When you get a user who claims to be race-blind. you know they're probably white and are certainly not black, because whites can afford to ignore racial issues, but blacks never can. However, when you get a user who archly explains that he disapproves of curbs on hate speech because he's a First Amendment absolutist, you can pretty much assume that you're dealing with a straight white affluent male.
For some reason, this subspecies believes that if there are problems stemming from prejudice and/or ugly language, the right answer is not to suppress the behavior or the speech; it's to publicly debate the issue at length until everyone can see why prejudice and hate speech are bad things. There are three problems with this. First, it would mean any troll or bigot could derail any discussion, and their beliefs would take center stage in the public discourse. Second, naive First Amendment absolutists are seldom politically active, and they never attend or read about the sort of earnest public debates they urge on everyone else. Third, such debates don't actually have much power to change people's minds.
What they're really saying is "I don't want anyone else to have the power to say I'm in the wrong."
See also (including the comment threads):
John Scalzi, The Whatever: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficuty Setting There Is
Mordicai Knode, Tor.com: A Modest Proposal for Increased Diversity in Dungeons and Dragons
Emily Asher-Perrin, Tor.com: Hey, Everyone -- Stop Taking This Picture! (No, I mean it.)
Dave Chappelle: Hanging out with my friend Chip
Men get abused too:
Men occasionally get abused by their domestic partners or suffer economic discrimination, or are falsely accused of rape. Whites are sometimes the victims of racist behavior or reverse discrimination. Once in a while, straights even feel (temporarily) like their sexuality is unacceptable. It just happens about a hundredth as often and a thousandth as severely as sh*t like that happens to women, gays, and persons of color. It is nevertheless essential that these wrongs get brought up and ceremonially paraded through every discussion of the very real social problems that arise from sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination.
It's bullsh*t. They don't actually want to discuss those problems. They just want to assert a sort of spurious parity so they can pretend their demographic group isn't playing the game at its lowest level of difficulty.
An extended example of paradoxical SWMM race blindness collected in the wild:
- Well you see, that's the problem right here: deciding that some speech should be punished is arbitrary. You can say racist speech should be punished, and I can say speaking about soccer/football should be punished. And I can make up a lot of reasons to support my argument: football incites violence (see: riots from angry supporters), it exploits poor countries (see: how much money the governments of African countries spend on the World Cup when they host it).
- Football is a bad thing, just like racism is a bad thing, and we must stop people from speaking positively about it because it lets all these problems continue.
- Do you see the problem here? It doesn't matter what your arguments are for banning some type of speech: in the end, you can't prove that any kind of speech is bad - you can think a type of speech is bad, but you can not absolutely, positively prove it: in the end it will all come down to a matter of opinion. And of course, any argument you use to ban racist speech can be used to ban any other kind of speech, like I just demonstrated with football.
- Also, words are just words. They only hurt if you care what somebody thinks of you. And you shouldn't care what racists think of you, that's silly. Also, nobody is entitled to be loved by everyone, so get over it. We're supposed to be mature adults, yet we can't ignore some idiot we never even met who insults us or a group we belong to... Am I the only one to see a problem with this? Anyway, if you can't get over the fact that there are idiots on this planet who won't like you, it's still not a reason to censor anybody or anything. That would be a disproportionate response.
- Finally, censorship also helps hatred and racism much more than it stops it. Censorship just hides the symptoms, i.e. racist comments. But it has some very negative consequences too:
- - Censorship doesn't people less racist. Let's clear that out right now.
- - Censorship can be used to make racists look like victims "look, we can't even state our opinions! That's oppression and thank those [insert some race here] for using the law to control what we can say!".
- - Censorship doesn't stop the speech, it just makes it more subtle and go unchallenged.
- Racism is still very visible in politics today. Except that instead of taking the form of Hitler and a holocaust, it takes the form of politicians blaming crime on foreigners and promising to act against this. It takes the form of people being born in a country, having lived there 18 years, and then being kicked out back "home" because they broke the law one time.
- Censorship didn't solve these problems. And you know what else? People don't even seem to realize that sending somebody back to Africa even though he lived all his life in Europe is racist. That's because this is a subtle form of racism, and therefore it is never challenged.
- If we allowed people to express racist views, we would also see these people get challenged. Let racists explain why they think other races are inferior, and then counter them with your own arguments why all races are equal. If you're right, you'll have no problem proving it. There's obviously a good reason why you aren't racist, right? Surely you must be able to argue why every race is equal, aren't you? Then what are you afraid of?
- I'll give you another example: A few days ago I was watching a video about Muslim extremists protesting in the UK, and speaking of violence. Now if you ask me, I think these extremists are a minority and don't represent the majority of Muslims. But... People who think these extremists represent most Muslims, are discouraged from speaking out. They're not allowed to say "I'm scared, we should kick out all Muslims". If they do, they could be socially stigmatized or even fined or jailed.
- These people still dislike Muslims and fear them. Shutting them up doesn't change that fact. But maybe if they were allowed to speak up, non-extremist Muslims would start to realize that the extremists give them all a very bad reputation, and the non-extremist Muslims might decide to do something to show everyone "hey, don't worry, these idiots are just a minority, we're cool people really".
- When Switzerland banned minarets not long ago, there were some angry Muslims and many Western countries condemned this decision. But interestingly, a group of Muslims decided to cool things down instead of expressing anger or disappointment at the ban. They basically said "This ban shows that Islam has a bad reputation, thanks to extremism. So we, Muslims, instead of getting angry, need to start showing the Swiss people that most of us aren't extremists". Instead of fighting the Swiss racism, they opened up to it and fought the cause of it: Islamic extremism. And that did a lot to improve the image of Islam in Switzerland. I'm not going to say everyone in Switzerland now loves Muslims, but you could feel that relationships have changed for the better since these events.
- Now if the minaret ban hadn't been allowed to happen, or if the Swiss people had had no way to express their fear of Islam, Switzerland would have a bigger racial conflict today. But because people were allowed to express their anger/fear, and because some Muslims were wise enough to address the problem, things have improved.
- Hiding our heads in the sand doesn't achieve anything.
Four comments from one user:
- Uh, there are plenty of "Black" characters in D&D and quite popular; The Drow. Dark elves cursed with BLACK SKIN (going back to pre AD&D) for countless sins and banished under the earth (UnderDark is a later invention) where they worship demons and do all sorts of horrible rituals and perversions...
- Frankly, I say "Death, Death, DEATH to Political Correctness"...
- Hasn't Heroic Fantasy, popular fiction, whatever suffered enough!? I read lots of cool paperbacks and zines as a kid, sadly most from a used bookstore on a latchkey kid's allowance. So I grew to love the "Pulps" from a real lucky set of the Lancer Conans, Gor by the "Bucketload", the last gasps of "Creepy" and the 80s Heavy Metal...
- Then when I "Grew up" and started buying "New" stuff, "P.C." had nearly taken over. It had BUTCHERED everything good in literature, replacing good old "Thud and Blunder" with this refined careful to be so PC so loving of other cultures so hateful of white culture especially WHITE MEN...
- None of the changes were good. They basically assumed that every "Minority" or whatever would whine and complain so they put it all through a wringer of mediocrity. Oh, the writing was "Better" and as a well read person I could understand the more "Advanced" plots, but they were still boring. But a few companies kept merging into fewer bigger companies and they just changed and shut down everything. Gone were the "Men's Adventure" mags, the "Comics Magazines", in was the "New Wave" stuff, etc.
- But really, even if you fill it with black, oriental, women etc. characters do you widen the market? Nope. Most Blacks, women, orientals, whatever wouldn't be caught DEAD with Heroic fantasy, D&D, whatever. All it does is spit in the face of it's main consumer, WHITE MEN.
- And I really like hearing how "Sexist and Racist" I am since I'm mainly Irish, the race the British practiced on for a long time before they dared do their Jolly old rampage around the world and only made us "White" because of a fear of "Reparations".
- I want to pound a steak in the heart of "Political Correctness".
- Have women be wenches, princesses to rescue, harem girls, etc. Have blacks filed teeth cannibals in the jungle. Orientals sinister masterminds or crazed men with axes, uh, well Kubotai was cool and that Kung Fu stuff is cool and the women make cool DragonLady/Hottie characters.
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- So SICK of "Political Correctness".
- Frankly, the biggest consumer of scifi/fantasy fiction and it's similar products, like RPGs is the "White Male"...
- Yeah, it's not a "Real World" where they get spat on, made to feel like criminals applying for a job they are twice qualified for and then see women, minorities that just got hired be their boss, and the media keeps reminding them how "Evil" they were. Yeah, why not do to D&D what the big publishing industry did to the paperback and magazine market, fill it with PC crud that's lame and bland and spits in the face of the white man who's still about the only one that buys it?
- The fantasy RPGs are mostly as Dunsany would have said "Beyond the fields we know". They rarely match (going Robert E Howard at best) the "Real" world with the excess of biomes, cultures, creeds... But then again the "high Elves" don't excatly go around in white sheets with starched pointy hoods and lynch "Dark Elves" though the behavior of the latter at least would be deserving. Drow have "Feather Fall" in the latest incarnation, though, don't they?
- But if we fill RPGs with more "Appeasement" and "Apology" and other "PC Drek" we'll not gain any of the "Orities" buying it, just less of the base which given the dwindling economy is smaller.
- Right now, tons of attempts at "Diversity" in the RPG field, but now the "Old School" RPG is gaining underground popularity. Re-makes, retro, even "Pulp" is selling on the net and person to person probably more than the pile of new, slick, glossy stuff in the bookstore. People are getting sick of PC. And RPGs are meant to be a fun escape, not a lecture in diversity...
- I say we pound a stake in the heart of PC...
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- Frankly, I want Political Correctness to END in flames.
- Yeah, let's ruin RPGs the same way PC ruined paperback books and magazines and movies and TV. I nice big swill of "Diversity" with all the rough edges rounded off so no one, especially a non-white person is offended... Of course it's fun to hate "Whitey" and all the evil he's done, who cares if some of us "Whities" are IRISH who mainly were enslaved by the British who practiced on us long before they dared do their rampage that got white hated again long after Rome fell?
- Frankly, it's white men buying RPGs... So, yeah, let's spit on them to be so "Diverse" and "Politically Correct"...
- This article is making me so mad I'm considering boycotting TOR, actually NOT buying any product and if they publish something I must buy, waiting for it on the used marketplace...
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- So are you just deleting any comment that disagrees with your PC screed?
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Four comments by another user (plus one moderator) on an article that was clearly labeled as having GLBT content:
- I face palmed. Please people, sci-fi stories should stand on their own account. Sci-fi stories should be rated as based on story quality, not as gay or straight. That's just my opinion.
- And, to be honest, I did not read the article. I don't need any more GLBT propoganda shoved down my throat, I get enough of that on CNN and other main stream media outlets!
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- I hope this post stays up and my opinion can be heard and hopefully understood.
- To be fair I went back, gritted my teeth and read the article above.
- I propose that the anthology title creates a marketing problem with straight readers. While the article did not specifically state that one if the anthology’s goals was to target non-GLBT audiences, would you agree that the GLBT community would benefit if straight readers picked the [i]The Bending the Landscape Series[/i]up and read it? To be honest, if I was at the local book store and was browsing around and found an anthology about gay and lesbian writing I would roll my eyes and move on. I feel like most of the sci-fi reading straights I know would do the same thing. Perhaps if the anthology was titled something along the lines of “REALLY AWESOME SCI-FI and FANTASY STORIES that contain GLBT characters” I and other straights like me might be more inclined to pick it up and read the back cover to find out more. While my proposed title needs quite a bit of work, that sort of marketing is less in your face in regards to pushing the GLBT agenda and might broaden the audience (which is a good thing, no?).
- I don’t mind stories with GLBT characters, but [b]I want GOOD stories that contain GLBT characters[/b]. The focus should be on kick-ass sci-fi stories. Same thing with stories about dragons, I don’t want to read a bunch of stories about dragons, I want to read kick-ass stories that contain dragons in them. Does that make sense, or did I lose you there?
- That’s why I face palmed when I read the title of your article, I felt the focus of the anothology was too narrow.
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- A general note: I'd just as soon not see any more comments explaining that the commenter doesn't read the fiction being discussed, has no plans to read it, and is nevertheless sure that none of it is any good. It's no way to start an interesting conversation.
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- I've read the article, can I please post my comment? Is my comment threatening, harassing or violent in any way? Moderator, please assist me in adjusting my comment so that it meets the website's criteria for posting.
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- If I promise to head to Barnes & Noble as soon as I get off of work and purchase this book, can I post my comment without having it summarily executed each time?
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Not monitoring their own behavior:
Another pattern of the privileged: not keeping track of the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. They only know they've crossed the line when someone in authority tells them so. If this doesn't happen, their behavior stays bad or gets worse. You may be able to teach them where the line is by explaining it at length every time, until it gets so boring that they'll internalize the information so they don't have to hear about it again. (Downside: this takes a lot of work, and you'll be bored too.)
If you're stuck being the enforcer, be prepared for grumbling about how heavy-handed you are. Don't let this mislead you into using a lighter hand, because they won't reciprocally pay attention at lower volumes. They'll just ignore you until you get the two-by-four back out of the closet and make it clear that you really do mean it. Be prepared as well to have them claim that any prior damage caused by their behavior is your fault, because you should have told them earlier.
Do not argue about their intentions. They'll swear they meant no harm, then sulk like fury because you even suggested it. In most cases they'll be telling the truth: the possibility that they were giving offense never crossed their minds. Neither did any other scenario, because unlike real adults, they take no responsibility for getting along with others. The idea that in a cooperative work situation, getting along with one's fellow employees is part of the job, is not in their worldview.
This too is a function of privilege. They assume they won't get hit with full penalties for their first offense (or half-dozen offenses), and that other people will always take on the work of tracking their behavior, warning them when they go over the line, and explaining over and over again what they should have done and why. It's the flip side of the way people of the marked state get hit with premature negative judgements (stupid, dishonest, sneaky, hysterically oversensitive) on the basis of little or no evidence.
Note: attractive SWMFs sometimes pull this one too.