'Straight White Male' is the Real World's easiest difficulty setting

LarryC wrote:

I'm telling you if you don't self-identify that way, you're less likely to discriminate,

I think you are straight up wrong about this. It's essential for us to understand which group we are in so we can be conscious of what privileges we do or don't access. And if we are privileged then it's on our shoulders to actively work not to discriminate, to work against our day-to-day conditioning.

The entire problem is that SWMs don't self-identify as such. They don't have to because they operate in a world where SWM is an utterly assumed norm. If you don't understand that your are making that assumption then you can't see that you're part of a group with marked privileges; and then you are not able to act to address discrimination because you can't even see that you have behaviours you need to change.

LarryC wrote:

DanB:

All too right. We probably should include height in the things we should not include as part of self-identity.

The thing about this is that "tall guys" isn't a broadly used social self-identity. I know I'm short but I never self-identified as a short guy, beyond a simple statement of fact, and I've never heard any friend of mine declare "hey I'm one of those tall guys". We just don't talk about Talls and Shorts in the way society talks about race. Yet even without this self-identity our society is still manages to discriminate on the basis of height. Which kinda speaks towards the notion that choosing not to self identify one way doesn't mean discrimination disappears. If a tall guy chooses not to self identify as tall the privileges he enjoys won't magically vapourise

I don't think we should include frontal lobe size as a part of self-identity:
IMAGE(http://thecinemasochist.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/brain-from-planet-arous-gor.jpg)

No, height discrimination only enjoys open discussion in drunken conversations about choosing a mate, an area where, strangely, it has little realistic bearing.

In the workplace - both in terms of dollars earned and job placement - discussion is practically nonexistent yet the effects are measurable and surprising. Some people have posited that the glass ceiling women suffer from is partially due to height discrimination.

I'm with DanB on this (as I usually am when it comes to this topic). Your method seems like false equality to me. It's a lot simpler to try to remove all privileged information from a job interview, but the messier method of understanding the nuance of interactions between individuals can lead to better results.

DanB:

I think you are straight up wrong about this. It's essential for us to understand which group we are in so we can be conscious of what privileges we do or don't access. And if we are privileged then it's on our shoulders to actively work not to discriminate, to work against our day-to-day conditioning.

I'll counter that you don't have to include a known social character into your self-identity in order to understand how society treats you, and to be aware of the privilege you enjoy. Being self-aware that other people think you're "white," doesn't mean that you have to identify yourself that way.

Conversely, it is important not to perceive others as "white" or "black" or "woman" or "man" when you are in any position of power, even temporarily in a very small space. Ideally, you should be able to interview the candidates behind a screen that removes all incidental characteristics, but since such a screen doesn't exist, we should mentally build it.

Important point

This take on what I said seems vaguely similar to what Seth says, and seem to be a common cultural touch point in your locality. As far as I can perceive it, it's this statement:

"Race does not exist. I am not white."

Except what it really is is a cover for outright racist behavior or for ignoring injustices that occur right in front of your nose.

"That's not a white guy denying a black guy a job because he's black. I'm sure there are other reasons for that. You're the racist for noticing!"

That is NOT what I am referring to. I'm not sure whether this is important or not, but as far as I can tell, it's because I have an indeterminate "racial" designation. I use "Filipino" for people who can't imagine race not existing, but that's really a locality designator, not a race designator, as far as I can tell.

I have been mistaken for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Malaysian, and even mestizo (half-European); and I have noted people acting more favorably to me when they think I belong to the designation they favor rather than to a designator they do not. Needless to say, since my parents didn't bother to tell me my race, and people can't seem to decide, I have no dominant self-designation along those lines.

That doesn't prevent me from noticing when it happens, how, and for what reasons.

The thing about this is that "tall guys" isn't a broadly used social self-identity. I know I'm short but I never self-identified as a short guy, beyond a simple statement of fact, and I've never heard any friend of mine declare "hey I'm one of those tall guys". We just don't talk about Talls and Shorts in the way society talks about race. Yet even without this self-identity our society is still manages to discriminate on the basis of height.

I can't say about your society, but locally, height discrimination is pretty open. Not so in yours?

Seth:

See alterations in above post. Not self-identifying as "white" or "male" doesn't equate to ignoring when it happens, how, or what the nuances are when it happens or is at risk of happening. That appears to be something you are injecting into my concept as part of your cultural language game. FWIW, it seems that this is a common misunderstanding (DanB is operating under similar assumptions) that I am only now appreciating.

Sexist question

I was talking with my friend over FB earlier today and I asked her:

"What level of sexism is good?"

And she answered:

"That question is more complex than that. There are two questions being asked in the one and answering one should not affect the other."

or something to that effect. I can understand that. On some level, we have to differentiate between men and women and recognize that a person has different needs and requirements and vulnerabilities based on plumbing. On the other hand, at what specific point does that cross over into something that could be called "discrimination" in the negative sense?

LarryC wrote:

I have been mistaken for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Malaysian, and even mestizo (half-European); and I have noted people acting more favorably to me when they think I belong to the designation they favor rather than to a designator they do not. Needless to say, since my parents didn't bother to tell me my race, and people can't seem to decide, I have no dominant self-designation along those lines.

I actually pity you for never learning your ancestry, I should point that this happens to everyone everywhere, and I would say is actually evidence of how important race is in this discussion. A Mexican who's met very few white people may not be able to tell i'm German/swedish, but my Polish in laws can. Likewise, I can sometimes tell the nationality of some Asians, but I'm nowhere near as good as my Cambodian friend is (she can usually tell the difference between Cambodian and Thai, which to me is a very fine hair to split), and I am awful at determining which African tribe someone might be from, yet I know of someone 6 generations removed from Africa who walked to a tribal elder in Zambia who was able to tell her exactly where her ancestors were from.

The point is that race is like a fractal, a seemingly simple concept that is infinitely complex as you zoom in. Accepting and embracing our differences openly and honestly is really the only reasonable solution to the issue of privilege.

Seth:

You're still operating under that mistaken notion. See "Important Point" in the same post. Of course, I actually do have some knowledge of my ancestry - I just don't appreciate how it's an important enough facet of my person that I would be chosen over another applicant who is more qualified, just because his or her grandmother didn't dally with a person who originally hailed from China or Japan.

As far as I can tell, race isn't complex at all! It's just an arbitrary manner in which you choose to discriminate. I have not been privy to any experience in which "race" factored positively; bear in mind that someone favoring me because of my perceived race is not what I would call a positive experience.

LarryC wrote:

Seth:

You're still operating under that mistaken notion. See "Important Point" in the same post. Of course, I actually do have some knowledge of my ancestry - I just don't appreciate how it's an important enough facet of my person that I would be chosen over another applicant who is more qualified, just because his or her grandmother didn't dally with a person who originally hailed from China or Japan.

That's actually exactly what I've been saying for years. I just don't understand why you need to be colorblind to get there.

edit:

I have not been privy to any experience in which "race" factored positively; bear in mind that someone favoring me because of my perceived race is not what I would call a positive experience.

Wow. that boggles my mind. I have 2-3 every day, on average. I would consider this very conversation an experience in which race factored positively.

You don't. "Color-blind" the way you know isn't at all what I'm talking about. See "Important Point" above.

Wow. that boggles my mind. I have 2-3 every day, on average. I would consider this very conversation an experience in which race factored positively.

The positive thing about this thread is that we have people who can appreciate that the problem of race exists. The contribution of race in it is in being a problem.

Can I use my straight, white, male privilege and move this discussion back on topic?

SixteenBlue wrote:

Can I use my straight, white, male privilege and move this discussion back on topic?

But there is no such thing as straight white male privilege!

dejanzie wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Can I use my straight, white, male privilege and move this discussion back on topic?

But there is no such thing as straight white male privilege!

Boom! We're back on topic. Therefore it does exist because I used it.

QED.

SixteenBlue wrote:
dejanzie wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Can I use my straight, white, male privilege and move this discussion back on topic?

But there is no such thing as straight white male privilege!

Boom! We're back on topic. Therefore it does exist because I used it.

QED.

Touche!

Perhaps I'm being a little bitter about this but I think it speaks to how being a white male can often work against you, especially when it comes to the government. I recently went to my 20th high school reunion and met up with a buddy who now teaches at the Naval Academy. He told me that the military academys have been having lots of trouble with unprepared recruits due to a recent initiative by the Obama administration to give preference to poor minority candidates, no matter their test scores or academic achievement. I looked up the issue and found that yes, this is a problem - some of these EO candidates are woefully unprepared with C-D grade averages and SAT scores several hundred points lower than white candidates who are rejected.

Why am I mad about this? Because in high school I was waitlisted to enter the Naval Academy and never got in, despite having a 3.9 GPA, near 1300 SAT, and lots of volunteer/extracuricular activities. Granted, I was facing some stiff competition and the guy from my school who went was in advanced calculus while I was only in pre-cal. That being said, I was WAY more qualified than some of these current candidates. I can see race possibly being a tie-breaker. But significantly lowering standards in a misguided effort at "social justice" is wrong.

http://www.military.com/news/article...

jdzappa wrote:

Perhaps I'm being a little bitter about this but I think it speaks to how being a white male can often work against you, especially when it comes to the government. I recently went to my 20th high school reunion and met up with a buddy who now teaches at the Naval Academy. He told me that the military academys have been having lots of trouble with unprepared recruits due to a recent initiative by the Obama administration to give preference to poor minority candidates, no matter their test scores or academic achievement.

from your link:
Fleming has expressed dissatisfaction with the academy's admissions practices for several years. In June 2009, he wrote an editorial in The Capital criticizing the process.

Obama didn't take office until January of 2009.

And?

Malor wrote:

And?

Maybe we should be more concerned with how the Naval Academy is selecting its instructors than how it selects its students.

I would think this would be a good start in leveling the playing field. Unless we operate under the assumption that black kids are intellectually inferior to people like jdzappa, we can infer that their poor test scores are a product of bad schools. One would assume that giving them access to the theoretically excellent education provided by the naval academy would work toward breaking the cycle of poverty.

Or, like some of the officers interviewed pointed out, it could also highlight the apparent laziness of naval academy instructors.

I thought we had blown past the "white males are not always selected for, thus being a white male is also hard, so somehow this is a relevant argument about white male privilege existing and/or being an overall advantage" fallacy in any case.

Seth wrote:

I would think this would be a good start in leveling the playing field. Unless we operate under the assumption that black kids are intellectually inferior to people like jdzappa, we can infer that their poor test scores are a product of bad schools. One would assume that giving them access to the theoretically excellent education provided by the naval academy would work toward breaking the cycle of poverty.

Or, like some of the officers interviewed pointed out, it could also highlight the apparent laziness of naval academy instructors.

I looked it up, and that did seem to be the kind of logic behind NAPS from the beginning:

In 1918, the Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels signed a provision to have up to 100 sailors from the fleet to be eligible for entry to the Academy. Due to the difficult nature of the Naval Academy's entrance examination, then Undersecretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt also allowed for a school to be founded to prepare Sailors and Marines for entry.

...

In the 1970s, civilian applicants began to be considered for entry and women were first admitted to NAPS in 1975 following congressional authorization of women to attend all service academies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_A...

There's definitely an issue here of distinguishing the more qualified candidate, and the more accomplished candidate.

jdzappa wrote:

Perhaps I'm being a little bitter about this but I think it speaks to how being a white male can often work against you, especially when it comes to the government. I recently went to my 20th high school reunion and met up with a buddy who now teaches at the Naval Academy. He told me that the military academys have been having lots of trouble with unprepared recruits due to a recent initiative by the Obama administration to give preference to poor minority candidates, no matter their test scores or academic achievement. I looked up the issue and found that yes, this is a problem - some of these EO candidates are woefully unprepared with C-D grade averages and SAT scores several hundred points lower than white candidates who are rejected.

Why am I mad about this? Because in high school I was waitlisted to enter the Naval Academy and never got in, despite having a 3.9 GPA, near 1300 SAT, and lots of volunteer/extracuricular activities. Granted, I was facing some stiff competition and the guy from my school who went was in advanced calculus while I was only in pre-cal. That being said, I was WAY more qualified than some of these current candidates. I can see race possibly being a tie-breaker. But significantly lowering standards in a misguided effort at "social justice" is wrong.

http://www.military.com/news/article...

It's beneficial to have an officer corps that better reflects the backgrounds of its soldiers. I'm not sure I agree with dropping the bar down to C-D average territory, but they should definitely be pulling in guys and gals who might not have gotten the chance due to economics or other circumstances. Otherwise your officer corps is 95% white from the suburbs, whereas your enlisted population has a far higher percentage of ethnic minorities and kids from dirt poor families. When your officer corps has only ever interacted with other white suburban people, that can create a really big problem in stressful situations. And it's not like Academy grads are seen as charming, personable types in the first place.

There's more factors here than that. The complaints I've been seeing come from them dropping the standards to allow in students that will help make the Academy able to compete in football.

jdzappa wrote:

Perhaps I'm being a little bitter about this but I think it speaks to how being a white male can often work against you, especially when it comes to the government.

Yes, the generation or two that we've give a slight preferential treatment to minorities more than makes up for the whole slavery, Jim Crow, no education, and crushing poverty thing.

Forgive the snark, but I just got back from an afternoon at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and am not really in the mood to hear how being wait listed even comes close to what all us white males did to blacks in this country.

momgamer wrote:

There's more factors here than that. The complaints I've been seeing come from them dropping the standards to allow in students that will help make the Academy able to compete in football.

Literally, LOL.

If they wanted better results on the football field, they'd be better off allowing weight exceptions for their athletes. Hard to field an FBS team when your offensive linemen can't weigh any more than 260 pounds.

kazooka wrote:
momgamer wrote:

There's more factors here than that. The complaints I've been seeing come from them dropping the standards to allow in students that will help make the Academy able to compete in football.

Literally, LOL.

If they wanted better results on the football field, they'd be better off allowing weight exceptions for their athletes. Hard to field an FBS team when your offensive linemen can't weigh any more than 260 pounds.

Well, they beat Notre Dame last year, so something's working for them.

OG_slinger wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Perhaps I'm being a little bitter about this but I think it speaks to how being a white male can often work against you, especially when it comes to the government.

Yes, the generation or two that we've give a slight preferential treatment to minorities more than makes up for the whole slavery, Jim Crow, no education, and crushing poverty thing.

Forgive the snark, but I just got back from an afternoon at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and am not really in the mood to hear how being wait listed even comes close to what all us white males did to blacks in this country.

You're absolutely right - no white people ever lived in poverty in the 19th century or faced any discrimination. My Irish ancestors faced starvation and were often called white n&@ers. My ancestor fought in the Union Army against slavery. But by your logic every white man for the rest of eternity should pay for the crimes of a relatively small elite who all died out more than a century ago. Gimme a break.

jdzappa wrote:

You're absolutely right - no white people ever lived in poverty in the 19th century or faced any discrimination. My Irish ancestors faced starvation and were often called white n&@ers. My ancestor fought in the Union Army against slavery. But by your logic every white man for the rest of eternity should pay for the crimes of a relatively small elite who all died out more than a century ago. Gimme a break.

Yes, please try to prove that affirmative action isn't needed by lamenting that fact that the worst insult that could be hurled at your ancestors was to be called white n*ggers.

All that proves is there was a more hated class of people in this country before your ancestors arrived and yet that same racial epitaph exists today. Of course, over the past hundred years or so all those dirty, potato-eating Micks have become so accepted by our society that they are no longer called dirty, potato-eating Micks today. In fact, they actually have a holiday where everyone wants to be just like them, just like the much celebrated N*gger Day. Oh wait, that's not a real holiday...

And if you really wanted to bitch about how you didn't get into the Naval Academy then just imagine if the Navy simply didn't allow any Irish in at all for, say, the next 150 years. And then imagine that a Constitutional Amendment was passed saying Irish could get in, but then the powers that be messed with the entrance rules so that they really couldn't get in for another hundred years. And even then it was only after there was a big societal upheaval and yet another Constitutional Amendment passed. Then you might begin to understand that there's still a need for those policies.

Check the thread you're posting in. What happened a century ago actually still matters since our society doesn't change overnight. Hell, I'm 40 and I have to remind myself that just a few years before I was born it was considered normal to treat a black person with such disrespect and disdain that, given your earlier comments, would absolutely break you.

btw, when I was at the bar last night, the bartender helped the black gentleman with his order before me, even though I was there a minute or two earlier. Ergo white privilege doesn't exist, amirite?

OG_slinger wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

You're absolutely right - no white people ever lived in poverty in the 19th century or faced any discrimination. My Irish ancestors faced starvation and were often called white n&@ers. My ancestor fought in the Union Army against slavery. But by your logic every white man for the rest of eternity should pay for the crimes of a relatively small elite who all died out more than a century ago. Gimme a break.

Yes, please try to prove that affirmative action isn't needed by lamenting that fact that the worst insult that could be hurled at your ancestors was to be called white n*ggers.

All that proves is there was a more hated class of people in this country before your ancestors arrived and yet that same racial epitaph exists today. Of course, over the past hundred years or so all those dirty, potato-eating Micks have become so accepted by our society that they are no longer called dirty, potato-eating Micks today. In fact, they actually have a holiday where everyone wants to be just like them, just like the much celebrated N*gger Day. Oh wait, that's not a real holiday...

And if you really wanted to bitch about how you didn't get into the Naval Academy then just imagine if the Navy simply didn't allow any Irish in at all for, say, the next 150 years. And then imagine that a Constitutional Amendment was passed saying Irish could get in, but then the powers that be messed with the entrance rules so that they really couldn't get in for another hundred years. And even then it was only after there was a big societal upheaval and yet another Constitutional Amendment passed. Then you might begin to understand that there's still a need for those policies.

Check the thread you're posting in. What happened a century ago actually still matters since our society doesn't change overnigh. Hell, I'm 40 and I have to remind myself that just a few years before I was born it was considered normal to treat a black person with such disrespect and disdain that, given yourearlier comments, would absolutely break you.

Wow this is getting nasty. I never said that race shouldnt be included in admissions, but I completely disagree with accepting completely unqualified candidates out of a sense of misplaced justice. As far as holidays go, wtf do you call Martin Luther King Day or Black History Month?

As far as your personal attacks, you know nothing about me. If you don't think I've ever been completely humiliated and even had the crap beaten out of me in grade school, you're wrong. Sometimes I got jumped for being one of the few white kids in a mostly black school. But I'm sure I deserved those punches to the face because racism can only be practiced by whites and my white privilege protected me from bruises.

jdzappa wrote:

Wow this is getting nasty. I never said that race shouldnt be included in admissions, but I completely disagree with accepting completely unqualified candidates out of a sense of misplaced justice. As far as holidays go, wtf do you call Martin Luther King Day or Black History Month?

Martin Luther King Day - A celebration of one great man that consists of nothing but a day off from work (especially for white people)
Black History Month - An attempt to offset the other 11 months of white/european focused education

Not exactly a large quantity of white people going around wearing shirts that say "Kiss Me I'm Black"