Monday, December 05, 2005

On not being a bigot

Honestly, I'm not cyber-stalking Ampersand, but here's a post/thread that I simply have to respond to. It's called "How Not To Be Insane When Accused Of Racism (A Guide For White People)".

1) Breathe. Stay calm. Stay civil. Don't burn bridges. If someone has just said "I think that sounds a bit racist," don't mistake it for them saying "you're Klu Klux Klan racist scum" (which is a mistake an amazing number of white people make). For the first ten or twenty seconds any response you make will probably come from your defensiveness, not from your brain, so probably you shouldn't say whatever first comes to your mind.

2) Take the criticism seriously - do not dismiss it without thinking about it. Especially if the criticism comes from a person of color - people of color in our society tend by necessity to be more aware of racism than most Whites are, and pick up on things most Whites overlook. (On the other hand, don't put the people of color in the room in the position of being your advocate or judge.)

3) Don't make it about you. Usually the thing to do is apologize for what you said and move on. Especially if you're in a meeting or something, resist your desire to turn the meeting into a seminar on How Against Racism You Are. The subject of the conversation is probably not "your many close Black friends, and your sincere longstanding and deep abhorrence of racism."

Think of it as if someone points out that you need to wipe your nose because you've got a big glob of snot hanging out. The thing to do is say "oh, excuse me," wipe your nose, and move on. Insisting that everyone pat you on the back and reassure you that they realize you don't always have snot hanging from your nose, before the conversation can be allowed to move forward, is not productive.

4) Let Occasional Unfair Accusations Roll Off Your Back. Sometimes, even after you've given it serious thought, you'll come to the conclusion that a criticism was unfair. Great! Now please let it go. Don't insist that everyone agree with you. Don't enlist the people of color in the room to certify you as Officially Non-Racist. Don't bring it up again and again, weeks or months after everyone else has forgotten about the original discussion. In other words, see point #3.

Shorter Ampersand: Don't make it a whacking huge deal if you say something racist, or something others perceive as racist. Apologize, move on, and consider the criticism seriously so that you can improve your thinking, if need be.

This is one of those moments of truth that make me realize that no matter how much I may dislike today's right, nothing could induce me to go over to the left. Because to me, this kind of reads like "How to roll over when someone plays the race card." (Or the gender card, or any other oppression card.)

First, take the premise that only minorities are legitimate judges of racism (and only women are legitimate judges of sexism, and so forth), and that if a "person of color" sees racism where a white person does not, we should presume that the "person of color" is right because people of color are the targets of racism in our society and understandably have a greater awareness of racism. [See update at the bottom of this post.] Can’t we, while recognizing the reality of racism and sexism, also recognize that for some "people of color" and women, this extra awareness may turn into hypersensitivity and, well, paranoia -- both because of their own experiences with bias and because they’ve been primed by identity-politics ideologues to see bigotry even where it doesn't exist? (There are, unfortunately, some very real examples of paranoia in the black community in particular, including AIDS conspiracy theories that undermine HIV prevention efforts.)

And besides: let’s say that in a college class that includes ten black students, the professor makes a remark that one black student finds racist while the other nine do not. Is there any reason to privilege the perception of the one person who sees the remark as racist? Doesn’t that demean the other nine by implying that they are blind to their own oppression?

Furthermore, what happens when anti-racism and anti-sexism (or anti-homophobia) collide? Some black activists claimed that it was racist to deplore the acquittal of O.J. Simpson or to applaud the rape conviction of Mike Tyson. When I was a student at Rutgers University in the mid-1980s, a so-called civil rights attorney, C. Vernon Mason (one of Tawana Brawley's rape hoax enablers, subsequently disbarred), spoke on our campus and urged battered black women not to collaborate with the oppressor by reporting their abusers to the police. When campus feminists (and others) expressed outrage at this, they were accused of racism.

Another question: what other groups, besides blacks, are to be given near-automatic credence for their complaints of bias? Other racial minorities, obviously, as well as women and gays. But what about Jews? One of Ampersand's own commenters is alarmed by the implication that, by this logic, liberals must apologize to conservative Jews who see a streak of anti-Semitism in Israel-bashing and attacks on "neocons." Evangelical Christians who complain of anti-Christian bigotry presumably need not apply since they're not "disadvantaged" (despite being, in many ways, culturally marginalized). And what about charges of racism made by minorities who insist on being politically incorrect -- for instance, pro-life blacks who call the pro-choice movement racist for disregarding the fact that abortion rates are disproportionately high in the black community?

I'm certainly not denying that racism exists. I'm not even going to argue that I myself am completely free from racial prejudice; I have, at times, caught myself making race-based assumptions that I've felt embarrassed about (once, when meeting with an editor to whom I had spoken on the phone several times, I registered a moment of surprise when I realized she was black). But I also know of too many instances of frivolous, and sometimes very damaging, charges of racism to find Ampersand's advice helpful or benign.

For instance: A friend of mine who teaches English (and who, incidentally, was once arrested when he intervened to stop some white policemen from beating a black teenager) experienced no small amount of trouble when a student brought a complaint of racism against him. His offense? She told him that she couldn't write a term paper on The Sun Also Rises because it had no black characters and she couldn't relate to it; he refused to let her write about a different book and, in her opinion, was insufficiently sympathetic to her plight.

Of course, the "racism" charge is also commonly used as a weapon to shut down ideas and opinions -- be it opposition to affirmative action or criticism of pseudo-scholarship like the notion that the ancient Greeks stole their culture from the black Egyptians.

The approach endorsed by Ampersand and his supportive commenters -- some of whom explicitly say that even if you have concluded your comment was in no way racist, you would still do well to apologize for creating the perception of racism -- has several problems. It enshrines the culture of victimhood and resentment that a number of African-American writers such as John McWhorter have eloquently criticized. It can silence debate and stifle "incorrect" ideas. It also enshrines a blatant double standard, proclaiming that one person's perception of a situtation is more valid and more worthy of respect than another's solely on the basis of race. And it seems to me that humoring people's hypersensitivity and even groundless perceptions of offense has a strong element of condescension, however unintentional. I think that to treat another person as an adult human being is to show them enough respect to challenge them when you think they're wrong -- whether you think they're being racist, or you think they're playing the race card. Mutual respect demands no less.


Update: Ampersand replies in the comments, charging that I am misrepresenting his post. Jack Roy also points out that Ampersand never took the position that minorities are the only legitimate judges of racism, and that in No. 4 he explicitly acknowledges that an accusation of racism can occasionally be unfair.

Having re-read Ampersand's post and mine, I have to conclude that I did in fact overstate Ampersand's position, and for that I apologize. (I did include Ampersand's post in the body of my own, so that readers certainly didn't have to rely on my summary/interpretation.) While his argument clearly implies that minorities should be heavily favored as judges of racism, he does not say that they should be its only judges.

Ampersand's suggestion is that every charge of racism should be, at the very least, given serious weight especially if it comes from a "person of color." (Even if it's self-evidently absurd -- for instance, that the word "niggardly" is a racist slur?) He also states that "usually, the thing to do is apologize and move on." In other words, while he does not say that a charge of racism should be seen as automatically justified, he does seem to regard it as presumptively justified.

I summed up Ampersand's position as, "if a 'person of color' sees racism where a white person does not, we should presume that the 'person of color' is right." I should have said, " ... we should presume that the 'person of color' is probably right." It's difficult to read Ampersand's position in any other way, particularly in view of his advice about what to do if an accusation is unfair.

The advice seems to be that even if you, the white person accused of saying or doing something racist, have concluded upon serious reflection that you said/did nothing wrong, you shouldn't proclaim it too loudly or insist on it too strenuously, let alone demand that the accuser apologize for the unfair accusation (or "improve his or her thinking"). What's more, the shorter version of Ampersand's advice rather strongly suggests that you should apologize if you've said "something others perceive as racist" whether the perception is accurate or not.

This, in my opinion, is very bad advice. Not only because it forces you to swallow a serious slur (and contrary to what Ampersand says, I think racism is a big deal), but also for all the reasons I listed above: such an approach encourages the victim mentality, panders to chip-on-the-shoulder hypersensitivity, and ultimately -- howevere unintentionally -- condescends to minorities, instead of holding them fully accountable for their words and actions. No, it's not just about you; it's also about poisoning race relations.

74 comments:

thecobrasnose said...

I was out walking one evening, and being in a cheerful mood smiled at a young man who snarled, "What are you smiling at, white bitch?" Having read Ampersand's thoughts, I realize that I was exhibiting racist behavior and should stand in humble acceptance of the person of color's evaluation.

Revenant said...

Nicely put.

Rainsborough said...

If the left stands for encouragement of reverse racism and guilt trips, then yes, condemn their foolishness. And too many on the left resemble Ampersand. But does Matt Yglesias? Does Kevin Drum? Does Mark Warner?
There are large gaps in resources and well being--jobs, wealth, health--between blacks and whites in America. Probably the best way to diminish these gaps is not to channel aid on the basis of race. (Even though it's obvious that in a country that legally segregated blacks until half a century ago, racist practices have a lot to do with the black-white gap.) Instead, address the problems that afflict members of both races (blacks more than whites): poverty, unemployment, infant mortality, crime, single-parent families, low test-score performance. But do address the problems, as for instance Britain has recently addressed its problem of child poverty. If it's leftist to recognize and deal with injustice, then the left is right, despite its infantile multiculturalist faction.

William R. Barker said...

Cathy... you pretty much said it all. Bravo!

Rainsborough... be sure to let us know when the Brits (or anyone else!) SOLVE the problem of child poverty (or poverty in general... or racism... etc., etc., etc.) rather than simply "address" it.

***SARCASM ALERT***

Oh, why, oh, why, can't we be more like the French... (*SMIRK*)

Jack Roy said...

First, take the premise that only minorities are legitimate judges of racism....

No such premise exists. Read Ampersand's point (4) again; it explicitly assumes the possibility that a black person could be wrong about what's racist, and a white person unfairly accused. A point well made, but ultimately non-responsive.

And as much as I dislike the "left," I can never help but think that when righties talk about the "left" they're really talking about the bugbears left over from their childhood anxiety closets.

The Navigator said...

Cathy,

Although I suspect my politics are closer to Barry's than to yours, I think you actually weren't hard enough on him.

Racism is a serious offense. Being accused of racism is, and should be, a serious accusation. Remarks that are genuinely racist should be pointed out. But people who are falsly accused of racism have every right to take umbrage and react strongly.

It may not be up to the other minorities in the room to vouch for you and your character - after all, people generally free of bigotry can make unwarranted assumptions and inappropriate remarks; I'm sure I've done it myself, and it wouldn't disprove the remark's offensiveness if somebody said I was otherwise a decent guy. And it's never a bad idea to reflect on what people have said to you and reconsider whether you were correct, on any topic.

Nevertheless, it's ridiculous to suggest that white people are obliged to sit there and take it quietly when someone accuses them of racist remarks or habits. Just because they're white (or whatever subgroups Barry chooses to identify as the oppressor), they have to allow the perception to persist that they're in some way racist? To make no response, and fail to defend themselves, when someone levels a personally wounding, and possibly career damaging, accusation? To appear to tacitly concede the point?

That's ludicrous. I mostly agree with what you said, but you could have hammered him even harder on this point.

(Clarification: I just read what you quoted. I think there's enough here to respond to; I'm not going to review everything over at Amp's site because, frankly, I don't have the time.)

P.S. I second what rainsborough and jack roy said.

JodyTresidder said...

Your English teacher friend might have been wiser to instruct his student to complete a term paper on WHY the lack of a black character in the course book mattered (with full reference to the text and wider literary context). Handled with tact and cheer, it needn't be a slippery slope precedent setter - or have ended up in a mutually strained stand-off.

Cathy Young said...

Jody, actually my friend suggested several options that would have allowed the student to deal with African-American issues while writing about The Sun Also Rises. Instead, as I recall (this happened about 8 years ago), she turned in a 200-word essay explaining why she couldn't write a paper about the book. He gave her an F on the term paper. The complaint ensued.

Cathy Young said...

Oh, and thanks for all the other comments. I'll respond ASAP.

JodyTresidder said...

Then she was an extremely daft goose indeed:)

Rainsborough said...

Mr. Barker--
In 1999, Britain began to spend an extra .9% of GDP to address the probem of child poverty.
In 2000-01, Britain's child poverty rate was 15%.
In 2003-04, it was 11%.
In 2000-01 the U.S. rate was 15%. In 2003-04 it was 18%.
Source: Timothy Smeeding, "Poor People in Rich Nations: The U.S. in Comparative Perspective." Luxembourg Income Study Working Paper 419, p. 18.

Anonymous said...

I suppose I have a really different perspective on this, because I'm a white person living in Mississippi. I have heard so many racist remarks made, and people would justify them by saying, "I like black people, but I hate n*****s! There's a difference between black people and n******s!" What they mean by this is that they like their maids and housekeepers, as long as they show the proper humility and respect for white people. I went to a private school that was created in response to integration (a lot of the private schools in Mississippi were founded for this reason). We had two black students for a while, but they left because it was clear that they weren't welcome. The two boys were from pretty wealthy families, and they were really nice people, but that didn't matter. I saw amp's post as being directed more towards people who haven't thought much about racism, and in that regard, I think it was a good post. Far too many people in the South just don't listen at all to ANYTHING that a black person says.

Snowe

Anonymous said...

I agree with navigator. You should have pounded on Amp more... and this is coming from someone who has certainly witnessed real racism and has been on the receiving end of a fair amount of real homophobia.

Z

JSK said...

Rainsborough,
You ask us to assume, in your last post, a direct cause and effect betw. an increase in spending on child poverty and a decrease in the child poverty rate. What you fail to mention is that there are probably numerous reasons for any decrease (or increase) in child poverty rates in any country. I would suggest that the UK's growing economy and relatively low unemployment rates have a great deal more to do with the decrease.

Revenant said...

In 2000-01, Britain's child poverty rate was 15%. In 2003-04, it was 11%. In 2000-01 the U.S. rate was 15%. In 2003-04 it was 18%.

Could you provide a primary source for your UK statistics? I found this document, which seems to say that the child poverty rate for the UK was 20.7% in 2003 -- 28.5% when housing costs were factored in. This site also cites a figure of 28% for UK child poverty in 2004.

Interestingly, though, the decline in the UK's child poverty rate began in 1995 -- four years before the spending increase you credit for the decline.

Richard Bennett said...

Barry Ampersand lives in Portland, OR, one of the whitest cities in America. His notions about black people and racism are naive because he rarely encounters anyone who isn't a white liberal in his daily life.

I pointed out some interesting contradictions between the commitment to anti-racism and the kind of old school radical feminism that Barry espouses based on the higher ed figures we're seeing nowadays, with twice as many black women as black men earning higher ed degrees.

Barry simply disputes the facts, but they're quite solid. What this illustrates to me is the difficulty that any of us has in seeking to help those we perceive as downtrodden: we seldom understand their problems or how to help them so we often end up making things worse.

doctorfixit said...

Who cares what some person with a chip on their shoulder thinks? Let's get over the labels already. If everyone ignores the professional victims perhaps they will go away.

Tom said...

The last time I was called a racist it was because I "live in a society filled with white privilege." I wonder how Barry feels about identity-politics ideologues conflating true racists and involuntary benecifiaries of white privilege.

Richard Bennett said...

This year's freshman class at UC Berkeley is 48% Asian and 31% white. This is obviously an example of that "white skin privilege" the Portland blogger talks about.

Cathy Young said...

rainsborough, jack roy and navigator: I sincerely appreciate the point about not generalizing about the left.

However, allow me to point out that in the same sentence, I said, "However much I dislike the right..."

Obviously, I was generalizing about "the right" as well. I don't dislike Eugene Volokh, or Glenn Reynolds, or Ann Althouse, or John Cole, or any number of other thoughtful conservatives out there.

So, the generalization cuts both ways.

Richard:

This year's freshman class at UC Berkeley is 48% Asian and 31% white. This is obviously an example of that "white skin privilege" the Portland blogger talks about.

Actually that brings up an interesting question.

When supporters of racial preferences in college admissions wring their hands about campuses turning "lily white" in the wake of the abolition of preferences, or about the vanishing of "minorities" from elite universities, are those comments "racist" because they essentially fold Asian-American students into a "white" mass?

Richard Bennett said...

I think such comments are more clueless than racist, but your label fits too. Asians are a real problem for the proponents of the old white/black polarization because they don't act the way that minorities are supposed to act. OOW births are very low among Asians, for example.

In fact, if you chart the OOW birth rate and the higher ed gender gap by ethnic group, including Asian, white, Hispanic, and black, the two curves will be essentially the same.

We do have a powerful form of privilege in America today, but it's basd on family structure and sex much more than race.

Cathy Young said...

Richard: No, I don't think such assertions are truly racist, but I don't think they're "clueless," either. I think they're deliberately meant to promote the idea that race-neutral college admissions enshrine "white privilege," and Asians are collapsed into the "white" category to achieve that goal.

Cathy Young said...

And amending my earlier comment: Glenn Reynolds doesn't really identify as "conservative," so, bad example. (Though I think most bloggers would probably classify him as "right.") But I can cite plenty of other examples of people on the right whose views I don't dislike.

protein wisdom said...

That Sun Also Rises anecdote is all too common. When I was teaching English at a university here in the west, a friend of mine, also teaching English, was brought before a university tribunal when a student took offense to Faulkner's "Barn Burning," which contains instances of the word "nigger."

Nothing bad ever came of it -- but I always found it ironic that my friend brought with him to the hearing one of the department's Americanists, a black woman, who spoke on his behalf -- and essentially allowed that teaching Faulkner was still okay.

Ironies layered upon ironies.


(incidentally, Cathy, your email is bouncing back; wanted to let you know that I posted here on the feminism/anti-feminism debate you and Ampersand engaged in)

Richard Bennett said...

I think they're deliberately meant to promote the idea that race-neutral college admissions enshrine "white privilege," and Asians are collapsed into the "white" category to achieve that goal.

So they're simply dishonest.

William R. Barker said...

My dear Rainsborough, rather than get too far off topic getting caught up in a battle of statistics, let me just point out that both Jack and Revenant make excellent points.

Stats are funny things. For example... were you aware that in the last U.S. Presidential election George W. Bush came in a dismal second to last compared to John F. Kerry's amazing near win? (*GRIN*)

Anyway... back to the main topic... I agree with The Navigator - calling someone a racist is one of the worst insults you can fling at a person. To do so requires a strong case and if the individual tarred as a racist is not a racist... he or she has every right - and indeed a responsibility - to fight the charge in the strongest possible manner.

BeenAround said...

My wife is a math teacher. She is also Chinese.

One of the boys in her class had been a persistent nuisance with his talking all the time, so my wife was always on his back trying to stop him from disrupting the class. The boy is black-hispanic.

Anyway, after yet another time that my wife had to chastise him for talking in class, and yet another denial from him (despite other students pointing out that he was talking) he approached my wife after class and accused her of picking on him.

After some discussion where my wife tried to point out that the reason she was always chastising him was that he persisted in disrupting the class, he introduced the race card. He claimed that she was actually just biased against him because he was black.

My wife's responose was that she couldn't be racist because she isn't white. That moment must have been amazing. In any case, the boy could not continue as he had not thought through all the directions the argument might take (some black girls in the class later told my wife that the boy had been planning for a week to accuse my wife of racism).

While this is just another amusing story in race relations (anywhere) there are a few questions that can be asked:

1. Was the boy just evil or whatever. Well, no. He was just trying to get through this tragedy we call life. Changing your behavior takes a lot of effort, and most white teacher would back down when accused of racism. He was just unfortunate to run up against a Chinese teacher who wouldn't take his shit (and in conversation with the boy's mother later, my wife was told that his usual tactic is to deny all transgressions).

2. Is it impossible for Chinese, Indians, (name your minority here) to be racist. Hell no. I know of plenty of unhelpful (racist) attitudes among Chinese people as I have been associated with them since childhood. By the same token I have seen them on the receiving end of racist taunts. What seems to be the case, however, among Chinese, Japanese, Koreans etc, is that they seem to be able to rise above all that an achieve ...

3. We need to get above all this shit about racism and get to the bottom of why some minority groups persistently underachieve in schools and academically (blacks and hispanics) and why others (Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and a few more) persistently over-achieve ...

4. At the end of the day, the more minority groups use the race card, the easier it is for the rest of us to regard them as jokes. We know you by your achievements.

Ampersand said...

This is one of those moments of truth...

An ironic phrase for you to use, Cathy, since nearly everything you write about my post is a lie.

Although, to be fair, "mistake" might be a better word, since I think it's more a case of you not bothering to read carefully (or being fooled by your preconceptions), as opposed to delibarate falsehoods.

First, take the premise that only minorities are legitimate judges of racism (and only women are legitimate judges of sexism, and so forth), and that if a "person of color" sees racism where a white person does not, we should presume that the "person of color" is right because people of color are the targets of racism in our society and understandably have a greater awareness of racism.

Where did I say ANY of this?

1) I never said that people of color are the only legitimate judges of racism. Never said it, don't believe it, and I'm annoyed that you've made up bullshit I never said and attributed it to me.

2) I never said "that if a "person of color" sees racism where a white person does not, we should presume that the 'person of color' is right," and that's not what I believe. And, again, I find being lied about annoying.

(I did say that I think white people should be careful not to dismiss criticism, especially from people of color, without thinking about it. But that's vastly different from what you falsely claimed I said.)

I'm not going to bother responding to the rest of your post, because most of it follows from your initial false premises.

Disagreeing with me is fair enough; but this kind of blatant misrepresentation of opposing views should be something that intelligent bloggers, on both sides, try to avoid. I'd like to think that it's something that you usually try to avoid, too.

Cathy Young said...

Barry, since I reposted all the relevant portions of your post in my own, I can hardly be engaging in misrepresentation.

That said: I overstated your position slightly, and I'm sorry about that. A more accurate way of summarizing your view is that (1) a black person's perception of whether a given situation or remark is racist should be heavily favored over a white person's; (2) even if a white person has concluded that he/she has said or done nothing racist, they shouldn't proclaim it too loudly or insist on it too strenuously, let alone demand that the accuser apologize for unfair accusation. In other words, the accused has, for all intents and purposes, no public voice in the matter.

Yes, your post recognizes the "occasional" unfair accusation, only to say that the response should be to "let it go" and not make it about you. But an unfair accusation of racism is not just about the accused. It's also about poisoning race relations. To take the position, as you appear to do, that unfair accusations of racism should not be either rebutted or condemned -- and are essentially unimportant -- is tantamount to making them non-existent. You may not be saying that only minorities are legitimate judges of racism, but you do seem to be saying that the only public judgment on racism can be made either by minorities or by "progressive" whites who accuse other whites of racism -- but never by the accused.

Ampersand said...

Barry, since I reposted all the relevant portions of your post in my own, I can hardly be engaging in misrepresentation.

Cathy, that's simply untrue. If I quote Mr. X as saying "The sky is blue today," and then follow Mr. X's statement by saying "I can't believe what an idiot Mr. X is for saying that the sky is always blue," I've misrepresented him. That the misrepresentation is (or should be) obvious doesn't magically make it something other than misrepresentation.

Furthermore, in a highly charged and partisan atmosphere, most of your readers aren't going to be reading critically - they'll simply take your misrepresentation as truth, because I am a feminist (and therefore bad and wrong), and you are the dissident feminist (and therefore wise and good). (The same problem in reverse would happen on my blog). I hate to say it, but that's how 90% of partisans, on any side of any issue, read things. Partisans who can both read and maintain good critical judgment are rare.

I overstated your position slightly, and I'm sorry about that.

With all due respect, Cathy, the distinction between "take criticism seriously from people of color, because they have relevant experience" and "uncritically assume that anything anyone of color says is correct" is not a matter of a slight overstatement. It's part of your pattern of reading things into essays by feminists that the feminists in question simply did not say.

A more accurate way of summarizing your view is that (1) a black person's perception of whether a given situation or remark is racist should be heavily favored over a white person's;

I can see how you could read it that way. Actually, I'd stand by how you summarized my statement, although I'd probably take away the "heavily" and add in "all else held equal" somewhere.

If a friend who has spent years studying geology says of a perfectly bland landscape, "this was all ice ten thousand years ago," I'm going to take it extra seriously, compared to if my dad the ear doctor said the same thing.

In the same way, I think that someone who's dealt with racism her whole life might see things in the landscape I overlook.

At the same time, it's obvious to me that not all blacks agree, etc. I've often been criticized, in intra-feminist forums, for not agreeing with feminist women (the "how dare you, a man, disagree with women's views about X" argument); but that's ridiculous, because it's obvious there is no such thing as a universal "women's view." There isn't even a "universal feminist women's view," by and large.

So I'm not saying - and I never said - that whites are obligated to agree with any criticism that comes from non-white lips. But I do think that whites should recognize that people of color may have a perspective on racism that most whites don't, and that criticism should be taken seriously rather than rejected out of hand.

(2) even if a white person has concluded that he/she has said or done nothing racist, they shouldn't proclaim it too loudly or insist on it too strenuously, let alone demand that the accuser apologize for unfair accusation. In other words, the accused has, for all intents and purposes, no public voice in the matter.

"In other words" too often means "here comes the straw man." I never said that it's wrong to object or disagree; I never said that if you're "accused," you're not allowed a voice. You just made that stuff up.

I admit, I think there's such a thing as being too loud or too strenuous; to think otherwise would be ridiculous, except in the most extreme and extraordinary circumstances.

I also think that it's interesting that it's become "the accused," in your account. I think that's the sort of thought pattern that people have to get away from. As you said, people sometimes slip and say racist things, or reveal biases. It doesn't mean that they're bad people, or even that they're racists, taken as a whole; it just means no one is perfect.

I've been in literally a dozen meetings where one person says "I'm worried that doing it that way will come off as racist," and the person who suggested doing it that way says "that's totally out of line! How dare you accuse me of being a racist. I have ALWAYS supported equality" etc etc etc. The person was not, in fact, called a racist; but because they're throwing a fit, the next 20 minutes of meeting are going right out the window.

If the meeting happens to be an encounter session, then that's okay. But if we're discussing the advertising strategy, then I would rather not get stuck on 20 minutes of someone defending themselves from being called a racist, when no one even called them a racist in the first place.

That's the sort of situation my post was addressed to - some who feels like "the accused" when they really aren't being treated like a prisoner on the dock. (And I admit, I should have made that a lot clearer).

You may not be saying that only minorities are legitimate judges of racism, but you do seem to be saying that the only public judgment on racism can be made either by minorities or by "progressive" whites who accuse other whites of racism -- but never by the accused.

Again, please stop stating things I never said and then attributing them to me (although I appreciate the "seem to be" modifier, to be sure). How do I seem to be saying that, specifically? Can you quote me saying something that can be fairly read that way?

My view is, anyone who wants to can say whatever they want - it's a free country. But I don't have to promise to agree with what they say, or to refrain from criticizing them. On the other hand, any criticism I make of them should (in my opinion) be polite and appropriate to the situation.

Of course, the "racism" charge is also commonly used as a weapon to shut down ideas and opinions -- be it opposition to affirmative action or criticism of pseudo-scholarship like the notion that the ancient Greeks stole their culture from the black Egyptians.

I've never understood this argument, except in situations of uneven power (like a professor shutting down dissent in a classroom). In which case the problem is not abuse of the word "racism," but abuse of authority.

But outside such a context, what you're saying makes no sense. There is no right to be free of criticism. In no way am I shut down if you call me or my ideas racist; I'm just being forced to deal with criticism that makes me uncomfortable. If I'm too chicken to face an argument in which my ideas are criticized, that's my own problem, and not the fault of my critics.

Sometimes ideas really are racist, or homophobic, or sexist, and I don't see how we can figure out which ideas are racist and which aren't if we avoid discussing the concept at all, for fear of making conservatives feel shut down.

Cathy Young said...

Barry, see my update in the body of the post, which I think explains my view a bit more cogently.

I think that your example of a geologist is somewhat flawed; you're comparing an objective exact science to individual interpretation of individual experiences (and in a highly emotionally charged situation, as well). By the way, if we're not talking about the hard sciences -- I don't think that if I'm discussing politics with someone, the fact that they have a Ph.D. in political science and I don't gives their opinion any extra weight.

The problem with the "authority of experience" is that it can lead you some places where you really don't want to go. For instance, I have heard police officers, and people who are children, spouses, or close relatives of police officers assert (both publicly and in private conversation) that civilians "just don't get it" when it comes to police brutality, because they just don't know what it's like to face the kind of situations cops face every day.

I never said that it's wrong to object or disagree; I never said that if you're "accused," you're not allowed a voice. You just made that stuff up.

Well, you said that even if the accused person has concluded that the accusation was unfair, they should "let it go." I agree, of course, that at a certain point one moves on, but isn't one at least entitled to an apology for an unfair accusation? I certainly don't see any acknowledgment of that in your post. Indeed, your "short version" advice seems to imply that the accused should apologize even if the criticism was unfair (or if what they said was only perceived by someone as racist).

And no, of course you're not forbidding anyone to protest indignantly if they are wrongly accused of racism. You're just encouraging them not to.

I also think that it's interesting that it's become "the accused," in your account.

I didn't bring the word "accused" into this. Your post was titled, "How Not to Be Insane When Accused of Racism" (italics mine). And one of your sub-items is titled "Let occasional unfair accusations roll off your back."

You also seem to ignore the fact that an accusation of racism isn't mere "criticism." In the workplace, it can get you fired for racial harassment. In most colleges and universities, it can be a cause for disciplinary action, whether you're a student or a professor. And even without formal action, it carries a tremendous social stigma. The scenario you've outlined now is considerably more benign than what I would have gleaned from your original post.

You may not be saying that only minorities are legitimate judges of racism, but you do seem to be saying that the only public judgment on racism can be made either by minorities or by "progressive" whites who accuse other whites of racism -- but never by the accused.

Again, please stop stating things I never said and then attributing them to me (although I appreciate the "seem to be" modifier, to be sure). How do I seem to be saying that, specifically? Can you quote me saying something that can be fairly read that way?


The entire gist of your post (unless I am seriously misreading it) is:

If you're accused of racism, especially by a person of color, you should seriously consider their judgment and, if you find it to be fair, apologize and try to improve your thinking.

If the accusation is unfair, you should just move on -- rather than ask the accuser to apologize and try to improve their thinking (i.e., to stop going around bandying about the "racist" label).

To me, this suggests that you want public condemnation of racism, but not of false accusations of racism.

And yes, of course some ideas really are sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. But I think we run a serious risk of trivializing these terms unless we confront people who misuse them.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

REALLY shorter Ampersand: "Interpretive charity for me, but not for thee."

Revenant said...

The problem with the "authority of experience" attitude is that it is not a given that any particular black person has experienced more racial discrimination than any given white person.

Sure, it is *probable* that, if you pair a white person and a black person, the latter has more experience dealing with racism. But do we want to base our actions towards a person on what a person of their race *probably* has greater experience in?

Consider this -- in the above pair, it is also probable that the white person has more experience dealing with money, with academics, with obeying the law, and with good parenting practices. So you should ask yourself: should blacks defer to whites on financial, educational, legal, and parenting issues? If a white person tells a black person "your knowledge of history is wrong" or "you're a bad parent", should the black person automatically give serious weight to the accusation, and refrain from openly criticizing the white person on those occasions when the white person is wrong?

Or -- now here's a notion -- maybe we should judge people as individuals, rather than prejudging them based on their ethnicity. Maybe we should look at what they say, look at how well it maps to reality, and respond appropriately.

So when some illiterate black person gets their dander up over the use of the word "niggardly", or some uneducated white person goes on about how really slaves were treated better than Northern factory workers -- tell the person how wrong they are, firmly and (if possible) politely.

Anonymous said...

Ok. I'm going to wade back into this. What I think Barry was trying to do was address the fact that some people are totally clueless about their biases, and, when those biases are pointed out to them, they tend to get hostile and defensive. This can be a bad thing, especially at work. I've seen it happen, and its been ugly.

But I telling people to just roll over and apologize is bad advice. If someone accuses you of bias, ask them for clarification. If it the explanation starts to monopolize a meeting, tell them you think it is important to keep talking about this, but this meeting isn't the best place. Ask if you can talk about it after the meeting.

People on both sides need to understand that it could just be a simple misunderstanding. Sometimes you are trying to say one thing, and it comes out ALL WRONG. But hey, it could also be that the accuser is paranoid, that the accused really is horribly ignorant or biased, or some combination of all of the above.

I applaud Barry for bringing the issue up. I just think his advice wasn't good.

Z

JodyTresidder said...

revenant,
Sorry, but your examples seem peculiar to say the least. Perhaps I am reading you wrong?
I haven't met a single black person I would assume to have been personally untouched by racism.
I haven't met a single black person I would assume to be less law abiding, financially competent or educated than anyone else.

Richard Bennett said...

Barry's logic on this racism business is pretty much the same as his logic on rape expressed in his post on the Beaverton woman convicted of making false accusations of rape against three men:

If a [woman | "person of color"] claims someone is a [rapist | racist] they should take the accusation very seriously because the [woman | "person of color"] is the expert. If the accusation is provably false, we should all move on and not make a big deal about it.

The trouble is, as Cathy points out, that false accusations of this sort have many consequences, one of which is to poison relations between the groups in question. I believe Barry is naive about these things.

I used to spend a lot of time with Assemblyman Rod Wright, a black man who was once Congresswoman Maxine Waters' chief of staff and a speechwriter for Jesse Jackson. He's black. Mr. Wright told me that false accusations of racism are actually a real problem for black people, in the sense that they do too much of it and that it doesn't help them. People were always coming to his office with charges that some white cop or teacher or doctor or employer was racist, and he had to develop a method of getting to the truth, beginning with asking what had actually been said or charged by the white person in question and slowly working through the facts one at a time.

False accusations of racism and rape are very commonplace among come people - the chip-on-the-shoulder identity feminists see oppression everywhere, even in higher education where black women earn twice as many bachelor's degrees as black men, and the first step to personal empowerment is to reject the thinking that has an agent of oppression behind every tree.

These are academic issues to many people, especially those in all-white communities who aren't actively dating members of the opposite sex, but to the rest of us they're very real and potentially very damaging. They're also harmful to the accusers, and for that reason if for no other the primary emphasis has to be getting to the truth and acting appropriately once it's found.

False accusations of rape and racism should be punished, in other words, not ignored.

Revenant said...

I haven't met a single black person I would assume to have been personally untouched by racism. I haven't met a single black person I would assume to be less law abiding, financially competent or educated than anyone else.

Just as blacks are statistically more likely to have suffered from racial discrimination than whites are, they are statistically more likely to be criminals, to be uneducated, to be poor, and to be bad parents (e.g. by having kids out of wedlock).

What assumptions you make are up to you. Personally I wouldn't assume ANYONE has been personally untouched by racism. But so long as you're basing assumptions on people's skin color, assuming the black person knows more about racism is no more rational than assuming the white person knows more about personal responsibility.

On a side note, I find it curious that racism is apparently the one area in which having a clear conflict of interest (e.g., having been a victim of racism yourself) is regarded as a *qualification* for passing judgement, rather than a disqualification. Rationally, the people best-suited to appraise racist behavior would be those who have both practiced AND suffered the least amount of racism. We try to exclude both victims and perpetrators of crimes from juries for the same reason.

Richard Bennett said...

I just noticed that Barry's playing his own victim card here, to wit: Furthermore, in a highly charged and partisan atmosphere, most of your readers aren't going to be reading critically - they'll simply take your misrepresentation as truth, because I am a feminist (and therefore bad and wrong), and you are the dissident feminist (and therefore wise and good).

The discussion is about race and racism, but Barry says he's been hard done by because he's a feminist. He's also saying that Cathy's readers will believe whatever she says instead of their own lying eyes.

This is non-stop Internet Fun.

Anonymous said...

Revenant,

Your aside is interesting and easy to address. Rascism(and that isn't just true with rascism), sexism, etc is based on incorrect assumptions (stereotypes) about what membership in that group entails. So, how can someone judge the correctness or incorrectness of those assumptions unless they are either in the group or have spent a great deal of time around many different members of the group dealing with those very assumptions?

Z

Richard Bennett said...

Z, there are a couple of problems with your comment. First, racial stereotypes have traction because they're true. Black people do commit more crime than other groups, and Asians are more studious. The problem comes in when every individual is deemd to have all the characteristics of the group as a whole. So while Asians are studious, my friend Li Pang may very well be a party animal.

The error isn't in the construction of the stereotype, it's in its application.

So anyone who knows Li Pang and the steretype of Asians is able to judge whether he conforms to it or not, not just an Asian or someone who hangs with Asians; the key aspect is knowledge of Li Pang the individual.

Anonymous said...

Richard,

Some stereotypes are true for some members of a group, but that doesn't mean they are true for most of the members of the group. To use your example, a higher percentage of black than white men have criminal records, but most black men do not. If you assume via stereotype that most blacks are criminals, then most of the time you will be dead wrong.

There are also stereotypes that have absolutely no basis in reality, ie blacks don't have tails, jews don't eat children, homosexuals are not more likely to be pedophiles, etc.

Z

Richard Bennett said...

...homosexuals are not more likely to be pedophiles...

Oh really?

Anonymous said...

Yep. Really. And yet it persists...

Z

Revenant said...

So, how can someone judge the correctness or incorrectness of those assumptions unless they are either in the group or have spent a great deal of time around many different members of the group dealing with those very assumptions?

The people best-qualified to make judgements about what is or isn't true of a group are those who have educated themselves about the group in question, either by spending a lot of time around them or through some other form of study, without actually belonging to the group in question. If you want to find out if it is true that Texans make the best chili, you're not going to get closer to the truth by asking people from Texas.

Also, your definition of racism is wrong. The key factor in deciding if a claim is racist lies in whether or not a trait -- even if it is one possessed by members of the group -- is actually attributable to their race. Saying "American blacks are more likely to commit crimes than whites" is true; saying "being black makes you more prone to criminal activity", on the other hand, is racist and untrue.

Anonymous said...

Good points, Revenant.

Z

Richard Bennett said...

But homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles, Z. Homosexuals are only about 3-4% of the population but they account for something like 40% of child sex crimes, IIRC.

That's outperforming the norm by a lot, dude.

Cathy Young said...

Richard, we're really straying from the topic here, but what's the basis for your assertion that 40% of child molesters are homosexuals?

I know various surveys show that 30 to 40% of child sex abuse victims are boys. However, as I recall, up to 20% of the perpetrators in the sexual abuse of boys are female. Also, my understanding is that most men who sexually abuse boys are not "homosexual" in the sense of having sexual relations with adult males. I also recall reading that on average, molesters of boys are far more "prolific," so to speak, than molesters of girls -- they have, on average, something like 4 times as many victims (possibly because it's easier for adult males to have unsupervised access to little boys than little girls).

Getting back to the racism debate:

I think part of the problem, Z, is that "racism" has been defined to mean a lot more than stereotyping people. For instance, you can be accused of being insensitive to the racial concerns of minorities, or objecting to someone's behavior on racial grounds.

Revenant said...

Homosexuals are only about 3-4% of the population but they account for something like 40% of child sex crimes, IIRC

The 3-4% figure is for people attracted to sexually mature members of their gender. Men who are sexually attracted to adult men are statistically no more likely to be molesters than men who are attracted to women.

Now, it may be that you label a man who is attracted to seven-year-old boys "a homosexual". But the correct term is "a pedophile". The sex itself could be termed "homosexual sex", just as sex between a man and a female horse could be termed "heterosexual sex". But there are other, more specific terms for these acts that avoid confusion with normal, healthy adult sex.

Richard Bennett said...

Now, it may be that you label a man who is attracted to seven-year-old boys "a homosexual".

Duh.

Like Cathy says, this is off-topic, so carry on with the racism and leave the children out of it.

Cathy Young said...

Rev -- yep, let's hear it for the heterosexual zoophiles! *G*

Revenant said...

Now, it may be that you label a man who is attracted to seven-year-old boys "a homosexual".

Duh.

Well then you should stop claiming that homosexuals are only 3-4% of the population, because we don't have any accurate data for what percentage of the population is attacted to children of their gender. The 3% figure refers only to adult attraction.

Richard Bennett said...

If this is true: we don't have any accurate data for what percentage of the population is attacted to children of their gender.

Then how can we say that homosexuals are either more or less likely to have sex with pre-adolescent children than anybody else?

The figures on pedophile* sex don't leave a lot to the imagination, Rev; the victims are primarily boys and the offenders are primarily men.

*note to Cathy: the term "child sex abuse" includes adolescent children as well as pre-adolescents; the term "pedophile sex" doesn't. Boys are most vulnerable to sex with adults at 6-8, girls at 15.

Richard Aubrey said...

IME (In My Experience), somewhat above 99% of accusations of racism are manipulative scams, known to be so by the accuser at the time of the accusation.

However, let's presume that isn't true and that a number of ambiguous, or even non-ambiguous, actions are honestly taken as racist. The person thinking so now has another racist action in his pile of grievances. It is possible that he could have a pile ten feet high, almost all of which are misapprehensions.
To him, the real and the unreal are identical.
That doesn't mean the next person accused of racism really is racist because of the accuser's experience.

Revenant said...

Then how can we say that homosexuals are either more or less likely to have sex with pre-adolescent children than anybody else?

I apologize for my sloppy phrasing. I should have said "there is no evidence that homosexuals are more or less likely to molest children than heterosexuals are".

The figures on pedophile* sex don't leave a lot to the imagination, Rev; the victims are primarily boys and the offenders are primarily men.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in 2000 the rate of sexual abuse for children was 1.7 per 1000 for girls and 0.4 per 1000 for boys. So your claim that the victims are primarily boys is entirely wrong; 80% of victims are girls. As for your claim that the perpetrators are primarily men: duh. All sex crimes are primarily perpetrated by men.

But the key question, of course, is what percentage of the men are sexually attracted to adult men. Those are the homosexuals. Your urge to define men who are attracted to children and NOT other men as "homosexual" has, I suspect, motives behind it other than an honest desire to understand child abuse.

Boys are most vulnerable to sex with adults at 6-8, girls at 15

The median age for abuse was 9.9 for boys and 9.6 for girls. Of the substantiated reports of abuse of boys, only 22% occured prior to age 8.

Anonymous said...

I think that, in disagreeing with Amp's post, some of the commenters have gone to the other extreme. I think it's unlikely that all complaints about racist are wrong or self-serving.

Snowe

Cathy Young said...

Snowe, I agree.

Richard Bennett said...

Revenant, it's not nice to pull figures out of the air and claim they're factual. Here's something we call a cite: Sexual Assault of Young Children as reported to Law Enforcement, pg. 4:

Based on the NIBRS data, the year in a male’s life when he
is most likely to be the victim of a sexual assault is age 4
(figure 4). By age 17 his risk of victimization has been cut
by a factor of 5. A female’s year of greatest risk is age 14.


NIBRS goes on to say that more girls than boys are victims of sexual abuse, even in the pedophile age range, so I was apparently wrong about that, but girls aged 13, 14, and 15 are way above the curves for everybody else.

That's child sex abuse, but it's not pedophilia as these are adolescent girls.

My point about the boys who are abused by men is perhaps too simple for you to grasp: my dictionary defines homosexual as one who has sex with members of his or her own sex, not as those who march in the Pride Parade. A man who has sex with a pre-adolescent boy is both a pedophile and a homosexual. A man who has sex with a pre-adolescent girl is a pedophile by not a homosexual. A man who has sex with an adolescent girl is neither a pedophile or a homosexual.

I'm using the English language, and that's what these words mean. If you don't understand them, don't blame me for it.

Revenant said...

Revenant, it's not nice to pull figures out of the air and claim they're factual.

That's a mildly amusing thing to say, given how many claims you've made about sexual abuse without supporting them. Where, for example, is your supporting data for your claims that 40% of abuse is male-male and that child sexual abuse victims are primarily male?

In any event, as I noted, the source of my statistics is the DHHS. This is a good compilation of the findings.

Based on the NIBRS data, the year in a male’s life when he
is most likely to be the victim of a sexual assault is age 4
(figure 4). By age 17 his risk of victimization has been cut
by a factor of 5. A female’s year of greatest risk is age 14.


Sexual assault and sexual abuse are two different things, Richard.

Interestingly, though, the rape statistics you cite are inconsistent with your claim that homosexuals are likely to abuse. Men commit most sexual assault. Girls are most vulnerable in their teens because that's the age of sexual maturity. Boys face relatively low risk in their teens because most men aren't attracted to other men. Were homosexuals disproportionately prone to commit sexual assault, we would expect boys to be highly vulnerable in their teens too.

my dictionary defines homosexual as one who has sex with members of his or her own sex

Well then, your attempt to label pedophiles as "homosexuals" makes even less sense -- most sexual abuse doesn't involve actually having sex with the children. Under the definition you use, a man who forces a boy to fellate him, or who gropes the boy in a sexual manner, isn't committing a homosexual act at all.

Richard Bennett said...

No, Revenant, the site you cite is not the DHHS, it's an advocacy site, and the data I cited contradict it.

Unless you can source your claims to a credible report, this discussion is over.

Revenant said...

No, Revenant, the site you cite is not the DHHS, it's an advocacy site

I didn't say that site was the DHHS; I said the data was from the DHHS, and the linked page compiled it. There are footnotes on the page with links to the relevant government departments if you want to do further research.

the data I cited contradict it.

Heh! You didn't actually read the DOJ document you linked, I see. I hate to break this to you, but it directly contradicts most of the claims you made and supports several of mine.

For starters, you claimed that 40% of sexual abuse was male-male. Yet page 4 of the document you linked specifically states that female children are the victims in 86.2% of child sexual assaults. This is entirely consisted with the statistics I cited showing abuse rates of 1.7/1000 for girls and 0.4/1000 for boys. You further went on to claim that most victims were boys. Again, only 13.8% were boys.

Now, there is one category of assault where the victims were mostly boys. 63% of forcible sodomy victims of age 0-11 were boys; for ages 12-17, 49% were boys. According to page 2 of the document, only 8% of assaults were forcible sodomy, and only 55% of those were on children aged 0-11. Which means that

So the only type of sexual assault in which boys are victimized more often than girls is a type that only makes up about 4% of all sexual assaults. Male-male child rape makes up a mere 4% of all sexual assaults.

Amusingly, the data you cited doesn't even support the claim you cited it to support -- according to the document, the highest-risk ages are 4 and 14, not (as you claimed) 5-8 and 15.

Richard Bennett said...

Revenant, I have to say I'm really enjoying the argument you're having with the strawman you've created. You're in your own little world, attacking and refuting claims that no one has made, and apparently winning the argument in your own mind. It's massive.

I especially liked your dismissal of forced sodomy against children under 12 as "only 4% of all sexual assaults" when it's the most important component of the types of crimes - pedophilia - that I was actually talking about before you and your straw man took over the thread.

Keep up the good fight, you're doing a bang-up job.

Revenant said...

You're in your own little world, attacking and refuting claims that no one has made

There is little point in your lying, Richard, as your earlier claims are here in the thread for all to see. But if you want to backpedal, I'm willing to accept that as an admission your initial claims were wrong.

I especially liked your dismissal of forced sodomy against children under 12 as "only 4% of all sexual assaults" when it's the most important component of the types of crimes - pedophilia - that I was actually talking about

The point, Richard, is that 4% isn't the 40% you had claimed. If 4% of the population is responsible for 4% of child sexual assaults, your claim that that 4% are unusually prone to rape children suddenly is exposed for the hogwash it is.

Richard Bennett said...

I was talking about pedophilia, revenent, not about child sex abuse in general. Victims of pedophilia are pre-adolescent, which means under 12 for the most part. As you yourself said: "63% of forcible sodomy victims of age 0-11 were boys."

Do the math.

Anonymous said...

Well said Cathy!

Cathy Young said...

Thank you.

Ampersand said...

Rereading this thread, I feel I overreacted. I apologize for that, Cathy, and thank you for the update.

In hindsight, my post should have specified the kind of situation I was thinking of. Of course in some situations, it's appropriate to mount a full-blooded defense - such as your example of an english teacher facing charges. People facing real losses due to unjust accusations have every right to defend themselves.

Regarding the "authority of experience," I'm not saying that being Jewish makes you always right about anti-semitism, or whatever. But I do think being experienced with something makes it more likely that a person is correct, all else held equal.

I remember discussing a cartoon that I thought was anti-semitic with some acquaintences, who found my reaction bewildering. The theme of the cartoon (in my opinion) echoed the "blood libel" slur against Jews. But my friends, who weren't Jewish, had never heard of the blood libel, so to them my reaction to the cartoon seemed nuts.

Now, maybe I was wrong about the cartoon - but I wasn't nuts. I just knew something they didn't, because Jews know more about anti-semitism than non-Jews.

Sometimes the people who seem crazy to outsiders, are actually right. Remember the "wilding" case in Central Park? Black activists said the black teens in that case had been made to give false confessions by racist cops; their viewpoint was widely dismissed. In retrospect, it seems probable that the activists knew a lot more about how NYC cops treated black suspects, than they were given credit for.

I'm not saying that blacks/jews/women/whomever are "always right." That would be ridiculous - after all, it's not like blacks all agree on everything - and also racist (or sexist, or whatever).

But I do think that sometimes even a claim that sounds crazy at first deserves a second, serious look; and one of the things that suggests that we should take a second look is if the speaker has

Well, you said that even if the accused person has concluded that the accusation was unfair, they should "let it go." I agree, of course, that at a certain point one moves on, but isn't one at least entitled to an apology for an unfair accusation?

When I'm in feminist circles, I'm more concerned with trying to be a good ally - which means trying to act in a way that facilitates productive discussions or activities - than with whether or not I'm entitled to an apology.

Don't get me wrong - there are times when going deeper into the "was that really sexist?" issue is appropriate. There are times when people need to and must and should defend themselves. But in my observation, most whites don't encouragement to help them get defensive; they do need encouragment to stop and think.

Anyway, it's late and I'm rambling. More later, perhaps. In the meanwhile, I hope you have a great vacation.

Cathy Young said...

Barry, thanks very much for the post. I should have been more careful in summarizing your point of view in my original post.

Interesting point about the Central Park case. I think that in the past 10 years or so we have learned a lot about coerced confessions, not all of which involve minority suspects.

As for the (possibly) anti-Semitic cartoon and the "authority of experience": Is this an issue of "identity" or level of cultural knowledge? Really, one needn't be Jewish to know about the "blood libel."

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It has the advantages of durable, skipproof, flexible, elastic, extensive, stable and proper hardness.
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PU is a kind of macromolecule polyurethane materials which is offten used in the midsole
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Sometimes, it is also used in the outsole of casual shoes.
PU is durable, strong hardness, upstanding flexbility and more important, it is environmentally
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The disadvantage is also outstanding. Strong hydroscopic property, break apart and EVA.
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which is usually used in the midsole of the running shoes and casual shoes.
EVA is quite lightweight, elastic, flexible and suitable to a variety of climates.
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PHYLON. Phylon is the product of the EVA after the second processing. Just as the rubber
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The midsole of running shoes, tennis shoes and basketball shoes in the world is made PHYLON.
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Just as a coin has two sides, Phylon is nonrecoverable and easily shrink under high PHYLON.
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