RE: racism & uncomfortable discussions

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Mon Aug 06 2001 - 09:59:27 MDT

Samantha writes

> [Lee wrote]
>> 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.

My efforts were, and in this mail continue to be, to attain an
unbiased level of discussion of the discomfort behind these issues.
I would welcome criticism of what I write too, especially if it were
to show methodical bias (fail to be objective). If we cannot
even *refer* to each other without tendentiousness or partisanship,
we'll certainly get nowhere trying to tackle these "uncomfortable
discussions", which is part of the subject of this thread. That's
why what I wrote was relevant.

> > > 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.

Of course not. He or she may allow my assertions to stand, and
thereby survive potential criticism.

> 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 racist remark. So the
> person may or may not *be* racist but they definitely hold
> racist opinions and obviously racist remarks.

We are in total agreement. The person does not have to be
racist in order to have uttered a remark that either appears
to be, or is, racist. That's what I was saying.

>>> [He] doesn't make a lot of sense if you ask me. The [his] 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.

Would you please be more specific? Which parts of my foregoing
paragraph strike you as dishonest sophistry? By saying "careless",
I was trying to be kind; I was implying that if the writer had time
(which is explicitly denied in the above paragraph) then the
writer could have chosen less offensive terminology.

Speaking of offensive use of language---which you will find entirely
absent in any of my sentences in this post---you descended rather
quickly to implying that I was "bordering" on dishonesty or sophistry.
Do you have internal filters in place to, in most cases, prevent such
descriptions of the person who you are talking to from leaking out
and being actually said or written?

Please carefully backup accusations with something; one-liners like
"...some of your arguments border on dishonest sophistry" are not
necessarily improper, if sustained by argumentation.


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