#WhiteGenocide is Utter Bullshit

rainbow_puke_hitler_by_naigora49-d31znyiOf late I’ve been wrangling with a few white supremacist loons on Twitter from the nonsense-hashtag #Whitegenocide, all thanks to my friend there @Seculawyer who seems to have been sparring with them for a while. Supposedly, according to these lunatics, we’re currently in the middle of some sort of ‘white genocide’. I mean, just take a look at their absurd website HERE.

In a moment of delicious irony they kept trying to guess my race, as a means to dismiss me based on pure racial stereotype, but couldn’t get it right. For the record, I’m Caucasian, at least as much as any mongrel Brit can claim to be anything.

Now, personally, I’m not aware of any Caucasian targeting death camps anywhere and somehow the wholesale slaughter of white people has escaped global attention in a world of satellite imagery, drone strikes and where – while challenged – western, white-dominated countries that would take exception to such mass slaughter still exist.

Oh, but that’s not the definition of ‘genocide’ that they mean. Never mind that the OED confirms that genocide is:

“The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group.”

No, they use a fallacy of redefinition, transparently using ‘genocide’ to yank on people’s emotions and fears, and instead what they mean is a legalistic definition, found in one of their ‘memes’, here:

CK1qIwcUYAAS3pm

As I say, the reason for doing this is transparent and obvious. They’re cashing in on the emotional appear and fearmongering effect of the word ‘genocide’ and then using this as a backtrack from that obvious hyperbole, despite it no longer meaning actual genocide.

Still, let’s play along.

Even if we go along with their shenanigans, none of this is happening either. All of these points are subsidiary to the destruction of a nation or ethnicity.

  • Is there any targeted killing of white people that would destroy them? No.
  • Is there any targeted bodily or mental harm that would destroy them? No.
  • Is anyone inflicting on white people conditions (famine, lack of medical care for example) that would destroy them? No.
  • Is anyone deliberately sterilising or separating white men and women, forcing abortions on whites only? No.
  • Is anyone taking away white children and giving them to people of other ethnicities to eradicate ‘whiteness’? No.

The one place you might have a case in the modern world might be the current despotism in Zimbabwe and the ethnic cleansing – not genocide – of white farmers there. Even then, this is more a result of propaganda and blaming, stirring up the mob, than explicit policy. It’s still bad and doesn’t get enough international attention, but genocide it ain’t.

So what does their ridiculous site offer up as examples of ‘white genocide’?

Well you can go and look for yourself, but this is where it all gets a bit more complicated and interesting.

While nothing they show is indicative of ‘white genocide’, much of it does come down to levels of hypocrisy over racism going on in the world and provocative and nonsensical statements around race and other issues of inequality. The febrile atmosphere around racial issues – most especially in the US – is feeding dangerously into these people’s delusions and their sense of being persecuted and wronged.

There is racism against whites, albeit not that powerful or widespread, and every time someone (like Bahar Mustapha) claims that they ‘can’t be racist against white people’ it fuels the paranoia of these nutters.

Every time special consideration is given to Islam within the school or legal systems, these idiots see justification for their racism (never mind that Islam isn’t a race).

When ‘diversity quotas’ and positive discrimination, both of which are indeed horribly racist, are excused or gain traction, genuine white supremacists feel validated.

It doesn’t matter that these people are fringe loons, they’ve reached a sort of parasitic alliance with their counterpart lunatics on the other side. When a social justice warrior does something insane related to race, genuine white supremacists get validation and feel vindicated. When white supremacists say or do something equally insane on their side, the SJW element can point at them as ‘part of the problem’ and to justify their own extremism.

It’s an arms race of lunacy and it’s no good for anyone. It also serves as a great example of why identity politics creates huge problems in a way genuine egalitarianism and secular, fair culture does not.

There’s likely more genetic difference between me and another Caucasian than there is between me and a member of another race on the basis of race, racial differences are minuscule and insignificant. It only has the power to create divisions where you regard it as important, and that is the dangerous area in white neo-nazi lunatics and Social Justice Warriors meet.

Advertisements

Race and Crime

spy-vs-spy1Prompted by the spat AtheismIsUnstoppable appears to be having on Youtube with various people, I thought I’d look into this myself. Now, the statistics are incredibly hard to get right so I have very little confidence in what I’ve put here save in the absolute broadest strokes. Hence I’m not bothering with citations. I encourage you to look yourself to see just how hard it is to drill down to the necessary data.

It’s almost as though there’s something to hide :-/

Incarceration Rates
Black 4.7% of adult male population
White 0.7% of adult male population

So what accounts for this?

  • Black people are around 30% more likely than whites to live in the inner city, a situation which correlates with increased crime rates.
  • Black people are around 30% more likely than whites to be poor, a situation which correlates with increased crime rates.
  • Black people are around 10% less likely to complete high school, 10% less likely to complete some college, 13% less likely to get a BA and 5% less likely to get an advanced degree.

These all crossover to a greater or lesser degree, but it’s fairly safe to say that this means that non-racial community differences can account for at least 1/3rd of the differences in crime rates, probably more. Poverty, and its attendant life-problems, is the single biggest factor in the ongoing difficulties of the black community.

So correcting for socioeconomic differences we’re looking at a very rough guesstimate of adjusted crime stats at:

Black: 1.57% (adjusted)
White: 0.7%

It’s still double (though probably a bit less) and that part that remains still needs to be accounted for.

Racism is undoubtedly part of that, as is racial profiling (which is statistically, if not ethically justified), however it’s unlikely that it is as much of a problem as is being made out as there are still other factors.

Culture may well also be a part of that, at least amongst young black men. Young black women defy many of the above statistics and are doing especially well in higher education. There may well be some valid critiques when it comes to ‘gangsta’ culture and the relative hopelessness of being a young black man in the inner city seeing few opportunities but crime (or outside bets like music or sports).

The major problem is socioeconomic though. If you want to make the biggest difference to poverty – and racism – the best way to do it is to tackle social inequality, the wealth gap, the lack of social mobility in American society as a whole.

Raising class consciousness and common ground between the poor and disenfranchised, across racial lines, will do far more for everyone than deepening racial divides, and the black community seems as guilty of that as any confederate flag-waving redneck. That’s possibly the greatest tragedy an outside observer of American culture sees, sadly.

Media Representation

Idris-Elba-wears-Viking-h-006It is often said that persons of colour are heavily underrepresented in mainstream media.

I am not convinced that this is entirely accurate.

Merely asking that question will be enough to get me thought of as a racist etc just as doubting the dominant narratives about sexism or any other issue. Understand that it is not that I have a racist point of view or that I wish to maintain the status quo but rather that I am just interested in what is true, what the actual state of affairs is and why things might be the way they are.

I set about trying to find out if this was true first.

I chose African Americans to be my case study. They’re a minority but large enough (12.6%) that it would prevent any wild swings from even one person of that category appearing and also because their racial identity is relatively unambiguous.

If all other factors in society were entirely even, if opportunity were the same, we would expect to see something like 12.6% representation of African Americans across all media. If we differ significantly from 12.6% then we can say that something is going on to distort that representation – though we can’t necessarily say what.

I decided to investigate across several forms of media:

  • Musical albums.
  • Musical singles.
  • Literature.
  • Cinema.
  • Television.

I chose to investigate the top ten, most popular instances of each over the year 2013. In the case of albums and singles assessing by the artist (or the proportion of the group) that was African American. In literature I went by author. In cinema and television I went by significant cast (IMDB). I chose the top 10 because the most popular items are the most influential and the most reflective of the cultural zeitgeist.

I counted up the instances of African ancestry in each and worked it out as a percentage against the non-Africans.

  • Musical Albums:  30% representation.
  • Musical Singles: 20% representation.
  • Literature: 0% representation.
  • Cinema: 6.3% representation.
  • Television: 11.6% representation.

Is this perfect? No. You’d have to factor total money, screen time etc in, but I think this can give us a general, rule-of-thumb to look at. I don’t intend this to have been a scientific study, I just wanted to look for myself and get some sort of thumbnail view as to what the situation really was.

What we’re presented with is a fairly complicated picture where African Americans are over-represented in some areas and under-represented in others and these conform more than a little to stereotype. The only complete absence is in literature. Cinema is running at about 50% of where it should be and television is about on par.

Why might this be?

Racism? It might play a part, but clearly African American opportunities exist disproportionately in the music industry so it’s not hurting them there. Why in some of the other areas though? To get to racism we would have to eliminate all other potential factors. Those factors include:

  • Capitalist pursuit of the largest market (big enterprises are risk averse, whites as a demographic are larger and less likely to be in poverty).
  • Educational opportunities (often related to money, but not entirely)
  • Cultural and subcultural aspirations and choices.

You can’t come at these things with an expectation of racism or you’ll see what you’re looking for. Much like the gender pay gap you need accurate data that reflects the genuine situation and you need to look hard to eliminate those other factors.

What do you think? How does this reflect on whitewashing and making established characters more ethnic? In written media can only a writer of the ‘correct’ ethnicity write about someone of a particular culture or colour or not? Is it better to try and get it wrong or to avoid the whole problem anyway? Are these all Catch 22 situations?

Demographics of Punditry

This is a response to this blog.

Second, pundits don’t look like me. None of them. Not even the two or three brown ones you’re about to cite in the comment section. From a material intersectional perspective (I am specific for a reason, i.e. structure), my class-race-gender-status-power position is not reflected in the pundit class. There may be women but how many are black? There may be black women but how many are dark? There may be dark black women but how many are fat? There may be fat women but how many are from public colleges? These combinations could go on and on and I suspect you’d not be able to name too many professional performance thinkers that share my social location. As a critical sociologist those kinds of absent archives are what I listen and read for.

So, I took a little exception to this. Not offence as such, but rather it didn’t seem to sit right. On the one hand facts don’t change by what race you are. So why, ultimately should it matter what colour (or size, or gender) the mouth is? Does this not just reinforce the false importance of race (though there’s a definite shift against ‘colour blindness’ amongst Tumblr-style activism, which I don’t understand)?

Why might there be a lack of fat, black (super-black, extra black, dark black, black-plus if you will), women from community colleges as pundits on news shows? Is it just bias or is there something more foundational as a reason as to why this might be?

If we just looked at demographics and if all other factors were even we would expect to see around 13% African American pundits (12.6%).

But the other factors aren’t even.

OK, let’s assume a ‘population’ of 100 pundits in our pool.

  • Let’s take our demographics and plug that in. 13/100 are going to be black. Not sure what ‘dark black’ meant and it seems subjective and hard to quantify. This is more generous anyway, so let’s go with this.
  • Half of that’s going to be female. So that’s 6.5/100. We’ll round up again to be generous. 7/100.
  • Fat? Well, ‘better’ news there given the rates of obesity in the US (fat is again, subjective, but we have to use something and this is an impartial measure for all the problems BMI is acknowledged to have). It’s roughly 1/3rd according to the CDC. We’ll round up again to be optimistic, 3/100.
  • So, that only leaves us with 3/100.

Other contributory but hard to quantify factors would include:

  • Relative rates of poverty (27.4% blacks versus 9.9% whites).
  • Relative rates of university education (30% whites versus 17.4% blacks).
  • Different educational choices by gender, race etc (this is part of the reason you are more likely to see women punditing gender issues and racial minorities punditing racial issues – though theoretically there’s no reason my a man or a white person couldn’t do those either).
  • Political affiliation may be an issue in some media channels. A right wing channel is likely to have less black representation (unless they’re trying to refute accusations of racism) simply because, what was it, 74% of black voters voted Democrat in the US’s 2004 election cycle? Contrariwise you might expect to see a genuinely left wing or self-identified progressive channel over-representing various groups.

I would guesstimate then, that you would only expect to see, probably, less than 1/100 pundits meeting the author’s description in the mainstream media. Purely on terms of demographics without bringing any anti-woman, anti-black or anti-fat perspectives into it.

There are failings, but they are in wealth redistribution, the provision of decent public education and so forth. It’s not so much racial as socio-economic and a few token pundits aren’t going to change that. Even if there were an absolutely level playing field, we wouldn’t expect to see that many people, like her, as pundits. There is an argument to be made for ensuring there’s broader representation in order to provide role models, relatability and so on, but this is to bow to the irrational and is like expecting your junker to go faster because you painted it corvette red, rather than dealing with the engine, transmission and tyres.

What does it really matter anyway, so long as the punditing data is accurate and sound? That’s what actually matters, right? That’s a much, much bigger problem too – especially on Fox.

Notes

1. As with so many things the UK and US seems to be divided by a common language. I take ‘Pundit’ to mean an expert whereas Americans tend to talk more about political pundits. Stephen Hawking, for example, is a pundit when he’s brought out to talk about physics or aliens or whatever. What Americans seem to call punditry I would identify more in terms of ‘editorialising’. Still, I don’t think this undermines the point about ‘all things being equal’.

2. When examining the data – such as you can readily get hold of – like this, one often gets kafkatrapped. Questioning the claim is, apparently, proof of the claim. The claim is self evident without having any evidence presented in its support or in support of the reason why it might be so that the other person presents. Dissent is not allowed. Asking questions is not allowed. Debate is not allowed. Asking for data is ‘derailing’. Being skeptical is ‘derailing’. Quoting a respected thinker’s opinion on trolls (that it must mean more than ‘someone who disagrees) is asking for derision. Yet these are the same people who – out of the other side of their mouth – call for ‘respect’ in absolutist terms for anyone and everyone else. This is especially frustrating when you ostensibly support ‘the cause’ but want it to proceed on good data.

Incidentally. I found one.

Fat

Shut Up & Listen When I tell you about ‘Check Your Privilege’.

0Xo8hfvI want you to ‘check your privilege’ about the phrase, ‘check your privilege’.

If someone is arguing with you, you should address their points, their reasoning, what they’re saying. When you tell someone to ‘check your privilege’ you are, essentially, engaging in an ‘ad hominem‘ fallacy, an ‘argument to the person’. For example:

“I don’t think that statement qualifies as sexist.”
“That’s because you’re a man, check your privilege.”

Simply because one is male (or white, or rich, or whatever else) doesn’t render one’s arguments invalid, it doesn’t mean you lack empathy, sympathy or imagination, it doesn’t even mean you haven’t experienced racism, sexism or whatever else yourself.

I’m sure in some ideal world ‘check your privilege’ is meant to mean ‘I say old chap, have you considered that your socioeconomic, racial and other statuses might affect your point of view?’ In practice however it means ‘Shut up you white male oppressor, you don’t know shit’ which is – in and of itself – quite startlingly sexist and racist.

I’m hardly the only person to note this.

Add to this things like ‘mansplaining’ (another horrifically sexist term) and the fact that some people think they can’t be *ist simply because they’re members of a self-identified oppressed group (riddle me this Batman, is the Nation of Islam racist against whites or not?) and its not hard to see why the perceived hypocrisy on display costs feminism and other activists a lot of support from people who should be natural allies – such as myself. The problems between the sceptic/atheist movement and skepchick/Atheismplus provide ample example of the problem here.

If your task is to communicate with people outside echo-chamber activist groups and their unquestioning hangers on then you have to listen to the experience and perception of the people you’re talking to. You also CANNOT presume that simply because a person agrees with you on one topic (say, atheism) that they must agree with you on another topic (feminism).

Questioning and challenging are vital to scientific enquiry and rational thought, challenging your claims about X,Y,Z doesn’t make the person challenging them *ist, it means they’re looking for evidence, testing your ideas to see if they’re robust and accurate. When you write these people off you’re harming yourself and your cause which would be much stronger if it did stand up to scrutiny and came out the other side unscathed.

We have all become very sensitised to sexism. I suffered a huge amount of unwarranted abuse over written works making fun of sexism and over a blog article defending what Neil Gaiman would call ‘icky speech‘. That has hyper-sensitised me to much of the hypocrisy I see in the ‘social justice’ movements, many of whom – to me – seem to have become the very things they hate.

In my experience many of these groups and their members are amongst the most obnoxious, bigoted and horrible human beings it has ever been my misfortune to come across – ironically as blind to their own bigotry as they claim others are to their own privilege.

If you’re a feminist and you’re calling out what you consider to be misogyny or sexism you want to be taken seriously and not dismissed, yet all too often this is exactly what happens if a man calls a woman out on misandry or sexism. Rather than acknowledging that men can suffer from sexism – or whites from racism – or anybody else from another other form of prejudice, this is dismissed, mocked, derided in exactly the same way as would not be considered acceptable the other way around.

This is a missed opportunity. We have a whole generation that is now very aware of unfairness on these sorts of bases but rather than going ‘You know what? You’re right, lets fight all forms of sexism together!’ it instead becomes a fight over who is more oppressed than who.

You don’t need to think the discrimination and prejudice is even or equal[1] to acknowledge that its bad and wrong and worthy of opposition.

Prejudice on the basis of sex/race/class/whatever is wrong, whichever direction it passes. Don’t be a hypocrite about it, it’ll cost you.

***

While I’m here I also want to pass comment on another thing that’s been going on lately.

Between the death of April Jones and ill-informed policy makers knee-jerking and Facebook drawing ire over ‘hate groups‘ along with policy signal shifts in the UK and the US the free internet is once again being chipped away at. I’m not saying that these rape joke or bad taste groups aren’t awful, but they are also legal and there’s nothing to suggest they actually harm anyone. After all, a picture of a person isn’t actually a person, its a picture and shock humour gets its ‘sting’ from being shocking, not being acceptable and beneath comment/reaction.

Of particular irony is the objection that these should be removed being on the basis of offence, often by the same people who were up in arms about images of breastfeeding being censored (also on the grounds of people being offended[2]). Personally, my opinion is that as long as it’s legal and age/membership restricted anything should go.

I am particularly worried about the ‘hate group’ reaction ending up being applied to kink/bdsm groups which given previous overreactions is nigh certain.

[1] – While I consider Watson’s ‘Elevatorgate’ fuss to be ‘a huge fuss about nothing’ I also consider this to be on occasion where Dawkins was wrong. That there are greater evils than lesser ones doesn’t mean the lesser ones aren’t also evil – and worth fighting.

[2] – And over-sensitive algorithms.