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  1. 1. Would you want a bigoted setting?

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Asymmetry is a dangerous concept, one that often leads to the slippery slope of "well it's fine for X to do this to Y, because Y is better off than X, so it's not in a bad overall context." Aka "there's no racism other than from white people", or "sexism is only when men do it". 

 

 

Racism and sexism are institutions, not attitudes. People of color and women generally do not have the power to exercise institutionalized oppression, therefore they are incapable of being racist/sexist.

 

Or so I was told.

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Re racism or sexism, I think the problem is that people are using different definitions of them. Personally I think it gets very confusing if you try to disassociate these concepts from power relations. So the way I use them, I don't try to do this: I define racism as something like "prejudices held by a higher-status group about a lower-status group, associated with markers designated 'racial.'" So by this definition a 'black' person could be racist about 'white' persons only in a context where blacks were the higher-status group. Same with sexism.

 

(Edit: the notion of 'whiteness' could be a pretty interesting tangent in its own right. In practice 'white' isn't a race, even less so than 'black;' it's simply synonymous with 'the privileged majority;' its definition has shifted as new groups have been accepted as 'whites.' So under this definition, a 'black' could never be racist about 'whites,' since if that happened, the 'whites' would not be 'white' anymore!)

 

This isn't to say that blacks can't have prejudices about whites, or women can't have prejudices about men. The consequences are just drastically different depending on the power relations, and I think it's unnecessarily confusing to lump both under 'racism,' even if qualified with 'reverse' or somesuch.

 

I also think that almost invariably the prejudices held by minorities about majorities [defining 'majority' as 'the dominant group' and 'minorities' as 'subordinated groups,' even if they don't always match the numbers, as with sexism for example] are simply reactions to and mirror images of the prejudices held by the majority. Don't like 'reverse racism' or 'reverse sexism?' Do something about racism and sexism, and it will start to fade.

 

This is why I don't have a problem with even pretty vicious humor if it's punching up (i.e., at the expense of a higher-status group), but I do have a problem with the 'same' jokes if they're punching down (at the expense of a lower-status group.)

 

Or, put another way, I'll start telling jokes about gays, blacks, and Romany the day I'm absolutely 100% certain gays, blacks, and Romany are suffering no discrimination at all from the majority. And if I say something that offends a gay, black, or Roma I'll try to figure out what it was and not to do it again, and if it really was due to prejudice against straight white first-world males on their part, well, that's a pretty small thing to have to deal with compared to, say, being regularly pulled over/hassled/beat up by the cops simply for being somewhere they don't expect you to be.

Edited by PrimeJunta

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Because it's pretty much useless if you intended to be "fair". A) you're stating that there is an opressor and an opressee, a one-sided relationship that never changes and is this way by default. Instituted by the opressor, that the world order is specifically designed by the opressor so that his whole class/group can opress the other group. B) You're entirely letting the opressed group off the hook. It's alright if they hate every single member of the other group - they have a reason, right? Anything they do is absolutely fine, it cannot be racist/sexist, no matter if their actions were motivated solely by the sex or race of their victim.

 

This definition doesn't work in general, it doesn't serve to identify generally undesirable attitude and behaviour. It's applied selectively to certain groups you chose beforehand. As such, it's useless as a tool of universal morality.

 

edit: yes, everything PrimeJunta wrote, I find this approach quite hypocritical and morally worthless.

Edited by Merlkir
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Because it's pretty much useless if you intended to be "fair".  

 

 

I'm given to understand that's usually not the goal of the people who use these terms.

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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@Merikir, what part of the moral implications of the outlook I outlined do you find objectionable? The take-home ethical message is just something like this: if you find yourself as a member of the majority, be mindful of how what you say and do looks from the POV of the minority, and try not to be a ****. That's not very onerous IMO.

 

Surely you're not claiming that power relations don't matter? 'Cuz that strikes me as patently absurd.

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They matter in scale of effect. Being brought up as I was, I always believed the moral principle of recognizing and rejecting racism and sexism was universal and I should not weigh its various cases based on the amount of damage I see them deal. (or measuring them up to some general sum of all damage dealt towards a group to determine its validity)

Hating or mistreating someone because of his or her race or sex is simply wrong. That is what racism and sexism mean to me.

 

Adding a framework of "context" seems absurd to me, especially if that leads to a selection of hate and bigotry you're ok with, because in the "wide context", they don't hurt the majority.

 

Your approach may seem helpful to you, but look at what it means to the non-majority: If you find yourself a member of a minority, it's ok if you say offensive stuff, the majority will just have to deal with it.

 

You know what? I'll try not being a **** to everyone the same way. It may not work all the time. Some people will be offended, that's just how communication is.

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I'll put this in a separate message since it might get a bit longer.

 

Because it's pretty much useless if you intended to be "fair".

Bold claim. Let's see you argue it.

 

A) you're stating that there is an opressor and an opressee, a one-sided relationship that never changes and is this way by default. Instituted by the opressor, that the world order is specifically designed by the opressor so that his whole class/group can opress the other group.

Incorrect. I'm stating there is an oppressor and an oppressee. I am not stating this relationship is one-sided, nor that it never changes. I am stating that it is this way 'by default' when examining any particular situation in which it is, indeed, this way 'by default,' such as with institutionalized racism or sexism. How these relationships originated is irrelevant to my argument. If I was looking at the historical roots of such systems, though, I would point out that people tend to use their power to improve their lot, which leads to a feedback cycle where the powerful use their power to gather more power, and consequently human societies (at a larger than tribal level) almost invariably tend to self-organize as feudal structures. Our very recent experiment with large-scale democracy is very much the exception!

 

B) You're entirely letting the opressed group off the hook. It's alright if they hate every single member of the other group - they have a reason, right? Anything they do is absolutely fine, it cannot be racist/sexist, no matter if their actions were motivated solely by the sex or race of their victim.

I most certainly do not condone, say, black on white violence motivated by the race of the victim. I just think it is confusing and incorrect to treat both as 'the same.' The power relations make all the difference. I wouldn't consider violence by an invading army 'the same' as violence by a resistance movement resisting the invasion 'the same' either. This doesn't mean that I'd consider it justifiable for the resistance movement to, say, blow up a school full of children -- but it does mean that I would be even more outraged if the occupying army surrounded a school, lined up the children, and shot them.

 

This definition doesn't work in general, it doesn't serve to identify generally undesirable attitude and behaviour. It's applied selectively to certain groups you chose beforehand. As such, it's useless as a tool of universal morality.

Oh, but it's entirely generalizable! All it's doing is adding a variable to the ethical equations: that of power relations. For example, I would say that "it is generally undesirable for a member of a privileged group to use that privilege to marginalize and objectify members of minority groups." See?

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Racism/Sexism/Ageism etc. are just forms of prejudice.

 

Prejudice is presumed knowledge about a person/group of people based upon a trait they possess. Usually negative though not always.

 

e.g. Assuming a black person is more likely to commit a crime or assuming a man is emotionally stunted.

 

These are not to be confused with stereotypes which are based in fact.

 

e.g. Men are stronger than women or Chinese people are short.

 

Stereotypes are GENERALLY true though are often broken. Stereotypes are also useful tools for a storyteller to paint a quick image of a character you meet, relying on your knowledge of the stereotype to fill in the blanks that they don't explicitly state.

 

If those sound similar then let me explain the difference;

A stereotype is used to fill in the blanks of information about a group of people in the knowledge that most of them will break the stereotype in multiple ways and accepting those breaks from the stereotype as you gain specific information about individuals.

A prejudice is assumption that people are they way you think they are, even when evidence suggests that they are not. Prejudiced individuals hold onto their assumptions against logic.

 

With the examples given, it is prejudiced if you believe that Black people are criminals because the vast majority aren't. It is also prejudiced if you expect a man to have poor emotional intelligence, again, because the truth is that most men aren't emotionally deficient.

 

If I assume that a man will be stronger than a woman, I'm basing that on a stereotype. If I then meet a very scrawny man and a female bodybuilder I discard my stereotype. Likewise, meeting a tall Chinese man breaks the stereotype. It doesn't make the generalisation less true, it simply means that it doesn't fit this person.

 

Essentially, the difference between prejudice and stereotype is whether it holds true for the majority. 

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For example, I would say that "it is generally undesirable for a member of a privileged group to use that privilege to marginalize and objectify members of minority groups." See?

 

The fact it's limited to members of a privileged group (did I mention I really don't like the way "privilege" is used these days? I do.) means it's not a universal standard.

 

Now you're putting cases of child murder on scales and actually think they'd tip one way or the other. I guess I can never get into your mindset, I'm sorry.

Edited by Merlkir

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Are you, by any chance, white, male, straight, with a middle-class (or higher) background, and living in a first-world country?

 

Serious question, 'cuz it's extermely relevant to the 'punching up vs punching down' thing. These things are not symmetrical because of power relations!

 

(Full disclosure: I am all of the above.)

 

And if I told you I'm black, female, low-class, living in a third world country? Would that cange anything?

 

 

Either people are equal, in which case you treat them equally and no side gets special treatment

OR

They are not. And guess when, if one side gets special protection, then they are not equal.

 

Some past injustice or "power imbalance" is irrelevant, because this isn't about power.

 

 

So I don't really care if you're black or white, gay or staight, jewish or atheist or whatever.

I reserve the right to myself to treat everyone equally - which also means making fun of everyone equally and/or making no special exceptions with how I approach them.

And I really don't care how much one plays victim or screams injustice.

 

Would you have spoke up if all the zombies were fat white dudes? No.

"But that's OK because white dudes rule the world!"

No.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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That "definition" is exactly what bothers me.

 

Care to explain why?  :)

 

 

Because there are no "instituation" you speak off.

Racist views are held by individuals and are nto something that is institutionalized.

 

You can speak of a generale populaces general sentiment, but that still doesn't make it "institutionalized".

 

 

 

 

 

 

I define racism as something like "prejudices held by a higher-status group about a lower-status group

 

So by your definition a lower-class person cannot be racist towards a higher-class one.

I'm sorry, but racism/sexism is not tied to social status OR political power.

 

That can only make it easier to display said racism/sexism/whatever-ism and can make it more apprent, and possibly, stronger.

 

 

And now you're also using the term "white" for priviliged bigots basicly? And you don't consider that insulting?

Edited by TrashMan
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* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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I most certainly do not condone, say, black on white violence motivated by the race of the victim. I just think it is confusing and incorrect to treat both as 'the same.' The power relations make all the difference. I wouldn't consider violence by an invading army 'the same' as violence by a resistance movement resisting the invasion 'the same' either. This doesn't mean that I'd consider it justifiable for the resistance movement to, say, blow up a school full of children -- but it does mean that I would be even more outraged if the occupying army surrounded a school, lined up the children, and shot them.

 

Redicolous.

You are assigning motives and a righteous cause to one side and making one side "more" correct, even if they are doing the exact same thing, for the exact same motivations.

 

you are basicly saying:

All whites hate blacks because they feel superior - they are bad

All blacks hate whites because the whites make them feel inferior - their hate is less bad.

 

Which is bollocks. You don't get to assign motivation. You don't know it.

 

Shooting a child - regardles if I'm a rebel or invader  (and I contest that both terms are horribly misplaced) - is horrible and inexcusable. Trying to justify one side while demonizing the other is a dobule-standard.

Worse, it's hypocrisy because it's based on something that completley tangential to the problem (monies, numbers)

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, but it's entirely generalizable! All it's doing is adding a variable to the ethical equations: that of power relations. For example, I would say that "it is generally undesirable for a member of a privileged group to use that privilege to marginalize and objectify members of minority groups." See?

 

That variable has no place there. Period.

Edited by TrashMan

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Yes, I do.
I don't see those as bad things either.
It's part of human nature to be in conflict and conflict is what makes a story much more enjoyable.
These conflicts could range from majority vs minority (race, sexual orientation, etc), A vs B (men vs women. country A vs country B, etc)

If you accept wars and murders in your game, then there's no reason not to accept those :)

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Now you're putting cases of child murder on scales and actually think they'd tip one way or the other. I guess I can never get into your mindset, I'm sorry.

That's too bad, since that pretty much precludes the possibility of meaningful discussion between us.

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That "definition" is exactly what bothers me.

 

Care to explain why?  :)

 

 

Because there are no "instituation" you speak off.

 

 

Says the straight white cis male.

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid

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And if I told you I'm black, female, low-class, living in a third world country? Would that cange anything?

It would make me think that you're lying, actually.

 

Either people are equal, in which case you treat them equally and no side gets special treatment

OR

They are not. And guess when, if one side gets special protection, then they are not equal.

Ah, but "equal in what sense?" is the crucial question. I believe very, very strongly that we're all equally deserving of human dignity. However, I observe that in practice we're very much unequal about actually receiving the same. Any ethics that doesn't take this reality into account becomes a bleak Spenserian "liberty to stay at the Ritz or sleep under a bridge."

 

So I don't really care if you're black or white, gay or staight, jewish or atheist or whatever.

I reserve the right to myself to treat everyone equally - which also means making fun of everyone equally and/or making no special exceptions with how I approach them.

Yes, we privileged tend to reserve that right a lot.

 

Would you have spoke up if all the zombies were fat white dudes? No.

"But that's OK because white dudes rule the world!"

No.

Actually, if they were all fat white dudes, then yeah, I very likely would have spoken up.

 

But if they were all slim, able, and dressed in suits, then no, I probably wouldn't have. Give me a Che shirt to wear with my AK-47 and I'd have been blasting away at the forefront.

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Summa summarum, to get this back onto the topic of games -- I don't like characters that pander to (negative) stereotypes, espespecially negative minority stereotypes. This doesn't mean you can't have a villain who's black or a hero who's white. It just means that it's a big turn-off for me if everyone -- more or less -- is written to stereotype. I find it stale, predictable, boring, and -- often -- just plain mean. Why would you even want to do this stuff at the expense of a group that's already being shat upon?

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One more thing:

 

And now you're also using the term "white" for priviliged bigots basicly? And you don't consider that insulting?

I'm not making any value judgment about "white" individuals. "White" does equal "privileged," though. That's not insulting. It's simply a fact.

 

Because I'm white, male, and straight, I never encounter any number of problems that non-white, non-male, non-straight people do on a daily basis. For example I've never been pulled over by the cops simply because I 'look suspicious,' my boss doesn't talk past me to one of my coworkers when asking about the status of that project, and if I fall ill, my wife will automatically be treated next of kin, to pick three real-life examples. [No, Finland doesn't -- yet -- have marriage for all, although I have hopes we'll join the civilized world some time this decade.]

 

And yeah, I do find it helpful to be aware of this privilege and try not to abuse it.

 

(Also, just so you know -- almost everybody's privileged in some circumstances, and being a member of a minority doesn't give you a free pass to abuse your majority status when you happen to be in those circumstances. It's just that white straight men are in the privileged position almost all the time so we need to deal with this more than most other groups.)

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OT: How would you abuse privilege? (ie the fact something is NOT happening to you) The concept of Straight White Male Privilege is often used to put the privileged demons in line. You are a straight white male, you should feel bad, because everyone else is living harder lives than you do. 

 

That's all fine, I don't mind people telling me to check my privilege (usually it means they're out of arguments). As you say, everyone is being privileged sometimes. Thanks to affirmative action and anti-discrimination laws (themselves often rather discriminative), the prevalence of straight while male privilege seems to be shifting somewhat.

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Says the straight white cis male.

 

I don't recall ever telling you in this thread either my race, my sex or my financial status.

 

But let's for a second assume you are right. So what?

That doesn't make you right.

 

I don't think you are even aware what the word "institutionalized" means. Because quite frankly, it's the opposite. It's the minorites and spaceial groups that are protected by the state (and other institutions) to an often redicolous degree.

 

So please, tell me how this institutionalized racism is supposed to work when the state is enforcing Political Correctness with the zeal religious fanatics could envy.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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And if I told you I'm black, female, low-class, living in a third world country? Would that cange anything?

It would make me think that you're lying, actually.

 

 

But of course. It's far easier than actually questioning your preconceptions after all.

It's the default human response when hearign something that doesn't mesh well with his worldview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, but "equal in what sense?" is the crucial question. I believe very, very strongly that we're all equally deserving of human dignity. However, I observe that in practice we're very much unequal about actually receiving the same. Any ethics that doesn't take this reality into account becomes a bleak Spenserian "liberty to stay at the Ritz or sleep under a bridge."

 

 

So you want to establish equality by being unequal?

 

Note that I am talking strictly about behavior, not welfare, so that strawmen can go die in a fire.

 

 

 

 

So I don't really care if you're black or white, gay or staight, jewish or atheist or whatever.

I reserve the right to myself to treat everyone equally - which also means making fun of everyone equally and/or making no special exceptions with how I approach them.

Yes, we privileged tend to reserve that right a lot.

 

Actually, any sane man or woman would reserve that right - because it's the only oen that makes sense.

 

 

You can go ahead and live convinced in some "white guilt" if it makes you feel better tough.

 

 

 

 

 

Why would you even want to do this stuff at the expense of a group that's already being shat upon?

 

Counter question - why des it even matter?

It's not like there is some global fixed supply of "that stuff"  that has to be balanced.

 

"Hmmm..I made 3 jokes about Jews today. That means I have to make 3 about blacks and 3 about white. Oh, and 1 about Irish."

 

 

Edited by TrashMan

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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And now you're also using the term "white" for priviliged bigots basicly? And you don't consider that insulting?

I'm not making any value judgment about "white" individuals. "White" does equal "privileged," though. That's not insulting. It's simply a fact.

False. White privilege is not a 'fact' it is a non-scientific theory that proposes an explantion for various inequalities in society. It's a very contentious term and by no means "agreed" as a fact.

 

One may subscribe to the idea and use it as a paradigm to interpret the world but they should not delude themselves into believing it's an objective reality.

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