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- Posted: Mon, 01 Oct 2012 01:52:34 +0000
The Sky Does Not Bow
Okay, none of you know better than people who have attained degrees in this subject, kay? You're all a bunch of posturing high school-level schmucks.
When those degrees have the same seriousness and legitimacy as chemistry or calculus I'll consider taking their opinion seriously.
Same way as racism and sexism are terms that everyone can use as a vague way of saying they've been discriminated against, chemistry and calculus are just degrees that aren't any different than degrees in graphic design or liberal arts. They all share the same level of seriousness and legitimacy.
Racism and sexism have fairly clearly defined words actually. I don't see how they are vague in any meaningful way. And no, those other degrees are far more useful to the world. Graphic design is nice, but will it get you to the moon? Will it create medicine? Will it engineer the next great technology? Probably not.
Racism and sexism are terms that are clearly defined yet debated upon. But in a realm where things aren't distinguished from each other, I would say that yes, a degree in graphic design will take me to the moon, will create medicine, and will engineer the next great technology. Racism is racism, sexism is sexism, and a degree is a degree.
In terms of the overall helping of people, the sociological definitions and application of sexism and racism helps highlight racial and gender disparity so that those things can hopefully be expressed and corrected without other groups hijacking the terms and draining them of their seriousness. Those terms help to distinguish one group from another. I mean, one instance of racism and sexism is the same as any other. Some black person called me a cracker today, so I forced him into slavery. That’s equal racism.
I see, so you want nuance where it suites you but don't like it where it doesn't suite you. Well I say you take your masters in sociology and go submit a resume to be a chemical engineer.
It feels like you are draining the term of its seriousness by robbing of it its universal "badness," and transforming it into yet another tool for some political praxis. If a group of white kids beat up a black kid we would rightly call it a racist attack, or we would if they did it because the kid they beat up is black. However if a bunch of black kids attack a white kid, because he is a white kid, it doesn't get the much more terrible definition of "racist attack," heck if we buy into Tim Wise, its even understandable and slightly acceptable.
Hence why I don't buy into that line of thinking. You are in effect bastardizing the word and making it less of a general word for something bad and in essence making it look like merely a tool to claim moral superiority in all things and allow the bad actions of one group to be seen as less terrible. So if women advocates (As one Swedish professor did) having all men spend a year in jail just because, it isn't a sexist idea. But if a man suggests the same thing, a male professor from Sweden it would be considered a sexist idea via the magical property of selectively choosing what actions, ideas and hatreds are really bad based on who does them. If racism and sexism is bad, then ALL RACISM AND SEXISM IS BAD. Advocating that attitudes, actions and ideas should not be called racism or sexism (Which in a sense makes them sound less severe) because of who said them to whom is just a weasly self serving cop out.
No, I don't really want nuance where it suits me. It's just nice to have nuance where nuance is necessary, and in the context of legitimacy and seriousness, sometimes one form of racism and sexism, in reality, is actually more severe, legitimate, and serious than another form of racism. That's when the sociological definitions for racism and sexism need to be employed in order to highlight that seriousness and legitimacy.
I already know what would happen if I took my masters in sociology and submitted a resume to be a chemical engineer. I'd probably be laughed at. I also know what would likely happen if I told someone that a black person called me a cracker, said that it was racist, and then compared that form of racism as being equal to racial genocide. I'd probably be laughed at.
I used the definition of what a degree is without acknowledging the specifics therein and compared that vague understanding to racism and sexism in order to show how being specific is sometimes necessary.
The terms shouldn't necessarily be political. They should be sociological. If a group of white people beat up a black person I would call it a hate crime due to the attack being motivated by prejudice or intolerance. I would only consider that attack to be racist if it took place in a society where white people were the dominate class and black people were in the minority.
If a bunch of black kids attack a white kid, because he is a white kid, it doesn't get the much more terrible definition of "racist attack," although it SHOULD if it meets the requirements of black people being the dominate class in an area where white people are in the minority.
Using racism and sexism, at least in how I would use those terms in a sociological way, wouldn't be used as a tool to claim moral superiority in all things, they would be used to help highlight the worst cases of prejudice and intolerance from the less severe cases. I would use those terms to help grant people equal rights, and I would use those terms to help stop gender and racial oppression and genocide.
If women advocated having all men spend a year in jail just because, I wouldn't consider that to be a sexist idea, I would consider it to be a stupid idea. And if a man suggested the same thing, I would consider that idea to be stupid as well. I hopefully would not want to use racism and sexism in a petty "They can say it so I should be able to say it, too" kind of way.