• baker
    568
    You speak of the importance of looking for the bad in someone.Jack Cummins

    Read again: I'm talking about approaching interactions in bad faith, in ill will. Not about looking for the bad in people.

    I was replying to KK talking about the "automatic reaction to think the worst of people". And I pointed out that those who think the worst of people tend to be better off: they win, they prevail.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.2k
    What's helping you win arguments and prevail?baker

    I'm not sure I generally am, but if and when I am, I'd say caring about facts, such as that we are evolved to be ultrasocial.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I am not sure that what you are talking about under the guise of 'bad faith' is not really a misuse of the term bad faith. I certainly don't think you are using it in the way Sartre intended. However, I understand that the specific aspect of discussion was really between you and KK, so I will leave him to reply.
  • baker
    568
    I am not sure that what you are talking about under the guise of 'bad faith' is not really a misuse of the term bad faith. I certainly don't think you are using it in the way Sartre intended.Jack Cummins
    Sartre can go suck on a lemon.

    Read up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_faith
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.2k
    Heartwarming, isn't it.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I still maintain that you are using the term bad faith to justify a whole process of seeing the bad in others. Sometimes, when we see bad in others it involves psychological projection.
  • baker
    568
    I still maintain that you are using the term bad faith to justify a whole process of seeing the bad in others. Sometimes, when we see bad in others it involves psychological projection.Jack Cummins
    Then you maintain wrongly.

    Seeing the bad in others: focusing on the facts that the person has a criminal record, is in a wheelchair, is Jewish, female, whatever. Seeing the bad in others is about certain facts about the other person.

    Thinking the worst about people is only inspired by some facts, and the rest is extrapolation/projection.
    As in, "Oh, this person is black. Surely he'll try to white guilt me!" or "Oh, this person is in a wheelchair. Surely he'll try to extort me for help!"
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    One thing that it is worth thinking about is the clear distinction between fact and fiction. Okay, with the person in the wheelchair that is something we can see directly, but not all others are so straightforward. The example of the person with the criminal record is a clear example. Only very limited people would have access to that information and so, in such cases, a lot may be about rumours, or if more, it may be about someone having abused access to or sharing of confidential information.
  • NOS4A2
    4.2k


    Everyone has privileges in the structure of the social world, such as being male, white etc. In a way, we could say that the most disadvantaged could be the black, disabled lesbian. We live such hierarchical structures in a way in which these categories are almost invisible but they permeate life.

    I don’t think there are such hierarchies or privileges, and we risk falling into identity politics by thinking along such lines.

    Privileges must be granted before they can be possessed. People who grant privilege according to such characteristics certainly exist, but the recipient of privilege is never born with it. One could heap privilege on a black disabled lesbian and she would be privileged thereby.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    You say that 'the recipient of privilege is never born with it', but that ignores the whole way into which can be born into an environment of privilege. An easy example is how some people are born into wealthier backgrounds. The whole life we are given at birth affects who and what we can become in so many ways.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    Equal rights mean nothing without equal opportunities to exercise them.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    Yes, I agree that equal opportunities are important for enabling equality. Unfortunately, I have seen situations where people pay lip service to this while the whole spirit of it is ignored. For example, if people try to make the statistics show that gay or disabled people are being employed in certain professions and the reality is that those people go on to get bullied so much that they leave the job.It is not good if the translation of policy into practice becomes one of empty rhetoric and, unfortunately, from what I have seen, this can be what happens in some organisations.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    Yes, I agree that equal opportunities are important for enabling equality. Unfortunately, I have seen situations where people pay lip service to this while the whole spirit of it is ignored. For example, if people try to make the statistics show that gay or disabled people are being employed in certain professions and the reality is that those people go on to get bullied so much that they leave the job.It is not good if the translation of policy into practice becomes one of empty rhetoric and, unfortunately, from what I have seen, this can be what happens in some organisations.Jack Cummins

    Yes, unfortunately operating in bad-faith has become almost a sub-culture in our society.
  • NOS4A2
    4.2k


    You say that 'the recipient of privilege is never born with it', but that ignores the whole way into which can be born into an environment of privilege. An easy example is how some people are born into wealthier backgrounds. The whole life we are given at birth affects who and what we can become in so many ways.

    What I mean is one does not come out of the womb with privilege in his skin color or gender, as if it was biology. Rights, immunities, favors, privileges etc. are always given, granted, bestowed. So it isn’t the case that one is necessarily privileged by virtue of certain attributes. One remains unprivileged until someone privileges him.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    Okay, someone is born with biological characteristics of a specific gender or race and these are not privileges as such. However, the person is coming into a social world in which th privileges are likely to be based on these characteristics. Unless we are in a social order which does not have a cultural ranking based on such differences there are likely to be certain privileges. I am sure that there has been a big shift in the last 50 years but I don't think that we really live in an equal world in many ways.
  • NOS4A2
    4.2k


    Do you privilege people on account of these characteristics?
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    It is not about whether I give privileges on account of such characteristics. I try to see all people for who they are on a deeper level and so do many other people but I do see people being treated unequally.
  • NOS4A2
    4.2k


    I ask because I’d like to know who privileges someone on account of these characteristics. If not yourself, then how are we able to assume that the larger society does so?
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I would say that I know many people who are extremely racist and sexist. I probably thought a lot about these matters when I studied sociology in sixth form. I do think that these prejudices are embedded in structures not just specific individuals. Of course, the values of the individuals shape and change structures but this is probably at a much slower rate than the ideas of specific individuals.

    Of course, all the different aspects of life add up, such as America having a black president and England having a woman prime minister are significant. I am sure that a black woman born into the Western world today has a far better prospect than if she had been born 100 years ago, or in a remote part of the world.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.1k
    Humans are probably not born "pre-loaded" with a set of highly specific biases and prejudices, but we may well be born with a propensity towards being biased or prejudiced, one way or another. And then we seem very prone to developing bias and prejudice as we develop. (There are many items in the list of cognitive biases, for instance.) In addition, we have preferences, dispositions, personality traits, orientations, and so forth -- some of which may be pre-loaded, some of which we develop later on. Add the unconscious mind which isn't readily interrogated.

    The idea that we can be cleansed of our biases, prejudices, dispositions, preference, et cetera is a non-starter. Frankly, I don't want anyone fumigating my mind for any reason.

    That said, behavior can be, and is, subject to at least some social and personal control, and behavior is where the rubber of prejudice hits the road of discrimination. Then there is the feedback loop between behavior and thought. The loop may strengthen or weaken biases, depending on various internal and external factors.

    Deploying housing policy which forces identifiable groups (like blacks ) into ghettos is a behavioral intervention which enforces prejudice. Integrated housing is also a behavioral intervention, first intended to improve conditions for black people, but secondly to bring about more casual, normal interaction between blacks and whites.

    Another example: Gay bars which encourage/accept a racial/ethnic mix create what may be a singular opportunity for gay men to get to know ("know" in the Biblical sense) other men with whom they might never come into even casual contact. Sexual interaction may decrease prejudice. Gay bars which are rigidly white or black may maintain prejudice.

    Class prejudices are not as popular in public discourse these days as racial ones, but a lot of policies are directed toward maintaining class advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I'm in favor of maintaining working class prejudice against very wealthy people, and radically decreasing the advantages of very wealth people (like, by eliminating their wealth).
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    Yes, I agree that prejudice is so complicated as it goes deeper into the unconscious. I do think that it is bound up with likes and dislikes. Also, the idea of cleansing out or fumugating all prejudices would be going to far. If anything, I would say that the main thing is for us to be critically aware more than anything else.

    I hadn't ever come across the idea of any gay bars being exclusive to any specific ethnic group because I don't think that there are any in England which are. One thing I am particularly aware of is the way in which gay people who are of African descent often have an extremely difficult time within their families and in their communities.

    I probably do have some prejudice against the extremely wealthy, which I hadn't really thought about until you mentioned it. But, I don't really come into much contact with the extremely wealthy. That is, as far as I know, because I might encounter these people and not even be aware of their great wealth.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.1k
    I hadn't ever come across the idea of any gay bars being exclusive to any specific ethnic group because I don't think that there are any in England which are. One thing I am particularly aware of is the way in which gay people who are of African descent often have an extremely difficult time within their families and in their communities.Jack Cummins

    We can probably thank Christian and Moslem missionaries for Africans' difficulties with homosexuality. Some Africans (specifically, Ugandans) I've talked with believe such a thing as homosexuality simply doesn't exist among them. African American communities have a much stronger representation in very conservative Christian denominations than in liberal ones. Gay black men in fundamentalist families/social groups have a tough time finding acceptance there.

    I have only been in one British gay bar, so my sample is 1. In the US, gay bars in cities like Minneapolis do not have large enough minority population to support exclusively black gay bars. Chicago, New York, and LA do, however. I should add that the bar culture seems to be fading--not just because of Covid-19, but also because of hook-up apps like GRINDR seem to be faster, cheaper, better--for a quick hook up, anyway. Were I 35 and not 75, I'd probably use GRINDR too.

    critically awareJack Cummins

    That is the crux of the matter.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.2k
    The idea that we can be cleansed of our biases, prejudices, dispositions, preference, et cetera is a non-starter. Frankly, I don't want anyone fumigating my mind for any reason.Bitter Crank

    One can be "cleansed" of our prejudices just by maximising our experiences; it doesn't require a nefarious individual reprogramming us. It's very difficult to be racist and have friends of different ethnicity, and if you're open to it, you'll find people you like of different ethnicities. It's very difficult to be misogynistic and friends with women. Point being, prejudices have to be cultivated by actively sealing off the subjects of your prejudice.

    As you say yourself, "knowing" people of different ethnicities is apt to reduce prejudice, since it's difficult to be prejudiced against someone and "know" or even know them.

    Like you say, it's a feedback loop.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.1k
    I try to be critically aware of how I feel about groups of similar people.

    Yes, I am biased, I am prejudiced -- not severely, but still. I have been reasonably successful in not enacting negative feelings towards groups of people. I disapprove of people entering the US illegally, however it is done; establishing footholds with anchor babies, evading immigration authorities, marriages of convenience, et cetera. I have become prejudiced toward immigrants, particularly South American ones. Worse, I suppose, is that I am reverse-prejudiced--favorably disposed toward other illegal immigrants -- Europeans, Asians, and Africans. That said, I don't seek out platforms to express anti-immigration views or act negatively toward immigrants, even ones that are probably undocumented.

    One of the issues brought up during the BREXIT debate was the number of immigrants in Britain. One group was very unhappy with all the Poles that were in their community. My first thought was "what could be negative about Polish immigrants?" I thought. Many cities in the US have had large Polish neighborhoods for a long time--Chicago and Detroit for instance. But then the whole US has been an ethnic mixmaster for a long time. Britain not so much.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k


    An interesting bit of debate going on here. I think that the idea of 'cleansing' of prejudice is a bit problematic as a metaphor. It reminds me too much of the whole racist of the idea of ethnic cleansing. It also conjures up images of antibacterial gel and disinfectant, as if being applied to our thoughts and feelings.

    I think that the whole point is to be aware of prejudice as the starting point rather than have it kept buried and emerging in a more sinister form.How different might things have been if Hitler had been able to admit to a prejudice against the Jews rather than have this lurking in his subconscious and coming out in the idea of a the creation of a master race.

    I would suggest that what is important is that prejudices, preferences and dislikes are brought out into the open for discussion. Perhaps this is what is really needed for the raising of consciousness.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.2k
    Yes, I think the US is quite proud of its European heritage and seem to even identity themselves as Polish, Irish, Italian, German, etc. Despite having been invaded a lot by Europeans to the point that we're all mongrels of Celtic, Italian, Scandinavian and French heritage, we Brits are much more xenophobic about white people.

    Like America, though, people here are probably the most hostile to the groups that are most incoming, which I guess for you is Mexicans and for us is Poles, Indians and Pakistanis. The Polish influx was very sudden and very large, and the UK has something of a village mentality.

    I personally think the immigration issue is very separable from xenophobia. While I like living in a multicultural country (not least for the cuisine; restaurants were so shit when I was a child), I get that not everyone does, and I'm happy to bow to the consensus. But I think for most people in the UK, immigration is an ethnic issue interpreted as an existential one, the British way of life and British ethnic (no such thing) dominance seen as under threat. One prejudice -- nationalism -- begets another: xenophobia. Like in the US, there's a strong correlation between nationalism and anti-immigration. As a result, there's a very anti-nationalist subculture too, which I guess I belong to, in which, for instance, the English flag has become something of a new twist on the Nazi swastika.

    I'd like to see immigration become a purely practical concern and not an expression of primacy, but it's hard to imagine, and so, as an equally pragmatic concern, I think we do have to take into account people's feelings about immigration when setting policy. I think good intentions might be the undoing of the EU in the end.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.2k
    An interesting bit of debate going on here. I think that the idea of 'cleansing' of prejudice is a bit problematic as a metaphor. It reminds me too much of the whole racist of the idea of ethnic cleansing. It also conjures up images of antibacterial gel and disinfectant, as if being applied to our thoughts and feelings.Jack Cummins

    Yes, this is why I tried to cast it in terms of self-cleansing, which is somewhat more positive. I love a nice, long bath, me.

    I would suggest that what is important is that prejudices, preferences and dislikes are brought out into the open for discussion. Perhaps this is what is really needed for the raising of consciousness.Jack Cummins

    Yes but, as you say, prejudiced people don't typically observe their own prejudices and those that do are probably not very prejudiced at all. There's something of a cognitive dissonance with very prejudiced people, hence the much-ridiculed racism prefix: " I'm not a racist, but..." As someone mentioned on another thread, there's a downside to trying to bring prejudice out in the open. Much of the PC-bashing, cancel-culture--bemoaning, identity-politician--accusing, first-amendment--waving sentiments we see even here are really just statements that people should be allowed to express their prejudices without those prejudices being named. "I'm not a racist, but..." has become itself an entire counter-counter culture, and a huge one.

    Bringing prejudices out into the open is recast as a prejudice, which devolves into each side of an argument accusing the other of prejudice. It's still better that it's out in the open, but it doesn't seem a promising route out.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I think that your final paragraph gets to the core of the difficulty. How far can you let people go about voicing prejudices without condoning them? Another underlying problem is that even though in many situations some authority can say what is allowed to be expressed, but ultimately you cannot tell people what they are allowed to think or feel.

    Okay, you may think that this is the matter between the private and the social but it is not so simple. For example, what I have seen in some situations is that when managers and other figures are around everything is said in a very politically correct way. When these people are not present, however, all the suppressed prejudices are voiced and come into play, with so much vengeance. So, what is the answer to this kind of problem?
  • Ansiktsburk
    126
    Lots of people here born in warm, snug, semi-posh academical families with ”progressive” values, seemingly.
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