- No, it really shouldn't. See these two forum threads and these two blog posts for more background reading.
"Privilege is the atheist version of original sin."
Siliddar wrote:They are both things that you didn't necessarily do, people you've never met are mad at you for ihttp://atheismplus.com/forums/posting. ... 7&p=11152t, people remind you of it often, and at first it seems like you're supposed to make up for it.
The difference that some people don't understand is, that privilege is something you should recognize and understand, not something that you should feel eternally guilty about and endlessly atone for. In recognizing your privilege, you will notice people that don't have that privilege, which gives you greater opportunity to help others.
- Of Dogs and Lizards: A Parable of Privilege
A+ thread: On How To Deal With Being Called Out
Basically, anyone who tells you that someone wants you to feel guilty for having privilege is lying to you about what privilege means.
"I've never seen it, so I don't think it really happens." See also: "I've never seen it, so I don't think it happens in my city/country/forum/etc."
ischemgeek wrote:I've never seen Mt Everest, but I recognize that it exists because there's plenty of evidence for the existance of Mt Everest.
- Your personal experience does not constitute a representative sample. That you may not have experienced a given phenomenon is not evidence that that phenomenon does not exist; it merely demonstrates that you have not encountered it. Discrimination happens where you live, even if you don't see it. Additionally, this is a multinational forum, so do not make assumption that we are talking about your locality.
"I don't think X is a problem." "I don't see why you're so upset about X." "I don't think we should be talking about X because it isn't that big a deal." etc.
- This is often an argument from incredulity: "I don't understand why X would be a problem, so it isn't a problem." That you may not find something particularly unpleasant does not mean other people don't (or shouldn't). The people you're talking to do think that X is a problem worth talking about, and they are upset by X, so an argument that stems from the privileged position of "X doesn't happen to me" or "I don't dislike X" adds nothing to the conversation and is very likely offensive. Telling people that their problems aren't real is invalidating and astoundingly rude. If you want to help, just keep that thought to yourself.
"Women/Females already have full equality."
- Actually, no.
And don't call women "females." You have a lot of other words to choose from. When we're talking about human beings, let's not treat them like cattle. Okay? Okay.
tekanji wrote:Also: Using "females" as a noun for "female humans" is (generally) not OK out of a scientific context. In a non-science context it is dehumanizing and also is sexist because its counterpart ("males") is rarely used in similar settings. I assume that you are in favor of not doing shitty things to women, so I would be very appreciative if you would try to avoid using that word (at the very least when you participate here). Thanks!
"There is no more discrimination because discrimination is illegal."
ischemgeek wrote:"Because illegalizing them totally eliminated murder, arson, rape, assault, theft, larceny, fraud..."
- Seriously, you can't just make bigotry disappear by fiat. People still believe that crap. I know it's ridiculous, but they really do. And they act on it.
"I think everyone is equally oppressed in their own way."
ischemgeek wrote:There are people who advocate the killing and internment in concentration camps of people who are gay in this country. Show me somebody who says the same about straight people without intending it as hyperbole to illustrate the horror and absurdity of what the previous people are actually seriously suggesting.
"What about men's troubles?" or "Feminism is sexist!" etc.
- Feminism is about making people equal without regard to gender (and regardless of your opinion of the word's etymology). A lot of men's troubles are caused by the patriarchy, so we've got your back, guys!
The troubles facing men and women aren't the same, so it's often inappropriate to equate them.
But seriously, feminists do care about men's issues.
A+ thread: What About Men's Rights?
A+ thread: Patriarchy Hurts Men Too
A+ thread: That thing many men do (trigger warning)
"Misandry is a serious problem." or "Misandry is just as bad as misogyny."
Flewellyn wrote:Men who step outside of patriarchal norms certainly are punished for it, by the patriarchal forces in society. Those are the very same forces which punish women for stepping outside of their assigned roles, too. So the problems you are facing are not "misandry", but the fact that patriarchy hurts men, too.
Misandry, for the purposes I'm using here, is "hatred of men for being men", not "hatred of men who violate societal norms of what men should be and do". The latter is just patriarchy rearing its ugly head again.
Basically, men have systematic advantages solely by virtue of being men; everyone else lacks these advantages (and thus everyone else is automatically disadvantaged). In order for men to experience similar obstacles, they have to act in a way that invites rebuke for defying stereotypical masculinity. (Yes, this is an oversimplification.)
"I read Schrödinger’s Rapist, and it's unfair/sexist/hateful/etc. that women assume I'm a rapist. I'm not a rapist!"
ischemgeek wrote:Schrodinger's Rapist isn't saying that men are ebil nasty potential rapists, nor is it trying to shame men for being men, nor is it trying to relegate men to second-class status by demonizing them. It's not a statement on the nature of men, it's saying that society is set up so that women have no choice but to view each man with wary suspicion because the consequences of trusting a dangerous man are so much greater than mistrusting a safe one. Not just that the dangerous man might assault us, but also the social fallout of ineffective law enforcement, victim-blaming, stigmatization, etc.
IE: "Schrodinger's Rapist" says "This is a problem," not "Men are evil and women should be afraid of them." It's a "this is how the world is" statement, not "this is how men are."
piegasm wrote:Schroedinger's Rapist says nothing other than "women have no way to know if you're a rapist or not until you attempt to rape them (or not) when given the opportunity." It's just an appeal to men to recognize and acknowledge that rapists do not have "rapist" tatooed across their foreheads and to please consider how your actions appear to women.
smhll wrote:Packages left on the subway or on trains in Britain are assumed to be bombs, even though it's probably more common that something was left by accident. But the downside risk is major.
"The words 'man', 'men', 'male', etc. refer to every man; therefore, any statement which contains any of those words and is not complimentary is sexist."
- That's not how the English plural works.A Unified Analysis of the English Bare Plural (pdf, long, academic)
piegasm wrote:I've actually seen men attempt to argue that they cannot possibly be expected to understand that a statement which doesn't describe them is not directed at them unless the speaker/writer explicitly declares that they're only speaking to those who fit the description. Formally this is the fallacy of affirming the consequent.
"I don't want to dismiss your experience, but ..." "I don't want to sound sexist, but ..."
- But you're about to do it anyway? Just stop. If you can't say that thing without being dismissive/sexist, do not say that thing.
"That totally ~ist thing I just said was just a joke!" (sexist, racist, ableist, cissexist, fattist, something-phobic, etc.)
jinxybunny wrote:More Than “Just a Joke”: The Prejudice-Releasing Function of Sexist Humor-- Exposure to (or repeating of) sexist humor makes men who have sexist attitudes more likely to discriminate against women
Exposure to Sexist Humor and Rape Proclivity: The Moderator Effect of Aversiveness Ratings-- Exposure to and enjoyment of sexist humor increases rape proclivity
The Enjoyment of Sexist Humor, Rape Attitudes, and Relationship Aggression in College Students-- Enjoyment of sexist humor was positively correlated with rape-related attitudes and beliefs, the self-reported likelihood of forcing sex, and psychological, physical, and sexual aggression in men.
Social consequences of disparagement humor: a prejudiced norm theory-- Disparagement humor (e.g., sexist jokes) creates a normative climate of tolerance of discrimination
The above-linked examples mainly concern sexism, but the same is true of racist humor.
"Your experiences as a person without privilege do not coincide with my preconceived notions as a person with privilege and so you're either wrong about your experiences or lying."
ischemgeek wrote:If someone's experiences do not work with your preconceived notions on an area where you have zero personal experience, chances are it's your beliefs that are wrong, not their experiences.
"A is easy, you just..." / "But isn't it rather simple to do B?" / "Surely that's not so difficult, you only need to do C." / "How hard can it be to D?"
Eowyn Entwife wrote:There are very few situations (if any) where an argument like those^^ does not step on someone's toes. Assuming that something is universally easy to do almost certainly is ableist, so don't do it. Our members have several kinds of disabilities with receiving and/or processing sensory input (e.g. hearing, seeing, reading, listening...), with producing and/or delivering sensory output (e.g. speaking, typing, drawing...), with moving around (e.g. difficulties with speed, agility or reach), with coping in social situations (e.g. due to anxiety, triggers or bullying), with allergies and other sensitivities (some of which can be lethal) etc. etc. etc. If you assume that something is naturally easy to do, you almost certainly have unaware/undiscovered/unowned privilege, and you would do well to lurk more.
"There is no unified message."
"Atheism+ is divisive."
Greta Christina wrote:Face it. This community is already divided. And it is divided in a way that is making many, many women feel cut out. ... So why is it that forming a subset of atheism that prioritizes the inclusion of women, over the inclusion of hateful, misogynist assholes, is what’s being seen as “divisive”?
- We can't kick anyone out of "the atheism movement," and we're not trying to do so. We're creating a subset of atheists who care about social justice issues. That's a specialization, not a division.
"You don't allow any debate!"" "Dissent is not tolerated!" etc.
Eowyn Entwife wrote:One of the main motives driving this forum community is learning. Our experience is that debate, when it is done in the spirit of constructive Socratic questioning and when arguments are supported with facts, nourishes, speeds up and enhances learning. However, our experience also is that debate, when it is done as a competitive sport, where the goal is for one point of view to win and the other point(s) of view to lose, is in direct conflict with learning, because the competitiveness encourages non-listening, stubbornly repeating arguments without actually supporting them with new facts, and using various rhetorical tricks that strive only to manipulate the opposition, not to bring new light on the issue.
Debate as a learning discussion we strongly encourage. Debate as competitive sport we strongly discourage.
"Why should I care about social justice issues? I'm not hurting anyone."
- Are you sure you know where your feet are?
Hershele Ostropoler wrote:If you step on my foot, you need to get off my foot.
If you step on my foot without meaning to, you need to get off my foot.
If you step on my foot without realizing it, you need to get off my foot.
If everyone in your culture steps on feet, your culture is horrible, and you need to get off my foot.
If you have foot-stepping disease, and it makes you unaware you’re stepping on feet, you need to get off my foot. If an event has rules designed to keep people from stepping on feet, you need to follow them. If you think that even with the rules, you won’t be able to avoid stepping on people’s feet, absent yourself from the event until you work something out.
If you’re a serial foot-stepper, and you feel you’re entitled to step on people’s feet because you’re just that awesome and they’re not really people anyway, you’re a bad person and you don’t get to use any of those excuses, limited as they are. And moreover, you need to get off my foot.
See, that’s why I don’t get the focus on classifying harassers and figuring out their motives. The victims are just as harassed either way.
"groupthink" / "us vs them mentality" / "party line" / "you don't accept people who disagree" / etc.
- Participation is voluntary. The only "them" would be 1) would-be theocrats or 2) people who are willfully bigoted. If you don't fall into either of these categories, you are not our "them." As to "not accepting people who disagree," why would we want to accept theocrats or bigots?
A+ thread: What's so threatening about feminism?
"Equal rights means equal responsibilities!"
- Underprivileged groups are not in that position due to a lack of responsibility. Furthermore, rights are legal constructs that apply to people and, as such, are not correlated with responsibilities.
ischemgeek wrote:Free speech means you can say what you want without facing government censorship. It means you can yell on a street corner until your vocal cords give out. It does not mean I have to give you a soapbox to stand on and a megaphone to ampliphy your voice, nor does it mean that I have to let you into my living room to yell for as long as you feel like yelling. If you want to yell about something, get your own soap box and yell about it. Or yell about it in your own living room.
"First world problems!" or "There are bigger problems in the world!" or "You don't really have it so bad!"
ischemgeek wrote:Dear Muslima was a specific case of this. In short: "This more severe problem exists, therefore we should ignore your problems!" Which is foolish: Murder is a more severe crime than assault, but you don't see our justice system exclusively punishing murderers and letting those who assault people walk free, do you? It's the same here. We can work to solve less serious problems at the same time as we work on more serious ones.
"'Affirmative Action' is reverse racism!"
- Reverse racism isn't a thing, and "Affirmative Action" programs aren't discrimination.
Racism is not "over," so "Affirmative Action" programs are not yet redundant or discriminatory.
See also (US-centric): School-to-prison pipeline, race and poverty, what happens when you end AA policies
ACLUFL wrote:Q: Isn't affirmative action "reverse discrimination" against white men? Why should someone's race or gender be made an issue in jobs or education anyway?
A: Affirmative action policies have not made issues of race and gender. Rather, longstanding policies and practices that discriminate against nonwhite people and women are what have made issues of race and gender. Affirmative action aims to remedy such discrimination.
"Slavery was a long time ago."
rigorist wrote:Two lifetimes is not a long time. And considering the prevalence of debt peonage and sunset laws, "slavery" didn't end until (pick some date in the mid-20th century).
Arguments based solely on Merriam-Webster, Oxford or even the Urban Dictionary
In general, definitions used here are sociological definitions, as provided in our glossary. Any argument that requires redefining a word away from its agreed-upon definition or protesting a previously agreed-upon definition should be avoided.
Eowyn Entwife wrote:Because hashing and re-re-re-re-re-re-...-rehashing what definitions of words we should use here contributes nothing, nada, zilch to the content of the discussion. Especially when the regulars have already in September agreed on and by October-November codified what kind of definitions to use and what not to use on this forum.
The following are not "arguments," but they are common tropes that we're all sick of answering a million times:
(Yes, it's possible for these things to be raised in good faith, but they still tend to be ill-received for their repetitiveness.)
Saying "don't feed the trolls"
- There are many reasons why responding to a deliberately provocative comment is the right thing to do. For example, it may be necessary to refute a believable lie or to challenge a particular prejudice. Replying to a thoughtful rebuttal with that tedious cliché is patronizing, and dismisses other people's concerns as unimportant. Bear in mind that what may appear to be trivial insults to you, may be deeply hurtful comments to someone else.
- Wrong because it puts the blame in the wrong spot. A victim isn't at fault no matter where they were, what they were wearing and what they were doing because for them to be hurt, someone had to make the decision to hurt them.* Furthermore, this sentiment puts the onus on the victim to avoid victimization, rather than on the perpetrator to not hurt people. See this thread for more.
- Blaming the victim, with some sexism thrown in. Someone who does this assumes women are incompetent at evaluating their risk and taking steps to mitigate it (while placing the onus on them to mitigate risk, rather than on those who would attack them to not attack people).
- When someone complains about a serious problem, it is rarely helpful to complain that the scope of the problem has not been delineated with mathematical precision. For example, if someone gives an account of sexual harassment, replying with “not all men are like that” gives the impression that you care more about being vaguely implicated, than you do about the actual harassment.
- No one deserves to be raped, including prison inmates. Rape is a despicable act, regardless of context. Don't joke about it.
- The word "troll" has multiple definitions, including an obnoxious and disruptive poster. Insisting upon pedantic definitions, based on the word's origin, is not a helpful contribution to discussions about disruptive posters.
- Reasonable people don't always agree with each other, and in the course of our disagreements, we sometimes swear (some of us actually do it a lot). Someone who is angry with you may very well swear in the midst of an argument. Do not try to be the Tone Police. Especially do not ignore arguments in favor of criticizing someone for their tone. Being sworn at does not constitute abuse. The members of this forum reserve the right to call you out for being a disingenuous troll-faced asshole if that's what you're being.
- Having poor social skills and behaving like a jerk are completely different things. The former can sometimes inadvertently lead to the latter, but the two are not intrinsically linked. Someone can be kind and considerate, but at the same time be poor at picking up social cues and appear shy and awkward in conversation. Similarly, a high functioning sociopath can be socially adept, but will use these skills to hurt and manipulate. Linking the two is offensive to awkward people who don’t behave like jerks, and provides an illegitimate excuse to those who deliberately behave like jerks.
- Having an autistic spectrum condition is not the same as being a jerk. For the same reasons as above, conflating the two is deeply offensive. Asshole is not on the autism spectrum.
- If a person is taunted with abuse based on their physical appearance, it is tempting to reassure them with a warm compliment. This is perfectly understandable, but it can reinforce the prejudice behind the original insult. It implies that the abuse would have been justified, had the person been less attractive.
- If people take offence to a particular slur, then it is best to graciously withdraw it, and rephrase your argument. Remember that what may be a matter of semantics to you, may be a matter of dehumanisation versus acceptance for someone else.
- For almost every problem, it is possible to find a substantially worse problem. This should not be used, however, to dismiss the original problem. For example, the plight of women under the Taliban is absolutely dreadful, but this doesn't mean that any problem faced by a western woman is trivial
- Talking about oppression isn't the problem. Oppression is the problem.
- If a particular problem is being discussed, it is dismissive to generalise this into a conversation about less severe problems. Such problems may also be very important, but they should be discussed elsewhere. For example, a discussion about female genital mutilation should not degenerate into a debate about the morality of male circumcision.
- This is straight out of Derailing for Dummies. In short, it attempts to pass the buck for your ignorance to the person your ignorance is hurting, and then accuses them of not caring about the cause in question when they might not have the time to hand hold yet another person who might not be asking honestly through concepts of privilege and oppression. Google exists. Use it. Alternatively, ask a question in I&A, and expect people to answer on their own timeline, as their lives and inclinations allow.