Nemiroff: You say these policies distract from fundamentals, im assuming you mean overall prosperity, security, etc. But if, hypothetically speaking, you are feeling oppressed, and the general prosperity is not reaching your neighborhood, and the security seems to target you, those identity issues are very important to you.
Yes, I agree that if a feeling of oppression is legitimate, then the cause for oppression is something that needs to be considered. Of course the examples of general prosperity and security are completely legitimate concerns.
However, my other point was that this feeling of oppression is not always legitimate. If you are told (by friends or society as a whole) what kind of oppression or grievance you ought to be feeling, and if the system is open to abuse in that, a greater perception of oppression leads to a higher point value, then you have just made the perfect system to increase the perception of oppression in society as a whole.
Not only has the system increased the number of illegitimate complaints (because of an rigged system that can be abused by false claimants), but you have also increased the total number of legitimate claims, because the system also dictates and expands on what you should be feeling oppressed by.
Nemiroff: And rather than break down the unity, it should unite us in our search for equal rights, much like the white people who marched for black rights, or the men who march for womens rights. I dont believe in equal outcomes, but i do believe in equal opportunity.
Do you really believe that an oppression-value system could unite us? The system just relegated me (a white male)— based on a warped and fallacious reading of history, of which I took no part—to being completely illegitimate in any conversation or discussion related to pretty much anything. What the system has done so beautifully, and contrary to its expectation, is force me out of my naturally left-wing disposition, and into the arms of right wing groups. This is called division and not unity. And therein lies the other danger. This system is partially responsible for a rise of dangerous right wing groups and their perceived attractiveness to many people, and the consequences that may follow.
The idea that a division-based system could unite us is as preposterous as saying, ‘divide to unite’.
I also believe in equal opportunity but not necessarily in equal outcomes.
Nemiroff:.....a policy like affirmative action (and no other policy) sounds like favoritism, but can you honestly say that without affirmative action black people would see equal opportunity?
I can honestly say that affirmative action resulted in increasing their sense of inequality and perception of racism—and potentially stigmatises minorities as academically challenged and intellectually weak, to produce added psychological pressure that undermines performance.
But then what do you think a system that encourages people to identify as disadvantaged, even if they are not, will do? Firstly, it will never eliminate the feeling of being disadvantaged—in fact it will probably enhance it. Additionally, if they never felt disadvantaged but are then encouraged to classify themselves as being part of a group that was once disadvantaged, they are very likely to start feeling disadvantaged.
And I haven’t even begun talking about how it might increase racial tension and discriminate against the least fortunate in majority groups, or, how..... because affirmative action was originally set up to compensate African Americans for past discrimination under slavery and segregation, the system is now visibly being abused by (more recent) immigrants affiliated to these minority groups.
Notwithstanding how affirmative action discriminates against high achievers.
In sum, affirmative action is the perfect policy that exemplifies why an oppression-point system would be counterproductive and would increase the sense of inequality, racism, and division between us. Imagine affirmative action a thousand times over, and that is the practical application of postmodernist identity politics based on a perception of oppression.
Nemiroff: Its a terrible bandaid, but its better than letting the wound just sit open. Do you have a better suggestion?
I disagree. It’s analogous to putting salt in a wound.
But you came up with the solution yourself. Equal opportunity, but not necessarily equal outcomes. Strive to increase equal opportunity—without systems that increase a group’s sense of inequality and without deceasing the opportunity of other groups. That said, I’m more of a critique person than a policy guy.
Nemiroff: By not outlining a process where humans associate with certain groups does indeed result in a view where humans are a pureed mishmash of *unlabeled* features. That is demonstrably false. I dont know what post modern ideologues you are talking about, but they must be wrong. Why else do people label themselves non controvertial labels such as gamer, or new age, or entrepreneur, or stoner. We are our labels. Our many many labels. So which do you believe in? Labels, or pureed mishmash?
How exactly does....’not outlining a process’ result in creating a ‘view where humans are a pureed mishmash of unlabelled features’? I just didn’t outline a process to explain the self. Which doesn’t stop me criticising a viewpoint for being too rigid or over-simplistic.
Nemiroff: getting targeted by police resulting in over arresting for low level crimes ruining your life, or death is hypotherical subjective? Sounds alot more pressing than taxation without representation.
Are you suggesting that the problem could be fixed by saying......’a black man gets extra points for being black, to the detriment of a white man’....and that this would magically fix the problem, and wouldn’t result in creating more problems?
How does creating an entirely new value system, which discriminates people born in one group (white) to the benefit of other people born in another group (black) actually work?
I think we can both agree that a certain number of people in this country are racist (even tho the numbers seem to be falling) and that inequality is too high, but on the other hand, we probably disagree on the best strategy to combat it. I personally feel that identity politics, of any kind (but esp the type that uses oppression as a benchmark for value), are counterproductive and would have many unintended outcomes.