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Samizdata quote of the day

Everyone should be uncomfortable taking about ‘race’ rather than ‘people’

– Perry de Havilland.

– – –

This was in response to a message from a friend:

Work email with feedback from some diversity survey. “There were lots of comments about white colleagues being uncomfortable when talking about race.”

No shit.

29 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Flubber

    “There were lots of comments about white colleagues being uncomfortable when talking about race.”

    Well they know its a no-win game

  • JohnK

    Damn whites.

  • John

    As whites their lives don’t matter (official Cambridge University policy) so I’m mildly surprised that they were allowed to participate in the survey.

  • Fraser Orr

    And in other news, people are terrified to walk across a tightrope over a gorge filled with hungry crocodiles.

  • I should have expanded my remark “… because people obsessed with race are racist, even when they tell you they are anti-racist.”

  • Snorri Godhi

    Speaking for myself, i feel comfortable talking about race on Samizdata.

    If i don’t (not often, anyway), is not because i am wary, but because i don’t have much to say about race.
    I am convinced that diet is more important than genetics in brain function — and besides, diet can be changed, but genes cannot. Not at present, anyway.

  • Fraser Orr

    But PdH’s comment is very, very pertinent here. Similar to my earlier comment about politicians, I would be absolutely delighted to never talk about race again, to treat the expression “African American” the same way we do “Scottish American” or “Italian American” but I can’t, because a million people are yelling it in my ear. So you can’t not talk about race because everyone demands you talk about race, because everyone demands you to genuflect to their ideas, because, in their words “Silence is Violence”.

    And I also have to say that I think African Americans have definitely got some things to complain about, so if your police are being racist (which I think there is some evidence that they are to some degree) then you can’t not talk about race because that is an injustice that demands to be corrected. Whether race is a real thing or not (and the “experts” change their mind of this all the time depending on which position is most useful to their agenda at that moment), it does have some manifestations on the real world.

    I agree with you though, black people, like all people, can do far more to improve their lives by personal choices than political demands. The foundation for that is a good education, and here, black people (though I think not really because they are black, but because they are disproportionately poor) have a lot to complain about when it comes to public education, and a lot to complain about that the culture allows fathers to abandon their children and the mothers with whom they fathered children.

    But of course one individual doesn’t have much control over these things, and when they try to do it together they are overwhelmed by the revolutionary nut jobs who are currently claiming to represent them. Politics is a tool where the powerful can delude the impotent into thinking that they are in control. Where those with little power do not use what power they have left to improve their lives, but will give it over to others who promise the moon, and deliver nothing but more misery.

    Politics is like the lottery. The poor buy lottery tickets, draining their sparse resources, because they believe the false promise of a magical rescue, in a sense they feel so powerless that even a false hope is better than nothing. The successful do not buy lottery tickets because they know the route to success is within themselves.

    If you think honestly, with a clear mind, the thing that oppresses black people in America the most is not the police force, it is the teachers unions.

  • TimRules!

    Particularly when the substance of those conversations is being dictated by socialist totalitarians …

  • Zerren Yeoville

    If the ‘woke’ Left accepts – more than accepts, insists – that I have a ‘right’ to self-identify as a woman despite having testicles and a penis, on what rational basis would it not accept my ‘right’ to self-identify as a member of a less-vilified ethnicity despite having white skin?

  • This issue always arises in such cases.

    During Stalin’s great purge, Russia’s people became more and more cautious in what they would discuss. Groups that could not just say less – e.g. lecturers, who had to stand up and speak before an audience – had especially high arrest rates. As the population became more and more guarded in what they dared to say, more and more petty remarks had to be twisted by the NKVD informers.

    Late in the purge (1938 IIRC), Stalin announced that it was time to go after “the silent ones’ – those who had been insufficiently eager to denounce and endorse. “Silence is violence” is just the latest example of the common rule that “Ve haff vays of making you talk”.

    Fortunately our PC overlords still have to use twitter-shaming, getting people sacked, and at most a hate speech charge, as their substitute for the torture chambers, Siberia and execution.

  • Flubber

    “Fortunately our PC overlords still have to use twitter-shaming, getting people sacked, and at most a hate speech charge, as their substitute for the torture chambers, Siberia and execution.”

    Time will tell.

  • bobby b

    Niall Kilmartin
    July 4, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    “During Stalin’s great purge, Russia’s people became more and more cautious in what they would discuss.”

    The scary aspect of the present day, to me, is that they can pull off the same purges while being nominally out of power in both the USA and the UK.

    It’s like we’re being purged by the people out of power, and so we’re necessarily just letting them do it when we don’t have to, in order to be polite.

    If so, maybe we deserve it.

  • The scary aspect of the present day, to me, is that they can pull off the same purges while being nominally out of power in both the USA and the UK.

    Just because the denizens of the radical left (US Democrats; UK Labour/Lib Dems/Greens) can’t get enough of their people elected to form a majority doesn’t mean that they aren’t in power.

    Just look at all the job adverts for leftist bullshit across organisations supported by government money (Central Government, Local Government, QUANGO’s and Fake Charities).

    Those jobs are power. They are a very powerful mechanism for pushing both the agenda AND the propaganda. Those jobs will only go to the “Right People” (i.e. those conforming and proselytising the LGBTQ+/AGW/BLM/Antifa positions), sure they may not pay much, but that’s the point. Their “job” is to enable and support people who hold the right views and espouse them strongly.

    If you think that the centre right are elected in both the UK and US then how come such jobs are still being created?

    Is it because the “Deep State” (however you define it) is really in power and the elected politicians don’t really control that “Deep State” or do those elected politicians actively support some or all of those things (LGBTQ+/AGW/BLM/Antifa) despite what they might publicly espouse to their party and/or the voters?

    Accusations of RINO or Blue Labour are made for good reasons and the go a lot further than you’d think or even hope.

  • The scary aspect of the present day, to me, is that they can pull off the same purges while being nominally out of power in both the USA and the UK. (bobby b, July 5, 2020 at 6:55 am)

    1) In the UK, they were effectively in power until the end of last year, since when our new-majority government has made progress on its main issue but little as yet on others. It bears some responsibility for letting its greatest distraction bite so hard home, but I feel we do not yet know its ability and will to drain our swamp. If I get a license fee demand this time next year, with no reason to think it the last, that would be one sign that the ‘outs’ are still ‘in’. Prolonged existence of the UK’s 10-year-old Blair-created supreme(ly biased) court would be another sign that Boris does not resent injuries enough. I do not underestimate the task Cummings has on hand.

    2) In the US, I quite see your point. I see signs the US deep state is deeply worried, but they still wield much power beyond what even the spoofed voters gave them, never mind the real ones.

    +1 to John Galt.

  • John

    Today’s F1 race will be interesting.

    The loquacious Lewis Hamilton requires all of his fellow drivers to kneel. Several reportedly are unhappy about this.

    My guess is that F1 will copy other gutless sporting bodies and order them all to kneel. Will any driver have the backbone not to?

  • John

    I am trying to post about today’s F1 race and the requirement by a well known driver for everyone to kneel.

    For some reason it keeps getting rejected.

  • Sam Duncan

    Apparently there is no requirement, John. Just as there was no requirement to stand and applaud Stalin for twenty minutes.

  • John

    Both Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc (it is I?) have now stated on social media that they definitely won’t be kneeling. Good for them.

  • It is reported (though not in these words) that 13 cowardly drivers knelt while 6 courageous ones did not. (And Lewis, of course, knelt, but his contemptible bullying behaviour is presumably not motivated by fear.)

    One of the things you learn from WWII is the difference between physical courage and civil courage. The Third Reich executed on average 5000 of its military per annum during WWII (fewer in earlier years, more in later), and that is part of the story of why they fought to the end, but it is simple fact that German soldiers showed great physical courage in battle in those years. Like the old vikings they so admired, they were “stern to inflict and stubborn to endure”. But they were often astoundingly lacking in civil courage.

    An F1 driver must have physical courage. Civil courage is apparently not a prerequisite.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    Everyone should be uncomfortable taking about ‘race’ rather than ‘people’ … because people obsessed with race are racist, even when they tell you they are anti-racist.

    Perry is correct. Talking about race requires thinking about race, or rather, thinking about individual persons in terms of their race. There are a couple of problems with that sort of thinking.

    First, there is no scientific basis for the idea of ‘race’. As Jordan Peterson has pointed out several times, there is more statistical difference between individual members of ‘racial’ groups than there is between those groups.

    Second, thinking of people in terms of ‘race’ is a form of collectivist thinking. Indeed, Ann Rand, the famous vampire novelist*, called ‘racism’ the ‘the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism’.

    So even to talk about ‘race’ is to acknowledge that race and racial differences exist, and is therefore to cede the pass to the barbarians.

    * Yeah, OK, so I stole that gag from Michael Malice. Sue me.

  • I don’t talk about race, or a bunch of other things. If somebody wants to find a grievance, they will. There are a lot of people farming a lot of grievances, and if you avoid one, you’ll bother another. Worse, the internet and the Wayback Machine can throw up things you said twenty years ago, when they were innocent. Times and opinions have changed, and now they are talking about tearing down statues of LINCOLN.

    They don’t call that stuff “grievance studies” for nothing.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    As much as I like to think of myself as a libertarian there remain that ineradicable core that is a Burkean conservative that objects altogether to pulling down statues.

    If, however, we’re going to pull down any statues at all then we should start with those of Lincoln.

    His Gettysburg Address was a terrible piece of history that fundamentally misrepresented the Declaration of Independence and rewrote the foundation of the country as a ‘proposition nation’. It’s an idea that has plagued American thinking, on both the Left and the Right, for nearly 160 years.

    If any statue is to pulled down (and I don’t agree any should), statues to Lincoln should lead the list.

  • William H. Stoddard

    @Perry: “I should have expanded my remark ‘… because people obsessed with race are racist, even when they tell you they are anti-racist.'”

    As it happens, I had almost exactly that conversation just days ago, on (of all places) an online forum devoted primarily to games. I had discussed a past roleplaying campaign of mine, using the rules for Call of Cthulhu, but based on black supernatural religion and folklore and set in the colored district of 1930s New Orleans, in which the characters were all black. One of the other participants objected to this, on the ground that a black player might not be comfortable playing in a game that explicitly addressed past racism (as this one did; my players agreed that the white police were more frightening than the monsters), and it was not acceptable for me to say, “Such a person would be welcome to play in a different campaign”; I had to be willing to sacrifice my own artistic conception to make players belonging to “marginalized” groups comfortable. In the discussion that followed, a second participant came in and told me that what I was doing was racist gatekeeping (apparently having the gate open for people to leave is morally equivalent to locking it to keep them out), and accused me (in her view it was an accusation) of saying that having different treatment was racist.

    So I answered that I did in fact think that, and that in my view, her wanting different rules for different ethnic groups made her a racist, and I considered her ideas evil and opposed them. I was relieved to find that I felt able to do so; of course we like to think that we will stand up for ourselves under pressure, but it’s hard to be sure of that in advance, even for such light pressure as this was.

    But this seems to be exactly the point you were making.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    At the risk of coming over all Brendan O’Neill, and Kristian Niemietz criticising my preferences in beer, this present disturbance isn’t really about race or white privilege or white supremacy at all.

    It’s about class.

    How is it that, as has been widely reported, most of the BLM protesters, on both sides of the Atlantic, are mainly middle-class, university-educated white people?

    When BLM protesters demonstrated outside NYC’s City Hall last Tuesday they taunted the cops about their lack of education:

    “Half of you don’t have a college education to be out here making demands about the people when you can’t even read a f–king history book…”

    “White” now means working-class people who probably didn’t attend university; who predominantly work blue-collar jobs; and who value God, country and family above all else (though not necessarily in that order). They are Obama’s “bitter clingers” and Hillary’s “deplorables”. They reject both the 3rd- and 4th-wave feminists’ claims that there are no differences between men and women from the neck up and the trans-activists’ claims that there are no differences from the neck down. They’re proud to be where they’re from. They believe that education is the key to a better life for their children and are willing to do whatever it takes to give them that opportunity.

    Those are my people and I’m happy to call them my own.

    If the Left are willing to make them the new bottom of the American caste system, then yes, we need to talk about “race”.

  • James Hargrave

    But what, exactly, is ‘race’? Apart from a term to be used like ‘fascist’, i.e. so broadly as to denude it of meaning.

  • But this seems to be exactly the point you were making.

    Quite so, William. The venue you describe might seem banal but it truly matters to fight these fights wherever they find you. So kudos to you for doing precisely that.

  • Stonyground

    So then, there are now a generation of graduates who imagine themselves to be better informed generally than someone like myself who left school at seventeen and served an apprenticeship in engineering. And really nothing could be further from the truth. When you take a look at the opinions of such people, their profound ignorance about almost everything is quite astonishing.

  • Paul Marks

    People should be treated as INDIVIDUALS – judged by the “content of their character – not the colour of their skin” (as Rev. King said).

    Treating people as members of racial groups is morally wrong.

    The “Diversity” Agenda of the Frankfurt School of Marxism sounds nice, but it is DESIGNED to turn people against each other – make people rip each other’s throats out.

    Big Business and other organisations who are going down this road (the Frankfurt School of Marxism “Social Responsibility” road) may not know they are doing evil – but they are doing evil.

    Terrible evil.