New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by PriestAtopthePyramid » 2017-11-22 11:12am

SolarpunkFan wrote:
2017-11-22 08:54am
I was mostly thinking of the degrading of women when I replied, though the "[x] culture is destroying us" thing seems prevalent in certain places as well (neoreactionaries anyone?).

Also, did a person on this thread really use the "I don't hate blacks, I hate black culture" defense here? :wtf:
Yes. A culture is not reducible to a race, nor a race to a culture. Criticism of a specific element of a culture does not make you a racist. In fact, it doesn't even meaningfully indicate that you dislike or are prejudiced against people who actively participate in that cultural practice. If you don't think that this is true, consider whether someone who dislikes Filipino food is a racist against Filipinos (even Filipinos who have the audacity to enjoy and partake in Filipino food), or whether someone who dislikes vuvuzelas is a racist against South Africans (or against people who play vuvuzelas).

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by K. A. Pital » 2017-11-22 12:27pm

PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
Well, fair enough. I don't like him at all, either, but I'm challenging the notion that a culture is indistinguishable from a race for the purposes of evaluating racism. Can someone not be opposed to a specific aspect of a culture without being biased against people of a race? For example, if someone is opposed to Islam's theological acquiescence to sexual slavery, is that person automatically to be treated as racist against Arabs? I'm trying to use an easy contemporary example, but if this is too sensitive to you then do you think that someone who takes moral issue with the Moche use of religious torture should automatically be considered racist against Moche?
I agree with you that someone can be opposed to an aspect of culture without being against a certain race or nationality. But if you compare the entire culture to a victim cult, that is not opposing just an aspect of culture, at least in my view. There is a line between criticism and insult. A sweeping generalization about national culture like that seems for me to fall into the latter category.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
I never claimed otherwise. I claimed that in this context, one of the meanings is perfectly reasonable but uncommonly used, and the other is not reasonable but commonly used.
Very well, then it seems we are not in disagreement here.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
So? You point out, later, that Amazing Atheist isn't part of this culture. Does that mean he just has to be silent about a problem he thinks that it has?
No, I don't think he should be silent. I just find the way he speaks about a perceived problem with black culture insulting and destructive.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
I'll grant you, again, that this guy seems entirely distasteful. I don't understand how that means that he has to be silent about if it that means that he has problems with it. If some entirely detestable person thought that there was a problem with the criminal justice system, for example, would he just have to shut up about it on the basis that he's neither a prosecutor nor a criminal?
It is a bit of a non-sequitur here. I never mentioned that he should not speak or should be silenced.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
So how should he have done this? I'm genuinely interested in seeing what you think are acceptable methods of extra-cultural criticism and critique.
Maybe try to present a genuine concern - once again, I doubt there was one, but let's grant it - in a less insulting way? Like, I if I'm concerned about blind faith and fanaticism in connection to religion, I find it good to start with finding common ground with the moderates, splitting the group to clearly determine the limits of the problem, where exactly it is present. Then I would explain the negative consequences of fanaticism. Once again, I would keep in mind that speaking to fanatics is relatively fruitless, while insulting every member of a religion by calling everyone a fanatic would likely convince them that I'm hostile to them.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
You seem to be using it to label misogynists, even though the two seem distinguishable to me. I asked you to clarify this, earlier, and it might have been missed, but I think this is a terminological issue.
Nothing in my experience has demonstrated a difference between the two groups. MRA is only a self-description of a movement driven by, and associated with, prominent misogynists. In my view, MRA are misogynists.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
How does this make him a Nazi? Again, you specifically stated that this criticism of black culture makes him a Nazi. You can score points with Nazis in all sorts of ways: for example, by arguing that the government should control the means of production. That doesn't make you a Nazi.
It does not make him a Nazi and I've mentioned specifically that he isn't. I said that similar criticisms have been used by racists and nazis.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
Again, how would you try to improve this without engaging in any criticism of a cultural trend that you think you have detected?
There's a myriad options between insults like that and no criticism at all.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
And you think that you would become a Nazi if you didn't go to these "great lengths?" Seriously? Being a Nazi and a racist are not about methods but about ideas. You can be a closeted racist, for example, and still be a racist even if your behavior is nigh-indistinguishable from anyone else's. Right? Nazis (for example, fascistic control of the government) and racists (for example, Jim Crow sundown laws) did have overt methods that they used, but the use of those methods is not what defined them as Nazis and racists.
I don't think that I would be a Nazi, no. But I haven't thought TJ is a nazi either.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
Again, so? This means that your proferred point did not rise to the level indicated by the earlier post.
Indeed it did not, and I generally have no desire to argue on behalf of others.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
... Says the avowed Marxist?
I state ideological preferences openly... and that is a problem why exactly?
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
I can understand that on a human level, but I think you need to be more careful about throwing around insults that you don't actually support - especially when they serve the function of closing off discussion with others.
I may, but then again, I may not. It is in my discretion.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
Admittedly, these sound terrible and the guy making them is clearly a misogynist, but again I asked you earlier to explain what you meant by a Men's Rights Advocate. Men's Rights Advocates, to me, seem like feminists in that they're concerned with gender-specific issues. They're not (at least by definition) misogynists. These are distinguishable groups, and labeling the one as the other is an issue because a non-misogynistic Men's Rights Advocate is being smeared with positions that that person doesn't necessarily endorse.
I have not found significant grounds to think that there are non-misogynistic MRAs. Men don't have a problem with rights. But that is my view.
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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2017-11-22 12:38pm

PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:12am
Yes. A culture is not reducible to a race, nor a race to a culture. Criticism of a specific element of a culture does not make you a racist. In fact, it doesn't even meaningfully indicate that you dislike or are prejudiced against people who actively participate in that cultural practice. If you don't think that this is true, consider whether someone who dislikes Filipino food is a racist against Filipinos (even Filipinos who have the audacity to enjoy and partake in Filipino food), or whether someone who dislikes vuvuzelas is a racist against South Africans (or against people who play vuvuzelas).
The point that you are continually missing is that the element of "black culture" being criticized is an element that is explicitly linked to racial identity, and the history of the black race in this country. Dismissing the "victim" element of "black culture" as being so peripheral to racial identity as a vuvuzela is an absurd misrepresentation. You aren't keying in on some ornamental element of the culture (hell, you aren't even keying in on element so specific as a vuvuzela, you are waving your hands and referring to a broad spectrum of the culture itself), you are literally saying that you don't want black people to "act black", which is similar to saying you don't want gay people to "act gay". It's essentially saying that you don't mind black people existing as long as they conform to your own cultural norms and don't keep bringing up the whole slavery thing.

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by PriestAtopthePyramid » 2017-11-22 12:57pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2017-11-22 12:38pm
The point that you are continually missing is that the element of "black culture" being criticized is an element that is explicitly linked to racial identity, and the history of the black race in this country.
No. He's explicitly linking it to black culture. That does not merge with black people.
Dismissing the "victim" element of "black culture" as being so peripheral to racial identity as a vuvuzela is an absurd misrepresentation.
Again, this entirely conflates "black culture" with racial identity. A specific behavioral aspect of a culture is not an element of racial identity.
You aren't keying in on some ornamental element of the culture (hell, you aren't even keying in on element so specific as a vuvuzela, you are waving your hands and referring to a broad spectrum of the culture itself), you are literally saying that you don't want black people to "act black", which is similar to saying you don't want gay people to "act gay".
Not at all. He's saying that he doesn't want them to act in a particular way (in displaying a victim mentality). Presumably, this would apply to other people as well, but here his focus is on a subset of "black culture."

If I said that I was opposed to the mafia, would you take that as racism directed against Sicilians? Or would you diagnose that as an opposition to the specific criminal elements that are built up in a subset of Sicilian expats?

Presumably you would agree that this is a non-racist, reasonable stance based on principled opposition to a series of behaviors which can be attributed to a cultural group, right? I'm not reducing Sicilians to the mafia nor the mafia to Sicilians. But the mafia is not an "ornamental" aspect of Sicilian culture, either.
It's essentially saying that you don't mind black people existing as long as they conform to your own cultural norms
Yeah: the cultural "norm" of NOT FALLING INTO A VICTIM MENTALITY. In my analogy, the cultural norm of NOT BEING A MAFIOSA.

But this is still only marginally valid: it's not a failing to adopt another cultural norm, but rather the failure to behave in a particular proscribed way. Presumably, even if Amazing Atheist had been complaining of something that he himself participates in (say... being a fat slovenly moron - at least as he was the last time I watched him) - then he could still complain about people who were fat slovenly morons.
and don't keep bringing up the whole slavery thing.
Did I?

But let me try this another way: what do you mean when you say the word "racism?" This is perhaps the heart of the misunderstanding.

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2017-11-22 02:27pm

Are you intentionally missing the point of my posts? I'm getting tired of having to repeat myself.
A specific behavioral aspect of a culture is not an element of racial identity.
The specific behavioral aspect of the culture we are talking about IS the element of racial identity. I don't understand why I need to repeat this multiple times and you are still completely unable to comprehend.

I'm ignoring the rest of your post because it is just you repeating the same idiotic strawman.

I'm going to repeat this yet another fucking time because you are apparently too dense to understand. I'll even put it in all-caps to emphasize it even more.

THE ELEMENT OF "BLACK CULTURE" WE ARE DISCUSSING IS THE SO-CALLED "VICTIM MENTALITY", WHICH IS EXPLICITLY LINKED TO BEING A MEMBER OF THE BLACK RACE, AND THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY, SEGREGATION, OPPRESSION, AND DISCRIMINATION THEY HAVE FACED. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SEPARATE THIS MENTALITY FROM THE RACIAL ELEMENT BECAUSE IT IS AN EXPLICIT REACTION TO THE HISTORY OF BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA. IT IS NONSENSICAL TO DISCUSS THE CULTURAL ELEMENT WITHOUT THE RACIAL ELEMENT, BECAUSE THE CULTURAL ELEMENT IN-AND-OF-ITSELF IS AN EXPLICIT REACTION TO THE RACIAL ELEMENT.

Seriously, how are you unable to grasp this basic fact? It's just as nonsensical as trying to talk about the causes of the Civil War without talking about slavery. It is removing the entire central tenet and context of the discussion.

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2017-11-22 03:33pm

Just a note. No one has crossed the lines from spirited discussion to breaking board rules or being too big an asshole. However, the thread topic is... going to be prone to that. So while I would love to engage, I am going to deliberately sit this one out for mod purposes and keep an eye out.

Do carry on. Just keep the tempers from getting too warm. A campfire is okay, the inside of the Stellarator is not.

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by Q99 » 2017-11-22 04:29pm

PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
Admittedly, these sound terrible and the guy making them is clearly a misogynist, but again I asked you earlier to explain what you meant by a Men's Rights Advocate. Men's Rights Advocates, to me, seem like feminists in that they're concerned with gender-specific issues. They're not (at least by definition) misogynists. These are distinguishable groups, and labeling the one as the other is an issue because a non-misogynistic Men's Rights Advocate is being smeared with positions that that person doesn't necessarily endorse.
Ok, let's put it this way. There's a website called The Good Men's Project. It talks about how to handle modern men's issues and views itself as an allied with feminism, just working on opposite sides of the same coin. The nickname it has among MRA is 'The Good Mangina Project,' and it got heavily flamed the first time it said feminists aren't the enemy. Here's an article (note it's somewhat old, a number of MRA groups have split off since then and if anything MRA have become more toxic).

Basically MRA seems like it should be the flipside of feminism in a positive way, but in practice largely consists of people who really, really want to blame women, and feminists especially, for their problems, and take issue with the belief that feminism is *not* a group set out to systematically attack men. And who often attribute any problem to feminism's fault (like male circumcision is a not-too-rare talking point and it's like... "ok, feminists are fine with you opposing the practice.").

There's a somewhat depressing tale of an early MRA guy who was on the, "Yea, feminists don't care about men's problems! If they did, they do stuff like make rape shelters for guys! I'll set up my own, and really do something positive for men!", called for support from the movement and got... approximately jack squat in donations and it closed it's doors almost immediately (flipside, feminist-sponsored shelters tend to be in contact with and send men in distress to places that can help).


There's also a tendency for these more toxic MRA types to swoop in and try and co-opt pretty much any men's group that doesn't fit with their views.


So yea, it sounds like you made a logical conclusion on what Men's Rights Advocates are, but it's not a correct one, it's just what many people think they *should* be, and Men's Movements that are pro-men without being anti-women are, unfortunately, depressingly fewer and avoid the term for that reason. There's a few like Good Men, but they are most assuredly not MRA.

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by K. A. Pital » 2017-11-22 04:31pm

Q99 wrote:There's a somewhat depressing tale of an early MRA guy who was on the, "Yea, feminists don't care about men's problems! If they did, they do stuff like make rape shelters for guys! I'll set up my own, and really do something positive for men!", called for support from the movement and got... approximately jack squat in donations and it closed it's doors almost immediately.
Remarkable, though sad. A link, perhaps?
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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by PriestAtopthePyramid » 2017-11-22 08:27pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2017-11-22 02:27pm
A specific behavioral aspect of a culture is not an element of racial identity.
The specific behavioral aspect of the culture we are talking about IS the element of racial identity. I don't understand why I need to repeat this multiple times and you are still completely unable to comprehend.
Oh my god. How in the heck can a "victim mentality" constitute an "element of racial identity," let alone be the SINGLE element of racial identity? Again, you are conflating race and culture. Indeed, it's almost worse than that because you seem to believe that this is immutable or else fair criticism of it would be entirely reasonable.
THE ELEMENT OF "BLACK CULTURE" WE ARE DISCUSSING IS THE SO-CALLED "VICTIM MENTALITY", WHICH IS EXPLICITLY LINKED TO BEING A MEMBER OF THE BLACK RACE, AND THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY, SEGREGATION, OPPRESSION, AND DISCRIMINATION THEY HAVE FACED
How? How in the world do you get that out of anything in the quote? Is there more to this that I'm not understanding? Are you defining "black culture" entirely by the "victim mentality"? And even if this is true, how does this get conflated with criticizing black people as a race? It's still a criticism of a specific element of their behavior. If they didn't have this, and Amazing Atheist understood the people who (formerly) belonged to the culture not to have this, then presumably he wouldn't criticize them for having this. No?
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SEPARATE THIS MENTALITY FROM THE RACIAL ELEMENT BECAUSE IT IS AN EXPLICIT REACTION TO THE HISTORY OF BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA. IT IS NONSENSICAL TO DISCUSS THE CULTURAL ELEMENT WITHOUT THE RACIAL ELEMENT, BECAUSE THE CULTURAL ELEMENT IN-AND-OF-ITSELF IS AN EXPLICIT REACTION TO THE RACIAL ELEMENT.
No, it's not. The culture can change, and people can enter or leave the culture. Do you deny that these are possible?
Seriously, how are you unable to grasp this basic fact? It's just as nonsensical as trying to talk about the causes of the Civil War without talking about slavery. It is removing the entire central tenet and context of the discussion.
Not at all. The central aspect of conflict for the Civil War was the South's insistence on the maintenance of slavery. Black culture is not defined by a victim mentality, and to the extent that it is (and it seems that you think that it is?) then it should be subject to criticism in the same way that criticism of (for example) corporate culture for its profit-seeking and its emphasis on hierarchy.

And I'm genuinely curious: how do you distinguish opposition to the mafia from criticizing Sicilians as a race, given that you think that someone critiquing one element of black culture is inseparable from critiquing blacks as a race? Or do you think that such criticism is racist?

Again, I ask you: how do you define racism?
Last edited by PriestAtopthePyramid on 2017-11-22 08:35pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by PriestAtopthePyramid » 2017-11-22 08:33pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2017-11-22 04:31pm
Remarkable, though sad. A link, perhaps?
I believe he's referring to this:

https://www.theatlantic.com/internation ... de/315761/

It's actually significantly worse than that: the owner committed suicide following the closure of his shelter and the refusal by the Canadian government to fund the services he championed.

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by PriestAtopthePyramid » 2017-11-22 09:58pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2017-11-22 02:27pm
THE ELEMENT OF "BLACK CULTURE" WE ARE DISCUSSING IS THE SO-CALLED "VICTIM MENTALITY", WHICH IS EXPLICITLY LINKED TO BEING A MEMBER OF THE BLACK RACE, AND THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY, SEGREGATION, OPPRESSION, AND DISCRIMINATION THEY HAVE FACED. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SEPARATE THIS MENTALITY FROM THE RACIAL ELEMENT BECAUSE IT IS AN EXPLICIT REACTION TO THE HISTORY OF BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA. IT IS NONSENSICAL TO DISCUSS THE CULTURAL ELEMENT WITHOUT THE RACIAL ELEMENT, BECAUSE THE CULTURAL ELEMENT IN-AND-OF-ITSELF IS AN EXPLICIT REACTION TO THE RACIAL ELEMENT.

Seriously, how are you unable to grasp this basic fact? It's just as nonsensical as trying to talk about the causes of the Civil War without talking about slavery. It is removing the entire central tenet and context of the discussion.
I've thought about this some more and I think we're still miscommunicating, so let me try, again, and you can tell me where you're getting lost:

There are two entirely independent ways in which the thing that Amazing Atheist said about “black culture” is not reducible to racism:
1. No race is a culture and no culture is a race. The harms associated with racist actions and behavior are entirely dependent on the distinction between race and culture because, unlike a race, any culture can change and the people who make up that culture can change.
2. Criticism of a behavior that one associates with a culture is not racist because it presumably (a) applies to people who display that behavior irrespective of their membership within that culture and (b) presumably does not apply to members of that culture who do not display the complained-of behavior. It would not apply at all if the people within that culture did not behave in the way that is being criticized.

An analogy will illustrate each of these:

Suppose that we have a society called the neo-Aztecs. The neo-Aztecs live today, but behave substantially like the classical 15th century Aztec civilization did – their society is extremely imperialistic, practices slavery, and engages in ritual warfare in which it captures people from surrounding areas and tortures some of those victims to death. In addition to these characteristics, neo-Aztec society is 100% racially and ethnically “pure.” There has been no meaningful genetic inflow or outflow into or out of this society in many hundreds of years.

Now, suppose that someone named “Magnificent Atheist” comes in and says that he hates how neo-Aztec society engages in religious warfare and tortures people to death.

Would you contend that his criticism is racist? Why or why not?

I would argue that his criticism of the neo-Aztecs is not racist because:
1. It is not based on any inherited criteria of the neo-Aztecs. Presumably, Magnificent Atheist does not believe that the neo-Aztecs are genetically predisposed to engage in religious warfare, slavery, and torture. It does not presume that the fact that these people are currently engaged in this behavior means that they are somehow predestined to continue with it.
2. His criticism would presumably apply to other people who do the same things, and presumably does not apply to people within neo-Aztec culture who do not display these behaviors. If you and I came up to him and said, “Hey, Magnificent Atheist, we get that you think the neo-Aztecs are bad, but we found this other group called the neo-Moche, and they seem to be doing just the same things that the neo-Aztecs are doing with only minor differences in the details,” then (a) wouldn’t we expect Magnificent Atheist would have a problem with that society, as well? Similarly, if we came up to him and said, “Hey, Magnificent Atheist, we’re members of the neo-Aztec society and we want you to know that we do not torture or enslave or go to ritual war with all of our neighbors every year,” then (b) wouldn’t we expect Magnificent Atheist to not have issues with us as people?

Now, Magnificent Atheist might still be a racist and there might be racist complaints that he (or someone else) could raise against neo-Aztec society. But this does not poison what Magnificent Atheist said.

As I define it, racism is the prejudice or discrimination against people of a particular racial or ethnic group. Unless and until Magnificent Atheist believes that his view of this society should be applied to individual members of that society, then he is not displaying racism.

Similarly, we can think that Magnifent Atheist is off-base in his criticisms. Maybe, despite what he seems to believe, neo-Aztecs don't enslave and torture people to death. If we explained that to him and he agreed, then wouldn't we then expect his criticism of neo-Aztec society to be moot? And maybe the torture slavery isn't as bad as what he's claiming. So in that case, then wouldn't we similarly expect the validity of his criticism to disappear?

Can you explain to me where your view diverges from mine? I’ve asked you to try to explain to me what you mean when you say “racism,” because it doesn’t seem to comport with\ my view of the term and I’m curious as to what your definition of it is so I can understand if that is the source of the miscommunication.

What you seem to be advocating is to immunize societies and cultures from criticism, even though (as far as I can tell) none of the harms associated with racism attach to criticisms of behaviors within particular cultures. If that is where we are lost, then can you explain what harms you think are caused by criticisms like these?

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by PriestAtopthePyramid » 2017-11-22 11:23pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2017-11-22 12:27pm
I agree with you that someone can be opposed to an aspect of culture without being against a certain race or nationality. But if you compare the entire culture to a victim cult, that is not opposing just an aspect of culture, at least in my view.
So you think that the entire culture reduces to the "victim cult" that you didn't even think existed? How is any of this working?
There is a line between criticism and insult. A sweeping generalization about national culture like that seems for me to fall into the latter category.
Again, it's not a criticism of everyone in that culture: it's a criticism of an element of that culture. Please see my second reply to Ziggy Stardust for a more complete analysis of this.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
No, I don't think he should be silent. I just find the way he speaks about a perceived problem with black culture insulting and destructive.
That doesn't make him a racist, though. You may not like what he's saying, but that doesn't mean you get to claim that that person is a racist.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
Maybe try to present a genuine concern - once again, I doubt there was one, but let's grant it - in a less insulting way?
So unless he approaches the criticism in a way that you deem to be non-insulting then he's a racist?
Once again, I would keep in mind that speaking to fanatics is relatively fruitless, while insulting every member of a religion by calling everyone a fanatic would likely convince them that I'm hostile to them.
And he didn't do it that way. I guess that makes him a racist.
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
Nothing in my experience has demonstrated a difference between the two groups. MRA is only a self-description of a movement driven by, and associated with, prominent misogynists. In my view, MRA are misogynists.

So if in my opinion you have engaged in an insulting and unfair criticism of the MRA, would I therefore be entitled to publicly denounce you as a Nazi?

You seem to be conflating a number of things throughout this discussion, but I'm particularly concerned with the complete attitude of non-charitability in understanding what other people are saying. If you don't
PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 11:07am
It does not make him a Nazi and I've mentioned specifically that he isn't. I said that similar criticisms have been used by racists and nazis.
Then that has absolutely nothing to do with him, then, does it? This is a complete red herring.
There's a myriad options between insults like that and no criticism at all.
The existence of other options doesn't make what he said wrong, nor does it make him a racist because you don't like the way he brought out his criticism, nor does the fact that you don't agree with his criticism make him a bigot for disagreeing with you.

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by K. A. Pital » 2017-11-23 02:32am

Let’s cut the spaghetti, shall we, and simplify things?

First of all, it is not “victim mentality” but rather “perceived victim mentality”. Something which another person from a different culture perceives as “victim mentality” could be a part of national identity very much.

Second, if I don’t think that a victim mentality exists, it does not change the fact that accusing an entire national culture of a victim mentality is insulting.

Third, your attempt to reduce the insult to merely “an element of that culture” rests on your presumptions. Presumptions that you list as 1 and 2 respectively are, in my view, unfounded, therefore your argument has no foundation:
Criticism of a behavior that one associates with a culture is not racist because it presumably (a) applies to people who display that behavior irrespective of their membership within that culture and (b) presumably does not apply to members of that culture who do not display the complained-of behavior. It would not apply at all if the people within that culture did not behave in the way that is being criticized.
Both are incorrect. If you call black culture a victim cult and double down on this when called on the bullshit, it does not look like you are out to criticize the behavior of people not belonging to the attacked culture. Quite the contrary. The second is simply wrong, when you offer only a blanket insult against a culture as such, claiming it is a victim cult, there are no implicit exceptions to this insult.
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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by K. A. Pital » 2017-11-23 11:52am

SolarpunkFan wrote:
2017-11-23 11:46am
Didn't know my statement would ruin the thread. Sorry everybody. :(
How is it ruined? There is an ongoing discussion.
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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2017-11-23 11:56am

K. A. Pital wrote:
2017-11-23 11:52am
How is it ruined? There is an ongoing discussion.
True, and it's mostly on-topic now that I really think about it. I'm just a little startled at seeing a "I don't hate blacks, I hate black culture" person in action. Not sure if they're unaware of the racist usage or if they actually are racist (this is why I'd be a shitty moderator :P ).

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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-11-23 05:34pm

PriestAtopthePyramid wrote:
2017-11-22 09:58pm
Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2017-11-22 02:27pm
THE ELEMENT OF "BLACK CULTURE" WE ARE DISCUSSING IS THE SO-CALLED "VICTIM MENTALITY", WHICH IS EXPLICITLY LINKED TO BEING A MEMBER OF THE BLACK RACE, AND THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY, SEGREGATION, OPPRESSION, AND DISCRIMINATION THEY HAVE FACED. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SEPARATE THIS MENTALITY FROM THE RACIAL ELEMENT BECAUSE IT IS AN EXPLICIT REACTION TO THE HISTORY OF BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA. IT IS NONSENSICAL TO DISCUSS THE CULTURAL ELEMENT WITHOUT THE RACIAL ELEMENT, BECAUSE THE CULTURAL ELEMENT IN-AND-OF-ITSELF IS AN EXPLICIT REACTION TO THE RACIAL ELEMENT.

Seriously, how are you unable to grasp this basic fact? It's just as nonsensical as trying to talk about the causes of the Civil War without talking about slavery. It is removing the entire central tenet and context of the discussion.
I've thought about this some more and I think we're still miscommunicating, so let me try, again, and you can tell me where you're getting lost:

There are two entirely independent ways in which the thing that Amazing Atheist said about “black culture” is not reducible to racism:
1. No race is a culture and no culture is a race. The harms associated with racist actions and behavior are entirely dependent on the distinction between race and culture because, unlike a race, any culture can change and the people who make up that culture can change.
2. Criticism of a behavior that one associates with a culture is not racist because it presumably (a) applies to people who display that behavior irrespective of their membership within that culture and (b) presumably does not apply to members of that culture who do not display the complained-of behavior. It would not apply at all if the people within that culture did not behave in the way that is being criticized.
(1) is fundamentally flawed in the case of African-Americans. African-American culture is riddled with cultural artifacts that date back to slavery and segregation. Ziggy pointed this out to you in ALL CAPS.

The alleged element of black culture being 'criticized' here is "victim mentality." Well, insofar as something flavored like a 'victim mentality' exists among blacks, it exists because blacks have a history of victimization to point to, and upon which they can blame their troubles. Their distant ancestors were slaves. The elders of their present community remember a time when they were systematically barred from all the best opportunities in society as a matter of law; now they are only sometimes barred from these opportunities as a matter of prejudice.

All of this is fact. It happened. It's real. And it is not a consequence of black culture, it is a consequence of black race.

Thus, you cannot fully divide "black culture" from "black race." It is not at all a coincidence that there are basically zero racially white members of black culture.
An analogy will illustrate each of these:

Suppose that we have a society called the neo-Aztecs. The neo-Aztecs live today, but behave substantially like the classical 15th century Aztec civilization did – their society is extremely imperialistic, practices slavery, and engages in ritual warfare in which it captures people from surrounding areas and tortures some of those victims to death. In addition to these characteristics, neo-Aztec society is 100% racially and ethnically “pure.” There has been no meaningful genetic inflow or outflow into or out of this society in many hundreds of years.

Now, suppose that someone named “Magnificent Atheist” comes in and says that he hates how neo-Aztec society engages in religious warfare and tortures people to death.

Would you contend that his criticism is racist? Why or why not?
Killing and torturing people for religious reasons is very different from 'having a victim mentality.' Your analogy is extremely bad. Like, super-bad. All the arguments you advance based on it are going to be flawed, because of how flawed the analogy itself is.

In addition:
I would argue that his criticism of the neo-Aztecs is not racist because:
1. It is not based on any inherited criteria of the neo-Aztecs. Presumably, Magnificent Atheist does not believe that the neo-Aztecs are genetically predisposed to engage in religious warfare, slavery, and torture. It does not presume that the fact that these people are currently engaged in this behavior means that they are somehow predestined to continue with it.
Whether or not this proposition is true depends entirely on a detailed analysis of the words and deeds of "Magnificent Atheist. Remember, you are arguing that the criticism of the neo-Aztecs is "not racist." Then you basically say "presumably he is not claiming X, only claims of X are or can be racist, therefore he is not racist."

In which case your argument reduces to either a debate over which "only claims of X can be racist," which is NOT a given and should not just casually be taken for granted...

...Or it reduces to a tautology: "presumably he is not racist, therefore he is not racist." Let us take care not to use 'assume that which we wish to prove' to prove people innocent of racist motives, or free of racist misconceptions.
2. His criticism would presumably apply to other people who do the same things, and presumably does not apply to people within neo-Aztec culture who do not display these behaviors. If you and I came up to him and said, “Hey, Magnificent Atheist, we get that you think the neo-Aztecs are bad, but we found this other group called the neo-Moche, and they seem to be doing just the same things that the neo-Aztecs are doing with only minor differences in the details,” then (a) wouldn’t we expect Magnificent Atheist would have a problem with that society, as well? Similarly, if we came up to him and said, “Hey, Magnificent Atheist, we’re members of the neo-Aztec society and we want you to know that we do not torture or enslave or go to ritual war with all of our neighbors every year,” then (b) wouldn’t we expect Magnificent Atheist to not have issues with us as people?
You'd think that...

But what actually happens is that no matter how many neo-Moche and neo-Aztecs point out that this entire "sacrifice, torture, and cannibalism" thing is baaaasically the equivalent of how medieval Christians would attack Jews on the grounds of false accusations that they literally ate Christian babies, or that Jews deserved to suffer for the crime of killing Christ, or whatever...

Nobody listens!

There is no organized "oh wow, you don't do that shit? Oh. Sorry, my bad" response. Your expectation that this would occur is grossly optimistic.

No, instead what they get is "you're neo-Aztecs, BY DEFINITION you practice evil sacrifice, torture, and cannibalism!"

Furthermore, let me just point out that your analogy is super terrible. Because allegations of "this ethnic group I made up verifiably kills and eats people, and I wish they'd stop" are on a very different level than the real allegations we're talking about here. The real allegations here are more like "this ethnic group I didn't make up but know jack shit about is all whiny and I wish they'd stop complaining about how shittily I'm treating them, so I can get back to treating them shittily without being guilt-tripped."
Now, Magnificent Atheist might still be a racist and there might be racist complaints that he (or someone else) could raise against neo-Aztec society. But this does not poison what Magnificent Atheist said.
See, the problem is not that the allegations are being 'poisoned' by some kind of appeal to motives.

The problem is that the allegations themselves are poison. They are deeply flawed, ignorant (even willfully ignorant) of basic historical facts, and routinely cause very toxic and negative side effects. They are bad arguments, promulgated so consistently that it becomes very hard to explain WHY the bad arguments get repeated...

Unless we conclude that the people promulgating them are trolling, brainwashed, stupid, or a combination of the three.

I'm not calling people racists in order to discredit the dumb shit they say about black people. I'm calling them racists because it's the only explanation I can think of for the dumb shit they say about black people, even in the face of constant, consistent evidence and learned debate to the contrary.
As I define it, racism is the prejudice or discrimination against people of a particular racial or ethnic group. Unless and until Magnificent Atheist believes that his view of this society should be applied to individual members of that society, then he is not displaying racism.
To wrest back the conversation from your super terrible analogy...

Ideally, people could say all kinds of things about cultures and ethnic groups and not have it leak over into how they treat individual members of those groups.

The problem here is that nobody actually does that. Everyone stereotypes. Everyone makes assumptions. Moreover, in politics we routinely make policy decisions that affect every member of every group (i.e. electing Trump or Clinton to be president of the United States). These decisions are never made based on how we treat individual members of a society, they are based on how we collectively perceive the collective whole.

So if large groups of people are being constantly told "wow, black culture is full of baseless whiny bitching and black people's problems are caused by their bad habits..." Well, that has a lot of long term consequences. Consequences that affect every individual black person, regardless of whether any individual white person ever personally accuses any individual black person of whiny bitching.

Therefore, we can't just walk away from the "wow, black culture is full of whiny bitching" claims and expect the promulgation of those claims to be consequence-free.
Similarly, we can think that Magnifent Atheist is off-base in his criticisms. Maybe, despite what he seems to believe, neo-Aztecs don't enslave and torture people to death. If we explained that to him and he agreed, then wouldn't we then expect his criticism of neo-Aztec society to be moot? And maybe the torture slavery isn't as bad as what he's claiming. So in that case, then wouldn't we similarly expect the validity of his criticism to disappear?
Yeah, but what I WOULDN'T expect is for everybody to notice the validity had disappeared, until long after the debate was already won by the "um, Mexicans don't torture and sacrifice people anymore" side.
What you seem to be advocating is to immunize societies and cultures from criticism, even though (as far as I can tell) none of the harms associated with racism attach to criticisms of behaviors within particular cultures. If that is where we are lost, then can you explain what harms you think are caused by criticisms like these?
What I'm pretty sure Ziggy is advocating is to be very mindful of how we go about criticizing a culture, which kinds of criticism are constructive. And which are just an excuse to ignorantly bash an outgroup in ways that will ultimately hurt everyone, especially the outgroup.

You get a lot of the latter in the alt-right.
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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2017-11-24 05:35am

Simon you're a real mensch. And jeez this subject matter seems to be inevitably fated to descend to shitstorms full of supposed rational raisins.
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Re: New Atheist + Toxic Nerd Culture Discussion, continued...

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-11-24 08:33am

Shucks, thanks.

I think?

Anyway, yeah, the problem is that everyone has an opinion, and most people are strongly attached to their opinions on race and gender issues for deeply personal reasons. It is hard for people to take race/gender/culture-war issues and say "wow, I am actually less knowledgable than I thought, I should listen to learned doctors and scienticians." Or "wow, I probably have some personal biases at work here."

I mean, it's hard to say those things on any issue, but it's extra double hard to say them about race and gender issues.

So you get a lot of people who are only half-assed half-rational, but who are convinced of their rationality, doubling down and not admitting that what they're doing is irrational. And seizing on each other's half-assed justifications for 'logically' following their own nasty impulses, because it lets them deny the horror of being permanently tilted and distorted due to their half-assed state forcing them to sit on one buttcheek.

Aaaand that is where MRA douchebags come from.

...

What Pyramid Guy is doing is actually pretty good by comparison to this so far. I may disagree with his reasoning and think he's making really super bad analogies... but he's doing so on a level that seems like it can be engaged with, and shows a willingness to listen. MRA douchebag types (a category I don't include Pyramid Guy in) tend to be totally impossible to convince in these ways, because they have locked in enough toxic misogyny that they're not really interested in new facts.

Pyramid Guy is interested in new facts, I think. I respect that a lot.
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