Author Topic: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo  (Read 2983 times)

bacardiandlime

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2020, 05:58:19 AM »
I'm not aware that anyone claims that people can qualify as members of a certain race by self-identifying as such without any actual genetic link. As far as I'm aware, it's just a straw man that the opposition sets up in order to try to show the ridiculousness of other kinds of self-identification.

The UCU (major faculty union in the UK) has said they support "self identification" of race, gender ID, disability status, etc.



marshwiggle

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #46 on: August 07, 2020, 06:09:46 AM »
I'm not aware that anyone claims that people can qualify as members of a certain race by self-identifying as such without any actual genetic link. As far as I'm aware, it's just a straw man that the opposition sets up in order to try to show the ridiculousness of other kinds of self-identification.

The UCU (major faculty union in the UK) has said they support "self identification" of race, gender ID, disability status, etc.

I think this is brilliant. It should totally blow up the victimhood Olympics.

To quote:

"When everyone is special, no-one is special" -Syndrome, The Incredibles
It takes so little to be above average.

Hegemony

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2020, 09:22:32 AM »
My understanding of the kind of self-identification the UCU is talking about is not a philosophy that anybody can say they belong to any race. It's that if you have, say, a white mother and a Hispanic father, and when forms ask for race and you write "Hispanic," they're not going to do a DNA check or demand a genealogy with an affadavit to see whether your Hispanic father actually had two white grandmothers and so he was only half Hispanic and therefore you're only one-quarter Hispanic and therefore, even though your name is Juanita Gonzalez and you grew up bilingual in Spanish and English, you're not really "Hispanic enough" by blood and therefore and you are fraudulent and breaking the rules. Or take the example of people who grew up on the Hopi reservation raised by their Hopi grandmother speaking Hopi, but actually they have three-quarters white parents, so are they really Hopi? 

This gets round all that by taking people's word for it. It also acknowledges that race is to a great extent culturally determined. If a person looks Black, he'll face the discrimination that Black people encounter, even if genetically he's only 3/8 Black.

Sure, this does open the door to people declaring they're some race that they have no claim to either genetically or culturally. I, a white-bread European-American, could declare that I'm 100% Pacific Islander. The ways of preventing this are problematic, though, aren't they? What kind of proof would be necessary?  I think it's reasonable just to go ahead and take people's word for it (as we do on the U.S. census, right?), unless the stakes are high for some reason. In this situation I don't think the stakes are often very high.

writingprof

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #48 on: August 07, 2020, 09:49:31 AM »
I think it's reasonable just to go ahead and take people's word for it (as we do on the U.S. census, right?), unless the stakes are high for some reason.

If I were "B"lack, my professional life would be better in every conceivable way.  I'd say those stakes are pretty high.

Hegemony

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #49 on: August 07, 2020, 10:29:32 AM »
I think it's because you are not Black that you don't know the many ways in which your professional life would be harder. To cite a minor one, you'd encounter people like yourself, people are oblivious to the bigotry and bias that Black people encounter at every level of professional life, and think that Blackness is an advantage.

marshwiggle

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #50 on: August 07, 2020, 11:12:57 AM »
I think it's because you are not Black that you don't know the many ways in which your professional life would be harder. To cite a minor one, you'd encounter people like yourself, people are oblivious to the bigotry and bias that Black people encounter at every level of professional life, and think that Blackness is an advantage.

Tell that to Rachel Dolezal. If there really is an immutable, one-way direction of discrimination, then no-one with "privilege" should ever WANT to "incorrectly" self-identify as belonging to some "oppressed" group. So there would be no reason to disallow it.
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Stockmann

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #51 on: August 07, 2020, 11:18:44 AM »
My understanding of the kind of self-identification the UCU is talking about is not a philosophy that anybody can say they belong to any race. It's that if you have, say, a white mother and a Hispanic father, and when forms ask for race and you write "Hispanic," they're not going to do a DNA check or demand a genealogy with an affadavit...

Err... define "Hispanic." There are Spanish-speaking Latin Americans, who are culturally Latino and whose families have been in Latin America for generations, who are blue-eyed blonds, others who are Amerindian, others who are black, and plenty that are of mixed ancestry. Add in Latin Americans of Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, etc ancestry, and that many of the European immigrants to the region had Arab or Jewish ancestry, and "Hispanic" makes absolutely no sense as a "racial" category. It does make sense as a cultural category but in that case it has no link to DNA or genealogy. Or do only "mestizo/ladino" Latinos count as "Hispanic"?

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #52 on: August 07, 2020, 11:51:07 AM »

If I were "B"lack, my professional life would be better in every conceivable way.  I'd say those stakes are pretty high.

I have one close Black friend in the profession. She transferred out of her first PhD program because her advisors left. She was the first Black person admitted into her new PhD program (and only, until recently--seven years after she first transferred). When the language requirements were changed in her second year, she was the only student not grandfathered into the new requirement (there's no reason why she should have been a special case, given the work she does). In fact, the new language requirement was easier than before (one language instead of two), but she was required to learn a third language. Again, her work only actually requires competence in English. There's no good reason to require more from her than anyone else.

She spent two years writing her comps, all because of a single comp entirely outside her areas of specialization or competence. The prof in charge of that comp routinely insulted her writing ability, and required her to do her own translations (in a dead language entirely outside the three extra ones she had to learn for the language requirement), and regularly criticized her reliance on standard translations of the source materials. The ordeal ended when this professor died suddenly, and the department's other expert in the area took over the comp. He took one look at it, and said it was perfectly fine and that he didn't understand why she'd been kept working on it for so long.

She had to defend her prospectus three times. After the first time, a member of the committee who had just started working in her area (from a completely different area) made a big fuss of the fact that she wasn't engaging with material that's not at all relevant to the project (but which he's interested in), and demanded that she do so. They also indicated that she should revise the project in a completely different direction because it wasn't suitable. So she did. The second time she defended her prospectus, the whole thing happened in reverse: the committee tore into the project they had set her, telling her it wasn't suitable. Then her supervisor, acting like he'd had a bright new revelation, picked up on a tiny thread in the new project asked her why she didn't work on that instead. That something else was her original project. The third time, with many comments about her abilities and aptitudes, they passed her prospectus.

Then her supervisor spent a year negging her writing and preparation for graduate work before taking a job somewhere else. She's since transferred out of that program, is in a much better place, and is on track to finish in a year.

That whole ten-ish year odyssey doesn't even get into the shit she's had to take from her fellow graduate students, people at conferences, the names she's been called by professors and colleagues, the social exclusion, etc. It's a wonder she's still in the profession, and I, for one, wouldn't trade my experiences for hers for anything in the world.





Tell that to Rachel Dolezal. If there really is an immutable, one-way direction of discrimination, then no-one with "privilege" should ever WANT to "incorrectly" self-identify as belonging to some "oppressed" group. So there would be no reason to disallow it.

I don't think anyone thinks it's immutable or one-way. We've been talking about intersectionality since 1989, and we've been aware that social attitudes change diachronically and synchronically for... well, a lot longer. Armchair speculation about people's behaviour doesn't really come into it, nor is it helpful. People act against their rational interests all the time. Just look at the failed-state to the south of us.


My understanding of the kind of self-identification the UCU is talking about is not a philosophy that anybody can say they belong to any race. It's that if you have, say, a white mother and a Hispanic father, and when forms ask for race and you write "Hispanic," they're not going to do a DNA check or demand a genealogy with an affadavit...

Err... define "Hispanic." There are Spanish-speaking Latin Americans, who are culturally Latino and whose families have been in Latin America for generations, who are blue-eyed blonds, others who are Amerindian, others who are black, and plenty that are of mixed ancestry. Add in Latin Americans of Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, etc ancestry, and that many of the European immigrants to the region had Arab or Jewish ancestry, and "Hispanic" makes absolutely no sense as a "racial" category. It does make sense as a cultural category but in that case it has no link to DNA or genealogy. Or do only "mestizo/ladino" Latinos count as "Hispanic"?

I think you're making Hegemony's point for her, and also highlighting the fact that none of our racial categories actually make much sense (this was the whole point of the 'social kind' talk pages and pages and pages ago).
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writingprof

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #53 on: August 07, 2020, 12:16:27 PM »

If I were "B"lack, my professional life would be better in every conceivable way.  I'd say those stakes are pretty high.

I have one close Black friend in the profession. She transferred out of her first PhD program because her advisors left. She was the first Black person admitted into her new PhD program (and only, until recently--seven years after she first transferred). When the language requirements were changed in her second year, she was the only student not grandfathered into the new requirement (there's no reason why she should have been a special case, given the work she does). In fact, the new language requirement was easier than before (one language instead of two), but she was required to learn a third language. Again, her work only actually requires competence in English. There's no good reason to require more from her than anyone else.

She spent two years writing her comps, all because of a single comp entirely outside her areas of specialization or competence. The prof in charge of that comp routinely insulted her writing ability, and required her to do her own translations (in a dead language entirely outside the three extra ones she had to learn for the language requirement), and regularly criticized her reliance on standard translations of the source materials. The ordeal ended when this professor died suddenly, and the department's other expert in the area took over the comp. He took one look at it, and said it was perfectly fine and that he didn't understand why she'd been kept working on it for so long.

She had to defend her prospectus three times. After the first time, a member of the committee who had just started working in her area (from a completely different area) made a big fuss of the fact that she wasn't engaging with material that's not at all relevant to the project (but which he's interested in), and demanded that she do so. They also indicated that she should revise the project in a completely different direction because it wasn't suitable. So she did. The second time she defended her prospectus, the whole thing happened in reverse: the committee tore into the project they had set her, telling her it wasn't suitable. Then her supervisor, acting like he'd had a bright new revelation, picked up on a tiny thread in the new project asked her why she didn't work on that instead. That something else was her original project. The third time, with many comments about her abilities and aptitudes, they passed her prospectus.

Then her supervisor spent a year negging her writing and preparation for graduate work before taking a job somewhere else. She's since transferred out of that program, is in a much better place, and is on track to finish in a year.

That whole ten-ish year odyssey doesn't even get into the shit she's had to take from her fellow graduate students, people at conferences, the names she's been called by professors and colleagues, the social exclusion, etc. It's a wonder she's still in the profession, and I, for one, wouldn't trade my experiences for hers for anything in the world.

Sorry, I missed the part where you proved or even provided suggestive evidence that your friend's race was the cause of this treatment.  As you may recall from the old fora, many white Ph.D. candidates can tell similar stories of arbitrary rule in doctoral programs.  Not every bad thing that happens to a "B"lack person is due to anti-"B"lackness.  Assuming a causal relationship where non exists is sloppy thinking.  Try to knock it off. 

I think it's because you are not Black that you don't know the many ways in which your professional life would be harder. To cite a minor one, you'd encounter people like yourself, people are oblivious to the bigotry and bias that Black people encounter at every level of professional life, and think that Blackness is an advantage.

Tell that to Rachel Dolezal. If there really is an immutable, one-way direction of discrimination, then no-one with "privilege" should ever WANT to "incorrectly" self-identify as belonging to some "oppressed" group. So there would be no reason to disallow it.

This is exactly right.  In the past, when there was actual racism, "B"lack people who could do so sometimes "passed" as white.  Now, white people who can do so occasionally try to "pass" as "B"lack.  As far as I'm concerned, that's the end of the story.

Diogenes

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #54 on: August 07, 2020, 12:22:43 PM »
I think it's because you are not Black that you don't know the many ways in which your professional life would be harder. To cite a minor one, you'd encounter people like yourself, people are oblivious to the bigotry and bias that Black people encounter at every level of professional life, and think that Blackness is an advantage.

Tell that to Rachel Dolezal. If there really is an immutable, one-way direction of discrimination, then no-one with "privilege" should ever WANT to "incorrectly" self-identify as belonging to some "oppressed" group. So there would be no reason to disallow it.

That's one rare example. If you put that much weight on a single case in other parts of your life, then I've got all sorts of snake oil I'd love to sell you!

dismalist

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #55 on: August 07, 2020, 12:37:54 PM »
I think it's because you are not Black that you don't know the many ways in which your professional life would be harder. To cite a minor one, you'd encounter people like yourself, people are oblivious to the bigotry and bias that Black people encounter at every level of professional life, and think that Blackness is an advantage.

Tell that to Rachel Dolezal. If there really is an immutable, one-way direction of discrimination, then no-one with "privilege" should ever WANT to "incorrectly" self-identify as belonging to some "oppressed" group. So there would be no reason to disallow it.

That's one rare example. If you put that much weight on a single case in other parts of your life, then I've got all sorts of snake oil I'd love to sell you!

That's a counterexample to the hypothesis of one-way discrimination. A single counterexample is sufficient to disprove a hypothesis. [One bridge falling down is sufficient to question the design; a second or third of the same design is not necessary.]
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financeguy

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #56 on: August 07, 2020, 01:05:40 PM »
I don't think it's unreasonable to ask as a white person that if you are going to say identity is the most important aspect of all of us, the reason a VP pick should be chosen, the reason someone should get a job or get admitted to a school, the reason you're allowed to be outside during covid 19 or not, the reason why certain people should be asked to be silent on certain issues and the reason why others should be heard no matter what they say, you should at least have an easily understandable standard of what that thing is. As a white oppressor simply eating my popcorn on the sidelines wondering what the hell is going on, I find it genuinely confusing and arbitrary.

Apparently the actress playing Harriet Tubman was unacceptable in the recent film since she wasn't the right kind of black. (Not "ADOS" or American Decedents of Slavery but a ((!)) British actress). Apparently the fact that she was a good actress who physically resembled the historical figure in question isn't really relevant. White people see this level of slicing and dicing and think "It they can't keep from getting pissed off at each other for this level of nonsense, I'm getting fired for some comment in T minus..." 

bacardiandlime

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #57 on: August 07, 2020, 01:46:45 PM »
Apparently the actress playing Harriet Tubman was unacceptable in the recent film since she wasn't the right kind of black. (Not "ADOS" or American Decedents of Slavery but a ((!)) British actress).

"British people taking our roles" is the Hollywood version of "immigrants taking our jobs".

Diogenes

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #58 on: August 07, 2020, 02:09:09 PM »
I think it's because you are not Black that you don't know the many ways in which your professional life would be harder. To cite a minor one, you'd encounter people like yourself, people are oblivious to the bigotry and bias that Black people encounter at every level of professional life, and think that Blackness is an advantage.

Tell that to Rachel Dolezal. If there really is an immutable, one-way direction of discrimination, then no-one with "privilege" should ever WANT to "incorrectly" self-identify as belonging to some "oppressed" group. So there would be no reason to disallow it.

That's one rare example. If you put that much weight on a single case in other parts of your life, then I've got all sorts of snake oil I'd love to sell you!

That's a counterexample to the hypothesis of one-way discrimination. A single counterexample is sufficient to disprove a hypothesis. [One bridge falling down is sufficient to question the design; a second or third of the same design is not necessary.]

No it doesn't. To use the classic example, if I make a claim all swans are white and you find a black swan, my initial claim has been disproven, slightly. But the fact remains that 99.9999999% of swans are still white. The evidence then is most swans are white, not that all white swans are false, as you are claiming.

To give a more extreme example like Dolezal, there is the case in Germany of the guy who paid another guy to eat his genitals. It would be absurd for me to take that case and proclaim that genitals are clearly good to eat. Apparently it is for one case, but that fact still remains it would be bad for most people.

And, you are then taking one white person's experience and weighing against all Black voices, saying that her kookyness outweighs all of the experiences by Black people.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2020, 02:14:38 PM by Diogenes »

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Twitter drama: fake persona, covid, and #metoo
« Reply #59 on: August 07, 2020, 02:18:13 PM »

Sorry, I missed the part where you proved or even provided suggestive evidence that your friend's race was the cause of this treatment.  As you may recall from the old fora, many white Ph.D. candidates can tell similar stories of arbitrary rule in doctoral programs.  Not every bad thing that happens to a "B"lack person is due to anti-"B"lackness.  Assuming a causal relationship where non exists is sloppy thinking.  Try to knock it off. 

Give me a break, buddy. You shouldn't go around discussions applying stronger standards of evidence to your interlocutors than you're willing to apply to yourself.

It's entirely possible my friend is an illiterate moron whose work just isn't up to snuff. I know that's not the case, however, so I can easily dismiss that explanation. Since I'm acquainted with people in that department, and know some of the (explicitly racist) things that were said to and about her, I can start to form my own conclusions. Since her experiences in other departments have been different, and her experiences in that department were so consistent and limited to her, because her experiences are so similar to the experiences other Black people and people of colour report about their own graduate educations, and because I've had similar experiences of my own when I've been mis-raced (which happens a lot even though I'm white), I'm pretty satisfied that my read of the situation is accurate. In fact, when these things started happening to her I dismissed them for a while, figuring that it was probably something else at work. As more and more incidents accumulated, however, and as I came to know some of the people in that department, that explanation became less and less plausible. I take it as a pretty strong indication that these problems have disappeared now that she's transferred again.

But this isn't a legal proceeding. I'm just reporting on a friend's experience trying to make it through the professional meat-grinder, which hasn't been especially easy (contrary to your own entirely unsubstantiated claims, I might add), and expressing the opinion that I wouldn't trade my (easy!) experience for hers.

It's entirely possible--even likely--that when you look at individual instances, other factors are involved. Misogyny, for instance, was probably involved in some of the cases. Some of those factors might even seem entirely benign. There's nothing wrong with holding students to high standards, for example. But when you're only holding some students who share a particular characteristic in common to those higher standards, a problem starts to emerge. When you put all the incidents together a pattern emerges, and it's not a pattern that reflects well on that department, even if they don't all go around wearing white hoods. 'Systemic racism' doesn't mean the system is full of racists.

For comparison's sake, I know a few female professors who are much harder on their female students than their male students. They're even explicit about doing this, and about holding them to much higher standards. The rationale is that it's hard to be a woman in this profession (true!), and you need to develop a thick skin and indefatigable attitude (true true!), so they're doing them a favour by helping them learn these lessons early. They mean well. But it's clear for all to see that their male advisees sail through the process without any trouble, while almost none of their female advisees graduate. In departments where it's already hard to be a woman (e.g. because there are almost no female faculty or graduate students), this kind of "advising" is not actually all that helpful. In fact, it's paradigmatically bad advising. It makes a bad situation much worse. And yes, it's discriminatory, even if their hearts are in the right place.


Apparently the actress playing Harriet Tubman was unacceptable in the recent film since she wasn't the right kind of black. (Not "ADOS" or American Decedents of Slavery but a ((!)) British actress).

"British people taking our roles" is the Hollywood version of "immigrants taking our jobs".

FWIW, this is a real issue in British cinema. There are very few opportunities for Black British actors at home, especially in leading and key supporting roles, but comparatively many in the US. So there's this whole acting drain going on. Things have gotten better in Britain in recent years, but it's still especially hard, and so the pipeline is still there.

But as far as Zoë Saldaña is concerned, the problem wasn't that she's British, because she's not. She's American. Her mother was Puerto Rican, and her father was a Haitian Dominican. Nor, as I understand the controversy, is the problem that she's not Black--she is, unquestionably. Rather, the problem is that the filmmakers darkened her skin and gave her facial prosthetics so that she could better approximate Nina Simone's look. And that cleaves a little too close to blackface, especially when the people in charge of making these decisions are white men.
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