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Author Topic: Racists Getting Fired
Destineer
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http://www.gettingracistsfired.com

It's a blog that posts screen shots of people being racist on social media, along with contact info for their employers, so readers can petition to have the people fired. The sentiment is, of course, admirable in a sense. But there are some very troubling aspects to this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/12/02/racists-getting-fired-exposes-weaknesses-of-internet-vigilantism-no-matter-how-well-intentioned/

quote:
But there was a hitch that revealed a problem with Internet blood-lust: Sometimes the torch-wielding throngs get it wrong.

Such was the case with Brianna Rivera, a woman who certainly appeared to have posted racially charged hate speech to her Facebook account. Later, Racists Getting Fired was alerted Rivera was a victim herself; the account was a hoax created by an ex-boyfriend and submitted to the Tumblr with the aim of not just getting Rivera fired from her job at a movie theater, but smeared as well.

From the blog:

quote:
Please DO NOT directly interact with the racist people submitted to this blog or their families. Contacting a place of work or school is sufficient. Do not send threats or fill their inboxes with messages. That is getting into illegal territory and is not a way to support what we are doing.
If you start sending messages to these people, especially threatening or harassing ones even if they’re racist, even if they’ve had a history of doing the same, it will give cause to for them to delete and remake social accounts and possibly file complaints if there are serious threats involved.
That is not the intent of this blog and it is completely counterproductive to the purpose of this blog.

You just cannot trust Internet mob justice to handle this kind of thing in an ethical way. I can't believe the naivete of the people who put together this blog.

[ December 09, 2014, 10:34 PM: Message edited by: Destineer ]

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Mucus
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Seen this road before
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_flesh_search_engine

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scifibum
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quote:
The sentiment is, of course, admirable in a sense.
I don't think it's admirable to try to get people fired for holding offensive beliefs, so I disagree unless the only sense you are referring to is that they wish to condemn racism.

(There may be cases where the offensive belief would coincide with a job where that belief could be expressed to cause particular harm - but for most people, they deserve to make a living however wrong and offensive their beliefs.)

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Destineer
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I basically agree with you. At-will employment as practiced in America is an oppressive social structure, and one of the worst things about it is that you can get fired for holding controversial ideas unrelated to your job.

On the other hand, it is very easy for racist bigotry to conflict with the requirements of someone's job. I don't think I'd want a racist store clerk or waiter serving a diverse body of customers, for example.

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Dogbreath
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While it may be useful to let a company know that, say, one of the leaders in their organization is secretly a KKK member or something, I don't see how getting Joe Shmoe fired from his job at the Jiffy Lube because he posts racist tirades online is helpful.

It seems like a witchhunt to me, and one that's bound to have a decent number of innocent people as casualties.

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scifibum
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quote:
On the other hand, it is very easy for racist bigotry to conflict with the requirements of someone's job. I don't think I'd want a racist store clerk or waiter serving a diverse body of customers, for example.
I would want such a person not to be racist, but I don't think firing the person is going to accomplish that. So then they will either need to find a job where they don't deal with a diverse group of people (which won't help their views), or they will not have a job, and be a drain on society.

Mistreating customers, of course, is different. At the point the bigoted beliefs are expressed in the work that they are doing, consequences make sense.

There's a chance, of course, that quelling public or quasi-public expressions of bigotry might help discourage its continued existence. But I think it should be quelled by some means other than getting people fired.

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FoolishTook
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Yeah, this makes me uncomfortable.

While a business has the right to hire/fire whomever they want, it is riding some kind a line when what you post on social media, in a comment, means you may not have a job. It's kind of like someone deciding you shouldn't work at a furniture shop because of the curtains you hung in your home.

Most people post social comments in the privacy of their home, on their own time. (Posting racist comments while at work is a different ball of wax, in my opinion.)

While I know having access to public content and posting comments is blurring the lines between what's private and what's not, I think a great deal of people, especially older folks, don't understand that.

I have less tolerance for an internet-savvy young person who posts racist garbage to troll and get attention than I do an older person spouting unpopular opinions and not realizing the ramifications.

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Destineer
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quote:
Mistreating customers, of course, is different. At the point the bigoted beliefs are expressed in the work that they are doing, consequences make sense.
But it's very hard to catch people treating customers in a bigoted way, and also very easy for bias to unconsciously enter into a business interaction. I'm very comfortable with the idea of firing a service employee who you've learned is a racist, even if you haven't caught that employee disciminating against anyone. Because the odds are that even if they try consciously not to be biased at work, they'll fail at that.
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scifibum
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As a former service employee, my own view is that they generally hate everyone they have to deal with.
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Samprimary
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Internet tumblr level mob justice ... Easy to manipulate? A site trying to get people fired on often-hearsay, reliant on economic markets to decide the appropriate punition, thus empowering business interests to demand the politically correct muting of its own employees? Color me shocked that this is the outcome!
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GaalDornick
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quote:
Originally posted by FoolishTook:
I have less tolerance for an internet-savvy young person who posts racist garbage to troll and get attention than I do an older person spouting unpopular opinions and not realizing the ramifications.

Maybe the distinction there is because of the difference between 'racist garbage' and an 'unpopular opinion' instead of having to do with their age or computer skills.

Would you still have more tolerance for the older person if he were spouting racist garbage as well?

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GaalDornick
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Also Newsroom did it
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Dogbreath
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FWIW, the link the OP is baaaad and will lead you to some "adult friend finder" nonsense. (as I discovered earlier at work, to my dismay) The website is actually: http://gettingracistsfired.com/ (edit: OP has now been fixed)

Anyway, to expand on my earlier point, this sort witch hunt is a very bad idea. Especially since the focus seems to almost exclusively be on Ferguson, and on punishing people on the wrong side of that debate rather than actually doing anything constructive. Now I've been mostly avoiding Facebook for the past month due to the constant deluge of bullshit surrounding "#Ferguson", but I think there's a clear line to be drawn between vociferously and passionately condemning racism, and actually trying to ruin someone's life because s/he posted something ignorant or insensitive. And it's pretty damn clear that the GRF people don't give two shits about the accuracy or veracity of their doxxing techniques, they just care about venting anger and punishing the bad people who disagree with them. It's got all social justice of a lynch mob.

Like, there's a recurring poster here who regularly spews some of the most vile, sexist crap you can imagine. And while I'm certainly inclined to attack his arguments, and I think BB is perfectly right to ban him every time he rears his head, I would never dream of tracking him down and trying to ruin his life because of stuff he posts on a message board.

The only time I really see doxxing being justified is in case of someone being dangerous to themselves or others. Like, you talk about how you're going to go on a shooting spree, or you're going to kill someone, or kill yourself, or are planning on raping someone. And in those cases the FBI is already going to be involved, so it's kind of a moot point

[ December 10, 2014, 05:33 PM: Message edited by: Dogbreath ]

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Samprimary
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doxxing is a moot point, you say?

http://i.imgur.com/himZD0M.gif

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Dogbreath
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Har har har.
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Hobbes
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
Mistreating customers, of course, is different. At the point the bigoted beliefs are expressed in the work that they are doing, consequences make sense.
But it's very hard to catch people treating customers in a bigoted way, and also very easy for bias to unconsciously enter into a business interaction. I'm very comfortable with the idea of firing a service employee who you've learned is a racist, even if you haven't caught that employee disciminating against anyone. Because the odds are that even if they try consciously not to be biased at work, they'll fail at that.
You may be comfortable with it, but I'll take a little stronger stand and say that it's not so much that firing people for their beliefs doesn't just make me uncomfortable: I think it's plain wrong. What beliefs are firing worthy? Who gets to choose the right beliefs? We've been lucky enough in this country to have some pretty strict laws that forbid the government from harming people for having the wrong thoughts. Laws that have been pushed and strained, and in some cases broken in the past. Do we really want to take it upon ourselves to become the thought police, since the government won't step up and do it? Is that the legacy we want?

Hobbes [Smile]

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Destineer
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In practice, unfortunately, one's employer gets to choose which beliefs are the "right" ones in the US. That's the nature of at-will employment. I agree that this is wrong, and I think for free speech reasons among others, at-will employment should be against the law for the vast majority of jobs.

I do think it's reasonable to fire someone if they have beliefs that are extremely likely to get in the way of their ability and willingness to serve customers in the way they're supposed to. I think racist beliefs are probably like that.

I don't deny that there are tough cases, though. Would this mean it's acceptable to fire pro-life doctors? Doctors who are morally opposed to birth control?

I suppose I'd be comfortable saying you can't fire people for their beliefs, period, just because drawing the line is so dang hard.

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
In practice, unfortunately, one's employer gets to choose which beliefs are the "right" ones in the US. That's the nature of at-will employment. I agree that this is wrong, and I think for free speech reasons among others, at-will employment should be against the law for the vast majority of jobs.

I do think it's reasonable to fire someone if they have beliefs that are extremely likely to get in the way of their ability and willingness to serve customers in the way they're supposed to. I think racist beliefs are probably like that.

I don't deny that there are tough cases, though. Would this mean it's acceptable to fire pro-life doctors? Doctors who are morally opposed to birth control?

I suppose I'd be comfortable saying you can't fire people for their beliefs, period, just because drawing the line is so dang hard.

IMO, firing someone because they hold certain beliefs--with the expectation that because they have those beliefs, they might act a certain way--is way overboard. Firing should be based on actions and performance on the job.
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Dogbreath
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When I was in college, for a while I worked at a restaurant that was owned by a conservative Christian man who believed homosexuality was a sin, and pretty strongly opposed gay marriage. But half of his male employees were gay (me and the bartender were the only straight men who weren't kitchen staff), and he would go out of his way to cater to gay men at the restaurant with "gay Thursdays" (I'm not sure if this was a local trend or a national one) and so on. I never saw him mistreat any gay person ever.

And this is honestly true of the vast majority of the population: they're capable of acting professionally despite their personal beliefs. Just because you believe that, say, your tea party constitutionalist coworker is a bit of a nut doesn't mean you're going to treat him poorly as a result. Or rather, it shouldn't mean that.

Heck, when I had a brief stint working as a barista at a Starbucks in a rich part of my hometown, I had nothing but utter contempt for the spandex clad, botoxed middle aged housewives who would give me absurdly specific orders ("half-caf, triple grande non-fat vanilla latte, 5 pumps of sugar free vanilla, with whipped cream. And heat it to 170, I don't like it when it's only 160" Yes, that's a real order. She would bring her own thermometer, and as a rule send her drink back at least once every time. I still have nightmares about her), but I would smile and give them the best service possible.

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scifibum
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The temperature check! LOL
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NobleHunter
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Isn't capitalism uncontaminated by personal beliefs part of the American mythos (more in the breach than the observance, perhaps, but still)?

Like, I hate your guts but I'm going to take your money anyway?

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Destineer
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quote:
IMO, firing someone because they hold certain beliefs--with the expectation that because they have those beliefs, they might act a certain way--is way overboard. Firing should be based on actions and performance on the job.
Imagine you have an employee who works the register, who you overhear saying in complete seriousness, "I don't believe it's wrong to steal." As far as you can tell, this employee hasn't stolen from you yet, but if they wanted to they could probably get away with it.

quote:
And this is honestly true of the vast majority of the population: they're capable of acting professionally despite their personal beliefs.
Actually, I think the research on unconscious biases has shown that many of us are incapable of acting professionally even when we don't have biased beliefs. We treat attractive people better, we treat white people better, etc. Even many people who aren't racist behave this way to some extent.
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theamazeeaz
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Treating people of different races differently, even unconsciously, is still racism.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
Treating people of different races differently, even unconsciously, is still racism.

Yes, but that broadens the definition of "racism" to the point where it's no longer meaningful in the context of this discussion. Because by that definition almost everyone - including probably the creators of GRF - are racists.

At some point you need to delineate between active, conscious racism (let's call it "bigotry") and unconscious or systematic racism. And that's one of the main problems here - because being consciously racist means you should know better but are doing it anyway.

I'd argue that a large portion of the people making these remarks wouldn't consider themselves racist. I say this because I know some people like this. They say things like "I like black folks just fine, I just hate n*****s" and will go in-depth describing the difference between the two. They'll even give examples of black friends they have who are "ideal" black people, and how they get along just fine. They couch their racism in terms that don't make them racist - it just makes them anti-thug, anti-gangster.

And I've also seen some of the absolutely horrendous "outrage" articles out there (the aforementioned avoiding Facebook thing) about "black kid murders cop and wife, where's the outrage?" and "pictures they don't want you to see of Martin Brown!" and so forth, and a sizable portion of the white people I know believe there's an active race war going on, and that white people are the victims of "black thugs" going around and attacking police and looting. They see themselves as the victims, the ones being attacked in this race war, and are actively trying to protect themselves against the "bad blacks."

None of the ones I know have resorted to using offensive language to describe this "outrage", but really the tone of the language is a measure of the level of hysteria, and the aforementioned articles continue to up the ante.

So what it boils down to is that a lot of the racists being targeted in this campaign probably don't consider themselves racists. Just like the people running the campaign probably don't consider themselves racists. But they both are. To a different extent, yes, but a cynical part of me would say the largest difference is that the latter group has merely learned more acceptable verbiage and rhetoric with which to disguise their racism, or pretend that it doesn't exist in them. And that if you were to observe how the former and latter exhibited racism on a daily basis, the results would be the same. Anecdotally, at least, I know this is true. (Actually, it's usually the ones most obsessed with constantly using politically correct terminology that demonstrate the greatest degree of bigotry, probably because they've developed a system where they have a neat little box for every sort of person, and have dehumanized people as a result)

This all goes to say that the absolute worst way to deal with people who believe they're victims in a race war and that "the system" is out to get them is, well, to be out to get them. Especially since people from a yet more enlightened group could at some point be out to get *you*. The best way to deal with it, and the way that has helped me make tremendous strides in improving my own understanding of racism and sexism, is to start a dialogue about the issue. Share your own stories, make friends, build trust and understanding. Be teachers, not warriors.

I say this because I look back at things I said and believed when I was 16, 18, 20 years old, and know how much I've changed and grown since then. And I'm sure 5, 10 years from now I'll feel the same way about my current self. But if anything, this growth has made me far less arrogant and a lot more understanding of people who think differently than I do - you can look up old posts of mine here if you want some examples. And I shudder to think of where I would be as a person if, instead of patiently explaining to me why I was wrong, someone instead decided to track me down and get me fired because of an insensitive comment I made.

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
IMO, firing someone because they hold certain beliefs--with the expectation that because they have those beliefs, they might act a certain way--is way overboard. Firing should be based on actions and performance on the job.
Imagine you have an employee who works the register, who you overhear saying in complete seriousness, "I don't believe it's wrong to steal." As far as you can tell, this employee hasn't stolen from you yet, but if they wanted to they could probably get away with it.


If I overheard that I'd probably confront the employee. "I just heard you say such and such. Does that extend to your job here?" Then I'd definitely keep an eye on that employee's work. But honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that someone thought that way. Lots of people are great at rationalizing themselves into stealing, after all--or else the piracy industry wouldn't be as robust as it is.

I doubt I'd fire them if they hadn't actually done anything wrong. But the employee saying something I interpret as a real threat to my business goes beyond just a privately-held belief that doesn't alter their behavior at work. If a model employee one day showed up with a racist slogan tattooed on their neck, I'd require them to cover it up while on company premises or representing the company in any way. If they didn't want to do that, then yeah, I'd probably let them go. Again, that's based on actions that harm the business, not beliefs only.

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FoolishTook
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quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
quote:
Originally posted by FoolishTook:
I have less tolerance for an internet-savvy young person who posts racist garbage to troll and get attention than I do an older person spouting unpopular opinions and not realizing the ramifications.

Maybe the distinction there is because of the difference between 'racist garbage' and an 'unpopular opinion' instead of having to do with their age or computer skills.

Would you still have more tolerance for the older person if he were spouting racist garbage as well?

It depends on what the racist garbage is. If the person in question is talking about how great Hitler was for ridding Germany of the Jews, then comparing black people to animals and wanting them hung on a tree, I'd have no tolerance for them.

However, I may have a little less repugnance for an old person saying that in a social media comment and not thinking he's making a public statement than someone saying it and knowing that strangers will read it. The latter is hoping to either stir controversy, frighten people, or recruit others to his cause. While the former is just spouting garbage about the old ways of the world and doesn't realize he's doing it in a public setting, outside of his friends and family. (Both are still almost equally repugnant, however.)

There's also the racism that comes mostly from ignorance and generalizations about the world and the humans in it. I think most of the older people I imagine (most of the older people I know in fact) have this kind of racism. It manifests itself in statements like "If the blacks start moving to town, we'll have to lock our doors."

It's still racism and still wrong, but shouldn't be lumped in with the first kind, especially if the person in question would never dream of being disrespectful to a black person or a person of any color face to face.

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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
Treating people of different races differently, even unconsciously, is still racism.

This is semantics, but I don't actually think that definition of 'racism' is very helpful. If you accuse someone of being racist even though they genuinely love people of all races and can't perceive any bias in themselves, it's a great way to shut down conversation and make enemies. I prefer the psychology term for it, 'implicit bias.'

Still, by the definition of 'racism' that prevails these days, you're right that implicit bias counts as racism.

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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
[qb]
I'd argue that a large portion of the people making these remarks wouldn't consider themselves racist. I say this because I know some people like this. They say things like "I like black folks just fine, I just hate n*****s" and will go in-depth describing the difference between the two. They'll even give examples of black friends they have who are "ideal" black people, and how they get along just fine. They couch their racism in terms that don't make them racist - it just makes them anti-thug, anti-gangster.

I'd call that active, conscious racism, though. It's just that the people perpetrating it don't accept the label of "racist." But the racist things they say and do, they do in full awareness and not unconsciously.
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Heisenberg
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
As a former service employee, my own view is that they generally hate everyone they have to deal with.

Completely this.

The best skill anyone involved in customer service can have is the ability to hide their annoyance and dislike behind a big shit eating grin.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
I'd call that active, conscious racism, though. It's just that the people perpetrating it don't accept the label of "racist." But the racist things they say and do, they do in full awareness and not unconsciously.

Most overt and active racism is a lot less conscious than we think it is, as evidenced by the people who create odd mental double standards for why their racism isn't really racism and the label isn't justified in their case and is just namecalling.

We are really good at rationalizing to ourselves why things we do aren't wrong. Racists aren't ever really racists. Homophobes aren't ever really homophobes. Bigots aren't ever really bigots. The tiresome chants of the self-assured totally-not-a-bigots in this world provide a stark study in our own rationalizations.

Similarly, there's an entire train of (profoundly, extrememly wrong) thought that denies the existence and human capacity for unintending, unconscious, otherwise fairweather racism. Usually it involves people being way too idealistic or denialist about uncomfortable human psychological realities. They will deny the things we learn from implicit association tests or selection bias tests. To them, most of the racism that exists in the world is just a false construction or narrative. An improper assumption about human bias.

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Dogbreath
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Yes, which is why you have to be incredibly delusional or arrogant to participate in something like GRF. In order for it to be possible - in order for the racists whose lives you're going to destroy to be so different, so evil, so "other" that it's perfectly acceptable to attack them this way - you first have to assume that you're profoundly different, that you're superior, and are incapable of being racist yourself. Therefore you're justified in destroying the lives of these racist monsters.

And honestly, the "but racists will treat customers differently!!!" justification comes with the implication that you *wouldn't*, or that there's some clear line out there that lets you know what the distinction is. Again, anecdotally at least, I know that line doesn't exist, or at least isn't defined by adherence to politically correct language and dogma.

Ironically, it's that sort of arrogance - the assumption that you yourself are incapable of being racist - that also makes you incapable of recognizing bigotry within yourself. In the end, humility, introspection and open-mindedness are the only real ways to recognize racism in the way you think and interact with people, and to try to negate it's effects. And those are not virtues commonly seen amongst SJWs.

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Samprimary
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quote:
humility, introspection and open-mindedness are the only real ways to recognize racism in the way you think and interact with people, and to try to negate it's effects.
For yourself? Maybe. But GRF is one in another long line of projects primarily about assailing other people's racism.
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Dogbreath
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Yes, for yourself. I meant "it's ironic the people who run this posess the same flaws as the people they're attacking."
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Samprimary
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It's here that it becomes most important to look at the extraordinarily different and isolated definition of "racism" that most people generally mocked with the moniker 'social justice warrior' use. It literally makes it impossible, under their definition, to be racist against a white person. Actions which are otherwise definitionally racist or involve structures of local power that marginalize individuals are essentially invalidated (i.e., a minority white person in korea facing significant racial discrimination is not a victim of racism because they are white, and apparently benefit from an overall colonialist structure of power in the net benefit of whites).

It's not used by accident. To avoid having to confront that many of their methods are, essentially, racist, and that they insist that racist attitudes towards whites must not be challenged or invalidated in any way, even if it is in the form of distinctly clear racial marginalization and mocking white people for being white? They have come up with a completely different social conflict model of racism that serves the interests of not having to address what would otherwise clearly be racism.

So it goes.

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Dogbreath
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*nods* It's the sort of thing that's making me extremely apprehensive to go back to college. The fear that I'll completely lose my shit the first time an 18-year-old-trust-fund-baby-art-appreciation-major tells me to "check your privilege", or unironically uses the word "cishet" or something.
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Samprimary
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The solution is to tell them "It's very colonialist of you to assert your dominant narrative of what privileges you think I possess from my appearances. You need to disengage and presume nothing about me. Well meaning oppression based on dominant societal narratives is showing your extreme ableism. I will accept an apology but I am not obligated to invest the labor necessary to disabuse you of your unintending marginalizations."

Then while their brain locks up trying to process that from a hyperincriminatory social conflict standpoint, escape and go find a party where people are drinking and listening to music.

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Destineer
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quote:
We are really good at rationalizing to ourselves why things we do aren't wrong. Racists aren't ever really racists. Homophobes aren't ever really homophobes. Bigots aren't ever really bigots. The tiresome chants of the self-assured totally-not-a-bigots in this world provide a stark study in our own rationalizations.
Right, but I see a very important moral difference between

(1) Consciously and intentionally doing something wrong, and convincing yourself that it wasn't wrong
vs.
(2) Unintentionally doing something wrong without even realizing that you're doing it--something you understand is wrong and would never in a million years do consciously.

People who aren't explicitly biased but score poorly on IATs are likely to do things like (2), but not things like (1). And it's things like (1) that I'd say should really count as racist. Because it's unfortunate if you do things like (2), and you should try not to, but it doesn't make you a bad person in any morally important sense.

quote:
And honestly, the "but racists will treat customers differently!!!" justification comes with the implication that you *wouldn't*, or that there's some clear line out there that lets you know what the distinction is. Again, anecdotally at least, I know that line doesn't exist, or at least isn't defined by adherence to politically correct language and dogma.
That's a very fair point. A lot of people who aren't explicitly racist will do just as badly as the explicitly racist ones.
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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
*nods* It's the sort of thing that's making me extremely apprehensive to go back to college. The fear that I'll completely lose my shit the first time an 18-year-old-trust-fund-baby-art-appreciation-major tells me to "check your privilege", or unironically uses the word "cishet" or something.

In my experience, it's not as entrenched in college students as you might think. I've actually never heard a student use the word "privilege" in my classroom, and it's not as if we never touch on topics where it would be relevant.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
*nods* It's the sort of thing that's making me extremely apprehensive to go back to college. The fear that I'll completely lose my shit the first time an 18-year-old-trust-fund-baby-art-appreciation-major tells me to "check your privilege", or unironically uses the word "cishet" or something.

In my experience, it's not as entrenched in college students as you might think. I've actually never heard a student use the word "privilege" in my classroom, and it's not as if we never touch on topics where it would be relevant.
Oh I dunno, my friend who went back to get her MSW makes it sound pretty bleak, but since I intend to avoid the liberal arts like a plague, I should be somewhat safe. It won't be until my wife finishes her doctorate anyway, so I got a few years.
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theamazeeaz
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You should be pretty safe from obnoxious students if you stick to the sciences, though there's always one who manages to be ... special... in math classes. Ah well.
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