274 Comments

Thanks for the kind words about my study with Josh Kalla. I agree with what you wrote regarding the fact that a) we haven't studied racial prejudice yet and b) this kind of canvassing is far too costly to scale nationwide -- and even if you did, although the effects are large by social science standards, they are not large enough to transform public opinion in any sense. I think the practical upshots of our studies are: a) some insights everyday people can apply in interpersonal conversations (e.g., don't lecture, have a two-way conversation), b) some ideas that might be able to be applied in more scalable mass communication (e.g., tell stories of individual outgroup members!), and c) a tactic that could make sense in small elections (e.g., there were some ballot initiatives on immigration and trans issues in small to mid sized towns where it actually is plausible you could try to canvass the whole electorate).

One theme in the literature on contact is that it really depends on whether the contact is positive-sum or neutral or negative-sum. Even neutral, shallow contact between groups seems to increase prejudice quite often (see Ryan Enos' work). Matt Lowe has a great experiment on the difference between positive-sum and negative-sum contact and as you might expect, positive-sum contact between groups really reduces prejudice but negative-sum contact increases it (https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.20191780). I think the corollary of these kinds of findings is not so much that integration is good per se, but that we have to pay attention to the kind of integration. An example of a win that is nicely consistent with your and my policy preferences: there's a doctor shortage in the US, so we should let doctors from other countries immigrate here and work in rural areas where there is a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment and also a big doctor shortage! That is going to do wonders for people's views towards immigrants -- and in fact, there is some research consistent with that intuition: https://www.pnas.org/content/118/14/e2022634118.short.

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Just wanted to say thanks so much for coming in here to add your thoughts. So often academic research gets misused, intentionally or not, so this sort of follow-on contact can be super valuable IMHO. Incredibly cool of you to do; we really appreciate it.

Also great to see some research on the potential benefits of using immigrant doctors to help alleviate the shortage there, though I guess I should be a tad skeptical, if only because it mega confirms my priors!

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I agree with this post and with the SB crowd on most days. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the tone these days has drifted into outright hostility toward any and all forms of antiracist effort. Matt tagged Hakeem in his tweet of this post today, and Hakeem retweeted it. If Hakeem or his supporters read these comments, I’m pretty sure he’d come away feeling even more self-assured that Matt is just feeding the white racist trolls. Hakeem’s initial tweet was “why don’t the popularists condemn white racism?” It feels like a strawman to me as most people do in fact condemn what they consider to be racism, they just might not agree with Hakeem on what racism *is.* But as this group gets more and more comfortable throwing around inflammatory racial statistics without any caveats, and shows less and less interest in solving real problems, I dunno, it’s starting to feel icky. Is it just me? Can we keep our eyes on the prize which is finding ways to reduce racial animosity and severely adverse racial disparities at the same time?

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To me, the paradox of anti-racism in practice is that although racism is supposed to be about structures, not about people, it still comes down in practice to “doing the work” - essentially, to change our souls so that we will gladly do the things that anti-racism proponents want us to do. But we will not improve our racial difficulties this way, because our racial difficulties are not caused by white people having bad souls. The soul-changing exercise seems (inevitably) to slide into division and hostility. And I came to think: not by that path.

Instead, I have come to focus on civic justice. I reflect that we live in a continent-sized country with a very complex historical experience with some pretty bad things in it. We are of many cultures, and we do not all like each other or treat each other charitably. But we also have a legacy of freedom and unity from our founding that gives us a path to living together and growing together as citizens in spite of that. It is a powerful and good legacy. We need to hold onto that legacy, not tear it down.

I take a step back from direct action on racism. Black people will uplift themselves in their own interest, if we let them. The state of my soul does not (and should not) matter to them. My work is to truly understand our legacy, to strive to think and speak accurately for myself and my interests, and to participate with honesty in the civic exercise.

This isn’t going to satisfy anyone who is on fire to fix racism now, but I don’t think that's problem that can be fixed that way, simply that it can be set on a path to grow smaller over time.

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"racism is supposed to be about structures, not about people"

I very much disagree with that statement. And I believe the vast majority of Americans do so as well.

Racism is about individual feelings and actions. An employer not hiring someone because of the color of their skin is racism.

Not have an equal percentage of people in a particular job that corresponds to their percentage in the population is only racism if the reason for the difference is because of individual racists actions.

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I think the thrust of the institutional racism argument is that the reason that Black people didn't get that job is because they didn't get the qualifications, and they didn't get the qualifications because they went to a bad high school and they went to a bad high school because they live in a poorer school district and they live in a poorer school district because their great-grandparents didn't leave their parents an inheritance sufficient to buy a better house, and those great-grandparents didn't do that because they were redlined out of buying one in the 1940s and 1950s.

So, yes, there was an individual racist - the person who did the redlining 70 years ago - but the institutions have taken that racism and preserved it in amber like dinosaur DNA in Jurassic Park. Now, it's not easy to fix that, and it's not simply the responsibility of the employer to do so. But it is a real problem. And blaming individuals in that system is wrong - providing, of course, that they actually are doing their best.

There is another version of institutional racism, which is institutions in which a small number of racists get their racism amplified. A classic example of this is hiring systems that involve the subjective opinions of a number of people; if your average hiring decision requires five people to give the OK, then even just 5% of people who are unconsciously racist in your pool of decision makers gets amplified to Black people having only 77% (1-0.95^5, if you want to check my math) of the chance of getting the job as compared to an equivalently-qualified White person.

This one, well, perhaps you can track down the person (or people) who are regularly down-checking black candidates. But, if they aren't expressing racist sentiments ("I'm just not inspired by him", "I don't think he'll be a good fit with the team", etc) then you can only do that retrospectively and on the basis of statistics, at which point how many people have been discriminated against already? Or else can you come up with a fairer way to decide? Like blind auditions for symphony orchestras work, but can you do that for other jobs?

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"Like blind auditions for symphony orchestras work..."

Funny you use that example, as some people want to get rid of them now because they think they do not work: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/16/arts/music/blind-auditions-orchestras-race.html

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I hesitate to weigh in because what I'm about to say will seem to some an apologia for social injustice. But if we're honest, many of the impediments to success you mention similarly apply to other populations who have nevertheless overcome them, from bad schools to intergenerational poverty to unconscious antipathy on the part of gatekeepers.

Jews and Asian Americans have had to deal with institutional racism in pretty much the same way, and have become and/or are becoming yet another outgroup-to-ingroup American success story, just like the Italians and Irish and so many others before them.

No one who watches how the world operates can deny there are lingering effects of prejudice in people's unconscious, and lingering repercussions of historical prejudice in present conditions. But it is an oversimplification to ascribe inequality today to inequality, even horrific disparate treatment, in the past. There are other factors at work. There are strategies that can help a disadvantaged group succeed. How did Jews go from a despised minority to an almost-fully-accepted part of the American elite? How are Asian Americans seemingly following the same path? Why can't others do the same thing?

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These are good questions. We shouldn't exclude the possibility that the answer is "White Americans are a lot more prejudiced against Black Americans than against anyone else", of course. The assumption that the problem is with the Black Americans (which you didn't make, but which other people might make from reading your words) is a racist assumption in itself.

The history of the antebellum slaves and their descendants is sufficiently different from the history of any other group in American history that it's at least plausible that history was driven by and has driven the racism against African-Americans.

It's particularly interesting to compare to recent African immigrants who have done far better in America than African-Americans (notably, not that The Bell Curve needed more refuting, the opposite of what that hypothesis would predict).

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There is no doubt in my mind that, as you say, "White Americans are a lot more prejudiced against Black Americans than against anyone else." It's not just Americans, either. My experience of the world and its history shows distinct anti-pigment animus almost everywhere and everytime. To cite just one non-US example, the vaunted egalitarian system in Cuba is, in fact, highly biased against Black Cubans, who do a disproportionate fraction of the low-status jobs in the country, and who are almost unrepresented in the ruling Politburo.

I also take your point that the experience of recent African immigrants refutes the Bell Curve hereditarian IQ explanation for African American difficulties (unless you interpret the disparate experiences as showing that African Americans are burdened with inferior White genes).

But the disparate experiences do show that navigating American society with Black skin and encountering institutional racism is not a sufficient explanation for observed outcomes. Something else must be at work. Hiring managers, school officials, random people don't have deep-seated preferences for children of Nigerians over descendants of Alabama sharecroppers. I doubt many could identify which are which.

Maybe it's transmitted culture within the family and in peer groups. Maybe that culture arose and was perpetuated in reaction to the horrific stimuli of slavery and Jim Crow. I don't know. And culture *is* hard to change. My only point is that it's not impossible. At least, I don't think it is. Shtetl Jews went from insular ghetto life in New York's Lower East Side to elite life in America. Chinese Americans went from coolie labor on the railroads and living in Chinatowns in a few cities to an increasingly large role in the mainstream.

Bottom line, progressives--I consider myself one--can help, but the main effort must be mainly endogenous for any community in the American context. Allies are useful, but can't be saviors. And pessimism of the kind I read from Kendi is corrosive and, I am convinced, stupid. Some things are hard. But most things are not impossible. Making life better for fellow Americans is not impossible.

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I feel like your position is one that would allow slavery to go on forever, right? I mean, its the institution that says that blacks are slaves. You didn't decide that. You don't make the laws, but they say you can purchase someone. And you don't beat them unfairly and you feed them appropriately, right. You don't have a racist bone in your body -- and the structure can't be racist. As long as you're good to your slaves -- what more can we ask of you...

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Slavery is wrong because it's a violation of your civil rights (no matter what color of your skin, slavery is wrong). In addition, slavery was intentionally racist because it applied based on the color of your skin. Just like hiring, or not hiring somebody because of the color of their skin is wrong (although obviously one is WAY more wrong).

My position is that people everywhere should be treated as individuals. And while population level data can be interesting we should be VERY careful when making assumptions about causality.

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You can only retain slaves by continuous action. It is not some autonomous structure, but something made by humans, and changeable by humans.

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It's the difference between "institutional racism" and plain old racist-racism though, right?

At some level it all comes down to individuals taking racist actions, sure. But it sounds like you're arguing that unless you can point at a racist hiring manager today, there isn't an element of racism in play. But there clearly is, even if it's just the echo of actions taken long ago.

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>"racism is supposed to be about structures, not about people"

I very much disagree with that statement. And I believe the vast majority of Americans do so as well.<

This is a big part of the problem with this conversation. Two people using the same word, "racism," to mean completely different things.

This happens all the time. It is the first thing to check for when having an intractable disagreement. Sometimes there is no disagreement, but just mis-communication.

There very much is an argument on the left which explicitly denies the argument that racism is just about personal feelings. The argument goes like this:

Slavery was not caused by racism, racism was caused by slavery.

Think about it.

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"Slavery was not caused by racism, racism was caused by slavery."

I would argue that for slavery to have been allowed it was because of a racism that dehumanized the "other" and thus allowed for it to occur.

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It wasn't (originally) racism that dehumanized the other. Sugar plantations started on Cyprus, with the slave workers being Muslims who were captured by raids.

They were enormously profitable, and they gradually worked their way west across the Mediterranean (Rhodes, Crete, Malta) before eventually reaching the Canary Islands and Madeira off the west coast of Africa. After Eanes discovered how to pass Cape Bojador in 1434, sources of non-Christian slaves in West Africa (sometimes Muslim, sometimes local African religions, which the Christians called "pagan") replaced raided Muslims because it was much easier to acquire slaves in West Africa (where they were available for sale) than in North Africa (where they mostly had to be taken by force).

Having black slaves and white masters made it much easier to distinguish them and to identify escaped slaves. Spain (unlike the Cypriots, the Knights of St John and the Venetians who had run the earlier plantations) had a tradition of not trusting converts to Christianity (that's what the Spanish Inquisition was set up for, to ensure they weren't still practising their former religion in secret), and so black people came to be viewed as intrinsically non-Christian and thus "other".

All of this was already in place on a small scale before the Middle Passage got going into the Caribbean and later to the (future) United States.

The argument, as I understand it, is that historically, putting people into categories by the color of their skin came from putting people into categories by their religion, and was mediated through slavery.

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If you want a good example of what this looked like in the middle of evolving from religious prejudice into racism, read Othello and remember that he is a Moor (a Muslim from North Africa).

Are the attitudes to him based on an idea that he is intrinsically other? Yes. Is that clearly about race and not religion? Not quite, though it is starting to become racism.

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Richard -- Very interesting. Would welcome you on a bar trivia team anytime!

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I don't disagree with you. It's a paradox to me that people who start out with the hard-ass premise that feelings don't matter, pretty much spend all their time trying to affect feelings. For conversion purposes.

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I personally feel like all of those sentiments are helpful and respectful. Others expressed here today, not so much. Maybe I am nit-picking or just in a bad mood, but scrolling through the comment section, I find myself cringing more often than usual.

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Thanks for saying this, Marie. I absolutely agree and have started staying away from the comments on the woke-skeptical posts.

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thanks Marie for holding the line here. I have pretty much given up

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I mean in a political sense the Republican Party in its current form has to lose and lose big and keep losing or else we will have more racism. Like these posts are a psa that we are not just left vs super left.

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Maybe a few things going on here ...

(1) The SB comments do feel different. Sharper. Kenny has participated less lately. Maybe he's busy or maybe he's focused elsewhere. But how many times can you re-hash a finite set of topics? Comment exhaustion might be setting in. Matt will probably want to participate more if comment engagement rates taper.

(2) The stakes here seem to be increasing. That's probably amplifying some of the rhetoric. Who knows how representative the VA Gov. race is for the upcoming mid-terms but the school debate seemed central and our (or the Progressive) position seems to be losing. To the extent any racial disparity progress is downstream of winning elections ... the burgeoning anti-antiracism sentiment is a function of the antiracist efforts potentially missing the forest of elections for the bark of purity battles.

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Who's Kenny?

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LOL

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I think the VA Gov. race is "representative" of the upcoming midterms, but only in that the President's party is going to have a bad time the way it always has a bad time.

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Always feels too strong ... '98 and '02 did happen. The map matters. Republicans are defending more seats in the Senate. I don't subscribe that this is a done deal.

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Thank you. I generally agree with Matt, and he should keep making his points, but a little humility on this topic seems in order.

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I whole-heartedly agree that addressing extreme wealth inequality is the biggest, most important focus we can have, morally and practically, and that it will lead to a reduction of most of the racial disparities we care about. But that should/can be a space of agreement with the anti-racists, even if they come to the same conclusion from the opposite direction. I think Matt does a good job of trying to argue for that approach, but sometimes the comment thread here just drifts into reflexive caustic anti-wokeness, which eliminates the possibility of a coalition before it can start.

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I understand. That sucks. I am really sorry that people are being assholes to you. I am frustrated with the woke extremists too- I think this extremism is taking over too many institutions, creating division, and leading to counter-productive groupthink and wasted resources. I think too many activists have succumbed to the entire gamut of classic cognitive distortions on this topic- black & white thinking, labelling, mind reading, catastrophizing, etc etc. https://www.healthline.com/health/cognitive-distortions Too many people have taken their self-righteous cause of fighting the bad guys as license to be a total asshole. It has to stop, and people need to be called out. I want this push back to be done effectively, because it's important work. I just don't think *mirroring* the hostility and thought distortions is going to be effective. Understandable, but counter-productive.

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Certainly you can see the flaw in this plan? “Try to get someone fired? No dice.” You can’t really fight “cancel culture” by canceling the cancelers. We need a common set of behavioral standards we can all stick to. Basic respect, decency, and not judging people (positively or negatively) on the basis of their race seem like a good place to start. But I’m a softy. Also, I was one of “these types” (ok, not as bad as your colleagues, but I turned a blind eye to that stuff bc I thought it was “necessary”) and I was able to snap out of it, so I’ll always hold out hope for others. I highly recommend Chloe Valdary: https://theoryofenchantment.com/

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Hostility towards an important part of your coalition is also ineffective. Your assertion Jeffries doesn’t care about outcomes is likely to be inaccurate and offensive to some.

Ultimately people opposed to the MAGA movement need to work together.

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They are important. They are a large part of the Democratic party's funding and activist base. They influence its agenda and public image. Matt linked to a Jon Chait piece today about how most Dem primary candidates ended up endorsing all these crazy unpopular positions like decriminalising border crossing. Progressives made them do it. I accept this is disproportionate to share of the actual electoral.

I find them a lot of their hectoring annoying too.

But I what I find really annoying is Republicans quietly getting on with their quest to end meaningful American democracy while their opponents are busy tearing each other apart over largely symbolic differences

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/11/joe-biden-agenda.html

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"They are important. They are a large part of the Democratic party's funding and activist base. They influence its agenda and public image.”

Exactly. Which is why I am very pessimistic about near-term outlook for the Democratic Party in the next decade. Here are some things about the progressive wing of the party that I don’t know how to get around.

- Their policy ideas are bad, unworkable, divisive, and unpopular

- Their messaging causes the party to lose elections

- They can’t mobilize voters without countermobilizing at least as many on the other side

I’m reaching around for desperate ideas like “will I at least get a chance to vote for Nikki Haley instead of Trump?” That’s how bad it is.

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It's not actually easy to break democracy to the point where the other side can't come back. All the folks who say you can are wildly overestimating coalition fixity on long timescales.

So stop worrying about it and let the Democrats wander the wilderness for a decade or two.

Either they'll sort themselves out as the GOP fails, or the GOP will go populist in the mold of Fidesz, which has plenty of good economic policies to its name and is able to solve problems, or it wouldn't be elected.

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Interestingly, how you frame anti-racism can almost be identically applied to Christianity. Yet there is almost none of the same level of hostility. Christianity seems ineffective in making "better" people. It's offensive to many (worse than offensive if you consider the atrocities carried out in its name). The inaccuracies in the bible make the 1619 project look like the proof of 1+1 in Principia Mathematica. And demanding patronage -- that's like the whole point of it.

I say this to note that the issue with anti-racism isn't in anti-racism in itself. Oddly the same people on this thread that hate it, use its most core tenant (outcome based approach) in attempting to discredit it (and interestingly Kendi himself would acknowledge that if it doesn't produce outcomes, it would not anti-racist -- a result that would please Betrand Russell himself). The issue is purely that anti-racism doesn't really benefit the "right" people.

I think when MT discusses it in this light, it works. Just be blunt. This country won't help black people on its own. But we also won't go out of our way to harm black people, if it also means harming white people. Black people need to realize this. Appeals to righteous principles and such will fall on deaf ears, unless it also benefits white people. And while I wish it weren't so, I think making it clear, is important.

That said, it does put Black in an interesting position. Does it make sense to support the left? Most Blacks tend to be socially conservative, except for issues of race. If we accept that as a country we won't try to help blacks, except as a by-product of helping whites -- should blacks then just vote on every issue except race? If so, does that move Blacks to largely being Republican?

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What does all this "helping blacks" / "helping whites" mean? It's the ultimate strawman. There's various packages and reconciliation bills being debated and legislated through congress right now. Despite some "this will help minorities and women" messaging, the laws and budgets, like nearly all laws and budgets that aren't explicitly civil rights oriented, are race-neutral.

If you pass laws or budgets aimed to help those towards the bottom of the SES ladder, you will disproportionately impact Blacks. Laws or budgets aimed at the upper half of the SES will disproportionately impact Whites. I guess you can try to make a Kendi claim that every law / budget is racist / anti-racist but that turns everything into race, always. And it leaves no explanation for why largely 1 "race" countries, like, say Korea or Ireland or Tunisia pass laws.

I'm not sure what you want here - the nation clearly will pass laws to protect minorities from active harms. It will also pass race-neutral laws aimed at helping lower SES residents. But it is generally resistant to equality-of-group-outcome affirmative-action style laws. If you think that's racist, fine, but we disagree on the definition.

How that should impact a black person's vote I don't know, because it depends on that person's views of all the above and their personal economic status at least as much as their ancestry on how they think the government should view ancestries.

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Classifying laws as racist/anti-racist/neutral doesn't mean that the intent of the law was race based at all. You can classify anything into anything. For all laws we can view them along male/female, straight/gay/other, upper/middle/lower class, urban/rural, environmental/unenv, futurist/luddite, etc... It could be that most laws are neutral in their impact on most axis one could construct. But understanding this is still important. And more importantly, trends could be very important in understanding where the country is going. This is actually an example of where one would want to use CRT.

"the nation clearly will pass laws to protect minorities from active harms" -- I'm unclear why you believe this? The voting supression laws passed by Republicans just recently give me little confidence that given enough power they wouldn't enact far more harm. I guess I just believe there is 50% of the country that would try to actively harm and 50% that wouldn't. Just depends on who has the votes.

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"the nation clearly will pass laws to protect minorities from active harms".

To be more literal and precise I mean the nation has passed laws to protect minorities from active harms and is capable of doing so in the future. Not that it always way in every possible case. I meant it as a response to "This country won't help black people on its own", which doesn't seem accurate to me as I read it.

Which of these recent Republican passed laws are actively targeted at Blacks and not at Democratic votes in general? I realize in some states, particular in the deep south, the two categories of voters are hard to separate. From the little I know, most of these proposed laws will have very little impact and the partisan impact will be muted, or even work against Rs.

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An example is to limit voting on Sunday afternoons. This was targeted specfically at the Black church coalition. Georgia passed this recently: https://www.ajc.com/politics/georgia-house-to-vote-on-election-restrictions-amid-staunch-opposition/46SNHMIYGZGMZDG5KLGHAB6NQ4/

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I've been flat out told to accept Jesus as my lord and savior more than I've been told to be anti-racist. In fact I've never been told to be anti-racist, even at my work's diversity training (where the term never came up). But I can believe it may vary for each person.

Unsurprisingly, there have been FAR more openly racist people (much less anti-anti-racist) in the highest levels of our society than openly anti-Christian people. In fact, even in 2021, I bet you can win more elections by having your central platform as, "The anti-racism stuff has gone too far" than saying, "Christianity has gone too far".

I think you underrate how impactful it would be to be anti-Christian. Not just Christian agnostic, but openly fight against it in the same way that people openly fight against anti-racism.

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Being racist will get you booted from society these days. And will most likely cost you your job etc. Being anti-Christian won't.

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Depends on where you live and where you work.

And those places probably would fire you from your job if they found out you were anti-Christian.

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I guess we do run in different circles. I live in a country where the last president said and did exactly what you describe and was almost elected again and is the front runner for one of the major political parties in the US. And the guy who took a knee during the anthem basically was fired.

"Christians" are saying that if I help someone get an abortion I can be fined $10,000. "Christians" are requiring that legal tender say "In God We Trust" -- nothing about diversity on any of the money that were forced to print. "Christians" were the ones who fought tooth and nail to keep my good friends from marrying. "Christians" are the ones who claim tax exempt status to then rail politically at the pulpit, often in attempts to disenfranchise minorities.

So yeah -- I guess we run in different circles

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"Not-quite-rich"? The list of involved parents seems like they're pretty friggin wealthy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_college_admissions_bribery_scandal#Involved_parties_and_organizations

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I believe we are operating with very, very different thresholds for the label "rich". I'm imagining someone with, say, a $1m home* and $200k in liquid assets. The dentistry professor and the radiation oncologist certainly have that, to say nothing of the hot pocket heiress, wilkie farr chairman, and others. Yet they are nowhere near able to donate $10m.

*Yes, I know million-dollar homes can be unremarkable in some metro areas.

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Peter Thiel justified what he did to Gawker by saying that "If you're a single-digit millionaire like Hulk Hogan, you have no effective access to our legal system."

Whatever terminology you prefer, there is a level of very rich that can get around the systems and a level of not-quite-as-rich that has to instrumentalise the systems to help themselves.

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It's a little surprising that Matt didn't link to this article in American Affairs which analyzes American racial issues from an outside (Canadian) view. https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2021/08/why-are-racial-problems-in-the-united-states-so-intractable/

It actually talks about many of the issues that Matt brings up.

The gist of the article is that America try's to split the difference between the Singaporean method which basically enforces integration right down to the neighborhood model and the Canadian method which is focuses on "process neutrality"

It also argues about how African Americans Descended from Slaves should probably be described more as an ethnic group within the the larger racial group defined as black.

The two passages that struck me were:

"First, there is the simple fact that the level of attitudinal racism among Americans is not that high compared to people in other countries. Americans think that other Americans are quite racist, but that is primarily because they take the persistence of the race problem, or lack of support for preferred policy responses, as evidence of racism. They generally fail to realize just how racist people are in other countries. By contrast, the United States is an outlier from other Western countries in a number of social, economic, and political respects that clearly contribute to the persistence of racial inequality. These include the lack of class mobility, inadequacy of the social safety net, poor quality of diet, extreme inequalities in primary education funding, artificial scarcity in elite postsecondary education, high levels of crime, especially violent crime, astronomical incar­ceration levels, high levels of police violence, widespread gun owner­ship and gun crime, and governance failure in the democratic system. "

Which as someone who does quite a lot of international travel, and lived overseas for much of there life strikes me as true. Many Americans aren't informed of the numerous racial issues that have cropped up in Latin America these days.

I do think that generally Western Europe and Canada are less racist, but I also suspect that their is a critical mass aspect of racism. With recent migration patterns from Africa and the Middle East into Europe, I can see it becoming a greater issue, though I hope not.

The other passage that dovetails nicely with what Matt wrote about integration is this"

"Of course, the integrationist ideal most often endorsed by white Americans is one in which every neighborhood, every business, and every school and college has a level of “diversity” that reflects the composition of America as a whole. The implication is that African Americans should be immersed in social environments in which they are constantly outnumbered nine to one. Unsurprisingly, this is an ideal that has much greater appeal to whites than to blacks. For whites, it allows them to feel good about themselves for embracing diversity while still remaining the overwhelming majority in every interaction. In democratic politics, for instance, it means always being the demographic majority in every jurisdiction. For blacks, it means being completely swamped and outnumbered by whites. This is what underlies the old complaint, voiced by Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton, that “integration, as traditionally conceived, would abolish the black community.” Children of immigrants are often happy to disappear into the general population in this way. Among African Americans, by contrast, not only would integration on these terms generate a cultural loss, it would also represent for many a capitulation to whiteness, and to white America, that would constitute a betrayal of the historical community to which they belong."

Current racial discord in America is something that is really counterintuitive with me, due to the fact that I was raised in a multi-racial family. While being raised in New Zealand, my parent's adopted my brother and sister who are Asian and Black. Basically, after moving to New Zealand, my hippyish American parents decided that after having me and my sister, they wanted to adopt.

Just a baby (which in New Zealand in the 70s was pretty much all white, except for Maoris but cross adoption was rare). Anyway, the Hospital called, saying they had a Baby available, but there was something my parents needed to know. My mother says, before they even told her she told them... we will take the baby, lol. Apparently my parents were low on the list, but my brothers birth father was Vietnamese, and multiple families had declined. My parent's didn't bat a eye, and thus I ended up with my Brother (who I love and we are probably the two closest middle age brothers you can imagine).

A little over a year later, my parent's got a random call from the Adoption agency. They weren't even on the list. Apparently there was a baby that was born to an New Zealand woman who had an affair with a Black American soldier, and was putting her up for adoption. Again they had no takers but they remembered my parents, and called them up just to see. I think my parents thought about it for maybe 0.2 seconds.

In 1980 we moved back to Los Angeles, which even though its racially diverse, we were quite an oddity as a family.

Growing up in that environment has maybe given me a naïve view on racial issues. I honestly don't think I realized that outright racism existed until I joined the USAF and moved to the East Coast. Even then, I didn't understand until years later when I moved to South Carolina.

To further complicate things, I spent 22-years in the military which is arguably the most successfully integrated organization perhaps in the world. The secret of which is that being brown, black or white comes secondary to being red white and blue.

We need more of that in our society.

Anyway, diversity training is totally cringe. I try and live my life by not being an asshole (which I regularly fail at miserably), but it is a goal.

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Heath's piece is really good, I want to write about it later.

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An earlier version of Heath's essay, with footnotes: https://www.academia.edu/43470485/Two_Dilemmas_for_U_S_Race_Relations

For people who aren't familiar with Joseph Heath, I'd describe him as squarely in the Canadian mainstream, more sympathetic to the left than the right, but (like Matt) critical of what he sees as counter-productive tendencies on the left. He's quite prolific, writing for both an academic/specialized audience (I thought his recent books "Philosophical Foundations of Climate Change Policy" and "The Machinery of Government" were really good) and for a popular audience ("The Efficient Society", "Filthy Lucre" / "Economics Without Illusions", "The Rebel Sell" / "Nation of Rebels" with Andrew Potter, "Enlightenment 2.0").

http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~jheath/

A long essay on Canadian multiculturalism as a rigorous application of the liberal principle of state neutrality:

https://web.archive.org/web/20051031060708/http://www.myschool-monecole.gc.ca/Research/publications/pdfs/manion2003_e.pdf

A shorter blog post on Canadian support for immigration:

http://induecourse.ca/canadian-exceptionalism/

An argument against Canada adopting the American way of thinking about race:

http://induecourse.ca/against-the-racialization-of-everything/

Individual racism vs. systemic racism:

http://induecourse.ca/redefining-racism/

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It's rare I read articles that really introduce me to novel ideas. Especially ADOS as an ethnic group within a larger racial group.

Looking forward to the post.

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"Especially ADOS as an ethnic group within a larger racial group." That is a great idea.

But I think the whole idea of a racial group is just bizarre and usually unhelpful and confusing. Ethnicity may be a socially constructed concept, like nearly everything in society, but it's far more real than "race".

Ethnicity describes shared bonds of culture, language and family relationships. Those are all "real" things. You couldn't ignore them if you tried.

Race is some bizarre pseudo-science phrenology type of crap. People from India and China are in same racial group according to our census. There's not some better classification scheme that will fix all the problems with it. There's no way to fit all the world's thousands of ethnicities into a small number of super-categories and account for mixed marriages without going down the road of "quadroons" and other bizarre slave society classification.

Sometimes people me "race" is more about skin color. If that's what is really meant we should come up with a new term for that.

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I don't know if they do or don't, but I think it is useful to continue to maintain the distinction that Canada's Black population has more in common with our Hispanic one (immigrants with low education levels, and their descendants) than with our own Black population (lived in America and suffered discrimination for generations)

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The US also has a West Indian immigrant group which can be compared to Canada’s Black immigrant population.

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Also, Caribbean and African immigrants who do quite well. Especially Nigerians if I remember correctly.

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This comment is EXCELLENT! As an "first generation immigrant" who has traveled all over the world for most of my life, I can personally attest to experiences that can only lead to the conclusion that "America is the most racist country in the world except for all others".

Racial bias and segregation is a "fact of life". My personal experience leads me to conclude that even much vaunted Western Europe is more "racists" in it's attitudes that the US is in fact. We just talk about it more

Experiences I have had in the modern European cities, within corporate executive suites would be unthinkable anywhere similar in the US. I guess the kids these days would call it "continuous micro-aggression" :-)

New Zealand? A young woman of "color", a citizen of NZ, who I personally know, with an MBA from INSEAD and early in her career was told, point blank, by more than one executive recruiter that as a "woman of color" she should set her sights at lower and her aspirations of being a CFO of a large company are unattainable. Needless to say, she has joined others of her cohort in her desire to immigrate to the US

The "progressive wing" of the democratic party ( and I regard myself as a progressive in fact but cannot get behind the current crew as exemplified by "The Squad" and their acolytes do not realize how damaging their rhetoric is to their cause.

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I work in South America. And I love it. But it also has plenty of issues with racism.

Americans tend to be either to self loving or way to self hating.

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I finally got smart and turned my long ass boring comments into a blog post over at my substack.

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I appreciated reading your long ass comment here!

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As you should! that's why I didn't link to it. More a comment on how I am probably semi-known for rambling long posts. Figured I'd maximize my labor output.

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That paper (what I’ve been able to read of it yesterday while fighting off a cold and juggling a sick toddler) is fantastic and those two quotes in particular are spot on. Jefferson is almost certainly stuck in the trap of taking “the lack of support for preferred policy responses, as evidence of racism,” as are many.

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It is a long article. It's rare that I read an idea that it novel to me, and AADS as an ethic group was one of them.

The only thing more time consuming than a sick toddler is a healthy toddler.

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Ugh yes- given that he was the disease vector who brought it into the house, we were in the dreaded phase where he was on the mend and full of energy while my husband and I still felt like crap. Ah well! Anyway yes, one can challenge the validity of the concept of race, but there is plenty of merit to the idea of ADOS/AADS as an ethnic group.

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ADOS! I was trying to remember the phrase. I have a coworker and former military friend who taught me about ADOS as a concept. AADS didnt seem right, but I went with it.

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Haha I just assumed the Canuck used a different acronym in a part of the paper I didn’t get to 😉

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Since it makes me seem less like an idiot, lets go with that instead.

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“ lack of class mobility”

There’s been a lot of chatter that when you look at places like Denmark, if you subtract the government tax transfer payments, you get social mobility very similar to the US.

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We are ranked 27th behind Canada, Japan, UK, South Korea, New Zealand, Portugal and many others. Knocking Denmark and Sweeden off the top of the list isn't going to fix the problem.

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Do they do anything different than Denmark does?

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The East Asian countries are certainly not known for having Scandinavian-size welfare states. Nor is Portugal.

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Nope, all 25 of them have governments exactly identical to Denmark. \s

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Canada is not more racially diverse than the United States. Toronto might be a diverse city, but for Canada as a whole only 22% of the population is non-white (non-European origin).

They have no single minority group that is larger than 6%. The black population is 3.5%.

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At which American airports did you witness a lack of diversity? Because my experience is the opposite.

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We need to get rid of the part of anti-discrimination language that says (or implies) white people need to think real hard and feel real bad about what they’ve received for being white. It doesn’t do anything but make people defensive. It’s enough to try and change people’s behavior going forward, we don’t need to berate them for the past.

I say this as someone who thinks most people who get defensive about this stuff are babies, but they’re babies who vote, so operate accordingly.

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Basically, a great deal of the ant-racism apparatus and infrastructure is built on the very shaky edifice of inadequate realism about the level of altruism and enlightenment exhibited by most members of our species. Humans in the aggregate aren't sufficiently selfless, noble and introspective for most of this stuff to work in the real world.

Class-based policy is definitely the way to go, most of the time, whenever possible.

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It's confusing because ONE PART of the anti-racism infrastructure is acutely aware that people respond negatively to group status threats and that historically racial fears have been a potent part of American politics.

But then the whole rest of it is based around the idea that inflated rhetoric ("white supremacist"), expansive conceptions of racism, and a lot of calling-out will be productive when the entire history of the country suggests the opposite.

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Some of the most insightful historical analyses of Soviet Communism view it as a theocracy. The system was set up in a way that routinely required people to act against their own self-interest for it to function. Humans being humans, that didn't work without a shared theology to exhort and teach correct thought and behavior, complete with theocrats aka Party apparatchiks in the priestly role. But when being a good Communist was a matter of belief more than behavior, and with no good way to judge when a person was sufficiently committed to the cause in their heart, the policing of heretics got a little out of hand under Stalin. A object-lesson in the problems of trying to effect change without taking into account of, and wherever possible working with rather than against, people's tendency to focus on their own self-interest.

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When it comes to schools, I think a better approach to teaching about slavery is to not frame it as white people enslaving black people, but as in-group domination of the out-group. It would be easy to add examples of how this has manifested throughout human history, and it even shows up in places like Rwanda skin color is irrelevant. It also explains the 30 years war and much of the Norther Island “troubles.” Teaching kids to recognize their in-group bias is IMO much more productive than reducing it all to race.

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I think that's important, but your comment _reads_ like you don't also intend to include the actual history of what happened in this country, I'm assuming that's not intended, but that you want it more like "Here's this awful thing we did. We stopped doing it, which is fantastic and worth celebrating. It's caused by a very human tendency that we should always be aware of"

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That is intellectually and morally challenging, which fundamentally misses the point about school DEI sessions.

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Serious question, do you think there is a way to get people to understand their advantage without feeling bad about it? I give to those less fortunate in part because I realize so the advantages I’ve had in life. I don’t feel bad about it, but I do want to help others who clearly haven’t had the same advantages. Admittedly I don’t give so much as to negate my life advantages, but I don’t ignore out yet to obfuscate their existence.

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One possibility is to try and frame it more along the lines of the disadvantages other people faced, more so than the advantages "you" have. I think that can make people less defensive.

Another option is just to appeal to a more generalized principal like "we should help those in need", and try to avoid making it personal.

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I think your first point is right. Show people the negative impacts of redlining for black communities. Don't insist on taking the extra step of saying "And YOU benefitted from it."

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Your last point is good but it’s a very tough sell.

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Privilege is usually framed as shaming in contemporary discourse though — not as an “obligation of the fortunate” argument.

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When you come down to brass tacks, yeah, the "we" in questions is people that came into certain advantages. However, my experience is that framing it like can just be counterproductive compared to other approaches.

The religious framing you alluded to can actually work as well. "You need to give back, because much of what you have came from privilege" is less likely to work than "you need to give back, because everything you have came from the grace of God".

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But it's very much like the doctrine of original sin, in that respect. Original sin is something that we inherited from Adam and Eve, which we have from the moment of conception. Hence the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which states the Mary was miraculously free from original sin at the point of conception.

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Here’s a better thought experiment: Suppose I had parents who were married and who raised me to place a high value on education. By your definition am I privileged compared to a person born out of wedlock and raised by a single mother who placed very little value on education?

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This feels like Catholicism - feeling and measuring your guilt and then doing something to atone for it. I know you said you don't feel bad about it, but there's still that measurement aspect, that weighing of incredibly ambiguous "advantages" that feels something like weighing your sins in confession and then being assigned prayers to absolve them.

In my opinion, for what little it's worth, this all gets in the way of effective altruism or charity. If someone can help someone else they should. Don't worry about calculating relative privilege or advantage and somehow let that stop you.

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I don't think the goal is to get people to "understand their advantage". It sounds like "I want you to WANT to do the dishes." The goal is to improve people's living conditions.

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Well, stop using words like "privilege," for one.

The whole damned framework is turned on its head. As a matter of course, every American child should receive a good education. Every American citizen should have the benefit of due process. Every person pulled over should feel unthreatened and secure in the company of our public servants.

These are rights, not privileges. If you frame them as privileges, you're automatically going to get people's hackles up immediately because that word doesn't mean what you want it to.

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Here's the definition of privilege from Merriam-Webster: a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others

They are rights, but they aren't given uniformly. That's exactly what a privilege is. It's like literally the textbook definition. I guess we can state it as the converse -- black people haven't been bestowed the right by society to receive a good education, en masse. But that seems more wordy and awkward to phrase. Although if this phrasing makes white people feel better, than I guess I'd be supportive of it.

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The connotation of the word privilege as commonly understood is strongly negative.

Trying to convince a bunch of poor or working class white folks that they're in some unearned way "privileged" because the police don't shoot them at the drop of a pin is a profoundly stupid exercise in futility.

Better by far to reverse the framing. "Everyone should enjoy the rights that come with being a resident of this great country."

As for "black people haven't been bestowed the right by society to receive a good education, en masse."

Sure. And so have *lots* of white people, for the same fundamental reason: our educational system does not serve the poor well at all.

The potential race-neutral policy responses to these problems are all far, far better for black and white folk alike than the "race-positive" ones.

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I think the problem is that a hell of a lot of people think that a privilege is something some people have and no-one should have.

A right is something everyone should have. If someone is being "denied their rights" then that doesn't make is a privilege for everyone else; it means that they have the right but cannot exercise it.

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“…black people haven't been bestowed the right by society to receive a good education…”

Do tell.

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It's not my place to tell others their advantages, as I know nothing about them. But if you feel it's important, particularly if you wish to educate poor whites, you answered your own question--improve their lives first. Even the evangelicals don't try to convert before they give people a hot meal, some clothes, and a place to sleep. Progressives chiding white trailer park residents about their advantages does not play well with non-progressive voters in either party.

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Agree, reading about white privilege makes me less inclined to support social programs where any money goes to white people. Like to the point where I want the build back better legislation to fail.

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It's good until people use it as a cudgel, which tends to happen really really quickly.

Most "unearned advantages" are, in reality, things that in an ideal society

that runs the way we'd like it to everyone would have, not just a few - being able to afford food, have shelter, get a decent education and walk down the street without being constantly harassed by cops should be baseline. Calling out those things as if they're unfair instead of more properly calling out that it's unfair that so many others are *deprived* is poor framing that could be easily fixed.

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If “extremely progressive content generates a backlash for racial conservatives” and “racial conservatives and moderates rate more progressive content as less informative, less reliable and more objectionable" then, applying Kendi's definition of "racism," promoting anti-racism on twotter is racist.

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In fact, you can quote Kendi himself on this: "if all my words were doing was sounding radical, then those words were not radical at all. What if we measure the radicalism of speech by how radically it transforms open-minded people....? What if we measure the conservativism of speech by how intensely it keeps people the same, keeps people enslaved by their racist ideas and fears...?"

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Is this from his interview with Ezra Klein? EK basically asked him whether, by his own definition, a lot of the anti-racist movement wasn't anti-racist at all because all it was doing was saying stuff without achieving results, and his answer was basically "yes", but very diplomatically.

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It’s in his book.

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Without a working definition of racism, it’s hard to discuss this issue sensibly. Is it racist to think that blacks are more likely to be unemployed, drop out of school, go to prison and kill others than whites? Is it racist to acknowledge that, as a white Democrat in the deep south, I have almost no chance of being elected to Congress because minorities are packed into districts which are judicially engineered to produce black winners in Democratic primaries? Is it racist to fret that my chances of becoming a judge as a liberal in my area are probably hurt by being white? To worry that affirmative action will make it harder for my son to get into an Ivy League college and, if Democrats come to power in Georgia, might make it harder for him to get into the University of Georgia or Georgia Tech? Is it racist oppose wealth taxes that would blunt the material basis of white privilege and fund social services? Finally, is it racist to regret that the black prosecutors and judges who have recently gained power in Southside metro Atlanta are much less committed to deincarceration than I am and that the black middle class which put them in power is pretty conservative when it’s material interests or safety are threatened by “those people.”

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I mean… if the question is “are those true and valid points” I’d say yes. If you dwell on those to the point that it makes you reflexively resentful of each black person you encounter until they “prove themselves” to you, I’d say that crosses the line into “racist.” I suspect this is not true of you, you seem like a thoughtful person, but it would require effort on your part to resist the negative association given that level of race-based frustration. Of course, I understand your point, which is that most of your (valid) frustrations are the result of policies being pursued by people claiming to want to “end racism” but who are in fact making a lot of things worse.

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I have said this here before. I think that dwelling on these things is shitty and antisocial. I am not sure that it actually qualifies as racism. I think the messaging is better this way as well.

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None of that negates your original point that we’re talking right past each other if we don’t agree what racism even is. “White racism” is not a self-evident root problem, especially when it’s be redefined to mean “white people who disagree with me politically.”

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It may not make you racist, but maybe naive. For example take your point about the Ivies and affirmative action. The impact of current policies probably have a very minimal impact on your sons chances. Single digit percents. Which may seem relatively large, but removing college sports would dwarf the impact.

It’s like handicap parking spots at the mall on Black Friday. Everyone thinks if they regular parking spots they would have been able to park there, but ignore they likely would have been filled many times over before they arrived.

And I realize that currently the worst thing in the world now is to assume whites people have any advantage in society. It might be useful to ask if your child has accrued any advantage being white in life that might lead to his application to college being stronger.

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I think you’re steering wide of the point. The issue is not really about whether AA creates reduced chances of admission (which at Harvard seem to be vanishingly small for unconnected, non-athlete middle-class white kids anyway), it’s about the insult of being explicitly and openly and legally treated as lesser on racial grounds. As we know (since 1968) this is Wrong and Bad. It’s the principle of the thing. I think any such policy has to be able to deal with this fact, without trying to avoid it or wave it away or attacking the skeptics. I haven’t seen any attempt to do this, though, in the wider discourse.

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I agree in theory. But it always trouble me that we are so quick to try to address any insinuation of whites being discriminated against, yet seem to sit on other forms for so long.

But as MY notes, this might be the only way to fight discrimination. Make things as perfect as possible for the in-group. And only then might they have the cycles to worry about the out-groups.

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I don't see why you would be troubled by that. The more fierce resistance there is to discrimination from everyone, the more social commitment there is behind non-discrimination. And I don't think avoiding injustice to the in-group on the grounds of helping the out-group is a "better-than-nothing" option. It is the just and right option as well as being the practical one.

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The problem though is that there is not this uniform fierce resistance.

It’s like in a football game if the ref calls holding on team A but not B. The ref can point out that holding clearly occurred. And argue that calling it now against team A is certainly better than never calling it because it is a rule.

Those fans of team B all agree, but those on team A feel like they are getting the shaft again in the name of “better to follow the rules than not follow them — who could disagree with that?”

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Civic justice is not football, but I'll try to go with the analogy. In the AA case, are we saying that it's okay not to call offsides on Team A in this game, because we never used to call holding on Team B in previous seasons, and even in this season Team A doesn't think that Team B is called for holding nearly as often they should be? Partisans of Team A and Team B will all be enraged with this mess. Chaos will rule. So maybe striving every game to get better at calling the rules impartially and everyone respecting the fact that the referee's call is final, might build some confidence?

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I was a middle class, non-athlete white kid who got wait listed by Harvard, meaning I was close to making it in. If a couple fewer spots had been given to minorities and people from more exotic places than Fairfax County Virginia, I might have gotten in. I understand the odds my son falls exactly where I did in the education status game are small, but every spot counts.

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Harvard doesn’t release waitlist size, but estimates I’ve seen think it is at least as large as the admitted group. Assuming you were randomly ranked in the waitlist group, even if Harvard admitted zero Blacks - you would have less than ten more percentage point chance of getting in.

To put another way. 9 out of 10 times you still gets rejected from a Harvard that has a policy of no black students. I get the principle of it for you. But you should also realize that affirmative action wasn’t likely the one thing that kept you out of Harvard.

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Nor is it like I was really hurt by going to the University of Virginia. I would have been very mediocre at Harvard, I wasn’t at UVa, I got lots of attention from professors, graduated summa and made close social connections with plenty of Ivy Leaguers on the parliamentary debate circuit.

My point is talking about status competition in realistic terms is often perceived as racist, but I really just want to see the world and my context clearly

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No. Of course not. Bring white has only been a disadvantage with the apex being college admissions. I typically advise white students about writing their essay about how they have overcome the disadvantages of being white, but have still somehow managed to get to where they are at.

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You're son would benefit from gender based affirmative action. Universities are actively trying to increase the number of male students. A quick goodling says college enrollment is currently 40% male 60% female.

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Typically terrific piece but I'll quibble on Why We Tweet:

"It’s important, I think, to be mindful of the difference between expressing your feelings and influencing others in the desired way."

A one sentence digression might note that people tweet both to change minds AND show group solidarity. I'd guess that most content from both sides amounts to virtue signalling rather than an attempt to persuade.

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Yea I Tweet or post on FB to goof with my friends. Especially on Facebook I use it to find DND groups hiking groups find out about new restaurants etc.

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As someone who has first-hand experience of this, I will say most normie Democrats are completely lost when the subject of DEI comes up. They think it is the "multiculturalism" of the 1990s. Things such as more diverse authors, more focus on contributions of non-whites, etc.

It is not that at all, so most of them are acting in good faith when they can't understand why Non-Foxite people object.

DEI in schools is something like this:

Tests are inherently racist and act to "Center whiteness" and "exclude black and brown bodies" from academic success. So parents, your 8th-grade child taking a vocabulary quiz is enacting "enacting white supremacy."

Grades themselves are racist. No student should fail.

Discipline has its roots in slave culture. So schools have almost all gotten rid of traditional discipline with predictable results.

There is enough anecdotal evidence that this method does nothing to actually advance non-white children's learning and is not even popular with black parents.

I have sat through talks like this.

I really think we need to get the idea that normie Dems are just clueless on this and hence react negatively when you talk about it Matt Y.

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"There is enough anecdotal evidence that this method does nothing to actually advance non-white children's learning and is not even popular with black parents."

Yeah, an interesting aspect of all this "wokeness" discourse is that white progressives are in fact more "woke" than black people as a collective are. Sort of separately, if you poll black people about things like gay marriage and trans rights you might be in for a bad surprise.

We live in very strange times.

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Which school district is doing this? I haven't seen any school districts get rid of grades (at the high school level -- I've seen it at elementary, but the reasons aren't race related at all).

And I haven't seen schools get rid of discipline either. Although, yes, physical discipline is a thing of the past. Again, not because of race.

Maybe you're confusing DEI with other initiatives that aren't race based?

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I am not going to dox myself.

Failing grades have been gotten rid of in a number of suburban school districts. I was told as other educators have been told that that "BIPOC students are over-represented among failing students." So the failing grades have become "incompletes."

I don't know why you are bringing up long ago physical discipline.

We have had again the "School to Prison Pipeline." Detentions and suspensions have been curtailed at a large number of schools under the idea that black and Latino students were again over-represented in these punishments.

So to get rid of these accusations school districts have simply all but refused to hand these out.

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Pointing to actual school districts that have done this is evidence, not doxxing.

I took my first DEI training at the large multi-national company I work for earlier this month. It was beyond banal. The two scenarios where were supposed to apply DEI principles were more "all I really need to know I learned in kindergarten" than DEI. I don't doubt that some weird stuff is happening in some companies, but it certainly does make me pause when I hear about all the companies implementing DEI training. Based on my sample size of 1, all DEI training is not created equal. And that's the kind of experience that makes me hesitant when a phrase like "a number of suburban school districts" is used.

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I have been an educator for decades and am married to one. I have been part of professional organizations. I have heard the same things over and over from collegues.

Also here is a San Fransico based school DEI firm pushing the idea that school discipline is inherently racist:

https://culturallyresponsiveleadership.com/suspensions/

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I don't doubt there are firms pushing it. I'm looking for evidence defining the number of school districts pulling it. I fully expect that number is not zero, but is is 3, or 12, or 900? Without knowing that, it's hard to characterize how school districts are responding to the push.

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A school district that I could look into myself would hardly dox you. Unless the school district is so small that there is only one Romulus Augstulus there.

I have heard of failing grades turning in to incompletes for Covid. Again, nothing to do with race. But was a one time measure during the height of the pandemic.

Regarding the suspension/detention thing. I haven't heard of school districts refusing to dole them out generally. That said, there is good research and anecdotal data that suggests that Black students are viewed and likely treated differently. Here's a good controlled study on this: https://edens.berkeley.edu/PDF/2strikes.pdf

And I don't suggest teachers are racist on the whole. But these small differences in treatment compound over time and can lead to drastically different outcomes even for students who, at least at the onset, are behaviorally identical in aggregate.

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I haven't seen anything about public high schools getting rid of grades. (I know of some private schools that have no grades, but that's always been the case.) Closest thing I've seen is this article about the Los Angeles School District, which says L.A. is starting to get rid of grade penalties for lateness and behavior. It also seems to be saying that L.A. wants to make it so that if you fail a test, you can retake it and pass it the second time, since you'll still have learned the material - you just learned it after the test. Which sounds to me like a bad idea if I'm understanding it correctly: all you'd have to do is memorize the answers to the test questions, which you'd know in advance. But maybe I'm not understanding it correctly.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-11-08/as-ds-and-fs-soar-schools-ditch-inequitable-grade-systems

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Yes, L.A. did that and other school districts around the country that hire these DEI and Ed School hucksters are pushing this.

Deadlines are "White Supremacy Culture" ala Tema Okun because white culture has a "Sense of Urgency."

I should have been clearer, in getting rid of FAILING grades.

I have been in meetings with hundreds of educators where the DEI speaker has said tests are White culture, that BIPOC culture is more "collaborative" and tests should be phased out for group projects.

Honestly, I don't think most normie Dems are hearing what is going on in schools and think it is all ginned up panic from Right-wingers.

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That stuff was definitely around in the '90s too, but maybe there's more of it now.

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I think the Education Schools are a magnet for these DEI types. Faddish and low intellectual standards are the norm.

If you were in a business setting and said, "Written memos or emails are white supremacy culture," everyone in the room would think the person is a total idiot.

However, in Education Schools in Universities, this kind of stupidity finds a ready audience

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RIP Matt's Twitter feed if he were to discuss this, but isn't there studies that banning the box, i.e. not asking about criminal records actually hurts African-Americans.

Also, hasn't the War on Drugs disproportionally harmed African-Americans, such that decriminalization of marijuana would help to soften inequities.

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Yes on ban the box ... I'm less sure about the marijuana issue but that sounds right.

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yeah it seems like Ban the Box is a net transfer from blacks without felonies to whites with felonies. Seems suboptimal imo

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There is a similar issue that happened in the Navy.

Office promotion packages which are decided by a board used to include photos. The Navy decided to eliminate the photos to prevent any racism, but they ended up with less minority promotions.

The Navy then recently decided to add them back in to the packages.

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2021/08/03/cnp-removing-photos-from-promotion-boards-has-hurt-diversity/

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Does the Navy consider race in it's promotion decisions? Don't ask, don't tell.

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We should definitely get rid of ineffective laws that put the stigma of criminal on someone. But the ban the box conversation is irrelevant if the black crime rate is much lower. Notice how we don’t talk about this in reference to Asians. I can’t think of a single thing that would reduce the kinds of racism discussed by Kendi, NHJ, TNC, et el. than reducing black crime. There should be a Kendi focused wholly on that as opposed to disparities. Kendi is a doctor that treats sickness…we need someone advocating for wellness. Unfortunately for many that may mean the equivalent of eating your vegetables.

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Seems like your second point is widely accepted as fact outside of the conservative movement.

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Is it? I've seen plenty of people on the left who dismiss marijuana decriminalization/marijuana as meaningless because marijuana is supposedly a "white drug."

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I haven't heard that. Do you have a link? I just googled "war on drugs racism" and "marijuana white drug," and in both cases, all of the returns on the first page were consistent with Walker's second point.

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What's really interesting is we now have a somewhat controlled, real-life experiment to view and analyze. About half the country, mostly the left-leaning states, have legalized or decriminalized marijuana.

If "decriminalization of marijuana would help to soften inequities" we should be seeing that already in the states that acted early. Washington state in particular legalized in 2012 and decriminalized in 2003 in Seattle. But if "legalizing / decriminalizing is meaningless" we should see little change in disparities.

Maybe I'll look up any existing research later on, but my hunch is if it was a great success in reducing disparities we would have heard about it already.

It's worth adding that a half dozen states, including Mississippi, NC and Nebraska decriminalized much earlier, in the 1970s. So I'm sure there's some research to dig up on that, too.

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Hi Wigan,

I just had a quick look around and found this link on Wash St. from the NIH: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31096823/

Key take-away from the abstract: "Conclusions: Marijuana arrest rates among both African American and White adults decreased significantly with legalization of possession, and stayed at a dramatically lower rate after the marijuana retail market opened. However, relative disparities in marijuana arrest rates for African Americans increased for those of legal age, and remained unchanged for younger adults."

In other words, legalization was effective at reducing the total number of black people arrested, but among people who were still arrested for weed-related crimes, the ratios actually got a little worse.

Naturally, I see this as consistent with my belief that race-neutral policies that have anti-racists impacts are important but incomplete solutions to the persistent problem of racism.

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Thanks that's a good find. I found a similar conclusion in this ACLU paper that looked at other states:

https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/new-aclu-report-despite-marijuana-legalization-black-people-still-almost-four-times

I found their analysis a bit muddled when looking at national trends. But towards the bottom they show state level data where there is a massive drop in arrests following legalization / decrim. Arrest racial ratios seem to stay about the same or possibly worse. But absolute numbers of arrested plummeted across ethnicities.

The sheer scale of the drop in arrests is pretty convincing evidence, to me anyways, that marijuana laws are far from meaningless in racial impact or societal impact in general.

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Really? I find that kind of thing quite common:

"In 2015, D.C. voters legalized marijuana for personal use. The reform was billed as a way to reduce the racial disparities in drug arrests. But there were caveats — fine print, if you will — crafted in ways that did more to protect whites who wanted the freedom to smoke than the blacks whose plights had been used to get the laws passed."

From the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/want-to-see-proof-of-institutional-racism-let-weed-open-your-eyes/2017/08/22/099b7740-8751-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html

And here's a whole academic paper about using "white individualism" to promote legalization: http://www.californialawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/6Schlussel-35.pdf

Also frequently turns up in comment sections as a rhetorical flourish from progressive types wanting to deny any sort of advancement has been made on criminal justice reforms or to denigrate the utility of ballot initiatives.

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I just read that WaPo article and the abstract for the Law Review article. Unless I'm misunderstanding something (which is quite possible), neither one seems to dismiss legalization as meaningless for being a white drug.

They both argue that there has been racism in the way selling licenses have been issued, but unless I skimmed too quickly and missed it, neither of those texts argues against legalization.

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DARE tends to be my go-to example of how messaging against some social problem can end up normalizing it instead and make it more common. But its something you see in campaigns against bribery, crime, sexual harassment, and all sorts of other places. A big problem is that activists will tend to be the people who have the most intense sense of how big some social problem is and also have to emphasize its size to get funding and volunteers. To then switch to messaging on the positive is hard even if it works better.

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I think I may be the only 80s/90s kid on whom DARE worked successfully. I was scared shitless of all drugs and alcohol until I was basically 21.

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I vividly remember (circa 1995) taking away that pot was not too bad, but coke and heroin would ruin your life. And I still believe these things!

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Same! I developed a phobia (probably not just due to DARE) to the point that hearing a presentation by a recovering heroin addict made me lightheaded and almost faint.

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There not much racism to fight in the first place.

US approval of interracial marriage has increased from 4% in the 60's, to 94% now.

If you are ok with your son or daughter marrying someone from another race, I would argue that racism is pretty much dead except for a tiny tiny minority of people

https://news.gallup.com/poll/354638/approval-interracial-marriage-new-high.aspx

I do agree that the left's focus on identity politics is making race a bigger factor than it is, and is causing backlash. This is especially true about all the white privilege

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"If you are ok with your son or daughter marrying someone from another race, I would argue that racism is pretty much dead except for a tiny tiny minority of people"

To be clear, that's not what the poll shows. It asks if you "approve of marriage between...". I am very confident that if the question was "Do you approve of your daughter marrying a ..." that the results would be lower.

That said, and this probably ties into the contact discussion MY had in his article. Probably one of the best things we could do for race relations is more interracial children. I suspect people who end up getting interracial grandkids move further to the left on issues of race. Maybe that should be the next thing Dems push?

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Based on my personal experience I would guess that used to be true, but is much less so today. I know a fair number of multi-racial families (mix of adoption and marriage) who are very put off by the woke left because they see them as divisive

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The "woke left" is going to do one of two things. Stop being woke, or stop being left.

There's no way this continues for long, it's just completely unsustainable.

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We'll see. The wokeists are disproportionately drawn from the scions of the professional classes; we'll see how long their commitments to economically leftist or center-leftist thought last.

I'm betting "until daddy's inheritance hits my bank account".

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Weird that they think that as I find them to be the one group that is trying to unite everyone. But I guess different perspectives.

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I have several nieces and nephews that are all mixed race (half white, half Hispanic) but the whole family is VERY anti-woke.

It seems like the only time race is an issue is when the people at school assume they must speak Spanish because they have a Hispanic last name.

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Agree. Replace the idea of race with wealth. "Do you approve of the wealthy marrying the poor?" Compare to: "Do you approve of your daughter marrying..." I'm sure you will get different results in that poll.

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I agree about the backlash, but it’s possible for someone to think “most black people are bad people” and still leave room for the possibility your child could find an exceptional one. I’d still call this racist. It’s certainly progress!!, but it doesn’t mean the job is done. That being said, activists who claim to speak on behalf of “the black community” and then put inflammatory words in their mouths are certainly making this problem worse, not better.

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"Studies from dating apps still show that people have strong racial preferences, with white people having the strongest racial preferences."

That's interesting. I had read some data from OkCupid a while back that suggested that Black women were the most discriminated against AND the most likely to discriminate against non Blacks. The latter surprised me, but apparently there is/was stigma about Black women marrying out. Is there new research on this or am I misremembering it from a decade ago?

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But interracial relations "in the abstract" is exactly what actual white supremacy was about. The whole power apparatus of the society was aimed at preventing this. That's the racist part. The rest is just personal preferences. Not the same thing at all.

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And not a single one of them is willing to reap the massive profits from hiring undervalued labor? Are black people utterly incapable of making business? Such a scenario is utterly implausible, the equivalent of assuming a ball on a string would continue hanging there if the string were to be removed. In the absence of laws mandating racism, it cannot meaningfully sustain itself.

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Below Frigid mentions the Caste system in India, and maybe he's right about how it's panning out economically. But socially it seems almost as strong as ever. Pew's survey's on Indian's social attitudes regarding cast and religion were really shocking to me when I read them: https://www.pewforum.org/2021/06/29/religion-in-india-tolerance-and-segregation/

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I really don't get this. Are you suggesting that black people would want to change the culture so that white people would not prefer to marry white people, even if black and white people could marry whom they liked? And what kind of "change" in culture would that look like?

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I'm with you on a lot of this and I think it's a good comment. But I think you're stretching the point quite a bit to link the cause and effect to Elliot Rogers so tightly, or to suggest that there's been a huge increase in Asian interracial couples based on expanded media roles for Asians that started, as far as I noticed, maybe around a year ago. If there's more Asian interracial couples than there used to be I'd guess it's more about continuing assimilation than anything else.

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As far as interracially marrying themselves, the trend is up at what seems like an accelerating rate

https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2017/05/18/1-trends-and-patterns-in-intermarriage/

Pew's 2015 data had intermarriage rates at 11% for White marriages, 18% of Black marriages, 27% for Hispanics and 29% for Asians. The Hispanic and Asian rates were even higher for non-immigrants, at well in the 40%s. The numbers from 1980 were under 5% for all of the above.

They also ask if you would oppose a close relative marrying someone of X race and those numbers have also plummeted. Most recent numbers were 14% of non-Blacks would oppose a relative marrying a Black person, 9% of non-Asians would oppose marrying an Asian, 9% also for non-Hispanics opposing Hispanics, and 4% for non-white opposing someone marrying whites.

Back in 1999 those same numbers were 30% opposing Black, 20% for Hispanic and Asian and 7% for White.

Would be interesting to see if dating app data has changed over a longer time span.

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Ok - but if you remove all racism you still have the exact same situation - there will still be groups of people with better networks and similar unearned privileges. You could call those differing groups of people "classes". Or immigrants. Or ugly people or short people or whatever other unfair things make life easier for some individuals and harder for others.

But in any case, I think what you're describing as racism is a racial disparity, given the end result seems to be an equality of outcome.

As a thought experiment - has the class system that many European immigrants were fleeing been conquered? I've seen research that descendants of lower-class white immigrants are still economically behind the descendants of their upper class white immigrant peers of 100+ years ago, even though no one cares whatsoever now if your ancestors were "gentlemen" or peasants.

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While I no longer agree with Jefferson’s conception of “white racism” being the root cause of the issues we likely both care about, I do understand what he’s referring to. And if I play along that he is correct, and (white) people who vociferously disagree with him are in fact racist, the obvious question is, are Jefferson’s efforts making that racism better or worse? Why does “impact matters more than intent” not apply to social justice activism?

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"Why does 'impact matters more than intent' not apply to social justice activism?"

Because for people who claim "impact matters more than intent,” they only mean that to the extent it works to their benefit. Intent instantly and decisively trumps impact for them as soon as they encounter any example of something they deem to be a well-intentioned policy that produces an objectively greater negative impact than something they object to.

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Sure… I just find that pointing out key points of hypocrisy to be particularly effective at getting people to rethink their extremism. This was a major one for me, anyway.

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Your persistence on this topic is valuable; thank you.

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A difference between climate change and racism is that solutions to climate change pretty much inevitably do impose costs and inconvenience on people now, in a way that being less racist does not. There's little to no tangible personal benefit from being racist. Except....when when diversity initiatives create an environment where people feel, sometimes correctly, sometimes not, that promotions and career benefits will be given on the basis of race, in the name of diversity, rather than in a neutral, fair manner based on ability. Then there is a personal cost, and diversity initiatives run that way might be counterproductive.

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I'm here for the William Julius Wilson content. If you're frustrated with the current discourse on race, read his books for a more solid form of wisdom. I sure learned a lot while reading them in the 1990s.

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To note one place where the academics are doing research to find out what works, UC Berkeley did a deep dive into their academic hiring practices in 2019 with an eye on finding interventions that had a measurable impact on who eventually got hired: https://ofew.berkeley.edu/data-and-initiatives/searching-diverse-faculty

They find a number of things that didn’t seem to matter (interview environment), and a couple that do (framing the position in a wider social justice area, emphasizing the job’s public engagement, pushing into more-diverse specialties). Note, though, that some things no longer count as interventions at Berkeley (when they would elsewhere) because all their recruitments use them as a matter of course.

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