Friday, May 23, 2014

Humans are Prejudiced

Here is an excellent opinion piece that seems to be relevant to our discussions on racism.
Fox Sports Mark Cuban on Prejudice  And here is a foolish response by some writer at Think Progress.
"I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he was trying to make an honest and crucial point: that all of us, especially those of us who grew up in the comfort of white skin in a country in which that is the number one marker of privilege and security, have internal racial biases that we must acknowledge."  Think Progress: How Not to Star Discussion on Race
Somehow this writer thinks that white folks are more racially biased than others...  Like Black folk don't have biases regarding White folk.  Or Latino folk don't have biases towards Middle Eastern folk.  What silliness.

I don't know anything about Mark Cuban, but thank God he was willing to express his very rational view.



John said...

All I hear are the crickets chirping in the crisp night air...

jerrye92002 said...

OK, apparently nobody wants to admit that there are black crickets and there are gray crickets, yet we're not supposed to notice? There was a time when "discrimination" was a mark of intelligence, such as "a man of discriminating tastes," and prejudice was an essential survival skill. Both are still true. I can distinguish my black neighbors from the others quite easily by looking. That doesn't make me racist by any standard except the race-baiting professional offended class.

John said...

Ironic timing... I had a nice young black man stop by to sell me magazines the other day. It was somewhat surreal though. He starts making inferences about me being white and telling me black jokes.

It was quite odd and as usual I did not buy any magazines... I equate buying from door to door sales people as feeding pesky geese... You will just end up with more of them at your door.

The good news is that he handled it better than the young white guy a few years back who started berating me for being a wealthy selfish guy for not supporting him...

Sean said...

The TP writer made the crucial point at the end of the piece:

"Cuban is a giant step ahead of most of America in that he recognizes and acknowledges that those biases exist, and that he can try to talk honestly about them. The question is whether he’s willing to act on the more challenging half of that equation. The question is, does he still cross the street?"

John said...

Risk Management would advise that people continue to cross the street. Let's say it is getting dark in North Minneapolis and you are walking home.

You see an elderly woman walking towards you. The risk is minimal, therefore you stay your course and say hello.

You see a man dressed in business casual or better walking towards you. The risk is minimal, therefore stay your course and say hello.

You see a man or woman dressed in a hoody, covered with tatoos, face somewhat hidden, etc... The risk is ???, therefore ???.

John said...

Now just in case one were to say, "I am a tough middle aged man who can handle himself." Let's consider that it is your ~18 year old daughter who is for some reason walking in North Minneapolis at dusk.

She sees an elderly woman walking towards her. The risk is minimal, therefore she stays her course and says hello.

She sees a man dressed in business casual or better walking towards her. The risk is ???, therefore ???

She sees a man or woman dressed in a hoody, covered with tatoos, face somewhat hidden, etc... The risk is ???, therefore ???.

John said...

Now if yourself or the young woman err on the side of caution and get to a well lit area or cross the road.

Are they being wise?
Are they being unfairly prejudiced?

Of course, I encourage my daughters to listen to that discriminating prejudice voice. And I am perfectly happy with that...

jerrye92002 said...

That's what I meant by "discrimination" being a survival instinct. I always use this example: If my only experience with tall black men in wide-brimmed hats are that they shoot at you, what should my reaction be the next time I see one? It has nothing to do with race, other than it is a distinguishing characteristic, just as the hat is. Should I gain more experience (in a safe setting), with this category of people, I may change my opinion and my behavior. That isn't curing my racism, either, it's just combining my experience to guide my future actions. IMHO, most of the true racists are those who contend that every action is based on race and fail to see that people are different in hundreds of other ways.

John said...

C'mon Sean,
What would you have the young woman do?

Also, am I unjustly biased against men because I always taught my young daughters to find a woman to ask for help if they got seperated from us?

Or am I playing the odds that the woman is a safer option and more willing to help?

Sean said...

What a young woman does on a street in a bad neighborhood at night is one specific scenario that doesn't address the larger societal issues.

John said...

Please elaborate. I am working off the following point that you posed above.

"The question is, does he still cross the street?"

Sean said...

If you read the entire piece, "The question is, does he still cross the street?" is not meant as a literal question.

The question isn't whether or not you acknowledge your biases, the question is what you do about it.

Last month, you guys were arguing that sentencing disparities that worked against minorities couldn't possibly be the fault of bias, but now here you are talking about how we all have bias, and it's perfectly natural!

jerrye92002 said...

Maybe I'm dense, but I'm not following this argument. "Discrimination" is not a bad thing. It is an essential survival skill. If you don't know "black on tan is a friend to man, but black on yellow can kill a fellow" then a coral snake just might kill you, or you might run off a cliff trying to avoid the harmless king snake.

There are all kinds of ways to distinguish one person or group of people from another. A group of young Arabic-looking men, especially in Arabic dress, praying loudly to Allah in an airport raises my suspicion. A young woman in skimpy attire, on the street late at night, makes me think of her in a way that may not be true. A grandfatherly white fellow drives his van round and around past the playground every day. Am I prejudiced against old guys, or white guys, or just old white guys, or just about ANYBODY that might be behaving in a way that might harm children?

We are never going to get to a society free from discrimination; it's contrary to human nature and to common sense. What we CAN achieve is that this discrimination can be based on something other than racial bigotry. Unfortunately we cannot do that so long as the race-baiting industry continues to suggest that every negative outcome is caused by race, rather than on something else perfectly reasonable. Let me give you a prime example:

Near here we have some "opportunity housing," forced on the city by the wizards of the Met Council in the name of "diversity" (of income). It's subsidized housing. The number of police calls per capita in this small enclave is 12 times that of the rest of the city! Kids from this area who grew up in the excellent local public schools still lag behind in important ways. Oh, did I mention most of these folks are black? Does anyone want to suggest that criminality and educational failure are characteristic of black people? I sure don't. Is this somehow the result of racial bias on the part of their neighbors? How so, and how does that excuse what is taking place? Does the "excuse" of bias do more harm than the bias could have?

John said...

Good point.

Do you remember in which post we made those claims? I am thinking you have paraphrased somewhat incorrectly.

I believe that my view was that race bias was not the significant problem that Laurie and yourself claim it to be.

Sean said...

Here's a really long, but good piece, on how racism has impacted communities from the Civil War to today.

John said...

Atlantic: Case for Reparations