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Messages - Godheval

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1
Technology / Re: GAMERS THREAD
« on: November 09, 2009, 09:57:51 am »
It's not more in the original game content, it's in the toolset - which will allow you to create your own "modules" for other people to play.  Think of it like an in-game RPGMaker - design characters, environments, add dialogue, cut scenes, music, voice, all of it.  So aside from all the DLC they intend to have for this game, there will be all of the user-created stuff, sometimes which can end up being better than the original game.

http://dragonage.bioware.com/toolset/

2
Technology / Re: GAMERS THREAD
« on: November 08, 2009, 10:15:06 am »
The game to play right now: Dragon Age Origins (PC/360/PS3), but only if you can stomach dialogue-heavy and open-ended RPGs (not as open as Oblivion).  If you've enjoyed WoW even a little, then you'll enjoy this.

But the REAL reason?  Because of the surprisingly rich slavery/disenfranchisement allegory woven throughout the game.  It's not even subtle.  The humans are white people, the elves are African-Americans.  Elves had been a long-standing majestic and culturally rich civilization, but were enslaved by human empires.  Ever since their freedom by a certain prophet, they're mostly confined to "alienages" (ghettos), where their quality of life is far below that of most citizens.

The game doesn't hold your hand, either.  Murder, rape, suicide, subtle and overt racism - it's all in there.  And since you can customize your character from the onset, you can make your character - of any race - look however you choose.  If you're interested in that allegory, pick a city elf to get the most of it.  Although you'll hear snippets of it as any race.

My guy:


Camus - City Elf Warrior

Fun times so far.

3
Vox Populi / Re: The Moral dilemna of Columbus Day
« on: October 30, 2009, 03:00:27 am »
Kids Study the Dark Side of Columbus
http://news.aol.com/article/students-learn-about-the-dark-side-of/712947

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In McDonald, Pa., 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, fourth-grade students at Fort Cherry Elementary put Columbus on trial this year charging him with misrepresenting the Spanish crown and thievery. They found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.

"In their own verbiage, he was a bad guy," teacher Laurie Crawford said.

4
Vox Populi / Re: is 'white guilt' dead?
« on: October 30, 2009, 12:40:20 am »
Yeah, I don't live in a world where people get to make up their own personal definitions for things.

Yes you do.  For every word that has multiple definitions, someone made their own definition for it, and it caught on.  Ever hear anyone speak slang?  Ever heard of dialects?  Do you know absolutely nothing about the evolution of language?  Oh, well why didn't you say so?

In any case, I didn't make my own personal definition for it - it fits with the non-politicized definition of white guilt.

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All you have to do to "win" this is provide examples of white guilt being expressed in the real world in such a way that no one can dispute your conclusion.

Did that, you just chose to ignore it.  You also chose to ignore where I said that emprical evidence is difficult to come by when discussing social science.  How would I prove that anyone feels anything?  I've already said that white guilt is a presumption, but given that others - white people themselves - have acknowledged feeling it, then I'd say it exists.  

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If a thing exists, it exists empirically.

Oh really now?  Does sadness exist?  Does self-loathing exist?  Does intelligence exist?  Can you truly measure or identify any of these things empirically?

At the risk of incurring the wrath of the almighty Redjack - dude, don't be a f*cking idiot.

Materialism is the stuff of lower thought.

I'm done.  You bore me.

5
Vox Populi / Re: Exploring Bigotry
« on: October 30, 2009, 12:32:33 am »
Ok, Michael.  Good luck with that one.  Let me know how it worked out 20 years from now.

In the meantime, I think this is a good read, has some interesting ideas for combating racism:

http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/alcoffwhitepeople.html

6
Vox Populi / Re: is 'white guilt' dead?
« on: October 29, 2009, 02:10:15 pm »
I'm making observations, descriptions of facts. I haven't expressed an opinion yet so there's nothing to argue with.


This is me, sighing.  What facts are you describing, exactly?  Stating an opinion authoritatively does not a fact make.

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1) No. We won't be dancing around this much longer because only one of the two of us, me, actually knows what he's talking about thus far.


Because you say so?  Right.

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2) In future, refrain from using yourself and your friends as examples to support your arguments. That's what's known as anecdotal evidence and it is pretty much meaningless. For discussions like this only empirical examples will do.


Where anecdotal evidence is the only evidence available it is not meaningless.  Empirical evidence tends to be hard to come by when talking about social sciences.  And any of it - studies, statistics, whatever - can be disputed at any time.

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3) My understanding of the term is my understanding of language and how it is used as social control. Words and phrases have actual meanings and, for the most part, do not bend to suit an individual's personal definitions.


They do where they were never formally defined.

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Many words also have unspoken social connotations that "everybody knows."

Obviously white guilt is not one of those terms.

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4) There is no such thing, nor has there ever been such a phenomenon or condition as "White Guilt." No more than there is a disease called "hysteria" or human subspecies' known as "races." Or a social movement called "political correctness." ALL of these words and phrases are control terms. They have no literal meaning and do not describe anything in reality. They are simply social cues for guiding thought and action into desired pathways. Unlike, say, "elephant," which has only a literal meaning without social connotation.


Because you wrap your argument in things with which I agree - and with conviction at that - you're distracting me from the argument at hand.  It's a good strategy. =)

I agree that "white guilt" can be used as a control term - just like "liberal" - but it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.  Liberals certainly do exist, but how liberal is defined DOES vary from person to person and from place to place.  And regardless of how it is defined, it is often misused and misrepresented in order to effect a derogatory interpretation.

So while I acknowledge - again, again, again that white guilt is a loaded term, one that is used by conservatives on one end to demean right-thinking Euro-Americans (much the same as white liberal) and by liberal cynics on the other end, out of a distrust for white benevolence.  The conservatives clearly have an agenda, while the cynics perhaps need only to be exposed to more instances of genuine non-self-serving non-compensatory white benevolence.

The author of the article that started this is clearly one of those cynics.  Cynicism is the Mr. Hyde to idealism's Dr. Jekyll.  The author has such high expectations for white people that anything falling short of those expectations is rejected harshly.  He talks about the great strides taken by white people during the civil rights movement - something I think you also mentioned - but says that efforts on a similar scale are lacking today.  That's not an unreasonable statement, but at the same time, I do not think that the difference in scale undermines those smaller efforts.  So that's where he and I would disagree.

My understanding - my definition - of white guilt is in the example I gave, of hypocritical behavior that supports white denial.  Maybe I am the only one who defines it that way, but I don't think so.  How you define white guilt does indeed leave it with no substance and only as a term of control.  But I am defining a very real phenomenon that you would say isn't white guilt at all.  Since we can't agree on the definition, there's no point in arguing about whether or not it exists.

So, in the spirit of being productive, let's take a look at this article I just found - I've only glanced at it so far, but I think it is relevant.

What Should White People Do?
http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/alcoffwhitepeople.html

7
General Discussion / Re: Sophia Stewart: Mother Of The Matrix
« on: October 29, 2009, 01:00:14 pm »
I love how folks get all skeptical about the debunking but no one questions her claims, which make no sense.

Who?  Not me.

But I will say that it's not unreasonable to reflexively side with an individual over a multinational conglomerate, or if you are a person of color - with a person of color over white people.  But it is essential to look at all the facts before you take a position.

8
Vox Populi / Re: Exploring Bigotry
« on: October 29, 2009, 12:58:12 pm »
Prejudice, or bigotry if you prefer, is not hardwired into humans.


Oh, well that solves that.  Because you said so. 

O_O?

As I said earlier, I cannot say for sure if it is genetic or inextricable from human culture, but on such a subliminal level, that difference might not matter.

9
Vox Populi / Re: is 'white guilt' dead?
« on: October 29, 2009, 12:54:26 pm »
As for you example of "white guilt," no. What you are describing is simple hypocrisy. White Guilt is a term designed to demean and that's it. It has a specific meaning and is used to create specific effects. And, OF COURSE, it is a collective description. It's right there in the first half of the phrase. Who can experience White Guilt? White people, that's right. White people only.

Only rectangles can be squares, but that doesn't mean that all rectangles are squares.  Only white people can experience white guilt - yes - but it does not mean that all decent behavior from whites towards people of color are instances of white guilt.

What I've described is hypocrisy, and white guilt IS hypocrisy, a particular kind of hypocrisy that occurs amongst white people.

Why only white people?  Because racism on the part of white people is the most significant with them being the group with the lion's share of social and economic power.  Racism - and prejudice of any kind - needs to be examined and eliminated, but it is more important for white people to do it than anyone.

Is this kind of hypocrisy possible for people of other groups in other countries or other places where the demographics and socioeconomic balance is different?  Certainly.  But we're not talking about those places or situations here.

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You have not described, nor can you, nor can anyone, a situation where decent behavior from whites towards blacks is the result of "white guilt" rather than simply being a good person (or something cynical like a profit motive).

I will concede one thing.  Being as though we cannot look inside anyone's head, white guilt is always a presumption.  But I don't think it was ever a term meant to be taken literally - like they are acting out of actual guilt for being a racist.  Maybe a better term would've been "white denial" or "white compensation"?  I dunno.

I think why we're butting heads here is that we have separate understandings of the term.  Yours is rooted in the ways the term is misused, mine in my observations of a certain hypocritical behavior that has no other definition.

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Just because you don't see the connection or the similarity, doesn't mean it's not there. It is.

Just because you say the connection is there, doesn't mean it is.  Seriously?  We can do this all day.

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I haven't started playing with you yet but, if you keep insulting me, I will.

Huh?  I don't even know what you're talking about, but please do come at me full force.  I assure you that I am no pushover, and that I can dish it as well as I can take it.  What was I supposed to do there?  Cower at the prospect of Redjack - who the f*ck is Redjack? - getting serious with me?  You might want to see someone about those delusions of grandeur.


10
Vox Populi / Re: Exploring Bigotry
« on: October 29, 2009, 12:36:55 pm »
Also, to foster feelings against prejudice and bigotry, is very simple.  All you need to do is think of persons you are fond of, or whom you respect, who are members of another racial/religious/ethnic group (not hard, in our multi-cultural multi-racial society).  Think about how it makes you feel that some jerk would harbor feelings of dislike for them or prejudice against them because of "what" they are.  If you are any normal person, thinking of this will give you a sick feeling inside, and will make you angry.  

If it were that simple, then we all would've done it already.  It is quite simple for a person to have a friend of a given ethnic group and still harbor negative feelings towards the group.  They tell themselves that that individual is unlike the group, which allows them to maintain their feelings towards the group.  An example would be the father of a friend of mine, who is plainly a bigot - as demonstrated to me several times.  But he was also quoted as saying that I was a "model for the black community".

First of all, I don't represent any "black community".  Second of all, I hadn't done much of anything to warrant praise.  I was just normal.  Only if the black community" as a whole is somehow bad could normal behavior make me a "model".  Third, it was impossible for this man to separate me as an individual human being from my "race".

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Since we are talking about "feelings" I believe that confronting prejudice on an emotional level may be more effective than some analytic effort to "deconstruct" prejudice to evaluate whether there is or is not some good basis for it.  

Doesn't work.  How would one confront prejudice on an emotional level?  "Confront" implies a willful, calculated action.  Emotions don't work that way.  What you're actually suggesting is examining your emotions rationally - and that would be analysis.

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Since the feeling of bigotry is really not rationally based, but rather is an emotion, I believe it is more effective to fight fire with fire.  It needs to be attacked on an emotional level.  Then, later, one can discuss in a more analytic way the motivations of the bigot, what makes him tick, etc.

Bigotry is based on emotion for some, but not all.  And for some, their original "feelings" have been supported by some serious rationalization.  A book like "The Bell Curve" by Herrnstein and Murray was not written from an emotional foundation, but a rational one.  It was a vacuous argument undoubtedly made for political purposes, and one that fails miserably under rigorous scrutiny, but that doesn't make irrational.

It is far more important to analyze and deconstruct prejudice, as that is something that can reasonably be expected to succeed.  It is not at all likely that you'll change someone's emotions on anything.

You are an obvious idealist Michael, and that's a good thing, but don't let your "hopes" or "expectations" preclude the work that must be done to reach the ideal.

11
Vox Populi / Re: Exploring Bigotry
« on: October 29, 2009, 12:26:10 pm »
The way you phrase your question, with the term "never felt," implies a belief on your part that people cannot learn and improve, to become better human beings.

No, I'm just reinforcing my statement that prejudice is inherent to the human condition. We are talking the roots of bigotry, here, right?  So if no person has never felt prejudice, then it would suggest an almost innate quality to it.  It certainly can be overcome, though.

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Also, it depends what we mean by prejudice. If you mean feeling dislike, or discomfort, or even caring, that someone is a member of another ethnic or racial or religious background, I would agree that is prejudice.  If you mean acknowledging statistical averages, trends, and so on, that may vary by ethnic or racial or religious group, or by geographic location, that may not be prejudice, depending on the circumstances (though on an individual basis, one-on-one, a person might use such statistics to try to justify his or her feelings of prejudice). I believe you are referring to the feelings that I first described.

You are correct.  However, I think that most of those "acknowledgments" of statistical averages and trends are motivated by prejudice.  I think the need to even divide people into racial categories is motivated by prejudice.

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As to naming names, you wouldn't know 'em anyway.  Nor, in light of our prior interaction, do I wish our conversation to become personal.

It was more to get you to think about it.  If you yourself or anyone you know makes the claim that they've never felt prejudice, then they are either in denial or outright lying.  I say this not merely to call people out on their lies, but because denial of prejudice is one of the things that allows it to prevail.

12
Vox Populi / Re: is 'white guilt' dead?
« on: October 29, 2009, 12:18:53 pm »
Well that's rather convenient and, frankly, self-serving of an a priori negative opinion about whites. How is "white guilt" evidenced? how can it be distinguished from the behavior of a decent human being?


Ah, this is a tough one, but the answer lies in contradictory behavior.  Behaving as a "decent human being" in one instance, then demonstrating obvious racism on the other.  When called on such behavior, they refer back to their "decent behavior" of before, or their "piles and piles of black friends".  Their "good deed" becomes a way of convincing themselves or others to ignore their other behaviors.

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The phrase is a cousin to "wigger" and "self-hating jew" or "oreo." It's a means for members of a particular group to ostracize other members of that group without having to take flack for it. Or, as I said earlier, for racist blacks to erase or diminish the good acts of others who happen to be white.


This is a spurious connection you're making.  Wigger is far more complex.  It says that a white person is somehow bad for "acting black", but therein lies the problem because there is no such thing as "acting black", that very pre-text (let alone invoking the word nigger) a racist generalization.  Wigger always demeans both the person the term refers to AND African-American people in general.  White guilt does NOT explicitly or implicitly suggest a behavior of all white people.

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"He was so nice to those kids."

"Nah, that was just white guilt. You can tell."


This is such a ridiculous example, and I doubt it's ever happened.  If it has, then the person involved was a moron.  I think it's pretty disingenuous of you to misrepresent an argument dismiss an argument by misrepresenting it.  I might as well say of your argument "Oh, well white guilt is a myth because Redjack says so.", and ignore your actual points.  If that's the game we're going to play, then this isn't a conversation worth having.

My mother worked for an organization that took minority children who showed academic potential out of bad neighborhoods, placed them in boarding houses in a good neighborhoods, allowing them to go to a better school.  The organization was founded by and is still run mostly by white people.  I would not characterize this organization as being founded upon white guilt - for the obvious reason that I do not know much about the founders, or their motivations.  I do not assume white guilt by default, and to be honest, I hardly ever think about it.  I also don't care about their motivations, because the results speak for themselves, and are more important anyway.

However, this organization recruited volunteers, people who donated money and who for their donations got to have a say in how a particular chapter was run.  They didn't work directly with the children, dealt mostly with the staff.  Some of these people were plainly racist - although not overtly.  I'm sure they, not even realizing how some of the things they said were racist, would recoil at the accusation, and would reassure themselves via the fact that they are donors to an organization that helps children of color.  This would be an example of white guilt.

But the question does remain, about whether or not it even matters.  If those few people are able to delude themselves out of addressing their prejudice, and in the process some needy kids get the help they need, then it may not even be productive to discuss their white guilt.  That's the trouble I have with the term, but that's not the same as saying it doesn't exist.

On the other hand, if it becomes yet another way for white people to deny the reality and prevalence of racism, it becomes a problem.  For example, does a white person voting for Barack Obama automatically become non-racist for that fact?  He does not.  Does his victory, in turn, suggest a post-racial society?  It does not.  Now, mind you, I am not at all suggesting that all or even a sizeable number of white people voted for Obama out of white guilt.  That would not only be unfair to many white people, but to Obama as well, as it suggests that he was not selected for his own merits.

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The phrase describes a collective phenomenon. You don't need to outline it. That's the point of the phrase. If I describe someone as just another Angry Black Man, that too is a description of collective behavior. Shorthand that allows the listener to diminish and ignore the validity of the "angry black man's" opinion and, in fact, his life. The same is true of "white guilt." That's all it's for.


But it doesn't, unless how I've used it, and how people around me have used it, are the exception to the rule.  We do not assume that "white guilt" is a characteristic of all "white people".  It is a characteristic of individuals.  On the other hand "angry black man" does imply a collective, simply because the actions of one African-American (or other minority) are often - through racism - applied back to the entire group.  This kind of thing does not - or rarely - happens to white people.  From "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack":


Quote from: Peggy McIntosh, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute
these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.
19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group

http://www.case.edu/president/aaction/UnpackingTheKnapsack.pdf



The point of this citation is to illustrate the difference between people of color and white people with regards to racial representation.  The actions of one person of color can be - and are often - attributed to their entire race, either to affirm or challenge one's prevailing ideas about that group.  White guilt is not a collective term because one apparent instance of white guilt does not invalidate every other instance in which a white person demonstrates human decency as such.

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No. It's a myth created for the reasons I've described twice now.


Reasons that I've now debunked twice.  Is white guilt exaggerated, overstated, used prematurely, reflexively, and out of ignorance? 

Yes. 

Does that make it a myth? 

No.

13
Vox Populi / Re: is 'white guilt' dead?
« on: October 29, 2009, 12:04:19 am »
No. Accepting buzz phrases designed for political purpose and used to shape opinion despite their being wholly fictional and inaccurate is intellectually lazy. Political people depend on that laziness.

Agreed, but I don't think I'm doing that, at least.

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One of the problems with being part of an ethnic or social minority is one often thinks everyone in every group sees the world through that filter. We are Black in this society, therefore WHites must see themselves as a monolithic group linked by skin color. It sounds good. it fits a lot of anecdotal experiences and lines up with large periods of our past.

I don't assume this.  And I know that "white" people do not self-identify as such, unless they are asked, or unless they are in the company of "others".  But that's just it.  Whiteness was invented to create a false opposition between groups of people - uniting some under false pretenses, alienating and dehumanizing others.

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However whites, on the whole, do NOT see themselves as a collective but as a collection of tribes. Europe is broken into nations based upon those tribal groups still and, even here, we find very little in the way of people describing themselves as "white" (unless they are KKKers). Here we have hyphenates. Itallian. German. Jewish. etc.

This is only partially true.  Many many people - I'm really only talking about the U.S. here -  no longer identify as their original ethnic group.  They may not think of ethnicity at all, because it is not as relevant to their daily experience.  But that was one of the tricks of whiteness - obfuscation of uniqueness, of culture, of identity.  I have had conversations with "Euro-Americans" who have absolutely idea what their background is - and they do (again, only when asked) identify as "white".

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In order for something like collective white guilt to exist, White people have to exist as a monolith.

False.  As I said, whiteness only becomes relevant in the company of non-whites, and white guilt only exists with respect to those others as well.  No one said anything about white guilt being "collective" either - it is not some endemic trait of an entire group, but rather a phenomenon that unfolds on an individual level.  It is for this reason that it can be overstated - sweeping generalizations applied to entire groups of people like "white liberals" - which ignores the possibility that positive actions are sometimes done for their own sake.  But just because some people make this generalization doesn't mean that the entire phenomenon of white guilt is a myth.


14
Vox Populi / Re: Exploring Bigotry
« on: October 28, 2009, 11:55:09 pm »
Well, no, please feel free to name someone.

15
Vox Populi / Re: Exploring Bigotry
« on: October 28, 2009, 09:22:28 pm »
I disagree with you that bigotry is (socially or biologically) innate and always exists in every person.  My goodness, who cares how other people dress, or what music they listen to, or where they or their ancestors came from, or the color of their skin, or what their religious faith is (etc).  As long as someone is not out to hurt you, because of his prejudice, live and let live.  

Sounds nice and all, but name me a single person you know who has never felt prejudiced against an other.  Whoever you name will be a liar.

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