Bible says ‘if a man will not work, he shall not eat’ – The Washington Post
    This was said to justify cutting SNAP (aka food stamps).
  16. Economic growth in the US: A tale of two countries | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal
  17. FBI Arrests Hacker Who Hacked No One – The Daily Beast
    He wrote software that hackers (and also, legit users) have used.
  18. Mike Pence’s Marriage and the Beliefs That Keep Women from Power – The New Yorker
  19. The American economy isn’t actually becoming more concentrated – Vox
    In short: In the past, a lot of people moved to areas where economic growth was concentrated, and this was good. Today, economic growth is concentrated in coastal cities like San Francisco; but people don’t move there, because the rent is too damn high, because we have too many single-family houses and not enough apartment buildings.
  20. If I Ran The Zoo: 16 recommendations for Fixing Obamacare
  21. Kansas’ Governor Brownback Stops 150,000 Poor People From Getting Health Care
  22. No, Diversity Didn’t Kill Marvel’s Comic Sales – CBR
    But it’s frightening to see how much their sales have collapsed – including in their best-selling comics about white men. If they don’t find a way to stop that trend it’s hard to see how they stay in business as a comics publisher.
  23. No, millennial men don’t want to keep women in the kitchen.
    How bad statistics leads to a clickbaity headline about sexist millennials.
  24. Joss Whedon’s ‘Batgirl’ movie reveals a weakness in a key argument for diversity – The Washington Post
    I think a more compelling argument for diverse creators is, we’re leaving talent lying on the table. (See link #1).
  25. The Death of the White Working Class Has Been Greatly Exaggerated
  26. And also: Is white mortality rising? Not really.
  27. Why It’s Time to Legalize Prostitution – The Daily Beast
  28. New poll shows what Americans really think about taxes: the rich should pay more – Vox
  29. Even among lower-income Republicans. But the poll could have asked more nuanced questions, imo.
  30. Settling the birth-order debate once and for all – The Globe and Mail
    Birth order has no effect on personality, according to the largest study yet done. First born children are smarter on average – but only by a single IQ point.
  31. Speaking of legalizing prostitution, I had an argument about that over at A Moment of Cerebus, which took place first on this thread, and then on this thread.
  32. Lies, damned lies and sex work statistics – The Washington Post
  33. Students Blockade Athenaeum to Protest Conservative Speaker
    Not only is this behavior wrong morally (because censorship), the speaker – Heather MacDonald – will only have her profile raised by this. I would be surprised if she doesn’t get more bookings because of the publicity this brought her.
  34. I’m kinda in love with this cover of We Will Rock You by Max Raabe.
  35. The voting rights issue no one talks about: Ending the disenfranchisement of felons will strengthen democracy – Salon.com
    This is an issue that swings some congressional elections.
  36. Nation’s largest Jewish denomination encourages congregations to protect undocumented immigrants
    Although the way ICE been acting lately, I’m not sure they wouldn’t enter a synagogue to arrest someone.
  37. Creationist ‘teach the controversy’ bill presented in Iowa Legislature
    The bill also requires schools that teach students about climate change to also teach them climate denialism. This is what conservatism stands for – anti-science, pro-lying to students.

bumper-stickers

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50 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Spiders Will Eat Us All Edition

  1. 1
    desipis says:

    There’s something amazingly metaphorical about a political rally turning into a shoving match using a dumpster.

  2. 3
    Michael says:

    “This is what “religious freedom” means to the Christian right – the right of a (taxpayer-funded) Frisbee Club to exclude queers.”
    From the text of the article, it seems like they were proposing that a “Catholic Club” or a “Protestant Club” should be free to exclude queers. That’s a bit more complicated- most people wouldn’t want a Frisbee Club to be free to exclude atheists but would be perfectly okay with a Protestant Club excluding atheists.

  3. 4
    LTL FTC says:

    In #1, “competence” is defined as how much money a politician would make outside of politics. Seriously. A male economics professor losing a spot on the party line to the inheritor of a successful Volvo dealership is a victory of female excellence over “mediocre” men.

    By this metric, the most recent election in the US was also a victory of competence.

  4. 5
    Ampersand says:

    Seriously. A male economics professor losing a spot on the party line to the inheritor of a successful Volvo dealership is a victory of female excellence over “mediocre” men.

    That’s very inaccurate, LTL. (BTW, is that pronounced “little” or “Ell Tee Ell?” That’s not a dig or related to this discussion at all, I was just wondering.)

    But our measure of competence relies on a comparison of the private incomes across people with the same education, occupation, age, and residence in the same geographical region (members of municipal councils in Sweden typically keep their private job). A competent politician, we argue, is a person who makes more than the median amongst politicians with similar characteristics. Remarkably, this competence measure is closely correlated with results from enlistments tests of the intelligence and leadership capacity of those who did military service. It is also related to measures of political success and the quality of service delivery.

    The idea that, holding education, occupation, age, and geography constant, difference in income at least partly reflect differences in competence, doesn’t seem all that incredible to me. I don’t imagine that competence is the only factor – luck obviously matters, too – but averaged across a bunch of people, I’d certainly expect competence to be one important factor.

  5. 6
    Ampersand says:

    “This is what “religious freedom” means to the Christian right – the right of a (taxpayer-funded) Frisbee Club to exclude queers.”
    From the text of the article, it seems like they were proposing that a “Catholic Club” or a “Protestant Club” should be free to exclude queers. That’s a bit more complicated- most people wouldn’t want a Frisbee Club to be free to exclude atheists but would be perfectly okay with a Protestant Club excluding atheists.

    Michael, thanks for the correction. I’ve updated the post.

    That said, I do think it’s not as benign as the proponents claim.

    1) The law says that student “religious or political” groups are exempt from any non-discrimination rules, not only religious groups.

    2) The Hobby Lobby case, and similar cases, shows that conservative Christians expand what “religious organization” means in order to enlarge loopholes from laws. In practice, a “religious” organization would probably mean any organization at all that declares itself to be faith-based, regardless of if the organization’s main activities have anything to do with faith.

    3) (Note that in Kansas it’s ALREADY the default that all these clubs can legally discriminate against LGBT students; what this new law does is prevent colleges from making local campus rules forbidding clubs from discriminating against LGBT students).

    For reference, here’s the text of the relevant portion of the law:

    “No recognized religious or political student organization is hindered or discriminated against in the ordering of its internal affairs, selection of leaders and members, defining of doctrines and principles, and resolving of organizational disputes in the furtherance of its mission, or in its determination that only persons committed to its mission should conduct these activities.”

  6. 7
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis: That there’s a lot of anti-Trump fake news is not at all surprising, alas. Rage-sharing is big on both the right and the left, so it’s an easy way for clickbaiters to make money on both the right and the left.

  7. 8
    Kohai says:

    Amp,

    I think you inadvertently posted the “legalize sex work” link twice at numbers 27 and 31. I’m highly in favor of decriminalization, so feel free to continue doubling up on the pro sex worker posts. :)

  8. 9
    Ampersand says:

    Whoops! Thanks, Kohai. :-) I changed link 31 to a link to another blog where I was arguing with people about sex work.

  9. 10
    MJJ says:

    I can see the rationale for allowing political clubs to discriminate. After all, you don’t want people who disagree with you to force you to accept them into the club and then basically vote to change the club entirely. Also, given the nature of politics, I doubt many clubs would discriminate against people who were not actively trying to change the club’s philosophy; I can see a “traditional sexual morality” club not wanting to include non-celibate gays (because it would almost certainly require watering down what the club stands for), but a club that is focused on immigration issues, or on tax issues, or on trade issues likely would not want to turn away any potential allies based on race, sexuality, gender, etc., as it would decrease their influence.

  10. 11
    Harlequin says:

    a club that is focused on immigration issues, or on tax issues, or on trade issues likely would not want to turn away any potential allies based on race, sexuality, gender, etc., as it would decrease their influence.

    Unfortunately, “engaging in discrimination is illogical because it harms my cause” is, historically, not something that prevents discrimination. (You think Jim Crow was economically beneficial for the South?) While groups may be single-issue, people are not.

  11. 12
    Ortvin Sarapuu says:

    I wondered how that study defined ‘mediocre’.

    ” our measure of competence relies on a comparison of the private incomes across people with the same education, occupation, age, and residence in the same geographical region (members of municipal councils in Sweden typically keep their private job). A competent politician, we argue, is a person who makes more than the median amongst politicians with similar characteristics.”

    So when they say it displaces ‘mediocre’ men, they mean it displaces low-earning men.

    I’m not sure that removing low-earning people from politics is a good thing. In fact the idea that general competence and worth as a human being is best reflected by income is something that I don’t usually expect to co-exist with support for political gender quotas, although perhaps I’m being naive about the power of neoliberal feminism.

  12. 13
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Ampersand says:
    1) The law says that student “religious or political” groups are exempt from any non-discrimination rules, not only religious groups.

    And do you think that’s worse? I think that’s great! People should be able to exercise their freedom of association and belief without having to pretend that it’s god-based. Things are a lot more open that way.

    Don’t you want the feminist club to be able to refuse admission to MRAs? Don’t you want the Campus Democrats to be able to refuse membership to Republicans? Don’t you want the Gay-straight Alliance to be able to refuse memberships to the “gays are evil sinners” crowd?

    If you want free exercise of politics, political groups need to be able to form their own membership criteria. Some of those criteria will be admirable; some will be neutral; some will be evil; most of those labels will change depending on your viewpoint.

    I suspect the real problem is differential funding, which suggests the issue is less one of discrimination than of financial capture. You can have a school where a lot of fungible money is selectively steered towards a lot of discriminatory groups, which I agree would be a bad use of funds anywhere and more to the point an inappropriate use of public funds.

    If schools exercised less control over splitting up student funding, then we wouldn’t need to be so concerned that they give it to the ‘wrong’ (insert your definition here) sort of folks.

    2) The Hobby Lobby case, and similar cases, shows that conservative Christians expand what “religious organization” means in order to enlarge loopholes from laws.

    Can we all be honest enough to say that everyone does this? Whether you’re talking about title 9 or the RFRA or “racism”, everyone is desperately trying to expand these powerful laws so they can win the fight without ever entering the ring. Sure would be nice if the laws were a bit less expansive, and I agree that conservative groups do this, but this is totally not a “conservative thing.”

    In practice, a “religious” organization would probably mean any organization at all that declares itself to be faith-based, regardless of if the organization’s main activities have anything to do with faith.

    See, one nice thing about allowing political groups is that you avoid the god stuff. If you want to start an LGBT-allied group, or a no-platforming-for-conservatives group, you can. If you want to start an LGBT-hostile group, or a Charles Murray group, you can. Nobody needs to try to find a godly motivation, which also means that we keep the schools far away from the “judging godly motivations” problem.

  13. 14
    LTL FTC says:

    (Amp: its pronounced L.T.L.F.T.C., as in “long time listener, first time caller. Though I dont listen to call-in talk radio, I thought it fit)

    My clumsy analogy aside, this captures it:

    In fact the idea that general competence and worth as a human being is best reflected by income is something that I don’t usually expect to co-exist with support for political gender quotas

    If it takes adopting the Trump Theory of Political Worthiness to secure a set aside for Our Team, then a-Trumping some will go.

    I hate to cast aspersions, but here goes: the particularly craven nature of the assumption required to define “competence” signals to me that this study would probably never have seen the light of day until they found a variable that proved their point.

  14. 15
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    #1 is pretty silly.

    First, there’s the implication that “opposition to strict gender quotas in political representation” is motivated by the Mediocre Man instead of the many other political, social, and/or moral reasons to oppose it, which… well, god knows where they get that. Nice slogan, bad science.

    There’s also this gem of an assumption:

    Mediocre leaders have a strong incentive to surround themselves with mediocre followers, so as to bolster their chances of remaining in power.

    This is similarly ridiculous. The more likely explanation is that mediocre people are, well, mediocre, which is to say that they are not especially good at attracting, leading, vetting, or retaining expert followers. The other option is to assume that mediocre folks just to happen to be mediocre everywhere except in the one area of political wrangling, and that the imbalance is common among all mediocre politicians… yeah, sure.

    And finally, that writeup ignores what is literally the most obvious explanation for the improvement: If you are forced to fire people from any large organization which has an overly long in-service time, as a rule the overall competence will go up.

    The larger the population is, the more easily that you can trim off the left tail. IOW, the effect probably doesn’t come from “gender parity,” and it doesn’t come from “being female.” It probably comes from “being obliged to replace a portion of existing politicians with new people.”

    And of course there’s the issue about “how to measure political competence.” Which i have no idea how to do, but I suspect that however you do it, there has to be some serious value-judging going on.

  15. 16
    Harlequin says:

    LTL FTC:

    I hate to cast aspersions, but here goes: the particularly craven nature of the assumption required to define “competence” signals to me that this study would probably never have seen the light of day until they found a variable that proved their point.

    From the article Amp linked:

    Remarkably, this competence measure is closely correlated with results from enlistments tests of the intelligence and leadership capacity of those who did military service. It is also related to measures of political success and the quality of service delivery.

    So they did at least some minimal checking on whether this was reasonably linked to how people performed as politicians; I imagine income is an easier variable to collect than the other ones they mention.

    That doesn’t mean I agree with its use here. For instance, I imagine charisma is a big hidden variable, as it would allow you to convince people to put you up for office, and to pay you more, without actually being any better at the job itself than other people. And it’s still an economic indicator. The fact that they control for occupation and other factors reduces my objections (variation between occupations is typically bigger than variation within occupations–so an above-average-income trash collector would be preferred, if the study is right, to a below-average-income surgeon) but it still bothers me. I’d rather see this study with those measures of political success and quality of service they used for comparison, although it’s probable those have their own systematic effects.

    Ortvin Sarapuu:

    I’m not sure that removing low-earning people from politics is a good thing.

    Is it better or worse than preferentially removing an entire gender from politics?

  16. 17
    nobody.really says:

    New study of election results, analyzing the effects of effects of wealth, authoritarianism, and racism on voting behavior–specifically, on people’s propensity to vote Democratic or Republican in the last election, relative to people’s propensities during prior elections.

    Wealth: In the last election the bottom 20% went slightly for the Republican—a rare outcome, but only modestly so. The shocker is that in the last TWO elections, the top 20% were more likely to vote Democratic, a phenomenon never before seen in the study’s almost 70 years. And this was especially true in the last election.

    Authoritarianism: Are you more likely to say you want kids to be considerate, or well-behaved? Self-reliant, or obedient? Authoritarian people tend to favor the latter alternatives. By these standards, Trump boosters were slightly LESS likely to favor authoritarianism than prior Republican voters were. Trump folk lean more toward the anti-establishment hippy than your typical Republican does.

    Racism: There’s an unprecedented divide in how Trump and Hillary voters respond to racially-coded questions. Racism is a stronger predator than authoritarianism in predicting your vote in the last election. No big surprise, I guess.

    Oh, wait, there IS a surprise: This is actually good news! Trump voters are slightly LESS likely to give the racist response than were Romney voters. The big change is that Hillary voters were MUCH less likely to give the racist response than any previous cohort of Democratic voters. So EVERYONE is less racist than in the past—but Democrats are becoming less racist faster than Republicans are. We is woke?

  17. 18
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Thx for that link.

    I was surprised to read that the “children should be self-reliant” is coded as “liberal”. Maybe it’s a holdover from the old days….

    Also:

    The shocker is that in the last TWO elections, the top 20% were more likely to vote Democratic, a phenomenon never before seen in the study’s almost 70 years. And this was especially true in the last election.

    Not so much of a shocker if you look at the numbers.
    The WaPo article doesn’t report n or error bars, and it also uses the annoying “circle technique” that makes small numbers look bigger** and it also shows a graph scale which only goes down to 100 but actually uses a number smaller than 100 –sloppy work, that.

    But anyway, it looks like the circle for “top 5%” is about 1/2 the diameter of the “100” size, which would mean N is roughly 25, which would probably make the “shocker” the result of expected variance due to low sample size. And which would probably impact its predictive value for the other 15 million folks in the top 5%.

    **(people usually tend to scale by radius, but the circles are scaled by total area. Draw a circle and ask some folks to draw one “half the size” and you’ll see the issue.)

  18. 19
    Jake Squid says:

    (Amp: its pronounced L.T.L.F.T.C., as in “long time listener, first time caller. Though I dont listen to call-in talk radio, I thought it fit)

    Damn. I was sure that “LTL” was “Less Than Load” and I just couldn’t figure out how FTC related to trucking. I’ve clearly been paying too much attention to the freight portion of work for too long.

  19. 20
    Harlequin says:

    A couple of notes on nobody.really’s comment above (since I was a little confused–to be clear, I don’t think this was intentional on nobody’s part, and I’m just clarifying in case somebody else has the same questions I did).

    The shocker is that in the last TWO elections, the top 20% were more likely to vote Democratic, a phenomenon never before seen in the study’s almost 70 years.

    This is among white voters only. It’s still interesting, of course!

    Oh, wait, there IS a surprise: This is actually good news! Trump voters are slightly LESS likely to give the racist response than were Romney voters. The big change is that Hillary voters were MUCH less likely to give the racist response than any previous cohort of Democratic voters. So EVERYONE is less racist than in the past—but Democrats are becoming less racist faster than Republicans are.

    Note that Trump voters still score higher on this scale than they did 30 years ago when tracking started; Romney was a high water mark for Republican scores on these measures [insert sarcastic comment wondering why]. However, I don’t know how much of that is individual voters getting more racist and how much is the increased ideological sorting that’s happened since the 80s. This uses the same scale that was under discussion by Elusis and g&w in this recent comment thread.

  20. 21
    nobody.really says:

    I was sure that “LTL” was “Less Than Load” and I just couldn’t figure out how FTC related to trucking.

    Talk to this guy.

  21. 22
    Phil says:

    There’s a subject that I’ve been wanting to discuss with smart and well-meaning and analytical people, and since this is an Open Thread as well as a link farm, I figure this might be a place to do it.

    My issue is: I really don’t believe that cultural appropriation is wrong, and I think that people who are offended by it, or who “call it out” are going down a really problematic path.

    It isn’t that I don’t understand what cultural appropriation is, or that I haven’t heard the many reasons that people think it’s bad or harmful or offensive. I could definitely write a paper articulating lots of reasons that it’s wrong to wear a headdress at a music festival, or to dress as the goddess Kali for Halloween, or to put one’s hair in braids. I just–if I’m being honest with myself, deep down–don’t believe those reasons.

    And it’s not like I want to go out of my way to be a jerk. I have no desire to wear a headdress, or a Kali Halloween costume, or to put my hair in braids. But I think that our cultural discussions about what is and isn’t offensive are important, because I think the very notion of what is “offensive” require a certain amount of societal consensus. I can see that there are a lot of well-meaning and intelligent people who are working to try to expand the notion that cultural appropriation is offensive, and I personally believe that they’re wrong.

    But…I sort of want to believe otherwise? Like, I was wrestling with this (not literally; just in my head) the other day, and it reminds me of when I became an atheist. I wanted to believe in God, and in an afterlife, and in angels and all of the non-materialist things that my mom’s church preached. And I tried to believe in all that stuff, and to set aside thoughts that it wasn’t real, and to proceed in good faith as if it might be real, and ultimately I just couldn’t do it. I don’t think that wanting to believe in something makes it real, and I don’t think one can make oneself believe in something through sheer force of will. I just don’t believe in the supernatural, because it’s not real.

    I’d like to believe that there’s something wrong about cultural appropriation, because I like to think of myself as a progressive and a liberal and a person who cares about equality and justice and fairness. So there’s tribalism at play, and self-concept, and a lot of important factors that make me want to be on the side that the people I like and respect are on. And I don’t want to be some asshole arguing with my friends on their Facebook walls while kind and goodhearted individuals argue against me and racist Trump supporters cheer me on.

    These are the beliefs/ideas that I’m having a hard time reconciling with a “Don’t Appropriate Cultures!” mindset:

    1.) It is wrong to prohibit someone from doing something based solely on the color of their skin, their ethnic background, their sex, their gender, etc.

    2.) People are more important than things, and people are not things. So mocking or being disrespectful toward an object is not the same thing as mocking or being disrespectful toward a human being.

    3.) A person’s right to feel strongly about an object or a practice or a thing deserves the same respect as a person’s right NOT to feel strongly about it.

    4.) Criticism or mockery of ideas is not the same as criticism of people. Religions, cultures, politics– those are ideas.

    5.) In practice, the vast vast majority of criticism that is made in our public discourse about cultural appropriation takes the shape of shaming women for choices they’ve made about their appearance. Since I believe that shaming women for choices they’ve made about their appearance is usually wrong, it ought to take a really compelling, indisputably ethical reason to do so.

    Here are some links that I’d describe as examples of “shaming women for choices they’ve made about their appearance.” Obviously, when it comes to shaming women, the perpetrator can be male or female.

    Model Accused of Cultural Appropriation for Braiding Her Hair

    Don’t Do It Girl: How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation at Coachella

    White Girls, Take Off Your Hoops

    It’s a Slap in the Face When White Women Wear Black Hairstyles

    White Girls: Stop Wearing Nameplate Necklaces

    Anyway, I thought I’d throw this out there, and see if anyone else is struggling with this, or if there’s someone who once felt as I do, and then had an epiphany.

  22. 23
    Ben Lehman says:

    So, I’m not sure I’m up for a full-scale cultural appropriation discussion (which is polite-speak for: I’m really not going to do this.), but, Phil, do you mind a question about your framing?

    Namely, I’m really puzzled why you talk about wanting to believe that cultural appropriation is bad. I am just boggled by that. I cannot imagine wanting to believe that. Like, if I don’t understand why someone thinks something is wrong, I might want more information about it. I might want to understand why they believe this is wrong. But I can’t comprehend wanting to believe that it’s wrong. If I have enough information to make an informed judgement, I will. If I don’t, I want the information (why do you think that this is wrong?), not the judgement.

    Is this just quibbling over a difference of wording? Or is this just a totally different moral basis? I don’t understand, so, I want to know.

  23. 24
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t really have time right now, but I’m going to drop these links here:

    The Appropriateness of Appropriation | Alas, a Blog

    Reflections on Amandla Stenberg "Calling Out" Kylie Jenner for Cultural Appropriation

    Appropriate Cultural Appropriation

    That last one is lengthier, and is discussing appropriation specifically in the context of writing fiction.

  24. 25
    desipis says:

    I’m really puzzled why you talk about wanting to believe that cultural appropriation is bad. I am just boggled by that. I cannot imagine wanting to believe that.

    Ben, I’m obviously not Phil, so I can’t speak for him, but I’m not particularly boggled. I read it as wanting two things:
    a) social acceptance from the group holding those beliefs. That is the subgroup of progressives that believe cultural appropriation is always wrong (or in Phil’s analogy, the Christian community of his mum’s church).
    b) a simple moral code in order to avoid the cognitive effort required to make independent moral judgements.

    It seems Phil is experiencing a form of cognitive dissonance by feeling the desire for the above while simultaneous wanting the social acceptance from the broader group of people who beliefs are more consistent with the 5 points he listed, and wanting to avoid the cognitive effort of holding a moral code inconsistent with his personal experiences of pain and empathy.

    You, on the other hand, appear quite comfortable with a using a straight forward rational approach to the issue. I would hazard a guess that you neither feel that your social identity threatened by your reasoning process, nor have emotional experiences that conflict with your conclusions.

  25. 26
    Ampersand says:

    Unless Phil says he’s comfortable with it, I’d like people to avoid analyzing Phil any further. If Phil chooses to answer Ben’s questions, that’s fine; but I don’t think other people should try to speculate about Phil’s thought process, or answer the questions on Phil’s behalf.

  26. Phil,

    I am also wondering about your framing, specifically why you frame things in terms of absolute right and wrong in the first place. Cultural appropriation is a process that goes on all the time, on all different kinds of cultural, personal, political, creative, intellectual levels. It would seem to me the question is whether it is done responsibly, with integrity, with a sense of respect (and these are things about which people can disagree quite vehemently, of course), not whether it is right or wrong to do it in the first place.

  27. 28
    David Simon says:

    Richard Jeffrey Newman, I’m only familiar with the phrase “cultural appropriation” used in a negative connotation. Have you often heard it being used in a neutral or positive sense? In those senses, does it mean something like “cross-cultural participation” or “properly-sourced derivative work”?

  28. 29
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    I’d like to believe that there’s something wrong about cultural appropriation

    OK, then, if you want to go whole hog:

    1) Read and talk only to folks who think it’s horrible. There are plenty of them on the internet. If you’re lucky enough to be in college, there are probably plenty of them there.

    2) Don’t read or talk to many people who disagree. Better yet, do not permit disagreement at all. Discard opposing viewpoints as nonexistent, irrelevant, thoughtcrime, racist, colonialist, sexist, dehumanizing, or whatever preferred moniker works for you. This is much simpler than engaging with them. Like, see RJN’s comment? See how he’s being fairly reasonable? Do not read any more of his posts; you cannot be reasonable.

    3) Keep a hard-line view on who has the right to raise the issue, debate it, deny it, and make a ruling. So long as your side, and only your side, are the cops, judges, and juries, then you are sure to win the arguments. Requiring an element of “dominance” or “power” is really helpful here, since it usually allows you to entirely ignore anyone who tries to force the “CA works both ways” issue.

    4) Try not to use too many specifics. If you assert that some CA is acceptable and other CA is not, or if you get too specific, you may be asked to define the line–and that can be very dangerous to your position (though #2 offers ample defenses, if folks press too hard.) The most popular way is a sort of motte-and-bailey: using vague words like “respect” and “responsibility” and “privilege” allows you to move the goalposts, and if it doesn’t go well there’s always #2. Maybe your motte is “literally and fraudulently stealing music from black jazz artists” and your bailey is “using any African-inspired music without a specific shout-out to BLM,” but whatever works for you is fine.

    5) Always remember, CA is bad, so any appropriation you like needs to be defined as non-CA, at least in that conversation. Also remember that people who want a definition or a line are best defined as ” ___ists, who are trying to see how much appropriation they can get away with.”

    That usually seems to do it.

  29. 30
    Chris says:

    I like the idea that cultural appropriation can be done either well or not well, and am much more comfortable with that then the notion that it’s, say, always wrong for white people to wear dreads.

  30. 31
    Sarah says:

    @David Simon, I’ve heard “cultural appreciation” for positive examples of what is called “cultural appropriation” when it’s (perceived by the speaker to be) negative.

    For me this topic is really complicated by the fact that I believe cross-cultural transmission of words, ideas, clothes, food, etc. is inherently human, and therefore pretty much inevitable, as evidenced by tens of thousands of years of human history… so to me, “cultural appropriation” means something more like “irresponsible, hypocritical, insulting, or otherwise harmful treatment or (mis)use of another culture’s signifiers,” and avoiding it is a matter of trying to be responsible about culture sharing and endeavor to avoid or reduce harm.

    For example, I absolutely understand and believe Native American people when they say that it hurts them and their culture more generally to see their religions and stories rinsed and stretched out and made to fit into the “spooky” premise of the most recent Supernatural episode’s monster du jour, or that it’s deeply insulting when people with no connection to their culture wear headdresses stripped of the respect and authority they are intended to convey at a music festival for fun, when native people who wore them were abused by the government for failing to assimilate within the last hundred years.

    I also see a huge difference between those kinds of things and (to use the example in one of Phil’s links) asking people not to wear necklaces with their names on them. (Though I did read to the end of that link, and the author explicitly says that’s not what she’s doing.)

    But ultimately, sometimes, the harm-reduction attitude means you just have to take someone’s word for it if using this one particular style of dress or imitating this particular kind of slang or riffing off this one particular religious belief does more harm than good. There are a lot of cultures in the world, and a lot of clothes to wear, a lot of words to use, and a lot of mythological sources to draw inspiration from; it usually doesn’t have to be that one in particular.

  31. 32
    Phil says:

    Ben Lehman:

    Namely, I’m really puzzled why you talk about wanting to believe that cultural appropriation is bad. I am just boggled by that. I cannot imagine wanting to believe that.

    That’s a good question. I guess the answer is twofold. On the one hand, as desipis indicated, there is a tribalism angle. The people that I like and respect and choose to affiliate with all seem to have really strong (negative) feelings about cultural appropriation. In general–and I don’t want to paint everyone with the same brush, but in broad strokes–when I see people on social media arguing about this, I mostly see people who are (in my perception) kind and thoughtful and well-intentioned arguing with people who range (again, my perception) from kinda-jerks to intentional, over-the-top jerks. So, there is some cognitive dissonance when I think, gosh, all these people whose opinions I respect are on one side, and I’m on the other with a lot of people who hold some really unsavory views.

    The other half of the answer, if I’m being honest, is that it’s a rhetorical tactic to have a discussion without making the person(s) on the other side feel as if they’re being personally attacked. Like, I dunno if you’ve noticed, but sometimes when you have discussions on the Internet about stuff that involves race and culture and ethnicity, people can take things really personally and can get really upset. And there are good reasons for that–I don’t necessarily blame them. But it can make discussion difficult, especially if (see above paragraph) you’re taking the same side as people who routinely attack them. So I think that framing the discussion from the perspective of wanting to have an epiphany as opposed to wanting to tell people why they’re wrong might have some value.

    Amp:

    Unless Phil says he’s comfortable with it, I’d like people to avoid analyzing Phil any further.

    I appreciate this comment. I am comfortable, though, with someone offering a gloss on what they think I meant if I wrote something unclear. I mean, I don’t plan to personally be the main subject of whatever discussion takes place, but I’m cool with it in principle.

    Richard Jeffrey Newman:

    I am also wondering about your framing, specifically why you frame things in terms of absolute right and wrong in the first place.

    That’s a good question. It’s probably necessary to have an agreed-upon definition of cultural appropriation. I would probably say it occurs when a person of one culture wears or uses objects or recognizable non-human elements that are historically associated with another culture. (In modern usage, appropriation is typically viewed as negative when the appropriator is a member of a dominant culture –usually of European descent–and the culture being borrowed from is of a marginalized group.)

    I make the distinction “non-human” because I think there’s difference between using a thing and using a person. Owning a slave is not the same thing as owning a hat. Dressing up in a ninja outfit for Halloween is not the same thing as dressing up as a Japanese person for Halloween.

    Cultural appropriation is a process that goes on all the time, on all different kinds of cultural, personal, political, creative, intellectual levels.

    I think you are correct here, and to me, this is why it seems silly to call cultural appropriation wrong. (You seem to agree that it is silly to call it wrong as a matter of course, so I guess I’d be interested to hear some examples of perfectly fine appropriation.)

    It would seem to me the question is whether it is done responsibly, with integrity, with a sense of respect

    I think this is where I get lost, because, if we’re talking about things and not people, I do not think it is ever necessary to treat things with integrity and a sense of respect. When Andre Serrano submerged a crucifix in urine and photographed it, that seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, assuming he bought that particular crucifix, and that he didn’t, like, give it to someone afterward and not tell them it was covered in urine. Some people think that crucifixes are sacred. That’s great; they have a right to think that. But it’s completely inappropriate for Person A to expect Person B who doesn’t believe that crucifixes are sacred to act as if they are. When that happens, my gut instinct is to be much more offended by Person A than by Person B.

    With regard to the question of why it has to be either good or bad, right or wrong, I guess my perception is: that seems to be how these things work? I mean, if we accept the premise that the notion of what is “offensive” requires some kind of societal consensus, I think we do tend to try to sort things into “good” or “bad.”
    It’s fine–and I think noble and valiant–to make a case for nuance in these kinds of cultural debates, but I think the spectre of being taken as offensive has a chilling effect that creates a sort of offense expansion.

    Consider: if I were a white female tenure-track professor, and you were my mentor, and I told you that I wanted to wear a daishiki or a hijab (because I feel pretty in them) to a campus party where lots of people would be taking pictures and instagramming, what would be the most appropriate professional advice for you to give? A) “Go for it! As long as you do it responsibly, with integrity and respect.” or B) “I strongly urge you to wear something else.”

    gin-and-whiskey:

    OK, then, if you want to go whole hog:

    Would it be fair to say you are not exactly giving this advice in good faith?

    Chris:

    I like the idea that cultural appropriation can be done either well or not well, and am much more comfortable with that then the notion that it’s, say, always wrong for white people to wear dreads.

    But what about the notion that it’s just…not wrong for white people to wear dreads? Or…that the ability to wear dreads should not be dependent on factors that a person can’t control, such as the race they happened to be born into?

  32. Phil:

    I would probably say it occurs when a person of one culture wears or uses objects or recognizable non-human elements that are historically associated with another culture.

    You may think this is a quibble, but I wonder about “historically associated.” The hijab, to use the example you give later on in your comment, is not just “historically associated” with Islam. It is part of the lived experience of Muslims who are alive right now. More to the point, to pretend that the white female tenure track professor has no relationship whatsoever—cultural, political, whatever—to the contemporary meaning(s) of the hijab, beyond its material properties or what it looks like on her, is not simply to decontextualize the hijab as a material object, it is to decontextualize the professor entirely, not to mention that it delegitimizes any claim Muslim women have to the meaning of their own lived experience.

    I’m saying this not to come down on one side or the other of absolute right or wrong—though people reading this blog can probably guess what I would tell the professor in your hypothetical—but rather to clarify the terms of the question. There is a difference, it seems to me, between wearing jewelry based on, say, ancient Babylonian idols—to pick a random example of a culture that I assume is a truly “dead”—and wearing something that is part of a contemporary, living tradition, not only but especially when you live in a country where that tradition has a living presence.

    I think this is where I get lost, because, if we’re talking about things and not people, I do not think it is ever necessary to treat things with integrity and a sense of respect.

    But things are not disconnected from people. If we live together and you mistreat things that belong to me, then how is that mistreatment not also disrespectful to me? I get that this raises the question of whether and in what sense, for example, the hijab “belongs to” Muslim women, and I agree that is a difficult and thorny question, which I don’t have time to engage right now. I just want to point out that I think you too easily dismiss the social, cultural and political contexts in which people and things coexist and through which they are connected.

  33. 34
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Phil says:
    April 20, 2017 at 2:20 am
    gin-and-whiskey:
    Would it be fair to say you are not exactly giving this advice in good faith?

    It was entirely tongue in cheek, as I expected would be clear from things like “telling you to disregard RJN and never read his posts again, because he is being reasonable.”

    I could definitely write a paper articulating lots of reasons that it’s wrong to wear a headdress at a music festival, or to dress as the goddess Kali for Halloween, or to put one’s hair in braids. I just–if I’m being honest with myself, deep down–don’t believe those reasons.

    And it’s not like I want to go out of my way to be a jerk.

    Who does?

    Look, if you want to be responsible for making your own judgments, keep going as you are. If you want to cede those judgments to other people who don’t necessarily know you; who don’t necessarily share your values; who will probably use different forms of analysis for you and them; and who will probably put their own interests before yours, that’s your call.

  34. 35
    RonF says:

    nobody.really @ 17:

    For instance, respondents are asked whether it’s better when children are considerate (likely more liberal) or well-behaved (likely more authoritarian), or whether they should be self-reliant (likely more liberal) or obedient (likely more authoritarian).

    These results don’t make a lot of sense to me. For one thing, I don’t see how these things are set against each other. Children – indeed, people – should be both considerate AND well-behaved, self-reliant AND obedient, etc.

    Secondly, I don’t agree with the assignments of liberal vs. authoritarian. For example, after a quarter-century of observing and interacting with Scouts and their parents it’s pretty clear to me that liberal parents are the least likely to let their kids be self-reliant. In fact, they are the most likely to be “helicopter” parents and continuously intervene with their child to make sure he’s doing/wearing/using what they think is right or necessary and not let him make his own decisions, and to try to keep in touch with him at all times on campouts, etc.. It’s the more conservative parents who tend to let the kid act and learn on his own and depend on his own resources. I would say that conservative parents are definitely more likely to require their child to be obedient (7th point of the Scout Law) for sure, but when you have a group of young men out in the woods with axes, knives, saws, fires, etc., obedient is a good thing.

  35. 36
    RonF says:

    Does a ban on cultural appropriation mean that I should not eat at a restaurant that serves anything but Mexican food if the kitchen staff is Mexican? That would wipe out 80% of the restaurants in the country.

  36. 37
    nobody.really says:

    Does a ban on cultural appropriation mean that I should not eat at a restaurant that serves anything but Mexican food if the kitchen staff is Mexican?

    Yes. But that would be true even without a ban on cultural appropriation. Or Mexican staff. It’s true because Mexican cuisine rules. Especially Oaxacan.

    (“The best book on programming for the layman is Alice in Wonderland; but that’s because it’s the best book on anything for the layman.” Alan Perlis)

  37. 38
    Phil says:

    Richard Jeffrey Newman:

    The hijab, to use the example you give later on in your comment, is not just “historically associated” with Islam.

    That is true, but I don’t think the two qualities are mutually exclusive. So, for the purposes of defining Cultural Appropriation the historical association seems to be more important, doesn’t it? I mean, maybe we can come up with examples of appropriation that involve objects that were invented in 2016, but I don’t see a lot of that being discussed. Whereas, if a Muslim designer created an outfit in 2016 that was distinctive and unique and looked nothing like anything that had ever been historically associated with Islam, and an American designer created a version of that outfit to dress white models in, I think we’d call that plagiarism, or some other variation on theft of ideas, not cultural association. (It might also be copyright or trademark infringement, but those are legal terms, and I think the whole notion of cultural appropriation is that it’s a societal/cultural issue, not a legal one.)

    More to the point, to pretend that the white female tenure track professor has no relationship whatsoever—cultural, political, whatever—to the contemporary meaning(s) of the hijab, beyond its material properties or what it looks like on her, is not simply to decontextualize the hijab as a material object, it is to decontextualize the professor entirely, not to mention that it delegitimizes any claim Muslim women have to the meaning of their own lived experience.

    That may be true, but the point of the hypothetical example and question about the tenure-track professor in comment #32 was not to argue about the incredibly sophisticated and abstract principles that may be at play when a white woman wears a hijab or a daishiki–quite the opposite. The point of that example was to support my claims that “we do tend to try to sort things into ‘good’ or ‘bad,'” and also “the spectre of being taken as offensive has a chilling effect.” I made those claims in response to your statement “wondering about [my] framing, specifically why [I] frame things in terms of absolute right and wrong in the first place.

    Of course you would advise the white woman in question to wear something else! I would, as well. For the most part, any ethical person in the position of a mentor who isn’t an idiot would offer the same advice. So, I would say, for practical purposes, it is a question of right and wrong. You are not exactly wrong when you say “the question is whether it is done responsibly, with integrity, with a sense of respect,” it’s just that those things don’t matter when you have to make a yes/no choice. They likely wouldn’t matter to you, as you indicate when you say “people reading this blog can probably guess what I would tell the professor in your hypothetical.” But they also wouldn’t matter to me–and I’ve already said that I can’t bring myself to believe that cultural appropriation is somehow wrong.

    Sorry to use so many words, but that is why I framed it as an issue of right vs. wrong.

    RonF:

    Does a ban on cultural appropriation mean that I should not eat at a restaurant that serves anything but Mexican food if the kitchen staff is Mexican? That would wipe out 80% of the restaurants in the country.

    I realize you’re being tongue-in-cheek here, but I don’t believe you are using the term “cultural appropriation” in a way that comports with modern usage. (i.e, appropriation is typically viewed as negative when the appropriator is a member of a dominant culture –usually of European descent–and the culture being borrowed from is of a marginalized group.) The Mexican workers in restaurants would typically be viewed as members of a marginalized group, not as the dominant culture.

    Also, I don’t think most serious writers about cultural appropriation are advocating a ban in the sense of a legal prohibition on appropriation. Rather, I’d say that they are working toward codifying and expanding a societal stigma on the use of objects and elements of other cultures by members of a dominant culture.

    Sidenote: I wonder what part of the country you live in, if you honestly believe that 4/5 of all restaurant kitchens are staffed by Mexican workers? My experience is that it is definitely the case that the vast majority of back-of-the-house workers in Southern California and most of the Southwest and Texas come from the area’s economic underclass, which is comprised principally of Latinx people–chiefly from Mexico. But in large parts of the American South the economic underclass is black, and in lots of restaurants in the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest you’ll find white people working as cooks and dishwashers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t break down the ethnicity of workers by specific job, but their 2016 numbers are that about 25% of restaurant employees are “Hispanic or Latino.”

  38. 39
    desipis says:

    Of course you would advise the white woman in question to wear something else! I would, as well. For the most part, any ethical person in the position of a mentor who isn’t an idiot would offer the same advice. So, I would say, for practical purposes, it is a question of right and wrong.

    I’m a little unclear what you mean here Phil. If you don’t believe cultural appropriation is wrong, then why would you offer that advice? Would you do it primarily out of concern of the outcomes for white professors career, or do you still consider her clothing choice to be morally wrong for reasons other than cultural appropriation?

    I don’t think I would offer the same advice. I would offer similar advice to that which I would a young man who wanted to women’s clothing. I would point out that as a result of diverging from expected behaviour many people will react with offence and prejudice; some on the basis of rationalised dogma, others on gut instinct. Those reactions could have long lasting consequences. I would advise that since I couldn’t measure their desire to wear such clothing, I couldn’t judge whether it was strong enough to justify the social consequences. That judgement would remain with them.

    Of course the political zeitgeist has certainly shifted in different directions in terms of institutional tolerance for each of the hypothetical, so I would make different emphasis in each case.

  39. Phil,

    So, for the purposes of defining Cultural Appropriation the historical association seems to be more important, doesn’t it?

    I don’t have much time to respond in detail, but I will say that I don’t agree with you here and that this understanding of cultural appropriation may be why you can’t bring yourself to think it’s wrong.

  40. 41
    Ampersand says:

    I mean, maybe we can come up with examples of appropriation that involve objects that were invented in 2016, but I don’t see a lot of that being discussed.

    I’ve certainly seen “cultural appropriation” discussed in the context of relatively new fashions. Two examples:
    Harajuku "cultural appropriation" – Google Search

    Nameplate necklaces: This shit is for us

    I think that sometimes claims of cultural appropriation are over-the-top and trying to control things that can’t be controlled. As Sarah says, picking up culture from other humans is inherent behavior in humans.

    Other complaints are more reasonable, though. “Hey, stop using a racist caricature of my people for your sports team logo” is not an unreasonable request.

  41. 42
    Humble Talent says:

    Hey Barry,

    Just saw this… Don’t know if you were aware.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn5FmLNnZNg

  42. 43
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks for the head’s up.

    I haven’t seen this one before, but he’s not the first angry-sounding youtuber to do an episode or two about my comics. I guess those guys need a constant stream of grist for videos. I didn’t listen to more than a few minutes, but from what I saw, he’s not making interesting arguments.

    I am pretty goggled at how big an audience these folks have. For me, I don’t love this format, even when I agree with the person talking; I can read an argument in prose so much more quickly than I can listen to an argument on Youtube.

  43. 44
    Phil says:

    I can read an argument in prose so much more quickly than I can listen to an argument on Youtube.

    Right? I get so annoyed when I am reading a digital news source and I click on an interesting-sounding headline only to find that there is a video instead of an article.

    Also: while I can imagine it is annoying to experience someone’s anger at your creative work, I tend to believe there’s no such thing as bad publicity. So…congratulations, Barry!

  44. 45
    Seriously? says:

    I have always been repelled by any attempts of judging the morality of an action by the worthiness of the victim. Punching up is just as abhorrent to me as stomping d0wn. Raping an identity thief is no more defensible than raping a nun. It may be OK to shoot someone in order to prevent him from doing something you think is wrong. Shooting him for something that he has already done should be left to the State and its actors.

    By this measure, it is A-OK to use the symbols of a dead culture, but it is morally equivalent to immerse a crucifix in urine, cast Mohamed in a porn movie, or Shiva as the big bad in a fantasy story. So when someone offends people who have never done him any wrong, I ask myself a simple question – “How do I feel about the people taking offense?”

    You take offense because your ‘holy’ book of fairy tales has been disrespected? Meh.

    You don’t want anyone using something your crowd popularized? Tough luck.

    You take offense because your ‘old country’ is being portrayed with ignorance and disrespect? Yeah, it sucks, but you’ll get little sympathy from a Slav.

    Someone is making fun of an experience that nearly destroyed your life? Lessee how we can ruin his life.

    (I know someone who lost his car and job soon after he made jokes involving the bombing of Belgrade in front of someone he knew had her face scarred by glass shattered by American bombs. Adrestia may have had a bit of help there.)

  45. 46
    Sarah says:

    The conversation has moved on from this point somewhat, but, RonF, I think your gloss of nobody.really’s quote about authoritarianism is incorrect.

    The relationships aren’t considerate/self-reliant = liberal, well-behaved/obedient = authoritarian = conservative (I’m assuming you’re linking authoritarianism with conservatism based on your paragraph contrasting liberal vs. conservative parenting styles).

    The relationships are considerate/self-reliant = less authoritarian, well-behaved/obedient = more authoritarian.

    I would assume that people all across the political spectrum can be more or less authoritarian. When I’ve encountered it, authoritarianism is generally discussed alongside right-leaning politics, where conservative politics are linked to higher authoritarianism and classically liberal/libertarian politics are linked to lower authoritarianism. I haven’t seen as much discussion about the authoritarian levels of different kinds of leftists, but I would assume there are both permissive and authoritarian leftists, simply because every political alignment chart that has an authoritarian-vs-libertarian axis puts a few people in the libertarian camp to the left of that axis as well as the right.

  46. 47
    Harlequin says:

    Why do conversations about cultural appropriation focus on fashion so much? I don’t know that much about the theoretical underpinnings, to be honest, so I don’t know if there’s a reason. (That is a serious question, not a complaint, since I know that can be hard to tell via writing!) Most examples people cite are usually fashion; music and food are less common, and I’ve also seen stuff like yoga mentioned. But fashion dominates, by far.

    I agree largely with Richard @27. When I’m thinking about instances of cultural appropriation that have bothered me, I often think of a later season of Project Runway, because it was such a good illustration (although, in the grand scheme of things, not at all important). Near the end of the show, one contestant, who was Native American, made some clothes that were very Native American-inspired, and she was eliminated from the show based on those clothes. (This wasn’t the first time she’d used Native American fashion for inspiration, with variable success, but these were the mostly clearly Native American she’d done.) In the finale, a different contestant used a “tribal”-ish geometric print in many of her clothes, and was praised for that. So it was uncool to have a Native American contestant making clothes that were fusions of her heritage with modern US fashion. But it was very cool for a white designer to use exotic-looking context-free printed fabric in her purely mainstream US fashions. Hints of non-mainstream were fine; actually being non-mainstream was punished. Which I think is a restatement of what some of you have said above, but I thought it was a nice illustration.

  47. 48
    RonF says:

    nobody.really @ 37:

    Yes. But that would be true even without a ban on cultural appropriation. Or Mexican staff. It’s true because Mexican cuisine rules. Especially Oaxacan.

    I’m afraid I cannot speak to the virtues of Mexican food from any recent experience. The EPA has banned me from even entering a Mexican restaurant ever since The Incident Of 1986. A hazmat unit was required to finish demolishing the restaurant’s bathroom, but fortunately my liability insurance covered the costs.

    (“The best book on programming for the layman is Alice in Wonderland; but that’s because it’s the best book on anything for the layman.” Alan Perlis)

    Early in my career I had a director with a fairly dry sense of humor. She saw me sitting at my desk reading a critically edited copy of Alice in Wonderland. She asked me what I was doing. I noted that our V.P. – her boss – had a staff meeting scheduled for us in an hour so I figured I should brush up on the department’s staff manual. She was greatly amused and we got on quite well after that.

    Phil:

    Sidenote: I wonder what part of the country you live in, if you honestly believe that 4/5 of all restaurant kitchens are staffed by Mexican workers?

    The Chicago area. Where I’ve been told by more than one food service manager that in order to be a food service manager you have to learn at least some Spanish or you simply will not be able to communicate with your staff. And after looking over the books in a local bookstore and seeing a book on the shelf entitled “Spanish for Restaurant Managers” I can believe it. Not to mention my observation of who is cooking my food and cleaning off the tables in just about every restaurant, fast food franchise and cafeteria I’ve ever been in around here.

  48. 49
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Sarah says:
    April 21, 2017 at 9:58 am
    The conversation has moved on from this point somewhat, but, RonF, I think your gloss of nobody.really’s quote about authoritarianism is incorrect.

    Has everyone read the actual survey and not just the reports? Here are the two questions (see p. 75) asked: “Which one is more important for a child to have?” (this was repeated for each question)
    1) Obedience OR self-reliance;
    2) Being considerate OR well-behaved;

    As always I am fascinated by the choices made here. For example, why those pairings? Why not randomize them? How did they decide against a rank order, or a sliding scale of importance for each trait? Why does the linked document have “both” and “neither” options–and why does it say the both/neither options should be omitted from the web version? What difference would it have made, if any?

    Or, to get more basic: Given that all of the four questions for “authoritarianism” are limited to asking about what traits children should have, should we even be calling this “authoritarianism” at all, as opposed to “child-rearing beliefs?” The claimed reason for a child-rearing proxy is that “respondents might not want to say they fear chaos or are drawn to strong leadership”–is that still facially rational in a poll which talks about other issues with big emotional and political weight?

    I’m fascinated by this because study design choices are such an obvious way to potentially affect outcomes, and because so few reports ever seem to look at study design. I like to encourage people on both sides to dig past reports, into studies, and I like to encourage them to be skeptical that researchers have made the right choices. Ergo my posts.

    But anyway, my own guess as to the questioning is that it may be a historical artifact: I guess the original drafters wrote questions with what made sense to them at the time, and if it’s a study over years then the question might have been preserved. It seems less likely that they would write that question from scratch in 2016.

  49. 50
    Harlequin says:

    The Chicago area. Where I’ve been told by more than one food service manager that in order to be a food service manager you have to learn at least some Spanish or you simply will not be able to communicate with your staff.

    This is regional even within the area, I think–when I lived in Chicago for a few years (starting about 10 years ago), most of the people working in restaurants in my neighborhood were black. I mean, I think Spanish-speaking restaurant workers are probably more common in the greater Chicago area, but it’s not universal.

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