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Sowell: Micro-aggression's Silence Dissent

YYW
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2/23/2016 3:44:22 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
http://www.columbian.com...

The political left has come up with a new buzzword: "micro-aggression."

Professors at the University of California at Berkeley have been officially warned against saying such things as "America is the land of opportunity." Why? Because this is considered to be an act of "micro-aggression" against minorities and women. Supposedly, it shows that you don"t take their grievances seriously and are therefore guilty of being aggressive toward them, even if only on a micro scale.

You might think that this is just another crazy idea from Berkeley. But the same concept appears in a report from the flagship campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana. If you just sit in a room where all the people are white, you are considered to be guilty of "micro-aggression" against people who are not white, who will supposedly feel uncomfortable when they enter such a room.

At UCLA, a professor who changed the capitalization of the word "indigenous" to lower case in a student"s dissertation was accused of "micro-aggression," apparently because he preferred to follow the University of Chicago Manual of Style, rather than the student"s attempt to enhance the importance of being indigenous.

When a group of UCLA law students came to class wearing T-shirts with a picture of one of their professors who had organized an intramural softball game, those T-shirts were protested as a manifestation of "white privilege."

Why? Because that professor had written a book critical of affirmative action.

"Micro-aggression" protests have spread to campuses from coast to coast " that is, from California"s Berkeley and UCLA to Harvard and Fordham on the East Coast, and including Oberlin and Illinois in the Midwest.

Labeling vs. debating

The concept of "micro-aggression" is just one of many tactics used to stifle differences of opinion by declaring some opinions to be "hate speech," instead of debating those differences in a marketplace of ideas. To accuse people of aggression for not marching in lockstep with political correctness is to set the stage for justifying real aggression against them.

This tactic reaches far beyond academia and far beyond the United States. France"s Jean-Paul Sartre has been credited " if that is the word " with calling social conditions he didn"t like "violence," as a prelude to justifying real violence as a response to those conditions. Sartre"s American imitators have used the same verbal tactic to justify riots.

Word games are just one of the ways of silencing politically incorrect ideas, instead of debating them. Demands that various conservative organizations be forced to reveal the names of their donors are another way of silencing ideas by intimidating people who facilitate the spread of those ideas. Whatever the rationale for wanting those names, the implicit threat is retaliation.

This same tactic was used, decades ago, by Southern segregationists who tried to force black civil rights organizations to reveal the names of their donors, in a situation where retaliation might have included violence as well as economic losses.

In a sense, the political left"s attempts to silence ideas they cannot, or will not, debate are a confession of intellectual bankruptcy. But this is just one of the left"s ever-increasing restrictions on other people"s freedom to live their lives as they see fit, rather than as their betters tell them.

Current attempts by the Obama administration to force low-income housing to be built in middle class and upscale communities are on a par with forcing people to buy the kind of health insurance the government wants them to buy " Obamacare " rather than leaving them free to buy whatever suits their own situation and preferences.

The left is not necessarily aiming at totalitarianism. But their know-it-all mindset leads repeatedly and pervasively in that direction, even if by small steps, each of which might be called "micro-totalitarianism."
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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2/23/2016 3:45:14 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
The fact is that no serious person, no serious academic, and no serious professor of anything considers the idiotic rhetorical hogwash of the postmodern left to be deserving of anything other than mockery.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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2/23/2016 4:12:08 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
I am going to leave these resources here for people to investigate if they feel so inclined. I might make a list of words eventually to help people who desire to understand why microaggressions are intellectual trash, find this website, and voice their opposition to the disgusting culture that has overtaken academia.
Tsar of DDO
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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2/23/2016 4:16:36 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
So much of what constitutes political correctness and "silencing" the opposition is left up to interpretation. I agree with pretty much everything you wrote in the OP but still disagree with you that "leftist" politically correct speech is a silencing tactic.

The examples you used are outrageous enough that most reasonable people will disagree with them. I think Berkeley was being silly and the UCLA professor was perfectly reasonable to correct the student.

To me, political correctness is simply refraining from using bigoted or offensive words. For example calling a black person a n**** is offensive. I've seen a lot of complaints about political correctness but they almost always use ridiculous examples like the ones you listed to "demonstrate" how "bad" it is. It seems like different people draw the line at different places and this is exploited by those like Trump who advocate against pc.
YYW
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2/23/2016 4:29:06 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/23/2016 4:16:36 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
So much of what constitutes political correctness and "silencing" the opposition is left up to interpretation. I agree with pretty much everything you wrote in the OP but still disagree with you that "leftist" politically correct speech is a silencing tactic.

The examples you used are outrageous enough that most reasonable people will disagree with them. I think Berkeley was being silly and the UCLA professor was perfectly reasonable to correct the student.

To me, political correctness is simply refraining from using bigoted or offensive words. For example calling a black person a n**** is offensive. I've seen a lot of complaints about political correctness but they almost always use ridiculous examples like the ones you listed to "demonstrate" how "bad" it is. It seems like different people draw the line at different places and this is exploited by those like Trump who advocate against pc.

I agree that originally; like, until the last ten years or so, being politically correct meant not calling blacks, niggers, or gays, f@ggots, or women, cunts.... it was functionally indistinguishable from basic decency. But that's not really what it is now.....
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themohawkninja
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2/23/2016 4:49:39 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
I'd hardly call them political. Some even refer to themselves as "cultural Marxists" rather than just "Marxists", implying that they are more focused on society than politics.
"Morals are simply a limit to man's potential."~Myself

Political correctness is like saying you can't have a steak, because a baby can't eat one ~Unknown
YYW
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2/23/2016 2:26:58 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/23/2016 4:49:39 AM, themohawkninja wrote:
I'd hardly call them political. Some even refer to themselves as "cultural Marxists" rather than just "Marxists", implying that they are more focused on society than politics.

Even Marxism, though, wasn't this toxic...
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Vox_Veritas
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2/26/2016 4:59:04 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
You're becoming obsessed with this...
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
YYW
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2/27/2016 12:09:58 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
What's really interesting is that there are people in this country who think that the fact that white people hold some positions but black people do not is evidence of some greater anti-black conspiracy.

This is basically the same logic that David Ike uses to prove the existence of the Illuminati's influence.
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YYW
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3/2/2016 2:53:36 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
Today, the talk of the town among the postmodern liberal orthodoxy is micro-aggressions. Tomorrow, it will be something else. The trend among the postmodern left is easily recognizable, from both past and present: they will pursue with increasingly acerbic vitriol, increasingly trivial manifestations of perceived "injustice."

The BlackLivesMatter movement, anyone who thinks micro-aggressions or any of the other micro-[insert bad verb]'s out there exist, in any kind of meaningful way, are nothing more than the current iteration of the postmodern left's toxic orthodoxy, translated into pseudoscience, in the forms of psychology, sociology, and political science. The very fact that this race/gender trash even exists in academia is a testament to the total lack of intellectual legitimacy in our contemporary institutions of higher learning. Why? Science cannot be bastardized for political purposes, but that is exactly what the left is doing, and has done, since the behavioral revolution in the 1960s. Max Weber, were he around, would roll over in his grave if he saw what social science has become.

Foucault predicted this; really, he called it even back in the 1970s. He wrote books on it, most of which were too difficult for members of the emergent postmodern left to comprehend, so, they celebrated him because he was gay and therefore someone who they thought was on their side. This is totally unlike Derrida, who would champion the moral justification of feigning victimhood for the purpose of justifying real violence against perceived aggressors. People often talk about Foucault and Derrida in the same vein, which is really nothing more than a reflection of their own ignorance, because the two are diametric opposites. But it should come as no surprise that stupid members of the intellectual left would fail to comprehend that Foucault was shining sunlight onto social science's politicized bullsh!t. He was doing the same with psychology.
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YYW
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3/2/2016 3:16:47 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/2/2016 2:53:36 PM, YYW wrote:
Today, the talk of the town among the postmodern liberal orthodoxy is micro-aggressions. Tomorrow, it will be something else. The trend among the postmodern left is easily recognizable, from both past and present: they will pursue with increasingly acerbic vitriol, increasingly trivial manifestations of perceived "injustice."

The BlackLivesMatter movement, anyone who thinks micro-aggressions or any of the other micro-[insert bad verb]'s out there exist, in any kind of meaningful way, are nothing more than the current iteration of the postmodern left's toxic orthodoxy, translated into pseudoscience, in the forms of psychology, sociology, and political science. The very fact that this race/gender trash even exists in academia is a testament to the total lack of intellectual legitimacy in our contemporary institutions of higher learning. Why? Science cannot be bastardized for political purposes, but that is exactly what the left is doing, and has done, since the behavioral revolution in the 1960s. Max Weber, were he around, would roll over in his grave if he saw what social science has become.

Foucault predicted this; really, he called it even back in the 1970s. He wrote books on it, most of which were too difficult for members of the emergent postmodern left to comprehend, so, they celebrated him because he was gay and therefore someone who they thought was on their side. This is totally unlike Derrida, who would champion the moral justification of feigning victimhood for the purpose of justifying real violence against perceived aggressors. People often talk about Foucault and Derrida in the same vein, which is really nothing more than a reflection of their own ignorance, because the two are diametric opposites. But it should come as no surprise that stupid members of the intellectual left would fail to comprehend that Foucault was shining sunlight onto social science's politicized bullsh!t. He was doing the same with psychology.

The reality is that the postmodern left's delusional efforts to maintain their orthodoxy are deserving of precisely one kind of response: mockery and/or ridicule. And that's more or less what I do on DDO, beyond describing their methods.

And that drives them insane. Tulle, for example, simply does not know how to respond to anything I say because--aside from the fact that she lacks the intellectual ability to engage in a substantive conversation, much like every other member of the postmodern left I have ever interacted with--it repudiates her entire understanding of the world.

There are people, many people, in social science and psychology who have dedicated their lives to believing the postmodern "scripture" that is produced in the social sciences and in psychology to such an extent that they are themselves not intellectually capable of understanding the world outside the constructs they have seen for themselves.

Think of it this way... if you were to ask a fish to describe water, could he give you a reasonable explanation of what it is? Of course not, because water is the only thing that the fish knows. Similarly, if you were to ask a social science or psychology grad student to talk about the normative social structures created by postmodern liberal orthodoxy, they couldn't even begin to understand what an answer to that question would look like because, much like the fish, they know nothing other than thought within the confines of those structures.

That is why, likewise, members of this community like 00ike do not understand how political correctness stifles intellectual discourse. It is not that he has ever articulated a coherent reason why that proposition is wrong, as much as it is that he cannot understand the proposition because the scope and extent of intellectual life that he is aware of exists within the confines of those normative structures. Tulle is the same way.

So, when you have a guy like me whose goal it is to tear down those structures, their irrational efforts to more or less shout me down are *exactly* what should be expected, and which have indeed happened, because I'm not just criticizing an idea; I'm criticizing--or really destroying-- the foundation of their worldview's conceptual framework. In that way, it's totally personal for them, and they cannot engage in anything that resembles a conversation, first, because they don't understand the "bounded" nature of their thought, in the same sense that, second, they *feel* that I am attacking the foundation of how they understand the world.

But, those normative structures need to be repudiated. They need to be torn down, because they are disingenuous, and caustic to free discourse. This is why there are "discussion panels" on the intellectual left and not "debate" panels.... the left is horrible at debate because all they do is try to discredit the people saying ideas they don't like rather than interrogating the ideas that they don't like. That is how psychology and social science are used; they are the left's weapons, which appear to exist behind the--thin--veil of scientific objectivity, when in reality personality disorders (e.g. narcissism), behavioral disorders (e.g. ADHD), and pariah-causing labels (e.g. racist, sexist, bigot, etc.), are nothing more than normative judgements used for the purpose of controlling those who deviate from postmodern liberal orthodoxy.

There are of course some legitimate things that psychology does (like treating people with schizophrenia), or that social science does (like modeling electoral behavior of voters across the US), but those islands of legitimacy are the exception, not the norm. The norm, increasingly since the 1990s, is to use social science and psychology as the left's political weapons.

And you're going to see that on DDO, too. When members of the site talk about how certain people exhibit the signs, for example, of narcissistic personality disorder, what those people are trying to do is discredit what that person is saying. Significantly, when tulle engages in discussions with people whom she disagrees, she never actually rebuts the substance of what is said. Ever. She is incompetent to do that; and I use that word purposefully. She literally does not understand how to argue with ideas that she disagrees with. 00ike is the same way.

Then, the discussion turns into one, as it always does, about how much a speaker (usually me) is just the most awful person in the world and blah blah blah. It's the left's efforts to shout down ideas that they don't like. It happens every day. This is how postmodern liberal "discussion panels" (read: not academic anything, no dialogue, no debate... just overly emotional bullsh!t) go. This is how postmodern feminist academic journals operate... very much in the same tradition of Jacques Derrida. They strawman the other side's argument (mostly because it's probably over their head), then they start talking about qualities of the person, and then cast that person as a pariah for the purpose of silencing deviation from the liberal orthodoxy. This is how the academic life works these days, and it's because of toxic people--e.g. Andrea Dworkin--who have poisoned the Academy in the same way that Flint's lead pipes poisoned the children of Flint.

Look for that kind of thing.
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YYW
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3/2/2016 5:47:42 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
The really sort of curious difference between, say, a conference held at a university and this specific website is probably the real difference between why Tulle and those who abide within her way of thinking find DDO to be so hostile.

At a university, for example, they can just shout people down and eat up all a speaker's time until the person with whom they disagree goes away. Then they can have all sorts of idiotic therapy sessions about how totally awful the person who came to speak was that all the sort of postmodern liberal groups despise were. It's not actual therapy, so much as a group session of bitching about how awful the person was with whom they disagree.

And the critical reason WHY those sessions exist are the same reasons why the Catholic church once burned heretics: to reinforce the norms of that group's culture when presented by a threat to the norms. Eventually, some people wake up to the manifest stupidity of these exercises, but most do not.

But here, on DDO---which is why I like this website---there is NOTHING that tulle can do (or which she has been successful in doing) to silence me. She has tried to get me banned. She (and the one friend she has that remains on this site) has tried to pit my friends against me. She has whined to moderation about how awful I am and how much I need to be banned and blah blah blah... and she has realized, curiously enough, that each and every one of those efforts will fail.

And that is why she left the site... for now at least. Give it time, she will return to repeat her folly, and I will be here, to continuously explore why her worldview and methods of communication/discourse are morally, ethically, and intellectually repugnant
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popculturepooka
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3/2/2016 9:26:52 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
Good lord, dude, get over it. You're seriously obsessed with Tulle - "and those like her" - who you think you're fighting against to stem the tides of the "PC culture" or "intellectual trash" bla blah blah.

it's disturbing to see to see the obsession grow deeper and deeper over time.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
YYW
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3/3/2016 4:15:41 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/2/2016 9:26:52 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
Good lord, dude, get over it. You're seriously obsessed with Tulle - "and those like her" - who you think you're fighting against to stem the tides of the "PC culture" or "intellectual trash" bla blah blah.


it's disturbing to see to see the obsession grow deeper and deeper over time.

I think you're just tired of seeing it.
Tsar of DDO
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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3/3/2016 4:31:17 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/27/2016 12:09:58 AM, YYW wrote:
What's really interesting is that there are people in this country who think that the fact that white people hold some positions but black people do not is evidence of some greater anti-black conspiracy.

Its not a conspiracy. Its a remnant from the pre-civil rights era. That's changing but the reason powerful positions are held by a disproportionate number of white people is because America is still recovering from the effects of the segregation laws (https://en.wikipedia.org...). It's been around a generation and it seems like it will take longer than that for effects to wear away.
YYW
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3/3/2016 4:50:16 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/3/2016 4:31:17 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 2/27/2016 12:09:58 AM, YYW wrote:
What's really interesting is that there are people in this country who think that the fact that white people hold some positions but black people do not is evidence of some greater anti-black conspiracy.

Its not a conspiracy. Its a remnant from the pre-civil rights era. That's changing but the reason powerful positions are held by a disproportionate number of white people is because America is still recovering from the effects of the segregation laws (https://en.wikipedia.org...). It's been around a generation and it seems like it will take longer than that for effects to wear away.

The socioeconomic grievances are legitimate, but the racial ones are not. The problem is that the two get conflated so often. That's one of the reasons I liked the Black Panthers; their focus was on community building, working with kids, mentoring young men who didn't have fathers, etc. The problem is that the socioeconomic factors have gotten worse over time, not better. But it's not a racial thing; race is correlated, but it's not the causal factor.

Mass incarceration, for example, is a socioeconomic thing. All poor people get shitty lawyers and go to jail for crimes they in reality probably never committed, or, if they did commit them, shouldn't be in jail for.

Black men, more than any other group, have suffered because of that, and black boys, specifically, are the most neglected social group in America. Their fathers are in prison or gone. Their mothers are overworked. They look for some kind of a role model, and who do they find? Not good figures, that's for sure.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is too busy being White America's posterchild of how not racist they all are. Barack Obama's blood is bluer than mine. Clarence Thomas is practically the walking dead. Michael Jordan is yesterday's news. Chris Brown is a (probably repressed homosexual) perpetrator of domestic violence. Seal, maybe? Who else... I can't think of anyone. Morgan Freeman is too old... like America's grandfather.
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Danimal4NU
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3/5/2016 2:54:48 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
Micro-aggressions are just ridiculous. That you are teaching people to take things in the worst possible way and as a personal affront rather than a minor annoyance to just get over is flat-out insanity. You are causing unnecessary division among groups while instilling a soft, whiny mental-state.
YYW
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3/9/2016 5:24:10 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 3/5/2016 2:54:48 PM, Danimal4NU wrote:
Micro-aggressions are just ridiculous. That you are teaching people to take things in the worst possible way and as a personal affront rather than a minor annoyance to just get over is flat-out insanity. You are causing unnecessary division among groups while instilling a soft, whiny mental-state.

Well said.
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Romaniii
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3/9/2016 7:36:43 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/23/2016 3:44:22 AM, YYW wrote:

Excellent thread.

I really do wonder what SJWs think they're accomplishing by inventing concepts like micro-aggressions, privilege, and oppression. All it serves to do is create further racial divisions and shift the blame entirely onto white males (thereby alienating them and exacerbating the problem). It achieves absolutely nothing as far as real social progress is concerned. The reality is that most Americans are not racist, and the ones who ARE racist aren't going to be convinced to change their views by these attempts at shaming & antagonizing them.

Rather than trying to blame the plight of African Americans (and other socioeconomically-disadvantaged groups) on discrimination by "privileged" white males, people need to start looking critically at *why* the plight exists in the first place. Rules of political correctness have made people unwilling to even suggest it, but perhaps there's a problem inherent to the culture of low-income minority groups. SJWs should be pushing for policies which help amend that -- Invest in inner-city education. Get drugs decriminalized. Make rehabilitation the focus of the criminal justice system. Reform the "public defender" system so that poor people actually have access to decent lawyers. Any one of those policies would do infinitely more to alleviate the problem than bitching about imaginary issues like micro-aggressions.

And sure, let's assume that racial discrimination IS a significant part of the problem. Even so, if the goal is to change general perceptions of "discriminated" groups, then perhaps it would be useful to take a look at why the stereotypes grounding those perceptions exist. Quite evidently, those stereotypes didn't pop up out of nowhere... not all black people are criminals, but a uniquely high proportion of them are, and that translates into racist sentiments. The problem, once again, lies within the culture of low-income minority groups.

Tangible policy measures are the answer -- the bullsh!t activism that SJWs are currently engaging in is doing nothing but breeding further racial tensions. It's a massive disservice to society, and an insult to the legacy of people like MLK.