December 1, 2005

Defining the terms:  racism, feminism, and the problem of identity politics

An obvious problem with the grievance aspect of identity politics is that the grievance needs to be perpetually maintained in order to justify the identity aspect of the politics.  And in an era of academic specialization wherein just about every individual identity group has its own set of researchers and theoretical champions—as well as a widely accepted generic narrative of grievance—the observation that continued relevance (which translates into political power) is contingent upon the nursing and care of the grievance is something that too often goes unexamined by a society that, at base, really does wish to understand and fix the problems and frustrations expressed by individual identity groups.

All of which leads, I’d argue, to a cultural millieu that—perversely—is fearful of acknowledging its own successes, because to do so is to make irrelevant those who have been so adamant about bringing about those successes.  The ends, ironically, have been subsumed by the means, and the means—or better, the structural apparatus designed to support and animate the individual identity group’s cause and promote its political agenda—have become more coveted, insofar as they carry all the institutional power, than the ends they claim to advocate.

This dynamic is spelled out nicely in today’s WSJ by University of Penn law professor Amy Wax and Philip Tetlock, the Lorraine Tyson Mitchell Endowed Professor in the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.  From ‘We Are All Racists At Heart’ [subscription only; I’ll quote at length]:

It was once easy to spot a racial bigot: The casual use of the n-word, the sweeping hostility, and the rigid unwillingness to abandon vulgar stereotypes left little doubt that a person harbored prejudice toward blacks as a group. But 50 years of survey research has shown a sharp decline in overt racial prejudice. Instead of being a cause for celebration, however, this trend has set off an ever more strident insistence in academia that whites are pervasively biased.

Some psychologists went low-tech: They simply expanded the definition of racism to include any endorsement of politically conservative views grounded in the values of self-reliance and individual responsibility. Opposition to busing, affirmative action or generous welfare programs were tarred as manifestations of “modern” or symbolic racism.

Others took a high-tech path: Racists could be identified by ignoring expressed beliefs and tapping into the workings of the unconscious mind. Thus was born the so-called “implicit association test.” The IAT builds on the fact that people react faster to the word “butter” if they have just seen the word “bread” momentarily flashed on a screen. The quicker response suggests that the mind closely associates those concepts. Applying this technique, researchers such as Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard have found that people recognize “negative” words such as “angry,” “criminal” or “poor” more quickly after being momentarily exposed to a black (as opposed to a white) face. And this effect holds up for the vast majority of white respondents—and sometimes even for majorities of blacks.

What do investigators conclude from their findings that “blackness” often primes bad associations and “whiteness” good ones? According to some, it shows that prejudice permeates our unconscious minds and is not just confined to the 10% of hard-core bigots. Know it or not, we are all vessels of racial bias. From this sweeping conclusion, based on a small if intriguing scientific finding, social scientists, legal scholars, opinion leaders and “diversity experts” leap from thought to conduct and from unconscious association to harmful actions. Because most of us are biased, these individuals claim, we can safely assume that every aspect of social life—every school, institution, organization and workplace—is a bastion of discrimination. The most strenuous measures, whether they be diversity programs, bureaucratic oversight, accountability or guilt-ridden self-monitoring, cannot guarantee a level playing field.

What is wrong with this picture? In the first place, split-second associations between negative stimuli and minority group images don’t necessarily imply unconscious bias. Such associations may merely reflect awareness of common cultural stereotypes. Not everyone who knows the stereotypes necessarily endorses them.

Or the associations might reflect simple awareness of the social reality: Some groups are more disadvantaged than others, and more individuals in these groups are likely to behave in undesirable ways. Consider the two Jesses—Jackson and Helms. Both know that the black family is in trouble, that crime rates in this community are far too high, and that black educational test scores are too low. That common awareness might lead to sympathy, to indifference, or to hostility. Because the IAT can distinguish none of these parameters, both kinds of Jesses often get similar, failing scores on tests of unconscious association.

Measures of unconscious prejudice are especially untrustworthy predictors of discriminatory behavior. MIT psychologist Michael Norton has recently noted that there is virtually no published research showing a systematic link between racist attitudes, overt or subconscious, and real-world discrimination. A few studies show that openly-biased persons sometimes favor whites over blacks in simulations of job hiring and promotion. But no research demonstrates that, after subtracting the influence of residual old-fashioned prejudice, split-second reactions in the laboratory predict real-world decisions. On the contrary, the few results available suggest that persons who are “high bias” on subconscious criteria are no more likely than others to treat minorities badly and may sometimes even favor them.

There is likewise no credible proof that actual business behavior is pervasively influenced by unconscious racial prejudice. This should not be surprising. Demonstrating racial bias is no easy matter because there is often no straightforward way to detect discrimination of any kind, let alone discrimination that is hidden from those doing the deciding. As anyone who has ever tried a job-discrimination case knows, showing that an organization is systematically skewed against members of one group requires a benchmark for how each worker would be treated if race or sex never entered the equation. This in turn depends on defining the standards actually used to judge performance, a task that often requires meticulous data collection and abstruse statistical analysis.

Assuming everyone is biased makes the job easy: The problem of demonstrating actual discrimination goes away and claims of discrimination become irrefutable. Anything short of straight group representation—equal outcomes rather than equal opportunity—is “proof” that the process is unfair.

Advocates want to have it both ways. On the one hand, any steps taken against discrimination are by definition insufficient, because good intentions and traditional checks on workplace prejudice can never eliminate unconscious bias. On the other, researchers and “diversity experts” purport to know what’s needed and do not hesitate to recommend more expensive and strenuous measures to purge pervasive racism. There is no more evidence that such efforts dispel supposed unconscious racism than that such racism affects decisions in the first place.

But facts have nothing to do with it. What began as science has morphed into unassailable faith. However we think, feel or act, and however much apparent progress has been made, there is no hope for us. We are all racists at heart.

[all emphases mine]

That last bit—the assignation of faith where facts should stand—is, I should add, a professional kindness on the part of Wax and Tetlock; because a more cynical person (me for instance) might suggest that the only real “faith” these researchers and theoreticians have is the faith that a gracious society will accept and embrace such terrible flawed premises and, in doing so, help them retain their institutional and political relevance as purveyors of what I’ve come to believe is a truly dangerous bit of anti-individualist political manipulation that threatens the very principles on which this country was founded.

Which brings me to another interesting and related point:  ownership over the terms deployed by identity politicians.  I’ve discussed this before at some length with regard to “blackness” (most recently, using attacks on Michael Steele and Clarence Thomas as a jumping off point), but it bears repeating here:  in a political culture increasingly reliant on identity politics, with its attendant voting blocs, those who control the designation and define the parameters for authenticity will own the power and can dictate the message. 

Why this is particularly dangerous to individualism is that it conveniently factors out of the equation any of those who might ostensibly fit the identity profile (black, woman, Jew, Muslim) but who, because they refuse to adhere to the groups’ animating master narrative—generally one of grievance, generally framed as one requiring solidarity [the kernel assumptions upon which these narratives are formed I’ve discussed here, using “race” as an example]—can be excommunicated as “inauthentic” (or, at the very least, can be described as Uncle Toms, self-hating Jews, inauthentic Muslims, or, as is the case with women outside of the “feminist” mainstream, in denial).

Which brings me to this post, in which the author, Ampersand, tries to stake a claim on the “feminist” label in order to call into question the feminist bona fides of Reason and Boston Globe columnist Cathy Young—and by extension, to call into question any self-styled feminists who adhere to the equity feminist school, rather than the more institutionalized and academically-sustained gender feminist school.  From “Feminism and Anti-Feminism”:

What if I called myself a conservative—but virtually all of my writings on the subject were devoted to passionately denouncing conservatives, and I didn’t actually favor any conservative policies to address any of today’s problems? What if I had virtually never published a positive word about conservativism (apart from “however…” type passages in essays denouncing feminism?) What if my self-styled conservativism had the practical effect of giving myself a better platform from which to denounce conservatism?

My guess is that, if all that were the case, most conservatives would find my claim to conservatism suspect. Modern conservativism encompasses many different views, but it doesn’t encompass the view that modern conservatism is a terrible idea that ought be done away with.

From this opening, it is apparent what the gambit is going to be, and the argument of course fails immediately once you refuse to take the bait, which is precisely this:  in order to accept Ampersand’s argument, you must first accept the implied definition of “conservatism” on offer—a definition that is dependent upon a rigid adherence to the current orthodoxy.  But since we aren’t really talking about conservatism here other than as an analogy, I’m going to shift the terms and rephrase the argument:  in order to be a proper feminist, you must embrace and adhere to an established narrative of proper feminism—and those who don’t can be factored out as in fact “anti-feminists.”

Feminism, however, is embroiled in its own internal struggle between second wave (gender feminists) and equity feminists like Young, who are hostile to the academic feminism that has established itself as the “official” feminist narrative after years of insinuating itself into academic, social, and public policy discourse.  And so what we are really seeing here is an attempt by gender feminists to control the feminist label and excommunicate those who refuse to adhere to a particular narrative and a particular political strategy for the women’s movement.

Here’s Ampersand:

Do I use “anti-feminist” as a pejorative – that is, as the OED puts it, as “a word or expression which by its form or context expresses or implies contempt for the thing named”? I don’t think I do. I use it just as I use words like “libertarian” “republican” and “conservative” – terms which describe political philosophies.

It’s true that in the loose talk of a comments section that was (at that moment) pretty much all-feminist, I wrote that Cathy said “stupid anti-feminist things.” In hindsight, I should’ve put that more diplomatically (i.e, “endorses terrible anti-feminist ideas”), but I’m sure I’ve also referred casually to “stupid republican things” at some point in my life – and I bet many conservatives have done the same with words like “feminist” and “liberal,” when they’ve been talking casually among the like-minded. That doesn’t make any of these words pejoratives which can’t be used in a good-faith debate.

Ampersand then goes on to define femism this way:

A “feminist”:

1) Believes that there is current, significant, society-wide inequality and sexism which on balance disadvantages women.

2) Advocates for the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

…and an ”anti-feminist” thusly:

The Oxford English Dictionary defines an anti-feminist as “One opposed to women or to feminism.” Cathy doesn’t oppose women, but you’d have to impossibly distort her work to argue that she doesn’t oppose feminism; virtually all her writings on feminism are attacks on feminists and feminism. The OED offers a second definition: “a person (usu. a man) who is hostile to sexual equality or to the advocacy of women’s rights.” Cathy isn’t hostile to equality (and she’s not a man!), but her writing clearly is “hostile to… the advocacy of women’s rights.” She thinks women already have virtually all the rights they need, and therefore further advocacy is unnecessary.

[…] The danger I see in Cathy’s views is that, if they were generally accepted, the result would be that the word “feminist” would be drained of meaning. If Cathy is a feminist, then feminism is no longer “an organized movement for the attainment of… rights for women” (to quote the definition of “feminism” Cathy cites). Feminism no longer means fighting sexism against women. Judging by Cathy’s writings, her brand of feminism involves attacking feminism at every turn while generally supporting men’s rights activists.

In Cathy’s view, being a feminist doesn’t require endorsing any feminist policy positions, or ever taking a pro-feminist stand in public, or being part of a movement for attaining women’s equality, or thinking such a movement can do any good at all. In the end, Cathy seems to think “feminist” is a term that can reasonably be applied to anyone who doesn’t explicitly oppose equality. But nowadays, virtually everyone says they favor equality, so that means nothing.

The key dodge here is that last bit:  saying you favor equality and actually doing so are two different things, and so it is no argument at all to try to dismiss the equity component as the defining condition for feminism simply by pointing out that people are able to lay claim to it without really meaning it.  After all, it is equally possible to say you’re for equality and then support a “movement” that is less concerned with “equality” than it is at giving women an institutionalized advantage by consistently playing on victimology and a public fear of being called sexist or misogynistic.

The bottom line is, Ampersand’s entire argument begs the very question it sets out to answer.  First, the argument relies upon our willingness to frame feminism in such a way that in foregrounds the first item in the definition offered (belief that there is current, significant, society-wide inequality and sexism which on balance disadvantages women) while seeking to marginalize the second term as something that is easily faked (advocating for the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes).  Importantly, and going back to the argument I made at the top of this post, what we can see here is that Ampersand, by embracing the first item, is embracing the means – the assertion that the struggle to bring about the equality that is the aim of feminism is always necessary, because women are in a perpetual state of social inequality—while refusing to accept that, as Young and the equity feminists argue, the ends have largely been reached (or, at the very least, the gender feminists are hurting those ends by trying to push the pendulum too far the other way).

For Ampersand, sexism—whether the facts say so or not—is always there, even if it is subconscious, and so the war to combat it is a necessity; but other feminists like Young argue that, in her words:

[…] in many areas, the so-called feminist movement in its present form is actively working against equality — e.g., demanding that female perpetrators of domestic violence be treated differently from male ones. (By the way, I’m a bit puzzled at the notion that a gender-egalitarian society would necessarily have a lot less domestic violence: isn’t this idea thoroughly refuted by the fact that domestic abuse is no less common in gay and lesbian couples than in heterosexual ones? The notion that lesbians batter each other out of “internalized misogyny” — see this article, for instance — strikes me as, to put it as politely as I can, unconvincing.)

By seeking to turn equity feminism into “anti-femism”—that is, by seeking to demonize those feminists who are unhappy with the current orthodoxy writing the official narrative of feminism—Ampersand is engaging in the same kind of power play that many blacks are engaging in when they seek to exclude those blacks who disagree with the means to reach ends—social equality—that are largely agreed upon.

****

(thanks to Terry Hastings for the WSJ piece)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 7:55pm
67 comments | Trackback

Comments (67)

  1. More reasons to be an individualist and think for yourself, with worrying about labels…

    More reasons to not become a movementarian…

  2. ALSO:

    For the True Believer, the biggest hatred is reserved for the apostate and heretic…amazingly these are more hated than the infidel.

  3. “withOUT worrying about labels…”

  4. An obvious problem with the grievance aspect of identity politics is that the grievance needs to be perpetually maintained in order to justify the identity aspect of the politics.

    Uh-huh.

  5. I’m trying not to think of this post as Jeff’s love letter to Ann Althouse,

    or as a way for him to have an e-threesome with Jill and Lauren.

    Otherwise, nice analysis, Jeff.  fwiw, Times art critic Robert Hughes addressed a lot of these same issues back in the late 80s/early 90s in his book ‘Culture of Complaint.

    The basic message of which was “grow the fuck up, people”

  6. Phoenician still doesn’t understand that conservatives, hawks, libertarians, etc. are not a single-minded, and can politely and rationally disagree.

    Unlike him, we are not enthralled to the Slave Morality of the sacred, all-powerful Movement. We are not True Believers by definition of our core beliefs.

    Jeff can disagree with two books you posted. And he won’t be the Devil…ooops, I mean a HYPOCRITE.

  7. I’d comment, but I’m on my period.

  8. What if I called myself a conservative—but … I didn’t actually favor any conservative policies to address any of today’s problems?

    I’d be George Bush?

    Someone was gonna say it.

  9. What if I called myself a conservative—but virtually all of my writings on the subject were devoted to passionately denouncing conservatives, and I didn’t actually favor any conservative policies to address any of today’s problems?

    Or Andrew Sullivan?

  10. but … I didn’t actually favor any conservative policies to address any of today’s problems?

    Uh, excuse me

    tax cuts

    privatization of social security

    ownership society

    ok, he’s not Reagan, but he’s not Johnson either

  11. And in an era of academic specialization wherein just about every individual identity groups has its own set of researchers and theoretical champions—as well as a widely accepted generic narrative of grievance—the observation that continued relevance (which translates into political power) is contingent upon the nursing and care of the grievance is something that too often goes unexamined by a society that, at base, really does wish to understand and fix the problems and frustrations expressed by individual identity groups.

    A tricky read, yes, but not often can a single excellent writer illuminate so much with one sentence.

    Turing word “research”… You guys tell me.

  12. …or, as is the case with women outside of the “feminist” mainstream, in denial…

    No.  XX’s like Jill and Lauren and Althouse call us equity feminists “sex-traitors”.

    And you forgot this, Jeff.

    Geneticist==Racist

    The truth is, we’re still evolving.  From a time when we had to be suspicious of other tribes, and promote our kin to the max–because the other tribesman that looked different might just kill and eat you or enslave you.  From a time when women were owned, and had to be protected because of that reproduction thing.  There is a biological basis for all behavior.

    You’re right, we’ve made huge progress.  I, personally, have never been discriminated AGAINST because I’m a woman.  I’ve been discriminated FOR, in school and at work.  And you see the results of that policy right here in known blogspace.  Ann Althouse starts a flamewar and begins shrieking “sexist attack” when someone responds.  But people like Feministe and Jesse Jackson don’t want to surrender the advantage that identity politics gives their tribe.  They’re gonna suck it dry.

    I’ve seen the gender card played hundreds of times at school and work.  It sickens me and disgusts me every time.  The “sistahs”, like the infamous Dr. Nancy Hopkins, are completly dependent on a sort of gender-based welfare.  And believe me, it is an institution, and they are never going to give it up.

  13. Do I use “anti-feminist” as a pejorative – that is, as the OED puts it, as “a word or expression which by its form or context expresses or implies contempt for the thing named”? I don’t think I do. I use it just as I use words like “libertarian” “republican” and “conservative” – terms which describe political philosophies.

    emphasis mine

    What the hell does that mean?

  14. An obvious problem with the grievance aspect of identity politics is that the grievance needs to be perpetually maintained in order to justify the identity aspect of the politics.

    Congratulations, Jeff – you’ve just re-stated the “Tar Baby Principle”.

    “You become attached to what you oppose.”

    SB: first

    catch a rabbit

  15. PIATOR is now a meaningless troll. No further need to pay attention to.

    What the hell does that mean?

    That Jeff is using “anti-feminist” not in a “bad” sounding way but a bit more like the old-school “anti-federalist”… just a political philosophy. No value judgements.

  16. If i were to say, the mean IQ of american blacks is 85, while the mean IQ of non-hispanic caucs is 100, would you call me a racist?

    how about if i said, on the average, XX are not as good at mathematics as XY based on functional and morphorphological characteristics of the human brain?  Am i a sexist?

    feh.

  17. IT’S BECAUSE OF THE FREAK-O-NOMICS!

  18. The danger I see in Cathy’s views is that, if they were generally accepted, the result would be that the word “feminist” would be drained of meaning.

    And then you might have to actually sit down and consider the meaning of the word “equality”. Clearly, you’ve not done so.

    TW: power

    Go figure.

  19. The race peddlers and poverty pimps are more than happy to keep moving the goal post and redefining the term “racism”.  Hell, wouldn’t you if your livelihood depended upon it?

  20. If i were to say, the mean IQ of american blacks is 85, while the mean IQ of non-hispanic caucs is 100, would you call me a racist?

    how about if i said, on the average, XX are not as good at mathematics as XY based on functional and morphorphological characteristics of the human brain?  Am i a sexist?

    Now, now, honey.  Being one of those XX types, you shouldn’t go worrying your pretty head about “means” and other mathematical concepts which, after all, you have just acknowledged you’re not good at.

  21. That Jeff is using “anti-feminist” not in a “bad” sounding way but a bit more like the old-school “anti-federalist”… just a political philosophy. No value judgements.

    I FAIL.

    That’s actually Ampersand talking. Then she goes on to equivocate and not act so much on the good intent I attributed to Jeff which I should have attributed to her.

  22. Funny how someone who considers me racist for making presumptions under the belief that blacks are members of a largely stereotypical, monolithic group would also deride any blacks who stray from that stereotype as self-hating race traitors.

    This double standard puts me in a bind. If I don’t want to be racist, should I or should I not agree that Clarence Thomas is an embarrasment because he fails to think like a good black man should?

  23. The distinction is one of group advocacy or a singular ideology/philosophy rather than an adherence to the notion of equality or fairness as a principle carried through and applied to all aspects of one’s life and relations.  If I agree with the notion of sex/gender equality not because I adhere to some sort of neo-Marxist gobbledygook that informs the intellectual base of what has morphed into a political advocacy group, but rather because of a deep moral conviction to the idea of treating everyone fairly, then of course there will be times at which I [at which one will] conflict with the ideological orthodoxy when I feel certain claims are dishonest, overstated, or unwarranted, etc.

  24. OHNOES sez:

    That’s actually Ampersand talking. Then she goes on to equivocate and not act so much on the good intent I attributed to Jeff which I should have attributed to her.

    You might be as surprised as I was to know that Ampersand is a dude.

    I think he’s just in it for the pussy. The juggling isn’t gonna do it.

  25. So instead of a level playing field, what is desired is a level outcome. In order to achieve that, an extremely uneven (unlevel?) playing field must be adopted.

    Should I want to score as much in a basketball game as Shaq, I would have to be greatly helped or he would have to be greatly hindered, so that we would be able to score the same level amount of points. I already know that a level playing field, particularly in sports, would not yield a level outcome.

    But, to some, it is not enough to level the field. No, they want an idiot and a genius to get the same test score. So as to not hurt the idiot’s feelings.

    TW: level. Why do you ask? grin

  26. Jeff:

    The same argument holds pretty well for liberal values versus liberal means.  i.e., most liberals would agree that we ought to do away with poverty if we can.  It ought to be clear by now that there is no welfare state solution that does more than reduce the “effects” of poverty, while leaving poverty in place as a perpetual problem.  It’s a little like a non-falsifiable hypothesis, that gives the impression of being a great truth.  A “true liberal” however, would be interested in reducing and/or eliminating poverty no matter what the “how” happens to be.  Er, even if it meant turning all the laborers into… capitalists.

  27. playahgrrl, you wrote:

    The truth is, we’re still evolving.  From a time when we had to be suspicious of other tribes, and promote our kin to the max–because the other tribesman that looked different might just kill and eat you or enslave you.  From a time when women were owned, and had to be protected because of that reproduction thing.  There is a biological basis for all behavior.

    Thank you. Imperialist, racist, sexist AmeriKKKa is constituted of people who, like people everywhere, are directed by some selected mechanisms that kept the species going. But it is our Western, classically liberal values that allowed us to critically examine whether some of these hard-wired attitudes remained necessary or healthy, in part or in whole, under contemporary circumstances. Marxism and all of its permutations— the Old Left, New Left and today’s hodge-podge of anti-American leftists—did not bring us enlightenment and freedom. They are reactionaries who enslave us.

    Gloria Steinem and NOW had much less to do with my liberation than did/does capitalism. Contraceptive technology, ready-to-wear clothing, labor-saving devices, Sam’s Club and produce sections, the luxury courtesy of Western medical science to have only two or three kids because they will very likely survive me rather than bearing ten so three might survive—these freed me, as a female, to do something other than tend to kinder and hearth. Capitalism and technology rock, sisters!

  28. Dem- I think it’s quite appropriate to distinguish between classical liberalism (which aligns, in my opinion, with contemporary legal conservatism and small l-libertarianism) and contemporary liberalism, which is in large part beholden to nannystatism, centralized control, soft socialism, and identity politics.

  29. Angie Schultz hisses at reality with:

    Now, now, honey.  Being one of those XX types, you shouldn’t go worrying your pretty head about “means” and other mathematical concepts which, after all, you have just acknowledged you’re not good at.

    Playah grrl did not aver that she lacks mathematical skills, What she indicated—correctly—is that on average XXs are less gifted at mathematics than are XYs. Psychometrics bears her out.  XXs, however, are superior, on average, in verbal skills. These facts would in turn account for the fact that women—once social and legal barriers were removed— stormed into fields like law, but there are not many of us making names for ourselves in physics or engineering. Some, but not very many.

    IOW, Larry Summers was right, before he groveled before the Matriarchy.

  30. You might be as surprised as I was to know that Ampersand is a dude.

    I think he’s just in it for the pussy. The juggling isn’t gonna do it.

    Posted by Pablo

    We have a winner.^^

  31. “The more equal conditions are, the less explanation there is for the differences that actually exist between people; and thus all the more unequal do individuals and groups become.”

    – Hannah Arendt, who was bouncing off an idea outlined a century earlier:

    “When all conditions are unequal, no inequality is so great as to offend the eye;

    whereas the slightest dissimilarity is odious in the midst of

    general uniformity: the more complete is this uniformity, the

    more insupportable does the sight of such a difference become.

    “Hence it is natural that the love of equality should constantly

    increase together with equality itself, and that it should grow

    by what it feeds upon. This never-dying, ever-kindling hatred,

    which sets a democratic people against the smallest privileges,

    is peculiarly favorable to the gradual concentration of all

    political rights in the hands of the representative of the State

    alone.”

    – Alexis de Tocqueville, who never fails to give good quote, no matter how ragged he’s been run.

  32. The preceding pair of old-school quotes illuminates the mechanism by which the modern-day grievance industry perpetually sustains itself.

    Basically, the more equal a society becomes in reality, the easier it is to start spotting things that are “inequalities” in theory.

  33. the easier it is to start spotting things that are “inequalities” in theory.

    And yet, as long as people try to be honest with themselves and educate their children to be critical thinkers, it becomes easier to spot the manufacturing of sham inequalities.

    At least we can hope…

  34. Once again, it all boils down to: do you want equality or equal opportunity.  Sorry, can’t have both.

  35. And what THAT boils down to is: Do you want equality, or freedom?

    And what THAT boils down to is: How do you like your liberty served—French fried, or American sunny-side-up?

  36. Playah grrl did not aver that she lacks mathematical skills…

    No, I did.  It was a bit of a joke, Mona.  Are you quite sure you’re not a feminist?

    …there are not many of us making names for ourselves in physics or engineering. Some, but not very many.

    Oh, I know one or two.

  37. Mona makes some good points, but is a bit optimistic.  Some one once said something about the thin veneer of civilization.

    Since tribalism is “hard-wired” any deep change requires an evolutionary time-scale to re-wire.  Conclusion: we are indeed all racist and sexist knuckledraggers.

    By denial of this fact, the job of the identity politics pimps is made easy.  This is due to the guilt associated with the self-delusion that we all buy into: individuals know they are racist but believe that most right thinking folks are not.

    Hi, my name is Horst and I am a racist.

    What counts is action.  Clearly, it is bad to act in a negative way based on native, hard-wired prejudice.  It is easier to act out thus when one assumes they are lilly-white pure heart.  Knowing you are part devil is the first step in letting the better nature of your inner beast do what is right.

    tw approach: you are cleared for the visual approach runway two-niner left contact the tower on 118.4

  38. Here’s how you test what kind of a feminist a woman is.  Arrange to be in the car when she gets pulled over for a moving violation.  If she gets all “Helpless li’l me, officer…?” with the cop, she’s a phony.

    Turing = placed, as in Small Dead Animals placed a link to this post on her blog, making this the first time I can recall that I’ve clicked through there to here.

  39. Oh my dear Angie, if you are implying I may be a feminist due to lack of a sense of humor, pas de tout. Why, I distinctly recall that while taking several Womyn’s Studies courses in the late 80s, one of the professors announced that some of her colleagues felt our class should be referred to as an “ovular.” Cuz, yanno, “seminar” is etymologically related to that nasty penis juice.Well, Angie, I howled, oh yes I did, Angie. Hardy belly laughs, even tho the sisters were so deadly serious. (Rude of me, I know, but such is my funny bone—when it is tickled I can’t control myself.)

    And if you doubt me, Angie, I can link to course offerings for “ovulars” in Women’s Studies and other depts. Hilarious stuff!

  40. The most corruscating verbal attack on misanthropist Womynist feminism was this screed in a 1994 textfile e-zine.

  41. The most corruscating verbal attack that I’ve ever seen, I meant to say…

    Turing = work, as in The preview button will work, but only if I press it.  red face

  42. Angie, i have a bs math and ms math/stat, and i work in mathematics, in the defense industry. wink

    I am well treated by my management and co-workers (nearly all XY).

    But my feminist sistahs say the only reason i am well treated and promoted, is because i am not terrible to look at.

    Do you understand?  Their sexism greivance robs me of all value except appearance.

  43. and you know what else?  wimmin are not a minority– more XY are conceived, but more XX are live-births.  and we live longer.

  44. THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.*

    A world that would cause wood even in Ampersand.

  45. If i were to say, the mean IQ of american blacks is 85, while the mean IQ of non-hispanic caucs is 100, would you call me a racist?

    how about if i said, on the average, XX are not as good at mathematics as XY based on functional and morphorphological characteristics of the human brain?  Am i a sexist?

    feh.

    Posted by playah grrl | permalink

    on 12/01 at 04:57 PM

    Of course you are. Any use of facts in the new millenium is verboten AND sexist (and any other “-ist” that morons can name).

  46. “Knowing you are part devil is the first step in letting the better nature of your inner beast do what is right.”

    Horst,

    I think an easier way to say this is that the minute we stop denyiny that we are assholes is the minute our lives take a turn for the better.

    I love it when someone calls me an “asshole” because then I get to say my favorite words – “And you’re not”.

  47. Hmmm.

    Well yeah of course.

    Then again wait until we asians get our shit together man.  Slavery?  We had the Chinese Exclusion Act!  Emancipation in 1865?  The Act wasn’t abolished until 1943!

    We’re next in line man and I’m licking my chops and getting ready to belly up to the bar and tell the bartender to “make mine a double, and charge it to that whitey over there…”.

    Hehehe.  smile

  48. This obsession with seeing people as their race is a real sickness.  For a particularly horrible and illustrative example, see this:  “CNN strips ‘Black Woman’ to her race.”

    The eagerness of liberals to see black individuals as little racial pets is becoming more and more apparent every day, and the fact that this is the equivalent of out-and-out racism is painfully apparent.

  49. Then again wait until we asians get our shit together man.

    ed, man, you don’t need us!

    mean asian IQ is 103.

    wink

  50. ed, man, you don’t need us!

    mean asian IQ is 103.

    And the Jooos, even a tad higher. Oy.

  51. OT:  an attempt to trackback this post gave me the following response:

    Notice: Undefined variable: tb_array in /home/jprotein/public_html/pmee/modules/trackback/mcp.trackback.php on line 467

    1 Trackback unable to be accepted

    /OT

    I made this a required reading assignment at the Random Institute for Reason and Insight.

    Excellent post.

  52. And the Jooos, even a tad higher. Oy.

    just the Ashekenazi, i think– and it’s one whole std! wink

    Mona, you are spot on about the feminists–the main reason i hate ‘em, is they have no sense of humour.  And they’re so boring.  I would put this complaint at Feministe, but i can’t stand to read through any of their threads.  I tried to read the Vox thread Jeff linked, but my eyes rolled back in my head, and i nearly succumbed to narcolepsy–feminism acts on me like a deadly soporific.

    or mebbe it is just my attention span.

    wink

  53. oh! oh! and the very best part, is, if i was a guy and saying this, wouldn’t they all screaming “sexist attack!!!!!” ?

    lol.

  54. the main reason i hate ‘em, is they have no sense of humour.

    My legal writing prof in law school was a raging feminist, and her belief that we wimmins were so very oppressed intruded into many of her lectures. It really annoyed me. (Hilariously, her hubby, also on the university faculty, was a notorious philanderer.)

    So…I almost submitted an assigned memorandum of law to senior partners under the firm name “Bimbos, Chicks, Broads and Dames.” Fortunately for my grade, the three other ladies in my study group talked me out of it, rightly insisting that the instructor would not be amused.

  55. For the True Believer, the biggest hatred is reserved for the apostate and heretic… amazingly these are more hated than the infidel.

    I experienced that about four years ago when I replaced my home-system Mac with a Windows machine.  i.e. “DIE, HERETIC! APPLE AKBAR! APPLE AKBAR! APPLE AKBAR!”

  56. Hmmm.

    mean asian IQ is 103.

    Crap.  Below the median again!

    It’s a conspiracy by whitey!!  Down with the northern hemispheric foreign oppressors!

    smile

  57. Jeffie, I think you should lose the “gender Feminist” terminology. Nobody knows what it means unless they’ve read Hoff Sommers, so it’s totally obscure. The real distinction is between the feminists who believe in equality as an ideal and those who believe in the perpetual oppression of women. I like to call the latter “victim feminists” but even that’s not always clear. We’re talking about one group that wants everybody to play well and get along, and another group that’s out for some sort of special interest power grab.

    Somebody said he thought Amp was out for the pussy; I’ve met him and I doubt he’s ever got any, as he weighs about 400 lbs and talks with a lisp.

  58. I’ve actually talked with one of the Feministes about this, and she, too, hates the term “gender feminists. I try to vary the terminology—sometimes I use “second wave feminists”—but so long as we distinguish between the equity feminists, who are expressing an article of American faith (equality of opportunity), and the feminists who engage in an identity politics that is, at base, a political interest group that is looking for special dispensation for its members, then I’m fine with whatever terminology is now apposite.

  59. “Identity feminists” is probably best. Ampie’s religion depends on the notion of oppression for membership in the club, so it’s a lot more about identity than about principles or any of that difficult shit.

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