Bigotry (you win, I give up)

Rurpy rurpy at
Wed Apr 19 22:01:48 EDT 2017

On 04/19/2017 01:56 PM, Ben Finney wrote:
> Rurpy via Python-list <python-list at> writes:
>> I don't think stupid black people or senile old people should be
>> allowable because those are not choosable *behaviors*. But is
>> unable-to-learn old people a choosable behavior? You said that's ok.
> No, I didn't say that's okay, and I'm not aware of Chris saying it.

You and Chris refused to find any fault with the use of the two
stereotypes under discussion one of which was "unable-to-learn 
old people".  You defended a poster's use of those stereotypes.
That is fairly described as "being ok with".

> At this point you've been reading far too much into what isn't there,
> and now you're just flatly stating untruths.

Per above it was not an untruth and you are flatly stating an 
untruth by claiming it was.

>> Again, I'd really appreciate it if you could clarify.
> Bigotry against people for innate traits is not okay.'

That's not clarifying, that's repeating.  I asked some specific
questions that you are not answering, for example, which of the 
stereotypes in the list I gave are you ok with and which are you 

Nor is your criteria a very useful given that for many "traits" 
there is not widespread scientific consensus on whether they are 
innate (genetic?), cultural, or consciously adopted.  
The boundary between cultural and conscious is also very fuzzy.

> Demanding special respect for a class of ideas is not okay.

People are not distinct from their ideas.  People internalize 
ideas and their ideas form part of their identity.  When deeply
held, we tend to call them beliefs rather than ideas.
Thus disrespecting or attacking some ideas is tantamount to 
attacking the person, at least in the person's view if not your's.

This is why you cannot create a forum where no offense is given 
to anyone.  The best you can try to do is try to find some tradeoff
that balances freedom of expression and offense.

Using stereotypes greatly increases the likelihood of offense.
I gave a number of reasons why previously and which I refer you 
back to. [*1]

One particular one I'll reiterate: it doesn't help to say "I 
mean only the bad ones", the stereotype WILL get applied far 
beyond the scope you may intend.  When you say "ugly americans", 
the "americans" part creates an implicit contrast with other 
nationalities and implies that somehow americans are more 
ugly than people of other nationalities.  Yet you have no 
real evidence of that.  There does not even exist a definition 
of uglinesss in a quantitative sense let alone any metrics 
of the number of uglies of any nationality.[*2]  So you 
accuse millions of people of an offense with nothing to 
back it up other than some generalized (and informed by bias) 
feelings it is true.  Given that most americans, like people 
of any other nationality, don't see themselves as ugly, you 
offend a large number of people some of whom will dispute your 
claim.  Do you want that discussion on the Python list?

This is also why I drew the parallel to the African-American 
criminal stereotype which, at least in the US, is widely 
recognized as racist and harmful the entire African-American 
community even though there are some (disputed) statistics 
defenders of the stereotype can resort to.  In your case, you 
don't even have that.
Now I'm the one who is starting to repeat things so I will
leave it at that.
> Wringing your own impression out of people's words, and then claiming
> that's what they said, is not okay.

We've established above that that did not happen.
> I hope that clarifies.

No, sorry.

[*2] I am sure there is research that addresses this issue but 
 I doubt there is widespread consensus on its consistency or 
 applicability.  Regardless, research is seldom used validly 
 in the employment of stereotypes and even less so in the
 understanding of the stereotype by the recipients.

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