Cartoon: Picking Their Battles


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TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, all of which show two men chatting as they walk. One man is Black with short springy hair, stubble, and round glasses; he is looking at a large smartphone as he walks. The other man is white; he is bald with a van dyke beard.

PANEL 1
The two men, not facing each other, are walking on a sidewalk single file; there are a couple of houses and a tree behind them. GLASSES is reading off his smartphone, while BEARD is holding out his hands in a mild “oh, come on!” gesture.
GLASSES: Someone called 911 on a Black pedestrian for walking on a sidewalk!
BEARD: They might have called for a white pedestrian too.

PANEL 2
They’re still on the sidewalk, but Glasses has come to a stop, pointing at something particularly outrageous on his phone. Behind him, Beard has is arms folded and has a condescending expression, although he’s speaking calmly.
GLASSES: Republicans have purged tens of thousands of legitimate Black voters from the voter rolls!
BEARD: They could vote if they tried harder.

PANEL 3
Glasses is flat-out yelling now, as the two of them walk single file down a hillside in some sort of hilly park. Beard looks up into the sky a bit, his hands shoved into his pants pockets, and responds calmly.
GLASSES: Another unarmed Black man has been shot by the cops!
BEARD: Two sides to every story…

PANEL 4
Glasses has stopped and turned back, and is reading from his phone with an amused expression. Beard is freaking out, yelling, one hand to his face and the other hand over his heart, eyes super big.
GLASSES: Heh – someone on twitter wrote “white people are trash” four years ago.
BEARD: SUCH RACISM! OH THE HUMANITY!

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, Race, racism and related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

83 Responses to Cartoon: Picking Their Battles

  1. 1
    Michael says:

    I definitely agree that the alt-right attackers of Sarah Jeong , and their sympathizers like Andrew Sullivan, are hypocrites and racists themselves. But I think that there’s plenty of hypocrisy on the left wing side as well. Sarah Jeong wrote that what happened to Justine Sacco was not that bad but I doubt that she would think it wasn’t bad if she was fired for what she said. She also cheered on the firing of Brendan Eich. People who live in glass houses…
    The excuse the Times made- that the tweets were in response to harassment- doesn’t really hold up. Most of the tweets weren’t directly in response to harassment.
    And then there’s this article in splinter:
    https://splinternews.com/the-new-york-times-really-fucked-this-one-up-1828061129
    ” I certainly don’t want people being fired for tweeting political opinions or telling Grover Norquist to eat their entire ass—because that would probably mean I, and many of the writers whose work I enjoy, would be unemployable—but there are things that should be beyond the pale, like (genuine) racism or homophobia.
    This is a gray area, where news organizations have to make difficult decisions”
    IOW, the Left should be able to say whatever it wants, no matter who it offends but offensive right-wingers need to be fired. I have to wonder if there is anything a left-winger could say that a right winger would take offense of that some left-wingers would consider ground for firing.
    The solution is for both sides to learn to tolerate things they think are offensive and not demand that everyone that says something offensive be fired.

  2. 2
    RonF says:

    That someone on the left would publish numerous racist comments about white people would ordinarily be not worth much notice and in any case is hardly surprising. That the New York Times would place such a person on their editorial board and offer a bunch of lame and refutable excuses in their defense that would never fly if they were offered in defense of such tweets directed at any other ethnicity or race is … at this point hardly surprising.

    I won’t object, however. It useful in that it demonstrates how racist and biased the New York Times is to a much broader audience than had previously been aware.

  3. 3
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    This is an accurate summation of the way I feel about Jeong most of the time. The rest of the time I’m thinking about all the stupid things I said in my 20’s, and I’m thankful it’s unrecorded. Trump’s recent tweet with regard to LeBron James’s charter school is so much worse- I don’t have the words.

    I’m less interested in her old tweets and slightly more interested in how good of a journalist she is now, though mostly, I’m just uninterested in the entire thing and can’t imagine a story that will impact my life less.

    I suppose it’s worth talking about the way she tweets, the embodiment a style of thinking, writing and speaking I find more and more common among some of my younger friends, a style I find mildly irritating. I mentioned a recent example of it in my own life in the last open thread. It’s weird to me that people defend this kind of performative wokeness when it clearly isn’t doing a bit of good, but I can’t really blame Jeong for adopting a style so popular among her peers- and that’s the real story, here. Who cares about Jeong’s hire, the question is, why are anti-racists sabotaging their own movement by normalizing this bizarre rhetoric?

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    I added a kicker panel.

  5. 5
    desipis says:

    I’m pretty sure the main complaint about the Jeong issue is the hypocrisy and double standards. It’s quite convenient that the (left leaning) media have decided to take a stand against internet mob justice when it’s one of their own in the firing line. Given the main complaint is hypocrisy, I find it somewhat ironic that the comic tries to frame the hypocrisy in the other direction.

    To make it more balanced, I’d add a newspaper in the background of each panel with the following headlines:
    1. “Zero Tolerance for Racism”
    2. “Stop Racism Now”
    3. “Racism is Totally Unacceptable”
    4. “Except When We Do It”

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    Desipis, can you show me some examples, from the last six months, of you publicly arguing against racism that ISN’T either about defending white people, or about using claims of racism to attack SJWs/liberals?

    Because if you can’t do that, then you’re exactly what this cartoon is criticizing.

  7. 7
    desipis says:

    Ampersand, and the fact you are focusing on racism instead of hypocrisy suggests you missed the point I was making.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    The fact that you (seemingly) think my cartoon was more about hypocrisy than racism suggests you missed the point I was making.

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    Sarah Jeong shouldn’t be fired for her tweets. That doesn’t mean liberals have to defend them.

    I wonder what people’s thoughts are? I’m especially interested in hearing what the other lefties here think.

  10. 10
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    I agree with the Slate piece, but have a very minor quibble. From the article:

    The only tenable interpretation of the Times’ statement is therefore much broader: Because Jeong has frequently encountered abuse from white social media users—something that is, sadly, beyond doubt—she imitated their style and rhetoric when tweeting about white people in general, even when unprompted by any specific incident of harassment.

    The author goes on to accept the premise that Jeong is imitating the rhetoric of her abusers. She definitely did this… sometimes. Other times she sounds like a reporter at The Root or Jezebel. She sounds like anti-racsists who are my friends. She sounds like a few loud radical academics I’m aware of. “That’s just the way anti-racists talk these days” is an actual defense of her coming from blue check marks, and I think they are right, this is the norm now, but the Slate piece is correct that it’s a counterproductive norm. It’s also a lazy way of thinking and talking.

  11. 12
    RonF says:

    Jeffrey @10:

    “That’s just the way anti-racists talk these days” is an actual defense of her coming from blue check marks, and I think they are right, this is the norm now,

    They’re wrong. Anti-racists don’t talk like that. Racists talk like that – those racists who are biased against white people.

  12. 13
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, I’m going to ask you the same question I asked Desipis.

    Can you show me some examples, from the last six months, of you publicly arguing against racism that ISN’T either about defending white people, or about using claims of racism to attack SJWs/liberals?

  13. 14
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks for the link, Elusis, that was really good.

  14. 15
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    RonF:

    They’re wrong. Anti-racists don’t talk like that. Racists talk like that – those racists who are biased against white people.

    Sometimes, but not always. Do you ever socialize with people who casually say things like “ugh, fucking white people,” or “Northern Virginia is where all the boring white people live?” I do.

    I think most of the time, it’s just a way of saying this: “I see structural racism everywhere, and it kills me that so many other white people don’t and (if this person is white) I’m totally not like them!”

    Why do people do this? It’s simple. Saying “Hey everyone, I’m totally not racist,” doesn’t work, because everyone says that. George Bush says that. Ben Shapiro says that. Talk is cheap, so to make the signal actually believable, you have to say something that Bush or Shapiro definitely would not say. Something that isn’t cheap but actually has a cost, like “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men.”

  15. 16
    RonF says:

    Amp:

    Can you show me some examples, from the last six months, of you publicly arguing against racism that ISN’T either about defending white people, or about using claims of racism to attack SJWs/liberals?

    I don’t make comments arguing against racism directed towards blacks or other non-whites here for the simple reason that there’s thankfully a unanimity of opinion here that such comments ARE in fact racist. So it would be redundant. I try to keep “me too” comments to a minimum and I’m not looking for cookies.

    Jeffrey:

    Sometimes, but not always. Do you ever socialize with people who casually say things like “ugh, fucking white people,” or “Northern Virginia is where all the boring white people live?” I do.

    I don’t. I’ve certainly heard people make racist comments of that nature about black people, but not white people. If you hear comments like that a lot then it seems to me you know some racists.

    Talk is cheap, so to make the signal actually believable, you have to say something that Bush or Shapiro definitely would not say.

    I’ve heard of that. The term I’ve heard used is “virtue signaling”. It’s still racist as far as I’m concerned; just because it’s directed towards white people doesn’t make it any less racist than if it was directed towards blacks.

  16. 17
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    I’ve heard of that. The term I’ve heard used is “virtue signaling”. It’s still racist as far as I’m concerned; just because it’s directed towards white people doesn’t make it any less racist than if it was directed towards blacks.

    I almost agree with this. If you apply a certain definition of racism to this sort of speech you can throw “Ugh, fucking white people” into a bin labeled racist if you want to. I’m just not sure why you’d want to.

    Imagine your hanging out with a group of friends and someone says something similar, bur directed toward a minority, like this: “Ugh, fucking Asian people.” Then imagine alternative-universe-me comes along and says something along the lines of “Well sure, that might sound racist, but lets also consider the possibility that they are trying to signal a message to their peers….” Now ask yourself this, what could anyone possibly be signalling using that kind of language against a minority? I can’t imagine it’s anything virtuous. I say all this to undermine the asymmetry of these two seemingly similar situations.

    Sometimes this rhetoric is more than just signalling, and sometimes performative rhetoric is so vile, I don’t really care if it’s signalling or not (#killallmen, for example, is certainly signalling but it’s a despicable hashtag). I’m just asking you to consider the possibility that young people performing this kind of rhetoric aren’t really out to hurt anyone, and instead, are trying to connect with each other (and maybe troll their opposition a bit too, but these days that’s also a great way to signal and connect). You can agree with this possibility and still think it’s immature, counterproductive, and lazy.

  17. 18
    Jake Squid says:

    I’ll just remind everyone that Ron’s response to this was to say that it was in no way racist and leave it at that.

  18. 19
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    How to respond to a mob/critics 101:

    Determine whether the target belongs to your ingroup or outgroup.
    If ingroup:
    – Interpret the target’s behavior in the most generous possible way, even if this makes little sense given the facts. If it is truly indefensible, claim that it was a joke, sarcasm, irony, mimicking the other side to make a point, merely blowing off steam justified by the person’s shitty personal circumstances or the circumstances of people like them, etc.
    – Treat the target’s feelings as important and their emotional response as being valid, while arguing that the mob/critics are oversensitive and being silly for taking offense.
    – Find the most objectionable person/subgroup from among the mob/critics and treat them as representative. Ignore the critics who have reasonable objections. Ignore the possibility that the most objectionable person may just be a troll.
    – If you can’t find a sufficiently objectionable person or subgroup, claim that critics are engaging in horrible behavior while not providing any evidence. The big advantage of attacking non-existing people or groups is that they can’t talk back.
    – If the target’s behavior is hard to defend, depersonalize the situation and argue that the person is attacked for their traits, not their behavior or opinions. Find or make up a trait that your ingroup already believes is under attack, so they will reflexively agree that the person is unjustly criticized/attacked.

    If outgroup:
    – Interpret the target’s behavior in the least generous possible way, even if this makes little sense given the facts. Dig in the target’s history for munition, taking whatever you find out of context if that helps to make them look worse. Treat jokes, sarcasm, irony and such as fully serious statements.
    – Treat the target’s feelings as being unimportant and call them oversensitive and silly for taking offense, while arguing that the mob’s/critics’ feelings are important and their emotional response is valid.
    – Find the most reasonable person/subgroup among the mob/critics and treat them as representative. Ignore those who misbehave or have extremist opinions.
    – If you can’t find a sufficiently reasonable person or subgroup, come up with your own argument and pretend that all critics are making that argument.
    – If the target’s behavior or opinion is hard to attack, depersonalize the situation and attack the person for a trait they have. Find or make up a trait that your ingroup already believes makes people behave in an evil way, so they will reflexively feel that the criticism/attack is justified.

    Do not deviate from this guide by holding the in- and outgroup to the same standard, by being moderate or in any way reasonable, because then both sides treat you as the enemy. Remember, it is a war, you have to pick a side and oppress or even fully eradicate the enemy. That is how we achieve a perfect society.

  19. 20
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    A really common double standard in these situations is the strategic equivocation over whether or not intent matters.

    “Intent doesn’t matter!” will only be employed against a speaker belonging to an outgroup, while a careful examination of intentions and why they are important (spoiler: they are important) is appropriate when the speaker is in your ingroup.

    I’m looking at you, Ezra Klein.

  20. 21
    Petar says:

    Can you show me some examples, from the last six months, of you publicly arguing against racism that ISN’T either about defending white people, or about using claims of racism to attack SJWs/liberals?

    Can you show me some example, from the last six months, of you, Ampersand, publicly denouncing the racially/xenophobic attacks perpetuated by black people? Like the (pathetic) assault and attempted blackmail of a Muslim Uber driver in NYC, the beating of a 91 year old Mexican in Willowbrook, the assault and degradation on a 70 year old Sikh in Manteca, the beaten Polish patient in Baldwin Park, etc? All of them were accompanied by racial slurs, calls to “Go back to your own country’, etc.

    How did you react when the Boston police study showed that the officer/citizen combination most likely to result in escalation and charges was Black/Hispanic? The study was referred on Alas at least half a dozen times, but no one brought up that particular tidbit (nor that females were released without consequences at rates much higher than males, nor that the most consistently fair officers by race were the white ones, and especially the once with higher education and rank)

    Can you honestly say that the race of the bigoted perpetrator does not affect your reactions? And if you have (possibly good) reasons to think that some hate crimes and racism are worse than others, maybe the people you are ‘calling-out’ proceed from different basic assumptions, and do not think that an oppressor should get a pass even if his position of power is only temporary.

    ——–

    Oh, and how much does the defamation of Slavs in American media bother you? In light of their oppression in the last millennium, their history of enslavement by Vikings, Ottomans, Germans? How often do you object to the casual use of “Janissary”, “berdache”, etc? How often do you call out Polack jokes? How often do you post in support of people who point out that Slavic names in media correlate with villainy? Even in slice-of-life fiction involving only American Citizens?

    Is your defense of Slavs as enthusiastic as that of more deserving victims?

  21. 22
    Lauren says:

    I find it fascinating how obviously, incredibly white this discussion is.

    Apparenly, everybody here just accepts as fact that Jeongs tweets were racist and the debate is about whether there are circumstances which make being / saying something racist acceptable.

    What about the question of whether her comments were racist at all? Because depending on the definition of racism which is applied, the answer to that question can be very different.

    On the one hand you have what people often call the “dictionary definition”: racism is prejudice basen on race. If you go by that definition, then yes,what Jeoung tweeted was racist.

    But there is a diferent definition, one that is very accepted in anti-racism-movements: Racism is prejudice (based on race) plus power (based on race). According to this definition, which takes a look at racism not as an accumulation as single acts of prejudice, but as a system of oppression, what Jeoung tweeted might have been prejudiced, rude or ill-advised, but it was not racist. It couln’t be, because in our race-based power hirachy, white people are at the top. They have the power. Not asians.

    Now, you can debate which one is the “right” definition forever (people have). But accusations of hypocrisy depend on the false pretense that everyone agrees on one definition of what racism is. Ony if you define racism in such a way that it iseven possible for an asian women in the US to be racist against white people, can you then accuse her defenders of being hypocrits for calling out racism against people of colour yet defending Jeoung.

    That is disenguous to say the least. Because the people on twitter who I have read defending her make it pretty clear which defintion they are applying. Debate whether that defintion is correct if you want to. But don’t pretend that accusations of hypocrisy don’t depend on ignoring half of what people are actually saying.

  22. 23
    Kate says:

    Hi Lauren. I’m on board with what you’re saying. We have had that conversation here in the past. More generally, attacking someone with less power than you is not morally equivalent to attacking someone with more power than you. Liberals think (and I agree) that the former is worse, because it is abuse of power. Conservatives think the latter is worse, because it subverts a just hierarchy.
    However, most of the people commenting here aren’t up to that level of discussion. They’re still using gross false equivalencies, and cherry picked anecdotes. For example, the cases Petar refers to @21

    Can you show me some example, from the last six months, of you, Ampersand, publicly denouncing the racially/xenophobic attacks perpetuated by black people? Like the (pathetic) assault and attempted blackmail of a Muslim Uber driver in NYC, the beating of a 91 year old Mexican in Willowbrook, the assault and degradation on a 70 year old Sikh in Manteca, the beaten Polish patient in Baldwin Park, etc? All of them were accompanied by racial slurs, calls to “Go back to your own country’, etc.

    In the of the three cases (I could’t find the fourth), the suspects have been arrested:

    Most of the cases of violence against people of color we protests are cases in which charges are not brought, or were only brought after significant protests.
    We protest violence against minorities not just because it happens, but because the justice system does not work well when it does happen.

  23. 24
    Kate says:

    How did you react when the Boston police study showed that the officer/citizen combination most likely to result in escalation and charges was Black/Hispanic? The study was referred on Alas at least half a dozen times, but no one brought up that particular tidbit (nor that females were released without consequences at rates much higher than males, nor that the most consistently fair officers by race were the white ones, and especially the once with higher education and rank)

    I don’t recall the study you’re referring to. Could you provide a link?

  24. 25
    Petar says:

    Lauren, I am sorry, but all you wrote has absolutely no value in an argument. An unkind opponent of yours could distill it to If you go by the definition used by the people practicing anti-white racism, the people practicing anti-white racism cannot be not racist.

    Yes, one can argue about the definition. If you define everyone on the left as a America hating racial traitor, you can ignore all protests from the left that they actually care about the country and its citizens. No hypocrisy there, none whatsoever.

    And the power argument is really shifty.

    You argue that the four Black men and women who assaulted Erik Mendoza did not have real power on their side. Well, sure, they were 30 to 40 year olds who were assaulting a 91 years old who did not speak the language, could not understand the reason for the assault, and of course could not even shout for help.

    Sure. Their power was very localized. It was still enough then and there.

    You argue that two black men who assaulted Sahib Singh Natt did not have real power on their side. Sure, they were twenty year olds, one was the son of the local police chief, and they were beating and spitting on a 71 year old.

    Once again, localized power, I guess.

    You argue that the Black police officers who showed undeniable bias in ticketing, searching and charging Hispanic motorists in Boston did not have real power. Sure, they were armed, sure, they had the authority of the executive branch of the United States of America, sure, as police officers they were shielded from consequences to an extend incomprehensible to many, sure, the motorists enjoyed broad racial privileges (oh, wait)

    Once again, not racism, because their power is based on their uniform, not their race, right?

    You argue that the black Mugabe supporters who beat, tied up and burned alive white protestors in Harare did not have real power. Sure, dozens (by the lowest estimates) white farmers had already been killed, sure the catital’s security forces watches with approval, sure, the courts refused to even consider the claims of the lone survivor and the surviving relatives of the white farmers, sure, no one got punished.

    But those people’s power was only local to Zimbabwe.

    On the planet Earth, whites are ones with the power. Not the rich, not the connected, not the, Deity forbid, the powerful. No, the whites.

    So, basically, when whites do it, it is racism, and it is beyond the pale. As media teaches us, racists have no redeeming qualities, being racist means that you are also evil for the lulz.

    When non-whites do the same, it is just bigotry. An amusing peccadillo, and when there are actually victims, their suffering is vastly reduced (arguable) and unworthy of compassion (convenient)

    When you are out of a job, when your education was abysmal, when all your wealth is tied into a useless house in flyover country, when your kid has just OD’d, when you are told that you are a ‘racist idiot with no future’, and you suspect all three are true, IT IS SUCH COMFORT THAT YOUR RACE IS ON TOP.

    And it is. It really is. And you blame the people who have different skin.

    Oh, they are also uneducated, their opportunities are also at least hidden, but definitely just as scarce and yours, their kids also die from drugs and violence, they are also manipulated by ruthless, selfish, power hungry politicians who sell the common good for power and wealth (which here are the same)

    But those otherwise skinned people are the enemy, oh yes. They are responsible for all you woes, and if only you could somehow get rid of them darkies, things will go back to the times where everything was A-OK. And remember, those times were good because of prevailing whiteness, not because of laborers struggles for rights were aided by the existence of the Cold War ‘alternative’.

    ………

    Gah, I should really refine this rant. I mean these two rants.

  25. 26
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Lauren says:

    Apparently, everybody here just accepts as fact that Jeongs tweets were racist and the debate is about whether there are circumstances which make being / saying something racist acceptable.

    Everyone? Not me. I’m aware of the way these conversations devolve into arguments about word defintions. Up-thread, I typed this:

    I almost agree with this. If you apply a certain definition of racism to this sort of speech you can throw “Ugh, fucking white people” into a bin labeled racist if you want to. I’m just not sure why you’d want to.

    I’m not the one clinging to a definition here, and my arguments don’t depend on linguistic prescriptiptivism, it sure sounds like yours do, though.

    I’ve made this point a million times, but if people believe that racism is wrong according to a colloquial definition of racism that you don’t like, you won’t change their mind by refusing to accept their definition. You’re not making an argument that interrogates your opponent’s logic, evidence, stated values or moral intuitions, you’re appealing to the definition you think should appear after the word “racism,” in the dictionary. That’s not an argument and it’s not actually important. It’s a linguistic dispute and a waste of time.

    In order to actually have a productive conversation, make agreements, execute laws, etc, people do need to agree on word definitions and their boundaries, so they can actually communicate ideas. In this case, a bunch of people here, as well as all over the internet are going to use “racism” as it’s defined in most dictionaries and as it’s been used for decades outside of certain academic settings. That’s OK. It’s how words are supposed to work- definitons aren’t handed down to the masses from humanities departments (or even dictionaries). As long as you know that the people in this space are using the word “racism” in the way it’s commonly understood, you should be able to engage with these people. If you feel like engaging, you can still make distinctions within the range of all things that fall into these boundaries of “racism” so do that, instead of telling people how to speak.

  26. 27
    Petar says:

    Most of the cases of violence against people of color we protests are cases in which charges are not brought, or were only brought after significant protests.

    Are you talking about police shootings? Because policemen are protected by their uniform, not their race, and because policemen actually get in less legal trouble for shooting white people than for shooting black people.

    Full disclosure: I admit that’s due to policemen being a lot quicker to shoot at black people than at white people. But I also have heard arguments that as policemen get disproportionately killed by black people, one can expect them to be quicker to shoot. I do not want to have this argument here, though, except to say that there is no excuse for shooting people in the back.

    And if we exclude police shootings? Hmm. I remember, a thread on Alas, years ago about a Black woman who had been kidnapped, raped, tortured, cut up, and then escaped. The thread called it something like “the most inhuman crime in the US this year.” At the about same time (weeks or months earlier) three whites had wandered in a black neighborhood, and had been raped, mutilated, beaten unconscious, and left to die on railroad tracks. Some of them died.

    I wanted to comment on that thread, but at the time, I was not the one on “Alas duty”, i.e. a friend of mine was harvesting this board for good arguments. I wonder whether I can unearth that thread. To be honest, I find Alas very hard to search, despite taking pride of being good at searching in general.

    Anyway, the perpetrators of the “most inhuman crime of the year” had been arrested, no protests necessary. There were no protests even when they were released, as the woman had made up the story, and cut herself, which was obvious to anyone just seeing the cuts’ pictures (I read it, and posted about it immediately, although I conjectured that the cut were inflicted as she was cutting herself free, as I had bought the rest of the story)

    I’m sorry Kate. I know it makes me a racist in your eyes, but I definitely think that when you ignore racist crimes committed by a specific race, and when you ignore persecution of a specific ethnicity, you cannot call yourself an anti-racist. Well, you can, if you define racism narrowly enough.

    ———————————-

    I don’t recall the study you’re referring to. Could you provide a link?

    The study was published in 2009 by Antonovics and Knight, used data from the Boston Police motorist stops from 2001-2003, and focused on the search, ticketing and arrest rated as influenced by race.

    It showed that Blacks and Hispanics were disproportionately affected by searches and ticketing, while those searches resulted in arrest significantly less often, i.e. that those minorities were a lot more likely to be suspected of wrongdoing, although once suspected, they were less likely to be offenders. Yes, it was undeniable institutionalized racism.

    That got a lot of play, ten years ago, including on Alas.

    The same study showed that the worst deviations were due to (1) Black officers (2) young officers (3) low ranking officers (4) officers who got low grades in school. If you were a Hispanic male, you really wanted to get pulled over by a 40+ white, well educated Lieutenant Detective or above.

    That got no play whatsoever, especially since Boston was, at the time, dealing with the fallout of a Fireman test that resulted in all of Black candidates failing.

  27. 28
    Petar says:

    You know, for a second I believed that you were actually Kate Antonovics having a laugh at my expense. You are in academia, your name is Kate, and Kate A. is exactly the person to give me rope to hang myself.

    Some of the data in that study was crunched by OS code of mine. I guess it’s the racist code’s fault white officers looked so good.

  28. 29
    Lauren says:

    Petar, you deliberatly misreading the sociological definition and suggesting an intention of the pople who came up with it without proof. The key difference between the two definitions is not tht one is intentionally designed to make anti-white racism impossible. The difference is that one looks t racism as a systemic issue in a complicated system of different forms of oppressions The other one looks at it s an individul character flaw.

    And no, anti-white racism is not by definition impossible using the systemic definition. In a society in which the people in Power were historically, for example, asian and in which there were a history of oppression against white people because they are white, anti-white racismwould be possible. In tht scenario, prejudice against white people would not merely be prejudice, it would be based ona history of oppression justified by those prejudices, and actions based on those prejudice swould sustain and strengthen that system. That would be racism.

    The fact that we don’t live in such a society desn’t make the systemical definition of racism anti-white. It proves the fact that in this societ that we actually live in, there is no anti-white racism.

  29. 30
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Lauren,

    Suppose everyone here gave in, and used your preferred definition. Each person replaced every instance of “racism” or it’s derivatives, with something like “racial prejudice.” How would the strength of the arguments here change, and how would you respond to them?

  30. 31
    Petar says:

    Lauren, I do not think that you and I will ever come to an agreement on something as basic as the definition of the verb “prove”, let alone on racism.

    As far as I am concerned, institutionalized racism and individual racism must both be fought, and it is counter-productive to refuse categorizing a racially motivated assault as racist.

    One can argue that anti-black racism is worse for society than anti-white racism. One can argue that anti-black racism victims suffer worse long term consequences than anti-white racism victims. One can even argue that anti-white racism is defensible due to historical reasons.

    But to argue say that it is proven that there is no anti-white racism in the society in which we live, and black perpetrated crimes motivated by bigotry are not worth denouncing… that’s not something I can accept.

    Two relatively prominent ‘anti-racists’ decried the Willowbrook attack on Twitter, denounced the treatment of minorities in the US, and deleted their tweets as soon as the race of the perpetrators became known.

    I have no respect for such moral beacons, and by my definition they are racist agitators. I also look with some suspicion at people who work hard to differentiate between ‘racists’ and ‘bigots’, and once they decide that a mouth-loose ‘racist’ is more worthy of condemnation than a violent ‘bigot’, I have no time for them.

    Such people give racists an excuse.

  31. 32
    Lauren says:

    Petar, I thought it was clear from everything I wrote that I was talking about the Jeoung-Issue. Your questions about violent attacks and the debate on that seemed to be tageted at Kate. It was certainly not a reply to what I wrote and as what I wrote first was not addressed at you, I don’t kow how you might have gotten to the idea that Iwas talking about those incidents orrefusing to condemn them. I simply don’t know enough about them, the way the perpetrator were treated in the media or if/ how they were condemn to have an opinion on that issue.

    To pretend that I was talking about them and making excuses for them is… far fetched at best.

  32. 33
    Decnavda says:

    You know, I think what Sarah Jeong wrote was disgusting, but wow, this entire thread is confirmation of the point of the comic.

  33. 34
    Petar says:

    In the of the three cases (I could’t find the fourth), the suspects have been arrested:

    Kate, you actually linked a fifth case. Yes, the attackers were from a minority, yes the attack was racially motivated, yes, the victim has permanent brain damage, yes, it happened in Baldwin Park. But the attackers were not black, so it did not fit my list.

    The suspects in the 2010 case have indeed been arrested. The ones in the 2016 one have not been apprehended yet, nor have the three (four?) black males in the Willowbrook attack.

    You know, I think what Sarah Jeong wrote was disgusting, but wow, this entire thread is confirmation of the point of the comic.

    The comic is about people bringing up edgy jokes in a discussion about grievous examples of racism. By my count, more than 50% of the thread is about the reluctance of some people to hold their in-group to the same standards as the out-group.

    My post was a direct answer to Ampersand asking RonF about his anti-racist record and a request for Ampersand to think whether he has been denouncing racially motivated attacks by Blacks as much as those perpetuated by Whites. I also asked him whether he opposes Slav defamation as much as Hebrew defamation.

  34. 35
    Lauren says:

    Jeffrey Gandee at 26,
    I am not telling people how to speak. I was only pointing out that the accusations of hypocrisy against Jeoung’s defenders depend on ignoring how they speak. You can absolutely disagree with their definitions and the context that they think the debate should be framed by. But I think this should be openly done, not by pretending that definition or context doesn’t exist.

    As to your question about what would change if everyone agreed that racism (against people of colour) and anti-White prejudice are two different things:
    I believe that prejudice can be fought with education, with positive experiences, with open dialogue when everybody is willing to listen. Prejudice is something that can be addressed on the individual level. And with anti-white prejudice, the individual level is where the problem is – and only the individual level.

    With racism (defined according to the systemic definition)? Work on the individual level will not make anything better for the people being oppressed. Because even when individuals let go of some of their prejudices, the system of oppression is still there. There are still a lot of people consciously and unconsciously invested in upholding that system. Which is why changing the system, the power balance, is so important. And that requires a completely different approach.

    And no, I do not know what that approach is. As a white woman, for me it currently means listening to a lot of people (especially women= of colour. Because they are in a much better position to know what does and doesn’t work.

  35. 36
    Kate says:

    You know, I think what Sarah Jeong wrote was disgusting, but wow, this entire thread is confirmation of the point of the comic.

    Exactly. That’s why I was staying out of it until Lauren showed up.

  36. 37
    Ampersand says:

    I remember, a thread on Alas, years ago about a Black woman who had been kidnapped, raped, tortured, cut up, and then escaped. The thread called it something like “the most inhuman crime in the US this year.” At the about same time (weeks or months earlier) three whites had wandered in a black neighborhood, and had been raped, mutilated, beaten unconscious, and left to die on railroad tracks. Some of them died.

    I wanted to comment on that thread, but at the time, I was not the one on “Alas duty”, i.e. a friend of mine was harvesting this board for good arguments. I wonder whether I can unearth that thread. To be honest, I find Alas very hard to search, despite taking pride of being good at searching in general.

    Anyway, the perpetrators of the “most inhuman crime of the year” had been arrested, no protests necessary. There were no protests even when they were released, as the woman had made up the story, and cut herself, which was obvious to anyone just seeing the cuts’ pictures (I read it, and posted about it immediately, although I conjectured that the cut were inflicted as she was cutting herself free, as I had bought the rest of the story)

    My memory isn’t perfect, so maybe this story was on Alas just as you describe, and I’ve completely forgotten it. That’s totally possible.

    But I can’t find it searching. And you implied that you couldn’t find it, either.

    And I’m kind of sick of people accusing me of having said things that they can’t locate or link (which has happened multiple times to me this year, on multiple forums).

    Next time you accuse me of having said something, Petar, bring the receipts or shut the fuck up. “The people I disagree with said this absolutely dreadful thing years ago, and I can’t quote it or link it, but really, they said it” is obviously an unfair argument, and you should know better.

    (To be fair, you didn’t say it was me. Maybe you meant one of the other posters here; maybe you meant some random person in the comments. By not saying, you escape having any accountability for your accusations.)

    I wanted to comment on that thread, but at the time, I was not the one on “Alas duty”, i.e. a friend of mine was harvesting this board for good arguments.

    I find this bewildering. Only you or your friend are allowed to comment during any period of time, not both at once? What is “Alas duty”?

  37. 38
    Jake Squid says:

    How often do you call out Polack jokes?

    I haven’t heard a Polish joke in decades. Maybe as many as 3 decades. They were one of the most popular categories of jokes when I was growing up and I can still remember several of them.

    And I haven’t heard a Pole called a Polack in the same amount of time. So my answer to that would be, “As often as I hear them.” Because if I heard them, I would surely speak out.

  38. 39
    RonF says:

    Jake, can you cite my post, please? I don’t even remember the incident itself, never mind posting about it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t, but I certainly don’t remember it.

    Lauren:

    But there is a diferent definition, one that is very accepted in anti-racism-movements: Racism is prejudice (based on race) plus power (based on race).

    That’s the definition I’ve found out about on this blog. It seems to be popular among some groups that claim they are against racism. But I’d say that any group that adopts it and therefore uses it to justify or at least permit derogatory statements towards particular ethnic or racial groups that they perceive as holding power are not anti-racist but are in fact racist; they are simply using this new and contrived definition to mask their own racism.

  39. 40
    Kate says:

    Lauren @35 – I really like the way you explained that. I’ve given up doing that here, because I think pretty much everyone here really already understands the arguments. They either disagree, or agree but recognize that if minds are going to be changed here, we need to take a different approach. Personally, I’ve given up on both Petar and RonF.

  40. 41
    Petar says:

    I wanted to comment on that thread, but at the time, I was not the one on “Alas duty”, i.e. a friend of mine was harvesting this board for good arguments.

    I find this bewildering. Only you or your friend are allowed to comment during any period of time, not both at once? What is “Alas duty”?

    There are a few web sites when you can find a small enough community so that conversations are worth starting. Where the contributors are intelligent enough so that what they say may be worth thinking about. Where the arguments are well thought enough that they are worth reusing. Where the participants are diverse enough that the echo chamber does not form. Where the moderators are civil enough that actual different viewpoints are tolerated.

    You will be surprised to know how few of these there are. And you may not be surprised to know that such communities are easily disrupted. It nearly happened to yours.

    And if I want to argue with, let say, Sebastian, I can do it tomorrow, face to face, instead of adding correlated variables to this discussion.

    With so much of social media a cesspool dominated by bots, shills, alt-light, provocateurs, click-baiters, etc. you need control groups.

    When trawling for inspiration, it is important not to overfish.

    ————————-

    As for the thread (no, it was not just commenters, it was a thread by a contributor) before I actually script a search, just let me know one thing. Have any discussions on Alas been lost? Not hidden from search or tagged closed to bots. Actually lost?

  41. 42
    Ampersand says:

    The study was published in 2009 by Antonovics and Knight, used data from the Boston Police motorist stops from 2001-2003, and focused on the search, ticketing and arrest rated as influenced by race.

    Thank you. I looked it up; The study is “A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department,” by Kate Antonovics and Brian G Knight, in Review of Economics and Statistics, February 2009. You can read it in pdf form here.

    I don’t recall ever having read or written about this study. And I can’t find mention of it searching “Alas.” But of course, I could easily have forgotten, and if it was linked and discussed without the titles or authors being named, it would be hard to find by searching.

    If you were a Hispanic male, you really wanted to get pulled over by a 40+ white, well educated Lieutenant Detective or above.

    Because you’re making accusations about me / this blog based on the implicit premise that your memories of things you read years ago are accurate, it’s worth mentioning that you don’t remember this study accurately. The study excluded lieutenants and detectives, only considering patrol officers. (It did find that officers with 10+ years experience did better, though). It didn’t control for officer’s age, that I can see, nor for grades. (I didn’t read every word, I skimmed the paper, and I searched for likely terms like “age” and “education” and “grades” and “GPA,” without finding support for your claims. It’s possible that I missed something; if you can tell me what page or table you’re getting your info from, I’ll take another look).

    And (according to tables 1 and 2 on page 28), a Hispanic driver is much less likely to be searched when pulled over by a Hispanic officer, and most likely to be searched when pulled over by a White officer. (Black officers are a little less likely to search Hispanic drivers than white officers).

    If you weigh it by the number of citations issued per officer, however, a Hispanic driver is a bit less likely to be searched by a white officer compared to a Black officer. But their lowest odds of being searched still come when pulled over by a Hispanic officer.

    (An odd finding, that I wonder if other studies have replicated: no matter the race of the driver, Hispanic officers are in general less likely to search those they pull over than Black or white officers.)

  42. 43
    Petar says:

    They either disagree, or agree but recognize that if minds are going to be changed here, we need to take a different approach. Personally, I’ve given up on both Petar and RonF.

    If my mind changed, how would you know it? My digging around ancient history shows something I posted a dozen years ago:

    As for the comments on the Christian/Newsome murders, some people believe that black on white crimes get less coverage than they should. Personally, I think that yes, we hear less about them. On the other hand, while they are often horrific, the perpetrators usually get what they deserve and there is little of interest, unless one obsesses over gruesome suffering.

    This is very close to what you are saying today. No one can actually accuse me of letting personal convictions stir me towards something I consider counter-productive.

    Remember, I did not say that Ampersand should make lists of Blacks committing racially motivated crimes, or should fight Slav defamation when we cannot be bothered ourselves.

  43. 44
    RonF says:

    I’ve heard a whole bunch of Polack jokes. I never said anything, though, because pretty much all of them were told to me by my wife’s father’s family, all of whom are of Polish descent and are quite proud of it. Kind of like blacks using a particular term to refer to each other that they would take great offense to if a white person used it, I figure.

    Here is an interesting story.

    A lawsuit seeking class action status alleges black job candidates were passed over in favor of Hispanic workers at two Chicago-area bakeries that hired through staffing agencies to hide the discriminatory practices.

    Let’s posit for purposes of argument that the charge in the lawsuit is proved to have actually happened. If the people who initiated and executed that policy were Hispanic, does it qualify as racism? After all, neither group is white.

  44. 45
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, I’m guessing that Jake was referring to this thread.

    If that is the thread Jake’s referring to, then Jake’s memory of what you said in that thread is inaccurate and unfair to you. (Sorry, Jake). You said that you had no idea that the squint-eyes thing was a common bit of anti-Asian racism, and you said “upon being told ‘they’re not squinting, they’re pretending they are/mocking Asians’ I would then expect people to recognize the racism inherent in the act.”

  45. 46
    RonF says:

    Thanks, Amp.

    Somehow in the above comment I can’t edit it to put [/blockquote] where it belongs (using angle brackets, of course). Can you fix it? Thanks.

  46. 47
    Ampersand says:

    As for the thread (no, it was not just commenters, it was a thread by a contributor) before I actually script a search, just let me know one thing. Have any discussions on Alas been lost? Not hidden from search or tagged closed to bots. Actually lost?

    Yes, some have been. I couldn’t say exactly which ones, but I know that some have been.

  47. 48
    Ampersand says:

    Last response to Petar for now, from me:

    I’m not aware of “defamation of Slaves in American media”; it’s either an issue I’ve never heard of before, or an issue that I’ve come across infrequently enough so that I can’t recall ever having come across it. I’ve never heard the words “janissary” and “berdache” before, and don’t know what they mean (although from context I’m guessing they’re anti-slav ethnic slurs?). Like Jake, I don’t think I’ve heard a “Polack” joke, or the term “Polack,” in decades.

    In contrast, I don’t think any regular “Alas” reader – or, indeed, anyone who lives in the U.S. – can credibly claim to not have heard discussions of anti-Black racism on a fairly regular basis.

    I do object to the term “white trash” and avoid ever using it myself. But it’s true I don’t object to it as voraciously as I would an anti-Black slur.

  48. 49
    Ampersand says:

    Jeffrey, I’ve gotten into the habit of saying that intent does matter, but it’s not the only thing that matters. I can think of at least a couple of times I’ve said that about white people while criticizing white racism. FWIW.

  49. 50
    Ampersand says:

    On a google search, I am reminded that I have heard the term “berdache” before, as a term (sometimes offensive) for the “two-spirit” traditions among some Native Americans. Is that the meaning you were referring to?

    And no, I don’t think I’ve ever objected to it; it’s just not an issue I know anything about. (I didn’t even know it was considered an offensive term, until I searched a minute ago).

  50. 51
    Petar says:

    I’ve never heard the words “janissary” and “berdache” before, and don’t know what they mean (although from context I’m guessing they’re anti-slav ethnic slurs

    They are both words for slaves, the former specifically for use as soldiers.

    In Slavic countries, they are associated with some very painful heritage, because Janissaries were Christian children collected as a tax on unbelievers and raised as soldiers. Berdaches were not necessarily all Slavic (Janissaries pretty much were) but in English both words have lost their connection to their origins, and one is used in usually positive terms (strength, determination, military/athletic prowess) while the other is used neutrally, to describe sexual relationships which are no longer universally frowned upon.

    So no one objects to ‘janissaries’ (I cannot believe you have not heard it, it’s quite popular for sport teams) and only Native Americans object to ‘berdache’ (I know I discussed that here, with Grace) And no one knows or cares that for many Slavic people the words carry their original meaning.

    And seriously, you have not seen how Slavs are depicted in fiction? Next time you see a Slavic name, track how the character ends up.

    Would you like to advance a guess to whether Slavs are over or under represented among real life criminals in the US? Would it surprise you that most of the ‘bad’ criminals in American movies are Slavs? Bosnian kidnappers in Taken, Serbian drug runners in Layer Cake, Bulgarian assassins, and of course Russian organized crime, who get killed, dozens per movie, in the Boondock Saints, John Wick, etc. . And of course, corrupt Polish cops and union workers, how could I forget these. Even in fantasy movies like Bright, how is the greedy, corrupt, treasonous, murderous, racist cop introduced? “In Russia, my ancestors used to kill those subhuman scum…” I paraphrase, of course.

    By the way, how many times did Slav terrorists attack the US (Chechens are Nakh) in real life? How many times in video games and movies?

  51. 52
    Ampersand says:

    You know, I think what Sarah Jeong wrote was disgusting, but wow, this entire thread is confirmation of the point of the comic.

    Exactly. That’s why I was staying out of it until Lauren showed up.

    Yes, me three.

    As to your question about what would change if everyone agreed that racism (against people of colour) and anti-White prejudice are two different things:
    I believe that prejudice can be fought with education, with positive experiences, with open dialogue when everybody is willing to listen. Prejudice is something that can be addressed on the individual level. And with anti-white prejudice, the individual level is where the problem is – and only the individual level.

    With racism (defined according to the systemic definition)? Work on the individual level will not make anything better for the people being oppressed. Because even when individuals let go of some of their prejudices, the system of oppression is still there. There are still a lot of people consciously and unconsciously invested in upholding that system. Which is why changing the system, the power balance, is so important. And that requires a completely different approach.

    This is really well put. Now I’m looking at this and wondering if there could be a good cartoon to illustrate it.

  52. 53
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    I am not telling people how to speak. I was only pointing out that the accusations of hypocrisy against Jeoung’s defenders depend on ignoring how they speak.

    You’re right about this, it’s not really hypocrisy, because the double standard is explicitly built in to the progressive worldview, and I would even agree that the double standard is in some ways justified. But it’s still a double standard, even if it’s explicit, and most of us have a moral intuition to resent double standards. It’s part of who we are as social creatures with a sense of reciprocity.

    I should add though, that most of the people being accused of hypocrisy aren’t making the distinction between “racism” (in the academic sense) and “racial prejudice” the way we are right now. There actually aren’t that many voices saying anything like “well, racial prejudice is bad, but its not as bad as racism so it isn’t a fire-able offense,” many argue that Sarah is fighting the good fight against racism, and those people are making tactical and ethical errors. It’s almost as if they operate on the principle of “that which triggers racists is anti-racist!” It’s similar to the idea that reverse stupidity equals intelligence.

  53. 54
    Michael says:

    OK, then, but I think the issue is not racism but hypocrisy. For example, suppose that Alice wants to ban Nazi literature but not Communist literature. Bob, who lost a relative in the Cultural Revolution, can call Alice a hypocrite without claiming Maoism was racist.

  54. 55
    Ampersand says:

    I cannot believe you have not heard it, it’s quite popular for sport teams.

    I basically only watch games if I’m in the room while other people are watching; now that Jake doesn’t come over for the Super Bowl, this happens only when I’m visiting my sister’s house and my nephew puts on a baseball game. Even then, I usually read a book or draw rather than pay attention. I enjoy watching slow-motion clips of players making incredibly graceful plays, but the games themselves seem really boring to me.

    The depth of my ignorance of slav issues may surprise you. I have noticed an uptick in Russian immigrant villains in movies lately, but I assumed that was due to anti-immigrant prejudice, combined with the pushback against the years of Arabs being the default terrorists, combined with an uptick in Russian immigrants to the U.S. in the last decade. But I’ll pay more attention now.

  55. 56
    Jake Squid says:

    If that is the thread Jake’s referring to, then Jake’s memory of what you said in that thread is inaccurate and unfair to you. (Sorry, Jake).

    It’s true! My memory was completely wrong on that one. Thanks for pointing that out, Amp. And I apologize to you, Ron, for misremembering and misrepresenting your comments (in my memory as well as here) so badly.

  56. 57
    Jake Squid says:

    I cannot believe you have not heard it, it’s quite popular for sport teams.

    I was, once upon a time, a pretty big fan of team sports and I’ve never heard that as a name for a sports team. I’ve never even heard it during sports broadcast.

    I think I learned the word Janissary while playing Diplomacy. And it wasn’t a slur there, as I understood it. Rather, it was used in what seemed to be the original meaning of the word as translated to the game.

  57. 58
    Petar says:

    English is my fourth language, so it is not perfect, but I will be damned if I get misunderstood anywhere else half as much as it happens on Alas.

    think I learned the word Janissary while playing Diplomacy.

    I do not know whether you mean the board game or the video game. Janissary is a term used in both, and in both the origin of the term is glossed over.

    And it wasn’t a slur there, as I understood it.

    That is the point, no matter whether it is used as an e-sport team name, or a cricket team name, or football (soccer) team name. It is used as a point of pride, and no one gives a fuck that the Janissaries were slaves, 8 to 10 years old boys taken from their families as a tax on Christians, and then spending their lives as slave soldiers, forbidden from marrying, thus the need for more harvesting remained. For at least three centuries, by law, 25% of Christian boys on the Balkans and Anatolia were collectable as tax. More or fewer were collected, depending on the geo-political situation (Are we besieging Vienna any time soon?)

    Calling a team the Braves is racially insensitive, but any complaint about the Istanbul Janissaries, Royal Janissaries, Janissary E-Sport club, etc. comes from snowflakes.

    Rather, it was used in what seemed to be the original meaning of the word as translated to the game.

    Yup. Games go out of their ways to avoid any mention of black slavery, the UK has rules about depicting blacks as slaves in media, but Janissaries are A-OK.

    There is a reason that slave/esclave/Sklave/schiavo and Slav sound similar. For centuries, Western European slaves were mostly Slavic. The Vikings started the trade a millennium ago, and as recently as 70 years ago, Germans enslaved millions, worked the men to death, raped the women, and let 90% of the resulting children die of neglect. And no one cares or knows about it, let alone think that there is something wrong with depicting Slavs generally negatively.

    In the Balkans, when you say Janissaries, people think of insurrections drowned in blood by slave soldiers related to the ones being slaughtered. In this discussion, the one person who knows the word thinks it was an appropriate way to describe a strategy in a board game. (Or a unique faction unit in a video game)

    My whole fucking point was that there are causes célèbres, and there are things that no one talks about. That no one expects Ampersand to talk about Black people committing racially motivated crimes. (In 2007 I actually posted that it served little purpose) That no one expects Ampersand to care about Slav defamation in media.

    But by the same measure, what do you expect from people who believe (wrongly) that poor Whites have it just as bad as poor Blacks, and who believe (understandably) that the poor Whites’ suffering gets less attention from Democrats?

    They are not going to draw attention on the plight of the Blacks, they will harp on about the targeting of Whites.

    I know that many here believe that Trump voters were people who would never support a Democrat. That it’s no big deal if Clinton calls them “deplorable”, that it’s no big deal when the DNC puts a thumb on the scale, that it’s no big deal if the New York Times edits old articles to make someone look bad, that it’s no big deal if ‘anti-racists’ delete their outraged tweets when it turns out that blacks have committed the crime in question.

    And I disagree. I think that institutionalized racism has to be opposed. But if you ignore and even defend individual racism when perpetrated by minorities, you will lose support among people you could otherwise win over. And when you lose that support, you get Trump. Ask yourself how much ground was and will be lost during his presidency.

    As for relying on the march of history… see where that got Soviets.

    And I think I’m going to take a break from Alas, until things quiet down again. I got enough food for thought for the next party.

  58. 59
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Petar, I doubt I’m the only one here interested in any book recommendations from you. I know next to nothing about the Slavs. Thanks for the discussion so far, you’ve peeked my curiosity.

  59. 60
    Erin says:

    “… but I will be damned if I get misunderstood anywhere else half as much as it happens on Alas.”

    ————————-

    I noticed that too. It’s almost impossible to get more general ideas across (at least ones that are clearly not welcome here), let alone a discussion of them.

    Or maybe the two different sides live in parallel universes that really are different.

  60. 61
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Or maybe the two different sides live in parallel universes that really are different.

    I think most of it is explained here:

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2018/01/24/conflict-vs-mistake/

    I don’t think people fall strictly into one camp or the other, there are times when mistake theory ceases to be useful, and some people employ a little of both. But by in large, people farther from the political center tend to see disagreements as conflicts, while people closer to the center see their opponents as having made mistakes. The incentives of each side within the debate are totally different. A conflict theorists cares less about what their opponent is actually saying, because it doesn’t matter- what matters is painting the person in a bad light to reduce their status. Conflict theorists will find the evil adversary they are looking for, just as mistake theorists will fail to see a Monster staring them in the face (see the pearl clutching over the banning of Alex Jones).

  61. 62
    Sebastian H says:

    The discussion about whether or not minorities can be racist seems woefully under informed about intersectionality. Even if you accept that racism can only be committed by people higher up on the system’s totem pole (I don’t, but for the sake of argument I will) there are places in local hierarchies (which are often in the position to do the worst local damage) where a black supervisor is in a position to discriminate against a white employee. If they do so based on race, that is racism. In a hypothetical situation where two people have exactly the same national profile, the white one will be more able to effectively wield power than the black one because of systemic racism in the US. That doesn’t change the fact that in many particular situations a particular black person can have more power than a particular white person and can use that power along a racial dimension in racist ways.

    Acting analytically as if a white janitor is as socially powerful as a white bank owner makes it impossible to accurately analyze how the world functions.

  62. 63
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Even if you accept that racism can only be committed by people higher up on the system’s totem pole (I don’t, but for the sake of argument I will) there are places in local hierarchies (which are often in the position to do the worst local damage) where a black supervisor is in a position to discriminate against a white employee. If they do so based on race, that is racism.

    Yup, this is where intersectionalism starts to break down. Pushed to it’s logical conclusion, it just becomes individualism informed by an awareness of historical oppression.

  63. 64
    Ben Lehman says:

    FWIW, Turkish imperialism (including slavery, but also stuff like the Greek and Armenian genocides and still-ongoing settler colonialist policies) is something I do try to talk about, although probably not as often as I should. I do make a point of including it when I talk about the issues more generally.

    I haven’t spoken up more because, as someone who has no post-Ottoman ancestry, I feel like I have minimal “skin the game” on the issue. But, honestly, that’s probably all the more reason to speak up. It’s definitely bullshit that it (outside of the odd Armenian genocide remembrance) is rarely discussed in American discussions of genocide, imperialism, and racism.

    You’re absolutely right that Jannisaries, as a team name, is fucked up.

    –Ben

  64. 65
    Jake Squid says:

    Diplomacy the board game. And Jannissary was used to designate a player with a single unit left who essentially served as a slave unit to a more powerful player as their only possible means of survival to the end of the game.

    I do appreciate the education on the current meaning of the word to living people to whom the word has history.

    I can’t imagine why one would name a sports team The Jannissaries no matter which understanding of the word you have. Unless, I suppose, you believe it’s a synonym of mercenary.

  65. My wife worked for almost ten years in a majority-Black school, not just in terms of the student body, but in terms of its teachers, staff, and administrators, and those professionals made their bias against non-Black professionals very clear in any number of ways: through assignments, budgeting, social behavior and more. The bias, in other words, was structural and institutionalized within that school, and would absolutely have qualified as racism under the sociological definition of racism. It would have, for reasons that are not germane to this discussion, been very difficult to prove that had someone brought a formal complaint, but it was not hard to see that if the racial makeup had been reversed, a professional of color would almost certainly have won their case. Obviously, this state of affairs was wrong and the people who perpetrated and perpetuated it were being racist against people who were not Black (because it was not only white people who suffered) in the context of that school.

    One of the things my wife and I talked about a lot–since she is not from this country and did not at the time have a nuanced understanding of the history of race in the United States–was how it was important to see this state of affairs (without excusing it; without suggesting that people who were harmed by it should not be made whole) in the context of that history. That, in fact, her school was a kind of island in a much larger sea of anti-Black racism and that the attitudes and behaviors of the professionals in the school were a kind of response to living in that sea. That those professionals were in fact practicing a kind of survival skill.

    It took some time before my wife started to see that to critique the microcosm of her school without understanding and even more strongly critiquing the larger context in which the school existed was not simply a disservice to the people running her school. That it was, in fact, part of the structural and institutionalized racism of the larger society to pretend that the racism in the larger context had no bearing on how and why “reverse racism” manifested as it did in the microcosm of the school.

    I am, for the sake of simplicity, leaving the whole question of intersectionality out of this, because while intersectionality obviously makes a huge difference in terms of people’s lived experiences, slicing and dicing who stands in which multiple positions in relation to whom, doesn’t change one fundamental reality: that the values which pit these groups one against the other are, ultimately, a divide and conquer tactic.

    The Black professionals in my wife’s school were not only, not merely, protecting Black identity or some abstract notion of power; they were also, and even primarily, protecting their own socioeconomic self-interest, in terms of where and to whom salary was paid, in terms of how, on what, and by whom money was awarded/spent within the school; and they were protecting this self-interest over and against people (professionals who weren’t Black) whose socioeconomic position in society was, relatively speaking, in relation to where the real money and power is located, the same.

    The absence of this kind of class analysis is why intersectionality becomes, as Jeffrey put it, “individualism informed by an awareness of historical oppression,” and it is this kind of analysis that I think Petar was alluding to in his rants–and I think he even referenced it explicitly a couple of times in other discussions on another thread.

    Now, to suggest that a class analysis is a necessary component of any anti-racist analysis (or, I would argue, any sort of social justice analysis) is not to suggest that the answer, therefore, is Soviet or Cuban or (god forbid) North Korean or Chinese or any other form of existing or historical communist rule. What to do with such an analysis is a whole other component of this discussion. I just wanted to point out that without a class analysis, there is no way to resolve in concrete terms the relationship between the local racism–institutionalized or not–that people of color might practice against white people and the larger, systemic, structural, institutional racism that has been central to US society at least since slavery was first instituted.

  66. 67
    Ampersand says:

    But by in large, people farther from the political center tend to see disagreements as conflicts, while people closer to the center see their opponents as having made mistakes.

    In other words, people from the margins are nasty, hostile, and demonize their opponents, while centrists like you are charitable and assume the best about those they disagree with?

    :-p

  67. 68
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    I don’t think it’s necessarily nasty or hostile to see a disagreement as a conflict, for many radicals, it’s probably the correct interpretation.

  68. 69
    Ampersand says:

    Joking aside, I liked that post by Scott, and your note that in reality most people are a little from column A, a little from column B is important. It seems to me that Scott didn’t put things in terms of centrists vs margins the way you did, but I skimmed some of it, so maybe I missed that.

    Over the years, I’ve become less and less convinced that logical argument and evidence meaningfully change most people’s minds. Climate change is a major part of why I’ve lost my faith in logic and argumentation; if logic and facts carried the day, the climate change debate as we know it would have ended decades ago. In some cases – specifically, in the cases of some Republican senators and the like – I suspect what’s going is bad faith and self-interest. But I think most of the problem is good-faith people within echo chambers. And you can’t logic someone out of an echo chamber.

    So I do think they’re making a mistake. But I don’t think the methods employed by many “mistake theorists” will actually work to change climate deniers’ minds.

  69. 70
    desipis says:

    Ampersand:

    The fact that you (seemingly) think my cartoon was more about hypocrisy than racism suggests you missed the point I was making.

    I don’t think that; I think your cartoon was about racism. I just think the bigger issue the situation was the hypocrisy.

    Climate change is a major part of why I’ve lost my faith in logic and argumentation; if logic and facts carried the day, the climate change debate as we know it would have ended decades ago.

    I find it interesting you see climate change that way. I’ve always seen it the opposite way. I saw it as the intense (and somewhat hyperbolic) moralising on the issue naturally put people on the defensive and created the opportunity for the right to turn it into a political football.

    It was rather strange to see people be correct (in some sense) on the issue and accepting that climate change was real, but to do so for the wrong reasons. People were utterly adamant that the science showed this or that without actually having read any science at all. They weren’t driven by science, but rather by click-bait headlines; something which recent times have demonstrated are much more readily used to manipulate people into false beliefs that true ones.

    Over the years, I’ve become less and less convinced that logical argument and evidence meaningfully change most people’s minds.

    Logic and evidence might not be powerful tools for convincing others to join a cause, but I would see them as essential for people who are genuinely concerned whether or not their chosen cause is right and just.

  70. 71
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Over the years, I’ve become less and less convinced that logical argument and evidence meaningfully change most people’s minds.

    I agree with this, but I still favor reason, and I suspect you do too based on what you write here. If I think I’m right about something, I’ll employ reason and hope my allies do to, because cultural and political victories often don’t require changing everyone’s minds, but just winning over those who are persuadable on the margins.

    More importantly, reasonable debate is the best way to figure out if I’m wrong, and this goes for everyone else too. (over the past few years, my views have shifted considerably due to conversations I’ve had and things I’ve read) A community that places less importance on reasonable discussion is more likely to cling to bad ideas, and as I get older I’m increasingly frustrated at encountering spaces where reasonable discourse is either underappreciated or openly mocked.

  71. 72
    Ampersand says:

    I saw it as the intense (and somewhat hyperbolic) moralising on the issue naturally put people on the defensive and created the opportunity for the right to turn it into a political football.

    I always find it odd how often anti-SJWs say the right isn’t responsible for their own beliefs and their own actions. What the right does is never the right’s fault; only the left is responsible for anything the right does.

  72. 73
    Ampersand says:

    Jeffrey – I agree with what you said. But I’m coming to see logic and reason as a hobby – something I do because I find it fun, because I find it aesthetically appealing, because I like trying “to figure out if I’m wrong.” (Although I’m skeptical about my ability to do that.)

    But as far as creating the changes I think are worthwhile? Logic and reason are things I enjoy, but I’m not sure they’re important.

    It seems to me possible that some (not all) of the spaces that you and I are uncomfortable in – “spaces where reasonable discourse is either underappreciated or openly mocked” – might be more effective at creating change for the better than a space I’m more comfortable with would be.

  73. 74
    RonF says:

    Amp, @48:

    I’m not aware of “defamation of Slaves in American media”;

    I do believe that you’ve been victimized by autocorrect; that should be “Slavs”, not “Slaves”

    I’ve never heard the words “jannissary” … before ….

    I’m surprised given the love for science fiction here that you and others have not heard this word. I became familiar with it a long time ago because of Jerry Pournelle’s novels that built on the concept. I then ran into it again as I started reading about the history of Islam.

    Jeffrey @53:

    You’re right about this, it’s not really hypocrisy, because the double standard is explicitly built in to the progressive worldview,

    What that says to me is that it really is hypocrisy, but that hypocrisy is baked into the “progressive” worldview.

    Amp, just above:

    But as far as creating the changes I think are worthwhile? Logic and reason are things I enjoy, but I’m not sure they’re important.

    I think they’re important but not as influential as they should be, which is why I have proposed that perhaps sometime around the junior or senior year of high school – and certainly for any college freshman – a semester in formal logic should be required. A liberal arts education was truly liberal back in the days when logic and rhetoric were required subjects.

    Regarding the allegation that Jake made about an old post of mine; Amp, thank you very much for the research, and thank you Jake for the gracious apology.

  74. 75
    Grace Annam says:

    I haven’t had time to post, in the last few days, but I had it in mind to post about Pournelle’s books, which is where I learned the term. Ron beat me to it.

    Separately, I read through the Wikipedia entry three or four years ago. I don’t remember what brought me to it.

    I’ve never noticed its use in sports, but I’m certainly not about to say it hasn’t been used.

    I was familiar, through very brief exposure to Slavic languages in my linguistics education, with the origin of the word “slave” (English), “esclavo” (Spanish), “esclave” (French), “Sklave” (German), and “sclav” (Romanian), though not with the historical and cultural implications of that origin.

    I have definitely noted the negative regard American media has for what I suppose I thought of as “Eastern European” peoples, including characters of Russian, East German, and Balkan-region characteristics. I had not thought to group them as “Slavic”, but from my very limited understanding of that region, Petar’s assertion seems to match what little I know.

    Grace

  75. 76
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Petar, what’s the story about the New York Times editing old articles to make someone look bad?

  76. 77
    Petar says:

    It’s really funny that while my main point was that it’s rational not to talk about Slavs’ treatment, pretty much the only thing I managed was to convince people that it would be interesting to talk about Slavs.

    Where would you go if you wanted to learn more? It’s a very hard question. I may even expand on it. But first I’ll tell you what I told my then girlfriend, who is 25% Jewish, 25% Slavic, and 50% WASP, and who wanted to learn about what makes one a Slav. I gave her my copy of “Devil and Deaths”, told her to read it, warning her that once she comes back to me with a ‘meh’, I’ll explain to her what it says about being a Slav.

    Well, that was 20 years ago, we’re married, and she and I have given copies of that graphic novel to more than a dozed of people. And I still think that it says a lot about Slavs, although, mostly to Slavs.

    —————

    OK, why are Slavs so obscure, and why is is so hard to learn about Slavs? Well, there are a few reasons.

    1) Slavs are very divided, and do not particularly like each other. (From now on, every list is alphabetically sorted, as not to offend anyone) Croats, Czech, Poles, Slovaks, Slovenians, and Western Ukranians are Catholic Christians. Belarusians, Bulgarians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Russians, Serbs and most Ukrainians are Eastern Orthodox Christians. Bosnians, Herzegovians and Pomaks (found in Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia) are Muslim. And there are millions of Slavs who would probably want my head for writing the above, because even that is very controversial. Slavs are also divided by countries, and some of these countries have tried uniting Slavs, with more (Bulgarians, Russians) or less (Serbians, Poles) success. All temporary, mind you, and all leaving a lot of resentment behind.

    2) Slavs neighbors have a lot of bad blood, territorial claims, or uneasy conscience related to past interactions. History is written by the victors, and while Slavs have a number of military victories, the political ones are few and far between.

    3) A lot of scholars (Western, Nordic and Muslim) push a theory, which can basically be reduced to this: Slavs are peasant stock, big, passive, and slow, good for nothing but tilling the earth and hardly worth more than cattle. Lately, it has been draped in more suitable clothes, but the gist is still there. The Bulgar Empire? Heh, that was just Slavs ruled by Turkic warlords. The Poles? Heh, they never amounted to much unless ruled by Lithuanians. The Russians? Heh, they would still be eating mud if they had never been ruled by Norse raiders.

    As a result, few people agree on what Slavs are, on which parts of their history are important, and lastly, what makes them click. Mostly, Slavs are no particularly proud of their history, change their names, and blend in. In the US, there are about 20 millions Slavs. Not people with some Slavic ancestry, but unmixed Slavs. How many of them have Slavic last names? Less than one quarter.

    My wife’s great grandfather came to the US as Parachanski. I only know that because her grandmother was still alive at our wedding, and she told me. Neither she nor my wife knew what the name meant. It had been changed to Harris on Long Island. A good half of my close acquaintances are Slavic, more than a couple of dozens. Three of us have kept our Slavic names unaltered. My wife did not change to it (with my support) and my daughter got a combination of our two last names, which sounds Nordic, not Slavic.

    With the way Slavs are portrayed in the media, it’s not a surprise. I have been asked whether I am Russian by cops, by clients, and I have been refused service twice in South Carolina for having a Russian sounding name – once in an archery shop and once in a gun store. I managed to talk my way through both times… no big deal, I have gotten more crap in South Carolina for having a California license.

    Ah, this is taking too long. I may post more, and in another thread.

  77. 78
    Petar says:

    Petar, what’s the story about the New York Times editing old articles to make someone look bad?

    It happened a few times that I remember, but I only managed to find one. And I can find only one single article supporting my recollection of what happened (I’m in a bit of a hurry right now)

    This article was originally published as extremely positive about Sanders. It was so glowing and relevant to the primaries, that it was immediately linked by the Sanders campaign, I printed it myself, posted it, linked it, etc.

    A few hours later, it was stealth edited and became a mockery of Sanders. His victories were shown as unimportant, his age was remarked upon, it was make clear that if he were elected, he would not be able to implement fuck-all, and there were a couple of jabs at Sanders supporters.

    And of course, the links from Sanders supporters still led to the article, and there was no mention of any changes (which other online publishers had been doing properly for years, even blunderers like MSN)

    There was an outcry from us horrible Sanders bros, leading to a non-apology from the NYT, which explained everything as normal editing process to a breaking story. Sure, it was an article who was covering legislative activity safely in the past, sure it had been approved three days before publication, sure the only remotely recent developments were the ones edited in to make Sanders look bad.

    And without much fuss, the truly offensive version disappeared before dawn. And no, you cannot find much about the issue, which was not covered by anyone much. I could only find the article because I had still a printout of the original, and the really horrible version. The one up now is something else again.

    Once I actually found the article, I managed to find ONE, count them ONE article about the controversy. Here. And it is about as charitable to the Times as it can be while sticking to the facts. Some of the links from that article are more damning, and quote a lot more of the truly offensive stuff. But guess what, even if you know exactly what are you looking for, the linked condemnations are hard to find via Google, Bing and DDG. Very easy to find if you search in Russian, though.

    Of course, I do not think this should be shouted on the rooftops. There was a point before the primaries ended, and I wish I had refrained from that, because once Clinton was selected, it was all ammo for the other side.

    Stuff like this BAD. This is what allows people to dismiss facts as “fake news”. Once you have a few examples like this, they are enough to establish false equivalence between the thousands of manufactured stories from the alt-lite/right and the dozens of underhanded ones that slip into established media.

    In the 80s, I was pulled from from my ‘classes’ in a Labor-Educational Facility (under false pretenses) so I could sit on series of lectures from a visiting expert from the USSR. He started with “There is no Truth. There is what your object believes, and there is what you can make him believe. Facts are only relevant as they influence the path from the former to the latter.”

    I do not remember the guy’s name, and I doubt I ever knew the real one. But boy, his lectures should be required reading in the US, right now. I bet they are popular among those who helped make the last election so interesting.

  78. 79
    Gracchus says:

    “what I suppose I thought of as “Eastern European” peoples, including characters of Russian, East German, and Balkan-region characteristics. I had not thought to group them as “Slavic””

    East Germans are not “Slavs” unless they’re from the Wend or Sorb minorities (very small, and basically invisible in pop culture stereotypes).

    Many people from Russia aren’t necessarily Slavs either, although I’m not clear whether by “Russian” you mean “citizen of Russia” or “person from the Russian ethnic group”.

    Sorry, just wanted to nip these misconceptions in the bud.

  79. 80
    Petar says:

    East Germans are not “Slavs” unless they’re from the Wend or Sorb minorities (very small, and basically invisible in pop culture stereotypes).

    You are kidding right? Very small, yes. But basically invisible? In early German cinema they are the preferred minor villains, recognizable by their Slavic names, only eclipsed by the Jews as the Nazis took over. Cowardly, backstabbing criminals, cheap brothel patrons, apprentices who rape their master’s daughters, etc.

    Have you watched Babylon Berlin? I tried, and one episode was enough. Lets ignore the all the Russians, because we all know that they are worse than the Nazis, and the series seem to imply that it is only through the cowardly turncoats Soviets that the Punchers got traction. So Russians guilty of all sins at once get a pass.

    But the cowardly, incompetent, pedophile who turns on his associates in Episode One? Would you mind telling me from which minority he is? I’ll give you a hint, his name is Krajewski.

    I do not know how much he matters in later episodes, and I do not care. But I know that he is one of the most despicable characters up the point where I watched, and there did not seem to be a reason to make him Slavic.

    And seriously, did he have to be tarred with so many bushes? On top of his moral failings, the moron is threatening the rookie without a chambered round for half his screen time.

  80. 81
    Petar says:

    Many people from Russia aren’t necessarily Slavs either, although I’m not clear whether by “Russian” you mean “citizen of Russia” or “person from the Russian ethnic group”.

    That is true, but there is a wrinkle. Now, I’m going to switch gears, and talk about Bulgarians in French media, because there are a few examples, and it is a lot easier to understand.

    There is crime in France. A portion of it is committed by foreigners. A portion of these are Bulgarian nationals. Practically all of them are Roma, i.e. not Slavs.

    This year, I have watched one French movie and two TV series in which the criminals are Bulgarian. Those Bulgarians are not portrayed as Roma. How could they be? That would be racist.

    Same with Russians, but that’s harder to catch. You say that not all Russian nationals are Slav. True, of the top ten ethnic groups, only two are Slavs, but those are the Ethnic Russians and the Ukrainians, and they make up nearly 90% of the total. And the other eight are Turkic or Northern Caucasian, i.e. they look very different, they have very different names, etc. By the time you get another Slavic minority (Belorussians), the share is down to a fraction of a percent.

    Are the Russian villains’ names more like Sergei Ivanov (or Vassily, Alexander, Kiril, Ivan, Boris) or Mehmed, Timur, Karim, Mohamad, Abdulla? Or Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, for that matter? If they are the former, what does it matter that not all Russians are Slavic, if we are discussing negative depictions in media?

  81. 82
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    @Petar

    The choice of traits for villains (and heroes) is pretty interesting. Many writers like to take advantage of stereotypes and broader conflict narratives to reduce the amount of exposition. Some stereotypes are frowned upon, while others are rarely considered problematic. During the cold war, using Russians as villains was rather common. I found it interesting to see what happened after the iron curtain fell, with Hollywood seeming a little discombobulated at the situation, unsure what villains they could use to create a strong outgroup reaction. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Hollywood turned much more to comic books as a major source of black/white narratives.

    In the West, some groups have been designated victim status (by progressives or everyone), resulting in controversy if you make a stereotypical villains part of this group, yet this hasn’t really happened to Eastern Europeans. So they are a fairly safe choice, it seems to me, even though the outgroup effect has probably been reduced a lot, so writers still need to establish villainy in another way (for Krajewski, this seems to have been done by making him a pedophile). Ironically, the concern over stereotyping more and more groups can even result in the remaining groups to be portrayed as villains much more.

    PS. Isn’t a reason why many Eastern European migrants to the US changed their last name because they are Jewish and discrimination against Jews was fairly common back then? For example, John Stewart changed his last name from Leibowitz and is of Eastern European descent.

  82. 83
    Gracchus says:

    “But basically invisible? In early German cinema …”

    I should have been more specific. I meant Wends and Sorbs are basically invisible in English-language popular culture which, let’s face it, is what most people are talking about here.