Understanding the dynamics and outcomes behind the institutionalised 'oppressed' thinking model

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  • Marko
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    Without naming the forums’ participant in this post—and because the goal isn’t to kick someone when they are already down— reading the said participant’s recent posts made me consider more seriously the toxic and counterproductive mode of thinking currently taking place in our educational institutions (but no longer exclusive to them). 
    I’m talking about the perspective of reality and power by postmodernist-influenced groups, and their systematic replacement of reality with subjective and noncommensurable social-linguistic constructs, that vary across conflicting groups based on dimensions such as sex, ethnicity, race, religion, and wealth. 
    There appears to be a endless race to create sub-divisions within a population unit, assign a value or hierarchical system to them, and then use words as a rhetorical weapon to attack any group ’higher’ up this value system, with the aim of attaining social and political power. 
    Their modus operandi is for individuals to self-categorise themselves, sum up their ‘negative group’ affiliations (negative would equate to lower power values), and then use rhetoric and lobbying to invalidate the opinion of individuals with a higher positive values than theirs. 

    But unfortunately for them, we individuals don’t really view reality and society in this hierarchical manner. For example, outside of this hierarchical system, there really isn’t a clear cut affiliation of individuals to a given race. Women, unless coerced to by this mode of thinking, will rarely box themselves within the category ‘women’, much less an arbitrarily defined number of other categories.
     
    Anyway, and you might not even agree with the above, but i would like to go further into the long-term outcomes this mode of thinking will lead to, for the individual and society as a whole. 

  • Nemiroff
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    --> @Marko
    when in history were women not boxed into the women category? How about blacks? How about wealthy/poor?

    And although i will not deny the legitamete existence of these divisions, based on history, these divisions were far more heiarchal in the past.
  • Marko
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    --> @Nemiroff
    Well, it was an example set within the framework of the power struggle I’ve mentioned above. It can essentially be viewed as a competition to acquire the highest number of ‘negative’ group affiliations, which is the primary element that sets it appart from the historic usual. 
    But also, I don’t believe that women (or men for that matter) view themselves in these restrictive ways. The category system is too simplified to make any real sense. Differences within the category ‘women’ might be greater than differences between different categories, and so the value of these category systems are limited. The systematic categorising of groups, because of its inherent over-simplification and subjectivity, does little to model how an individual actually perceives themselves or others in a society. 
  • Nemiroff
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    --> @Marko
    Re: power = more negative  labels
    Hard to say when the top presidential contenders Biden, Bernie, Pete, Warren. 3 white men, and a single label white woman in last place.

    Perhaps rather then a tally = power, it is simply an acknowledge that those labels exist at all. 


    Re: restrictive categories
    They can hardly be restrictive when your free to have any number of categories. As you said, they can add up. So you can have a black, women, nerd,  accountant, mother, hiker, baseball fan ... but when nerds come under attack, she probably won't be focusing much on her hiking label. Throughout most of history, black people, women, and many others have been very clearly reminded of their labels. Are you not proud of your nationality? Culture? History? Why should others forget theirs? Accepting our distinct collections of labels is far better then denying them.

    Besides, the right is quite capable of its own twisted victim culture. Crying about imagined slights. Its broadcast from the capital daily. Proof that you dont need labels to play victim.
  • Marko
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    --> @Nemiroff
    Nemiroff: Re: power = more negative  labels
    Hard to say when the top presidential contenders Biden, Bernie, Pete, Warren. 3 white men, and a single label white woman in last place.
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    Im not proposing that this ‘new’ mode of thinking is widespread enough to gain traction in an election where two of the the top contenders are over 70 years old (and the primary objective of the election is to vote for someone that can beat Trump), but that is the ultimate goal. Notwithstanding the understandable backlash this would have with the majority of Americans, who don’t buy into identity politics as a whole. 
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    Nemiroff: They can hardly be restrictive when your free to have any number of categories. As you said, they can add up. So you can have a black, women, nerd,  accountant, mother, hiker, baseball fan ... but when nerds come under attack, she probably won't be focusing much on her hiking label. Throughout most of history, black people, women, and many others have been very clearly reminded of their labels. Are you not proud of your nationality? Culture? History? Why should others forget theirs? Accepting our distinct collections of labels is far better then denying them.
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    It doesn’t matter whether you have an infinite number of categories. It still doesn’t adequately model the way humans think in terms of themselves and others. And in practice it remains a restrictive and divisive force. The complexities of juggling between different categories and their specific degrees of importance in relation to a situation or issue are completely unrealistic. And then add to this complexity the idea of institutionalised ‘oppression’ of  so-called ‘negative’ groups. 

    But sure, to some extent all politics can be called ‘identity politics’, but that is not the ‘identity politics’ I’m talking about here. 
    Instead, people of colour, women, LGBTQ people, etc....are depicted as “oppressed” by the white patriarchy that controls the economy and therefore, supposedly, everything else. According to this point of view, this state of affairs needs laws and policies that favour them personally, and as a result ‘liberate’ them. But what would be the result of that? 
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    Nemiroff: Besides, the right is quite capable of its own twisted victim culture. Crying about imagined slights. Its broadcast from the capital daily. Proof that you dont need labels to play victim.
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    Of course they can, and that is one reason why the end game is so toxic and dangerous, for all of us. 
    That is ultimately where I’d like the discussion to go. 


  • Nemiroff
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    --> @Marko
    Re labels=power
    If its not widespread enough within the party that supposedly champions this label, then what are you talking about? Lets look at the 2 senators from liberal new york. White man, white female. Its actually suspicious that our leadership has so little diversity imo. Also, the right is strong on the white, christian, nationalist identity. I would say the party focusing on a few select identities is playing more identity politics than the party of many identities.


    Re identities
    You are oversimplifying things. Lbgt is often white so your "white oppressors" claim falls flat. As for women and blacks, they have been oppressed by systems that have been exclusively white and Male. Speaking of cries of oppression, the right frequently cries about how christianity is under attack, white men are under attack. Rather i would argue that the party which focuses on very specific identities is the one playing identity politics. Not the party that is composed of all identities.

    Besides an ancient policy of affirmative action, name a single new left wing proposal that focuses on a specific  group? Rather the left wing has policies that prevent discrimination of any group, rather then benefits to a specific group.


    Re: the right
    Im guessing your implying that victim culture is spreading... but perhaps what you call "victim culture" is simply citizens voicing their greivances. Much like the American Colonists claimed victim from the "oppressive" british policies. Maybe some of them have legitamete complaints? Dismissing people for simply complaining sounds alot like you are dodging the substance of the complaint itself. Attacking the integrity of the person, ad hominem, instead of the actual issues that are being brought up.
  • Marko
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    --> @Nemiroff
    Nemiroff: If its not widespread enough within the party that supposedly champions this label, then what are you talking about? Lets look at the 2 senators from liberal new york. White man, white female. Its actually suspicious that our leadership has so little diversity imo. Also, the right is strong on the white, christian, nationalist identity. I would say the party focusing on a few select identities is playing more identity politics than the party of many identities.
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    You can have a widespread practice or ideology within a population without it showing observable effects in something like a national election. Secondly, you have to consider the temporality of such movements. For example, has the movement reached a certain threshold of support for it to gain traction in a given election? An election is a snapshot.  Additionally, while the idea might be widespread, this tells us nothing about whether it is accepted by the majority of voters, of any party. Generally speaking and very often, the loudest (most radical) voices are the voices most heard. ‘Widespreadedness‘ doesn’t necessarily equate to acceptance or electability.

    Ok. Let’s look at the 2 senators from New York State. I’m not entirely familiar with the demographics of New York State, but a quick search pointed out that whites are the majority. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_New_York_(state)
    But we can go further and ask ourselves whether whites are also the majority in the Democratic Party (In the New York State). Again, the answer is yes, and not by a small margin. 
    And so finally, what exactly are you looking for here? Diversity purely for the sake of diversity, or do you want a democratic system that accurately represents the population?
    My entire point was that:  people don’t naturally view themselves (during elections and outside of it)  as entities affiliated to, for example, racial groups, and therefore, that a black man can overcome racial demographics to win an election is never surprising. 
    But because some people have attached themselves to this false and simplistic notion of identity thinking (in addition to the idea of oppression,, etc..), they are willing to enforce diversity even if it runs contrary to the demographic distribution. 

    Yes, I already stated that politics plays with ‘identity’ politics (....’all politics can be called ‘identity politics’), but I then went on to explain why this ‘new’ identity politics was different to the traditional one. 
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    Nemiroff: Lbgt is often white so your "white oppressors" claim falls flat.
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    How exactly does it fall flat? You yourself agreed that individuals can inhabit several categories at once. For example, using their fallacious value logic, a white transsexual male will have a higher potential of being supposedly ‘oppressed’ by the ‘white patriarchy’ than a white straight male, (much less a white lesbian female).
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    Nemiroff: As for women and blacks, they have been oppressed by systems that have been exclusively white and Male.
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    Im not arguing against the reality of historical or even contemporary oppression. That was never a claim I made. Again, I’m trying to highlight that this ‘sum-up-your-points-of-oppression’ strategy is unworkable, unrealistic and even counterproductive to the groups supposedly ‘oppressed’.
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    Nemiroff: Besides an ancient policy of affirmative action, name a single new left wing proposal that focuses on a specific  group? Rather the left wing has policies that prevent discrimination of any group, rather then benefits to a specific group.
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    Did I ever claim that a left wing party proposal focussed on a specific group? Please refer me to any passage where I did. 
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    Nemiroff: Im guessing your implying that victim culture is spreading... but perhaps what you call "victim culture" is simply citizens voicing their greivances. Much like the American Colonists claimed victim from the "oppressive" british policies. Maybe some of them have legitamete complaints? Dismissing people for simply complaining sounds alot like you are dodging the substance of the complaint itself. Attacking the integrity of the person, ad hominem, instead of the actual issues that are being brought up.
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    Again, I’ve repeatedly outlined why I think this counting up of ‘oppression points’ by an individual, based on a completely fictional construct of identification groupings, is nothing similar to the examples you’ve referred to above. 
    Do you really think that American colonists,  individually and simultaneously, counted up their oppression points and magically united themselves together against their English oppressors based on their closest common denominator? No, that’s not how things work in society. If post-modernist thinking had been the norm, they probably would never have united themselves together in the first place. 

    I’m dismissing the strategy or system, not the people. Where have I attacked the integrity of a/the person here? Again, please refer to those passages.
  • Nemiroff
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    --> @Marko
    Re: labels 
    If, as you say, these labels and identities do not show observable effect, why was your oppening proposition that more labels = more power. Certainly more power would be noticable... and if not, whats the point of your concern?
    Also, can you please repeat the difference between old and new identity politics as you see it? I must have missed it. As well as why this sum of all points strategy is unworkable and counterproductive.


    Re: "Did I ever claim that a left wing party proposal focussed on a specific group? Please refer me to any passage where I did."
    Your revious post
    "According to this point of view, this state of affairs needs laws and policies that favour them personally, and as a result ‘liberate’ them. "

    Re: strategy
    The colonists did not "individually and simultaneously" counted up oppression points. but they did, slowly and collectively, mostly through representative founding fathers, count up oppressive points in a list of grievances.

    Are you trying to imply that every person considers himself a pureed mishmash of unlabeled features? Thats baloney imo. The brain evolved to categorize everything due to not having unlimited processing power. Not the ideal scenario, but it is the consequence of mass data and limited processing power. I personally very strongly identify as a gamer, and a debater, amongst many many things. To imagine that we are an undefined mishmash of ideas is false. Perhaps it is true for you, but not in general. Your family's culture, your home town, your group of friends, your hobbies, your sports team. Our multitiudes of discreet identities are what form us. Very few (maybe only you) think of themselves as what seems to be an indescribable  mishmash. Are you not a proud american? Is American not a label? How many labels can you assign yourself? Is it a bad thing?

  • Marko
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    --> @Nemiroff
    Nemiroff: If, as you say, these labels and identities do not show observable effect, why was your oppening proposition that more labels = more power. Certainly more power would be noticable... and if not, whats the point of your concern?
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    1) I stipulated that there doesn’t have to be ‘observable effects’ in the context of an election. In other words, an ‘observable effect’ in this context would be something like an increase (or decrease) in a particular party’s numbers, as a result of new ideology. 
    2) The second part of your sentence (labels = more power) is placed in a separate context, and describes an aspect of postmodernist-inspired ideology that i’ve sufficiently outlined before. These two statements are not necessarily related. The second statement outlines a hypothetical value system within the ideology. Because point 2 doesn’t necessarily translate to enacting point 1, you wouldn’t expect ‘noticeability’. The act of being ‘concerned’ is not exclusive to aspects related to point 1, but could relate to other parts of society. 
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    Nemiroff: also, can you please repeat the difference between old and new identity politics as you see it? I must have missed it. As well as why this sum of all points strategy is unworkable and counterproductive.
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    I’ve outlined it sufficiently before, but I’ll increasingly simplify things by reducing part of that difference to the idea of ‘oppression’, and how an increased perception of oppression should lead to increased power points. This is by no means similar to how identity politics works traditionally. 
    Why is this potentially counterproductive:.....it diverts attention and energy from more fundamental issues. It has the effect of breaking down the potential unity of a population, and groups. It is largely arbitrary and subjective, and is therefore open to abuse, with all the consequences that might entail. The perception of oppression (whether true are not) carries with it a long list of psychological consequences we shouldn’t ignore. It creates a over simplistic and ultimately fallacious narrative of history and reality, with all consequences this might create. In its utopic conclusion, it merely shifts power from one group to another, not without a huge degree of potential violence, without solving any of the major problems it attempted to destroy...Etc....etc.....etc... 

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    Nemiroff: Re: "Did I ever claim that a left wing party proposal focussed on a specific group? Please refer me to any passage where I did."
    Your revious post
    "According to this point of view, this state of affairs needs laws and policies that favour them personally, and as a result ‘liberate’ them. "
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    ‘.....this state of affairs needs’ refers to the future and to something that doesn’t currently exist yet........next......’a party proposal focussed on a specific group’ refers to the past. Let’s  both agree that the past isn’t the same as the future. 
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    Nemiroff: Re: strategy
    The colonists did not "individually and simultaneously" counted up oppression points. but they did, slowly and collectively, mostly through representative founding fathers, count up oppressive points in a list of grievances.
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    Since when do tangible, observable, measurable and largely operational grievances....(.e.g. ‘He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.")......equate to hypothetical, subjective, divisive, group dependant and group specific, so-called grievances? 
    Try to find the similarities between something like....‘a black lesbian woman should be favoured over a black gay man, who himself should be favoured over a black straight man, who should himself be favoured over a white straight man, etc....’. and the grievances the founding fathers listed, for American colonialists as a whole. 
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    Nemiroff: Are you trying to imply that every person considers himself a pureed mishmash of unlabeled features? Thats baloney imo.
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    I never implied anything. I never outlined a hypothetical process whereby humans associate themselves to certain groups but not others based on their perception of the ‘self’. Most postmodernist ideologues don’t either. 



  • Nemiroff
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    Im sorry if it seems like im making you repeat yourself, but your conclusions seem to not make sense to me, and im trying to get you to understand that. And i am familiar with the what the identity politics accusation is, i just disagree with it. 

    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. 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. I understand that 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?


    Its a terrible bandaid, but its better than letting the wound just sit open. Do you have a better suggestion?

    Nemiroff: Are you trying to imply that every person considers himself a pureed mishmash of unlabeled features? Thats baloney imo.
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    I never implied anything. I never outlined a hypothetical process whereby humans associate themselves to certain groups but not others based on their perception of the ‘self’. Most postmodernist ideologues don’t either. 
    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?


    Since when do tangible, observable, measurable and largely operational grievances....(.e.g. ‘He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.")......equate to hypothetical, subjective, divisive, group dependant and group specific, so-called grievances? 
    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. Maybe there are legitamete concerns in play instead of just:

    a black lesbian woman should be favoured over a black gay man, who himself should be favoured over a black straight man, who should himself be favoured over a white straight man, etc....’
    I mean, thats just nonsense. This sounds like the limbaugh take on liberal policy. Or whatever pundit.
  • Marko
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    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.
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    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. 
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    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.
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    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. 
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    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?
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    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. 
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    Nemiroff: Its a terrible bandaid, but its better than letting the wound just sit open. Do you have a better suggestion?
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    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. 
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    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?
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    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. 
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    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. 
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     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.