Monday, May 15, 2017

Keeanga-Yamatta Taylor rejects privilege theory

From Picking up the Threads of Struggle:
The whole framework of privilege is really problematic because it reduces issues of power, of control, and authority to individual difference. It’s almost as if everything that is different about groups of people is then dubbed as a privilege. If you’re able-bodied and someone else is not, then your able-bodied-ness becomes a privilege. If you’re cisgendered and someone else is not, then that difference is transformed into a privilege.

...Oppression changes individual working-class people’s experience in the world. The experiences of working-class black women are not the same as they are for working-class white men. Because of the compounding impacts of multiple oppressions, it makes for a harsher outcome for black, working-class women. But the absence of those particular oppressions experienced by black women in the life of a white working-class man doesn’t necessarily equate into this thing that we call privilege.

Weaponizing poverty, or How "social justice warriors" are like McCarthyites and the Ku Klux Klan

A note before I begin: The people who get called "social justice warriors" can be astonishingly literal-minded, so I'll grant there's a reason my title doesn't say they are exactly like the Klan—though they've issued death threats and called in bomb scares, so far as I know, SJWs haven't killed anyone. But since they compare people who haven't killed anyone to Nazis, fascists, and the Klan, the objection's invalid. And they can't complain about being compared to McCarthyites, a group that destroyed lives, but did not murder anyone.

 "Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." —1 Samuel 15:3
They're called warriors because they believe all's fair in wartime so they dox, blacklist, censor, issue death threats, and weaponize poverty by getting people fired and destroying their businesses. Like people who support torture, the death penalty, or the use of chemical weapons, they are sure their cause is righteous and therefore their tactics are righteous too.

Which is why they don't notice or don't care that they use same tactics as McCarthyites and the Ku Klux Klan.

I have a personal hatred for the Ku Klux Klan. Skip this paragraph if you know my history: When my family was active in the civil rights movement, we could not get fire insurance because word was out that the Klan would burn us down. I was bullied for speaking up for integration and for opposing prayer in school. I remember my mother shaking after she got an anonymous phone call—to this day, I do not know if it was a death threat or just someone being vile, but I suspect the former—see the fact we could not get fire insurance.

The Klan believed in silencing people by destroying their livelihood. From Ku Klux Klan:
...activities included participation in parades, cross lightings, lectures, rallies, and boycotts of local businesses owned by Catholics and Jews.
I have a second-hand hatred for McCarthyites because they used the Klan's tactics against people I admire. As noted at McCarthyism:
It is difficult to estimate the number of victims of McCarthy. The number imprisoned is in the hundreds, and some ten or twelve thousand lost their jobs.[53] In many cases simply being subpoenaed by HUAC or one of the other committees was sufficient cause to be fired.[54] Many of those who were imprisoned, lost their jobs, or were questioned by committees did in fact have a past or present connection of some kind with the Communist Party. But for the vast majority, both the potential for them to do harm to the nation and the nature of their communist affiliation were tenuous.[55] After the extremely damaging "Cambridge Five" spy scandal (Guy BurgessDonald MacleanKim PhilbyAnthony Blunt, et al.), suspected homosexuality was also a common cause for being targeted by McCarthyism. The hunt for "sexual perverts", who were presumed to be subversive by nature, resulted in thousands being harassed and denied employment.[56] Many have termed this aspect of McCarthyism the "Lavender scare".[57]
From the ACLU's What Is Censorship?:
Private pressure groups, not the government, promulgated and enforced the infamous Hollywood blacklists during the McCarthy period. 
Yes, I could add that SJW tactics are like those of homophobes. I could make a very long list of bad people who have used bad tactics for their cause. This should be a wake-up call: when you are doing what bad people do, bystanders have trouble telling the difference between your cause and theirs.

Note: This post was inspired by the comments at Freedom Fighters | …and Then There's Physics.

Possibly of interest:

Wilfrid Laurier University Grad Student Association blasted for terminating café operator over help wanted ad - Kitchener-Waterloo - CBC News

The doubts of a ‘Social Justice Warrior’ | New York Post

Social Justice Warriors Against Free Speech | RealClearPolitics

On Leaving the SJW Cult and Finding Myself – Keri Smith

The Personality of Political Correctness - Scientific American Blog Network



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Harvard's black acceptance ratio is proportionate--but it's drawn from rich black folks

Harvard University Admits Highest Number Of Black Students In School's History | The Huffington Post: " Almost 12 percent of the total applicants who were offered admission next fall are black"

Most Black Students at Harvard Are From High-Income Families: "In a 2004 interview Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard, told the London Observer, “The black kids who come to Harvard or Yale are middle class. Nobody else gets through.” "

Kwame Anthony Appiah defending "cultural appropriation"

The Case for Contamination - The New York Times:
Besides, trying to find some primordially authentic culture can be like peeling an onion. The textiles most people think of as traditional West African cloths are known as Java prints; they arrived in the 19th century with the Javanese batiks sold, and often milled, by the Dutch. The traditional garb of Herero women in Namibia derives from the attire of 19th-century German missionaries, though it is still unmistakably Herero, not least because the fabrics used have a distinctly un-Lutheran range of colors. And so with our kente cloth: the silk was always imported, traded by Europeans, produced in Asia. This tradition was once an innovation. Should we reject it for that reason as untraditional? How far back must one go? Should we condemn the young men and women of the University of Science and Technology, a few miles outside Kumasi, who wear European-style gowns for graduation, lined with kente strips (as they do now at Howard and Morehouse, too)? Cultures are made of continuities and changes, and the identity of a society can survive through these changes. Societies without change aren't authentic; they're just dead.

Monday, April 10, 2017

FREE SPEECH AND UNSAFE SPACES | Pandaemonium

From Kenan Malik's FREE SPEECH AND UNSAFE SPACES:
The notion of a safe space as protection from challenge raises other issues, too. In 2104 a student group at Brown University organized a debate about campus sexual assault between the feminist Jessica Valenti and the libertarian Wendy McElroy, a critic of the notion of ‘rape culture’. Fearing that the debate would be too upsetting for some, a ‘safe space’ was set up, equipped with cookies, colouring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as counsellors. One of the students who helped set up, and make use of, the safe space, went to listen to the debate at one point, but quickly returned to the safe space. ‘I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs’, she said.

A cartoon and a comment about leftists who are friendly and leftists who mock

On Facebook, Jonas Kyratzes shared Things Are Not OK. In the comments, Jay Tholen mentioned his childhood growing up in poor neighborhoods and said,
I was a Limbaugh-listening conservative at 18 and know how completely validating it is to see the liberal mainstream characterize you as a hateful idiot. It entrenched me in my belief that I was fighting against some elite star chamber. The only time I started questioning my political ideologies was when folks from the left befriended me and we had conversations.
A little later, Douglas Lain shared this:

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Today's leftist critique of identitarianism: Identity Crisis by Salar Mohandesi

from Identity Crisis:
Although inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty the­o­ry added some much-need­ed nuance to iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics, it, too, ran into its own lim­its. As Sue Fer­gu­son and David McNal­ly have explained, while “inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty accounts have right­ly insist­ed that it is impos­si­ble to iso­late any par­tic­u­lar set of oppres­sive rela­tions from the oth­er,” they have not devel­oped any coher­ent expla­na­tion of “how and why” dif­fer­ent forms of oppres­sion inter­sect with each in oth­er in some ways and not oth­ers. The result is often an enu­mer­a­tion of oppres­sions with­out an ade­quate expla­na­tion of their artic­u­la­tion into a struc­tured, though always uneven, whole. This is pre­cise­ly why, for exam­ple, par­ti­sans of this kind of inter­sec­tion­al iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics almost always revert to com­pos­ing breath­less cat­a­logues of injus­tice when try­ing to explain what they oppose – the colo­nial white suprema­cist het­ero­nor­ma­tive patri­archy, or some­thing to that effect. More­over, since the list is the only way to present the object of social strug­gle, fail­ure to include a par­tic­u­lar oppres­sion in the mas­ter list will often be mis­tak­en­ly inter­pret­ed as the will­ful rejec­tion or era­sure of a par­tic­u­lar strug­gle again­st a par­tic­u­lar oppres­sion.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

An apology for Julia Sparkymonster, Micole Coffeeandink, and Mary Dell

April 2015/February 2017

Dear Julia, Micole, and Mary,

Like most artists, I try to keep track of online mentions of my name. Often the results are nice. Perhaps the nicest was when I saw someone praising my brother. I learned about two interesting people who are undoubtedly distant relatives that way, Margot Lee Shetterly and Robert Shetterly. But in 2015, I saw this tweet from Julia:


I wrote a first draft of this letter then, but decided sharing it wouldn't help anyone, so I left it sitting in Blogger's draft folder.

Friday I learned about these tweets:



Julia, my first reaction to your 2015 tweet was to be amused by your use of "harass"—if writing publicly about things someone has said is harassing, you have been harassing me since you showed up on my LiveJournal ten years ago to insist class does not matter when discussing racism.

But then I thought a little more about our history, which reminded me of this part of a post I made in 2014, How I Became A Misogynist White Supremacist Doxxing Troll, or Things about me that SJWs cannot understand, or Fisking a Mixoning, A response to SciFi Fandom's most self-righteous warriors:
Sparky says, "Once I sat down once & compiled documents details his harassment of a particular person for a potential restraining order. The stack of paper was several inches thick (double sided) and fucking appalling. WS also specializes in deleting posts, comments, entire journals, etc. He deleted posts and complains that people aren't reading his words in context. We can't because he deleted them."

I'm assuming she didn't try for a restraining order because she couldn't find a lawyer who thought public posts on the internet were harassment. As for deleting posts, guilty, but this community has been obsessive about screen caps for ages, at least since they doxxed and terrorized Zathlazip. If I'd said or done something extreme, they would have dozens of copies to show it, and the first copy would probably be Sparky's.

Sparky says, "About 2 years ago I ended up sitting down with HR because of concerns that either WS or one of his comment buddies was going to start calling my workplace. In order for me to do my job, my work number must be public. My office location also public. The building I work in is open to the public. I am the only black staff member in the building. I'm the only WOC staff member in the building. It was, and is, fucking terrifying."

Two points: 1. Obviously, I never did what she feared. 2. What she feared is exactly what her friends did to Zathlazip. Sparky was afraid of getting what she had condoned and may have participated in.
Writing that in 2014, I experienced something I've despised since I learned the word: schadenfreude. Rereading my post after seeing your April 2015 tweet, I was sorry I had been amused rather than sympathetic when you were afraid I would treat you the same way your community treats others.

But after I wrote the first draft of this letter, I decided it would help no one and left it unfinished.

Your recent tweet convinced me something must be done. Now you say I threatened you as well as harassed you. When and where did this happen? I'm not aware of anything I've done that I considered a threat, but you have a long history of misunderstanding me. Most of those misunderstandings can never be cleared up because our understandings of the world are so different, but I will gladly do anything I can to clear up this one. No one should live in fear.

Micole and Mary, I'm including you in this letter because Julia helped you compile things I'd said for your "Will Shetterly: Do Not Engage" post. For years, I was frustrated that you'd cherrypicked items to make it look like I believe something I do not, but I eventually made peace with the fact you hear as you do because your belief in intersectionality disconnects class and race, so you see two unique things that only occasionally intersect while I agree with Eric Williams that “Slavery was not born of racism: rather, racism was the consequence of slavery,” and therefore see that race and class in North America have been intimately entangled since the first laws were passed after Bacon's Rebellion to treat African slaves and European indentured servants differently.

Adolph Reed helped me understand how hard it is for identitarians to hear nuance. In The limits of anti-racism, he wrote something I completely agree with:
Yes, racism exists, as a conceptual condensation of practices and ideas that reproduce, or seek to reproduce, hierarchy along lines defined by race. Apostles of antiracism frequently can’t hear this sort of statement, because in their exceedingly simplistic version of the nexus of race and injustice there can be only the Manichean dichotomy of those who admit racism’s existence and those who deny it. There can be only Todd Gitlin (the sociologist and former SDS leader who has become, both fairly and as caricature, the symbol of a “class-first” line) and their own heroic, truth-telling selves, and whoever is not the latter must be the former. Thus the logic of straining to assign guilt by association substitutes for argument.

My position is—and I can’t count the number of times I’ve said this bluntly, yet to no avail, in response to those in blissful thrall of the comforting Manicheanism—that of course racism persists, in all the disparate, often unrelated kinds of social relations and “attitudes” that are characteristically lumped together under that rubric, but from the standpoint of trying to figure out how to combat even what most of us would agree is racial inequality and injustice, that acknowledgement and $2.25 will get me a ride on the subway. It doesn’t lend itself to any particular action except more taxonomic argument about what counts as racism.
When I say your neoliberal understanding of race, gender, and class and my socialist understanding are fundamentally different, I do not mean to imply you are bad people. I only mean to stress that what you believe shapes your ability to understand others, so when I say, "Class matters most under capitalism," you hear me say, "Race doesn't matter; only class does."

Since I'm quoting things, here's what Malcolm X said after he rejected the Nation of Islam's identitarian ways:
My dearest friends have come to include all kinds—some Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and even atheists! I have friends who are called capitalists, Socialists, and Communists! Some of my friends are moderates, conservatives, extremists—some are even Uncle Toms! My friends today are black, brown, red, yellow, and white!
My range of friends has always been that broad. I was raised to believe in live and let live, and in agreeing to disagree. I realize your community rejects those principles and that in your eyes my criticism of Derrick Bell and Kimberlé Crenshaw makes me a heretic, but being treated as a heretic never made me hate any of you or want to see any harm come to any of you. When my family was a small part of the civil rights struggle, I was bullied in school for being a "nigger lover", but my parents taught me to pity my haters for the limits of their vision. My spirituality has taken several forms, but two bits I learned in Sunday School will always stay with me: the story of the Good Samaritan and Jesus's teaching to love your enemy.

Which is the long way of saying I have no bad feelings for you now and never wanted you to suffer, and I am appalled by the idea that any of you think I would ever use the tactics you endorse.

Julia, I don't know how to assure you that even when I was most frustrated with your attacks, I never would've tolerated anything like what you feared—all I can do is stress that you now know I never did what you feared, so I hope you can believe I never will. I'm very sorry that when I first learned you were frightened, I didn't try harder to find a way reassure you.

Mary, I know less about your situation than I know about Julia's, but if you've been afraid of me, I'm as sorry as anyone can be. I remember you saying something once about Emma that I answered by joking that you should be careful because she's a better shot than I am. I thought that was hilarious because it's both true she's a better shot and it's ludicrous to think anyone in fandom would shoot anyone over a feud about ideology, but I've accepted that Poe's Law is the only law online, so if that joke gave you a moment's discomfort, I regret it deeply.

Micole, you are not last because you are least. If I ever met Julia offline, it was only briefly, and I have only the vaguest memories of meeting Mary, but I remember meeting you at Tor and being pleased you were starting your career as I had started mine. When I learned you wanted to write, I hoped you would do well. But in 2007 it became clear your belief in the principles of Critical Race Theory did not allow for tolerating disagreement. I knew then we would never be friends, but I am used to being friendly with people who do not share my beliefs, so I didn't realize we had become enemies.

That finally became clear to me in 2009 when you and Julia and Mary made your post about me, and when you insisted you had been pseudonymous and I had outed you. I understand how you think your post did not misrepresent me. I will never understand how you can believe you were pseudonymous while using your very rare first name as your LJ handle and using your full name on public LJ posts about what you had written and where to find you at conventions. For at least two years, Google tracked your LJ so anyone who could type your name into a search engine would find your LJ among the very first hits. It still seems the height of hypocrisy to me that in the weeks after you declared you had been outed, you changed your LJ handle, you changed your LJ settings to "no robots" to erase your online history, and you made private the posts in which you had been publicly sharing your full name, yet you left public the posts accusing me of outing you.

But I don't blame you. Humans are rationalizing animals—the only people who think they're never inconsistent are people who do not know themselves at all. I don't pretend to know myself well, but I know myself well enough to only blame myself for what happened during Racefail 09.

To be clear, I am not sorry I entered that flamewar when I saw you and your friends attacking good people. I am sorry I couldn't find a kinder and more convincing way to respond, and I'm sorry I didn't drop out much sooner. When you insisted your legal identity should be kept out of the histories of Racefail because you were pseudonymous, I should have accepted that as another of your quirks. I certainly never should've made a post ironically declaring that I was outing you. I didn't know about Poe's Law then.

As a result, I learned the hardest way about the psychological consequences of mobbing. I would never wish them on anyone, but I only blame myself for being mobbed. That seems to be what people who have been mobbed do—in my reading about the effects, I've found people who killed themselves, but I haven't found anyone who hurt anyone else. Julia seems to think I have not been punished enough for what I did. Perhaps you will all take some satisfaction in knowing I avoid conventions now because I'm constantly aware someone from your community might attack me in one of the ways that were promised and called for during that time. Well, except for the death threat—perhaps the only advantage of having the KKK threaten to burn down my home when I was a boy was learning very early that most death threats are only meant to terrify.

Your editing of your online past frustrated me enormously for several years, but I finally accepted that what I did was my responsibility and what you did was yours. We all have our burdens, and yours may be far heavier than mine. I am sorry I added to them. If there's anything I can do to lighten them, I'll do it gladly.

Julia, Mary, and Micole, I do not expect any of you to reply. I simply want you to know that you have nothing to fear from me. The world has enough suffering. Why add to it? If there's anything you would like to ask of me, ask it, directly or through an intermediary if you wish, and I will try to provide it. If not, go in peace.

sincerely,

Will

TO EVERYONE READING THIS

I would like to turn the comments off on this post, but I want to know what made Julia think I threatened her. Leaving the comments on makes it possible for her or a friend of hers to answer—pseudonymously if they're afraid of me or of having their community turn on them. So if you're tempted to comment here, I ask the following:

1. No one can lay a hand on you online, so follow Malcolm X's advice to respect everyone.

2. Don't use this post to criticize identitarianism or neoliberalism. My rejection of what Micole, Mary, and Julia believe is unchanged.

3. Don't use this post to criticize other identitarians. If I don't owe them an apology, they're irrelevant.

4. Don't tell me I don't need to apologize. Whether I should've entered the Racefail flamewar is, to my mind, debatable; that I should've been kinder and dropped out sooner is not. As a result, at least one person says she has been afraid for years. That alone is sufficient reason to apologize.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Yiannopoulos did not out anyone—Kramer had already outed herself on public TV

I wish the people who oppose free speech would stop making me defend the right to speak of people I would prefer to protest. Today's example: Someone insisted Milo Yiannopoulos had outed a trans woman and shared this link as proof: Hate’s Insidious Face: UW-Milwaukee and the “Alt-Right” | Overpass Light Brigade

I read it, including the transwoman's letter, then went googling, then said this:

Kramer outed herself on regional TV when she “liberated” the women’s room and then talked to news reporters about it. You can see that here: Transgender UWM student says she's been discriminated against on campus

Translating her letter into simple English boils down to this:

She is upset that the chancellor didn’t abandon the principle of free speech and cancel a speaker who had been invited by a student group.

She is upset that when protesters who wanted him to cancel the speech would not leave his office, he called the cops to have them removed rather than cancel the speech.

She is upset that at the speech, Yiannopoulos referred to a very public local incident that she had created.

The rest of the letter is a hissy-fit because she doesn’t want anyone to disagree with her or say anything mean. And I sympathize with that. Sometimes I wish I could silence anyone who disagreed with me or said mean things about me. But then I sigh and move on with my life.

To be clear here, I think people should use the bathroom they want to use.

And I think people should talk to news reporters if they want to.

But I do not think people should pretend they have been outed when they have outed themselves so very thoroughly.

ETA: Just to be sure this horse is dead: If Kramer had not already outed herself, Yiannopoulos would never have known her name.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Identitarianism played a greater part in Clinton's loss than we knew

Trump Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself | aNtiDoTe Zine: "Cambridge Analytica had begun engaging with US elections towards the end of 2014, initially to advise the Republican Ted Cruz, and paid by the secretive American tech billionaire Robert Mercer. Up to that point, according to Nix, election campaign strategy had been guided by demographic concepts. “But this is a really ridiculous idea, the idea that all women should receive the same message because of their gender; or all African-Americans because of their race.” The Hillary Clinton campaign team was still operating on precisely such amateurish assumptions—Nix need not even mention—which divide the electorate up into ostensibly homogeneous groups…exactly the same way as all the public opinion researchers who predicted a Clinton victory did."

Monday, January 23, 2017

SF writers and the authoritarian left

“You have to remember, the SF writing community is mostly a lot of very nice people who have led very sheltered lives. They’re very easily shocked. It’s always amazed me that so many of these people who write all this stuff about strange worlds and fantastic adventures are such conventional, boring types in person. As Ajay Budrys once said to me, ‘They are a cautious and conservative lot, these probers on Man’s ultimate frontier. A trail of sheep shit marks their passing.’” —William Sanders, in an interview in Chronicle

I have been tempted to write more about Sanders' observation for years. This tweet finally inspired me:
It's fascinating for at least two reasons.

The first is that it was tweeted by someone who blocked me. Malicious people love to misrepresent people behind their back. That's especially true of bookish gossips.

The second is that Grumer either can't see that he's defending the tactics of Nazis, Klansmen, and blackshirts, or he is embracing them.

SF writers cover the political spectrum, but most are politically naive, regardless of their orientation. You can see that in the conservatives who don't know Orwell was a democratic socialist and in the neoliberals who talk of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X as antiracists rather than universalist critics of capitalism.

SF writers tend to have privileged backgrounds, regardless of their race or gender.  Many grew up in expensive neighborhoods and went to expensive schools. Privileged conservatives think capitalism's economic pyramid is natural, but privileged leftists are troubled by their suspicion that their privilege is unearned. So they have two choices: work to end the economic pyramid and thereby end their privilege, or work to make the pyramid look fair by focusing on social identity and thereby preserve their privilege. Most choose the latter.

The price is adopting a belief system that is filled with contradictions. It can only be enforced by keeping out dissent. They have no room for free speech. They have to play by mean girl rules, happily claiming their opponents said things they never said and believe things they don't believe, then blocking their opponents so their narrative won't be sullied. Hitler would be proud of them. It doesn't matter whether they believe in the Big Lie or merely play the old game of telephone in their echo chambers until they believe what they claim—someone who is more interested in them than I can try to decide who are the useful idiots and who believes that any lie told for their cause is good.

Ah, well. For the record, I do not defend Nazis. But I don't expect that statement to matter. One of the many things the authoritarian left and right have in common is a belief in alternative facts.

Related:

On responding to speech with violence, or why a coward in a mask is nothing like Captain America

Many of my heroes were killed by people who answered speech with violence

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Martin Luther King believed in "tone policing"

"No matter how emotional your opponents are, you must be calm." —Martin Luther King