We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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Samizdata quote of the day

I suspect current “progressive” thinking on racism and the white shaming and white self-loathing that comes out of it is doing more to set back racial harmony than neo-Nazis and the rest of the “white power” hate crew.

I’m not alone in thinking this.

Amy Alkon

52 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Kalashnikat

    You are not alone. Most Def.

  • Eric

    Not only is it doing more to set back racial harmony than neo-Nazis and the rest of the “white power” hate crew, it’s creating legions of new recruits for identitarian organizations. It’s easy enough for journalists and university professors to shrug off policies and attitudes that single white people out for being white, but average people won’t tolerate it for long without some kind of reaction. Nor should they, really.

  • Sonny Crockett

    If “some people” keep saying things like self-reliance, timeliness, etc are “white privilege”, some white people might just “try on the hat” and look around “wearing the hat” and find it fits quite well.

  • bobby b

    Off-topic a bit: Periodically I hook up through a rather convoluted source for internet. Like now.

    For a long time, Samizdata was on the block list of one of my telephone providers. Never any explanation, just “not suitable.” It came back, though. Perry d must have cleaned up his act.

    Now, Ms. Alkon’s site is blocked to me. “Not suitable.” But I can still access all of the Antifa and BLM sites! Those are never out of reach.

    Going to have to find new pathways.

  • It came back, though. Perry d must have cleaned up his act.

    I certainly hope not 🙁

  • Roué le Jour

    “Suspect” is putting it rather mildly.

  • Stonyground

    The OP pretty much agrees with my thoughts on the matter. On the other hand, their have been aspects of race that had become impossible to discuss. Maybe the racism of the anti racists will bring one or two things out into the open. Did white people really get themselves established at the world’s top table and then pull the ladder up? Or did they replace the ladder with a flight of stairs only to be faced with people demanding an elevator?

    On the matter of colonialism, which seems to get the blame for a lot of things, why did the fate of different colonies vary so widely after the British, and various other empires, contracted?

  • It has long been hard to distinguish ‘anti’-racism from racism in a deep philosophical sense, but now the difficulty arises in almost every woke utterance. The latest of the daily, if not hourly, examples is brought to you by the CEO of a charter school initiative (!! – albeit KIPP and its current CEO Richard Barth have some state connections/influencers IIUC). For years, KIPP has taught a predominantly-black student body to follow their slogan:

    Work Hard. Be Nice.

    They are retiring that slogan; Richard Barth explained that it fostered “anti-Blackness”. Expecting black school kids to work hard or be nice is racist.

    Was “The ever-present soft bigotry of low expectations” ever so succinctly demonstrated?

  • CaptDMO

    Is this supposed to reflect a NEW PoliSci epiphany for Ms. ALkon?

  • CaptDMO, Rule One is still “don’t be a dickhead”. What Amy is pointing out needs to be shouted from the rooftops by as many people as possible as often as possible.

  • Stonyground: On the other hand, their have been aspects of race that had become impossible to discuss.

    They have always been impossible to discuss, at least online, because the world is awash folk who are either racist cunts from across the political spectrum, or people who misunderstand the difference between correlation and causation.

    And I stand by my remark the other day that every decent person should be uneasy talking about ‘race’ rather than ‘people’ unless you are an epidemiologist or marketing hair care products.

  • JohnK

    Given that BLM is a revolutionary Marxist organisation, it may well be that they want to foster racial division, as part of their avowed intention to smash capitalism.

    In their world view, a race war/civil war would be a good thing, so long as they succeed in erasing the established system and replacing it with Year Zero style socialism.

    As far as I can see, they have no interest in encouraging racial harmony, rather the opposite. They want war, not peace. And now they are awash with millions of dollars and pounds donated by woke capitalists who think that the crocodile will eat them last. Imagine what the Weather Underground could have done with a billion dollars. Actually, don’t. We are about to find out.

  • Patrick

    I believe the premise of the header to be true. I suspect a lot of deep seated resentment against the current woke climate of hate is indeed just being cancelled from the public realm – but not removed. In fact the silently angry and determined crowd may be swelling faster than the noisy woke in yer face crowd.
    I don’t think I’ll ever stop laughing if the Donald wins in Nov!

  • Given that BLM is a revolutionary Marxist organisation, it may well be that they want to foster racial division, as part of their avowed intention to smash capitalism.

    Agreed. Indeed, I regard that as self-evident.

  • staghounds

    There’s this strange thing people do that tries to square YOUR actions with MY motives. “They can’t possibly want the natural result of their actions, because I don’t want the natural result of their actions!”

    Of course they want to foster racial division, they are racial division entrepreneurs.

  • Kirk

    Blacks in America make up no more than 13% of the general population.

    This is not large enough of a base from which to wage a race war, and sadly, the blacks aren’t quite numerate enough to work that out for themselves. All that BLM is going to actually accomplish is to spin up enough animosity for the majority to act, and act to crush the minority. It won’t be the whites, either–It’ll be the various and sundry flavors of Hispanic ethnicities, most of whom self-identify more with “white” than with “minority”.

    End of the day, blacks will be abandoned to the mobs, once things really get going. The Democratic Party will throw them under the bus as quickly as they can–This process is ongoing in Southern California as we speak, where actual ethnic cleansing is taking place in former black-majority areas that the Hispanic groups have moved in on.

    Black Americans are going to have a hard encounter with reality in a few years, and they’re not going to like it, at all. The tail can wag the dog for a bit, but it cannot make the dog do what it does not want to do in the first place.

    And, it is shocking how few American blacks really grasp what the demographics say about them–Most think that because they live in urban areas where their numbers dominate, that that is true everywhere. And, that the ratios they see in television and media coverage actually reflect reality. It is interesting to watch the implications set in, with some of these sorts, once they’re exposed to an experience that drives home just how small their numbers are. I’ve seen arrogant young urban blacks reduced to what amounts to cowering fear, once the facts of life are explained to them, and they witness facts on the ground outside their home turf.

    It’s fascinating to observe–Many of them have no instinctive grasp on distance or scale, when it comes to all of this. Put them on a bus, drive them through the countryside where they see zero fellow blacks for hours on end, and they start to realize that they really don’t dominate in numerical terms. Which terrifies them no end, for some reason.

  • AndrewZ

    The word “racist” has become the identitarian left’s equivalent of “infidel”. They apply it to anyone who does not unconditionally submit to their creed, so instead of referring to particular attitudes or behaviours it simply denotes an unbeliever. Their opponents have not yet adopted it as a badge of defiance, in the way that gay rights activists adopted “queer”, because most normal people still adhere to the original meaning of the word and still treat it as a serious accusation. However, the left is relentlessly chipping away at this taboo without the slightest care for what destructive forces might be unleashed if it finally breaks.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    It would be interesting to know if the ‘War On Whiteness’ has had the unintended consequence of leading to an increase in sales of race-war ‘white supremacist’ fantasy novels such as The Camp Of The Saints, Fugue For A Darkening Island and the infamous Turner Diaries, as silently-alienated white people seek out counter-narratives.

  • Mark

    I think low expectations is not soft bigotry but hard reality.

    If I knew somebody white who, for example, was fluent in Japanese or became an expert in traditional Chinese medicine, I’d be damned impressed and not a little envious. The last thing I would accuse them of would be “acting Japanese”, nor would I think of them as an “uncle Tom”.

  • I think low expectations is not soft bigotry but hard reality.

    Hard bigotry really, the sort common from people who mistake correlation for causation.

  • Mark

    “Correlation with causation”

    Depends on what you think is causing what.

  • Mark (July 20, 2020 at 9:08 pm et seq) ‘Work Hard. Be Nice.’ is a very achievable expectation – and many a charter school has achieved it while a state school in the same area, the same street or even sometimes in the same building shows all the failure and rowdiness we know. It required a great deal of not-so-soft bigotry for the Smithsonian to proclaim that being polite was racist.

    As Rudi Giuliani demonstrated in New York, it is perfectly possible to make a significant reduction in black crime while simultaneously (of course – the same policies do both) reducing police crime and other crime. That is true of many other measures of achievement where discrepancies exist today. It is not necessary to debate exactly what precise heights will be reached by whom in order to know that things could be made a very great deal better for everyone (except the PC race scam artists). The future will surely contain surprises for all. Our job is to increase the probability that they will be pleasant ones.

    Meanwhile, if you read the bit I quote in my post that links to it, or better still the whole thing, you may be persuaded that one person of colour can attain considerable eloquence in denouncing “The ever-present soft bigotry of low expectations”. Try Thomas Sowell if you seek extensive calm rational analysis of the point.

  • Mark

    Well black crime has some way to go!

    “Work hard, be nice”. Nobody ever told me that directly when I was a school in the 60/70s. Didn’t have to really.

    Thomas Sowell? I have heard of this gentleman of course. Seen a few things of his on youtube. Not read any of his books or essays. Not sure what he can say that hasn’t been said a thousand times already.

    Let me stick my neck out though (same thing generally as the referenced link I suppose): you can’t blame others for all your problems and under achievement.

    A black can say these things perhaps, but are blacks listening? Do they want to?

    I’m not American, nor do I live in the US. Where the current US race problem came from and how (if) it can be solved is not for me to say.

    What I see here are people “of colour” (not all black) who have suffered a damned sight less than I imagine my Irish grandad had to put up with in the Liverpool of the 20s. “Black lives matter” may well be a debased marxist hate group determined to sew division but why to so many “people of colour” here rally to it? Particularly, if you listen to many of the talking heads who get so emotional and indignant and so filled with righteous fury for people they would no more want to share a phone booth with than me, think of themselves as members of some sort of “cultural elite”.

    Orientals (asians in US parlance) are invisible of course.

    From a UK perspective, this whole issue is not one of great intellectual depth. And, given the passage of time, and a hundred fold so given the slavery extant in the world right now, it has little moral depth either.

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s grift, pure and simple.

  • Depends on what you think is causing what.

    Nope, it absolutely doesn’t. If someone gets confused about the differences between correlation & causation, that is a fundamental error regardless of what you think is causing what.

    This error is the underpinning from which most seemingly “reasonable” racism springs (as opposed to the frothing at the mouth kind of racism, which is simply a mental disorder rather than an argument). The bigotry of low expectations kind of racism usually springs from confusing correlation & causation (‘left’ racism) but all kind of the less insane ‘conservative’ cocktail party racism makes most of the same mistakes & the people are every bit as insufferable.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “What I see here are people “of colour” (not all black) who have suffered a damned sight less than I imagine my Irish grandad had to put up with in the Liverpool of the 20s.”

    Same issue. Was that because of anti-Irish racism, or because the Irish race are inferior?

    The Irish are genetically the same as the Liverpudlians. The two sides have intermixed for centuries. If you’re born in Ireland of English parents and raised in England, you ‘are Irish’ but probably ‘act English’. Similarly if your born in England of Scottish parents and raised in Ireland. Your place of birth makes no permanent imprint on your soul, or on that of your children. The nation in which you are born is not the cause of anything. It’s something else, that just so happens to be correlated with place of birth.

    And if you want to fix that, whatever it is, you have to stop the conversation being entirely about nation of birth, because it’s irrelevant and fundamentally meaningless. ‘Nationality’ is a legal fiction, a social convention, just lines drawn by people on maps at one moment in time. Nationalism is as bogus as racism.

  • staghounds

    13%? Even 5% is plenty to wage an asymmetrical, violent, dangerous, and permanent guerilla war. The gangs in my little city are shooting a hundred people every year, year after year, almost all of whom are young black men like themselves, over status. Chicago had a typical 50 shootings this week.*

    It’s already a pretty good low level insurgency, only the insurgents are insurging themselves.

    All they need is an ideology that unites them and makes them see value in doing violence outside their own neighbourhoods.

    It might make Ireland in 1971 look like a Sunday School picnic.

    *https://heyjackass.com/

  • Mark

    We have the reality of black crime very significantly higher than any other non-scientific designation.

    Nobody is correlating black crime with the distance to haley’s comet from earth, or the saltiness of the dead sea, things which can not be meaningful causes.

    We are being told however that it is caused by “white racism” which, if its proponents are to be believed, is more insidious and magical in its ability to corrupt at a distance than cigarette smoke.

    I know the difference between correlation and cause but you have to correlate outcomes to something to begin to determine what the cause may be. Blame whitey is so convenient and SO easy.

    You are quite correct in it being responsible for a lot of racism, although I wouldn’t call a lot of “affirmative action” reasonable.

    And if lowering standards isn’t bigotry of low expectations, I don’t know what is

  • And if lowering standards isn’t bigotry of low expectations, I don’t know what is

    That is exactly what it is.

  • Stonyground

    With regard to correlation and causation, if the sample size is large enough it can become statistically highly improbable that the correlation is a coincidence.

  • neonsnake

    “White Fragility” is largely considered a laughing stock, amongst people who actually understand racism. Similar to how “Lean In” is considered.

    It’s a hell of a thing, when people are asked to be less racist, and instead go with “actually, you asking me to be less racist is racist itself!!!1111one!!!”

    Is almost like they’re actually racist, and just waiting for an excuse to say so in public.

  • Mark

    “Was it anti-Irish racism?”

    No it was prejudice and bigotry which can exist of course with no recourse to race.

    The point is that there were no calls as far as I know for quotas or “positive discrimination”. No “Irish lives matter” trying to burn everything. No endless parade of professional Irish whining endlessly about “microaggression” or demanding “safe spaces” etc etc.

    “The nation in which you are born is not the cause of anything” – well for you maybe.

    I assume you are white (but if you’re not it would make no difference to the point). You might think race is bogus but try applying for a job at the BBC, apply for quite a few university course, go on a few “unconscious bias” brainwashing sessions and you will find there is a whole parasitical industry that would beg to differ, very much to your detriment.

    @stoneyground

    I would posit that the sample size is very large indeed.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “With regard to correlation and causation, if the sample size is large enough it can become statistically highly improbable that the correlation is a coincidence.”

    Not in general.

    But even when it’s not a coincidence, that doesn’t mean it shows causation.

    “It’s a hell of a thing, when people are asked to be less racist, and instead go with “actually, you asking me to be less racist is racist itself!!!1111one!!!””

    Oh, yes. You turn a supplier down because their price is 20% higher for the same quality of product. They say “Could you possibly be less racist!!!” You say “Why do you think I’m racist?” They say “You turned me down, because I’m black and you’re white!!!” Hilarious.

    You thought you was making your decision because of the price, but really it was because of your subconscious racism. Give them the contract or get sued.

    “No it was prejudice and bigotry which can exist of course with no recourse to race.”

    It was because being Irish was correlated with being a troublemaker. Irish immigrants tended to be poor, poverty is associated with crime, drunkenness, and violence. People used the easily identifiable (but not terribly accurate) marker as a proxy for the characteristic they were really interested in. Yes, that’s prejudice.

    Prejudices are based on correlations.

  • Mark

    “Prejudices are based on correlations”

    Thanks for that penetrating and oh so clever link. I can now be prejudiced against absolutely anybody over absolutely anything.

  • Sam

    neonsnake: It’s a hell of a thing, when people are asked to be less racist, and instead go with “actually, you asking me to be less racist is racist itself!!!1111one!!!”

    Disingenuous. Completely and utterly disingenuous take. You will have fewer and fewer people buying this bullsh!t framing of yours as reality intercedes, and when that veil is pierced people tend to be pissed, and you will share the blame.

    For christ’s sake you KNOW what these “anti-racists” are saying, doing, and working towards. It’s not secret. They very loudly tell you in depressingly plain language. “People” are not being “asked” to be “less racists”, because – and you damn well know all this – (1) most people are not bigots, (2) presuming they are is a dick thing to do since (3) racism is very obviously our society’s biggest taboo, (4) it is demanded of “people”, not “asked”, and shutting up about it is not an option and (5) it’s only white “people” who must “be less racists”, which, you know, is bigoted.

  • Paul Marks

    Whatever “Progressive” may have meant a century ago it now means MARXIST.

    The Marxists could not give a toss about skin colour, or about women, or about homosexuals.

    The Marxists just want to USE people as weapons in their war to destroy the West which they call “capitalism”.

    It does not take long to find this out – the Frankfurt School types do not really hide what they are doing.

    Posts or comments that do not even bother to address the Marxists as Marxists are a waste of time.

  • Whatever “Progressive” may have meant a century ago it now means MARXIST. The Marxists could not give a toss about skin colour, or about women, or about homosexuals. The Marxists just want to USE people as weapons in their war to destroy the West which they call “capitalism”.

    Agree entirely. But…

    Posts or comments that do not even bother to address the Marxists as Marxists are a waste of time.

    What possibly useful ‘payload’ in contained in that? What does it achieve telling people their posts or comments are a waste of time if they do not frame them in the terms you prefer?

  • bobby b

    Mr. Marks, a lot of people who have no power – for whatever reason – simply hate those who do. We’re seeing many thousands of such people rioting every night here.

    Most of them couldn’t spell Marx, have no idea what he said, and couldn’t care less about him.

    Obviously, some of their leaders are indeed Marxists. And to address those people, yes, you need to speak about that.

    But Marx isn’t driving the masses who are rioting. Hatred and envy are.

    So, one avenue of fighting back looks to their leaders. But another avenue – maybe more important – looks to the masses. Because leaders aren’t leaders if no one is following.

  • neonsnake

    You turn a supplier down because their price is 20% higher for the same quality of product. They say “Could you possibly be less racist!!!” You say “Why do you think I’m racist?” They say “You turned me down, because I’m black and you’re white!!!” Hilarious.

    Hilarious indeed. Do you think that actually happens, though, in enough instances to make it worth talking about?

    Or do you think though, that, even today, people are more likely to turn a supplier down because of their ethnicity, despite them being 20% cheaper (or, an employee, or a contract, or an etc etc), than if they were white?

    Your argument is logical, in the black and white sense, but misses the context, which is that realistically, you’re more likely to be turned down for being the “wrong” colour, than you are to be sued for (apparent) racism, by a million miles.

    I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen. I’m saying that the amount of times that someone plays the *cough* so-called “Race Card” and makes it stick, pales into insignificance compared to the people who are actually denied business due to their race.

    Context matters. I’m interested more in reality.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Bobby:

    Mr. Marks, a lot of people who have no power – for whatever reason – simply hate those who do. We’re seeing many thousands of such people rioting every night here.

    Mr. Marks does have a problem: he thinks that using a label (“Frankfurt School”) is a necessary and sufficient solution to political problems.

    I submit, however, that your sentence that i quoted is itself problematic. The fact is that the rioters are not rioting for the powerless, against the people who have power: they are rioting FOR the people who have power, against the middle class. That should be obvious if you look for patterns.

    (They are inflicting serious damage on the underclass, but that is not intentional: it is collateral damage. They do not care about the underclass one way or the other.)

  • bobby b

    SG:

    “The fact is that the rioters are not rioting for the powerless, against the people who have power: they are rioting FOR the people who have power, against the middle class.”

    I have to disagree. I think you’re looking again at leaders.

    I know some of these protesters. I have three kids, 25 to 31, and they have friends whom I have known since kindergarten, and to whom I still speak, and on this subject it’s like speaking to a wall. They truly believe they’re fighting for the downtrodden and oppressed, and they see themselves fighting against power.

    Now, what you said is completely correct, in fact. But these kids don’t know facts, see no reason to discover facts, and simply turn their heads away when facts pop up in their faces. It’s enough for them to know that they’re fighting evil, that they’re the noble ones, that everything that can be said to them to correct them are simply lies made up by my generation to keep them in thrall . . .

    It’s depressing. I’d love for them to know what you said. But that would ruin their self-image.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Actually, bobby, we seem to be in complete agreement. It’s just that i failed to express myself clearly.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Neonsnake:

    Or do you think though, that, even today, people are more likely to turn a supplier down because of their ethnicity, despite them being 20% cheaper (or, an employee, or a contract, or an etc etc), than if they were white?

    —-I can well believe that some British people irrationally avoid some physicians and dentists because of their ethnicity. I can believe that, because i consulted a South-Asian dentist in England, back in 1999, and it was rather obvious from his defensiveness that he thought i might be prejudiced against him. (Things might have changed since then, however.)

    But riots are not going to remove prejudice, in fact they are going to reinforce it.
    Which is the point that i made to bobby: objectively speaking, SJWs, BLM, antifa, etc are useful idiots, tools of the ruling class.

    Nothing short of an Orwellian nightmare can possibly prevent patients from discriminating against doctors and dentists, for whatever reason.
    Which is why “the demand for racist violence greatly exceeds the supply” to quote Glenn Reynolds: the ruling class wants excuses to bring you one more step closer to an Orwellian nightmare.

    —-What i cannot believe is that business people are willing to pay a premium to deal with White people rather than non-White people.

  • Snorri Godhi

    On second thought, perhaps i do not entirely agree with bobby after all. He writes:

    [The protesters] truly believe they’re fighting for the downtrodden and oppressed, and they see themselves fighting against power.

    Now, what you said is completely correct, in fact. But these kids don’t know facts, see no reason to discover facts, and simply turn their heads away when facts pop up in their faces.

    I agree that SJWs see themselves as fighting against power.
    I do not agree that they can honestly think that “they’re fighting for the downtrodden and oppressed”. If they were really interested in fighting for the oppressed, they would give serious attention to facts, and serious thought to the possible and likely consequences of their actions; which they don’t.

    They would also consider the Pareto principle. (Which political actions could have the maximum benefit for the oppressed — and the environment — with the minimum cost?) Which they don’t.

    The fact is, there are large numbers of people who are simply unable to distinguish between sympathy for the oppressed and moral vanity. They think that their own moral vanity is sympathy for the oppressed.

    Vice versa, people who really have sympathy are often unable to recognize that other people have nothing more than moral vanity.

  • bobby b

    “They think that their own moral vanity is sympathy for the oppressed.”

    Let it be my turn, then, to say that we’re not really disagreeing.

  • neonsnake

    i consulted a South-Asian dentist in England, back in 1999, and it was rather obvious from his defensiveness that he thought i might be prejudiced against him. (Things might have changed since then, however.)

    Sounds familiar. I had a number of conversations with elderly relatives in which they told me, with some surprise, that their new doctor was “lovely, absolutely lovely. He’s dark, mind, but he’s lovely”. Those of course, were the less racist conversations.

    I believe it has changed for the better since. I’d be hesitant to say that anyone has changed their mind, rather that in the intervening 21 years, most of those elderly relatives have passed away, leaving the less racist elders to pick up the baton.

    But riots are not going to remove prejudice, in fact they are going to reinforce it.
    Which is the point that i made to bobby: objectively speaking, SJWs, BLM, antifa, etc are useful idiots, tools of the ruling class.

    I don’t wholly agree, I think it very much depends. This is going to be an extremely broad statement, that definitely won’t apply to everybody at all, but I think if you already lean towards being non-prejudiced, then the protests and riots will deepen your sympathy for the oppressed, as your focus (and echo chamber) will be on the various accounts of police brutality that are circling around.

    If you lean towards being prejudiced, then the protests and riots will likely strengthen your prejudices, as your focus (and echo chamber) will be on the various accounts of violence that are circling around.

    I see a lot of both of those groups – they’re using the whole thing to double-down on previously held convictions. Whilst I don’t agree with either group 100%, I sympathise more with the former group than the latter – I’m seeing an unpleasant amount of people feeling emboldened to say things like “see? I told you we need to control them damn blacks, this is what happens when we don’t.”

    Somewhere in the middle are a small group of people who can support the protests and the general motivation for them, whilst simultaneously decrying the violence of the riots. It’s not an either/or situation.

    And it’s only reinforcing prejudice amongst those who were already prejudiced. I don’t believe that it’s creating “new” racists – just giving them an excuse to be louder about it.

    I am concerned about that – we’ve come a long way in most, uh, “social” matters in the last 30 years (only using that figure due to my age), and there’s an unpleasant element of backsliding that’s happened over the past 4 or 5.

    I’m unclear of the cause, tbh. I see two different possibilities (at least)

    1) The “woke ruling class” have “gone too far”, and the backlash is entirely warranted. As far as I can tell, this possibility is generally fueled by laws that protect and/or privilege “inherent characteristics” of previously vulnerable minorities – and people believe that doing so is discriminatory in its own right. There’s plenty of good people who believe that look, we got rid of the law that said that a woman needed a man’s permission to own a credit card, we got rid of (legally required) segregation, and we repealed Section 28, so, we’re all good now. Anything more than that swings the pendulum too far. All makes sense, and is all very black and white and logical. Once the legal support for discrimination is removed, it will all come crashing down when people realise that bigotry has a cost.

    The opposite end of the spectrum is this:

    2) Previously advantaged people who benefited from sexist/racist/homophobic laws are having to compete on a more even playing field, and are pushing and/or believing a narrative that the “woke have gone too far”, supported by the press and major online news services, and are ginning up every example they can find of this, in order to set people against each other, and to keep their eyes off the “true ruling class”, which are those manipulating us to protect their own riches. These are the people that believe that every advance in equality of opportunity is “political correctness gone too far”, etc.

    They’re two very opposite views, and I’ve deliberately tried to present them as such (and probably failed, since I lean in a particular direction). They each rely on a very different definition of “ruling class”, of course; further, they each imply that the adherents to the other doctrine are useful idiots for “that” ruling class.

    Because life isn’t black and white, the truth will be somewhere in the middle. Albeit – it’s primarily led by group two. 70/30, maybe? I dunno.

    And no, I’ve no idea of a solution.

  • neonsnake

    —-What i cannot believe is that business people are willing to pay a premium to deal with White people rather than non-White people.

    I both can and do believe that.

    It’s not always the skin colour, per se, it’s the characteristics that are associated with them (often conflated with nationality)

    The thing you have to remember about suppliers from Nigeria, is that Nigerians are lazy.

    The thing you have to remember about suppliers from China, is that Chinese cut corners.

    The thing you have to remember about suppliers from India, is that Indians don’t care about quality.

    The thing you have to remember about suppliers from South America, is that South Americans are all corrupt.

    And so on.

    If you believe those statements, then it’s not about paying a premium – it’s about avoiding a huge cost down the line. Better just to deal with someone from Western Europe, right?

    Because let me tell you, there’s a thing you have to remember about Eastern Europeans…

  • Snorri Godhi

    Neonsnake: what you are saying is that people are rational in being prejudiced.

    Because let me tell you, there’s a thing you have to remember about Eastern Europeans…

    As a matter of fact, i live in the Baltics, and i do remember things about the English, the Dutch, and the Danes.

    I remember that when i moved out of England, having become prejudiced against English workers, i had a British removal company put my stuff in storage, then i asked a Dutch company to go and get it.

    When i moved to Denmark, i had the same Dutch company put things in storage AND bring it to Denmark once i found a place to stay.

    When i moved to Estonia, having become prejudiced against Danish workers, i had a Danish company put my stuff in storage, then i asked an Estonian company to go and get it.

    I am satisfied with my decisions based on my prejudices.
    (To be sure, if the Danish company had offered prices 20% lower, i might have gone for that; but the price difference was more like the other way around.)

    Things are complicated, of course. The boss of a small company selling electronic research equipment told me in the 1990s that he sells to Italian universities only if they pay in advance. But that was not because Italians are slow in paying their debts: that was because the Italian *public sector* is slow in processing payments. Still, the prejudice was rational.

    Generally, you have to know the business environment before doing business with a foreign country. I found an interesting blog post some time ago, detailing all the kinds of ways that small Chinese companies can scam you, and how to avoid them. But i suppose that you know this already.

  • neonsnake

    As a matter of fact, i live in the Baltics, and i do remember things about the English, the Dutch, and the Danes.

    Snorri, just to clear up any misunderstandings, my statement “Because let me tell you, there’s a thing you have to remember about Eastern Europeans…” was meant to parody of the rest of my “the thing you have to remember” statements – all of which I believe are utter nonsense.

    I’ve spent a lot of time doing business in (specifically in my particular case) Romania and Poland; by coincidence, my sourcing manager was Estonian, his assistant was Romanian. I have never had any reason to treat my suppliers there with any more or any less “suspicion” (bad word, can’t think of a better one) than anywhere else in the world (I also had European suppliers in Germany, Denmark, Italy and Portugal). And yet, Eastern Europeans are treated here in the UK markedly different to Western Europeans. Racism doesn’t confine itself in the UK to skin colour, I guess.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Snorri, just to clear up any misunderstandings, my statement […] was meant to parody of the rest of my “the thing you have to remember” statements

    Yeah, that was rather obvious.

    all of which I believe are utter nonsense.

    That is NOT obvious! IFF there is RELIABLE information on a group’s characteristics, AND no more (easily available) information on an individual than his belonging to a group, then it is rational to judge the individual by the only information that you have about him.

    As you do. You generalize about the xenophobia of your fellow Brits!

    (BTW that does not apply to physicians or dentists. In their case, you do have more information; specifically, that they have degrees in medicine or dentistry.)

    Eastern Europeans are treated here in the UK markedly different to Western Europeans.

    Part of the prejudice, however, is that Eastern* Europeans are xenophobes.

    * This is in itself a broad generalization. Just as i detected different national characters in “Western” Europe, so there are different national characters in “Eastern” Europe.

    Russian speakers in Estonia are statistically less successful than native Estonian speakers; but it is greatly to their credit that, instead of blaming it on discrimination, they do their best to get ahead, and seem to be aware that they are still much better off than Russians in Russia.

  • I have been unable to re-locate a good case study I read, years ago, about a guy who moved from Greece to Estonia. In Greece he set up a business supplying flowers to shops. It was very successful – in all its numbers except cash flow. All his Greek shopkeeper customers knew that

    If you don’t sell a flower then it sells you

    and a great many were good at taking his flowers (that he delivered to their order) and paying with explanations of why they could not pay him just yet – they would pay manana (whatever the Greek is for that). Eventually he abandoned his business in Greece, with its excellent book balances and its 40,000+ euros owed that he finally realised he’d never collect, and moved to Estonia because the business culture there was different.

    There can be sizeable statistical differences in culture – business culture as well as other kinds – between groups. There are individuals in each who are exceptions – in Switzerland I lived in the Italian part with a Swiss-German landlord who very obviously lived in Italian Switzerland because he had a Swiss-Italian temperament (each member of the part Swiss-German, part Swiss-Italian group I worked with, by contrast, fitted their appropriate stereotype to a tee).

    A stereotype is just a statistical summary in verbal form. Like a statistic, it can be accurate or inaccurate. If accurate, it can have small or wide standard deviation. Etc.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “That is NOT obvious! IFF there is RELIABLE information on a group’s characteristics, AND no more (easily available) information on an individual than his belonging to a group, then it is rational to judge the individual by the only information that you have about him.”

    Cats have four legs. Fido has four legs. Therefore Fido is a cat.
    Rapists are virtually 100% male. All we know about Fred is that he is male. Therefore Fred should be treated as a potential/likely rapist.
    Skinhead neonazi conspiracy theorists self-identify as right wing. Charles self-identifies as right wing. So Charles is a neonazi skinhead conspiracy theorist.
    Cruel and heartless capitalist exploiters running sweat shops get rich off the back of the workers. Bill is rich. Therefore Bill is a cruel and heartless capitalist exploiter.
    Killing spree mass murderers own guns. Katy owns a gun. Katy is probably planning to go on a killing spree.
    Drug gang murderers are often black. Thomas is black. Therefore Thomas should be arrested/jailed for murder.
    Many old-time black-hating Klan racists are white. Lucy is white. So Lucy is a black-hating Klan racist.
    The best basketball players are usually black. Teeni McShortypants is black. Therefore Teeni McShortypants should be put on the basketball team.
    etc.

    You could consider it an IQ test.

    In theory, you can use Bayesian updating to modify your beliefs based on precise statistical information about correlations, and this is sometimes described as ‘rational’. But few people know the maths to be able to do so correctly. And Bayesian updating makes the implicit assumption that you have the correct probability model – for example, that events are independent, that samples are unbiased, that confounders are absent and all relevant variables are reported, and all variables reported are relevant, that the choice of variables reported is not dependent on the conclusions their inclusion supports, that the statistics have not been deliberately manipulated to deceive, etc. Statistics is notoriously a minefield full of traps for the unwary. ‘Rationality’ is hard work, especially when you have a strong ideological preference for a particular answer.

    There is a group A that we want to attack, but we have no reasonable excuse for doing so directly without making ourselves look like shits. So we find a group B that the public rightly holds in fear, hatred, or contempt. We then highlight the intersection between Groups A and B, pointing out any stray correlations, talking up the threat, evoking public sympathy for victims and outrage against perpetrators, and demand power to stamp down on Group A in the name of protecting the public from Group B. The public gives it to us, every time, because nobody wants to look like they’re defending Group B.

    Everybody is in somebody’s Group A. When will we learn?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Niall:

    I have been unable to re-locate a good case study I read, years ago, about a guy who moved from Greece to Estonia.

    I read the same story, which identified the Greek restaurant this guy set up in Tallinn, so i organized a dinner with all my fellow students of Estonian language in that restaurant!

    A quite pleasant dinner. Unfortunately we did not get to meet the owner. One of my fellow students was (and still is:) Greek, which would have made it more interesting to meet the owner.

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