The Instigator
marksax90
Con (against)
The Contender
Danielle
Pro (for)

Privilege i.e.white-male privilege Honesly looking for a line of reasoning not debate.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/11/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 511 times Debate No: 95343
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

marksax90

Con

Why does being a white-male mean i'm incapable of understanding another group enough to understand their societal problems and thus make a decision or judgement based off of them?

If you feel because i dont "walk in their shoes," i cant understand them....

Okay, but do i need to "walk in some one's shoes" to understand discrimination is bad. White males can be descriminated against too. Not all white people are affluent. Some white people are extremely poor. By definition this makes this a generalization.

If you disagree, how is it not a generalization?

My point is here that making a generalization about another group which is factually inaccurate and use it to all members of a certain group to dismiss their ideas or potential to understand is logically incorrect.

One of the primary purposes of communication is to communicate your perspective to another person so that they may understand you enough so that you may both act on said mutual understanding.

So doesnt this put up a wall in this process. Logically it would follow that if you assume a group cant and wont understand you then you cannot reach a mutual understanding.

And if you cant reach a mutual understanding how does that mutual action happen? The same mutual action that runs public life, society, government, etc. This lays down the principle that you are not in my gender,racial, or sexual orientation group, so I can dismiss your ideas or reasoning for decisions. It is divisive in nature when the aimed goal of social justice is egalitarianism.

And it also has long lasting effects on the freedom of speech. If one group is dismissed, it doesn't promote exchange of ideas. You can't possibly have a good idea about a societal problem such as discrimination because you are a white-male.

Two wrongs do not make a right.
Danielle

Pro

It seems my opponent doesn't understand white privilege hence his inability to argue against it.

A privilege is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted to a particular person/group. If I can outline an advantage of being white -- that is if I can specify advantages of being white vs. being non-white, then I will have won this debate as it proves that white privilege exists.

Just because white privilege exists doesn't mean other privileges don't exist; there are privileges to being non-white in certain scenarios. And keep in mind that just because white privilege exists doesn't mean that white people don't suffer. White people can be poor and suffer and yet still experience the benefits or advantages of being white.

* When a white person is articulate (or even speaks normally) people don't act surprised. Black people are told that they "talk white" when speaking properly. In fact black people are sometimes mocked for not fitting into certain stereotypes that expect them to dress, sound or behave uneducated. They are called "Uncle Toms" when perceived to be acting "white" or if they hold conservative points of view [1]. So white people are allowed to form their own political opinions without expectation based on their race, whereas minorities are presumed liberals and taunted for deviating from the norm.

* White privilege means no one questions why you were admitted or employed -- it"s assumed you were qualified as opposed to the assumption that you were only let in through affirmative action programs.

* Having white skin means people are hesitant to label you a terrorist. Out of 182 non-jihadist terror attacks in the US between 2001 and 2015, 165 were white [2]. We consider a white terrorist to be a disturbed individual; we consider a non-white terrorist to represent a group.

* White people are profiled less. More young black men were stopped by the NYPD in 2011 than there are young black men in New York City. Meanwhile only 10.5 percent of stops had incidents of "violent criminal activity" as justification for the stop. [3, 4]. In other words, people are stopped because they LOOK dangerous and not because they actually ARE dangerous. If they were dangerous, the stops would be fruitful as in yield stronger numbers... but they don't. The ACLU has investigated and found the majority of profiling is based on racism - not just in NYC but in Boston and other major cities (especially Detroit) all over the U.S. [5]. Thus you are more likely to be profiled, stopped, frisked and ultimately bothered by cops if you are not white... which means being white is a privilege.

* Despite the presumption that we're beyond racism, studies show that we are still very much a racist country. According to Gallup polls on interracial marriage, mixed communities and education, many Americans are still uncomfortable with black/brown people and (not so) secretly hold racist ideals. Yet there are extremely few people that are racist toward white people. The vast majority of racism is directed at non-whites [7]. This is an obvious advantage of being white. Non-whites have to worry that new people they meet might discriminate against them; white people don't have to endure that fear regularly if at all.

* There's also institutional racism... and it starts young. NPR reported that black kids make up just 18 percent of the pre-school population, yet are suspended in almost 1/2 the cases [8]. This trend persists in suspension throughout childhood [9] and into adulthood. Consider that black college graduates, on balance, have much harder time finding work than their white peers [10].

I could go on and on with statistics and examples. The point is that there are some benefits to being white proving that white privilege exists. Again, just because WP exists doesn't mean that white people don't suffer. It simply means that being white affords people opportunities, protections or advantages that non-whites do not experience. In some cases, there are benefits to being black/brown. But those scenarios are the rare exception.

On balance, there are far more advantages to being white than non-white. Thus being white is - by definition - a privilege.

[1] https://www.quora.com...
[2] http://securitydata.newamerica.net...
[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[5] http://www.mitpressjournals.org...
[6] http://ijr.com...
[7] http://www.ijreview.com...
[8] http://www.npr.org...
[9] https://www2.ed.gov...
[10] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
Debate Round No. 1
marksax90

Con

"Why does being a white-male mean i'm incapable of understanding another group enough to understand their societal problems and thus make a decision or judgement based off of them?" I am not arguing against white-male privilege existing. I am arguing against using it as a concept to dismiss opinions of white-male individuals about other societal groups (such as African-Americans, women, LGBT, etc.). So because that was the initial question your argument is based on a straw-man. And yes people have held this position against me. So i want to know what logical reasoning is behind this position.

All humans possess an innate ability to empathize and learn from others' pain and mistakes. Scientific evidence exist for this in the discovery of "mirror neurons." To give a clearer idea of what mirror neurons do i recommend reading the article, but here is an excerpt that gives a few examples. "You see a stranger stub her toe and you immediately flinch in sympathy, or you notice a friend wrinkle up his face in disgust while tasting some food and suddenly your own stomach recoils at the thought of eating. This ability to instinctively and immediately understand what other people are experiencing has long baffled neuroscientists, but recent research now suggests a fascinating explanation: brain cells called mirror neurons." [1]. http://www.brainfacts.org... Social evidence for understanding other peoples' pain or suffering also exists in white individuals participating in black civil rights movements, thus overcoming the biases that they derive from "white privilege." In fact, there are several books written about this very subject. [2.] http://www.tfcbooks.org...

So due to this social and scientific evidence, white privilege does not eliminate a white individual's ability to identify a problem belonging to a different group and come to a mutual understanding with them.

Thus, there seems to be no logical basis for believing that because I am a white male, i cannot understand another groups' discrimination. This position is damaging for all the reasons posted by myself in round 1.
Danielle

Pro

My opponent's last round concludes, "Thus, there seems to be no logical basis for believing that because I am a white male, i cannot understand another groups' discrimination. This position is damaging for all the reasons posted by myself in round 1."

The reason I have ignored this reasoning from the first round is because it's not relevant. I've provided the definition of white privilege in Round 1. The official definition of white privilege = societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances [1].

No part of this definition says that white people "can't understand" another group, so I am not responsible for defending that position and I'm not sure why my opponent thinks it's relevant to white privilege.

Con explains, "I am not arguing against white-male privilege existing. I am arguing against using it as a concept to dismiss opinions of white-male individuals about other societal groups." That was not made clear at the inception of this debate. My opponent is clearly a novice debater (which is not meant to be an insult) meaning he didn't explain his position properly. The resolution refers to "white privilege" which means I am maintaining the existence of white privilege. By Con saying "I am not arguing against white male privilege existing" he acknowledges that my position in this debate is the correct one.

If Con intended to debate something else, that should be explicit in the resolution or thoroughly outlined in Round 1.

My opponent accuses me of a straw man; in reality he failed to state a clear resolution or Round 1 argument.

Con then continues to elaborate on a tangent, noting "All humans possess an innate ability to empathize and learn from others' pain and mistakes." That is false. Not all humans have an easy time with empathy and some people have illnesses that prevent empathy. Science tells us it's difficult to combine logic and empathy [2]. Regardless, this seems like a distraction.

My opponent intends to argue that white people can understand other people's suffering even if they do not identify as part of the same group. White privilege doesn't mean lack of empathy. White people can be empathic. White people can even try to understand the plight of other groups, but they will never have the experience. Experience is the greatest teacher. I can tell you what the ocean smells like (salty) but until you experience it for yourself, you will "never really KNOW" what it smells like - you will only have another person's subjective description and interpretation.

Furthermore, understanding concepts (such as discrimination) is not the same as experiencing or enduring discrimination day in and day out for life. So it seems obvious that people's FULL understanding is limited to their experience, though certainly white people can identify problems and respond with compassion. Again that's irrelevant to the resolution of concept of white privilege.

My genuine and sincere apologies if Con was unsure on how to structure or explain the debate per his intention.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.popsci.com...
Debate Round No. 2
marksax90

Con

The point of contention is rather clear considering it is the first question to which i respond with my argument. I will also point out that nowhere in the first round did i mention any argument against the existence of white privilege. My opponent misinterpreted this to be a lack of understanding of white privilege instead of reading and understanding the initial question to which i made my argument. She then proceeded to state the rest of the argument in round 1 was irrelevant, and it leaves to reason that she misinterpreted the debate to be about debating the existence of white privilege from the subject of the post. Note there is not any mention of existence here either. Based on these reasons it is clear what the point of contention was and is, and that the fault of the misunderstanding is on my opponent. Thus, my opponent did indeed make a straw man argument in round 1 and round 2.

My opponent points out that not all people are born with empathy. This is true but so rare as to be statistically insignificant when speaking about group behavior and not individuals and is, therefore, irrelevant. [1] https://www.quora.com... My opponent also attempted to declare the irrelevance of specific aspects of my point concerning empathy without debating the part of the first sentence in the second paragraph "and learn from others' pain and mistakes. This idea was also supported by the quoted article. " "This ability to instinctively and immediately understand what other people are experiencing has long baffled neuroscientists, but recent research now suggests a fascinating explanation: brain cells called mirror neurons." I say my opponent "attempted" because empathy defined is "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another" Thus, my opponent is incorrect and it is relevant to understanding other groups in societal problems like in discrimination.

My opponent writes a paragraph stating that it seems obvious that people's "FULL understanding is limited to their experience is limited to their experience." It does not give a reason that people need to understand fully to make a judgment or decision based on their behalf. My opponent states that "it seems obvious" in lieu of a line of reasoning or evidence. The concept that one has to understand fully or not at all is a logical fallacy specifically a black or white fallacy. My argument can be highlighted by the existence of human communication. Communication is defined as the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else. Communication is how people groups or individuals express their feelings, thoughts, and ideas to others. Stating that I must understand fully by being in their shoes contradicts one of the primary principles of communication. Humans have evolved to communicate with one another to make mutual actions. Battling discrimination is something groups have done in the past mutually because they were able to exchange information. Thus, the argument to understand fully is irrelevant and if my opponent infers that I must understand fully to make these judgments or decisions, it is illogical as well.

Also "science telling us its DIFFICULT to combine logic and empathy" does not make it impossible. Reading the study closely would reveal it makes it impossible to do at the SAME TIME. This means that it is possible to alternate thoughts and thus do both at different times. i.e. I take a minute to empathize to feel their pain. Then, I think long and hard about what to do about it utilizing my analytical pathway. Afterwards, I go back to the empathy to make sure that analysis feels like a just action to their plight. Then I recheck my analysis once again to make sure it is free of logical errors, and so on and so forth. It would reason that nonprofit/charity organizations must achieve a balance of analysis and empathy to service the needy. It also mentions balancing the two in the article. Thus the inferred deduction from my opponents statement is fallacious.
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by marksax90 8 months ago
marksax90
Also even though i wasn't aiming for a debate, I am victorious. :)
Posted by marksax90 8 months ago
marksax90
Based on my opponents arguments, I will assume there is no line of reasoning to basing someones ability to make judgments, assessments or decisions on another group on the race, gender, or sexual orientation of that person. I conclude that it is aimed at preventing the marginalization of groups, but in the end it actually marginalizes groups. Thus, it is hypocritical, and a failed method to achieve said aim. Hopefully someone has a line of reasoning to comment here with. I'm still curious to see if there is anybody who can provide a valid line of reason based on the way this debate went.
Posted by Overhead 8 months ago
Overhead
Is you're not looking for a debate, maybe starting a debate on the website debate.org wasn't a smooth move.
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