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Response to M Kitt (Reply #9)

Sat Aug 3, 2013, 11:53 AM

14. You're confusing terms in a way that makes them undefinable.

That's the issue I have with a book that I'm reading, in part. The writer carefully defines her terms and says, explicitly, "I will use 'racism' to mean __________ and 'prejudice' to mean _________." She makes one structural and the other personal.

Then, 5 pages later, she's using 'racism' to mean personal bigotry.

She defines 'racism' in current structural terms--and then, a few pages later, uses the structure's origin in things associated with prejudice to imply that it is currently an expression of prejudice. Careful use of metonymy sets the reader up to infer things that she hasn't shown. Untangling her mess as I read is impossible--it so changes what she'd have to say that there's no way to know what, exactly, she'd be saying in 20 pages. I just know where her fallacies got her. (However it's advocacy research, so if you challenge her it's only because you're a racist and you should STFU while those who support her advocacy have said how wonderful it is. Academic rot.)

Do you want institutions and structure or do you want to focus on the personal? Is it important to show how much personal prejudice supports "structural racism"? Can things attributed to structural racism also be better justified in completely non-racist terms, so that what bears the mark of racism isn't current racism but is both historically produced and causally incidental? To what extent is history needed to reach your interpretation in the absence of supporting current information, at the risk of separating out perceived intent from actual intent?

I ask some of these questions and point to an incident from my first year at a new job. I had to assign seats. I had a list of names that I got at 7 am. I used standard software to randomly produce a seating chart for 6 groups, the first seating chart needed at 7:25 am on the same day. Some of the students accused me of racism in their seat assignments. Using software was just an "excuse" and they knew what was really going on. For those kids, history was more often a hobble than a help.

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M Kitt Jul 2013 OP
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libodem Jul 2013 #1
M Kitt Jul 2013 #2
libodem Jul 2013 #3
M Kitt Jul 2013 #4
libodem Jul 2013 #5
M Kitt Jul 2013 #6
libodem Jul 2013 #7
intaglio Jul 2013 #8
M Kitt Jul 2013 #9
LineLineReply You're confusing terms in a way that makes them undefinable.
Igel Aug 2013 #14
M Kitt Aug 2013 #15
muriel_volestrangler Aug 2013 #17
M Kitt Aug 2013 #18
DetlefK Jul 2013 #10
FiveGoodMen Jul 2013 #11
M Kitt Jul 2013 #12
DetlefK Jul 2013 #13
Major Nikon Sep 2013 #22
DetlefK Sep 2013 #23
Major Nikon Sep 2013 #24
muriel_volestrangler Aug 2013 #16
DetlefK Aug 2013 #19
libodem Sep 2013 #20
M Kitt Sep 2013 #21
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