How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby deerie » Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:48 am UTC

zookap wrote:SIGH..... OK before we continue, I do not think that there is any inherent superiority or inferiority of any race to any other race. Please tell me what I said that you found to be discriminatory so I can clear it up and not be unfairly hated for the rest of this conversation.

Sorry for the late response. In my mind, viewing a racist "joke" as a joke is being prejudiced. There is nothing funny about racism or discrimination of any type. General labeling, like the term redneck, isn't particularly helpful either.
iroZn wrote:Australia the bullying of red heads is so bad I think that something needs to be done about it. Red heads can't go anywhere without people yelling out 'wranger' at them. They say they don't mind though.

Wow, I've never heard of that, being from the US. Personally, dumb blonde jokes drive me crazy. Females even remotely interested in science go through a lot of abuse. Now, I don't feel that's terrible prejudice or discrimination, but I think that's because it's become an acceptable part of our culture. I guess the first step is to make prejudice as unacceptable as possible.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby jestingrabbit » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:54 am UTC

iroZn wrote:Australia the bullying of red heads is so bad I think that something needs to be done about it. Red heads can't go anywhere without people yelling out 'wranger' at them. They say they don't mind though.


Its "'ranga", a shortening of "orangutan", which have orange hair. Its come into vogue with our first female prime minister also being a redhead, but I can't say that I hear or see people yelling it at others. A year from now and it'll probably be back to what it was before ie rare.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby meataxe » Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:54 am UTC

iroZn wrote:Australia the bullying of red heads is so bad I think that something needs to be done about it. Red heads can't go anywhere without people yelling out 'wranger' at them. They say they don't mind though.

For the most part, I just shrug it off. When it's a particularly witty comment, I'll find it amusing enough. But the inane comments do start to wear you down sometimes. The main problem here is that society doesn't actually seem to see this as a problem. At school, I can only think of a couple of teachers who ever actually stepped in to stop bullying against redheads. I've also heard stories about this happening elsewhere.

One of my favourite anecdotes from a night out that ended prematurely involves a run-in with a bouncer who apparently had a problem with my red hair. Admittedly, I was quite drunk, and a bouncer had "suggested" I get some water. I agreed that that seemed like a brilliant idea, so I walked to the bar and promptly ordered two glasses, both of which I drank on the spot. I went back to where my friends were playing pool, and sat down nearby, just watching the game. I wasn't being rowdy. I wasn't saying a word, in fact. Just quietly enjoying myself. Suddenly, I was again approached by a bouncer. The guy tells me I have to leave, because I've broken the rules. I ask him what I did wrong, and he just says I need to leave. So I stand up, and he grabs me by the arm and starts leading me downstairs towards the door. Now, if the story ended there, it wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary. But for some reason, on the way towards the door, this bouncer decides it's necessary to get on the radio, saying "I've got a ginger here. I'm escorting him off the premises." I was a bit taken aback by this, and to this day wish I knew whether the guy was just extremely prejudiced, or just making one of those "harmless jokes" at my expense. The real kicker to this whole story is that the next couple of times I went back to this pub, I'd see the bouncer that kicked me out, and he'd always be keeping an eye on me, even on nights when I wasn't even drinking anything.

jestingrabbit wrote:Its "'ranga", a shortening of "orangutan", which have orange hair. Its come into vogue with our first female prime minister also being a redhead, but I can't say that I hear or see people yelling it at others. A year from now and it'll probably be back to what it was before ie rare.

Honestly, I don't think this is exactly true. The term has been used since Chris Lilley, playing the character of Jonah, coined (or, at least, made popular; I'm not sure if he came up with the word) it in "Summer Heights High". That was back in 2007. While I agree it's an exaggeration to say that redheads can't walk outside without having the term thrown at them, it does happen quite often. Its use did see quite a spike when Julia Gillard became Prime Minister, though.

I see gingerism as a prejudice in its infancy. It's not nearly on the same level as racism, sexism, or homophobia, but I think it has potential to grow in that direction. The main problem, as I mentioned, is no one really realises that it's happening.

To be honest, some of the sentiments expressed in this thread are somewhat concerning. Some of what follows has been touched on by other people, but I'm going to add my thoughts anyway.

traveltheory wrote:Embracing cultural heritage leads to racism. I think wiping out that would be the best way to do so.

So, the best course to rid the world of racism is a sort of cultural genocide? How is that going to make the situation any better? People should not have to give up their heritage so that morons will stop treating them with prejudice. I could never condone a person be forced to change who they are in an attempt to fit into a society.

zookap wrote:I think the trick to reducing the negative impact of groupism is... well.... to really just shut the fuck up about it. Again, someone's beliefs or even words can't do ANYTHING to you, only their actions. If someome is assaulted there is a problem, otherwise there isn't. Lately I've seen people going to great lengths to be offended by groupism, specifically by racism. I remember on the news there was a segment about an 'incident' in which someone got on the loudspeaker at Wal Mart and said "all black people need to leave the store." This idiotic prank got national attention and so did the black woman who began to cry and talk about how deeply upsetting that day had been. Was the news coverage really necessary? All it did was show people that racist words can somehow cause great inner pain to black people. All that should have happened is that the people in the store should have found it slightly amusing. Why give those actions so much undeserved power? If everyone had "just shut the fuck up" there would have been no negative impact from groupism that day. The worst example of everyone not just shutting up is the "N" word. It's just a WORD people. It is not a magic incantation designed to cause great pain upon utterance.

I think that stating anyone affected by groupism is at fault for the existence of groupism is certainly not a sentiment that should be encouraged. This is victim-blaming, plain and simple. It's on the same level as "If she didn't want to be raped, she shouldn't have worn a short skirt."

Furthermore, whether you like it or not, words do hold power. In the case of the "N" word and other racial slurs, its use represents the mistreatment of black people throughout the centuries. That's not something that's easily forgotten about. A few choice words can easily, and in most cases will, affect a person on an emotional level. That's an incredibly powerful thing to be able to do to someone. I think it's incredibly naive to expect anyone to be able to just shrug off negative sentiment expressed towards them, particularly when it's as relentless as groupism is. It's like a child chanting "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" in a desperate attempt to pretend that they're not getting hurt.

Another Tim Minchin quote which I think is particularly relevant here is "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break hearts."

In my opinion, there's only two ways in which we ever have a chance to defeat groupism. One of these is to get rid of anything that leads to groupism. That is, turn the human race into a homogenous entity, discarding traits that make any one person different from the next. Just the idea of this makes me uncomfortable. I don't believe that destroying what makes the human race so wonderful, that we each have our own personality, our own attributes that make up who we are, is a solution at all.

The second, and much more favourable way to deal with groupism is to educate. Teach children that it is okay for someone to be different. Unfortunately, the cynic in me doesn't think this is a very realistic option, simply because there's no way to stop children being taught otherwise, if by parents or by other children.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Griffin » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:18 pm UTC

Also, for those who don't get it, Hate Crimes exist because a Hate Crime is something that not only injures the target, but is also intended to injure the group as a whole to which he belongs.
A murder is an attack against an individual.
A murder which is also a hate crime is an attack against which the individual belongs, as well as an attack against the individual.

Though most laws don't seem to account for it, the general term encompasses killing a Yankee's fan because you're a Red Sox fan. You're attacking the group "Yankee Fans" by murdering one of their members. There are two crimes here - assault against the group, and murder. The assault against the group is what makes it a hate crime.

Note that most hate crime laws wouldn't recognize the above situation, but that's more because of the details of implementation and severity of situational context than anything else.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:58 pm UTC

The Empathic Civilisation this video gives a quick overview of the history of Us vs Them groups and how the groups we self identify as have changed and expanded over human history. I don't know if we can eliminate this in/out group think without some sort of oxytocin/ecstasy designer drug.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby zookap » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:49 pm UTC

deerie wrote:
zookap wrote:SIGH..... OK before we continue, I do not think that there is any inherent superiority or inferiority of any race to any other race. Please tell me what I said that you found to be discriminatory so I can clear it up and not be unfairly hated for the rest of this conversation.

Sorry for the late response. In my mind, viewing a racist "joke" as a joke is being prejudiced. There is nothing funny about racism or discrimination of any type. General labeling, like the term redneck, isn't particularly helpful either.


Sorry for my late response too. I don't think viewing a joke as a joke and not taking offense to it if it has a "racist" theme to it should be seen as discriminatory. You are SORT of right that discrimination is never funny but someone telling a racist joke doesn't have to actually be discriminatory.

What's the difference between a Jew and a canoe? The canoe tips. How is that such a wrong thing to say? I don't actually think Jews don't tip; my dad's family is polish and he is a very generous tipper. So what's the harm in making a little joke? If anything I think that helps REDUCE the negative impact of groupism. Next time I hear somebody who is ACTUALLY racist talk about how stingy all Jewish people are I won't be offended, I'll think it's funny. "Wow, what an idiot this guy is."

The term 'redneck' was used not for the purpose of 'general labeling' of the public but just to belittle and weaken as much as possible whoever told all black people to leave wal mart. I also said it could have been a 12 year old prankster, remember? Should I have assumed that this was some educated family man with a meaningful opinion that should be taken to heart? No. Why is everyone so upset when they don't have to be? I can choose to be upset when I get called a kike because of my last name, but why would I? At the end of the day all that really happened was someone said "I'm stupid and low class" to me. The sooner we all stop paying attention to race, the sooner we will all stop paying attention to race.

meataxe wrote:Stuff


I probably should have been clearer about this. I don't think that "anyone affected by groupism is at fault for the existence of groupism" I just get angry when people create a groupism related conflict or 'incident' when there is absolutely no need. I think a better example then the wal mart thing is the national "burn the Qur' an" day. They gave that guy a fucking interview on NATIONAL TV. Why? To give people the opportunity to be offended, that's why. There was no need for anyone outside that idiot's immediate acquaintances to even know a national "burn the Muslim holy book" day even happened? How many more people do you think were negatively affected because of that coverage?

I know words can hurt but people have far more control over how words affect them then whoever said those words. This goes for everything, but I think it goes especially for racism. Clearly the actual word "nigger" holds little to no power on it's own. I hear it all the time, but not from white people. Almost every time it is said, it is said in a harmless and generally friendly way. The association with centuries of oppression doesn't even come up and therefore it causes no pain. The power that this word has comes from people's decisions on how to reacted to hearing it. If someone uses that word in a truly racist way the correct response is not to stand back in awe at the great emotional weapon he is wielding, it is to treat him like some 5 year old potty mouth.

As for your two proposed methods of dealing with groupism, yes I agree that the first one is uncomfortable even to think about. It is not an option PERIOD END OF SENTENCE. As for the second one, sure why not educate kids about intolerance but lets not make a big thing about it. Of course we are all equal and we hold those truths to be self evident, right?

EDIT: "Furthermore, whether you like it or not, words do hold power."

Whether I like it or not, huh? Can we not make this about me being against you and vice a versa? I'm not not sure if you meant it this way but to me "whether you like it or not" almost sounds as if I somehow categorically do not like your views because I said something else. Why would I not like it that words have power?

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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby meataxe » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:56 am UTC

zookap wrote:I probably should have been clearer about this. I don't think that "anyone affected by groupism is at fault for the existence of groupism" I just get angry when people create a groupism related conflict or 'incident' when there is absolutely no need. I think a better example then the wal mart thing is the national "burn the Qur' an" day. They gave that guy a fucking interview on NATIONAL TV. Why? To give people the opportunity to be offended, that's why. There was no need for anyone outside that idiot's immediate acquaintances to even know a national "burn the Muslim holy book" day even happened? How many more people do you think were negatively affected because of that coverage?

Well, this is more a problem with the media than anything really to do with groupism. This kind of story makes money for news outlets, so of course they're going to report on it. However, their job is to let people around the world know what is happening around the world. In this instance, if I remember correctly, once the word got out that this moronic pastor was advocating the destruction of another religion's holy object, he was asked to stop promoting this nonsense (I have vague recollections of some sort of action being brought against him to make him stop, but I can't remember the details). I think the unfortunate thing about this story isn't that it was blown out of proportion, but that it was only after the story became a national sensation that anybody with any sort of power put their foot down and told him to stop.

zookap wrote:I know words can hurt but people have far more control over how words affect them then whoever said those words. This goes for everything, but I think it goes especially for racism. Clearly the actual word "nigger" holds little to no power on it's own. I hear it all the time, but not from white people. Almost every time it is said, it is said in a harmless and generally friendly way. The association with centuries of oppression doesn't even come up and therefore it causes no pain. The power that this word has comes from people's decisions on how to reacted to hearing it. If someone uses that word in a truly racist way the correct response is not to stand back in awe at the great emotional weapon he is wielding, it is to treat him like some 5 year old potty mouth.

Obviously different people are going to have different reactions to what you say to them. If I really wanted to, I could walk up to my friends and make some joke at their expense and it would be construed as friendly banter. However, if I did the same to some complete stranger, the reaction would likely be completely different. The fact that the word "nigger" and it's actual connotations in historical events may not occur to you and whoever is involved in these instances of hearing its use, the fact is that there are people out there that are threatened by its use. I actually somewhat agree that the best thing people can do is to simply stop assigning this power to said word, or any offensive words in general, however that's easier said than done. I also agree with you in relation to the correct response to such a situation.

zookap wrote:As for your two proposed methods of dealing with groupism, yes I agree that the first one is uncomfortable even to think about. It is not an option PERIOD END OF SENTENCE. As for the second one, sure why not educate kids about intolerance but lets not make a big thing about it. Of course we are all equal and we hold those truths to be self evident, right?

The problem as I see it is that some people don't hold those truths as self-evident. I'm not sure that not making a big deal out of it is the best course of action, but I guess that depends on your definition of "big deal" actually is. The way I see it, the situation we're in at the moment is to not make a big deal about it, where everybody is taught at some point in their life that groupism is wrong, but in some cases it just doesn't make an impact. Maybe if the education was somewhere between the somewhat casual education that we have at the moment on the issue, and beating the point into every child it would be more effective.

zookap wrote:EDIT: "Furthermore, whether you like it or not, words do hold power."

Whether I like it or not, huh? Can we not make this about me being against you and vice a versa? I'm not not sure if you meant it this way but to me "whether you like it or not" almost sounds as if I somehow categorically do not like your views because I said something else. Why would I not like it that words have power?

Maybe that particular colloquialism wasn't the best to use, but the fact that you stated, or at least implied, that words have no power made me think that you wouldn't like the fact that words have power. To be precise, you stated that a word "is not a magic incantation designed to cause great pain upon utterance", implying that words don't hold any power. Sure, it's far from magic, but that doesn't mean that words can't be harnessed and used in a way to cause great pain upon utterance. I certainly did not mean what you construed from the statement, so I'm sorry about that. I simply meant that just because words may not have much of an impact on you, this is certainly not the case for everyone.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby deerie » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:11 am UTC

zookap wrote:Sorry for my late response too. I don't think viewing a joke as a joke and not taking offense to it if it has a "racist" theme to it should be seen as discriminatory. You are SORT of right that discrimination is never funny but someone telling a racist joke doesn't have to actually be discriminatory.

What's the difference between a Jew and a canoe? The canoe tips. How is that such a wrong thing to say? I don't actually think Jews don't tip; my dad's family is polish and he is a very generous tipper. So what's the harm in making a little joke? If anything I think that helps REDUCE the negative impact of groupism. Next time I hear somebody who is ACTUALLY racist talk about how stingy all Jewish people are I won't be offended, I'll think it's funny. "Wow, what an idiot this guy is."

The term 'redneck' was used not for the purpose of 'general labeling' of the public but just to belittle and weaken as much as possible whoever told all black people to leave wal mart. I also said it could have been a 12 year old prankster, remember?


Late response party...whoooo....

The problem with racist/sexist/groupist jokes is that they reinforce groupism. Making a joke out of a cultural stereotype reinforces that cultural stereotype (and I refuse to think that any of these jokes are high-browed enough to be satirizing the groupism itself, and not the group).

The problem with 'redneck' is that you used it as an insult, which marginalizes a ton of people who could be categorized as 'redneck' based on living circumstances, income, speech patterns, etc.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby zookap » Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:03 am UTC

deerie wrote:
zookap wrote:Sorry for my late response too. I don't think viewing a joke as a joke and not taking offense to it if it has a "racist" theme to it should be seen as discriminatory. You are SORT of right that discrimination is never funny but someone telling a racist joke doesn't have to actually be discriminatory.

What's the difference between a Jew and a canoe? The canoe tips. How is that such a wrong thing to say? I don't actually think Jews don't tip; my dad's family is polish and he is a very generous tipper. So what's the harm in making a little joke? If anything I think that helps REDUCE the negative impact of groupism. Next time I hear somebody who is ACTUALLY racist talk about how stingy all Jewish people are I won't be offended, I'll think it's funny. "Wow, what an idiot this guy is."

The term 'redneck' was used not for the purpose of 'general labeling' of the public but just to belittle and weaken as much as possible whoever told all black people to leave wal mart. I also said it could have been a 12 year old prankster, remember?


Late response party...whoooo....

The problem with racist/sexist/groupist jokes is that they reinforce groupism. Making a joke out of a cultural stereotype reinforces that cultural stereotype (and I refuse to think that any of these jokes are high-browed enough to be satirizing the groupism itself, and not the group).

The problem with 'redneck' is that you used it as an insult, which marginalizes a ton of people who could be categorized as 'redneck' based on living circumstances, income, speech patterns, etc.


Surely you aren't saying that all mention of cultural stereotypes reinforce groupism, are you? I think trying to rid the world of every last little thing that could be construed as racist or intolerant is only going to divide people even more. YES we ARE all equal so who should care about a little joke? You are even upset about my use of the word redneck? How does it marginalize all those people? YOU are the one that connected them in this instance, not me. People always insist that SOMEONE has to feel pain every time a groupist thing is said. This is why being over zealous about making sure nothing that reminds us of groupism ever said or done only makes it stronger.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby deerie » Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:25 am UTC

Why wouldn't they? Stereotypes are the basis of groupism. Verbally reiterating stereotypes reinforces them. (No, I'm not theorizing, numerous studies have proven that repeating something makes more people believe it, regardless of whether the idea was repeated to be refuted or supported. That's usually brought up close to election time with misleading political campaigns and candidates' responses.)

It's pretty obvious when someone is making a sarcastic joke, and those aren't the offensive ones I was discussing. Those sarcastic jokes make fun of groupist ideologies and not the group itself. For instance, in your example of the tipping joke, the sarcastic version would point out the obvious: "The canoe tips. Because all Jews are stingy, right?" That makes fun of the idea that Jews are stingy, not of Jews themselves.

If people really believed we are all equal, they would not resort to marginalizing another group for humor. If we are all equal, we should treat each other as such in every facet of our lives.

Edit: Ahh, you edited your response. Oh well, some of my comment might not apply anymore.

Actually...you were the one who said you were trying to "belittle and weaken" the person as much as possible by using the word redneck. So I don't think I misread your intent at all.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Ortus » Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:20 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
Me321 wrote:Just stop labeling people, example: we are all Americans, not X Americans, or Y Americans, just Americans, or even we are all just humans, if people see race like hair color than it will matter as much.


Except in Britain, where they bully redheads.

You will still have the cases where some people prefer blonds over brunettes, or some other nonsense.




CorruptUser wrote:The third camp is that the problem is not the fault of the victim or the oppressor, but of the structure of society. The solution here would be to, well, restructure society in some way. Or at least change the laws.


I would really like to post in this thread, but I don't quite know how to approach my thoughts on the subject in any manner akin to brevity or concise speech. To be productive, discrimination (which unfortunately must include groupism) isn't necessarily a bad thing. We use it a lot, in the same way a person discriminates between sexuality or religions or <what the fuck-all>, that person discriminates against (or for) apples at the store, puppies for children, et cetera - one weighs potential flaws and boons against ones needs or the needs one needs fulfilled. The only difference in discrimination of a <groupism> bent is that it is a discrimination most tragic. I wrote in another forum that,

In the society of today...this idea of [behavioral] discrimination (groupism) has been extrapolated to include any socially desirable trait. To some, 'traits' like homophobia are held on the same level of disgust as the eating of a dead patriarch, or that burning your dead is of the highest disregard to the departed; other cultures may (and do) contend the opposite of the aforementioned cultural 'traits'. This idea of judging cultural or societal ‘traits’ is...beyond the purview of natural discrimination and as such...could be considered a naturally emergent undesirable trait...in that this type of discrimination (groupism) is not conducive to diversity...and thus success. It is singularly tragic that a method for survival has been bastardized until it may no longer be...in the form described above...helpful to the survival of the human species.


Which is to say, in the context of the forum, that discrimination based on things that only you may care about (groupism) is a bastardization of discrimination and, to profess my love for Nietzsche, ignorant of yourself. Aberrant behavior, to you*, is not a weakness of a particular subject but a strength of the whole, and all that.


*Whereas you can be 99.9% repeating of the population. I contend that majority does not convey any sense of 'rightness'.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby deerie » Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:51 am UTC

Discrimination is limiting the rights of others due to personal traits. The apple and the puppy do not have a right to be bought. They are not being adversely affected (assuming the puppy is bought eventually, which is inconsequential to my point).

However, all human being deserve the right to equal consideration for employment based on merit, equal housing opportunities, etc.

You're talking about grouping, not groupism. As in, we group things like rotten produce as unhealthy. But grouping people often leads to discrimination, at which point it becomes groupism. Not that grouping of people is always bad- you're not going to have much luck getting a cis male pregnant, so grouping females as "people who are capable of bearing children" doesn't really do much harm. But that isn't groupism because there's no discrimination involved and no sense of superiority/inferiority (in that specific thought).
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Ortus » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:57 am UTC

deerie wrote:Discrimination is limiting the rights of others due to personal traits. The apple and the puppy do not have a right to be bought. They are not being adversely affected (assuming the puppy is bought eventually, which is inconsequential to my point).

However, all human being deserve the right to equal consideration for employment based on merit, equal housing opportunities, etc.

You're talking about grouping, not groupism. As in, we group things like rotten produce as unhealthy. But grouping people often leads to discrimination, at which point it becomes groupism. Not that grouping of people is always bad- you're not going to have much luck getting a cis male pregnant, so grouping females as "people who are capable of bearing children" doesn't really do much harm. But that isn't groupism because there's no discrimination involved and no sense of superiority/inferiority (in that specific thought).



I'm very interested in this topic, but this is why I didn't want to make a lengthy post on the subject... I don't know how to properly convey what it is that I'm making an argument for. I mean, what is it about humans that give them (us) this right for equality? Not to say that I believe Humans should not have this, I'm just curious.

The line between grouping and groupism is a fine one, to be sure... I didn't differentiate enough between the two in my post, mostly because one is a twisted version of the other. What I was trying to get at is that the -ism part of <group> is a step in the wrong direction, as far as evolutionary behaviors go - that it is partly (mostly?) an evolutionary* problem, not merely a societal/cultural/personal/ajsdajsdg/ignorance/what-have-you* problem.


*I should addend that I do understand (at least partially) the relationship between those things, and that I am identifying grouping as an (instinctual) evolutionary behavior while grouping groupism as a non-instinctual evolutionary behavior. I hope that sounds right.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby zookap » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:47 am UTC

deerie wrote:Why wouldn't they? Stereotypes are the basis of groupism. Verbally reiterating stereotypes reinforces them. (No, I'm not theorizing, numerous studies have proven that repeating something makes more people believe it, regardless of whether the idea was repeated to be refuted or supported. That's usually brought up close to election time with misleading political campaigns and candidates' responses.)

It's pretty obvious when someone is making a sarcastic joke, and those aren't the offensive ones I was discussing. Those sarcastic jokes make fun of groupist ideologies and not the group itself. For instance, in your example of the tipping joke, the sarcastic version would point out the obvious: "The canoe tips. Because all Jews are stingy, right?" That makes fun of the idea that Jews are stingy, not of Jews themselves.

If people really believed we are all equal, they would not resort to marginalizing another group for humor. If we are all equal, we should treat each other as such in every facet of our lives.

Edit: Ahh, you edited your response. Oh well, some of my comment might not apply anymore.

Actually...you were the one who said you were trying to "belittle and weaken" the person as much as possible by using the word redneck. So I don't think I misread your intent at all.


I don't care if studies have shown that people believe what is repeated. I don't even care if some people are racist because of that. I care if it has negative effects on OTHER people. Since racism is petty and ill-informed in the first place the proper response is not to stand back and gasp in horror, it is really to do the opposite. If those people in that wal mart had not had news coverage and not cried in front of cameras and not insisted that it was such a scarring event but instead didn't really care, what do you think the guy would have done? Would he be more or less likely to pull another prank like that? I'd say much LESS likely.

"If people really believed we are all equal, they would not resort to marginalizing another group for humor. If we are all equal, we should treat each other as such in every facet of our lives."

Mentioning stereotypes does not mean you are trying to marginalize groups for humor. Making all mention of stereotypes taboo is going to divide a lot more people than it unites. Yes we are all equal and nothing that can be observed could suggest otherwise. Since that doesn't change then where is the need to be so hush hush about stereotypes? We SHOULD be treated as equal but acknowledging the existence of race and racial stereotypes every now and then is NOT mutually exclusive with being tolerant and treating people as equals.

I am not sure what you meant be "every facet of our lives" but I think I disagree. Everyone is not equal in every way. If I'm looking for some help doing manual labor, I'm picking a man, not a woman and I'm not sorry. I'm not saying women are inferior, I'm saying that on average they are weaker. Am I not aloud to think that? People with down syndrome are stupid, it sucks, but they are. Everyone is equal, yes, but not in every facet. I am not talking about race or any other group of people, I'm just talking about people.

Also I think you did misread my intent in using the word "redneck" it had nothing to do with anyone except that one person. You are the one who made that connection, not in a racist way, but you did. Those supposed thousands of people who you think should be offended hadn't even crossed my mind until your brought them up. This only makes the association of "redneck" with a certain group of people a little stronger. The stereotype of a redneck DOES exist and it has certain connotations. I chose the word because the image it paints was what I wanted to paint the wal mart prankster as, for the purpose of down powering his racist actions. Maybe it wasn't a "redneck" in fact I doubt it really was but who the hell CARES?
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby distractedSofty » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:30 am UTC

deerie wrote:If people really believed we are all equal, they would not resort to marginalizing another group for humor. If we are all equal, we should treat each other as such in every facet of our lives.


I don't think this is true at all: people "marginalise" other groups all the time, and I'm not sure that it's necessarily harmful. My best example would have to be my time at Uni: For the sake of scheduling, the first year engineers were divided into groups based on the units they needed to take, but within that, randomly into groups of about 20. My group (D5) had the exact same requirements as another group (D6), yet we made jokes at the expense of the other members. I see this all the time at work: people in different job roles make fun of other job roles or people randomly assigned to groups at a training seminar will make fun of the other groups.

Humor, discrimination and stereotypes can be used as tools to do bad things, but I don't believe that they are inherently bad. A sexist or racist joke doesn't have to be offensive: consider jokes about men being unable to ask for directions, clearly discriminatory towards men, and perpetuating a (mostly true :)) stereotype, but in the long run, how will it hurt?
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby deerie » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:39 am UTC

Ortus, I think I get what you're saying. Groupism couldn't exist if we didn't group, and grouping has a lot of very real advantageous. I think the right for equality comes from the complex society that we live in, and the human desire for fairness, but that's probably more of a philosophical question.

distractedSofty, your example is intriguing. You're right in that there doesn't seem to be any harm in that scenario. I do, however, disagree that sexist jokes or racist jokes aren't inherently bad. I know plenty of people (myself included) who are getting annoyed with much of (American) advertising, which has attempted to become "female-centered" by making fun of the abilities of men. Maybe the point I'm trying to make is that racism is still racism and sexism is still sexism no matter how much you make someone laugh about it. I feel like we should talk about your example more, but I'm not really sure where to start.

Edit: Maybe the point is "in the long run," that the longer jokes/stereotypes persist, the more serious they become.

zookap wrote:Since racism is petty and ill-informed in the first place the proper response is not to stand back and gasp in horror, it is really to do the opposite. If those people in that wal mart had not had news coverage and not cried in front of cameras and not insisted that it was such a scarring event but instead didn't really care, what do you think the guy would have done? Would he be more or less likely to pull another prank like that? I'd say much LESS likely.


What I get from this is that you believe part of the cause of groupist comments is people reacting negatively to them, and part of the solution is for people affected by racist comments to stop reacting to them. Guess what, that's victim blaming.

zookap wrote:Mentioning stereotypes does not mean you are trying to marginalize groups for humor. Making all mention of stereotypes taboo is going to divide a lot more people than it unites. Yes we are all equal and nothing that can be observed could suggest otherwise. Since that doesn't change then where is the need to be so hush hush about stereotypes?

My problem was with groupist jokes. I personally feel that educating people about and discussing stereotypes is worthwhile. I'm sorry I failed to specify that.
zookap wrote:I am not sure what you meant be "every facet of our lives" but I think I disagree.

As in, we shouldn't all pretend we think we're equal until it's comedy time and then let that 'equality' disintegrate.
zookap wrote:Everyone is not equal in every way. If I'm looking for some help doing manual labor, I'm picking a man, not a woman and I'm not sorry. I'm not saying women are inferior, I'm saying that on average they are weaker. Am I not aloud to think that?

Have you seriously not read the fora at all? Those types of comments are really not acceptable here. Yes, the average man may be stronger than the average woman, but if you're making hiring decisions, you're going to consider your candidates on a case-by-case basis, because you're not hiring the 'average' man or the 'average' woman, you're considering two distinct people. (Also, um, it's the law??) It's the same as saying, "women prefer men with money" around here. No, people prefer mates with money. In your example, you should be deciding between two people, not two genders.

zookap wrote:Also I think you did misread my intent in using the word "redneck" it had nothing to do with anyone except that one person. You are the one who made that connection, not in a racist way, but you did. Those supposed thousands of people who you think should be offended hadn't even crossed my mind until your brought them up. This only makes the association of "redneck" with a certain group of people a little stronger. The stereotype of a redneck DOES exist and it has certain connotations. I chose the word because the image it paints was what I wanted to paint the wal mart prankster as, for the purpose of down powering his racist actions. Maybe it wasn't a "redneck" in fact I doubt it really was but who the hell CARES?

I never even implied that you thought the guy was a redneck. You said (and just repeated) that you were using the word "redneck" to give his words less significance. Last time I checked, compliments don't do that. You were insulting the guy by calling him a redneck, and you've openly admitted that twice. The point is, using "redneck" as an insult is no different than using "gay" as an insult.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby zookap » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:20 pm UTC

deerie wrote:
zookap wrote:Since racism is petty and ill-informed in the first place the proper response is not to stand back and gasp in horror, it is really to do the opposite. If those people in that wal mart had not had news coverage and not cried in front of cameras and not insisted that it was such a scarring event but instead didn't really care, what do you think the guy would have done? Would he be more or less likely to pull another prank like that? I'd say much LESS likely.


What I get from this is that you believe part of the cause of groupist comments is people reacting negatively to them, and part of the solution is for people affected by racist comments to stop reacting to them. Guess what, that's victim blaming.


Yes that is what I am saying actually. Now instead of just coming up with different nouns to describe it, please just tell me why you agree or disagree.

derrie wrote:
zookap wrote:Mentioning stereotypes does not mean you are trying to marginalize groups for humor. Making all mention of stereotypes taboo is going to divide a lot more people than it unites. Yes we are all equal and nothing that can be observed could suggest otherwise. Since that doesn't change then where is the need to be so hush hush about stereotypes?


My problem was with groupist jokes. I personally feel that educating people about and discussing stereotypes is worthwhile. I'm sorry I failed to specify that.


I don't think that groupist jokes necessarily marginalize people. Jokes are jokes, man. Yes, to some degree the information contained in those jokes does linger and some people might pick it up, but at the end of the day if no racist ACTIONS have resulted then what is the big deal? All those strong and equal people out there can take a joke and if they can't they are doomed to feel extra pain for the rest of their lives. I am not saying they are obligated to laugh or even to keep from getting angry, but lets not get carried away and say all racist humor should be done away with.

derrie wrote:
zookap wrote:I am not sure what you meant be "every facet of our lives" but I think I disagree.


As in, we shouldn't all pretend we think we're equal until it's comedy time and then let that 'equality' disintegrate.


Just because something groupist is said, whether it is serious or a joke, does not mean that any 'equality' will disintegrate. That's sort of my whole point. When a stand up comedian speaks, he is not being entirely serious and whatever he happens to say should be listened to differently because of that.

derrie wrote:
zookap wrote:Everyone is not equal in every way. If I'm looking for some help doing manual labor, I'm picking a man, not a woman and I'm not sorry. I'm not saying women are inferior, I'm saying that on average they are weaker. Am I not aloud to think that?


Have you seriously not read the fora at all? Those types of comments are really not acceptable here. Yes, the average man may be stronger than the average woman, but if you're making hiring decisions, you're going to consider your candidates on a case-by-case basis, because you're not hiring the 'average' man or the 'average' woman, you're considering two distinct people. (Also, um, it's the law??) It's the same as saying, "women prefer men with money" around here. No, people prefer mates with money. In your example, you should be deciding between two people, not two genders


I have not read the fora too religiously so I have not come across a reason why holding that men are on average stronger then women should be so strongly reacted to. They ARE. How the HELL is that not an acceptable thing to say?! Are we now getting offended at facts? I reminded you that it's true only because you are were trying to say that we need to be considered equal in every facet of our lives. We are NOT equal in every facet! In my example, I AM choosing between to people, not to genders (I know it doesn't sound that way.) My choice will very likely be a male because we will PROBABLY my physically stronger that the female who applies in his stead. If I need 5 people to helm me move a bunch of 60lb blocks and 5 average men and 5 average women apply, I will most likely end up picking the 5 men. What, is that sexist? Should I go with a person who is less appropriate for a job than a different person just to keep up the appearance that I am tolerant?

derrie wrote:I never even implied that you thought the guy was a redneck. You said (and just repeated) that you were using the word "redneck" to give his words less significance. Last time I checked, compliments don't do that. You were insulting the guy by calling him a redneck, and you've openly admitted that twice. The point is, using "redneck" as an insult is no different than using "gay" as an insult.


Damn right I used it to insult the guy. I still fail to see why it is a groupist thing to say. I also fail to see how using "redneck" to paint the image of a stereotypical redneck is at all like using the word "gay" to mean something that has nothing to do with "gay" People who use gay as an insult are not even using the word in its proper context. They say "gay" to mean "bad" but I said redneck to mean redneck. Why is that word off limits because SOME people MIGHT get offended?
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby distractedSofty » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:51 am UTC

deerie wrote:Maybe the point is "in the long run," that the longer jokes/stereotypes persist, the more serious they become.

we shouldn't all pretend we think we're equal until it's comedy time and then let that 'equality' disintegrate.

I see your point, but I think I have a slightly different perspective: as an Australian, the dynamics within many groups are such that insults and stereotypes fly all the time (somewhat akin to the fact that a black comedian is kind of given a pass when making racist jokes). Inside a group of friends, you might have your "loser geek", and your "giant poof" and the "whinging pom" and so on, but everyone is equally derided, and the generic arsehole, dickhead etc insults are used as terms of endearment. Pointing out how someone is a bit different to you in that situation brings the group together (sometimes it can drive it apart, true, but it's all contextual). I don't see the stereotypes as a form of inequality, because everyone is subject to more than one.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Ortus » Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:19 am UTC

distractedSofty wrote:I see your point, but I think I have a slightly different perspective: as an Australian, the dynamics within many groups are such that insults and stereotypes fly all the time (somewhat akin to the fact that a black comedian is kind of given a pass when making racist jokes). Inside a group of friends, you might have your "loser geek", and your "giant poof" and the "whinging pom" and so on, but everyone is equally derided, and the generic arsehole, dickhead etc insults are used as terms of endearment. Pointing out how someone is a bit different to you in that situation brings the group together (sometimes it can drive it apart, true, but it's all contextual). I don't see the stereotypes as a form of inequality, because everyone is subject to more than one.



To agree, the problem isn't necessarily stereotypes in and of themselves; more, in my opinion, the purpose behind using them. I know that there is a marked difference between Stereotyping in general and stereotyping as in <group>ism. One, Stereotyping, is a tool - the other, stereotyping, is an actor for the douche-tool that is <group>ism. The whole thing that I think will help this whole <group>ism deal out is for people to realize the difference and what that difference signifies. Stereotyping* has been inbred in our species for longer than we have been a species**, and for contrast, <group>ism I believe (citation needed for sure, though) is a relatively new development in our psyche - a twisting of the original purpose of Stereotyping. One is rational, one is irrational.

But it doesn't end there - I'm giving the human race the benefit of the doubt when I say that most people could quickly realize that difference and alter behavior according to rationality or irrationality, as the need may be***, but there is another fallacy involved on a similar level to the one above: what is actually being <group>ed. Two definitions, first; (simple) positive evolutionary behavior: hunting in packs to down larger game, as opposed to starving; (simple) negative evolutionary behavior: pole-vaulting in to the Grand Canyon. In my honest opinion, society may colloquially decide what is considered a positive evolutionary behavior and what is considered a negative evolutionary behavior. To use an argument I have heard more than once in serious conversation, according to Jim**** (1) homosexuals want to convert everyone to homosexuality (2) homosexuals can't have babies (3) no babies no population (4) homosexuals will kill the human race (5) homosexuals are bad. For the sake of my argument, let's assume that Jim's argument actually has some merit.

Jim is, as an individual, deciding what is a positive evolutionary behavior (heterosexuality) and denouncing homosexuality as a negative behavior not conducive to the advancement of the human species. The first issue is that Jim has done this as an individual*****, the next (somewhat minor) issue is that Jim is denouncing diversity which, barring very special circumstances, is bad. The next point is in the clarifications/addendums below, but it comes almost straight from Nietzsche.

I hope I made at least < > this much sense.

*for consistency, as opposed to a better-suited word.

**ancestral species used it too (source: they survived)

***lol using <group>ism against <group>ism. To be fair, applying <group>ism to <group>ism is the only rational way to do it. I can proffer up no better explanation than that two irrationalities make a rationality! (for the record no I don't believe that but I can't explain it very well I just think it's true: suffice it to say that I believe stereotyping* hallmarks [not people] of the <group>ism camp is okay because <group>ism is a negative evolutionary behavior. Which sounds exactly like what I am arguing against. Damn. Need to use more full-stops.).

****damn Stereotypes!

*****A group of individuals is not society - I'm with Nietzsche on this one, society is every part of the human whole or at least every part of the human whole within the bounds of your <whatever holds the most significance and relevance>. Yes, even the parts you****** don't agree with or the parts that you detest and find despicable and repulsive and the parts you firmly posit offer up nothing to the advancement of the human species EXCEPT for those things that have been deemed incontrovertibly (dun dun dun) negative evolutionary behaviors and as of yet we haven't even really proved that one commonly considered intemellectual bad thing (<group>ism) is negative blah blah blah.

******There it is again! grrr Stereotypes.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby deerie » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:54 pm UTC

zookap, I'm in a bad mood right now, so I'm going to read your post and respond to it on a better day when I'm less likely to make obnoxious comments should I disagree with something you've said. Nothing personal, I just don't want to be a jerk for unrelated reasons.

distractedSofty wrote:I see your point, but I think I have a slightly different perspective: as an Australian, the dynamics within many groups are such that insults and stereotypes fly all the time (somewhat akin to the fact that a black comedian is kind of given a pass when making racist jokes). Inside a group of friends, you might have your "loser geek", and your "giant poof" and the "whinging pom" and so on, but everyone is equally derided, and the generic arsehole, dickhead etc insults are used as terms of endearment. Pointing out how someone is a bit different to you in that situation brings the group together (sometimes it can drive it apart, true, but it's all contextual). I don't see the stereotypes as a form of inequality, because everyone is subject to more than one.

The black comedian was actually a situation I thought about a lot. That's one of the times I see jokes as being sarcastic and making fun of the racism and not the race. There's also people like Bill Cosby, who I think tried to make fun of what they saw as serious social problems within their smaller society in an attempt to bring about change.

I think joking amongst friends is usually ok, but it also rarely crosses the lines to sexism and racism. If one of my friends made a sexist joke in my presence, I would seriously reevaluate that friendship, because sexism is very real to me. As you said, context matters. In general, I think I'm bothered by comedians in front of large audiences because I don't see that as usually being a group with a common understanding, like the group of friends you described. The comments become more generalized and less specific to one person, which is what makes racism and sexism bad- it's ok for a woman or a person of color to not do some task perfectly, but it's not ok for people to then use that as evidence that the groups to which that person belongs is subpar.

Ortus, I'm not going to claim that I completely follow your post. What I understood is that you're saying some stereotypes exist for a reason, and are not necessarily bad, but it's when they are used to discriminate that they become a problem? As in, grouping has been around forever and isn't really a bad thing, but groupism is?

Concerning the example you gave of your fictional Jim, I'd say that the actual progression is prejudice --> explanation, not the other way. Most prejudices are completely irrational; it's not until you call people out on their irrational beliefs that they feel the need to make up some ridiculous explanation, like the argument that homosexuality is not evolutionarily advantageous (http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... -evolution is an interesting read on how that might not even be true).

I think people are wary of things that are different. I can understand being really confused if you've only ever seen white people prancing around Europe and then you get on a boat, go to a strange, distant land, and find people who look and act completely different than you. Likewise, if you've never known someone who's gay, it could be really confusing to understand that people can be attracted to others of the same gender. The problem is in the response. Some people try to learn more about differences, while others either run away or start attacking, and then find they need to justify their response.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Ortus » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:31 am UTC

deerie wrote: Ortus, I'm not going to claim that I completely follow your post. What I understood is that you're saying some stereotypes exist for a reason, and are not necessarily bad, but it's when they are used to discriminate that they become a problem? As in, grouping has been around forever and isn't really a bad thing, but groupism is?

Concerning the example you gave of your fictional Jim, I'd say that the actual progression is prejudice --> explanation, not the other way. Most prejudices are completely irrational; it's not until you call people out on their irrational beliefs that they feel the need to make up some ridiculous explanation, like the argument that homosexuality is not evolutionarily advantageous (http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... -evolution is an interesting read on how that might not even be true).

I think people are wary of things that are different. I can understand being really confused if you've only ever seen white people prancing around Europe and then you get on a boat, go to a strange, distant land, and find people who look and act completely different than you. Likewise, if you've never known someone who's gay, it could be really confusing to understand that people can be attracted to others of the same gender. The problem is in the response. Some people try to learn more about differences, while others either run away or start attacking, and then find they need to justify their response.


Unfortunately, I tend to cause that effect :(

You definitely got the gist of it, though - I'm going to go ahead and say that grouping is not bad. Groupism, on the other hand, is. In my Jim example, I should have made it clear that Jim is an entirely logical person, and that for the sake of my argument, the premise on which Jim's argument stands is sound (it's not). Jim has then reached through grouping an apparently rational route to be able to apply groupism without being a bad person. I made the example (and it may have been a poor one) to demonstrate that even coming from the rational and ingrained roots of grouping (and grouping is O.K.), groupism is an irrationality and an evolutionary bad thing in that it takes our species backwards and doesn't promote diversity.

I'm not entirely well-appraised of any science behind this, but I'm willing to bet most prejudices have a basis in rationality whether it be from intellectual thought-processes or <instinctive> predispositions. The instinctive bit doesn't make them irrational out of hand - I'd wager it's not irrational to run when someone says fire, or to think of a pony when hear mention of a pony though I may be mixing up my definitions. A further action, a further bastardization of reason, has to have taken place to reach the irrational conclusions of a prejudice.

I feel like there are a bunch of different words being thrown around to get at the same meaning. Prejudice, discrimination, grouping, et c. are all viewed as kinda-sorta-maybe the same thing, that they come from the same thought process to view anissue (diversity) at a different angle and bent. I do understand the contextual differences between the words, and because of that I'll say that grouping is O.K. while discrimination and prejudice are not - grouping is clinical, it's non-specific. One groups things so that one may better identify them. Discrimination and prejudice are grouping things for a reason other than grouping and it's there one can make a fallacy (compounded by other, later fallacies).


I think the problem of groupism is that, with one seemingly reasonable use of intemellectual mechanics (grouping), one can create a fallacy backed up by later fallacies (such as an individual making the decision, "homosexuals are bad mmkay") whilst made under the guise of that first fallacy and that's what we call groupism.

That's the reason groupism can appear to some to be logical, or even reasonable, and still successfully refuted at pretty much every step of the process. I hope that made more sense... when an idea seems convoluted to me inside my own head, I know whatever it is I'm saying on the subject probably isn't making it any clearer for those not privy to my thoughts.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby deerie » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:20 am UTC

Thanks for clearing that up. I definitely get what you're saying now, and I think it directly applies to the OP's original question. It's hard to find a solution for a problem without understanding where that problem comes from in the first place.

"Open-minded" is a term commonly used to denote acceptance of others and their differences. I believe that term signifies a willingness to learn even if that means admitting some of one's previous conceptions were wrong.

I recently read an article talking about disbelief of rape victims. The article suggested that one possible cause of this disbelief is the belief in a perfect world, where bad things don't happen to good people. Given our childhood fairy tales and bedtime stories where good always triumphs over evil, I'd argue that it's very difficult to "grow out" of this belief unless someone is confronted with unfair situations, either personally or through the experiences of an acquaintance. Applying this idea to the concept of groupism, it's easier to see how someone raised in a culture of discrimination could accept those prejudices unless affected by prejudice him/herself. This concept could also explain why many people change their views on homosexuality or race after having a friend from a different background; they realize that bad things do indeed happen to good people, and their world views change accordingly.

The answer to groupism might lie in combining my above musings with what Ortus was saying about even rational people being able to justify their prejudices. People like to believe they are rational. They also like to believe that life is fair. Perhaps part of the solution is helping people to see that they are fallible and that perfectly good people suffer from the effects of groupism. I have zero idea on how to do that, though.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby XJ_0 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:30 am UTC

I would like to discuss and confront groupism when it happens. I would like to promote empathy. I believe that showing someone how groupism hurts the people of that group will/can lead to them realising that the "other" person has feelings (like feeling pain and hurt) that they themselves have. I would like to imagine that if one realised that they were causing pain, and able to remember how pain hurts and think, "ow, I don't like pain, and they probably don't either," that one might be able to change their behaviour in a way that leads to the [eventual] end of groupism. I would like to believe that if we can find and connect with the similarities in others that that might break boundaries that cause groupism(/othering).

In short, I would like to promote empathy (as well as compassion, understanding, patience, and kindness) as a solution to combating and ending groupism.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby mosc » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:51 pm UTC

deerie wrote:Thanks for clearing that up. I definitely get what you're saying now, and I think it directly applies to the OP's original question. It's hard to find a solution for a problem without understanding where that problem comes from in the first place.

I think there's a lot to this and wanted to give my take. I hold that the causes for bigotry are much more basic. I don't think that's an excuse, and I think there are few more noble goals than trying to overcome our basic flaws. I just think most people are afraid attributing any "problem" as basic human nature. Probably due to commonly held faith-based beliefs that humans are near-perfect in nature and any failings are environmental factors, not genetics. "In God's image" and whatnot.

What I'm getting at is a basic simplification of the higher level functions of the human brain. Beyond it's chemical-driven emotional fight/flight/feed/fuck core (which is extremely strong and often under-appreciated) and motor cortex, the brain is a very powerful difference engine. "which one of these things is not like the other" is a basic processing task we spend most of our higher level brain activities doing. Most of the time, we compare things to other things we are familiar with. The most common comparison is between something and ourselves, which of course we are most familiar with. In context of this discussion, I am saying it is human nature to look at two people and intuitively process a list of differences between them based on our 5 senses. Obviously we're talking about how they look and how they sound.

Grouping is a natural byproduct. Person B is not like me because of some series of attributes. They seem more like Person A, who I have more familiarity with. I'll group Person B and Person A and associate traits of Person A that I hold true for Person B as well. Since our brains are pure difference engines, we do not limit the detected differences based on what is socially acceptable to differentiate on. We differentiate based on anything and everything. This may seem purely negative but is an important survival mechanism. For example, Object C (new object) is not like Object A (food). It is more like Object B (rock). The person is unlikely to try to EAT object C because of this. Now, Object C may be a very nutritious food, but it looks like a rock. Object C may be very dangerous to eat and this analysis may have saved the live of the human. It's a gross over-simplification, but I'm trying to show how pure difference analysis is fundamental.

This type of thinking comes from computer science and it's predecessors before the digital era. Breaking down response to stimulus into the most basic of forms, we humans spend most of our conscious time doing comparison and pattern recognition. We compare against memory and by nature notice differences and exceptions. Look at how we find patterns and significance in completely mundane things. The date, for example, is often given added significance based on a pattern of digits. Repeating digits, sequential digits, digits linked to other meanings of significance, particularly digits which create patters which happen rarely. We find differences where there are none. This is very true with how we view other people.

We differentiate and evaluate other people based mainly on what most would refer to as superficial criteria. Skin color, hair color, facial hair patters, and choice of clothing are all very common. We're on many levels aware of these tendencies. If you look at a clown, the features we like to make fun of are exaggerated. Similarly, we alter our physical appearance (makeup, clothes) as an expression of our self-evaluation.

I'll stop rambling. What I'm trying to get to here is that Bigotry is human nature. We by nature separate people into groups and make value judgments about those groups. It's not going to "go away". It's a byproduct of a very important survival mechanism that is one of the reasons we survived to evolve as we did. When we see someone for the first time, we are always going to fill in detail based on previous experience and a lot of that will be inaccurate and demeaning. I do think we can do a better job as a culture of fighting that nature though. XJ_0's post is very good and I think if more people thought like that the world would be a better place. I see how much effort our culture puts into overcoming much more powerful emotionally tied behavioral patterns (sex drive being the main example) and it just makes me more confident that we could do better if we tried. If we focus on highlighting the dangers of making assumptions about people based on inaccurate grouping (all grouping is largely inacurrate), we would definitely be forced to make a more direct processing comparison between the person and ourselves. To put ourselves in their shoes, so to speak.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby XJ_0 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:39 am UTC

I think that bigotry is not human nature. I think that human nature is cooperative and empathetic. I think that people get hurt by people who have been hurt, and the hurt perpetuates.

I read a book called Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg, and it gave me a lot of insight to the roots of bigotry. It seems that bigotry began when humanity moved from the hunting and gathering era to the agricultural era. There was now a surplus of food (wealth), and there began class divisions in order to determine who would inherit this wealth. In order for there to be class divisions, some peoples had to be other-ed. Being other-ed meant that one was not worthy of respect, and so ill-will against them could be justified. The book goes on to explain (and this is an amazing book, btw) how it took thousands of years for bigotry to be forced upon people before it actually took hold.

@Mosc, I understand what you're saying about it being a survival tactic to spot differences. I agree that there is a survival benefit to grouping, but I don't believe that bigotry is human nature or a survival tactic.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby lutzj » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:59 am UTC

XJ_0 wrote:I think that bigotry is not human nature. I think that human nature is cooperative and empathetic. I think that people get hurt by people who have been hurt, and the hurt perpetuates.

I read a book called Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg, and it gave me a lot of insight to the roots of bigotry. It seems that bigotry began when humanity moved from the hunting and gathering era to the agricultural era. There was now a surplus of food (wealth), and there began class divisions in order to determine who would inherit this wealth. In order for there to be class divisions, some peoples had to be other-ed. Being other-ed meant that one was not worthy of respect, and so ill-will against them could be justified. The book goes on to explain (and this is an amazing book, btw) how it took thousands of years for bigotry to be forced upon people before it actually took hold.

@Mosc, I understand what you're saying about it being a survival tactic to spot differences. I agree that there is a survival benefit to grouping, but I don't believe that bigotry is human nature or a survival tactic.


There were resources to fight over long before agriculture. Homo sapiens sapiens won Europe from the Neaderthals (and beat out a lot of other hominids) because they are vengeful, racist dickbags willing to go out of their way to eliminate potential threats to their particular band of people. People instinctively favor those within their genetic/cultural/political "tribe" in order to preserve their line against the attacks of other dickbags.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby XJ_0 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:24 am UTC

I thought that the Neanderthals did not survive mostly due to an unfavourable turn in the weather (it got too cold).
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:22 pm UTC

Neanderthals were more adapted to the cold than Cro-Magnans, but were not as adaptable to change. They died off around the time Cro-Magnans discovered flintworking. Though, since most caucasians and asians are part Neanderthal, 'died off' may not be the right description.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby TranquilFury » Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:54 am UTC

By introducing a new outside group that's scarier than any of the rest.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Shahriyar » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:37 pm UTC

forcibly remove the instinct for people to feel pride towards their own groups


That is not an instinct, though it is a way humans tend to act by default. Humans also tended to kill each other out of anger or to rape vulnerable people of their preferred sexual category: they have learned to act, think, feel otherwise. There are many people who are entirely or almost entirely free of the pulsion to act or feel that way about each other. There are people with no attachment to any group other than the sum of all human sapient sentient beings, at least not one that overrides ethics and makes "others" not-quite-people. It's simply a matter of education, of perspective, of learning to put oneself in each others' shoes.

I'd suggest reading lots of Speculative Fiction that explores the "culture clash" angle. It's an edifying experience.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby TranquilFury » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:27 am UTC

Shahriyar wrote:
forcibly remove the instinct for people to feel pride towards their own groups


That is not an instinct, though it is a way humans tend to act by default. Humans also tended to kill each other out of anger or to rape vulnerable people of their preferred sexual category: they have learned to act, think, feel otherwise. There are many people who are entirely or almost entirely free of the pulsion to act or feel that way about each other. There are people with no attachment to any group other than the sum of all human sapient sentient beings, at least not one that overrides ethics and makes "others" not-quite-people. It's simply a matter of education, of perspective, of learning to put oneself in each others' shoes.

I'd suggest reading lots of Speculative Fiction that explores the "culture clash" angle. It's an edifying experience.

Going on a hunger strike doesn't remove your instinct to eat. In group out group identity is a very powerful instinct, and it's the foundation of organized religion, nationality, commerce, and war.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:21 am UTC

zookap wrote:Since racism is petty and ill-informed in the first place the proper response is not to stand back and gasp in horror, it is really to do the opposite.
I find most of the misconceptions about racism stem from its fetishization. We've come to associate 'racism' with 'evil', regardless of its nature or its consequences--therefore, we end up with ridiculous results.

Racism is not always irrational, and it's not always harmful. If I throw a Polish party and don't send you an invitation because you aren't Polish, I'm being racist. Have you been harmed? If I create a club called "the Irish Police Club" and deny you entry on the basis of you not being Irish, I'm being racist. Am I behaving irrationally? Am I acting 'petty and ill-informed'?

First step to having a better understanding of racism: Stop thinking magically about it. "Racism" is just a thing; its context is what's important.
zookap wrote:
deerie wrote:
zookap wrote:If those people in that wal mart had not had news coverage and not cried in front of cameras and not insisted that it was such a scarring event but instead didn't really care, what do you think the guy would have done? Would he be more or less likely to pull another prank like that? I'd say much LESS likely.
What I get from this is that you believe part of the cause of groupist comments is people reacting negatively to them, and part of the solution is for people affected by racist comments to stop reacting to them. Guess what, that's victim blaming.
Yes that is what I am saying actually. Now instead of just coming up with different nouns to describe it, please just tell me why you agree or disagree.
If someone tells me that something did them harm, I think it's wise to believe them. Humans are inscrutable creatures--while I might not understand why someone saying 'nigger' is an incredibly upsetting, traumatic event, assuming that this means that it can't be such an event, and anyone who claims otherwise is lying--that's just stupid.

Insects scare the shit out of me. I can't even touch pictures of them. If you put a bug in my face, I am going to scream and run away. The correct response to this behavior is not "Oh, Hippo, you're a freak!", or "Jeez, you're just lying for attention!", or even "Grow out of it!". The correct response is "Wow, I had no idea, my bad. Let me put this freaky bug back into my pocket".

My claim isn't that my phobia is equivalent; I'm only illustrating that people are complex, and it's difficult to predict or even understand the things that upset them. Responding to the statement of "This upsets me" with "Well, that's your problem"--particularly when the thing in question is very easy to rectify--that's sadism. We see it in bullying all the time ("I'm insulting you for your own good, so you'll grow out of being offended so easily!").

Basically, what I'm saying here is that people who act like this are bullies--and they're the ones who need to grow the fuck up.
zookap wrote:I have not read the fora too religiously so I have not come across a reason why holding that men are on average stronger then women should be so strongly reacted to. They ARE. How the HELL is that not an acceptable thing to say?!
Context. In a discussion where we're talking about the relative strength of women versus men, it's fine and good to mention this. In a discussion about whether women should serve in the military, it can be stupid, and reveal the petty thinking of the person who's mentioned it. Facts are facts, and one should strive to not find them offensive--except when placed in a context where their goal is to either offend or obfuscate.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Shahriyar » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:11 am UTC

In a discussion about whether women should serve in the military


Admittedly, back when there was a lot of close-quarter combat, strength was a legitimate concern. Nowadays it's not very relevant. But, still, women are too often relegated away from combat positions.

Going on a hunger strike doesn't remove your instinct to eat.


As a matter of fact, it does. You try eating while in a middle of a hunger strike, you'll just puke your guts: your body has forgotten how to deal with food, you need to slowly re-learn to eat, and it takes time, pain, and willpower. The same happens with a lot of habits: someone who's allowed to throw fits of rage as a way of "blowing off steam" will simply become very good at throwing fits, and will anger easily. Someone who isn't, on the other hand, will learn to repress their rage to the point that they become extremely difficult and slow to anger.

Instincts aren't reflexes. They're potentially there, in all individuals of a species. But they need to be learned. A predator that doesn't have parents to teach them how and what to hunt, and how to live in society, will not be able to do those on their own if released in the wild. And what can be learned, can be unlearned.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Fire Brns » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:53 pm UTC

I think the 2 biggest causes of racism are people saying everyone is racist and people labeling things that are simply racially charged as racist.

What I mean by racially charged:
I have a friend who has dual US/British citizenship. I joke that I should hate him over X* likewise he jokes that I like potatoes because I am half Irish(I really like potatoes). A third person observer being Basically Decent would call us both racist even though we are not stating anything in hate.

*Any event in the british Isles in the last 400 years.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby kiklion » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:33 pm UTC

I don't think we will ever be able to stop groupism, without destroying humanity as we know it.

I would never go out with a blonde. I don't date people I don't see a future with, I don't see a future with someone I don't find attractive, and I am not attracted to blondes. (What makes this weirder is that I was attracted to one, once, and she ended up being a brunette with dyed blonde hair.)

When I am meeting someone new I take into account their actions, do they behave as group A behaved in the past? As group B? Should I talk to them about computers? About politics? Sports? Medicine? School? Video games? I don't actively think of these, my brain automatically sorts people into groups in order to select proper topics of conversation and to not waste time if I have a goal to attain.

Because of these reasons I fall very firmly into a libertarian perspective.

I also break racists/bigots groupists w/e into two categories. Those who cannot change, and those who can. Not changing their initial beliefs about group x, but about person from group x. My experience has shown me that women don't care much about video games, at least the ones I tend to play. However should I find out one does, I would believe them and alter my mindset on them.

Another example is my Uncle, he is very, very racist. Always making fun of anyone not white. Retired corrections officer. Yet I have heard him talk very well about someone who he works with who is black, not even in the 'despite being black he is ok' way, just 'this man is very, very good'. There is a world of difference between believing that person A of group A is exactly like everyone else of that group, and having a few preconceived notions.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:18 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:What I mean by racially charged:
I have a friend who has dual US/British citizenship. I joke that I should hate him over X* likewise he jokes that I like potatoes because I am half Irish(I really like potatoes). A third person observer being Basically Decent would call us both racist even though we are not stating anything in hate.
Are you sure? Have you ever met this hypothetical third person observer, or do they just exist in your brain?

When confronted with two people who are joking and prodding at each other's ethnicities in a way that's clearly all in good fun--as in, both people are 'in' on the joke--most of us aren't going to walk up to them and say "You're all being horribly racist!". The conversation might make us uncomfortable for a variety of reasons, sure--but otherwise?

There's this whole construct of the PC boogeyman who runs around telling us what we should and shouldn't be offended at. This boogeyman doesn't really exist, not in any significant way.
Fire Brns wrote:I think the 2 biggest causes of racism are people saying everyone is racist and people labeling things that are simply racially charged as racist.
So when black people were being shot and killed in New Orleans in the aftermath of the flood--not because they were looting, but because they happened to have the wrong color skin--do you think this was a result of mislabeling? Or when North Carolina continued to sterilize poor people up into the 70s--was this because we were all too busy saying "Everyone is <blank>-ist" to notice?

I think the actual problem is that we have two dialogues going on; one where we're discussing actual events involving actual people who experience actual discrimination, and one where we're hung up on hypothetical nonsense (like your third person PC example) that has no relevance.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Soralin » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:06 am UTC

kiklion wrote:I don't think we will ever be able to stop groupism, without destroying humanity as we know it.

It's the end of humanity as we know it, and I feel fine. :)
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Fire Brns » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:44 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:What I mean by racially charged:
I have a friend who has dual US/British citizenship. I joke that I should hate him over X* likewise he jokes that I like potatoes because I am half Irish(I really like potatoes). A third person observer being Basically Decent would call us both racist even though we are not stating anything in hate.
Are you sure? Have you ever met this hypothetical third person observer, or do they just exist in your brain?

When confronted with two people who are joking and prodding at each other's ethnicities in a way that's clearly all in good fun--as in, both people are 'in' on the joke--most of us aren't going to walk up to them and say "You're all being horribly racist!". The conversation might make us uncomfortable for a variety of reasons, sure--but otherwise?

There's this whole construct of the PC boogeyman who runs around telling us what we should and shouldn't be offended at. This boogeyman doesn't really exist, not in any significant way.
Fire Brns wrote:I think the 2 biggest causes of racism are people saying everyone is racist and people labeling things that are simply racially charged as racist.
So when black people were being shot and killed in New Orleans in the aftermath of the flood--not because they were looting, but because they happened to have the wrong color skin--do you think this was a result of mislabeling? Or when North Carolina continued to sterilize poor people up into the 70s--was this because we were all too busy saying "Everyone is <blank>-ist" to notice?

I think the actual problem is that we have two dialogues going on; one where we're discussing actual events involving actual people who experience actual discrimination, and one where we're hung up on hypothetical nonsense (like your third person PC example) that has no relevance.

On two sepparate occasions a third person observer has told us we were being racially insensitive.

People who say whites are racist or whites are discriminated on by ethnicities causes tension and distrust between groups which only results in an escalation of racism. If there is a "fire" people run away, if you yell "fire" people run away. Now we have twice as many circumstances of supposed "fire".
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:24 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:On two sepparate occasions a third person observer has told us we were being racially insensitive.

People who say whites are racist or whites are discriminated on by ethnicities causes tension and distrust between groups which only results in an escalation of racism. If there is a "fire" people run away, if you yell "fire" people run away. Now we have twice as many circumstances of supposed "fire".
Well, alright--I apologize for suggesting that your example was one you were just making up. Nevertheless, I don't think this is necessarily very relevant in a discussion concerning harmful discriminatory practices.
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Re: How do we eliminate/minimize racism/sexism/<group>ism?

Postby Fire Brns » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:33 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Well, alright--I apologize for suggesting that your example was one you were just making up. Nevertheless, I don't think this is necessarily very relevant in a discussion concerning harmful discriminatory practices.


Well enough, it was weird enough on both occasions that anyone was being accused of racism against a caucasion JK. My main point is that the perception of the scale of racism is the scale to which actual racism must meet and Basic Human Decency only exacerbates the problem.
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