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Category:Educational, News & Politics
Tags:racism, Five Stupid Things, Steve Shives
Submitted:Bort
Date:01/18/14
Views:1432
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Comment count is 12
kumi
Surprisingly coherent given his choice of appearance.
BorrowedSolution
Being white isn't a choice. But the whole pen-clipped-inside-tshirt thing...that shit's gotta go.

infinite zest
Yeah his choice of apparel is about as middle of the white middle class road as it gets.

infinite zest
It's almost like trying to take Jeff Foxworthy or Larry the Cable Guy seriously.

EvilHomer
He's less wrong than usual, but I still have to call him out on a few things.

1 - I think the Natives Americans may have a word or two to say about his assessment of "black vs white" race relations being the defining struggle in American history.

2- the idea of "coded racism". While this theory may be true (I believe it is), I fail to see it's ultimate importance. High crime areas *are* high crime areas. States rights *can be* about states rights. Whether these phrases are used to cover a speaker's underlying racism or not, they may still be materially accurate, and isn't accuracy and validity what really matters? Not motives or political orthodoxy? While weasel language is certainly a real phenomenon that we should take care to be aware of (see my previous rants on code words like "un-American" and "social justice"), ultimately, we've got to approach the matter with an eye towards promoting cold reason and objectivity. Playing "spot the racist" and discarding arguments on ad hominem grounds, on the basis of an increasingly baroque set of "code words" that may or may not identify the speaker as One Of Them, is more than a little paranoid, don't you think?

3- this point is pretty solid. One thing I will say is that Steve has a tendency to place undue weight on anecdotal evidence, and derives many of his patently false assumptions from his own white-bread life experience (the Police State video again). But for the most part, I think, it's safe to say that whites do not experience racism to the same level as non-whites, even whites who live in racially tense, heavily integrated areas.

4- isn't really a point, it's just a lead-in to...

5- he correctly surmised the problem with the evidence he offered up for this one; it's anecdotal, and completely unsatisfying. Steve offered two very limited examples of segregation still in effect, but a single school with a segregated dance is not indicative of broader trends, it is an aberration. In fact, I'd say that, far from "proving" that racism "is still a problem", the fact that only one or two schools in the South still have any segregated social events at all (and these social events met with an overwhelmingly negative backlash) shows quite conclusively that institutional racism is largely a thing of the past (at least as far as schools and government agencies go; law enforcement, I'm still skeptical of, as I mentioned while critiquing his video on the Police State). As for the Southern gerrymandering, this is slightly more in his favor, but it's still a stretch. This does not strike me as "racism", so much as it is "political opportunism" - politicians do not redistrict because they hate people, politicians redistrict because they want to game the system and win elections. While it's certainly possible, likely even, that many of the gerrymandering Southern Republicans in question hate blacks, this does not appear to be the major factor at play.
Bort
The Supreme Court / Voter ID laws thing is a "very limited example"? Just because it didn't involve lawmakers shouting "Nigger!" over and over doesn't make it "limited". It's a huge damn deal.

"Playing "spot the racist" and discarding arguments on ad hominem grounds, on the basis of an increasingly baroque set of "code words" that may or may not identify the speaker as One Of Them, is more than a little paranoid, don't you think?"

If you're treating it like a game, then yes, it's paranoid. If you're trying to come to grips with the racism whose roots still run deep in this country, you have to pay attention to the code words and try to figure out whether a dog whistle is being blown or not.

Let's take you as an example (oh boy!!). I seem to recall that you disagree with the part of the Civil Rights Act that keeps business owners from discriminating against customers; the question is why. In your particular case, just about all your stances track with someone who believes government power is the biggest worry of all, so I don't think you're mad that blacks get to catch a break. However, when a lot of Republican types make the same argument about the Civil Rights Act, they don't make it with the same consistent principle of keeping government out of people's affairs; they just want to keep government out of a particular set of affairs, and I have to regard it as less than principled.

EvilHomer
Well, what evidence do we have to suggest that Voter IDgate was racially motivated? As I said, gerrymandering is a reward in and of itself; we don't need to postulate the existence of underlying racial motives to explain why lawmakers chose to act the way they did.

Now, you raise a good point about Republican types and their tendency to cherry-pick anti-authoritarian positions according to how racially convenient they are. But I still have to stop you there. My main issue here, is that *even if* there are some lingering racist attitudes, all that matters are the arguments themselves. Be aware of "coded language", sure! But be aware of the limits of your linguistic insight. Don't slip into ad hominem, and don't use a code word witch hunt as an excuse to ignore all of the very real, very measurable progress society has made against institutional racism.

The best - indeed, perhaps only - use of coded language insight would be to call on said lawmakers to stick their stated principles. If our hypothetical Republicans are so concerned about "states rights" (and a good case can be made for democracy being best handled at a local level) then perhaps these lawmakers should acknowledge the right of states to condone gay marriages, or pass more liberal drug laws?

Bort
Well, I'll admit that I don't have more than anecdotal evidence that the Voter ID laws are being changed with an eye to race. Like this guy:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/169454/ohio-gop-admits-early-vot ing-cutbacks-are-racially-motivated

But no, I don't expect the Republicans as a whole to admit to any racial motivations. Just because they are generally too smart to admit it, though, doesn't make it untrue.

"The best - indeed, perhaps only - use of coded language insight would be to call on said lawmakers to stick their stated principles."

We catch Republicans in lies and inconsistencies all the time, but that doesn't stop them, it doesn't even slow them down. Hell, I think their voter base has come to love that about them.

defenestration_a_celebration
@EvilHomer check out intersectionality theory. I feel like it has a useful cognitive framework for addressing the concerns you bring up.

SteamPoweredKleenex
@EvilHomer, well, for starters, we've got the (now resigned) GOP precinct captain who was dumb enough to admit it was racially motivated on the Daily Show:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/24/daily-show-gop-spokes man-voter-id-laws-racist_n_4158125.html

Then there's the chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party (Ohio) who admitted Voter ID was designed to suppress the votes of African Americans:

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/12814048-ohio-republ ican-admits-voter-suppression-aimed-at-african-americans

Then there's the former Florida GOP leader who said Voter ID wasn't about stopping fraud but defeating Democrats (with an unnamed GOP source saying it was to prevent blacks from voting):

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-pol itics/early-voting-curbs-called-power-play/nTFDy/

The Tea Party is a font of racism, so here's just one of its leaders from Texas saying they don't want blacks voting if it's 9-to-1 for Democrats:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/04/texas-tea-party-leader-g op-doesnt-want-black-people-to-vote/


And that's just from two minutes with Google. It's not hard to find this stuff, you know.
Anaxagoras
No, it's not hard. But that would require A) effort, and B) a desire to actually understand, rather than just win an Internet argument.

Anaxagoras
This guy's 5 Stupid Things series is surprisingly entertaining. It's as formulaic as I was expecting, but the content he slots into the formula is pretty good.
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