Re: racism & uncomfortable discussions

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon Aug 06 2001 - 02:24:50 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:
> Miriam writes
> > Molloy and Lorrey didn't discuss racism. And it really has little to do
> > with uncomfortable ideas. If the discussion was about ways to solve the
> > problem of racial inequality, noting that many of the poorest segments of
> > society are predominantly black, then yes it would have been something
> > people would have felt uncomfortable about, but discussion may have been a
> > heck of a lot more profitable.
> In what way would people have felt threatened by a discussion
> about how to "solve" the problem of racial inequality. Perhaps
> you mean that some would be uncomfortable at the thought of
> using government to do it? Yes, I think you are right about that.

That wasn't the point. It was only brought up as an
illustration of what the original discussion wasn't about re the
level people's response might be due to discomfort and reaction
to subjects about race. It was brought up in order to dismiss
that as a significant factor in some people seeing some of the
remarks as rascist. I think it is a fair point.
> I note your use of their last names. Do I infer correctly that
> if you agreed with them, you would refer to them differently?
> If so, do you approve of the general principle of referring to
> people differently based upon whether we agree with them or not?

I think you are really grasping at straws here Lee.

> > But some of the puke that Lorrey and Molloy came up with did
> > not amount to discussion and it is no wonder it was pounced
> > upon by many here.
> Puke? Can you honestly defend the use of such language? You
> know, you are supporting the contention that many liberals
> (or whatever they're called where you come from) really are
> less capable of being fair and objective in discussion. (I
> have not seen enough evidence of that, but you are adding
> to what evidence there is.)

In this case I agree with the poster. Some of the remarks were
quite tasteless. Ignoring that point to counter-attack does not
seem helpful at all.
> I'm sorry, but I don't entirely believe that you plonked
> them because of the frequency of their posts, and the fact
> that they had nothing "worthwhile" to say. You can refute
> me by saying how many other people you have plonked, oh,
> say in the last year---*who were not ideological adversaries
> of yours*!

But the poster has absolutely no need to refute your
presumptions about whether the reasons given are the actual
reasons or not.

> >> Second, what that person said "I'm not racist. I can't
> >> help that blacks are stupid." is *not* necessarily absurd,
> >> as you claim. It may be entirely wrong; it may be a gross
> >> over-generalization; it may be so utterly an unqualified
> >> assertion that it absolutely demands refutation---but it's
> >> not absurd.
> > Oh, come on Lee. You don't seriously think that, surely. :-)
> > Of *course* it is absurd. The first statement, that he was
> > not racist, is clearly contradicted by the second, a racist
> > statement if ever there was one.
> Um, yes, I do. It is possible that he isn't a racist, but
> is extremely careless in qualifying his statements. See my
> other criticisms of his statement above.

I don't like to simply label people myself but the above
statement is absurd in that it is contradictory. You can not
make such a sweeping generalization about an entire race
relative to others without uttering a rascist remark. So the
person may or may not *be* rascist but they definitely hold
rascist opinions and obviously rascist remarks.

> > Jerry Mitchell doesn't make a lot of sense if you ask me.
> > The words sound noble, that we face up to contrary opinions, but practical
> > considerations intrude. Endlessly debating racism as a potentially valid
> > viewpoint every time it reared its ugly head might be OK if we were already
> > immortal, but who has the time? You only need to show it is a mistake once
> > then move on. Avoid wrestling with a pig -- the pig enjoys it and you get
> > covered in mud.
> It sounds to me as if you underestimate the deepness of ideological
> disagreements. You cannot expect to "show some view is a mistake"
> only once, as if it were an exercise in algebra. Here, you also
> equate some people, by metaphor, to pigs---I am certain that you
> don't really mean that. But the carelessness of your remarks (e.g.,
> "pig" and "puke") show that you have little worry about negative
> emotions affecting your rational decisions and statements.

I don't agree the remarks are careless and I find some of your
arguments strike me as bordering on dishonest sophistry.

- samantha

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