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Jemele Hill, or, The Politics Of Describing A Duck As “A Duck”


Donald Trump has demanded that ESPN, and, by extension, Jemele Hill, “apologize for untruth.”

“Apologize for untruth” is an apparently meaningful demand in the president’s world. The alleged untruth for which he is demanding an apology is Hill’s excoriation of the president as a white supremacist:

This demand for an apology looks strikingly familiar. It is almost as if it is a well-worn play from a tired old playbook, one utilized again and again and again by conservatives who would prefer that their motivations go undiscussed.

Late in the debate over gay marriage, when it finally seemed perfectly clear that those who recognized the equality of their fellow man were winning, those who continued to oppose gay marriage wanted to make something very, very clear: they were not motivated by their hatred of gays.

Earlier in the history of advocacy for gay marriage, hating gays was a perfectly acceptable position to take. Campaigning upon the idea that gays were worthy of explicit hatred played perfectly well. Yes, there were those who loudly objected to the idea that gay citizens were second-class citizens forever deserving of second-class citizenship, the popular majority disagreed firmly. But then the majority started to shift on the issue, and suddenly what had once been a popular position started being more politically problematic. Opposing gay marriage suddenly necessitated something more substantive than, “Eww, gay people? GROSS!” Only something more substantive had never actually existed, as evidenced by gay marriage opponents’ laughable inability to produce a persuasive explanation as to why it was exactly that their concerns about marriage began and ended at excluding gay couples from the institution.

This left gay marriage’s supporters being asked to accept an unbelievable claim: that gay marriage’s opponents were not motivated by their hatred of gays, but rather, by something else that there was simply no evidence for. Some people went along with this charade no matter how incredibly absurd it remains. Others did not, rightly understanding that what an individual wants to subject another person to matters considerably more than what they claim to feel about that same person. In other words, if you want another person to die alone in a hospital because the person they love is prevented from being by their side, it does not matter if you also say that you still love that person. The suffering wanted trumps the love claimed, so to speak.

Which brings us back to Hill. She is ESPN’s Sportscenter host. As mentioned earlier, she earlier this week correctly identified Donald Trump as being a white supremacist. The evidence for this is both plain and overwhelming, and it certainly didn’t take Trump’s refusal to disavow Charlottesville’s racist protestors to know this about the man. He has surrounded himself with bigots from the very outset and his outright hostility toward minority populations is entirely apparent to anybody who bothers to pay attention.  Hill is one of the many people who are paying attention, so when she blasted Trump for being exactly what he is, nobody anywhere should have been surprised.

But of course, there were people who fetched hither their fainting couches at the idea that anybody on ESPN might also have political opinions. To that end, ESPN absolutely embarrassed itself by sanctioning Hill* for having accurately described the president, and in doing so, opened the door for the White House to call for Hill’s firing. Or, to put it in Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ own words:

I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make, and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN.

That a conservative government official is calling for the dismissal of a private employee is… odd… but putting that hypocrisy aside, note that Sanders makes literally no attempt to substantively rebut the criticism. It’s not that Trump isn’t a white supremacist in other words; it is simply that saying so out loud is “outrageous” and that having put that thought into the broader universe is a fireable offense.

Or, as the execrable Clay Travis – a conservative sports commentator – put it:

(Is it worth noting that this thinking is precisely the sort of thing that aids and abets both white supremacy and pedophilia? Yes.)

Sanders’s demand that Hill be fired is part and parcel of the play being executed here. Describe the comment as outrageous – without offering any reasons as to why exactly it is outrageous – and then demand a punishment. But perhaps trusting anybody in the Trump Administration to properly diagnose outrageousness is too big an ask. For instance, it has never once been the case that any member of the Trump Administration has ever called for white supremacists to lose their jobs, despite having had plenty of chances to do precisely that. This might be motivated by the White House’s employ of several of those aforementioned white supremacists.

What Jemele Hill did this week was very, very, very similar to what other members of the American media have done recently. Here are some samples, including The New Yorker:

and The Economist:

and Time:

If one wanted, they could accuse Hill of having been late to the party, although she almost certainly believed the worst of Trump long before she tweeted it. The fact remains that nothing had the White House calling for heads to roll before Hill got in on the act. It is almost as though there is something fundamentally different about Jemele Hill than there is about The New Yorker‘s David Remnick and The Economist‘s Zanny Minton Beddoes or Time’s Nancy Gibbs.

But here, we are trapped, because to make such an implication is to be engaged in the sort of “outrageous” commentary that the White House currently, and conservatives forever, have declared as out of bounds. Certainty is required, as Travis insisted insisted above, and even though that certainty already exists, it is not now and never will be persuasive enough to those defending Trump’s entire existence. Critics like Hill are asked to simply keep quiet despite the mountain of evidence directly in front of them, because to do otherwise is outrageous. Just as it was outrageous to describe those opposed to gay marriage as bigots, despite a similarly sized mountain. Critics are asked to do this because to believe the worst of another person – white supremacy, in the case of Donald Trump, or bigotry, in the case of opposition to gay marriage – is mean in a way that demanding the government punish hated minorities is not, as if American history is not littered with the names of those whose motivations were never more substantive than hurting the people they loathed.

Hill rightly described a duck as a duck, and was met immediately with the idea that the only reasonable course of action is to say no such thing, no matter how true it might be. This is the game of the whole thing, in which somehow saying, “Hey look, a duck!” is offensive, even if the duck is standing there with a megaphone, screaming, “I’m a duck!” for all the world to hear.


(*This included Jim Brady’s response. He is ESPN’s Public Editor. He thinks that ESPN’s policy against “inflammatory rhetoric” should have tempered Hill’s description of the president. “You mustn’t describe the man as a duck,” Brady thought to himself, “because even though ducks are ducks, you cannot say that ducks are ducks, because some ducks get very offended by such things.”)


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370 thoughts on “Jemele Hill, or, The Politics Of Describing A Duck As “A Duck”

  1. Back in 2015 when we were discussing the resegregation of America’s schools, one of the articles I stumbled across that I still remember was this one and here’s the paragraph that still sticks with me:

    Since 2010, the year before the current policy went into effect, the number of San Francisco’s 115 public schools dominated by one race has climbed significantly. Six in 10 have simple majorities of one racial group. In almost one-fourth, 60 percent or more of the students belong to one racial group, which administrators say makes them “racially isolated.” That described 28 schools in 2013–2014, up from 23 in 2010–2011, according to the district.

    How many of us live in racially isolated parts of town? What percentages go above and beyond “racially isolated” and wander into “functionally White Supremacist” territory? 70%? 80%?

    If you live in the US, you can check your zip code here.

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    • As I underatand S.F. schools is that they are all on a lottery system. Now S.F.’s population is largely white and Asian. SF is about 48 percent white and slightly over 33 percent Asian according to wikipedia. Around 15 percent of the population is Hispanic and 6 percent is African-American.

      Only 13 percent of San Franciscans are under 18 according to the 2010 census. This is the smallest percentage of any big city in the United States.

      SF isn’t the only area where this is an issue:

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/magazine/the-resegregation-of-jefferson-county.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

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    • Before using this tool, I believed I was in a predominantly white and affluent part of town. I still believe that, but my zip code area is much more diverse than that (probably because zip codes are poor indicators). To wit:

      The median income is about 4/5 of what I make. (If by median income they mean median household income, it’s about 2/5 of what my spouse and I make combined.) The population is about 40% white, 45% hispanic, and 10% black. The latter figure is low because I believe the percentage of blacks in Big City itself is just shy of 30%, but I am surprised there’s as many as 10%, given the city’s reputation for segregation. About 38% have a college degree and about 40% are “professional.” The first category includes me and the second arguably does, and although it’s not a “profession” most people seem to have heard of, I am an exempt employee who works in an office on projects that probably are “creative” in some way.

      Again, zip codes are probably poor indicators. If we used one square quarter mile, with my apartment being roughly at the center of that square, we’d probably see (and I’m spit-balling), a median income roughly equal or even slightly higher than what I make, about 20% Hispanic, and about 5% (or less) blacks. Into the mix, though, would be a lot of working class eastern European immigrants (not all of whom are probably here legally, but I have no informed guess on the percentages) or people whose native language is either Polish, Ukrainian, or Russian. I’m not sure about college degrees or the rate of “professionals.” I imagine those would be higher than the zip code as a whole, but not significantly higher.

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      • I looked at the zip code where I grew up: only about 8% have college degrees and about 15% are “professional.” Hispanic population is about 62% (not surprising) and black population about 1% (also not surprising, but lower than I would have thought). Obviously, neighborhoods change, but that picture roughly matches what I recall from growing up there.

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    • 50% white puts you in 13%tile.
      26% black puts you in 88%tile.

      Both are my hometown.

      84% white is 41%.
      1.8% black is 54%.

      So 84 white/2 black is less white than average but blacker than average. Weird.

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      • The ones from mine that jumped out to me were that 71.5% college degree is 99th percentile, and that 4.4% Asian is 90th percentile.

        I wouldn’t have expected either to be that high, particularly the latter.

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    • Thanks for the link.

      Unsurprising: high income, expensive to live in, lots of college graduates, older, above-average Hispanic, lots of Asians.

      Surprising: Way high divorce rate, median for blacks.

      Though median for blacks is 1.6%, when the population is 13.3%, so apparently this means “no more horrifically segregated than the country as a whole”.

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      • There are regional effects: IIRC, in the Census Bureau’s western region, there are no states where blacks are the largest minority group. State percentiles might be more meaningful.

        Surprises in my inner-ring suburban zip code area: population density is just over the 5,000 per square mile sometimes used as the urban-suburban split; quite low on owner-occupied homes; way high divorce rate; even higher female-male ratio.

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    • The trouble with this is that previous segregation regimes were either from redlining or Jim Crow. You’d need evidence of a policy reason for the increased split now or it to compare properly.

      That was also in a period in which there wasn’t much if any critique of “assimilation” as a goal. I’d wager that people may now self-segregate as the culture has become more fractioned.

      I’m in a highly diverse cul-de-sac, but one populated by military people. I barely see my neighbors, but when I do, we talk and it’s all great here.

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  2. Clay Travis isn’t wrong as a general rule, if you are going to make a public claim about a person that is disparaging to their reputation, you had better have some kind of evidence for that claim, even if the statement avoids outright defamation.

    I mean, Hill has considerable basis to make her claim, so she’s fine, but in general, target identification is important, and false positives are to be avoided.

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    • The need for evidence is fine. The demand though that utter silence is necessary until the evidence achieves an imagined threshold is almost always made in service of the accused, and almost always makes the situation worse.

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      • Oh, no, what you need is evidence sufficient for you to make an argument. If the basis is merely, “I think X is a $BAD, because I don’t like them”, you should avoid public statements about it.

        But if you think you have enough to make the claim, then make the claim. Although I do wish we had a better way to penalize people or agencies that make empty claims just to hit a person’s reputation, enough so that I wonder if it isn’t time to revisit the standards for defamation, in the era of constant international media.

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          • In the 70’s Trump and his dad were sued for not renting to Blacks. They settled. His history is of fighting in court and using every legal tactic in court when he suits him. In that case they settled.

            He said a judge was biased because he was Mexican during the election.

            The frickin birther thing with Obama for years.

            There have been a variety of complaints and fines regarding his casinos in AC. This snip from a Huff Po piece describes it with links.

            Workers at Trump’s casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, have accused him of racism over the years. The New Jersey Casino Control Commission fined the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino $200,000 in 1992 because managers would remove African-American card dealers at the request of a certain big-spending gambler. A state appeals court upheld the fine.

            The first-person account of at least one black Trump casino employee in Atlantic City suggests the racist practices were consistent with Trump’s personal behavior toward black workers.

            “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,” Kip Brown, a former employee at Trump’s Castle, told the New Yorker for a September article. “It was the eighties, I was a teen-ager, but I remember it: they put us all in the back.”

            Trump disparaged his black casino employees as “lazy” in vividly bigoted terms, according to a 1991 book by John O’Donnell, a former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.

            “And isn’t it funny. I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and Trump Plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” O’Donnell recalled Trump saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”

            “I think the guy is lazy,” Trump said of a black employee, according to O’Donnell. “And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”

            Trump has also faced charges of reneging on commitments to hire black people. In 1996, 20 African Americans in Indiana sued Trump for failing to honor a promise to hire mostly minority workers for a riverboat casino on Lake Michigan.

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            • Just because you call something evidence for an argument doesn’t mean that the evidence is relevant, substantive or has probative value. Some of the pieces of “evidence” greg provided seem more relevant than others. You also have to look at evidence that doesn’t support your thesis in order to have a complete argument.

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              • notme:
                Just because you call something evidence for an argument doesn’t mean that the evidence is relevant, substantive or has probative value. Some of the pieces of “evidence” greg provided seem more relevant than others. You also have to look at evidence that doesn’t support your thesis in order to have a complete argument.

                Damn, you’ve developed quite a pair of guns carrying all that water for the Cheeto lovers.

                That and your conditioning is impeccable given the amount of dodging you did with that utterly inept non-answer of yours.

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          • You sir, I am done with. All you do on this site is interject yourself in order to stir up fights and make things worse. You find people to pretend to side with (who don’t agree with you) and then press all the buttons you can to make everyone like each other less. You didn’t even wait a day.

            Done.

            Not warned, not suspended, but banned.

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              • FWIW it was your comment supposedly in agreement with Oscar (although you were saying something he didn’t say) that got you banned. And the commenting policy doesn’t actually say “you can be a troll and a shit-stirrer if you choose your words carefully,” so, no, you weren’t within bounds on that one.

                I am more than content to ban this email address too. I’m happy to employ more technical methods if you make it necessary but surely that’s a waste of time for both of us.

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                    • FWIW, I disagree with that. That’s something you do (and a few others here I enjoy talking to).

                      I can’t remember a time he actually discussed anything underneath a slogan.

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                      • @veronica-d

                        Well, that’s why I put “reality” in quotes. He punctuated links to alternative views, whether I agreed with that alternative view or not, wasn’t the point-it was outside the normal discourse-something that I appreciate. A lot of the people I know live in a bubble of certain thinking/political views, etc. and are SHOCKED that an alternative exists. You may have gotten less mileage out of his posts. That’s cool.

                        BTW, I thank you for the compliment.

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          • This is horrible. I can’t even squint my eyes and put some body English on this to figure out what is supposed to be wrong. The best I can conclude is that notme is trite and generally right-wing.

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        • Five years ago, Clay Travis took one look at DeMarcus Cousins’s play on the basketball court and declared that he would be arrested within five years. You can see that here. Cousins wasn’t arrested within five years, and hasn’t been arrested.

          As for being concerned about reputations, it is remarkable the energy we waste on protecting the reputations of powerful entrenched individuals. That energy feeds directly back into making bad situations much, much worse, and we have plenty of examples to know this to be true.

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          • Ummn, did I somehow imply that I was defending Clay Travis over anything here. I have zero clue who he is (beyond the smattering I learned in this post – I don’t follow ESPN except to wonder why the fact that I have a penis means everyone is trying to sell me ESPN).

            And again, my general point was that people should not be leveling accusations they have no, or poor, evidence for. And that includes powerful people, because I am not a fan of double standards, explicit or otherwise. And even if you could argue for a special case of a double standard (like, for instance, with regard to how much effort we make protecting individuals from attack), you’d still have to produce an objective basis by which we can determine when the standards change.

            So, just how much power/money/influence/etc does a person have to have before we can decide they can carry their own way? Only one of those is really objectively measurable. Come up with a standard, argue for it. I’m open to being convinced I’m wrong and that a double standard is justifiable.

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            • The problem here is “no, or poor, evidence for” which has been the standard employed throughout history to protect entrenched power.

              There was PLENTY of evidence, for example, that Catholic priests were engaged in the systematic abuse of children, and that the Catholic Church was covering for them. But because those looking at the evidence decided that there was “no, or poor, evidence before” the abuse was continued for decades before the evidence was considered substantial enough. Even though the accusations were true right from the start.

              Those policing evidence by declaring that there isn’t enough of it are simply insisting that they not be forced to face the possibility that the people they are protecting really are as bad as the critics claim. What is to be done? Are we to remain more concerned with false positives than we are with true positives? And who does that decision end up benefitting?

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              • It is also the standard that offers some manner of protection to the powerless from the powerful, and/or the mob.

                If you want to argue for an alternative standard so that the powerful can not avail themselves of that protection, then make that argument, complete with the limits under which it applies, and make sure it’s objective enough to stand up in court.

                But absent that… You’re not only wrong, you are dangerously wrong.

                I mean, seriously, for a person who claims to care so much about the powerless, it amazes me how easily you ignore the history of how power operates to strip away the protections of the common person. How claims about powerful, dangerous drug dealers have so effectively shredded the 4th amendment that we hardly blink when the police, kitted out for combat, invade a home and main and kill it’s inhabitants on the word of an ‘informant’, and people applaud the police, and gleefully generate all manner of post-hoc accusations to excuse the violence.

                Seriously, you need to take a deep breath and think real hard about how easy it would be for the powerful to pervert what you want for their own gain.

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                • Thank you, btw, for expressing your opinions in a straightforward and civil way even when they are strong ones. It makes a big difference and you’re demonstrating mastery of the skill in a way that I hope others emulate.

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                • Why would we be making a standard for racism that’s objective enough to stand up in court, when racism itself isn’t a crime?

                  At this point it’s clear to me that linking racism and pedophilia in the OP was a category error, and the correct response to the Twit that bugged is to say the two charges are very different,[1] but going further down that primrose path doesn’t seem productive.

                  [1] For one, the charge of racism in these cases is almost always made based on generally available information and public statements. Things would be different if someone is saying someone is a racist based on, say, their private use of racial slurs.

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                  • Thank you

                    You are probably right that associating racism and pedophilia was probably not smart, and I probably should have done more to roll with the whole $BAD approach.

                    But overall, I’m not suggesting we should be protecting racists, or any other $BAD characteristic. I’m simply saying if you are going to make a claim of $BAD against a person, back the claim up with something. And as always, the more $BAD the claim, the better your evidence should be (extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence – be it quality or quantity).

                    Hill was just fine making the claim she did, but that is not always the case when such claims are made. They are made as ad hominem attacks to discredit a person, or otherwise damage their reputation, for a variety of reasons. I mean, if someone went on Twitter and said Pillsy is a racist homophobe, to me, that’s a nasty thing to claim, you’d better be able to show me some kind of publicly available evidence supporting that claim. And I think if that someone was just Joe Random, most everyone else would want to see some evidence as well.

                    But if that someone was a well liked public figure… I’d still want to see evidence, but I have a massive distrust of power, especially power that adheres to popularity or position (or money). I seem to be a strange duck in that regard, and a lot of people would accept that claim on it’s face. Which, let’s face it, would hurt you.

                    So while I don’t really care if two media figures get into it (and despite winning an election, Trump is still mostly a media figure), I do care about a standard that says you should have some evidence to support your claim.

                    If I really want to be downright mean, I’d note that Trump is actually one of the worst abusers of the ability for people to say anything without some evidence to back it up. The shit that sloughs out of his brain and onto Twitter is just incredible, and the fact that a disturbingly large percentage of the population accepts every word of it as truth means he can do a lot of damage to people with nothing more than his fevered imagination.

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                  • Racists and pedophiles count on the same defenses from their fellow adults, which is, “No, they couldn’t be, surely something has been misunderstood, but it isn’t true.” This defense is repeated again and again and again by people who simply do not want to believe that somebody they know/like/respect/whatever is capable of something so heinous. So it is excused until the evidence is so entirely overwhelming that it can no longer be ignored – except that, for some, it was overwhelming much earlier. The situation with the Catholic Church is illustrative of precisely this, and what’s happening now with Trump – with people dismissing the possibility that he is a white supremacist, not because he isn’t, but because they simply don’t want it to be true – is following the same cultural defensive mechanism.

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                    • Those are all bad things,[1] but they are bad things that happen when people are presented with evidence and ignore it, or try to twist away from it. And some people will persist in their denials even in the face of evidence that is, any reasonable standard, overwhelming. That doesn’t mean that the responsibility to support one’s charges is unimportant, it just means that once you’ve made a good faith effort to meet it, you are entirely justified in saying, “Fuck it,” and moving on.

                      But even with pedophilia, there are people who will just drop accusations of it out of the blue to try to discredit or even intimidate someone. Indeed, leveling blatantly spurious accusations of pedophilia is a favorite tactic of alt-right shitbirds on Twitter. It usually doesn’t work because even basic requests for evidence are met with silence or more insults.[2]

                      In the current instance, of course, you provided more than enough evidence that Trump is a racist. Indeed, given that it’s Trump I’m going to say that anyone who is halfway informed will be aware that the evidence is out there, that Clay Travis’ objection appears to have been made in seriously bad faith, and everything I’ve heard about the dude makes him sound like a pluperfect fuckstick.

                      [1] I’m going to carry on with the linking that I think are probably distinct enough that the comparison isn’t useful because YOLO.

                      [2] I’m glad mentioned Twitter, because it reminded me of this particular example.

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                • The powerful have long ago perverted for their own gain what you’re seeming to claim still existed. See: institutions who aided and abetted the sexual molestation of children for generations without facing any substantive blowback for what they had done. See: what happens to women who say that they have been raped, abused, or otherwise attacked. See: what happens to minority populations when they object to police abuse. You’re defending a shattered system that protects the powerful, by arguing that it would be unfair to subject the powerful to even a tenth of what they have been subjecting everybody else to forever.

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                  • See up above where I asked you to give me an alternative. You haven’t done that, you haven’t even tried. You’ve just gone on and on bitching about churches and politicians and etc.

                    So put up or shut up. How do you design the system so the weak are protected from the strong, without also granting those protections to the strong? How do you avoid massive instances of damaging false positives. The system is junk if for every one powerful figure it brings low, it serves to allow for the casual destruction of numerous powerless people.

                    And no cheating, you have to take into account the fact that people are powerful because other people want them to be. Usually a whole lot of other people.

                    Because absent that replacement, you are just bellyaching that the world isn’t fair, and frankly, that is just straight up uninteresting.

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                    • Dude, did you really have to move from being awesome to complaining that the writer of the post is being uninteresting, telling him to put up or shut up, and describing his responses to your comments as bitching? You were doing great! Telling him he needs to give you an alternative, or accept that the things he wants will also be perverted by the people who pervert the things we have now is entirely reasonable! (I happen to think that will happen too fwiw).

                      But your tone shifted way to one side in response to his last comment, and I don’t see where he did that to you… (though I could be missing it).

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                      • My tone shifted because Sam is ignoring the substance of my argument and constantly running off on a non sequitur.

                        “You’re defending a shattered system that protects the powerful, by arguing that it would be unfair to subject the powerful to even a tenth of what they have been subjecting everybody else to forever.”

                        This is BS and he knows it, he just doesn’t want to own up to the fact that he’s engaging in all manner of special pleading for his concerns. I’m not defending the system, I’m saying that we can’t just toss that system out and operate upon the Wisdom of Sam, because the system pisses Sam off.

                        Sam makes this particular claim a lot, and continues to rail against the existing institutions, but offers no alternative to fix it. I mean, does anyone honestly think the current system is fair? No, not even a little bit, but what Sam seems to want will make the system as a whole even more unfair, which he seems to be OK with, as long as that parts he worries about are a bit more fair.

                        As fair from the standard of “Innocent until proven guilty” as we’ve gotten, I’m not OK allowing it to go further. Yes, real people will be hurt, and guilty people will get away with it, and the more powerful they are, the more harm they will be able to do until circumstance or karma catches up to them. And yes, that sucks, it’s not fair, and I wish we could have perfect justice, but we don’t, and we won’t for as long as people are people. All we can do is shoot for the incremental changes that make things better a little bit at a time.

                        I even stated, up above, that I’d be open to the argument that an alternative standard is warranted for people of power. As long as the standard can be given an objective definition. Maybe it’s determined by money, or political position, or social media followers. Some bar by which, when you cross it, the rules change. A bar that can only be crossed intentionally (you have to want to cross the bar, it can’t happen by accident, like suddenly gaining 500K followers on social media because something you did went viral). Something. I don’t know that it would stand up to a legal challenge, but hell, I’d entertain it. I am warm to the idea that power demands a counter balance that is missing in our society, if we are going to insist on granting individuals such power.

                        But that balance has to be clearly defined. And right now, no one has even tried to, it’s just been some howling at the moon.

                        Make the argument, because THAT would be an interesting discussion to have.

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                        • Thanks for explaining. FWIW I found your original comment to be a non-sequitur to what Sam was actually talking about above (which didn’t have to do with sending anyone to jail, but rather what it was and wasn’t OK for Presidents to have their staff do, and why), and that non-sequitur may be part of why Sam assumes things you don’t mean.

                          I didn’t care that it was a non-sequitur because I thought it was interesting, and I also thought a discussion of where one does draw the line legally or otherwise would be interesting, but I can see why Sam interprets it in the light of what he actually wrote the post about, and not in the context of the ongoing frustrations you have with him.

                          I’d actually suggest at this point that you write a post about this very topic, why it’s important to hold on to the principle of innocent until proven guilty, but that if people want to make exceptions based on power levels, you’d love to hear an actual argument for what those would be…. because that’d be a really interesting post.

                          I honestly think you and Sam are talking past each other here, almost completely. It’s hard for me to mind because you’re both saying things I’m really interested, but if you’re both feeling like the other person is being a jerk to you, it’s probably not the best move for either of you.

                          That said, you moved right back to the good place on tone with this, so maybe the two of you can manage to keep talking productively here too.

                          *shrugs*

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                        • Again, you’re asking me to build an entirely new system, from scratch. If you want to ground this conversation in particular examples, I am happy to do that, but let’s pick an example and move forward. Do you want to discuss who we label with terms like white supremacist? Who we charge with crimes? How we charge them? Let’s use a SPECIFIC example and go.

                          Elsewhere in that post, and within this example, I have used the example of the Catholic Church abuse scandal. Would you be open to suggestions at where the system could change there?

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                          • Let’s walk back to the genesis of this debate. I made a statement that, as a general rule, it is poor form to make an accusation about a person that is $BAD unless you have some kind of evidence to back that accusation up.

                            This should not be controversial, from both a legal and a social standpoint. And as I look back at things, you were, initially on board with that (see here & here)

                            Then you came back with this, and frankly, this is where the wheels started coming off.

                            I stand by my original position – don’t make $BAD accusations about people unless you can back it up with something. Yes, society will require that if you make an accusation about a well regarded public figure, you’d better have some solid evidence to back that up. And yes, this is neither fair to regular people who don’t get to demand that quality of evidence when they are accused of something $BAD, nor is it fair to the victims of public figures, who have to meet an unfairly inflated standard of evidence in order to demand justice.

                            And we all know why this is, because public figures endure an inordinate amount of false accusations from people who are clearly seeking attention or who are mentally unwell. The higher standard should, ideally, serve as a filter so as to eliminate the specious claims before they get anywhere, and save everyone time and effort. Of course it also means that public figures can game the standards in order to get away with bad behavior.

                            It’s unfortunate, but I don’t see a way past it that either makes it nearly impossible for any victim to seek justice (raising the evidentiary standard for all) or that doesn’t cause public figures to not spend considerably more time and resources fending of vacuous claims against them (removing the unofficial higher standard). Honestly, I’m all for removing the unofficial higher standard and giving public figures other tools to protect themselves from empty claims and tort abuse (easier vexatious litigant status for people who get into the habit of filing claims against public figures, loser pays, counter suits, etc.). But that won’t fix the problem of people who elevate public figures to positions of power being unwilling to accept the possibility that the person really did what they are accused of. Those people have made an emotional, possibly a financial, investment in the elevation of that figure, and they will not easily allow that investment to fail. There is no getting around this, no matter what standards are in force.

                            Police, priests, politicians, pop stars – they all get cover not because the system is rigged, but because people do not want to accept that their faith and belief has been misplaced in that person. Until you can find a way past this, there is nothing you can do that will make a lick of difference in the end. Powerful people will get cover until the evidence is sufficient to destroy people’s faith in them.

                            Acknowledging this reality, what I ask is that in the zeal to make sure justice is served upon the powerful, we do not expose the powerless to additional abuse. The pursuit of justice that crafts more victims is an empty justice.

                            You seem to have strong opinions on this, perhaps you can see a way to balance justice for the powerful & the powerless, because I don’t. All I see are little things, here and there, that might help, like better police accountability, better DA accountability, more transparency in government, etc.

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                            • To my mind, the most obvious way past laudatory regard for “police, priests, politicians, pop stars” is to punish those who protect the status quo at the expense of victims. This means substantive, and meaningful criminal sanction for those who engage in such behavior. Is this likely? Of course not. But because the current system’s response to tolerated abuses is feather light, if it exists at all, changing the system’s rules to allow for more aggressive punishment of those who, at the time, engaged in coverup rather than proactively worked to end the abuse strikes me as a workable, and implementable, way forward.

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                              • I think the basic objection is that the people who make the decisions about who get prosecuted are, well, not on your side the vast majority of the time. The failure to prosecute various conspirators and accessories in these circumstances has less to do with due process protections and more to do with deliberate nonfeasance on the part of authorities.

                                I don’t know how to change their incentives so they’re better aligned with the common good, but this actually won’t do this at all.

                                I would usually go on to say that weakening due process protections would ultimately hurt the very vulnerable people we most want to protect, but to be blunt I think we’re already way past the point of diminishing returns on that score.

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                                • This might be the case, but I would similarly suggest that those prosecutors would also be opened up to sanction for their refusal to pursue reported abuses (in the case of something like the Catholic Church). But this is ultimately why I am so pessimistic about any of this changing. We’re not going to make it easier for victims, both because we worry too much about the possibility of false positives (we are literally willing to sacrifice 100 abused children if it means one parent would not be falsely accused) and because we are too invested in our institutions to substantively punish them in meaningful, long-lasting ways.

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                                • Well, we could look at the Boston Archdioceses abuse scandals for PLENTY of examples, but look broadly at who ended up facing criminal sanctions and who was charged and who faced trials and who went to prison: the scope of the response was very, very limited. People who plainly and obviously looked the other way, but who created the circumstances necessary for the abuse to occur, were at best reputationally slapped.

                                  So in cases of abuse: there should be no statute of limitations for claims regarding abuse, as well as no legal protection for police officers and prosecutors who do not investigate claims that subsequently end up being proven true. If we want to limit that scope to a financial exposure, fine, but I am just as supportive of criminal sanctions for individuals who do not pursue investigation or prosecution. Simply put, the stakes for engaging in coverup have to much, much higher, to get adults (in the case of child abuse) to take such claims more seriously.

                                  As such, the priests themselves would be charged for abuse, as would anybody who knew what the priests were doing but either did not report this to the police or enabled the priests behavior, as would police officers and prosecutors who took the Church’s word that things were being handled. Raise the costs of protecting entrenched power, and maybe less people will be so inclined to protect entrenched power.

                                  But that takes courage and willingness. Both seem to be in generally short supply.

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                                  • I believe that quite a few states have extended the statute of limitation on crimes like sexual abuse, partly in response to the RCC abuse scandal. So that is something that can indeed be done, though this may have limited practical effect (as it can be harder to gather evidence and find witnesses as a crime recedes in time). Or I could be talking out of my ass, as (no pun intended) IANAL.

                                    I do for sanctioning prosecutors and police for not prosecuting, this sounds like it’s really playing with fire. It might make them more willing to step up and pursue cases against entrenched or powerful interests, but it also seems to limit the likelihood that they won’t prosecute people who are weak and vulnerable. I don’t really think we’d be better off if we had law enforcement even more convinced that the last thing they want to do is let any crime go, and I think this would be at least as likely to be turned on (say) Eric Holder for not standing up to the menace of the New Black Panthers as it would be used to go after the various officials who let the abuse scandal slide.

                                    Above, I said that I question whether weakening due process protections would really make marginalized or vulnerable people that much worse off, and I still do,[1] but giving the state more incentive to pursue criminals? That sounds like a very bad plan, all things considered.

                                    [1] That said, I’d much rather see a real expansion of the due process rights that should, in theory, constrain the government, but in practice, don’t. I don’t see an easy way to get there from here, especially since I share some degree of of your belief that a lot of contemporary activism for “due process” is really about shielding certain classes of malefactors from the consequences of their actions.

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                                  • You are not wrong, but I have to concur with here, raising the costs on protecting powerful people is basically on the DA. I’m pretty sure most of what you describe is already covered under the conspiracy statutes (any lawyer want to weigh in?), but the DA has to want to press those charges.

                                    We could force their hand, make them press charges, or give them a powerful negative incentive to do so, but then we run the risk of having them overcharge people who should not be (same goes for too strong of a positive incentive). Will had posted a link recently about a guy who was arrested because he knowingly let his wife have sex for money. That strikes me as the kind of trouble we’ll be courting if do not structure the incentives very, very carefully.

                                    So sure, I agree, get DAs to go after those who actively provide cover, just be aware we are traversing uncertain ground if we do.

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                                    • @pillsy So one important addendum to this idea is to not make it broadly applicable, but specific to situations involving abuse. The husband whose wife was a prostitute does not involve abuse (unless it did, and then it should have been perhaps handled in this way). But it seems to me that the open-endedness of the proposed treatment could be limited to specific violations of law. Furthermore, exposing DAs to financial or criminal penalty for not pursuing these crimes aggressively strikes me as its own particular motivation. But again, I am holding out precisely zero hope that anything like this would ever happen, because we would have see a massive cultural shift in which we worried as much about the victims of abuse as we do about the accused, and that ain’t never gonna happen.

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                                • Another example was the recent Rotherham abuse scandal.

                                  The failure to address the abuse was attributed to a combination of factors revolving around race, class and gender—contemptuous and sexist attitudes toward the mostly working-class victims; fear that the perpetrators’ ethnicity would trigger allegations of racism and damage community relations; the Labour council’s reluctance to challenge a Labour-voting ethnic minority; lack of a child-centred focus; a desire to protect the town’s reputation; and lack of training and resources.

                                  1400 kids. The authorities were aware of it for over a decade. The government colluding to cover up the crimes because they were inconvenient.

                                  It’s one of those things that, if you put it in a television movie, would be considered over-the-top even by fourth-tier cable-channels.

                                  One bad actor is one thing. But when the cops are in on it, when the courts are in on it, and when you get people arguing “well, what are *YOUR* motives in pointing this out?”, there’s something going on. Something very ugly indeed.

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                    • First of all, I don’t owe you the creation of a system that the entirety of humanity up until now ALSO has been entirely unable to create.

                      Second of all, that system does not exist, nor will it ever exist, at least until there is a significant cultural shift away from protecting the entrenched from the consequences of their actions. Can you imagine any scenario in which that happens? In which we value women as much as men or children as much as adults? The problem though is as you diagnosed it: that people are powerful because they enjoy the support of other people. That creates the situation as it is being endured.

                      Third of all, your concern for false positives is incredible, given how often our fear of those occurs allows for unbelievably damaging true positives to go unpunished. We obviously disagree deeply about this issue, and I seriously doubt, if you really do believe that false positives are worse than unpunished true positives, there is any workable middle ground between us.

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                      • This is just me-as-me talking, not me-as-moderator but “if you really do believe that false positives are worse than unpunished true positives” is not a really out there belief. I mean, I believe that, it’s called the presumption of innocence and it’s a foundation of the American legal system and it’s resulted in a *lot*, like a lot a lot of NON-powerful people being protected from the same kinds of power imbalances you rightfully decry. It does get ignored, but it also gets re-established and wrongs get righted based on it. Not just the protection of people who really did something wrong.

                        I think (could be wrong) that what you are so fed up about is the idea that 1 false positive is worse than a million false negatives, which I agree is the paradigm we currently operate under outside of the judicial system, without good reason, and it frustrates me too.

                        I don’t think Oscar is advocating that any number of false negatives are less of a problem than one false positive… and I think there is a lot of middle ground between your positions. I also think Oscar’s position is a lot more centered than you seem to think it is. I would, of course, given that I’m standing somewhere in between you.

                        But I can say that I would rather my dad went unpunished for his unspeakable crimes *toward me* than that you, for example, went to jail or even got unfairly fired because people were worried about the possibility of my dad. (Given that the reason my dad got off as lightly as he did for the crimes they did catch was not a concern about false positive AT ALL, but that the prosecutorial system couldn’t keep up with all the drug-war-related murders they were prosecuting and wanted a plea-bargain that would put his behavior on the record if he tried it again, this issue doesn’t seem like a big priority to me, either, tbh.)

                        It’s precisely *all the middle ground between those things* where all the people you and Oscar both care about are standing.

                        On a slightly different bent, those priests *didn’t get excused because people in power were worried about false negatives*. They got excused because people either a) found the whole thing so unthinkable that they couldn’t face it or b) were prioritizing their own self-interest and didn’t care about false negatives nearly as much as about doing that.

                        On a second different bent, the problem with comparing the two things, pedophilia and racism, is not that there is no comparison to be made, but that they are different enough (at least as commonly used) that people have trouble seeing your points when you do it. A racist (or a white supremacist) as commonly used in conversation can be any of a huge range of things from someone who uses slurs or makes dumb statements about black culture or forgets that Atlanta is Black Mecca – because they’re insulated and ignorant and think that means they can drop n-words with impunity – to a thoroughly racist jerk who nonetheless fights for the right side even though they don’t agree with it, to someone who actively participates in racial genocide. I think that’s fine and the reasonable range of use of the word. A pedophile, *as commonly used*, is someone who either sexually assaults children or will the second they believe they can get away with it. One is a binary term and one is not. So when you compare them, people think it’s a binary term you’re using in both cases.

                        That said, even if it was a binary term, I’d be fine with dropping Trump into the racist side of the binary. But that’s not how the word gets used…

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                        • someone who uses slurs or makes dumb statements about black culture or forgets that Atlanta is Black Mecca – because they’re insulated and ignorant and think that means they can drop n-words with impunity – to a thoroughly racist jerk who nonetheless fights for the right side even though they don’t agree with it, to someone who actively participates in racial genocide.

                          Ugh, I totally jacked up that sentence through crappy editing. I meant to REMOVE the because clause, and replace it with everything after slurs up to the first dash, not attach the because clause to all those things.

                          Leaving it as is so that there’s evidence of my own stupidity. Bad Maribou’s typist! Bad!

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                        • I recognize that it isn’t an out there belief. My problem is that it is a very common belief, because what it does it allows abusers to operate with society’s sanction and protection, and it forces victims to achieve a burden of proof that is regularly impossible. It is a symptom of the disease, in other words.

                          I would say that my belief that false positives are, maximally, just as bad as true positives does make me the outlier though. I do not disagree with that.

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                          • It’s the “and therefore we won’t find common ground” part that confuses me then.

                            Like, you both want the same things in many cases. Oscar doesn’t want you to build the whole system, nor is he defending the whole system, any more than you are advocating burning everything to the ground and starting over. The fact that he thinks a single false positive is maximally worse than a single true positive (if, in fact he thinks that, but I certainly do) doesn’t mean you can’t find areas where you can both agree.

                            I mean, *you both agree about the particulars of your OP*.

                            So I’m rather baffled.

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                      • I wish I hadn’t missed this thread for so long. The system does exist in the law, at least in defamation cases, that does almost exactly what it sounds like you and Oscar are looking for. I linked one article above setting out the standard, but it’s basically (at a very high level of abstraction): don’t say mean things about private persons unless you’re right, but you can say mean things about public persons unless you know you’re wrong.

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              • Are we to remain more concerned with false positives than we are with true positives?

                Yes.

                And who does that decision end up benefitting?

                A lot more people than those who suffer because of it. The innocent greatly outnumber the guilty.

                How many posters have been divorced? If we let one “ex” accuse the other of “X” and let that be assumed to be true, what do we think will happen?

                People lie if it’s in their best interests. Hand out a massive club which can be trivially misused and it will be constantly misused. We set the bar for evidence so high because when we set it lower we run into this issue until we raise it again.

                Lowering the bar will hurt the poor way more than the rich because the rich can afford lawyers and such to defend themselves.

                (Quoting you from a different post)
                See: what happens to women who say that they have been raped, abused, or otherwise attacked.

                Even with the current rules, what percentage of these accusations are false? Something like half?

                I’ve gotten to know the details on… I think 6(?) different incidents, all of them false. Two were college events, each of which turned out to be someone manipulating the system and confessed as much at some point.

                All of the other incidents had the same accuser and she’s attractive, charismatic, convincing, emotionally distraught, and can quote everyone not in the room as backing her. She’s never admitted anything, she and her kid are always the victim(s) in her narrative.

                The police, apparently collectively, are a set of officialdom she can’t snow. I think it’s because they expect people to lie to them and as such ask detailed questions that lead to actual evidence. That makes me think she’s a lot more common than I’d like to believe, just more extreme.

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            • I didn’t get into this earlier, because I don’t disagree that we shouldn’t just fling accusations at anyone, but I think the standard you’re looking for (that is totally appropriate to the extent we are discussing laws vs. “should”) is the definition of a public figure.

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                • It’s the latter. There are also 2 kinds of public figures: http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/proving-fault-actual-malice-and-negligence is really worth reading and I think reflects on your concerns here as well as going into more detail about the law *and* citing the actual cases that have led to the present consensus.

                  I am only familiar with this stuff from the copyright/photographers/right to privacy/etc side of it, but the principles seem similar.

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                  • That is much more substantive, thank you!

                    IMHO it probably misses a large number of powerful people in our society, but it certainly hits the ones who would enjoy considerable public faith & support.

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                  • I’m going to disagree with by claiming that the standard is vague (intentionally) and ALSO only summarized in that article. California, for example, uses publicly-available jury instructions when these types of issues go to trial. Here’s the one for defamation per se against a public official. Think of “per se” as just meaning “I still win my case even if I wasn’t provably-harmed by the defamation.”

                    You’ll note both that there are only five elements for demonstrating liability (four fairly technical ones, plus the unnumbered fifth that is the real source of protection for those who discuss public figures). You’ll also note the pages of legal decisions (which are but the smallest subset of the fully body of law) from which these instructions are derived.

                    (for contrast, here’s the page for defamation per se against a private individual on a matter of private concern, which you’ll see is FAR easier to show)

                    The application of the standard is rarely controversial. It’s totally in-bounds for me to say “I believe Trump is cheating on his taxes and hiding massive gifts from Russia” because I don’t know that’s false (and not just because I’m hiding my head in the sand). It would be totally out of bounds for me to say “I believe is cheating on his taxes and hiding massive gifts from Russia” because you are a private figure and your tax returns are not a private concern and I have no reason to even begin to suspect the statement is true (to be clear: I’m not saying that). There are harder questions (when does a matter become a “public concern,” when does someone become a “public figure” in the context of the statements) but there’s a LOT of law to help answer that question in a lot of cases.

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                    • Ha good point; I retract :D.

                      I agree that the law is intentionally vague for the same reason fair use is, because it’s meant to be used as guiding principles for a trial. But the page I linked is way more thorough than the initial summary, and answered a bunch of Oscar’s questions about the law(s). So I should’ve just posted it and not presumed to answer the question.

                      Great links / analysis in this comment, thanks!

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                      • It’s definitely a useful link (and far more user friendly to you folks, I presume, than my links). I was just tweaking you about the standard not being vague, as nearly all torts have a frustrating lack of precision in their formulations.

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              • While I don’t necessarily think of a firefighter as a public figure (certainly not in the way I think of a police officer), I don’t have a problem with said figure suffering the penalty of a rather public action.

                I mean, the whole wildly racist bit aside, this fire fighter basically just publicly told everyone in his community, if you aren’t white, you can die in a fire. Pretty sure that is going to hurt the departments ability to help people if they don’t take action.

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                • While I think it’s crucial that firefighters don’t usually carry weapons, it may be relevant (perhaps not) that they’re often the first government parties who arrive at the scene of any 911-reported crime, injury, accident or disaster that doesn’t seem to present a risk of being shot at – not just fires.

                  I mention it because once I’d realized that (through observation, I’d never thought about it until I saw it happening), it made them seem a lot more public-official-y to me.

                  It also seems kind of weird, I mean, their job is to *fight fires*, although I understand the logic behind it.

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                • Well, a few issues with that example:

                  1) It’s never defamation to tell the truth.
                  2) It’s a pretty fair bet that “whether the fire department would save homes owned by black people” is a matter of legitimate public concern, and choosing to speak on it makes him (at least) a limited public figure.

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          • As for being concerned about reputations, it is remarkable the energy we waste on protecting the reputations of powerful entrenched individuals. That energy feeds directly back into making bad situations much, much worse, and we have plenty of examples to know this to be true.

            I don’t think you have a leg to stand on here. I think it’s a farce to characterize a regional sportswriter/radio/self-branded guy taking on ESPN to the extent that he has to be an entrenched power.

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      • It’s also one of many possible objections, one of which will apply to any public statement. If it’s peaceful demonstrating, those people should get a job/get out of the streets/move on with their lives/focus on something productive. If it’s rallying that turns violent (even when escalated by police), everyone involved is responsible and should not be listened to. If it’s a tweet like this then it’s outrageous and beneath response. If it’s kneeling during the anthem it’s a direct affront to our troops (somehow!). If there has just been a mass shooting, any proposal designed to stop the next one is “politicizing” the tragedy. Etc. Etc. Etc.

        There is no moment and method that would not generate one of these objections, other than words softly spoken in the privacy of one’s own home to no one. Which is why these objections are not worth much consideration.

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        • No, my objection is quite a bit above that, because the issue at hand is targeted to the individual and is something that can be damaging to the individual, even if it winds up being shown to be false, because accusations tend to live long past any acquittal of them.

          So, you know, have some kind of decent evidence you can hang your argument on (like very helpfully provided up above).

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          • Right, and if that were the objection Hill actually got, the answer would be to provide (at least some of the) evidence and then have a discussion on the merits (which, IMO, are clear).

            I’ll also note that the “accusations are damaging enough” objection is, in my experience, nearly always used as a defense of white men, particularly rich white men or their sons. I’m not saying that anyone making it is a horrible racist, but it’s something I’ve learned to hear so I’m mentioning that here too.

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            • Sure, but my original comment was meant in a general sense. As I think I’ve made pretty clear, Hill could pretty easily dig up plenty of evidence to argue her point. And while I am sure each could be defended or hand-waved away to some extent or another, the fact that there are just so many instances to defend or dismiss is telling in it’s own right.

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      • The need for evidence is fine. The demand though that utter silence is necessary until the evidence achieves an imagined threshold is almost always made in service of the accused, and almost always makes the situation worse.

        Ah yes but still no evidence. I’m wondering whether or not Clay Travis is asserted to be execrable because he is presumed known to be execrable, or if we are supposed to accept that because Sam vouches for it. And for that matter, which is worse.

        Lib is a moral error.

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        • I assume that he’s asserted to be execrable because Sam assumes we know more about sports commentators than I at least, do.

          Looking at this, http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/2017/09/15/clay-travis-cnn-boobs-brooke-baldwin/671619001/ (which is linked elsewhere in this comments section), I have a fair amount of trouble being upset that Sam called him execrable.

          Telling people their relatively mainstream political views are a moral error that has to be cleaned up before reasonable discourse can occur is not particularly civil behavior, either.

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          • (Sidenote, Sam might just be assuming we know how to google someone and thus could find plenty of evidence to support his adjective without much effort, which is what I did to gain further context after following Mike’s link.)

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            • (Sidenote, Sam might just be assuming we know how to google someone and thus could find plenty of evidence to support his adjective without much effort, which is what I did to gain further context after following Mike’s link.)

              No no no, Oscar (and I) are right on that score, that just doesn’t fly. If you got a beef, state your case.

              Btw, if Sam ever does elaborate, the likelihood is that he’s still wrong.

              I know just a little bit about Clay Travis and don’t follow him very closely but from what I do know that he is probably the best specifically sports-media journalist working today. That is, Clay Travis has been working the thesis that ESPN is in decline from a stale business model, ideological bias and bad contacts for at least a year or two now. And in that story, Clay has been juggling numbers and working sources like any good journalist does.

              Typically, Clay comes out with a post where he alleges that layoffs at ESPN are imminent, and various executives and journalists criticize and deny Clay Travis in much the same tone that Sam uses. And then four days later ESPN announces the next round of layoffs.

              So by context, Sam might be trying to defend the honor of ESPN’s corporate brand. That’s most of what Clay Travis’ critics have been about.

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              • If you’d like a reason for Clay Travis being considered execrable, start with his explicit racism toward players like DeMarcus Cousins. That link, for the record, will take you to Travis’s dismissively claiming that Cousins’ would absolutely end up getting arrested within five years, and Cousins then dunking on Travis when it hadn’t happened. (Although the Lord knows there are plenty of reasons to dislike Travis.)

                As for the idea that I’m defending ESPN, get out of here: ESPN is in decline not because of politics, but because of cord-cutting and massive rights deals paid out to leagues at the peak of the markets that are no longer financially justifiable. Travis refuses to engage with any of that though, and instead focuses on politics, because he is only able to see the world through his own extremely narrow framing.

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                • As for the idea that I’m defending ESPN, get out of here: ESPN is in decline not because of politics, but because of cord-cutting and massive rights deals paid out to leagues at the peak of the markets that are no longer financially justifiable. Travis refuses to engage with any of that though, and instead focuses on politics, because he is only able to see the world through his own extremely narrow framing.

                  This is exactly contrary to my recollection, in fact that was more or less my only recollection of Clay Travis. So I looked it up and I was right, just as I expected. A cursory search for links turned up this:

                  https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/espn-firing-over-a-hundred-employees-today-042617/
                  https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/espn-loses-4-million-subscribers-in-past-year-080416/
                  https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/espn-loses-1-5-million-subscribers-as-cord-cutting-accelerates-052816/

                  And there’s plenty more where they came from.

                  So in fact it’s pretty clear that Clay Travis is perfectly capable of describing the decline of ESPN in terms of rights and cordcutting and in fact has been doing that for some time now.

                  And in that context it seems quite likely that libs such as yourself have been clearly operating in bad faith. In the first case you’re misrepresenting his work for the purpose of evading his ideological critique, and in the second case you’re going straight for character assassination.

                  As far as Boogie goes, I can only guess what that is supposed to prove. The whole world raises its eyebrow at Boogie. He got traded from Sacramento of all places. And the content in your link is pretty meager.

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                  • If you’re going to dismiss what Travis said about Boogie Cousins out of hand, then what is the point of this, especially when Boogie Cousins didn’t end up getting arrested?

                    The part you’re missing though, predictably, is that Travis claims the cord-cutting is informed by opposition to ESPN’s alleged politics – when the reality is that the cord-cutting is the result of the cost of cable television packages, and the inability of customers to subscribe to what they want via cable. This isn’t a political issue, in other words; this is a cable’s-terrible-business-model problem.

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                    • If you’re going to dismiss what Travis said about Boogie Cousins out of hand, then what is the point of this, especially when Boogie Cousins didn’t end up getting arrested?

                      Well, I don’t know. Maybe the idea that Clay Travis’ treatment of Boogie Cousins is an example of explicit racism is unfair, given the fact that it’s not substantiated in the two links I’ve seen, one in response to me and the other in response to Oscar.

                      The part you’re missing though, predictably, is that Travis claims the cord-cutting is informed by opposition to ESPN’s alleged politics – when the reality is that the cord-cutting is the result of the cost of cable television packages, and the inability of customers to subscribe to what they want via cable. This isn’t a political issue, in other words; this is a cable’s-terrible-business-model problem.

                      Really? It seems clear to me that Clay Travis is perfectly credible talking about all aspects of the issue: cord-cutting, cable business models, cultural politics, the lot of it. I don’t see as how you could look at the links I gave you and conclude otherwise.

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          • I assume that he’s asserted to be execrable because Sam assumes we know more about sports commentators than I at least, do.

            Really? That’s certainly possible but given the context it seems at least as likely to say that Sam assumes that he knows more about sports commentators that we do. So which is it?

            Looking at this, http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/2017/09/15/clay-travis-cnn-boobs-brooke-baldwin/671619001/ (which is linked elsewhere in this comments section), I have a fair amount of trouble being upset that Sam called him execrable.

            I do. “Execrable” means having some kind of obvious character flaw, I think it’s fair to say, and saying something mildly colloquial on one national media appearance is not that. (Assuming again, that that is Sam’s beef.)

            Telling people their relatively mainstream political views are a moral error that has to be cleaned up before reasonable discourse can occur is not particularly civil behavior, either.

            That’s true, and in times past I would not have not that, and am not especially thrilled to be doing it now for that matter. So at the very least accept that I am not doing it gratuitously.

            In this case (and as Oscar hinted at), I don’t think it’s at all credible to think that Sam is or should be ignorant of the basic ethical proprieties surrounding attacking someone’s reputation. He just doesn’t care.

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            • I don’t find that a mildly colloquial thing to insist on repeatedly to a woman who is clearly extremely uncomfortable, and wasn’t asking him about his feelings about female body parts, at all. (It’s relevant that she’s a woman because insisting on enthusing about female body parts is a traditional way of pushing women out of a conversation.) I find it an uncivilized way to treat said woman, to keep doubling down on that, and his body language and tone of voice in that segment just make it more so. (I actually watched it in the hopes that body language/tone of voice would make me feel less like he was execrable for behaving like that, but I was wrong. It made it worse.) If we’re going to pick at individual words and embrace particular definitions, execrable means worthy of cursing, etymologically, and I think that’s exactly what’s going on here.

              FWIW I also think whatever junior employee (not the host) picked him out of the crowd of potential pro-Trump guests for the segment was wrong, and either stupid or deliberately trying to escalate for ratings.

              Oscar wasn’t hinting, he was making a clear case for what he thought, and he was very clear that in the case of Trump, he thought the accusations were reasonable. In general, I think there are very few ethical proprieties surrounding attacking a President’s reputation, and nor, for the sake of free speech, should there be. One is free to disagree and to judge people for their judgments, or course, but if *anyone* can be verbally attacked in this country, the President would be that person. Siccing the white house press secretary on verbal attackers so she can point out who she thinks should be fired? That’s a really big hammer to use on a really small mouse. Had Obama had his press secretary start talking about fireable offenses for birthers, I would have felt the same way.

              As for the whole “lib is a moral error” thing, you’re literally telling a significant number of commenters here that the only way to talk to you is if they’re willing to cast off their affiliations to do so. What’s the purpose of that? (And I ask that as someone who doesn’t actually have affiliations of the sort you seem to classify as “lib”.)

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              • As for the whole “lib is a moral error” thing, you’re literally telling a significant number of commenters here that the only way to talk to you is if they’re willing to cast off their affiliations to do so. What’s the purpose of that?

                No no, the rest of your comment is important but I want to address this first. I’m usually going for a few related things by that.

                1. A lib/Left interlocutor is committing some act of corrupt advocacy.
                2. He’s doing it because of or enabled by his political/ideological convictions.
                3. These are moral errors, not mistakes of judgment or perception.
                4. They are usually small and by themselves more or less irrelevant. But due to the lack of other considerations and cumulative effect we shouldn’t minimize them
                5. This represents an opportunity for the interlocutor to express remorse or form an intention toward a different pattern of behavior.
                6. To the extent that this is difficult because these patterns of behavior are tied too close to their ideological or political convictions, they can always change the latter.

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                • Take your time, I’ve got Netflix open and I’m doing other things as well. My conclusions may not be what you’d like them to be – for example what you just said *includes in 5 and 6* the same thing I said to you that you responded to with “No no”, but right now I’m all ears.

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                  • ….for example what you just said *includes in 5 and 6* the same thing I said to you that you responded to with “No no”, but right now I’m all ears.

                    But what you said before what was that I was or would be unwilling to correspond with libs otherwise.

                    In fact that is the most important thing to be talking with libs about, politically speaking.

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                    • If you are trying to engage with libs, asserting that to be one is to be in moral error is at best counter-productive.

                      If you’re trying to engage with the author of a post here, deciding to defend someone who (as far as I can see) does have some good points to make, but not ones no one else is making, and also is completely context-independent to the point where he will double-down on saying boobs in the context he did, without apologizing (she was asking him to clarify because it was possible she misheard him; he could have taken a second to apologize for making her uncomfortable, but clearly was gleeful about making her accept it; I read it this way because *this happens to women all the time* and I saw it happening to someone right in front of me all over again) – that is counter-productive.

                      I wasn’t actually talking about Sam except to tell you that I wasn’t happy with your civility level towards him and other liberals on this site. So I was only excavating his (non-remarkable to me) use of the word execrable in order to understand why you were using it as justification for that. As far as I can tell, after carefully reading all your comments here twice, part of your problem with him is that you aren’t happy with “libs”‘ civility level (I’m reducing, but I don’t believe oversimplifying) and have decided that means they’re not morally equivalent conversational partners until they adjust to meet your standards.

                      Asserting that Oscar agrees with you that Sam is in error about Travis (not that there’s a general concern he’s working to express) only served to stir up trouble in that Sam believed your assertion that Oscar was defending Clay Travis even though Oscar didn’t give two hoots about Travis. (Yup, that’s boring baseball commenter analysis. I’d rather not do it either. So stop doing stuff that generates it.)

                      You need to adjust to meet my standards of civility, Koz. I’m in conversation with you, not attacking you, here. I value your contributions to this site when they don’t have to do with making pronouncements about libs being in moral error (which is either a blanket attack on half the site’s commenters, or a trivial statement since just about everybody is in some kind of moral error all the time), but you need to adjust, not tell writers, commenters, and everyone else you disagree with to start adjusting.

                      That’s all I’m going to say to you on this post, unless you continue to be uncivil in those ways, and I’m not going to take further action – I’m just telling you – but I mean it.

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                      • As far as I can tell, after carefully reading all your comments here twice, part of your problem with him is that you aren’t happy with “libs”‘ civility level (I’m reducing, but I don’t believe oversimplifying) and have decided that means they’re not morally equivalent conversational partners until they adjust to meet your standards.

                        Not at all. Civility as you’re using it here is kind of a red herring.

                        The issue here is corruption. Specifically Sam’s corrupt advocacy, as lib, on this thread relating to Clay Travis. I’m marginally interested in defending Clay Travis, but I’m much more invested in the prevention and accountability for corrupt advocacy.

                        Sam’s characterization of Clay Travis is bad not just in the obvious way, but in more subtle ones as well. Or to put it another way, Sam treatment of Clay Travis completes the circle of corrupt advocacy.

                        First of all, Sam ab initio disparages Clay’s character. Then he refuses to substantiate that even after prompted twice. Then he attempts to justify this with a weak, largely unsupported irrelevant side issue. Finally the misrepresents Clay Travis’ substantive critique of ESPN.

                        My recollection of Clay Travis before this thread is largely based on posts like the following (which I mentioned elsewhere):

                        https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/espn-firing-over-a-hundred-employees-today-042617/
                        https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/espn-loses-4-million-subscribers-in-past-year-080416/
                        https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/espn-loses-1-5-million-subscribers-as-cord-cutting-accelerates-052816/

                        Clay Travis has very good, well-supported reasons for his opinions regarding ESPN (which doesn’t necessarily make them right, of course). So it’s completely reasonable why Clay Travis would have topical things to say about Jamele Hill and make media appearances regarding that.

                        The upshot is that Sam evades engaging anything of substance Clay Travis has written or said. And further, that he has also encouraged the readers here to remain in ignorance on that score based on his representations.

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                        • This isn’t a post about Clay Travis. And civility as I’m using it here isn’t a red herring, I’m just using the word differently than you are, when I use it it definitely carries a moral judgment (a small one). Though thank you for explaining your point about Travis more.

                          My problem is that whether you have a point about Travis or not, making claims that “lib is a moral error” are not civil. This *site’s* s comments are, to use your terms, corrupt. They’re corrupt enough that they are unpleasant for people I value who used to be long-time active commenters, and writers, here to have walked off or to have decided there’s no point in continuing to interact. They’re corrupt enough that as editors, we’ve all become frustrated and avoidant about the comments. These are not just random weird busybody judgments on my part, they’re the (weird or not) judgments of someone who has been paying attention for more than a decade, who does considerable work for the site every day, and who has power to do something about the comment section. At the moment, a lot more power than anyone else does. I don’t mention this as a threat, I mention this because you keep dismissing what I have to say about it, and I think you’re not really registering what the situation is.

                          Lack of civility is one way in which the comments become corrupt. Stating “lib is a moral error,” is, since those are the terms you want to use, a moral error. Committing a moral error deliberately because you’re upset about other people’s moral errors is not helping anyone and I won’t let you keep doing it. I’ve been correcting, revising, suspending, etc people on all different sides of whatever binary you want to pick *for doing that*. I can’t make you see that, obviously, but the reason I keep lecturing is to give you a chance to do exactly what you lay out you want all libs to do. Understand what you’re doing, set it aside with some remorse, and start being a reasonable participant.

                          In Travis’ case, he was also in moral error on CNN, for the very simple reason that turning a reasonable conversation that he has evidence in into a situation where one participant in the conversation is being shoved out of it because he insists on using something he *harps on all the time as a catchphrase* to discuss said situation, was *a moral error*. The host’s actions *corrected* that moral error. Sam’s use of the adjective is justified according to his perspective not because he should feel free to condemn people but because the same evidence you see as lightweight matters more to him. And in the case of these comment sections, I apply a much higher standard to how we discuss *each other* and *our writers* than to how we discuss random public figures, even ones as not-that-important as Travis. If Travis were a commenter here, or someone who wasn’t piling on to a situation that a major figure, ie the freaking president, was in moral error about, or even someone who I hadn’t just watched commit what I believe to be a moral error on video, the situation would be different. But he’s not and it’s not. Not because I’m corrupt or not corrupt, because I’m in charge of the comment section here now, and those are my moral judgments.

                          Making a statement that there is a moral error in tossing out adjectives like execrable without at least a link, and that you don’t think the links provided meet that standard, or that Travis is execrable, would have been a reasonable approach to disagreeing with Sam about Travis, and totally 100 percent within the bounds of morally correct commenting. But that is *not where you started the conversation*.

                          It’s really obnoxious that I have powers to enforce my moral judgments on this site and other people don’t. I agree with that. I’m a frigging social anarchist (if I’m anything, and I’m talking Ursula LeGuin, not blowing stuff up) for Pete’s sake, it makes me feel sick to my stomach to exert power over other people in any situation. But given the situation we are in with these comment sections, *it’s the least worst option*. So I’m willing to be in moral error, to be a dictator over which moral errors I do and don’t let slide, even when people feel I’ve made horrible mistakes, in order to reduce the proven-to-screw-up-everything amount of moral error that happens on this site overall. I might be wrong, I might throw the baby out with the bathwater and fuck everything up. But your opinions about that don’t change what the reality of the situation is.

                          And I’m telling you, bluntly, that statements like “lib is a moral error,” fall onto the morally wrong side for me.

                          So stop. If the same sort of thing comes up in another comment section, I will start taking action rather than explaining you into boredom and apathy.

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                          • Lack of civility is one way in which the comments become corrupt. Stating “lib is a moral error,” is, since those are the terms you want to use, a moral error.

                            Let’s start here. I suspect, I mean something slightly different by moral error and for me at least the difference is quite important. Maybe you’ll think differently and maybe not, but at least you should appreciate that I am not trolling.

                            That is, moral errors aren’t necessarily world-changing screwups but they are things that are not reducible to circumstance or judgment or perception. That’s the essence of my complaint against Sam, and it’s also the essence of my complaint against any lib if when I assert that lib is a moral error.

                            So for that reason, I’d venture that Clay Travis is different. Let’s stipulate that what Clay Travis did was wrong. Then, it’s fair to say, Clay Travis committed an error in judgment. What he can get away with on a radio show talking about college football from Tennessee isn’t the same standard of informality for CNN.

                            What Sam did is not that. If it were I probably would never have brought it up. For example if it were well-known at the League that Clay Travis is somehow odious then it would be completely different. As things stand, it’s not credible for me at least to see Sam how perceived or judged something in a slightly different way where otherwise it would be ok.

                            Which, while we’re on that subject, is why I’m not here very much. The problem with moral errors is that they are not in general resolvable as more information or events come into being. It’s a matter of the person involved to stop doing the wrong and start doing the right thing.

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                            • “It’s a matter of the person involved to stop doing the wrong and start doing the right thing.”

                              It sounds like we’re in agreement about how you were using the term, and how I was using it in response (it’s not a term I usually use). Because the part I just quoted is exactly what I want you to do about making blanket moral evaluations about “libs” and individual writers/commenters in the comments here.

                              So you do understand what I’m saying, although you and I differ on some other things rather a lot.

                              I was going to go into more detail, but I won’t. You have the information, you can decide what to do about it.

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                          • Making a statement that there is a moral error in tossing out adjectives like execrable without at least a link, and that you don’t think the links provided meet that standard, or that Travis is execrable, would have been a reasonable approach to disagreeing with Sam about Travis, and totally 100 percent within the bounds of morally correct commenting. But that is *not where you started the conversation*.

                            I’m not getting this one at all. That’s from my memory and from reading this thread, that’s exactly where I started the conversation.

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                            • You started the conversation with
                              “Ah yes but still no evidence. I’m wondering whether or not Clay Travis is asserted to be execrable because he is presumed known to be execrable, or if we are supposed to accept that because Sam vouches for it. And for that matter, which is worse.

                              Lib is a moral error.”

                              Most of my rephrasing is not present in that comment and the *important* part as far as what is or isn’t morally correct is the sentence “Lib is a moral error.”

                              Explaining all the reasons why you think it is justified to make those kinds of sweeping claims, in the context of this site, will not actually make me change my mind about the moral acceptability of saying them. Let alone repeating them over and over. I hear what you said, through the whole conversation, and I’m saying most of it was fine, the generalization is not.

                              (Fwiw, “con is a moral error” would get the exact same response.)

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              • FWIW I also think whatever junior employee (not the host) picked him out of the crowd of potential pro-Trump guests for the segment was wrong, and either stupid or deliberately trying to escalate for ratings.

                This is a weird one. Ordinarily you’d be right, but in this case you have to ask Clay Travis about ESPN. He’s the one who would know. Like you’d ask Vin Scully about the Dodgers or something.

                Btw, I don’t know enough of Clay Travis to know about his political sympathies. He’s most prominent for being anti-corporate-ESPN. He might be a generic political conservative as well, but he might not.

                I haven’t even really heard what his thoughts are about this episode (the clip starts after that). I guess he’d venture that ESPN screwed-up by having on-air talent speak lib platitudes but beyond that I haven’t seen anything.

                In any event, he sort of had to be there for this one.

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              • I don’t find that a mildly colloquial thing to insist on repeatedly to a woman who is clearly extremely uncomfortable, and wasn’t asking him about his feelings about female body parts, at all.

                He didn’t “insist” on repeating anything. The host and the other guest played the “ooh, I’m so offended card”

                “Did you really just say ‘boobs’ over live air on CNN?”

                “Yeah, I did.”

                If we’re going to pick at individual words and embrace particular definitions, execrable means worthy of cursing, etymologically, and I think that’s exactly what’s going on here.

                No no no no. “Execrable” is applied here to a person. You and Sam have no excuse on this one.

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                • I said Travis is worthy of cursing, yes. And he didn’t just say yes, he said the word boobs three or 4 more times and he rephrased it. She wasn’t FCC-offended, she was “are you sitting here on my show pulling this crap?” offended. And he could’ve apologized, shown remorse, whatever, but he didn’t.

                  The junior person was wrong to bring him on because he apparently trots out this line every five minutes – he told her in the segment that he does, also – and should’ve realized it would cause a problem beyond what his perspective could contribute. At the least they should have talked to the host about it.

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                  • And he didn’t just say yes, he said the word boobs three or 4 more times and he rephrased it.

                    Well yeah, the host stopped him and made him repeat it. It didn’t seem like he was going to repeat it on his own accord.

                    “Did you really say that, or this?”

                    “I said that”

                    She wasn’t FCC-offended, she was “are you sitting here on my show pulling this crap?” offended.

                    Ok, so what’s the difference? She clearly could have moved on if she wanted, but didn’t.

                    And notice the other guest, as well. It’s so convenient to fill air time with “ooh, I’m so offended” instead of substantively engaging ESPN financial and ideological failings, contrary to what Sam would have us believe.

                    The junior person was wrong to bring him on because he apparently trots out this line every five minutes – he told her in the segment that he does, also – and should’ve realized it would cause a problem beyond what his perspective could contribute. At the least they should have talked to the host about it.

                    Ok.

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              • Oscar wasn’t hinting, he was making a clear case for what he thought, and he was very clear that in the case of Trump, he thought the accusations were reasonable.

                Well yeah, but for this line of comments we’re talking about Sam, not Trump and Oscar and I are at least vaguely in general agreement so this is ancillary.

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            • On a serious note, the relentless sexual objectification of women is a real problem. That said, there has to be some room for humor, and hetero men should have some leeway to express their sexuality.

              It’s hard to draw a bright line — but that’s because bright lines suck.

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                  • You (collective you, not actual you, nor all men etc) would probably be a lot easier to live with if wasn’t right, tbh. The myth of male weakness doesn’t do the rest of us any favors either. Particularly not as played up to by advertisers.

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                    • And yet a man was just elected President despite ticking off pretty much every negative stereotypical box associated with said myth.

                      This is another area where the election of Donald Trump to the country’s highest office as eradicated my reserves of charity.

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                      • The interplay between “acts like a very large angry 3-year-old child” and “should be put in charge of important things anyway” is a fascinating tension, with a long rich history, that often makes me want to punch walls.

                        You see this a lot in how Ivanka talks about her father, but not only Ivanka. And not only Trump.

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                    • I have a very difficult time mustering any energy at all to worry about the media very occasionally portraying men as dummies, especially given how often men are dummies.

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                      • They actually do it all the time with regards to anything in the domestic sphere though? And it reinforces the idea that all that stuff is a woman’s job, needs to be done by wifey, when both spouses return from work, men should sit in front of the tv and watch wrestling (an example i pick because I do that myself) while their wife does everything to look after the kids and feed them and clean up after everybody, and that will just work out better, etc etc etc. Most (certainly not all) of the ways men get portrayed as dummies in the media reinforce that stereotype in ways that excuse dumb men and dismiss not-dumb men.

                        I care about it b/c I know some men who are the stay-at-home parent and it irks, but I care about it more for selfish reasons. I don’t want the whole culture of advertising, sitcoms, etc. telling me Jaybird is too dumb to pull his weight and should just be left alone when he gets home from where the REAL work happens… it’s pernicious. And it’s the opposite of how he acts and how he was raised.

                        Not to make a big thing out of an off-hand comment, but it’s seriously one of the main reasons I hate most (not all! and not necessarily the parts a person would think) mainstream tv stuff. Because I get really tired of being told half the world’s adults are children who need to be treated that way. (Which half varies considerably, and what that means in terms of power varies too, but the message is nevertheless stupid and anti-human.) It comes after how nearly everyone on TV is white and upper middle class regardless of accoutrements, and people of color are almost never the main characters. And also after the relentless objectification of women. But not much after.

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                        • And it reinforces the idea that all that stuff is a woman’s job, needs to be done by wifey, when both spouses return from work, men should sit in front of the tv and watch wrestling (an example i pick because I do that myself) while their wife does everything to look after the kids and feed them and clean up after everybody, and that will just work out better, etc etc etc.

                          That entire thing sorta demonstrates the entire problem with ‘positive stereotypes’, or whatever the official term is. (I suspect it’s not that.)

                          I.e., black people are good at basketball, Jewish people are good at finance, and, of course, women are good at domestic things and child rearing.

                          People saying ‘good things’ about a group of people appears to long outlive people saying ‘bad things’ about a group of people, which pretty much everyone at this point accepts is out bounds.

                          In addition to this often turning into restrictions on the group in question when they try to go outside the things they are ‘good at'(1), it can turn into restrictions on _other_ groups.

                          We tend not to notice this because often the other group are white men, and it really doesn’t actually matter if they are discriminated against in basketball.

                          But, of course, this could also keep black people out of finance (I seem to recall Trump expressing exactly this opinion.), and keep men out of childrearing and domestic tasks. The domestic tasks things is sorta trivial compared to the childrearing thing, but it’s sorta the first step of that thing…if someone can’t wash dishes how can they change a diaper?

                          1) Although, notable, this is a _lot_ worse for women than any other group. While people might think that a certain group happens to be good at something, only women get argued to be _purposefully designed_ to be good at certain tasks.

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                          • It’s one where I wonder how much is societal pressure and how much (if any) is more than that.

                            At our house, Mrs. N does do 99.5% of the laundry, but the primary reason is that she wears a ton of clothes with special rules (including clothes that she treats differently than their labels say), and feels very strongly about following those special rules in care of her clothes. I, by contrast, wear very little that requires any special treatment (and I only know the exceptions because their care labels tell me). Still, it’s something I feel a low-grade of background guilt about for exactly the reasons you guys are talking about.

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                  • Although I loath the trendiness of the word, humanity is resilient.

                    But I’m curious if you’re less concerned over the issues men face than women. Surely you’re not saying that one sex’s issues are more important than the other sex’s? That’d smack of bigotry.

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                    • I’m less concerned because by all appearances the issues men face are a good deal less serious than the issues faced by women. For example, the “bumbling man” stereotype you brought up routinely benefits men, shielding them from having to do unpleasant or tedious work in the domestic sphere.

                      This is consistent with my experience as a man, where the gender-related problems I’ve had to deal with have been very mild.

                      So it’s not a matter of bigotry so much as a matter of perspective and triage.

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                      • Ha, I’ve never pulled the “bumbling fool who can’t clean”. I just negotiated. “look, I suck at dusting, and don’t like it. I’ll clean the bathrooms AND the shower, pay the bills, and cook (since I do that WAY better than you do). You do the dusting and vacuuming. We each do our own laundry.”

                        Done and done.

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                    • — My central point is that the problems the sexes face are not symmetrical, and thus many of the “what about the menz?” tactics are really distractions that serve to entrench male power at the expense of women.

                      For one thing, I have zero patience with complaints about sexual availability, nor any complaints by men that modern women are too free, independent, and otherwise not bowing down to shitty men.

                      And really, spend ten minutes on the Reddit “manosphere” and you’ll be drenched in this stuff. It’s hogwash.

                      So yeah, men face some hard shit. However, when you remove from the equation the whole “Women don’t like me/won’t submit to me/won’t give me sex/etc.” complaints, the balance really comes out different.

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                      • V,
                        I’m not arguing that the problems are symmetrical. I’m just pointing out that there’s bitching on both sides and regardless of which side has more problems, finding a solution that works for all is better than piecemealing things crafted for one side or the other.

                        “For one thing, I have zero patience with complaints about sexual availability, nor any complaints by men that modern women are too free, independent, and otherwise not bowing down to shitty men.” Me too. Frankly, my problem getting laid isn’t a concern of yours, nor do I expect that I’m owed sex from anyone.

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                    • Caring more about an immediately charging rhino than the fact that there are lions in the vicinity doesn’t mean you aren’t concerned about the lion issue, or that you think lions aren’t real.

                      And it certainly doesn’t make you a bigot about people who face the threat of lions.

                      It just means you’re not willing to ignore the charging rhino to focus on the lions.

                      That isn’t bigotry. Please don’t equate the two.

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                        • — You can’t just throw down the words tho. You have to make the case. Which note, this doesn’t mean you need to make the case each time to any “sealion” douchecanoe on Twitter demands your time. But the case has to exist.

                          The point is, structural racism and sexism (etc.) is very real. It’s out there. We can point to it. If you want to make the case for structural “anti-maleness” that works at all like racism or (anti-female) sexism, then make it.

                          You can, to a degree. One case is, “The male pecking order is really abusive and hard on men who don’t fit a narrow mold of masculinity.”

                          Yep. But then, find me a feminist who says otherwise. I’m not a bigot if I say, “Yep. That exists. It sucks.”

                          Another point often made is, “women control poor, hapless men with their sexy ladybits.”

                          Which, fuck that shit. Your boner is your problem.

                          So make the case. Show how I, a trans, engage in structural bigotry against men. Go ahead.

                          Or not. You don’t owe me your free time. But then, if it’s a real thing, then you can perhaps provide a link to some thoughtful article somewhere. I can certainly link you to plenty of discussions of structural racism and sexism. Easy peasy.

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                            • — That’s punting the ball. Plus, “antifa” isn’t a hobgoblin. Your average bro-dude will never have to deal with them. I’m asking for a powerful systematic bias against men. Bonus points if it affect middle class white men.

                              (The college gap is a working class thing.)

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                              • V, I’m really not being serious here.

                                “But I’m curious if you’re less concerned over the issues men face than women. Surely you’re not saying that one sex’s issues are more important than the other sex’s? That’d smack of bigotry.”

                                You took that as a serious statement?

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                                • I’m glad to hear you were playing around, but dude, if you decide to talk to to frustrated feminist not-men people about their frustrated feminist feelings about stuff, calling them bigots for not being worried about men’s issues is *so darn common* and they experience it *so darn often* if they speak up on that topic, that what seems like casual joking to you is real likely to make them (aka us) defensive and angry.

                                  Not because of YOU. But just because you were doing such a good job imitating the people who actually do that all the time. People who do that sincerely are part of my regular experience of the internet, not just if I go chasing red-pill nutjobs in dark corners, and part of V’s too.

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                                      • M,
                                        You made some comments to Sam and Nevermoor. It’s a separate subthread. I also made some comments in that thread too. BUT I made some separate comments to Sam in another subthread which you’re were commenting in-that’s the one where I talked about “bigotry”. V was not involved yet AT ALL.

                                        So the majority of our current conversation is about V’s and your comments on a post I made directly to Sam, in which neither of you nor V, at the time, were commenting in. I did not “decide to talk to frustrated feminist not-men people about their frustrated feminist feelings about stuff”.

                                        Talk about “feels” with women or “feminist not-men”? Never.
                                        Dear God, the horror, THE HORROR! :)

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                                        • She was participating (whether or not you noticed) and she was making comments before then. I don’t see the distinction between the two conversations.

                                          And there are (an incredibly limited number of) women or woman-adjacent people on this site, who have every right to speak up when they have opinions in public discussions, without being dismissed, and I’m 100 percent sure Sam wasn’t trying to keep us out of the conversation and would welcome our comments. So you’re on real thin ground complaining about them / us.

                                          The only reason I went with feminist “not-men” is because I’m genderfluid. V is nonbinary but I believe prefers “woman” to the alternatives, however it’s hard to lump the two of us together with one word because gender is not something people are used to talking about beyond a bindary. If you have a civil and more efficient way to name us as a group than I used, I’d actually welcome that, it’s awkward as heck.

                                          But if you care about this site and you don’t actively want to keep the comments as 90+ percent male as they have traditionally been, what you’re doing, joking or not, is counter-productive.

                                          I’m asking you to stop.

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                                          • And the reason this whole conversation *started* is because V made a comment that *you* commented on. Which makes me really confused that you now think different subthreads of it should someone not be considered part of the same conversation.

                                            I appreciated you explaining that you were joking. I believe that you’re acting in good faith. But you’re still making this conversation harder when it’s a conversation that’s already hard for women-and-people-who-are-more-or-less-women to have.

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                                          • “I don’t see the distinction between the two conversations” Frankly, I don’t see how that’s my problem. I sure as hell see the distinction.

                                            I’m going to reiterate. I was commenting to a specific individual. My post was directed directly at him not to the entire community. Other folk are free to interject, and I’m entirely correct in saying to those interjecting “you ain’t part of this conversation”. Interjecting is bad enough. Worse was misunderstanding the point of the post and subsequent reaction. (I’ll take some of the blame since it was my post I wasn’t as clear as I should have been).

                                            That being said, I’m all for more voices at this site. Hell, I’ve actively complained that this site’s views, regardless of the sex or orientation of it’s members, has narrowed in recent times. But that has little to do with someone complaining about the intent of a post, which they misunderstood originally, and I’ve already explained.

                                            M, You’re starting to sound “moderator-y” on me. I made a post about hypocrisy. Some folk “went off”. I’ve explained the purpose of my comment. Some folk went off more, and I’ve explained how those folks misunderstood. I’m not the one generating drama here.

                                            So I AM going to stop. I’m done trying to clarify things. Either I’ve done a poor job at it, or there’s willful intent not to listen. Either way, I’m done.

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                                            • “I was commenting to a specific individual. ” on a set of threads that were started by the individual you claimed was interjecting. That’s like telling an OP they aren’t part of a comment conversation on the OP. I’m not trying to be “moderator-y”, I’m telling you you’re not correct in telling them to butt out of a conversation you were the one butting in to. (I don’t care that people were butting in and I don’t think butting in is a problem. I don’t see interjecting as uncivil if it’s substantive, which it was. But dude, if you think it’s a problem, can you not see that you were at least as much doing that as V was?)

                                              As for the other part, I appreciated and accepted your clarification, but I think if you aren’t clear, people are going to “generate drama” not because they’re looking to do so but because you’re not considering their context, it’s vexing, and they want to add that context to the conversation, particularly *if it takes place on a series of threads they started and were already participating in*.

                                              None of this has anything to do with whether I think men have as many problems as women by the way. If I pull back to the very big picture, I would say that (at least) 99 percent of people in the world regardless of gender have way more problems than the remaining 1 percent (not regardless of gender). And to me that is the *most meaningful comparison*. That’s the whole reason I use the much-maligned word kyriarchy, because unlike “patriarchy” it explicitly acknowledges that man/woman problems are not the source of all evil.

                                              Now, this part is moderator-y, and I mean it:

                                              If we’re ever going to return to having a wide range of voices on the site (and I believe that you do!), you need to not act pissed off that people interject into conversations that *they actually started*. You can’t just arbitrarily narrow things down to the person you actually want to talk to. And that person, even if the OP writer, doesn’t have an obligation to answer a question they feel is more than adequately responded to by other people in the thread.

                                              Be done or don’t be done, I actually think there’s a good argument to be had that lions all over are just as bad as every freaking rhino that shows its head, considering that one’s a predator and the other isn’t…. which isn’t to say I agree with it, but there *is a good argument there* – just don’t tell people you weren’t talking to them on topics they *brought into the discussion*. And when they brought up the discussion in the first place, and you responded *to them*, don’t say you didn’t decide to talk to them about it.

                                              I don’t need you to agree with me or respond to me here, I need you to not do it next time.

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                                              • Also, until you responded to me telling you how I felt about what you said by telling me V was butting in to the conversation that, again, *she started*, I was just a person trying to talk to a person. So it’s not me who started trying to police the conversation, it’s you. If you don’t do that, you won’t get that response.

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                • — Yep. Like many things, the trope is funny in small doses, but it’s really a pernicious, unserious, silly trope. It has been overdone many times over.

                  In other words, it shows a profound lack of creative insight.

                  I have a not-so-nice theory that it reflects the self hatred of hyper-cerebral, word-bound male writerly types. Consider every “male nerd” character who appears in the Whedon oeuvre. The obvious solution is to start hiring writers who have actually lived a life worth talking about.

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  3. I find it interesting that the vast majority of the time someone is arguing that being accused of racism is just this absolutely devastating thing, they’re usually refuting their own argument by rejecting the accusation out of hand, and standing up to defend the very reputation that they claim is being irreparably damaged.

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  4. This demand for an apology looks strikingly familiar. It is almost as if it is a well-worn play from a tired old playbook, one utilized again and again and again by conservatives who would prefer that their motivations go undiscussed.

    Questioning motivations would be fine if it weren’t done all the time simply as a matter of course.

    We can’t ask if money spent on the poor is well spent without having the motivation of “hating the poor”. We can’t ask if assuming guilt in college sexual assault cases is a good thing without being opposed to women’s rights. No member of the GOP can run for President without being a Nazi.

    Anyone who opposes anything the Dems want is Evil, with unspeakably foul motivations.

    So yes, this is a very tired old playbook, one utilized again and again. Forgive me for not paying attention to accusations of evil motivations, but if everyone is [X] then no one is.

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      • Yes, judging people by their actions is such an unfair outrage. Wouldn’t it be so much better if we believed their lies instead?

        You’re missing the point.

        If it’s impossible to avoid being accused of racism, if you’re not going to be happy with anyone and racism is just a political club, then you might as well be unhappy with less.

        So is Trump a racist? :Shrug: Who cares? The usual things which are illegal or banned are still illegal or banned. We’re not going back to the 1950’s. Racism, as a political horse, is done.

        IMHO this is good news for everyone. If we’re not going to worry about racism any more, then we can focus on social-economic advantage/disadvantage, culture, upbringing, the war on drugs, and things which matter a lot more than the color of someone’s skin and what political culture was like 60 years ago.

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        • “The usual things which are illegal or banned are still illegal or banned. We’re not going back to the 1950’s.” See, this is the part I don’t get. I mean, I get why, given this belief, your conclusions would be as they are, but I see stuff going down now that I thought was on the way out in the 80s. And yet it still shows up. And not, like, because there’s a dude in the white house that’s really good at the things Trump is good at, and otherwise it doesn’t show up – it shows up freaking everywhere.

          Among people *I know*, at least casually, that are otherwise of good intent and never pulled this crap until now. And I’m not saying they’re posting stuff to social media that makes me, a wolf-crying leftist that makes Democrats look conservative, uncomfortable somehow. I’m saying they’re perfectly happy to assert that up is down, left is right, people who act like rich drunken frat boys on the prowl are looking out for people like them, and (series of racist expletives deleted by me but not when they’re posting/talking). It’s not that there are so many of them, it’s that they’ve gained some kind of baffling legitimacy that makes me question all the progress I’d previously thought we’d made.

          Then I talk to my friends of color about these people (as much as they can put up with my annoying white lady questions and frustrations, which is surprisingly a lot) and they tell me, oh yeah, these people were always saying this stuff to us and to our parents, they just stopped saying it *to you* or where you could hear them. It was maybe getting better for a while but it’s getting worse within the boundaries of my friends’ lived experience, not beyond it. even the 20 year olds. they honestly seem to have the attitude of “the racist we will always have with us,” and so we always have to be doing something about it. not to erase it, but to keep it in check.

          Frankly I find them a lot more plausible than I do the suggestion that we shouldn’t really worry about flat-out racial prejudice. How are we supposed to know it’s on the decline, and not at the beginning of an upward slope that may or may not turn into the opposite side of a V?

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          • How are we supposed to know it’s on the decline, and not at the beginning of an upward slope that may or may not turn into the opposite side of a V?

            Because life is short, we have other things to worry about, and if prejudice did come back in all it’s ugliness we have 30 million SJWs to fight it with tools that didn’t exist then.

            Racism is the fight people want to have, not the fight they actually have. It’s reliving the glories of yesteryear and avoiding facing the failures of today.

            Make a list of 6 to 10 social problems, make sure racism is in there, then order them by economic effect or the degree to which they hinder advancement. Is racism even in the top five?

            The US recently took a black man with no history of leadership or measurable success in any field and made him President. The country was *that* ready. I view that as a better barometer of the country’s level of racism than the country’s 300 Nazis. My easy prediction is Obama will at some point have his face on US currency and those Nazis will still be losers.

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            • I’m mostly in agreement with you, if the guy in question was not in charge of the executive branch, and putting other racists in positions of power through which they could institute some Jim Crow lite.

              Sure, it probably won’t last long, and congress seems to have suddenly grown a spine with regard to executive power and over-reach, but not only can it be a mess while he’s in office (PCOs getting abused by police who take a lesson from Sheriff Joe, or overcharged by federal prosecutors taking their cue from the administration – or the flip side, good ‘ol boys getting a pass when the victim is a POC – I mean, we like to pretend that wouldn’t happen, but a judge just let a white cop off of a murder charge that would be a slam dunk for anyone else, so…), any policy changes he or the administration enacts could take a while to undo, given the institutional inertia in DC.

              So yeah, it matters in a ‘boots on the ground’ sense.

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              • That’s where I’m at too.

                Leaving the big stuff aside, and just looking at day-to-day impact, half the people I know are people of color who experience racism every week. It’s not usually to the level of Nazis with torches, but it sure as hell fucks up their lives, even if it isn’t life-threatening.

                One set of examples out of hundreds: nobody should have to walk around with slurs being taunted behind their backs, shit spray-painted on their bedroom doors, racist jokes by school employees being the price of admission to their cafeteria, etc… and that is *literally* happening to the students of color at my very liberal liberal arts employer. Not every day, and yes it gets addressed (sometimes hamhandedly) by administration, but that stuff *messes up their lives*. More of it messes up their lives more. Less of it would be better. People they know at other schools aren’t better off. This isn’t “if you don’t support DACA you’re a racist,” (something reasonable people could reasonably disagree on), it’s literal harassment by racists. And it’s a lot worse now than when students of color from the US made up a twentieth of the incoming class rather than a third.

                The racist bad apples feel *threatened*, and in a college setting, yup, they act that way because of their upbringing, sure. They’re only 20 year olds. They might get their heads on straight. But in the meantime they’re exhausting the people they target.

                The reason my kids, at least, are bringing up all that little stuff that seems like it doesn’t matter is because they see it as the foundation / webbing / substrate / whatever that lets the people who actually hate them feel empowered to do what they do. And the more I learn about their experiences – not as history in a book but the stuff that happens to them every dang week – the harder it is not to take racism, at its current levels, very seriously.

                I hope you’re very very right about the Obama bills (despite thinking that Tubman would be a far less troubled choice), but I have difficulty seeing that day coming.

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              • I’m mostly in agreement with you, if the guy in question was not in charge of the executive branch, and putting other racists in positions of power through which they could institute some Jim Crow lite.

                And what does “Jim Crow lite” look like in a country where being Black is an economic advantage for going to college or getting a high level job, and is a political advantage for becoming President?

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                • Those things simply aren’t true. They are less of a disadvantage, they are not a net economic advantage.

                  And even if I were to accept your priors (which I don’t), it’s an easy question to answer. Just look at the northern US in the 50s, where Jim Crow wasn’t actually necessary to have widespread pockets of segregation, because whites enforced it as a social contract and it was 100 percent okay in the eyes of local law enforcement to do that, and where healthy, socially thriving black neighborhoods were disproportionately destroyed to make room for highways, much as Appalachians in the hill counties were disproportionately discriminated against under the New Deal.

                  Lunch counter sit-ins weren’t only a thing in the south. Minneapolis-St. Paul had most of the same problems with racism that Atlanta did. They were curbed by the lack of Jim Crow laws, but Jim Crow lite is fairly exactly what was going on there before the civil rights movement.

                  If you’d like to learn more, this is a decent place to start looking: http://libguides.mnhs.org/rondo

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                  • Those things simply aren’t true. They are less of a disadvantage, they are not a net economic advantage.

                    When schools hand out a +2 to someone’s GPA, simply based on skin color, then, all other things being equal, that’s a seriously solid advantage. Similarly the big players in the Fortune 500 are also looking extra hard for qualified minorities.

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                    • “all other things being equal,”

                      All other things are NOT equal and affirmative action to that extreme is rare at best. Usually it consists of treating race as an affirmative bonus among otherwise equally qualified candidates – just like admissions officers treat ALL KINDS of other things as affirmative bonuses. GPA has *always* been subject to serious re-assessment by admitting schools; the only school that didn’t re-assess my GPA negatively based on the fact that I came from a relatively poor and rural province was McGill (where I actually went, and which had more affirmative action tendencies than any of the other schools that wanted me). Pointing to a broken assessment system as evidence of a *net* advantage (again, your words, not mine) proves nothing.

                      You didn’t say that the effect on attending college was an economic advantage, you said it was a *net* economic advantage. In other words, that when *all factors were considered*, black students came out ahead economically. If that isn’t what you meant, you shouldn’t have said it. If it is what you meant… dude.

                      Your arguments are not supporting your conclusions. And you keep switching arguments. Did you even look at the link I posted? Do you not see how that was “Jim Crow lite”? Could not a reasonable person be concerned about that happening again without being a Chicken Little?

                      And how does this relate to who Trump’s people single out as committing fireable offenses, again?

                      I’m not trying to back you into a corner and I actually *do* think you are someone who cares for black lives just as much as anyone, but has some seriously misguided information clouding up your approach. But it gets harder and harder to assert that when you don’t seem to be trying to. I realize you probably are and I don’t see it, but c’mon. Is this really making your points?

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                      • You know what, I was so frustrated I am just talking out of my ass about one thing in here. And I’m sorry about that.

                        You didn’t say it was a net advantage. You just disagreed with me that it was ridiculous to fuss about it being a positive advantage in one way when it’s a negative advantage in so many others. I still think it’s ridiculous but I shouldn’t be putting words into your mouth. AT ALL.

                        Ugh.

                        This is what I get for trying to get people to settle down all night instead of sleeping.

                        I’ll be sharper when Jay lets me know he’s on the ground in Doha at the hotel, instead of laying over in Kuwait. And then I get some sleep. And then I stop not double checking what people actually said when I’m usually the most careful reader I know.

                        In the mean time could you try to read some of the stuff I linked to / talked about elsewhere, and think about how what you choose to pursue or not, and how you do that, sounds in that light? It’d be doing me a solid.

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                        • I wrote my just posted response to your response off and on over the hours, and even though you posted this hours ago, I didn’t read it before I posted my last. Perils of the medium I guess.

                          I’ll try to catch up on reading before I post again.

                          To clarify something, I’m not trying to claim that Blacks, as a whole, have a net advantage anywhere. They clearly don’t.

                          But when we say “as a whole” we’re including a lot more than skin color and society’s reaction to that and if the conversation is just about “race” then we shouldn’t do that.

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                          • Thank you for the note about not having caught up to my prior apology and once again I apologize. That really was uncouth of me.

                            I hope my longer reply did something to get across to you why blacks, overall, *even if you only look at skin color*, are not experiencing any net advantages.

                            If not, well we can try again some other time, I guess.

                            I appreciate the effort that you’ve been making.

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                      • …affirmative action to that extreme is rare at best. Usually it consists of treating race as an affirmative bonus among otherwise equally qualified candidates…

                        That’s the myth, the math is exactly what I said. To be fair admissions departments have gotten much better at obfuscating just how system works since Gratz v. Bollinger (link below). The wiki doesn’t do a great job, 20 points out of 150 ignores the calculated effect was to turn “C” students into “A” students.

                        Although +2 to GPA is the old system the Supremes struck down, I judge U of M to be still doing the same thing, just with different, much more obfuscated math they don’t talk about. They “changed” their system when they realized they were going to lose, but somehow the “new” system produces exactly the same results as the old system. So the underlying math remained the same after we striped out layers and layers of obfuscation.

                        It’s possible UofM (and one assumes, all similar Universities) don’t need to do it to the same degree any more… but to evaluate that we’d have to know how the system actually works at a math level and apparently that’s a Really Bad Idea from the point of view of the admissions department.

                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action_at_the_University_of_Michigan

                        You didn’t say that the effect on attending college was an economic advantage, you said it was a *net* economic advantage. In other words, that when *all factors were considered*, black students came out ahead economically. If that isn’t what you meant, you shouldn’t have said it.

                        I meant it as I said it. If I wave a magic wand and make my high functioning kids and me Black, what exactly does that also do to them? Are they not allowed to go to their current school(s)? Am I not allowed to be married to their mother? Am I prevented from having my job? My hiring boss was Black, his kids went to my school system.

                        What are the “all factors considered” that you want to include on the negative side which we’re going to weigh against that +2 GPA? Are we still Redlining somewhere? Is that extra 2% chance of a violent interaction with the police per encounter the problem?

                        Did you even look at the link I posted? Do you not see how that was “Jim Crow lite”?

                        Actually no, I hadn’t gotten to your post in detail when I posted to his. I’ll split that off to a separate response since this is already wordy.

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                        • “If I wave a magic wand and make my high functioning kids and me Black, what exactly does that also do to them? Are they not allowed to go to their current school(s)? Am I not allowed to be married to their mother? Am I prevented from having my job? ”

                          One thing that changes is that they will get regular verbal harrassment for their skin color and that will have a negative effect on them. Another thing that changes is that they will have less chance of getting the jobs they are equally qualified for at all the companies and in all the industries where there’s no affirmative action whatsoever (granted this one would change just as much if they had, for example, a bayou accent regardless of skin color, but skin color alone is enough). A third thing that changes is that you and they will hear folks just like you used to be, well-intentioned and fairminded folks, denying the first two things and a host of other stupid things on the regular. And you’ll eventually tire greatly of having those arguments with those folks.

                          The black people I know best are *not much different than you are culturally* – to be honest and not to ding you, they seem to have a broader education about people’s individual experiences vs. mathing out situations – but they experience all kinds of racism. Crosses burning on their lawns kind of stuff. People calling them names behind their back kind of stuff. But I already talked about that and I don’t think you’re caught up to those comments, plus as I told Kazzy (know yo didn’t see it) I have stuff to do and places to be of my own, so I won’t harp.

                          Are things a lot better than they were in the 50s for most people? Hell yeah. My white non-binary fat sick abuse-survivor self as much as anybody.

                          But (Godwin says it’s okay to bail on his law these days and I do have a point) Jews in Germany were *better off than they’d ever been before* before WW1 (not great by my standards but better off). There was a whole assimilationist movement among Jews (not just assimilation, but an active movement directed at other Jews) – because the people spearheading it thought that was the way to consolidate those gains and anyone who didn’t comply was being unfair to Germans. Being afraid that backlash can topple gains against prejudice isn’t paranoia, it’s historically inflected.

                          And having that argument over and over a lot once you’ve already …well,drunk the Kool-Aid is probably how you see it? is not just tiresome but actively baffling. Like, do you notice that there are very few non-white-males posting to this site? If you do, do you have some mathy explanation for it? ‘Cause I’ve been here since the beginning and the first time someone actively asked for more non-guys to participate in the comments, that same person proceeded to ignore my comment to him the very next day. I think the person is question is great! We’ve become friendly over the years and I value him highly. But I get really tired of explaining to a bunch of mostly-white mostly-straight mostly-every-other-default mostly-men that the comments are already an echo chamber…. just not the sort they’re used to feeling excluded from. At least it used to be a self-aware echo chamber to some degree…. but the arc of its self-awareness has not been a straight upward slope, at all. I’ve been here the whole time and it just hasn’t been. And if you think I’m really weird for thinking that, you aren’t the only one, believe me. I could give you metrics that suggest otherwise, were I to make it my research project for a few months, but those metrics would be *completely different* and less rich than my contrary lived experience.

                          I reckon the experience of black people in America, while for far higher stakes, is not dissimilar … so I’ve actively started trying to listen to them and to let that deeply affect what I argue for.

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                          • One thing that changes is that they will get regular verbal harassment for their skin color and that will have a negative effect on them.

                            Fair statement, and a problem. It’d be worse than what they already do to each other and what they already get for various reasons, but I don’t know how to measure this economically.

                            Crosses burning on their lawns kind of stuff.

                            According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Cross Burning happens roughly 30 times a year and merits a decade in prison. Is Trump planning on repealing the punishment for this sort of thing? Is anyone? I think it’s unreasonable to expect this will happen on my lawn.

                            https://psmag.com/news/cross-burning-is-more-common-than-you-think-72781

                            Another thing that changes is that they will have less chance of getting the jobs they are equally qualified for at all the companies and in all the industries where there’s no affirmative action whatsoever

                            How far down the Fortune 500 list do you have to go before there’s “no affirmative action whatsoever”? Further you’re phrasing “less chance” as though there’s only one job they’re qualified for and if they don’t get that job that their economic future is seriously damaged.

                            I’m qualified for lots of jobs, the last time I was out of work it took some interviewing to find another. IMHO I was qualified for every job I interviewed for, and would have been great at any of them, but I didn’t get them. However the five or so failed interviews I had matter very little in the long term.

                            But Jews in Germany were *better off than they’d ever been before*… being afraid that backlash can topple gains against prejudice isn’t paranoia, it’s historically inflected.

                            It’s amazing to me that, after watching the socialists try to kill their way to utopia time after time, we don’t realize the bulk of the problem is with socialism.

                            Trump has been attacked, by Republicans, for being insufficiently fervent in his condemnation of the Nazis and for his expecting that the violent left was part of the violence problem. Local law enforcement dropped the ball with the Nazis but the one murder will result in life in prison if not the death penalty. This does not speak well for the chances of a Nazi resurgence. Efforts to treat the nation’s 300(ish) Nazis as a serious threat are crying wolf.

                            I don’t see serious ideological support for bringing back state mandated racism. I do see efforts to roll back the weaponization of wolf cries. It’s certainly a reduction in power for people/groups used to making them but whatever.

                            Bringing us back to my original question about my kids, +2 to GPA is absurdly, over the top insanely great for someone who is already high functioning. If the below chart is correct it’s an additional +2 STD, this takes her from roughly 3 STD on the chart to 5 STD.

                            5 STD is about 1 in 3.5 million. For perspective there are roughly 3.6 million high school graduates this year. Ivy schools would be offering her full rides. She could reasonably end up going to school with Obama’s kids.

                            So yes, it’s something of a mixed bag, but the negatives seem dealable and the odds of it being a net benefit are extremely high.

                            http://i.imgur.com/3bWLN7f.png

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                            • You asked me for my answer, about your kids, I gave it, and you largely ignored it. My point was not that so very many crosses get burned on lawns (note that the article you linked was about *large, public crosses* and not the shitty things neighbors do to each other that no one bothers to report because the cops won’t care, which do sometimes include burning crosses left on lawns. Hell, someone left a small burning cross on my rocks-that-I-have-instead-of-lawns once – I’m assuming it was a misfire given that the neighboring churches were black – and I didn’t report it to the cops because any time I’ve reported that type of thing (eg hate letters left on my porch or in my mailbox attacking me as a gay person) I’ve been told it was not something they were interested in unless I had a specific enemy that I felt was targeting me, and that otherwise it was too close to free speech and too dicey to bother with. I realize these things are illegal (the one in the mailbox was some kind of interfering with federal mail, I reckon), but I have a lot of reason to believe my friends’ experience and no reason to believe that these kinds of things are accurately reported.
                              Sorry I wasn’t clear which types of crosses. I should have been.

                              Did you read about all the other stuff that happens to the black people I know, that I said I was going to not bother repeating so you could catch up to it first? Do you really not see it as a big problem.

                              The chart you linked is not even wrong since it addresses letter grades rather than GPA and GPA is not standardized across schools. It also presumes a bell curve distribution when there is zero proof offered that a bell curve distribution is correct. My best guess is that it’s a theoretical example curve to help explain bell curve distributions, from a textbook, or else a graph from someone’s peroration against grade inflation, rather than an actual claim. But even if it *were* an actually claim, according to the most common definitions of GPA that I know – in which 3.0 is the same as a B – it was already *super* wrong in 2011 (given that it assumes a balanced curve around a C), and possibly more wrong now. (https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2011/04/19/average-high-school-gpas-increased-since-1990 is the first thing I found, but it’s also pretty darn near common knowledge to the point where I’m surprised you don’t know that.)

                              I have no idea how many Fortune 500 companies employ affirmative action or don’t because most of them aren’t transparent about it. They also, btw, are not transparent about their racial diversity or lack thereof: http://fortune.com/2017/06/07/fortune-500-diversity/

                              Do you have any data to suggest that I would have to get very far down the list? Do you have data that Fortune 500 companies employ most people in the US?
                              I get that you’re worried about your kid but your math is wrong and your facts are wrong and that’s *not what’s actually happening there*.

                              The only reason I brought up those assimilationist pre-WW1 Jews – which WASN’T related to your question about black people vs yourself and your kids, but to points before it – was to point out that historically huge social gains *can be followed by dangerous collapse* and thus you are wrong to assert that people who are *worried* about dangerous collapse are being paranoid fear-mongers because hey, things have gotten better and they keep getting better so it’s irrational to think they will get worse. For the purposes of this argument, I really don’t care why everything fell apart. My point was that it *did*, and a lot of those assimilationist Jews (and their kids) ended up dying in the camps. I’m not saying we’re going to go back to state-mandated Nazi-ism, and I wasn’t, I’m saying things do *move backwards sometimes* as against your assertion that they do not. Claiming that it won’t happen again because Trump isn’t a socialist is just ridiculous. 1950s Minneapolans weren’t socialists and they had zero problems enacting Jim Crow lite *without laws*. You don’t need state mandated racism to have *serious racism*. You just need the state to hem and haw and look the other way.

                              Which brings us back to my paragraph about how tiring it is for anyone who has already figured this stuff out to keep making the arguments. Go read some well-researched sources, preferably books, that disagree with you (not random imgur gifs), and I honestly think you’ll change your mind. If you don’t, you’ll at least make better arguments. And arguments that make you look less like the things that I keep telling people to quit calling you.

                              You’re better than this.

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                              • You asked me for my answer, about your kids, I gave it, and you largely ignored it.

                                I’ve seen two broad categories from you, first “things used to be really bad before the civil rights era”. That’s fine, but it’s not a current concern even after I magic wand my kids. The second category doesn’t seem to have things I can put a price tag on economically, i.e. “people will say more bad things”.

                                How big a problem it is depends on its economic effect. “Less likely to be hired for a specific job” comes the closest, but even there the issue is whether this is a big deal or not. Halve my chances of having a successful interview and you’re increasing the number of interviews I need to have rather than lowering my lifetime income.

                                Maybe I missed something?

                                GPA is not standardized across schools. It also presumes a bell curve distribution when there is zero proof offered that a bell curve distribution is correct.

                                My central point is +2 GPA is an insanely great advantage for someone who already high functioning. My graph is an attempt to get a feel for how crazy great an advantage it is.

                                Yes, the graph is very imperfect, but while the data is somewhat hand-wavy the advantage is a real thing. If you’re already pretty far out on the bell curve for accomplishments then a solid push further to the right results in things like full rides to HLS.

                                …I get that you’re worried about your kid…

                                Eh? Why would you think that? I can’t mention her awards without identifying her. She’s exactly what I’ve said, she’ll do fine, not HLS fine but whatever. As it is, no place she applied to turned her down, she had to pick between 1st tier without much money and 2nd/3rd with lots (and went with lots).

                                She’ll be a success. But it’s still my evaluation that being Black would open more doors than it’d close. That she would have gotten 1st tier with money.

                                I’m saying things do *move backwards sometimes* as against your assertion that they do not.

                                True, but it’s important to examine what it takes to make things move backwards. The Germans had to lose a world war, have their economy destroyed by hyperinflation, and install a socialist gov with the mandate to create utopia. So yes, I get to label the worried people “paranoid fear-mongers” (your words) until those sorts of things are on the table.

                                Not only are things better than they were in the 1950’s, but there are multiple important developments which make it hard to go back. Facebook, Google, TV, and everyone carrying a video camera means that everyone knows everything, so whatever happens won’t happen in the shadows.

                                Something that’s often forgotten is Hitler didn’t just sneak in there and do his thing against the will of the people. He was open about what he wanted to do and why, even with that (or because of that) he was elected, and he was popular.

                                We need to envision how we convince 30 million SJWs their larger interests require racism and harsh repression. It’s not impossible, but it’d take something like the Black Panthers nuking cities.

                                …Fortune 500…

                                Research time. My figures are from difference sources and might use different methodologies and are certainly from different times.

                                The number of people in the US who were self employed in 2015 was 15.0 million people, or 10.1 percent of total U.S. employment. https://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2016/self-employment-in-the-united-states/pdf/self-employment-in-the-united-states.pdf

                                This means according to the BLS there’s roughly 150 million employed people.

                                The number of people employed by local, state, and the federal gov is 22 million (as of August, Google).

                                The number of people employed by the Fortune 500 is 28 million. https://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/market-intelligence/labor-statistics-trends/fortune-500-2017.aspx

                                So you’re correct. The Fortune “only” employ about 16-17% of the workforce and that they are not open about their diversity. I’ll stipulate to them hiring mostly for talent and not running themselves as engines of social justice. I suspect it doesn’t matter, that the supply for talented minorities is way less than the demand, but I can’t prove it so fine.

                                But what you’re trying to prove is that being Black will be a net negative just based on skin color, I don’t agree. IMHO after my kid got out of HLS(*) with lots of contacts and the HLS name, she wouldn’t have any issue finding a job at more money than she’d make as she is.

                                (*) Ignoring her life plan doesn’t include being a lawyer.

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                                • ” The second category doesn’t seem to have things I can put a price tag on economically,”

                                  That doesn’t mean they don’t have an economic impact.

                                  And honestly if you’re using imgur gifs to illustrate that 20 pts / 150 is “the same as a C to an A” without discussing the other criteria and how likely they are to be race-inflected (eg they’ve proved over and over that SAT scores are race-inflected because of the *assumptions they make* not because non-white kids aren’t as bright/educated)? Without considering how malleably colleges treat ALL GPAs regardless of skin color (like, really, they mess with them all the time)? Or without discussing how colleges weasel out of how non-black they are by pointing to “total students of color” as a marker for blackness, rather than breaking it down by race or whether those students are international or domestic? I’m not going to trust your economic assessments anyway.

                                  Which I think means we’re at an impasse for now.

                                  I’m glad you’re not worried about your kid, by the way. I didn’t mean to get overly personal, it’s just that your tone seemed to reflect that you were upset about her reduced chances as much as anything else. FWIW, as far as the issues you address go, people don’t generally get into HLS or other incredibly competitive graduate programs based on anything to do with high school GPA. Generally it’s a combination of college GPA (#3), writing skills (#2), and (most importantly by a huge amount) LSAT score. College of origin matters a bit, but not nearly as much as any of those other things. Other grad schools care more about GPA and undergrad institution reputation, law schools not so much.

                                  My sister found this out when she somehow managed to completely ace the LSAT (“somehow” – she’s brilliantly logical) and get recruited heavily from all the top law schools in the US and Canada (and even a couple in Britain). She ended up going to a Canadian LS because she wanted to stay in Canada, but her acceptable but not impressive GPA and her attendance at one of the more podunk Canadian universities (one that other universities tended to scoff at across the board back then) mattered not a whit to Harvard or several other places. They all had deep pockets and were waving money at her.

                                  I also got a full-ride merit scholarship to a top-ranked grad school based on acing a single GRE score (not even all 3 of them!) as much as on anything else… I didn’t even write the additional essay you were supposed to write to be considered for merit scholarships. And while I did go to a fancy undergrad, my GPA there was a measly-for-college 3.06 – way less than what my profs at that school told me would be necessary for graduate school. I think I deserved to be at the grad school I went to, but I also can think of at least 2 students in my cohort of 38 who deserved the scholarship more than I did, without even trying hard.

                                  Point being, if I was setting up the system to be “fair” with the least amount of work possible, I’d work on loosening the grip that standardized testing has on college admissions, tutoring low-SES kids on said testing *for free* and intensely, and poking at said standardized testers to make their tests *better* – as it stands now they have an awful lot of weight for something that still isn’t notably predictive.

                                  I believe those efforts would be a lot more effective and a lot less conflict-generating than the wacky things that some extremely white schools do to admit more students of color (that they then don’t support in making social adjustments or dealing with stuff like stereotype threat, which ends up leading to high rates of struggle and dropout) in order to make themselves look more appealing to rich liberal applicants’ parents. Meanwhile other PWIs are bending themselves into knots to not admit qualified students of color that don’t fit the right financial “profile,” leading to very small numbers of students of color overall … and then they conceal that in their brochures, etc (I have a friend who says he was in every dang brochure for everything his college ever published, and he’s being accurate rather than hyperbolic.) …. It’s a huge disservice to the students of color, as much as anyone else. (I don’t feel this currently applies to my employer, but a look at the financials and the admit rates and the policies suggests they’ve been in both positions at one time or another.)

                                  I suspect we agree on that, that there are better and fairer ways to fix the serious failures in admissions wrt socioeconomic status (which primarily but not exclusively affect black people and other people of color), that colleges would rather patch over by fighting over the relatively few rich students of color … even if we strongly disagree about how much of an advantage being black is at getting into college in the first place. I kinda wish people would run with need blind admissions more, and give kids more points for complex life experiences, high ACE scores, etc., than they do for impressive sounding volunteer jobs and team captaincies…, and all kinds of other things that would benefit students of color differentially, even though they aren’t literally based on skin color – but I think the economics of the situation are against it. Colleges want rich students because rich students have rich parents, and become rich alumni. The best you can realistically hope for is to shame them or woo them into setting up some simple policies that end up letting in more poor and middle-class kids along with everyone else, and that push against rich white folks’ assumptions about what someone can be – what their potential is – based on the color of their skin.

                                  Have you read Richard Rodriguez’s The Hunger of Memory ? I think he makes a better case against color-based affirmative action than anyone else I’ve ever come across. I still don’t find it entirely convincing (obviously), but it’s well worth the read.

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                                  • That doesn’t mean they don’t have an economic impact.

                                    True, but I think it’s up to you to show the effect shouldn’t be handwaved. “Can’t put a pricetag” might be “1% or less”.

                                    If that seems obnoxious, this line of thought Heavily stacks the deck in my favor. IRL Race is a package deal, it comes with history, culture, relatives, etc, etc. The magic wand of this experiment side steps all of that. Any economic damage inflicted by the things you’re trying to bring into play is economic damage not inflicted by WOD, social factors, substandard schools, etc and those are huge.

                                    …“the same as a C to an A” without discussing the other criteria and how likely they are to be race-inflected (eg they’ve proved over and over that SAT scores are race-inflected because of the *assumptions they make* not because non-white kids aren’t as bright/educated)?

                                    Interesting. You’re attempting to claim those 20 points are all (and only) about adjusting for racism (and put the burden on my to show it isn’t).

                                    First, most of those other points are for factors not normally in play, being a brilliant musician was worth a lot, ditto being an athlete, being a legacy was worth something but not as much.

                                    Second, since AA is trying to get a student body percentage which matches the general population, it CAN NOT simply adjust ONLY for racism. The WOD removes significant numbers of young people from the applicant pool by arresting or even killing them. Various social factors lead to horrible educations for significant percentages of the population which also effectively remove them from the pool.

                                    AA needs to correct for ALL of those factors, which means that in this thought experiment, where we’ve eliminated all those other factors and leave only racism, AA should be over correcting. It should be over correcting by roughly the same amount of the non-racism damage, which for WOD (etc) is pretty huge. If the issue is SES rather than Race, then we’d expect to see serious recruitment by colleges for international students of color, which I gather we do.

                                    AA moves well beyond compensation for a disadvantage and well into social engineering.

                                    …your tone seemed to reflect that you were upset about her reduced chances…

                                    If I remember the math, AA doesn’t reduce her chances. Whites are basically unaffected, Asians are the serious losers. At a handwave, the Asian “A” becomes a “B”.

                                    …LSAT….

                                    Thank you. That was informative.

                                    …if I was setting up the system to be “fair”…

                                    Do you mean a “fair” process or a “fair” outcome? There are serious conflicts between those two.

                                    If we ban any consideration of race, then colleges become seriously not representative of the general population. Black numbers go down, Asians go up (I don’t remember who has gone down this path).

                                    If we’re determined to make a “fair” outcome (i.e. college population matches the general population), then we need to figure out ways to get the Blacks into college regardless of their background and figure out ways to punish/reduce the Asians for their academic success/focus.

                                    …we agree… there are better and fairer ways to fix the serious failures in admissions wrt socioeconomic status… that colleges would rather patch over by fighting over the relatively few rich students of color

                                    Yes. And I also agree with you on some of the other various issues/problems, including colleges misbehaving.

                                    …than they do for impressive sounding volunteer jobs and team captaincies…

                                    My 2nd daughter has figured out the whole “volunteer” thing and is taking advantage of it. She thinks her friend is, long term, losing out by taking a paying job.

                                    Have you read Richard Rodriguez’s The Hunger of Memory ?

                                    No, but thank you for pointing it out.

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                    • And all the police have to do is mess with a young adult just enough to give him some kind of record (either at school, or in the CJ system), and all those supposed advantage evaporate as the financial support system evaporates. (e.g. you can’t get financial aid if you have a record).

                      Let me put it this way, as I white kid, I did something astoundingly stupid my freshman year of HS (I attempted to sell pot on school grounds). Even though my juvie record of it was sealed, it bled into my school record, and that fact closed a lot of doors for me. Of course, as an obvious dumb white kid, the local PD was not interested in pursuing it beyond a simple misdemeanor. If I had been black, in the Lily White town I grew up in, I don’t know that the police would have been so nonchalant about it.

                      Now obviously I got past that bit of poor judgement, but only because a couple of Navy recruiters seemed happy to overlook my past (the USAF recruiters would not, I had tried them first).

                      If the federal government ramps up incentives to get tough on drug crimes, and to increase penalties and close doors for drug crimes, who do you think is going to suffer most until we can finally shut down the WOD? I mean, I agree, the important big picture goal is to end the WOD, but that is not a goal that will be met in the short term, and certainly not while Trump & Sessions are in control of the executive (unless Congress grows an iron spike for a back bone), so the focus needs to be on limiting the short term damage. Part of that is recognizing that even if Trump is not himself racist, he is giving power and influence and cover to people who are, and they can do a lot in the immediate that will have long term consequences.

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                      • …you can’t get financial aid if you have a record… If the federal government ramps up incentives to get tough on drug crimes, and to increase penalties and close doors for drug crimes, who do you think is going to suffer most until we can finally shut down the WOD?

                        Imho what you’re referring to is captured by that extra 2% chance of a police encounter going really wrong, which is indeed a risk that comes with the skin color. The solution for my kids is to greatly reduce the number of encounters with the police (i.e. live in a “good” neighborhood) and try to impress on them how one screw up basically ends any chance of them having a good life… which is something I do anyway.

                        But yeah, it’s an increased risk. Definately in the “negative” column.

                        Time out while I get on my soap box.

                        This brings us back to what is more important, ending WOD or getting rid of the last bit of racism in policing? Which one is currently having more impact on the Black community and which one is more addressable via legislation?

                        IMHO police bias is made way worse by WOD, i.e. adjusted for population they’re much more likely to get shot by a Black face than a White one. The WOD also raises the stakes for every encounter, militarizes the police force, and empowers a criminal class.

                        while Trump & Sessions are in control… even if Trump is not himself racist, he is giving power and influence and cover to people who are…

                        Sessions is an interesting example. His big “racist” incident was an off hand joke told while he was having a member of the Klan executed for murdering a Black.

                        So… more cries of wolf which deserve to be ignored. Now if we approach this from policy standpoint, Sessions is a “law and order” type who is doubling down on the WOD, and yeah, that’s going to hurt Blacks big time (and do other Bad things I won’t detail).

                        So from that point of view, Sessions is exactly the wrong guy in there. But as long as the talk is about racism, Sessions will jail/execute anyone who threatens the gov’s monopoly on the use of force (including and especially hate groups). Without violence, hate groups are a manageable problem.

                        I’m not sure where Sessions is on police reform and civil rights. Maybe most importantly, I’m not sure if he has a history of sucking up to power (mainstream media implies not, or at least not to Trump) and making exceptions for the powers that be.

                        The Black community has a strong voice, the vote, the law, strong organization, and strong allies. I’m a lot more worried about Trump needing “law and order” handlers to prevent him from self-destructively going full psychopath than I am of Jim Crow coming back.

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                  • …Jim Crow…
                    In the 1930s, Rondo Avenue was at the heart of St. Paul’s largest African American neighborhood that was displaced in the 1960s by freeway construction.

                    African Americans whose families had lived in Minnesota for decades and others who were just arriving from the South made up a vibrant, vital community that was in many ways independent of the white society around it. The construction of I-94 shattered this tight-knit community, displaced thousands of African Americans into a racially segregated city and a discriminatory housing market, and erased a now-legendary neighborhood.

                    Yes, this is a Jim Crow example. What you left out is its relevance to the modern era. Let’s map out how we get from where we are to there.

                    Many/most of actions depicted are illegal and/or unconstitutional, so the laws need to be changed, maybe including the Constitution. There’s currently little or no attempt to do so, you’d have to roll back the law an amazing amount to get there, just insisting that you can’t use 60 year old data about someone’s grandparents to see if they’re a racist doesn’t come close.

                    And that’s just to start. Blacks are a key member of the Dems coalition to the point BLM can force HRC to do things at key points in the nomination process, that needs to end. Simply shifting them into voting for the GOP won’t do it (say if Colin Powell had run). Blacks actually have to be stripped, wholesale, of the vote so they have no voice. Given Facebook and Google, this has to be done pretty openly.

                    Considering how hard it is to remove something like that, if we stay in the current system, presumably we’d need the active cooperation of groups like BLM and the Dems, so we’re deep into political insanity.

                    Just “Trump” doesn’t come close to setting this up. You’d need a total breakdown of the system, so some “wrath of god” type economic and/or political event.

                    If we look at history, to create Nazi Germany they had to lose a world war, leading to hyperinflation which destroyed the economy, leading to the “National Socialists” taking over with minorities being the group(s) that needed to be eliminated in order to create utopia.

                    Society isn’t on fire anywhere near to this point. The Dems lost an election, not a war. As long as we’re holding elections this isn’t going to happen.

                    So the issue then becomes, “what can reasonable happen without changing the law”. The answer is, more of the same. Court enforced desegregation orders will continue to lapse. The (mostly White) middle class will continue to vote with their feet and remove themselves from the dysfunctional poor. Fortune will continue to favor those with skills, the rich will continue to get richer. The war on drugs will continue on it’s merry, bloody, way and manufacture crime.

                    So life is going to continue to suck for lots of people because they’re poor and don’t have (get) skills. The bulk of re-segregation will be class based with the middle/upper class doing whatever it can for it’s children. Various activists will continue to squeak about racism, the bulk of America will continue to either not care or not notice.

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                    • “Yes, this is a Jim Crow example.”
                      NO, it was an example of “Jim Crow lite” which is what you were actually complaining about someone suggesting could happen. It was specifically an area where Jim Crow was not in force, and yet plenty of racism was. It’s not data about how racist people’s grandparents are, it’s data about how little it takes for a society to enact *serious racism* – not widespread genocide like the nazis, but *serious racism* without the force of law behind it.

                      You wouldn’t have to roll back the laws at all, and get into how complicated that is, you’d just have to decide to *not enforce the existing laws* or to *not enforce them fairly*.

                      I’m not saying this would happen in Minneapolis this time, I’m saying that there’s no particular proof it wouldn’t because *they didn’t need to change laws that time*. Minneapolis was already (theoretically) treating black people as full citizens. And yet racism ran rampant over their lives.

                      Man, I thought you were a big cynic like me, but your approach to this topic seems to be cock-eyed optimism.

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                      • I’m not saying this would happen in Minneapolis this time, I’m saying that there’s no particular proof it wouldn’t because *they didn’t need to change laws that time*. Minneapolis was already (theoretically) treating black people as full citizens.

                        Why did they stop being Crow-lite?

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                          • Dark Matter: Why did [Minneapolis] stop being Crow-lite?
                            Maribou: I know this is Politico, but I think in its variety of opposing views, it’s worth a read:

                            Thank you, that was a very, VERY interesting read. I thought about Minneapolis’ situation for a while. Presumably the liberal Mecca’s issues are more complicated than simple racism, which implies a process that spirals.

                            And… it’s easy to see people like myself as a big part of the problem/situation.

                            I strongly resist the “racist” label because I feel no racial animosity. I think I’ve proven this over the years. I don’t have a problem with my kid’s POC friends, their principal, my boss, or my co-workers. I don’t deal with dysfunctional White groups/schools/whatever differently than I do Blacks. Behavior is important, skin color is not.

                            So if I’m in Minneapolis, I move into the “functional” area. Whatever metric the system uses to keep itself “functional”, I pass it. I/We pass laws and/or set up economic systems to keep the “dysfunctional” away from me and mine. If the system tries to put my kids into a school I view as substandard, I vote with my feet.

                            And the more substandard the school (and my standards are high), the more pressure there is to move.

                            Worse, people like my wife and I are the… I don’t know any word that works, I’ll call it “leadership backbone” of the community. The guys who run the First Robots group, the volunteers at the kid’s pre-school, the volleyball coach, the organizer of the Physics club. Most of the “volunteers” I see at these events got involved for/with/because of their kids, and almost uniformly they’re married. Being married is almost necessary just because of the time (and/or money) commitments.

                            So there’s a tremendous loss of human capital wherever we (as a group) leave, and a tremendous gain wherever offers “improvement”. And even normal churn might result in tremendous pressure on the system. If some area gets ahead via segregation the process can then spiral.

                            Ouch. Jim Crow-lite without racism as a motive.

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                            • If you’re up for something else along the same lines, but with less data and more soapbox, someone forwarded this to me today:
                              https://www.ted.com/talks/mellody_hobson_color_blind_or_color_brave

                              I wouldn’t normally give anyone a ted talk link in a conversation like this, but when I watched it I was struck by how much admiration you would probably have for the speaker’s mother, and that her approach might make a lot more sense to you than mine or Sam’s, and be more useful in terms of figuring out what you can do on this issue directly, without signing up for a lot of theory / labels you don’t agree with. So I think if you hear her out, you may gain thereby.

                              If not, no worries. Part of being a librarian is this pathological urge to toss information at people :D. And at the end of the day I think you and I BOTH think the best thing we could do for the country is to end the WoD. Regardless of the path we take in getting there, or what our reasons are.

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                              • Ted Talk

                                Thank you, I’m a fan of Ted.

                                Having listened to the speech, I do approve of her mother. She sounds like she’s properly cynical and pragmatic on how the world works.

                                RE: Color Brave
                                There’s a disconnect from her solution and the space where I operate. She talked about how the “slate” of people you consider hiring should include minorities. There’s a hundred actors for every acting job, many of the unemployed are better than many of the employed. ESPN is basically on a different planet.

                                I’d love to be able to pick among a “slate” of qualified people. My problem is finding good people at all.

                                Ignoring that, having now once seen our recruiting efforts at a reasonably good University, the POC there were overwhelmingly Asian or Indian. That might be unique to that Engineering career fair, that U, or our booth (but we’re a huge popular booth with a long line even with 6 recruiters).

                                If POC includes Indian, then I tried that and was stopped by her visa situation (which imho is stupid but a different issue). She was the closest I got to someone I thought was qualified for the jobs I care about filling, discounting her I found no one. Hopefully one of the others found some and just didn’t tell me, or they’ll pop up at a different fair.

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                • This is a positively absurd claim, at best, and something much more sinister at worst, as I believe that final comment implies that the only reason Barack Obama won the presidency, twice (and with the approval of both voters and Electors) is because of the color of his skin. Do I have that right?

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                  • The “only” reason? Hardly. What I am pointing out is that his race was a net positive.

                    On the negative side, yes, he lost the “racist” vote. Now think about how small the racist vote had to be 10 years ago for that to not matter.

                    On the positive side HRC was thought unbeatable that election cycle, and being Black (in the way that Bill Clinton wasn’t) was a major part of him taking the nod away from her.

                    Very clearly the country was ready for a Black President, and imho had been ready for some time. I think Colin Powell would have won if he’d tried it to (and unlike Obama, Powell had a resume).

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                      • You went from him saying it was an advantage to him implying it was the only reason. That in despite of him saying, positively, that he expects that we will have Obama on the faces of bills elsewhere in this comment section.

                        The fact that many people claimed both A and B doesn’t mean that someone claiming A must be implying B.

                        Being sinister is a long way away from making absurd claims.

                        This isn’t me being ridiculously tolerant, it’s me exercising logic and reading comprehension. Not that I’m not capable of missing those two things, I did it in responding to the same comment you were responding to … but *really*, he’s not your enemy. Continuing to treat him like one is beneath you.

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                        • I would not use the word sinister. I would just call it what it is: dumb. Or more precisely, 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Barack Obama is perhaps the only president in the history of the United States who was not president partially or completely because of his color.

                          You have to be a certain kind of idiot to state that a well-spoken, charismatic, politically gifted U.S. Senator with a HLS degree could not have been elected president had he been a white man. You basically have to ignore the entire history of this country. Meanwhile, it’s hard to imagine that any president before Obama, certainly no president elected prior to this present century having a chance at being elected were they not white men.

                          Also, let’s just for a moment note the irony of the claim that Obama is the “affirmative action president,” while five of the previous six Republican presidential candidates came to prominence in fields in which their fathers’ had previously attained success. But that’s exactly how white supremacy functions. It demolishes facts, reason, whatever the person deploying it needs to justify his or her closely held feeling that anything in opposition to white supremacy must involve some sort of cheating.

                          Projection is a hell of a drug.

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                            • I’m going with Obama’s color having a whole lot to do with his election.

                              Take that away and what would you have? “High I’m a white guy from Hawaii who smoked lots of weed, went to Harvard, and who works as a community organizer.” That pretty much would qualify someone to be a mid level campaign flunky.

                              You wouldn’t have anything like “Dreams of my Father”, and you wouldn’t have any way to distinguish him from all the other representatives and senators in the Illinois state house.

                              Remember, he is the guy who voted ‘present” all the time, and unlike people like Rahm Emanuel or McAuliff, he had no deep connections to people holding the levers of power. He’d be just a politician from somewhere that’s probably not Chicago, and one without an inspirational story to tell, much less one that offered the hope of racial absolution. And he wouldn’t have spent his time listened to tapes of black preachers like MLK to master their cadence, tone, and delivery.

                              Basically, he’d be some random white male politician from Hawaii, not someone who stirred people’s souls.

                              Now of course you could turn it around and ask how George W Bush or Hillary Clinton would fair if they were black, and that’s a very valid question, but you don’t have to ask how Collin Powell or Condi Rice would do as whites because they have never made race an issue or used it as any kind of prop.

                              It’s been well debated that white Democratic politicians can’t repeat Obama’s formula because they’re white. It doesn’t work for them, and thus it’s no stretch to say it wouldn’t have worked for a white Obama in the first place, either. A white politician can’t just wander up to a podium and convince white voters that he brings racial absolution for all their wrongs..Our racial politics doesn’t work that way or George W Bush, Jimmy Carter, or Richard Nixon could’ve done it.

                              And as an aside, if not for the Great Depression, Charles Curtis, former Senate President pro tem and Vice President of the United States, probably could have won the Presidency. He was a Native American whose first language was Kaw.

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                              • You’re skirting a very thin line here of repeating racist nonsense with a lot of what you’re saying about the imaginary white Obama. Please back away from said line. (I don’t think you crossed the line. Quite. But you shouldn’t be making me work this hard to decide you haven’t.)

                                ————-

                                Also, a not entirely separate point: There are a lot of giant factual holes in this comment.

                                Here are just a few:

                                1) “Remember, he is the guy who voted ‘present” all the time”

                                He voted present 3 percent of the time as a State senator. 3 percent! And voting present isn’t skiffing off duty, it’s a common strategy. One he employed less often than average.

                                2) Colin Powell certainly allows himself to speak from his experience of race, as well he should. Here is an example of him doing so:
                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-sffvkqWgA , particularly at 1:30 and following. There are other examples but this one is particularly admirable so I’ll just point to it.
                                3) Condoleeza Rice likewise speaks about race fairly regularly, and here is an example of her doing so:
                                https://www.cbsnews.com/news/condoleezza-rice-on-russia-putin-and-trump/

                                Starting at 4:05,
                                We forget in the United States how long it has taken us to make ‘We the People’ mean people like me. And indeed, I do think that America was born with a birth defect; it was slavery.

                                “And so I do think that when we were finally able to deliver the promise of the Constitution to people like me, little girls growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, when finally my father was able to vote without difficulty, yes, it’s the second founding of America. The first founding wasn’t quite complete.”

                                Dividing prominent African-Americans up into those who do or don’t “make race an issue or use it as a prop” is a rotten pattern, the “good minorities” vs the “bad minorities” thing.

                                Don’t do it.

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                                • But it’s okay when Democrats make cartoons of Collin Powell and Condi Rice as house n*****s because that’s not racist.

                                  In 2007 the New York Times wasn’t as easy to dismiss Obama’s “present” votes., as much as they struggled with it in his favor. The present votes were on politically crucial bills. link

                                  Condi Rice is a Republican. Democrats didn’t want her parents to vote. She became Secretary of State because she knew the real threat was the Soviet Union and international socialism. She was mega “woke”.

                                  I have more beliefs in common with black Southerners than Northern white liberals. We face common problems and common threats. We are also heavily intermarried. We are not two peoples. we are one family. We have each other’s backs. This really really upsets lots of people. We get constant threats and bans on forums all over the Internet because not being properly racist is not tolerated.. Ask any black conservative. They don’t offer racial absolution. They want to bathe in the same reality whites and Asians live in, without the institutional racism against Asians that liberals support.

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              • @dark-matter

                Yeah, it “matters boots on the ground”. But the country survived the first black president, and the first REAL black president, even though the Republicans claimed all matter of horrors would befall us I imagine we’ll survived a Trump or years. I’m sure we’ll even survive 8 years, if that happens. And if it gets congress to step up, grab back the power they ceded to the admin and fed agencies, then it might be worth it.

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                • Yes, we will survive, and yes, there is a potential silver lining to this.
                  But it’s still important to call a spade a spade.

                  Especially when it’s swinging at someone. I mean, if some guy is swinging a shovel at a person’s head, you don’t want to say, “Look out for that feather!”

                  Unless you really don’t like the person…

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      • I don’t think is off on this one, and this is one of the reasons I’ve had a problem with political discourse as of late, especially with some of it coming from the left side of the spectrum.

        For example, my “action” of rejecting Bernie Sanders single-payer plan means what specifically?

        Does it mean I object to a single-payer system? Does it mean I think it’s unworkable? Does it mean that I think his plan would place a tremendous burden on healthcare providers and arguably reduce the improvements in healthcare delivery that have taken place since the ACA went into effect?

        It creates the possibility of an either-or situation and one where any engagement in discussion can’t happen in good faith. I can explain up one side of this site and down the other why I think Bernie’s plan is a trainwreck, especially for healthcare providers, but if you don’t like what I have to say, all you have to do is ignore the substance of my arguments and try to peek behind the curtain to see what’s driving it.

        It’s not only an act of moving the goalposts but I’m as sure as I am short that anyone that tries to find motive will “find” something that confirms their own biases.

        Perfect example – motivated by an upcoming post –

        If I think that fat acceptance/Health At Every Size/body positivity activists are beyond full of shit if not negligent when they flat-out deny the mountain of evidence that excess adipose tissue poses significant health risks, then it obvious that I’m motivated by fatphobia.

        I have experienced this firsthand, and I can tell that the only thing that pathetic attempt to shame me did was further entrench my own beliefs and alienate me from the dogmatic zealots peddling this shit. It’s identity politics at its worst.

        At the end of the day, you lose people that you convince otherwise. Not a good way to go.

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        • Well said. And I think that’s why I find Sam’s posts so troubling. Once upon a time he wrote some of my favorite stuff on the site and I thought he was approaching conversations in good faith. Now my assumption is that he assumes poor intent from the other side of the aisle about 99% of the time. And when we are so quick to dismiss the other side’s opinion as irrational hate, as you point out, we don’t actually get to have a conversation. Look at this comment thread. Very little actual conversation, one commenter banned, an editor telling people to fuck off and a bunch of people talking past each other. Maybe that was the shitstorm Sam intended, or maybe he just likes to get on his soapbox and tell the Right how we’re all evil bastards. Either way, it’s once again a very unproductive conversation.

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          • It is amazing that you’re explicitly asking me to see the good in, in this case, racists (but previously, in murderous cops, and presumably before that, the bigots opposed to equality), as if there is some sort of workable middle ground between their explicitly hostility toward others and those people who are just trying to live their lives. You’re asking me to ignore what is plain motivation as an act of good faith toward people who offer no such good faith of their own, and you only balk when I refuse to play that entirely stupid game. Why is that exactly?

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            • Fair enough. You don’t want to talk to the other side (other than to tell them how terrible they are) and you have stated, repeatedly, that you see no value in a more measured approach. So what is the purpose of your post(s)? Is it just to state your position for the world? Is it just to get some nods from your fellow liberals?

              A big part of me feels like you write these posts as little traps for the folks on the Right. Say some provocative stuff, dare us to disagree, point out how terrible we are for doing so and then double-down on your self-righteous belief that you can see no good on the other side of the aisle. I mean, it generates a lot of comments, but it sure doesn’t move the ball forward.

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          • If’ we’re going meta on what we find so troubling, for me its that people like you–who are both clearly conservative and clearly not Trump–see this as an attack on “your side.” And, of course, therefore in bad faith and out of bounds.

            (Which, of course, is the whole point of Sam’s piece, unless you disagree with the merits somewhere in a way you aren’t saying)

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              • Indeed I was going through in order. Though I think the comment still stands. The saddest thing about the Trump admin for me is that it sure seems to prove that there is no limit to tribalism’s ability to predict voting (at least on the right, and particularly as buttressed by the NYT article I linked the other day about willingness to follow Trump on very liberal policies too).

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                • For me it just seems like yet another toxic charismatic leader, on a national scale. I mean, he’s basically Steve Jobs turned to 11, with fewer brains. It’s not shocking for me in that I have repeatedly seen very good people snowed by toxic charismatic people (starting with my abuser), but I think what’s baffling to people about Trump is that if his charisma isn’t aimed at you, you’re not going to see it. So if he knows you won’t vote for him, he’s not even trying to charm you.

                  I’m not dismissing his power, but it’s also not something new.

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                  • Maybe. But if the defense is that the right is only tribal when presented with a “charismatic” leader (with that word defined sufficiently broadly to apply to Trump) that’s cold comfort.

                    The question is what would it take for American conservatives to mimic their French compatriots. If the answer is “more than Trump” and remains unchanged with each passing day, that sounds an awful lot like “nothing” to my ears.

                    I mean, I know the rolling the tape is well-worn, but he really has redefined the IOIYAR in ways even I wouldn’t have expected possible before 2016. And I’m pretty darn cynical.

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        • I generally agree with more of your comment than not. I have definitely seen people who claim to be health at every size advocates shame people for trying to lose weight and that *is* terrible, offensive, counterproductive and all the other things you say. And it is toxic to discourse.

          But that is far from the point or purpose of advocating body positivity *for most people who do it*. You probably don’t bump up against those people because they aren’t going to give you crap – I am such an advocate and I *strongly appreciated* you making the effort to be clear that you weren’t judging people based on size in your posts, to the point where I would say you are body-positive – but they are going to avoid interacting with you given that you’ve lumped them in with the rest. Or if you haven’t, by focusing on those folks and ignoring other such folks, you are making it hard to see that you haven’t lumped them in. (Yup, that’s totally what the people who attacked you were doing, and they were worse about it.)

          Like, as someone who recognizes the real health risks my weight poses, but *also recognizes* that:
          – most obese people (not all, at all, but most) were also victims of childhood abuse that included attacks on their bodies,
          – that the epidemic of child abuse and its status as a root cause of *many* medical problems gets sidelined by medical efforts to (unsuccessfully for the most part) focus on temporary weight loss and temporary weight loss alone as an indicator of health
          – that people in this (again, VERY LARGE category) of those of us who struggle with excess weight have complicated issues involving fight-or-flight hormones that do make it significantly and overwhelmingly hard to lose weight,
          – that the medical industry’s understanding of fat and thin is broken, and societal understanding is even more broken

          and as someone who has experienced fat-shaming many many many times – your comments above about dogmatic zealots peddling shit did feel like they were aimed at me too.

          I know better – I know you and you’ve been clear it’s not me you’re talking about – but it’s still hard to see past.

          My illadvised tirade was an *attempt* to get people to stop doing that, instead of just escalating their accusations that each other was doing it. Apparently I have not the credibility in that regard that I thought I had, or it’s just such a toxic approach that even as stagecraft (albeit somewhat of a “shoot” rather than a “work”) that even when trying to shock people into stopping, all it did was add fuel to the flames.

          As an aside, if you or anyone else reading this would like more information about my assertions above, I highly recommend the book _The Body Keeps the Score_ by Bessel van der Kolk. That book, and its shift in focus, did more to improve my overall health (and as a result life expectancy) than any number of weight loss interventions ever did.

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          • Good points and thanks for the pushback.

            Or if you haven’t, by focusing on those folks and ignoring other such folks, you are making it hard to see that you haven’t lumped them in. (Yup, that’s totally what the people who attacked you were doing, and they were worse about it.)

            I haven’t lumped them all in but I have no problem saying that some of the viewpoints and actions of the more militant voices risk undermining credibility. As an idea, I’m not at all against something like Health at Every Size and can understand why people that come out of body dysmorphia and eating disorder backgrounds find it so transformative to their own well-being.

            At the same time, I’ve been exposed to some of Linda Bacon’s positions, and to say the least, they’re troubling. I’m happy to concede that I can’t tell what someone’s health is like by looking at them, but arguing for “weight neutrality” by bending over backwards to avoid any correlation between weight and health like she does here reminds me too much of the tactics a former community member used when I called him out on the Golden Rice debate.

            If the good people feel that I lumped them in, then I suppose I can build those bridges back to ensure that it isn’t the case, but if I can’t get people comfortable with that, then I guess that’s on me. The good news is that those activists can avoid me all they want and so long as they’re doing right by me, and it sounds as if they are, they’re ok in my book.

            And it is toxic to discourse

            It’s not just that. It damages credibility, and given that we are a society stocked to the gills with fat shaming motherf–kers, all this does is puts a target on the good people trying to do right.

            Are you familiar with Joni Edelman and her situation? I read the Facebook comments to this article and was disgusted at the way she was treated.

            Anyway, going through your points:

            – most obese people (not all, at all, but most) were also victims of childhood abuse that included attacks on their bodies,

            It wouldn’t surprise me if 99 out of 100 young women that started dieting at an early age did so either because they were bullied by the peers or shamed by their parents.

            I’ve done short-term crash diets, like really short term (3-4 days) and really deep deficits for “science” (I’ll explain if I have to but it’s no big deal). Knowing what I know and remembering how I felt, I can’t imagine what is going through someone’s head that they believe that doing this to themselves is a better choice, especially since I know exactly how it’s going to end.

            – that the epidemic of child abuse and its status as a root cause of *many* medical problems gets sidelined by medical efforts to (unsuccessfully for the most part) focus on temporary weight loss and temporary weight loss alone as an indicator of health

            I think this is a serious problem that has to be addressed by healthcare providers immediately. I agree that weight alone as an indicator of health doesn’t cut it but it is an indicator that needs to be appropriately considered in a caring, compassionate and comprehensive manner as part of the total healthcare package.

            Healthcare providers are incentivized to manage population health to favorable outcomes. Shaming patients so they don’t seek medical attention until they have chronic health issues is not a good health outcome for the patient nor a good economic outcome for health systems, especially given the penalties for readmissions.

            – that people in this (again, VERY LARGE category) of those of us who struggle with excess weight have complicated issues involving fight-or-flight hormones that do make it significantly and overwhelmingly hard to lose weight,

            Fight or flight hormones, mental health issues are other physiological factors are things I include into the energy balance equation and they can significantly affect food intake and need to be considered. Telling someone that has hormonal issues or problems with stress eating to simply eat less and lose weight is negligent if not cruel.

            As much as I’m of the school that weight loss is achievable long-term, that doesn’t mean everyone can do it or that everyone should do it. Part of the challenge with the draft I have written on the subject is making sure that the people that I don’t apply my thinking to don’t think I’m speaking to them.

            – that the medical industry’s understanding of fat and thin is broken, and societal understanding is even more broken

            Irreparably.

            and as someone who has experienced fat-shaming many many many times – your comments above about dogmatic zealots peddling shit did feel like they were aimed at me too.

            No, not at all, but if you’ve been on the activism side, I can’t imagine the level of crap you’ve taken from people. Good lord every time a fat woman posts a picture of herself on Instagram in a bathing suit, the trolls come out in force. You’ve probably been burned very badly and unfairly so.

            On that note, I’m genuinely sorry if something hit the wrong nerve. I’m attacking certain ideas more than I’m attacking people and I’m certainly not attacking people because of how they look or their body shape.

            You say I’m body positive and I thank you for that. However, I prefer body neutrality. Sure, I believe that people should learn to embrace and accept themselves, but I just can’t bring myself to judge people based on bodies.

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            • That’s fair, to say you’re body neutral, and I’ll try to remember it. FWIW the reason why I said you were body positive is not an evaluation of whether you do or don’t judge people based on their bodies (I don’t think I do that either), but because you are positive toward bodies, ie you are actively working to be kind to your own and others’. The amount of care you put into taking care of yourself, and what I’ve seen you share with other people when you thought it was welcome, speaks to that.

              For me “body negative” has nothing to do with weight, everything to do with the way I was taught (violently) to hate my body and to allow it to be abused. (Not just by my actual abuser, btw, or by school bullies, but also by the particular priests who did stuff like tell my ma to stay married to my dad, because her physical suffering made her holy in her care for my father… and all kinds of other people.) I’m not just neutral/indifferent to my body now, I am (learning) how to be truly kind to it, rather than letting it continue to bear everything I didn’t use to be strong enough for. That’s why I call myself body *positive* and not just neutral – it’s a self-reminder to be kind, to myself and to others.

              I get that’s not how those two terms gets used by a significant proportion of people, though. And I’ll remember to use the term you prefer in the future to describe you.

              Thank you for your thoughtful response.

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    • I think it depends upon what the question is asked in service of.

      If a GOP politician trying to find money for a top-1% tax cut says “I think $X of food stamp money is being squandered,” it’s very hard to see that for anything other than what I see it as: a class-warfare attack on those who need for the benefit of those who donate.

      If, however, someone approaches from the angle of “we spend $X on the safety net, but it appears mistargeted because it’s hitting these people who need less than these other people that it doesn’t hit” and comes up with a proposal to reallocate, an attack is a much less fair one. Likewise, conservatives have done the lions share of the work on prison recidivism, which should tickle everyone’s happy places because people stop committing crimes AND states stop spending on jails.

      Unfortunately, I see a lot of the first type in actual political actions.

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      • If a GOP politician trying to find money for a top-1% tax cut says “I think $X of food stamp money is being squandered,” it’s very hard to see that for anything other than what I see it as: a class-warfare attack on those who need for the benefit of those who donate.

        How much have we increased food stamps in the last decade? 3x? More? (I found a chart but won’t post it).

        That program was supposed to prevent people from starving. Has it now become a handout to political supporters?

        And I’m not allowed to talk about that if I also think really high taxes on the top 1% are economically destructive and don’t gather as much money as advertised? Or if I think the safety net itself enables destructive behavior and should be pared back?

        Questioning my motives is a way to avoid discussing whether or not I’m right.

        Much worse, even if you’re right about my motives, it’s STILL possible for my argument to be right.

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        • And it’s still possible for your argument to be right (though, in the case of food stamps, I doubt it is because it is a small program, and part of a larger social assistance strategy that both is too small and fairly well-directed). But you’re going to have to do a lot more convincing if you’re in the hunting-for-money-for-bad-policy space than the reallocating-money-to-be-more-efficient space. At least if you want to convince me. Certainly “I found a chart but won’t post it” isn’t gong to get the job done.

          “Not allowed” isn’t an applicable concept, fwiw. You can do whatever you want (as can GOP politicians), but complaints about unfair criticism sound pretty weak to me when directed at my reaction to arguments of the nature you block-quoted. It seems pretty clear that cutting safety net programs to create pay-fors is done to, well, create pay-fors.

          If you think both things are right and good, make the argument and I’ll respond on the merits. If you think one is a necessary hit for the other, I’ll respond to that too.
          You, however, have affirmatively chosen to do neither and instead just complain about how gosh darned unfair liberals are.

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          • This comment was great right up to the last clause. Please don’t throw out stuff like “just complain about how gosh darned unfair liberals are.” You can expect to have a phrase like that in a context like this one elicit action (redaction or whatever) in future. I get that he said he was tired of hearing how the motives for opposing Democrats are evil, on his first comment, but the rest of the conversation up to this point had been getting more civil, not less. And he wasn’t saying that Sam (or liberals or whoever) were even wrong about this, he was saying he’s started tuning it out because it seems to apply to anything a Republican ever does. I think he’s wrong and and he was rightly called on it by many people including you, but re-escalating the conversation is not useful.

            From what I’ve read, he’s been quite careful to argue that particular policies or claims were unfair, not that a big group of people was unfair. This is a distinction that matters. In his original comment that you were responding to, he said the Dem *playbook* was tired and he’s tired of it. I think he’s wrong about what he sees, but he wasn’t saying “You liberals and your liberal playbook blah blah you’re all terrible” he said he’s tired of that set of plays, the move to question motives, which he sees as near-constant. He then elaborated on this further in an attempt to clarify.

            If it’s the “not allowed,” phrasing you were referring to, Dark Matter can’t, actually do whatever he want on this site (although you’re right about GOP politicians). There are arguments we’ve decided are hors combat for being just generally uncivil no matter how polite you are, and a lot of people have been told to reconsider their comments in the last few days. Some have been suspended or banned. He’s been making a real effort and adjusting his approach, IMO. So if you’re phrasing “complaining about how gosh darned” etc was sparked because he used the phrase “not allowed,” you’re not really being fair to him. There’s lots of stuff he’s not allowed to do here. (Most of which I happen to think overlaps with the set of stuff he doesn’t want to do, but I can see how if I held the beliefs he does, it would feel different than that.)

            Ironically enough, if that was all it was.

            Plus, like, think about how enormously more effective your entire comment is if you stop at “You, however, have affirmatively chosen to do neither.”

            You’d be more civil *and* it’d be better shade being thrown. Right? C’mon.

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          • Alright, apparently I was subtle and didn’t get my point across, so let’s try again.

            I’m not trying to divert the conversation to cutting safety nets, food stamps, and cutting taxes for the rich. You presented those issues as an example where it’d be impossible to have them without having bad motivations, I was trying to point out it’s actually pretty easy to make an arguments in favor of either. That’s why I didn’t bother sourcing the 3x, although btw it’s a basic fact of the program. Each of them deserves a 100+ post page by themselves.

            The point I am making is that, even on an example you picked to show an instance where you could safely assume bad motivations because the argument is impossible, that’s not the case.

            There is no counter argument for “bad motivations” because all it does is paint yourself in a white hat and whoever as the villain. Bad motivations is the answer for any argument, because it’s avoiding all issues and data.

            IMHO arguments stand or fail by themselves, it should matter very little who is making them or why.

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  5. Calling him a closeted white supremacist seems…lazy. It misses a lot of nuance that the Left will need to better understand if they want to defeat him in 3 years. Trump is certainly a bastard and an opportunist, but his rise to power was a master class in how to weave together a coalition from groups that , on the surface, don’t have a lot in common. That’s how Republicans took the South. Unfortunately Liberals, in their complete inability to understand the motivations of those parties, will probably keep allowing it to happen.

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    • We don’t have to wonder if Trump “endorses” their agenda when he has explicitly endorsed their agenda. There is no confusion. And anybody who continues to support him is, at the very minimum, indicating that endorsement of that agenda is not a non-starter for them. Is there really any denying either this, or that the overwhelming majority of Trump’s supporters are motivated by their hatred of their perceived opponents?

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      • “Is there really any denying either this, or that the overwhelming majority of Trump’s supporters are motivated by their hatred of their perceived opponents?”

        Are they angry? Absolutely. But hate is a very strong word. Given your posting habits for the last year or so one could easily assume you are filled with hate because quite frankly, you are far and away the angriest writer we seem to have. With that said, i don’t want to believe it comes from a place of hate, because that says something very different about you than what I want to believe.

        Hate implies a sort of irrational thought that makes it easy to dismiss opposing viewpoints instead of trying to actually understand them. It’s why I have always disliked people so casually throwing around the term ‘racist’ when ‘prejudice’ is much more accurate (and not the same thing).

        So…again, I would caution the Left against the laziness of talking about hate and white supremacists. It fails to recognize nuance and I promise it will bite you in the ass, maybe not with the White House, but certainly in those dozens of other races that also matter a lot.

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        • See (at the risk of pressing your “hate” button and making it hard for you to hear me, as you say above)… I call things racist because they seem *racist*, not because I hate people who do racist things. If I hated them I wouldn’t bother to call them on racist bullcrap (as I see it)… it wouldn’t be worth the effort. Same with sexist, xenophobic, or whatever. Those things are part of a broken, harmful system and I’m calling on the people I confront to stop being part of that particular aspect of the system. Or actually just to support that aspect of the system less, to prop it up *less*, since none of us are really likely to bail on the system as a whole or even across-the-board in any one dimension, any time soon, self included.

          Calling things “prejudiced” to me is … usually pretty darn vague and not clear. I mean, we all have prejudices but I am pretty sure that being prejudiced against Trump and prejudiced against my neighbor who has never said boo to me still aren’t the same thing, but now it’s even less clear what I’m talking about. How is that a better word?

          Saying that things are on the same continuum (the continuum of racist, sexist, whatever) isn’t saying that they are equivalent, only that they have the same vector. They’re not binary words.

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          • Also, while I can’t speak for Sam, I can promise it’s not laziness on my part that leads me to use them. It’d be way less work for me to keep my mouth shut so no one gets in arguments, or so that I can stay out of said arguments. Way less.

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          • I’m probably being very pedantic here but this:

            “I call things racist because they seem *racist*…”

            Race was a major component of my undergrad studies and I’ve seen the dictionary definition maybe 10 times in my 42 years. Since you are saying you see it near-daily, either we live in very different places or (more likely) we are operating under very different definitions. So, pretending you work for Merriam-Webster, do you think you could explain your definition in like, one sentence?

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                • The ones I’m seeing suggest you live in either an alternate universe or under the guise of willful blidness.

                  “rac·ism
                  ?r??siz?m/Submit
                  noun
                  – prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
                  – the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

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            • Maribou,

              fairly effectively explains my definition of racist. it also explains why I think it’s relevant to see small pieces of racial prejudice on a continuum with active acts of harassment and not to treat “racist” as a binary term with no degrees.

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              • Dangit I was trying to edit and I got booted out.

                Here’s a more expanded version:
                The comment I linked to above fairly effectively explains my definition of racist; I prefer to talk about examples and not dictionary definitions but already gave you a dictionary definition. it also explains why I think it’s relevant to see small pieces of racial prejudice on a continuum with active acts of harassment and not to treat “racist” as a binary term with no degrees.

                I think it’s fairly probable that you and I do experience the world differently as well as hearing about the world from different people. But my making a different choice than you doesn’t make me lazy. It also doesn’t make me uneducated about race and racists and people who hold racial prejudices. My undergraduate degree is in biology; my minor was in religious history; I did a half-minor in Asian history as well. My master’s degree, librarianship, is mostly concerned with the practical skills of digging up information and evaluating it for bias, reliability, and usefulness. My students of color and other friends of color aren’t uneducated on the topic either, they’re also *living* the experience of racial discrimination and I do trust their witness about it.

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                  • Calling people lazy for calling people lazy doesn’t actually help though.

                    I don’t need you to back me up when I’ve already crossed my own lines elsewhere on this post, please. I get that you’re frustrated but Mike isn’t your (our) actual problem any more than your his (ours). Escalating doesn’t help. (Yes, I know this makes me a hypocrite. What can I say, I was trying to demonstrate by amplification, it did not succeed, I should’ve known it wouldn’t, and I already am talking that over privately with both Mike and Sam.)

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                    • With increasing frequency, I’m seeing right-leaning/ward folks calling accusations of racism lazy, to the point that it is a borderline knee-jerk response verging on bumper-sticker territory. Mike’s analysis here is superficial at best and shows a seeming eager willingness to dismiss an opinion he disagrees with. So, yes, his opinion strikes me as lazy… especially in contrast to what was once a demonstrable ability to recognize nuance and engage. He didn’t engage here. He fell back on a talking point. As your post demonstrated.

                      I give him as much time as he shows he deserves… ergo, calling racism lazy is the new lazy.

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                      • It’s clear to me that his opinion comes from a deep frustration (with any number of people) and a decent amount of hurt. I happen to think he’s wrong, and that he shouldn’t do it, but if it were lazy he wouldn’t be putting half the effort into it that he is. Just about everything in your comment above *other* than calling him lazy is justified although it’s a slide out of civility into the “it’s lazy” position so it’s hard to draw the line in a particular place.

                        Lumping Mike in with people who aren’t putting the effort in (like a certain someone I just banned) isn’t demonstrating nuance either. And you might not feel like he’s worth your time but I would hope that you felt that some combination of the site, the other commenters whose work you like, me and my judgment as a moderator, etc etc etc are worth your time.

                        It sure seems like you feel that, to me.

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                        • FWIW, I think Mike’s efforts on these particular efforts have dipped lately and we are worse of for it. See above where he bowed out of the “definition” thread when it went potentially against him.

                          I don’t think your assessment is wrong but I don’t think mine is either. I don’t think we’re getting Mike’s best (nor many others… self included). Whether that justified the “lazy” moniker is more debatable.

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                          • So I’m trying to ask you to bring your best self to the table. Not based on whether someone else is or isn’t, because I literally *cannot* address this with all of you at once, but based on your own autonomy and care for what this site has been and can be.

                            I realize that “bring your best self to the table as much as you can, and react to others’ breaches with empathy or by ignoring them” is a very high (and subjective) standard for *all* of us. Honestly there have been times in the past two years where I would say that just about everyone here except maybe about 5 people have failed to meet it and there have been times as a moderator where I was tempted to suspend 90 percent of us (self again included) until we could do a better job of it. But it’s not an untenable standard – lots of communities meet it including most of the other communities online or off that I spend time in, plus we *used* to do that – and it’s one I sincerely think we need to *try* for if we’re going to turn the comments around. We all have to do that work, not just the people that are most frustrating from one or the other of our perspectives.

                            I personally think that as one of the moderators for years, I’ve been enabling that by ignoring really deliberately malicious behavior by a very small number of people – mostly through avoidance of the comment section because who among us actually wants to spend energy on moderating that – and by not stepping in with folks who have some challenges and can’t avoid crossing certain lines – mostly through avoidance because (at least on my part) I have a lot of empathy for those folks. I could be really wrong about that diagnosis, but it seems right to me, and the reaction of various people to the actions I have taken seems to bear it out.

                            As a result of that years-long avoidance, and the provocations that has caused, the board is full of frustrated, to-some-degree-offended *good* people who have common cause around knowing the country is jacked in some ways and being pretty overwhelmed by how to move forward, who feel slighted and mistreated by other comments, and who mostly don’t particularly even like to discuss or spend much time on their feelings (I know Myers Briggs is a bit of a crock but I’m very aware that the vast majority of regular writers and comments on this site came out as -T-J when we were playing with that a few years ago.)

                            All of us need to take some responsibility for that and start doing more and better if we’re going to fix it. I’m doing my best- I’ve read every single comment since I started moderating, for example – and yes, it’s really hard work and it doesn’t always feel worth it and I’ve fucked up spectacularly and etc, but overall, it’s worth it. And I’m trying to be my best bravest self, not the one who needs to just stay out of the comments until someone does something that even a rules lawyer can tell is completely beyond the pale, and otherwise trusting to the hard work of other people. Because that other reaction was ruining my relationship to this site.

                            Can you do the same, can you try to be your best bravest self? You and I aren’t the same so your best self isn’t the same.

                            I reckon you are trying, but we all need to try harder. And not just so that a community that many of us have been part of for years keeps being worth the effort we put into it, but so that the country does. If, for example, you Sam Mike and Pinky (hi Pinky, sorry to drag you in here, hope you see it as the appreciation that it is) all agree that Trump is awful, it sure seems like a waste to spend our time fighting each other instead of trying to hear each other – including giving OPs space but also including not piling on in the comments – and build coalitions. Coalitions of ideas, and of common (good) goals, that will actually improve things.

                            Not endless rounds of discussion about who crossed what lines first or about how the only way we can work together is to accept all this line crossing.

                            I get that what I’ve been doing lately is boring. Sometimes (especially when I fuck up) it even makes things more of a (hopefully short-term) problem than they were. But I’m really hoping, and really believing, that we can lance the boil, rather than provoking our collective autoimmune system into a massive failure. Because the slow decline we’ve been in …. none of us deserve to lose this community this way.

                            There are psychological studies that draw the conclusion that about 30 percent of a successful relationship consists of repair. The number may or may not be accurate (you know how I get about psychological studies), but the principle of repair being healthy and day-to-day, rather than something that shows up only in a disaster,is a solid one. What I see on this site (mostly in the comments, but also in who has or hasn’t felt welcomed as a writer based on how commenters behaved) is a lack of willingness to do repair work. I’m trying to fix that.

                            I should’ve done more sooner, when it would’ve been less work. But I can’t roll that back, and here’s where we are.

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                      • I agree that I have not been putting much effort into the site on the front end in the last few months and I will explain why…

                        As you are familiar, I have written about race on the site possibly more than anyone. I know how my words sound to liberal ears and I have been taken to the woodshed for it many times. I also write under my own name, not an alias, and so I do consider that to be an additional level of willingness to engage and be criticized.

                        With all of that said, it’s no secret that the editorial staff here spends a LOT of time behind the scenes wringing our hands about the tone of the conversations we have. And because I know my writing can often be as provocative as Sam’s, though from a very different perspective, I’ve chosen to mostly lay off posting for a while until we figure some things out. I’m also going to take this thread as a sign that I need to lay off the comment sections too. As an Editor I need to stay out of these conversations.

                        So, with that said, I’m going to sign off here and from comments in general for a while. I’ll still be doing my thing behind the scenes and maybe I can put up some benign posts as a sort of journalistic Xanax for the site, but I’m going to leave the conversation to you all.

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                      • I think Mike is right to conceptually emphasize prejudice instead of racism, first of all for precision but mostly to dial down the antagonism between the Left and the Right in situations where the word racism or now “white supremacism” is casually used.

                        We already have a country and we already have a means where people can hash out their differences.

                        What we need now is for libs to take ownership of the corruptions they have introduced and propagated into our politics and culture. Once those things have gone away, we will still have substantial differences. I don’t anticipate that we will find agreement but I think we’ll at least get to the point events can occur and dissipate the intensity of the antagonism.

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        • If you’re so offended by my anger, I enthusiastically encourage you to stop reading what I write, as I have absolutely no interest in tailoring my approach to make you happier. And if you truly believe that it is unfair to conclude a person’s outlook simply by looking at the decisions that they voluntarily make, I doubly encourage you to stop reading what I write, because that is how I understand the world and the people in it. (I’ll note though that you do seem to be considerably less offended by this approach when it comes to your evaluation of me; in fact, we seem to be on the same page in that very particular case. It’s just the damndest thing.)

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          • “the angriest writer we seem to have”

            @sam

            Assuming this is the same thing you both agree on, I think you’re both proving how easy it is to guess wrong about somebody based on not a lot of information.

            If y’all think because I express empathy and compassion, and demand that people be civil to each other, I’m not *angry*, that I’m not an angry *writer*, that I’m not an angry *person*, you’ve both got a blind spot the size of West Texas.

            Our current president, just to pick one out of millions of targets of my anger, and there literally are millions of them, *literally resembles my asshole pedophile of a wife-beating maniacal father more than anyone I have ever seen in my life*. EVER. Not phenotypically but behaviorally. And I’ve felt that way since all he was was a failed reality host. I spent the fucking year of 2016 in various states of triggered-by-childhood-trauma-every-time-someone-says-his-fucking-name and I’ve only STOPPED doing that through sheer willpower and hard fucking work (not laziness, Mike, JEEZ). And I didn’t scream at my mother-in-law and I instead made myself vulnerable to her so that she could understand why supporting him was a problem not because I wasn’t ANGRY, but because I fucking LOVE her, Sam, and I knew she was caring about the coal miners that she connects to so much that it was fucking blinding her to the truth. And FUCK YOU if you think that taints me, Sam, and FUCK YOU if you think that converting her away from supporting him was laziness, Mike, because I called her behavior as I saw it, engaging at all was fucking EXHAUSTING.

            You think Trump being in charge and me being so fucking helpless that I can’t fix it doesn’t make me furious on a near-daily basis? OF COURSE IT FUCKING DOES.

            You think I wasn’t already furious since childhood at the way the world works and how much fucking evil people do to each other in it, and how some fucking people get away with everything and other people just as bad use that as an excuse to control everyone for fear of the first set of bad people when really they are every bit as fucking bad? OF COURSE I FUCKING WAS. AND AM.

            But when I write, or speak, I try to find the right range for that anger, and the right range *for me* isn’t (usually! i’ve made exceptions) “slice open a vein and bleed fury all over anyone who gets in my goddamn way”.

            So maybe it seems to you both that Sam is the angriest writer on the site, because he tends to speak loud and hot about his anger, but you would both be very. fucking. wrong.

            And if you don’t like hearing that, in that tone, well, sit the fuck down and stop carping at each other instead of at your real targets. Or I’ll put you both on permanent fucking blast.

            Or………. maybe I will go back to being polite and kind and empathetic because *that is a better fucking way for people of good will to behave if they can manage to do so, especially when confronted with valid and righteous anger (such as that which underlies Sam’s post here even though I don’t agree with the broadness of it), not except when confronted with it*.

            (Note, for the uninformed, this wasn’t even me at my angriest! This was like 1/100th of max anger! Which I only let out of the box to make a point about how unpleasant and unproductive it is and I hope that point gets made because ARGH. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jay is a saint for even living in the same house with me, though he is almost never the cause or target of my anger and I almost always rein it in pretty well.)

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        • I feel that a lot of conservatives who basically happy with the Trump agenda but realise that he’s a bit too obvious about things for the plausible deniability they prefer for their dog whistles will often aay “yes trump is awful, but that is obvious and so uninteresting to talk about. Lets talk instead about how thr real problem is liberals calling other people rascist.” It’s a dodge. I think i find it partucularly irritating that tge people doing this tend to be very self-regarding about how reasonable they are.

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          • Are you saying that someone here is employing a dodge? Because if so that’s not very useful and I don’t think it applies to these commenters.

            Say it’s a poor argument / claim / whatever and explain why, but don’t complain about how other commenters are being self-regarding and irritating you please.

            If you’re not talking about commenters here, it’s best to clarify that.

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            • Sorry for lack of claruty, definitely not my intention to accuse any specific person of being self-regarding, and, as you say, expressing my frustration there is a distraction from my main point.

              What i would say is that in my view racism is a greater evil than overplayed accusations of racism. People who focus on the latter rather than the former create in me the impression of carrying water for Trump even if they tepidly disparage him.

              And i say that as soneone who doesnt think Trump is a white supremecist and thinks to call him one is to get distracted from whats really going on. (Which is that the trumpian conservatives generally arent actually racist but have no interest in opposing racism either, and see it as a useful tool to keep poorer people voting republucan and blaming someone other than them. Which i actually think is worse, in many ways).

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              • I’m going to assume your comment was directed at me, and I have absolutely no problem with the criticism. Please allow me to explain:

                I was an anthropology major, so I’m obviously biased towards culture. With that said, the reason I have fought so hard for years to push away from racism and towards the word prejudice, is not because I’m trying to distract from the real problem, but because the latter word choice does a better job of explaining America in 2017 in my opinion.

                Racism is quite simply the belief that someone’s race is inferior to yours. I don’t see very much of that, well, ever. What I do see though is a belief that certain sub-cultures are superior to others. So you will hear a lot of white people talk about how they don’t have a problem with black people as a race, but they have problems with certain aspects of black culture. And based on my observations of many white people having black friends that they would bleed for, and then making broad statements about problems with black culture, you have a very interesting dichotomy that should be explored.

                I’ve had these conversations dozens of times in classrooms, bars and on the front porches of close friends. What I have found is that when you talk to liberals one-on-one in person, and start digging into this stuff, they will usually admit that yes, it’s really more cultural prejudice than true racism. But the latter word has so much more power, which is why it gets chosen on internet comment sections 9 out of 10 times. Most of us choose the extreme position here, not because we are like that in real life, but because being level-headed is boring when you like to argue with people on the internet.

                So…I don’t know if I have actually convinced you that I’m not some Trump apologist (I didn’t vote for him and think he might possibly be the worst person we have ever elected) but maybe you at least understand why I push back so much on that one word.